Energy savings solutions in the metal processing industry

Removal of debris from metal working processes, also called chips, is one of the most neglected applications of compressed air. Learn how you can save money using nozzles and how you can monitor your savings with the VPFlowScope.

Saving air with Silvent nozzles

One of the most neglected applications of compressed air is the removal of debris, resulting from metal working processes, also called chips. Often you will find “homemade” open ended pipes with a shut off ball valve or a classic blow gun nozzle placed in parallel, but you can also use the Venturi nozzles.

Silvent offers a huge collection of nozzles in all kinds of shapes for many applications. When used properly, they can save you a tremendous amount of air and they make less noise too!

A customer in Czech Republic used compressed air to blow away chips from aluminum wheel rims,  The VPFlowScope in-line was used to measure the air consumption of the blowing process. In between steps, the home made 3-way and 5-way open blow type nozzles were changed to Silvent nozzles .

Test setup

The test setup was very simple. The VPFlowScope was mounted in between the supply line and the nozzle, then press record and done! It turned out that the Silvent 6-channel nozzle uses about 50% less air than the 3-channel and 5-channel open blow.

During the test, they monitored the production output and checked it for consistency. This is an important part of the process; once you start to tweak and tune certain things, you will also need to monitor the production process to ensure that the quality is still according to your needs.

Economics – costs of compressed air

Various studies have been carried out in Europe and the USA. On average, a cubic meter of compressed air costs 2 … 2.5 Euro cent. It depends on many factors, for example the compressor type, the maintenance contract for the compressors and the air treatment equipment. We will use 2 cents in this example.

Economics – cycle time

So, are we talking small change or serious money? We have to tell you a little bit more about compressed air economics. A production machine probably runs in cycles. At some point in this cycle air is consumed for an amount of time. It is important to take this into account when making a cost calculation.

In this particular process the air is used to blow away chips from wheel rims. This takes about 11 seconds. During this 11 seconds period a robot turns the rim around to make sure all areas are free of chips.

Permanent monitoring

Obviously the client investing in these nozzles saved 7.813 Euro per year. In cases like this, it is very important to consider permanent monitoring. For example, nozzles might wear out, get damaged or someone might decide to take them out, not knowing what their purpose is. A permanently installed flow meter, or a centralised VPVision monitoring system can tell you exactly when you are on track and keeping you there.

Conclusions

  • With the VPFlowScope in-line, the customer proved in about 30 minutes how much air he could save.
  • Thanks to the Silvent nozzles he was able to save 50% of air while maintaining the same product quality.
  • The total savings are 1,563 Euro per production machine, totaling 7,813 Euro per year.
  • Knowing these numbers, the customer was able to easily calculate the Return on Investment; less than a couple of months.
  • With permanent flow meters, the customer could keep track of any changes in air demand and act immediately to prevent loss.

Do you have a specific cases you want to discuss with us or with one of our distributors? Contact us today.

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