VSD compressor keeps pace with anticipated demand

Kingsmoor Packaging (KPL) designs and manufactures bespoke thermoformed plastic packaging for the food industry. The company supplies a range of products that are available with different microwaveable and freezable characteristics, as well as environmentally friendly options composed of at least 50 per cent post consumer and 30 per cent industry recycled waste materials.

Following an upturn in business opportunities, the company undertook a review of its plant operations with the aim of improving efficiency and, where possible, saving on costs. To achieve its competitive plastic packaging products, KPL’s thermoforming process relies heavily on air movement with compressed air being available at the moulding stage. Although there were no major issues to address, the compressed air system had been in use for a considerable time and, according to Dale Gunn, KPL works manager: “was in need of an upgrade in line with the latest developments in compressed air technology.”

Atlas Copco was called on to carry out an iiTrak system energy audit to check the load cycle profile for each compressor in KPL’s system. The results of assessment revealed that the existing fixed-speed compressor rated at 110kW and producing 333l/s, was operating within a fluctuating pressure band of 1.60 bar. This meant the compressor was loading and unloading between 6.4 bar and 8 bar, which was wasting energy.

The recommendation was to install a 90kW Atlas Copco GA90 VSD rotary screw compressor with air quality ancillaries. As the lead unit, this would match the variable production air demand in the region of 39-293l/s and cope easily with the existing and anticipated demand. The company’s existing fixed-speed compressor was retained as back up and together with its dryer, receiver, oil water separator and pipework was re-sited from the warehouse to the main compressor room to accompany the new GA VSD unit.

Gunn commented: “The energy savings we’ve gained from the new installation have been even greater than originally predicted and are now estimated to be in the region of £47,000 per year.”


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