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Energy-saving GA VSD+ compressor helps packaging line go green

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When Glinwell plc, a horticultural grower and packer, came to install its latest product packaging facility it was found that the plant’s existing compressed air supply needed to be upgraded to meet the increased process air demand. By choosing a new Atlas Copco GA VSD+ compressor the company was able to not only ensure reliable system pressure but also achieve substantial energy savings into the bargain.

Energy-saving GA VSD+ compressor helps packaging line go greenGlinwell plc, based in Smallford, St Albans, grow and package salads such as tomatoes and peppers. As part of their ongoing business with a supermarket, a new upgraded packaging line was installed, initially served by a compressed air system comprising two 11kW compressors, a separate dryer and a 200 litre receiver. The packaging line incorporates a high-pressure ram that requires a 13bar air supply for its operation, which was found to exceed the capacity of the existing compressor installation. As a result, Glinwell decided to replace the compressor system with a unit that not only met the higher pressure demand but at the same time provided optimum energy efficiency and helped to minimise the company’s carbon footprint. The compressor chosen was one of Atlas Copco’s most recent introductions, the GA 15 FF VSD+.

This new rotary screw compressor is powered by the company’s own in-house designed interior permanent magnet (iPM) motor and instead of the normal horizontal design, the compressor has an upright, vertical, low footprint layout, designed to save floor and work space while improving maintenance access, even when the unit is placed against a wall.

Atlas Copco’s GA Variable Speed Drive plus (VSD+) technology automatically adjusts the compressor’s motor speed to match the air supply to the air demand and, right from the start, the new design offers exceptional energy savings. VSD operation combined with the innovative design of the iPM permanent magnet motor, and the new, more efficient fan motor, results in an average energy saving of 50 per cent and an average reduction of 37 per cent in the lifecycle cost of a conventional fixed-speed compressor. There is an additional workplace benefit for Glinwell also. Thanks to the silent motor and fully-enclosed drive train, the compressor runs as quietly as 62dB(A).

Carbon footprint reduction

As Matthew Simon, Glinwell’s Technical Manager explains: “We have been an Atlas Copco customer for over 10 years so we took their advice on replacing our existing compressors with the best solution to meet the air demand of the new packaging line. As a result we opted for their new GA 15 FF VSD+, a full-feature machine with an integral dryer, to provide the volume and pressure we needed, keeping one of the old units on standby duty. With this combined operation, we are experiencing a 50 per cent increase in energy efficiency which is making a major contribution to our carbon footprint reduction efforts.”

Commenting on Atlas Copco as an innovative supplier organisation, Matthew says: “In all of our long association with them there has never been a major issue between us and we feel privileged to be one of the first operators in the UK to install their latest solution. It has proved to be a smart choice for us.”

To find out more about the GA VSD+ compressor please visit www.atlascopco.co.uk.

16 January 2014

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