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A greener tomorrow with energy-efficient compressors
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A greener tomorrow with energy-efficient compressors

June 15, 2024 4:20 pm

In this article, Rahul Vedanabhatla at Chicago Pneumatic Compressors points out that when choosing the best-compressed air systems, the focus has to be more on environmental impact.

Today, there is a significant shift towards sustainability and adopting technologies that benefit both the economy and the environment. We are moving from traditional technology to green technology, from conventional energy to renewable energy, from fossil fuels to biofuels, and from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles—all aimed at creating a better future. In line with this transformation, Chicago Pneumatic Compressors is leading the way towards a greener tomorrow by offering energy-efficient and cost-effective technologies. Our compressors are equipped with VSD technology and permanent magnet motors. It is necessary to comprehend the various methods of conserving energy. One such effective measure is a Variable Speed Drive (VSD) compressor, which is a step in the right direction for a greener journey.

Variable speed compressors

Variable speed compressors are designed to meet varying air demands, such as in industries with several processes or shifts operating at different times. These compressors automatically change the speed to match process air demand in real-time.

Variable-speed compressors offer several advantages over fixed-speed compressors. Variable-speed compressors adjust their speed according to the compressed air consumption, resulting in energy savings. Additionally, variable-speed compressors eliminate blow-off losses, reducing cycle time and energy usage.

Breaking down the operation of a VSD: An inverter allows VSD to change the compressor’s speed (RPM). The inverter gives the VSD compressor the precise voltage it needs rather than directing all the power into a conventional AC fixed-speed compressor operating at maximum capacity.

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The drive train that is the assembly of the motor and element is at work here because the flow rate and power consumption of rotary screw compressors are nearly proportional to their speed. The VSD technology is most effective when used with these compressors. Therefore, the screw components and the amount of compressed air delivered adjust in tandem with the motor speed.

VSD compressors offer energy efficiency, adjusting to demand and reducing energy consumption. Moreover, their versatility allows for seamless integration into various industrial applications, optimizing performance and productivity.

Motor selection: Choosing the Right motor for a VSD compressor is important for its efficiency. The significance of motor selection is mentioned below, focusing on the advantages of iPM motors. Most motors on the market are squirrel cage induction motors. However, a VSD compressor with an induction motor may not be the best choice for your application because of its asynchronous nature. These motors have limitations and are suited for RPMs above 50% (of the rated speed), and slip losses make them even more inefficient. There is a drastic drop in the motor efficiency at lower RPMs. Hence, the power consumption pattern is not linear.

Using a synchronous motor provides a solution to this challenge, like an interior Permanent Magnet (iPM) motor. Here, the rotor is also designed to produce its magnetic field using a permanent magnet; the operating principle of the synchronous motor is based on the magnetic interlocking between the magnetic fields of the stator and rotor. In the case of iPM motors, both motor and stator run at the same speed.

Understanding IPM VSD compressors

Chicago Pneumatic Compressors has always chosen the best technologies to enhance customer productivity. This includes the iPM motor used in our VSD compressors. The drive train design is a vital aspect of a VSD design. Our integrated direct drive design, which is coupling-free, has an element and motor on the same shaft, making transmission losses near zero. It is, hence, direct drive, silent, and extremely energy efficient. Our oil-cooled PM compressors have advanced technologies integrated into them that are nearing super-premium efficiency levels. And it is not one but hundreds of such units running across the country delivering lower carbon footprint.

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