CSR Roofing is manufacturing terracotta roof tiles at its Vermont (Melbourne, Australia) factory for over seven decades. To replace its aging compressor, the company recently chose an Atlas Copco VSD (variable speed drive) machine.
GA VSD FF Terracotta factory
John Tilli, maintenance manager at the Vermont facility: “I have always been impressed with Atlas Copco’s reliability, but when I saw the results of the air measurement survey, that was the real clincher in the deal,” he said
"The survey showed how Atlas Copco's VSD technology can save CSR Roofing thousands of dollars every year, and with the carbon tax incentives and energy savings, we were able to get the capital funds needed for the new compressor, and very close to a 3-year pay-back period."
"With electricity prices starting to rise, with some people talking about a 40 to 50% increase, these energy savings, coupled with lowering our carbon footprint, are very important to us," Mr Tilli said.
He explained that CSR Roofing is continually striving to lessen its carbon footprint and reduce the environmental impact of its operations, in particular the amount of energy and water the company consumes.
"We have had Atlas Copco compressors here for over 20 years and the machines have always performed to what the company said they would, and we expect no less with this new one.
"Atlas Copco predicts our energy savings will be around 30%," he said, "It could be more, but our plant runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the compressor running all the time, even when we are not producing products. This is mainly due to our kiln, which runs 24/7, and needs a small amount of air to keep it operating."
Mr Tilli said many people do not realise compressed air is one of the most expensive utilities to produce, because you need another utility to create it.
"This is where the Atlas Copco VSD compressor really comes into its own, as they produce the world's leading compressor regarding turn down range.
"Because if the compressor does not turn down enough you don't get any savings and as a result, the overall operating range of the machine becomes very important.
"For example, if we only use 20% of the compressor's capacity at night, and the turn down is not low enough, say at 50%, then we are wasting 30% of the air on energy," he said.
Mr Tilli said the manufacturing plant, with just 30 people in total, is very automated.
"We manufacture terracotta roof tiles here and all the automated machinery has some sort of air requirement with pneumatic cylinders and vacuum cups.
"So it is important for us to have a constant supply of clean, dry air as we cannot afford to have breakdowns and production downtime," he said.
"At the moment, while we are waiting to install the new Atlas Copco Workplace design machine, a GA55VSDFF latest generation with built-in refrigerated dryer and DD/PD filters, we are running a 25-year-old machine as a stand by. "But it is producing a lot of water and causing me all sorts of problems with the machinery.
Mr Tilli's advice to other manufacturers looking to reduce their energy costs and their carbon footprint is to get an air measurement survey and have a close look at Atlas Copco's VSD technology.
Igor Kotliarski, Sales Engineer with Atlas Copco's Industrial Air Division, agrees, saying getting an Atlas Copco air measurement survey is a smart first move.
"The compressed air measurement survey report is free and customers can see at a glance the upside of investing in VSD technology from Atlas Copco.
"Companies can clearly see what their compressor demand is on a daily basis, and how much electricity they are currently using. Our software can also simulate the proposed energy savings into the future should they wish to invest in an Atlas Copco VSD machine.
Mr Kotliarski explained that for a compressed air energy audit, Atlas Copco engineers simply connect up their data loggers to the compressor, and leave them on site for a period of one week.
"We then collect the data loggers and upload the data into proprietary Atlas Copco software and produce a detailed report on the proposed compressor for the client. Having an air measurement survey is very important, and Atlas Copco's software is one of a very few programs on the market that can simulate the optimum size VSD machines and predict energy savings for the customer."
Mr Kotliarski said this makes it a lot easier for the customer to justify the purchase, as Atlas Copco can demonstrate to its customers the proposed payback and return on capital when customers invest in an Atlas Copco compressor.