Lower Electrical Costs By Relocating Air Compressors In Your Manufacturing Plant

Posted on: 30 October 2015


Planning a manufacturing plant is a complex process, and it's almost impossible to design a perfect layout for everything before work begins in a plant. While some equipment can't be moved after a plant is built, air compressors are one item that can be relocated. If you run a manufacturing plant, relocating your plant's air compressors to reduce how long their hoses are could lower your plant's electrical costs.

Running Air Compressors Costs Money

As is the case with any piece of equipment that requires power, it costs money to run air compressors. They require energy, and your plant must pay for that energy. While the cost of running an air compressor might seem small, it adds up over time.

In many indoor settings, such as in a manufacturing plant, electric air compressors are preferred to gas ones. Unlike gasoline-powered models, electric air compressors don't produce fumes that can accumulate in a building and harm workers.

The cost of running an electric air compressor will, obviously, depend on your plant's electric rates. If you know your how much your plant pays for electricity, you can use the following formula from CostOwl.com to determine how much running one air compressor costs your plant:

(the air compressor's horsepower) x (how many hours the air compressor is used) x .746 x (how much your plant pays per kilowatt hour)

As an example, Air Compressor Works, Inc. has calculated how much it would cost to run a 5-horsepower electric air compressor 20 hours a week. According to their math, such a compressor would cost $11.84 per week, or $615.68 a year, to operate. If your plant uses more powerful compressors or runs them more than 20 hours a week, your plant's costs will be more.

Long Hoses Lose Air Pressure

The tools that an air compressor powers never receive the compressor's full air pressure. In some cases, a tool will only receive 53 percent of the air pressure that a compressor generates. Although a compressor might generate 110 psi, the attached tool may only be getting 58.3 psi.

The loss of air pressure is a result of inefficiencies in the hose that connects the compressor and tool. All of the following reduce how much air pressure reaches a tool:

  • couplings that join two hoses
  • minute leaks in older hoses
  • dirt inside of hoses

Reducing the Length of Hoses Improves Air Pressure

In a manufacturing setting, it's impossible to keep dirt from accumulating in hoses, and small leaks will eventually develop as hoses break down. Therefore, the best way to reduce how much air pressure is lost between an air compressor and an attached tool is simply to shorten the hose that connects them. A shorter hose will require fewer couplings, get fewer leaks and collect less dirt than a longer one.

Even if your plant is already set up, you may be able to reduce how long the air compressors' hoses are by

  • switching out stationary compressors with mobile ones
  • installing additional compressors at new locations
  • completing all manufacturing steps that require air compressors in one part of your plant

By shortening air compressors' hoses, you'll be able to reduce how much air pressure they need to generate. Instead of providing 110 psi, for example, they may only need to generate 90 psi. They won't need to run as hard and will use less electricity.

Don't expect to get a raise for saving your plant millions of dollars in one week by relocating its air compressors. As the weeks go by, however, the small electrical savings could have a significant impact on your plant's bottom line.

For more details on the output capacities of different compressors (and to find out which move easier), reach out to a local company like Kruman Equipment or others.