Compressed air is used in almost all industrial businesses, and uses more than ten per cent of electricity supplied to industry. However, the process of compressing air can be wasteful and of the total energy supplied to a compressor, as little as eight to ten per cent is converted into usable energy at the point of use. Despite the high cost of production, many systems waste around 30 per cent of the compressed air through leaks, poor maintenance, misapplication and poor control.
The UK’s leading hard landscaping product supplier, Marshalls, is a major user of compressed air at its numerous manufacturing operations. The company is constantly seeking to reduce air leakage and improve efficiency in compressed air usage in a drive to save energy and reduce associated costs.
Marshalls approached Brammer, the UK’s leading supplier of manufacturing, repair and overhaul products and services and a supplier partner to Marshalls for seven years, to conduct a full air leak audit at its manufacturing facilities. Brammer has completed nine surveys at Marshalls sites to date.
Brammer’s audit involved using specialist equipment to detect all air leaks, identifying each leak with a number, photographing the leaking units, and specifying the appropriate parts for repair in order to make it easier for the completion of remedial work. On completion of this stage of the process, Brammer’s engineering team worked on site to address any issues likely to hamper the remedial work and initiated alternative plans to eradicate such problems before the ‘fix’.
Nigel Cork of Brammer believes a compressed air audit has the capability to provide immediate energy savings which could be as high as 30 per cent. When the potential to reduce operating costs by 50 per cent is also taken into consideration, the overall impact on the bottom line is sizable.
Nigel said of a typical air leak audit: “It normally includes an examination of both air supply and use, and the interaction between supply and demand. The output of a compressed air system, energy consumption in kilowatt-hours, and the annual costs of operating the system are calculated. The auditor also measures total air losses from leaks and locates those that are significant. All components of the compressed air system are inspected individually and problem areas identified, a report is then prepared with a recommended course of action.”
Following Brammer’s audit at Marshalls and the completion of the remedial work, Brammer is now working closely with Marshalls to lower the pressure at the compressors and to install line-side monitoring equipment so that any future leakages can be identified as soon as they occur. This enables remedial work to be factored in to either a planned maintenance programme, or undertaken as part of an unscheduled outage.
Peter Stevens, Group Carbon & Energy Manager at Marshalls, said: “Brammer and Marshalls have worked in partnership to conduct air leak audits on all major manufacturing sites within the group. This enabled us to reduce our carbon footprint by 426 tonnes. Future work includes video tutorials for staff on better air management to achieve further savings.”
For further information on the range of products and services available from Brammer call 08447 36 36 65 or visit www.brammer.co.uk.
Notes to Editors:
Brammer UK is part of Europe’s leading distributor of industrial, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products and services, with an extensive product range covering bearings, mechanical power transmission products (including gearboxes and motors), pneumatics, hydraulics, seals and industrial automation. The company is an authorised distributor for many of the world’s leading brands including SKF, NSK, Renold, Parker, Siemens, Flender, SMC,Norgren, Festo, Rocol, 3M, Loctite and Schaeffler UK.
Following its strategic acquisition by Brammerplc in September 2011, industrial tools, maintenance and health & safety product distributor Buck & Hickman now operates as part of Brammer UK, with the combined business being the exclusive UK distributor of the acclaimed Roebuck brand of tools.
Altogether in excess of four million individual products are available via a nationwide network of more than 100Brammer and Buck & Hickman locations.
By combining technical expertise with excellence in supply chain logistics, purchasing and the management of third-party providers, Brammer has a proven track record of saving its customers money within three critical business areas: reducing total acquisition costs, improving overall production efficiency, and reducing working capital.Since 2007, operational cost savings exceeding £100 million have been achieved for Brammer customers in the UK.
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