Compressed Air Tips for Reduced Demand Periods

Factory trained and certified technicians servicing an air compressor.

An efficient, reliable compressed air system is designed to meet your specific demand. Reductions in operation, such as those that have occurred for many businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, can have a negative impact on the performance and life of your equipment. Our friends at Gardner Denver recently published best practice recommendations to address reduced operation and demand on rotary screw compressors. Below are some of the highlights.

Watch for Early Warning Signs

Air compressor packages that run at a reduced capacity or reduced hours due to a curtailed production schedule should be monitored closely for any adverse effects. Detecting early warning signs of operating conditions that can be harmful to compressor reliability is essential to avoid damage to the equipment, reduce the total cost of ownership and prevent unplanned downtime. Early warning signs include:

  • Extra wear on controls
  • Increased oil consumption from frequent blowdowns or foaming oil
  • A trend of increasing water ppm in the lubricant from either lower temperature operation, running for extended periods off load or excessive starting and stopping
  • Damage to air treatment components or end product from oil carryover

Reducing the Risk of Damage

There are several ways to minimize the risk of damage from increased load/no-load cycling. Performing an oil analysis and making the right adjustments can help you keep your system running efficiently and ready for when demand returns to its normal state. Consider the following tips to maintain reliability and prevent unforeseen repairs:

  • Widen the control pressure band to reduce cycles and blowdowns
  • Eliminate system piping bottlenecks to decrease control pressure instability
  • Add wet storage to increase cycle times and improve energy efficiency
  • Install a higher temperature mixing valve to increase the compressor discharge temperature
  • Sample the oil more frequently to diagnose trends that result in higher risk of damage, such as increasing water ppm or oil degradation

Lewis Systems’ certified technicians are available to help you implement these strategies at your earliest convenience. We also realize many plants currently in operation are trying to avoid having outside vendors in their facilities. If this is the case for you, we’re happy to provide troubleshooting support over the phone or through video chat.