In 2014, power consumption in Germany fell by 3.8 percent. At the same time, the industrial sector, which consumes around 50 percent of electrical energy, experienced a strong boom. This means that the measures taken by the EU, the German government, and the industry are taking affect – efficiency is on the rise.
Vacuum technology is a perfect example of how this subject is being addressed. "In order to guarantee an energy-efficient vacuum supply, it is important, in addition to the effectiveness of the vacuum generator, to look at the entire system between consumer and generator, in other words, between the place where it is used and the vacuum pump," explains Ulrich Wilkesmann, CEO of Gebr. Becker GmbH. He further states that there is great potential savings here which can be tapped by working closely with the customer in the early phases of machine development. In addition, the amount of vacuum air generated can be adjusted exactly according to need using speed-controlled vacuum pumps. "Today almost all of our vacuum pumps and compressors are available with an optional, integrated frequency converter," says Wilkesmann. "Our VARIAIR line helps avoid the generation of too much vacuum and compressed air." In addition, user-specific expert advice is important to get the most out of the entire system.
Energy is the hot topic in 2015 at HANNOVER MESSE's ComVac . The leading trade fair for compressed air and vacuum technology features all aspects of compressed air supply and vacuum generation – from identifying and analyzing energy and efficiency loss to tailored generation and distribution to utilizing the waste heat.
Investments in compressed air systems are increasingly preceded by an analysis. Provided by many manufacturers, a compressed air or energy audit determines the needs of the customer, identifies unnecessary usage and presents improvement strategies. "It is essential to carry out a detailed analysis of the profile of requirements and the on-site situation before making an offer to the customer," explains Thomas Kaeser, Chairman of the Management Board at Kaeser Kompressoren SE. The company can subsequently use the data compiled to prepare and document savings within the scope of the ISO 50001 Energy Management System.
Modern compressor solutions include efficient compressors with speed regulation, intelligent controls and waste heat recovery. "From our point of view, the use of speed-controlled compressors is an absolute must," says Jürgen Wisse, Division Manager of Industrial Compression at Atlas Copco Kompressoren und Drucklufttechnik GmbH. "Our latest line of GA compressors is only available with speed regulation. Through design-engineering changes alone, specifically the integration of a permanent magnet motor in the compression element, we were able to increase the volume flow rate of the machines by twelve percent while consuming the same amount of energy." In comparison to conventional compressors with a fixed rotation speed, energy consumption drops by around 50 percent.
Gardner Denver is also showcasing innovative technology, control engineering regulated by demand and solutions for compressed-air conditioning at ComVac. "Energy-saving frequency-controlled motors contribute significantly to reducing power consumption," explains Harald Härter, Managing Director, Sales Division Central Europe at Gardner Denver. "With the superordinated control SmartAir Master," according to Härter, "we can maximize the efficiency of compressed air stations with up to twelve compressors including downstream devices."
According to Matthias Eichler, Marketing Manager of BOGE Kompressoren, energy efficiency is now universally accepted in the industry. Investment decisions are made on the basis of life-cycle-cost evaluations and always with an eye to taking full advantage of government subsidies. The current generation of machines manufactured by BOGE is designed according to the latest research in compression technology and fluid engineering. "Our specially designed BOGE-effilence screws create clear energy savings," ensures Eichler.