Atlas Copco VSD compressor saves energy, running time and space

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When Calderdale Engineering Services (CES) moved from their premises in Pellon, Halifax to a new base in Boothtown, they chose to replace their existing 15-year old fixed-speed compressor with an Atlas Copco VSD installation, supplied by Pennine Pneumatic Services, that has since reduced energy costs by 50 per cent, running time by 80 per cent and occupies a substantially smaller workshop footprint.

A family-owned and run company specialising in precision engineering, CES offers traditional manual turning, milling, boring and machining capability as well as fabrication and engineering services, from one-off welded assemblies to batch component manufacturing.

The move prompted a review of the operational efficiency of the existing compressor installation that has required continuous running in order to supply air for workshop assembly tools, instrumentation and blow-down cleaning procedures. The conclusion was that it was no longer fit for purpose and should be replaced with a new compressor system and AIRnet pipework within the company’s new premises.

As a long-term customer of Atlas Copco Compressors’ premier distributor, Pennine Pneumatic Services (PPS) – also based in Halifax, CES – called on their expertise to recommend the optimum unit for the company’s specific needs. As a result, a new Atlas Copco GA11VSD+ rotary screw compressor was supplied and installed to provide greater efficiency and help make substantial energy savings.

Ian Harrison, Director at PPS, comments: “We have a mutually beneficial and long-standing relationship with CES going back 15 years and we were glad to be able to assist with this upgrade. Our priority is introducing energy-saving initiatives that also save our customers money and we look forward to continuing to work closely with CES in the future.”

In contrast to the old, continuous running, fixed-speed compressor, the GA compressor’s variable speed drive matches compressed air supply to demand thereby reducing run time and corresponding energy costs by as much as 50 per cent. When combined with the compressor’s innovative, in-house designed iPM permanent magnet motor, this results in an average 37 per cent reduction in lifecycle costs compared with that of a conventional fixed-speed compressor.

As an additional point of use benefit, instead of the conventional horizontal design, the GA machine has an upright, vertical, low footprint layout designed to save floor and work space while improving maintenance access – and thanks to the silent motor and fully enclosed drive train, the compressor runs as quietly as 62dB(A).

AIRnet modular air piping system

A further cost-saving feature is the system’s air ring main, constructed from Atlas Copco’s AIRnet modular air piping system. Readily adaptable, it is made from robust, lightweight, powder-coated aluminium tube and designed for easy, low-cost installation with a large selection of engineered polymer fittings. AIRnet’s low friction, seamless pipework is corrosion free and thus minimises pressure drop in the system and contributes to energy efficiency.

According to Chris Pateman, CES Technical Director: “The new compressor is a considerable improvement over our previous system due to the reduction of worksite noise levels and its more advanced design that provides significant efficiency savings.”

CES company owner, John Pateman, commenting on the system’s performance, says: “We have been logging the number of running hours on the new machine since our move in. For comparison, when we reached a figure of 300 hours, we estimated that the equivalent running time on our old system, which operated constantly during working hours, would have been in excess of 1600 hours for the same period – and would have been less efficient in its operation. The new system includes useful features such as weekly runtime scheduling for normal working hours together with a useful one-button manual override, and the system comes up to pressure within minutes from standby.”

For more information about Atlas Copco’s VSD compressors please go to

11 December 2015

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