A 6000-strong panel consisting mainly of production and process engineers has voted Atlas Copco Compressors' new GA 90-160 kW range its favourite new product of 2008. Atlas Copco's most energy-efficient oil-injected compressor range won the Best Product Award in the Pumps and Compressors category of the annual competition organised by P&A magazine in Germany. With a compressor package offering a Specific Energy Requirement (SER) as low as 350J/litre, the GA is extremely energy efficient, a fact that helped it to beat off competition from five other new compressors.
A wide range of industries uses oil-injected compressors: coal-fired power plants, mining, shipping and ship-building, as well as cement, glass and tyre manufacturing. Patrick Fradin, Head of Energy at Michelin's Avallon site in France, explains: "It is my objective to reduce energy costs per tonne of production. Together with Atlas Copco we have calculated that by replacing our four working compressors with two new GA 132 VSDs, we can save 736,400kWh yearly. I was surprised when I saw the potential savings on the consumption. I also think that there will be a lot less maintenance to do." The factory is a leading industrial re-treader of tyres for trucks and earthmoving equipment, shipping products for 300,000 vehicles in 2007.
For industry, an independent award such as this is a reliable way of knowing the best new products on the market today. Reimund Scherff, Business Line Manager for Atlas Copco Oil-free Air in Germany, states: "When companies see a product with the Best Product Award Winner's seal they know it has been vetted by a multitude of professionals. These are the technical breakthroughs industry is talking about - and the ones we all want to own.
"The award confirms our effort to develop technically excellent, innovative products that allow process industry users, for instance, to manufacture with greater productivity and energy efficiency."
The Specific Energy Requirement (SER) of the new Atlas Copco GA range (3.5 to 14 bar(e)) is claimed to be world class, using up to 11 per cent less electricity than the previous GA models. There is a GA compressor package with an integrated water separator at optimum Specific Energy Requirement (SER) of 350J/litre according to ISO 1217 edition 3 annex C (1996).
A 2001 study financed by the European Commission noted: "Compressed air plays a very large part in the industrial energy consumption since it counts for approximately 12 per cent of the current consumption... Motor-driven systems account for approximately 50 per cent of the electricity consumed in Europe." The authors say that "even a small efficiency improvement can lead to relevant energy savings." (Source: www.leonardo-energy.org/drupal/files/2008/EE_Motors__ver0000B.pdf?download.)
Atlas Copco's new GA 160 VSD offers an exceptional free air delivery (FAD) turndown range from 100 per cent to 17 per cent. The company says that this oil-injected compressor range also pioneers the integration of the water separator into the compressed air cooling system. The new GA is Atlas Copco's first air compressor to offer VSD-controlled cooling fans to reduce overall consumption even further. Saver Cycle Control technology results in optimised energy use by the dryer. The GA is able to operate in ambient temperatures of up to 55degC at a maximum noise level of 71dBA. Oil filter and air inlet filter lifetimes have been doubled, which directly impacts on operating costs and compressor runtime.
The GA series of compressors and their redesigned screw element (responsible for a reduction of 5-6 per cent in energy consumption), as well as the newly launched, highly energy-efficient FD 310-510 refrigerant air dryer range, have been featured in a worldwide road show. The new GA has received positive reviews from industry since its launch in April 2008; it is shortlisted as a finalist on the US Plant Engineering's Product of the Year Award 2008 list.
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