Compressed Air and Fluid Cooling Audit Results in Reduced Energy Costs

A large printing company contacted JHF’s engineering department to perform an energy audit of its compressed air and fluid cooling systems. The goal of the audit was to evaluate the existing compressed air and fluid cooling systems to improve performance, reliability and efficiency.

Fluid Cooling Audit Challenges:

1. Reduce demand on the current chiller system, which was operating at maximum capacity. With the addition of a new printing press a capital expenditure of $300,000.00 for an additional chiller would be required.

2. Reduce operational costs by reducing production dependence on chiller system. The chiller system cooled virtually all process equipment supporting production and any loss of chiller capacity would result in a partial or complete shutdown of production.

Compressed Air Audit Challenges:

1. Increase system efficiency by stabilizing system air pressure level. The current system demand was handled with on-line horsepower resulting in the system going dynamic. This allowed the system pressure to fluctuate at approximately 25 psig.

2. Reduce operational costs by lowering system pressure levels.

Solutions Resulting from Fluid Cooling System Audit:

It was determined that the air compressors, air dryers and vacuum pumps could be separated from the chiller system and cooled by a more efficient dry cooling system. The implementation of a dry cooling system reduced operational and maintenance costs, as well as removing 120 tons of chiller demand from the existing chiller system. The reduction of chiller demand resulted in the ability to assume the chiller load needed to operate the new printing press, eliminating $300,000.00 in capital expenditures. The separation of the air compressors and vacuum pumps from the chiller system also reduced the dependence of process equipment on the chiller system.

Compressed Air Audit Solutions:

Data logging of the compressed air system during the audit process revealed that the maximum demand could be handled with current compressor horsepower. It also identified areas of the compressed air system that could be changed to improve system efficiency. One area is the installation of demand regulation and 3,000 gallons of general storage which would allow the reduction in system pressure from 113 psig to 88 psig, as well as eliminate the wide system pressure swings, reduce leakage rate and power costs by 12%. The other area would be the installation of a Centralized Compressor Control System which would automatically maintain compressor horsepower necessary to match demand requirements.

Fluid Cooling System Results:

Savings of over $53K in yearly operational and maintenance costs. Reduced dependence on chiller system. Eliminated a $300K capital expenditure. Immediate payback on the cost of required modifications.

Compressed Air System Results:

Operational and maintenance costs reduced by $40K annually. Stabilized plant pressure. Increased reliability of compressed air system. Return on Investment realized in approximately 1.2 years.

For further information regarding compressed air efficiency auditing, please contact us at 651.452.8452 or visit our website at

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