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Atlas Copco compressor technology delivers oil-free compressed air for PET bottle production

June 23, 2015

Food and beverage
Energy efficiency

Schwarzwald-Sprudel in Wildberg, Germany, produces and uses its compressed air in a particularly efficient manner thanks to a compressed air station supplied by Atlas Copco. The compressors are also connected to a heat recovery system, thereby reducing electricity costs even further.

Atlas Copco compressor room at Schwarzwald Sprudel

Preforms made of polyethylene terephthalate, better known as PET, are blown into drinks bottles using the stretch blow molding method, which requires a lot of compressed air and a high level of pressure.

The compressed air supply at Schwarzwald-Sprudel in Wildberg is based on three ZR screw compressors, two of which are equipped with speed regulation (VSD — Variable Speed Drive), as well as two speed-regulated boosters. These components supply the two bottling lines with compressed air. The scale of the system is illustrated by the fact that there is almost 1000 kW of installed power — even if the machines never run all at the same time.

Oil-Free Compressed Air Guaranteed

The compressed air for the stretch blow molding process is first compressed to around 8.5 bar by a screw compressor, before being further compressed to 29 bar by one of the boosters. All of the components used to produce compressed air operate entirely without oil — for example, the DN 160 type booster piston compressor and the ZR screw compressors both deliver oil-free air in accordance with ISO 8573-1, Class 0 (2010). An ES 130 energy-saving system controls the entire compressed air system in such a way that the compressors run as closely as possible to their optimum operating point, in particular the speed-regulated compressors. "We set the system in such a way that, for six months of the year over winter, it is primarily the new ZR 250 VSD-FF with heat recovery that is running — in this way, we are able to reuse as much heat as possible for heating tasks," emphasizes the Plant Manager. In addition to the abbreviation VSD for speed regulation, the FF (Full Feature) in the compressor name stands for a range of equipment from the factory that comprises all the key components for compressed air treatment right through to heat recovery, meaning connection could not be simpler.

Sustainable Energy Management with Heat Recovery

Heat recovery forms part of a sustainable energy management strategy. The general idea is that the power absorbed by the compressor during compression is converted into heat. This heat can be almost entirely recovered and used for heating water. "We use this method primarily to support the heating in the halls and, to a lesser degree, to heat process water," continues Griesau.

When it comes to servicing the compressed air production system, Schwarzwald-Sprudel relies on the premium maintenance agreement from Atlas Copco. In addition to the necessary inspections and maintenance, this agreement also comprises free repair for any damage that occurs, up to and including a complete general overhaul.

Written by Michael Gaar

Compressors Europe Energy efficiency ZR screw compressors Food and beverage Germany Heat recovery system