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Optimising air usage and minimising energy consumption

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Today, wind power is the world’s fastest growing energy source. When ZF Wind Power in Belgium needed an expansion of the compressed air capacity at its site in Lommel, Atlas Copco recommended GA 160 VSD FF compressors and an ES central control system to optimise their compressed air usage. Rob Loos, Senior Technician at the Lommel site, says: “Working with companies who understand our business and can support us is of paramount importance, and Atlas Copco was clearly the best fit.”

Optimising air usage and minimising energy consumptionThe ZF Group is a global automotive supplier for driveline and chassis technology. With its ZF Wind Power division, focusing on the design, manufacture and supply of tailor-made gearboxes for wind turbines, the Group has become a major player in the wind power market.

During the expansion of ZF Wind Power’s plant at Lommel, the company contacted Atlas Copco regarding an increase in compressed air production. Atlas Copco began by performing an energy audit and an analysis of the site’s air consumption profile to identify and calculate the potential for energy savings.

Compressed air plays an important role at Lommel. One example is an air-cushioned transport for gearboxes weighing up to 400 tons, which moves them from the assembly to the testing department. The transport requires about 800 litres of air per second and it was important for the company that the compressed air installation could deliver sufficient air flow with a high level of reliability.

Atlas Copco GA 160 VSD FF oil-injected rotary screw compressors were selected since they would help ZF Wind Power save installation, electricity and service costs. With its integrated Variable Speed Drive, the GA 160 VSD FF keeps energy consumption to a minimum by monitoring and automatically adjusting the air supply to the air demand.

The integrated variable speed dryer on the full feature version (FF) of the GA 160 VSD provides a superior dewpoint for dry compressed air, while achieving energy savings. The compressor’s compact, fully integrated concept also reduces floor space requirements and installation costs.

Monitoring and control

An Atlas Copco ES central control system provides simultaneous monitoring and control of all compressors. The ES system defines the optimum sequencing of the compressors in the room and helps to further reduce the energy consumption.

Combining a high level of expertise with fast response times, the support provided by the Atlas Copco service team meets the expectations of the plant in Lommel. Rob Loos says: “I need to make sure that production runs smoothly. Atlas Copco provides proper maintenance and rapid intervention if necessary. I know that every morning when we start up the assembly lines, the GA’s will do their job. Now, we don’t have to worry about the compressed air and can focus on other activities. In short, we are happy to have Atlas Copco as a partner.”

To learn more about GA 160 VSD FF compressors and other products and services, from Atlas Copco, please visit www.atlascopco.co.uk.

19 September 2013

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