How Preventive Maintenance Can Reduce Your Long-term Costs
A compressed air system can quite often be overlooked. Usually out of sight or hidden away in a compressor room, the only time it is given much thought is if there is an interruption to the air supply or if there is a maintenance issue. However, paying it a little attention at pre-determined and recommended intervals will protect your investment in quality equipment and be extremely beneficial to its on-going reliability and efficiency. This could ultimately generate significant cost savings in the long run. In this blog post we consider what key benefits can be realised through preventive compressed air maintenance and how this can assist you in reducing your long-term compressed air costs.
Four key benefits of following the original equipment manufacturers recommended preventive maintenance schedule can be aptly summed up with the abbreviation REAP – reliability, efficiency, air quality and productivity. All four benefits go hand in hand:
Reliability & Efficiency
Scottish businesses have experienced many increases in the price of electricity over the past decade. Once a relatively low fixed cost, energy has become an important variable cost that impacts company profits.
One of the largest energy consumers in a manufacturing facility will be the compressed air system and one of the largest costs of running a compressed air system will be its energy cost. Taking into consideration the initial capital cost plus servicing and maintenance, it is not unusual for this energy cost to account for up to 75% of the total lifetime costs of a compressor.
If a compressed air system is not well maintained, it is highly likely that the associated energy costs will be unnecessarily elevated. In fact, insufficient maintenance can lead to other issues including:
- increased compressed air leaks
- inconsistent system pressure
- increased operating temperatures
- contamination of the compressed air supply
In turn, these factors can compromise the overall reliability and efficiency of the compressed air system. The result, a poorly performing compressed air system prone to breakdown and elevated electricity bills.
Maintaining the integrity of a compressed air system is critical to ensure that it continues to operate at its peak performance – reliably and efficiently.
Air Quality & Productivity
Preventive maintenance ensures that your compressed air quality remains where you need it to be. This is important for the quality of the products you produce or services you provide. As an example, if contaminants are permitted to build up in your pipework and airlines then several things can happen as a result:
- System air pressure could be compromised – you may experience an air pressure drop in your system and look to increase the pressure to compensate for the drop. The result, higher compressed air consumption and higher energy bills
- Compressed air quality may be compromised – potentially harmful contaminants in pipework and airlines can affect your systems, processes and product quality. For example, when paint spraying with compressed air, contaminants will show up as fish-eyes in the paint work. The result, more labour and materials to correct the poor finish
- Increased wear and tear to your compressed air system – if unchecked, a build-up of contaminants in a compressed air system can cause internal wear and tear. The result, there is the potential for unexpected breakdowns with lost production and the quality compressed air equipment you have invested in may not reach its full working life meaning you may need to replace systems or components sooner than necessary
A knock-on effect may also be reduced productivity. If you have to interrupt or suspend the operation of any area of production while breakdowns or repairs are addressed, that means losing valuable operational time. Not only is this costly in terms of unplanned maintenance but also in lost productivity. What could be the potential cost to your business of product spoilage or production downtime?
An important and often overlooked benefit of preventive maintenance is safety. Improperly installed, operated or maintained compressed air equipment is unsafe, potentially dangerous and can lead to catastrophic outcomes such as damage to property, serious injuries or even fatalities. The compressed air receiver is a prime example. In accordance with the Pressure Systems Regulations, all pressure vessels in the UK must be inspected and tested externally every 2 years and internally every 4 years.
To ensure compliance with all current legislation and national regulation regarding compressed air systems, please contact our expert team for further information and professional advice.
Two of the most important requirements of a compressed air supply are maximum availability and optimum efficiency. These are achieved by using quality parts and components fitted by experienced, specialist compressor engineers providing expert service and maintenance.
Preventative maintenance plays a key role in ensuring that your compressed air supply system always operates at the peak of its performance while providing maximum production reliability. Carrying out preventive maintenance is likely to be cheaper in the long-term than dealing with costly repairs or breakdowns and the associated potential loss of production time or unscheduled shutdowns. Compressed air equipment is also more likely to reach its useful life expectancy and will therefore not need replacing before its time.
By optimising your compressed air systems efficiency, the associated energy costs and electricity bills will be reduced. Following the manufacturers recommended preventive maintenance schedule and utilising genuine spare parts should therefore save you money in the long run by lowering life cycle costs. This provides the opportunity for your business to realise the full potential of your compressed air system, maximising your return on investment in quality equipment.
Source & Credit: Many thanks to Beth Wood and our colleagues at KAESER – Australia for kindly allowing Kerr to repurpose and share this ‘KAESER Know How Blog’.