According to the U.S. Department of Energy, only 9% of the total electrical energy used to generate compressed air is transmitted as mechanical power. Much of this unharnessed energy is to due antiquated or poorly designed systems and a multitude of leaks. Compressed air systems consume 10% of all industrial power, and it’s not cheap — the average cost is $0.0890 / kW-hr.
That’s why Norgren Inc., Littleton, Colo., and Pneu-Logic Corp., Portland, Ore., have created a joint initiative to provide intelligent compressed air management for plantwide analysis, real-time process control, and pneumatic system design.
The Norgren IQ program aggregates and analyzes trend data and tightens parameters over time, essentially “getting smarter as it goes,” the companies said.
According to Kathleen Weatherson, managing director of NorgrenIQ, the focus of the program is to ensure the supply and demand sides of a compressed air system are in balance and working at optimum efficiency. This monitoring and control system saves money through decreased electricity bills, downtime, and wasted product.
An opportunity for big savings
“Unlike competitive ‘one and done’ products, which are limited to single assessments, Norgren IQ provides continuous monitoring and adjustment,” said Norgren CEO, Jim Mannebach. “IQ can reduce their annual electricity costs by tens of thousands and in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Pneu-Logic CEO Ned Dempsey added that factory installations produced annual energy savings of up to 40%.
IQ4000 technology is a combination of proprietary software and hardware. It includes a user interface that can be leveraged remotely and provides key performance indicators (KPI) for measurements and history.
IG4000 integrates energy, flow, pressure, and temperature monitoring hardware into a compressed air system. It matches air supply with facility air demand to optimize air compressor efficiency. It also monitors and controls any combination of compressor type (rotary screw, reciprocating, or centrifugal) and all compressor makes and models. Finally, KPI are stored and monitored for reporting purposes, thus making the system more intelligent over time.
Software for control
The system runs on a compiled computer program that is installed on flash memory and runs within a real time operating system, and is capable of controlling a group of air compressors in any compressed air system. Only one program on one flash memory card is needed for each system.
PneuLogic’s PneuView system serves as the IQ4000’s human machine interface (HMI) program. It runs within Windows XP or Vista and serves as the “viewer” for the IQ4000 compressed air control system program. Multiple PneuView HMI programs may access a single IQ4000.
Hardware does the job
The main hardware includes an IQ4000 control panel, which contains the single board computer that loads the IQ4000 compressed air control system program from flash memory. This panel also contains any pertinent I/O necessary for compressor control and sensor monitoring.
Remote IQ4000 control is available, which contains only remote I/O necessary for compressor control and sensor monitoring in any remote compressor location.
Finally, downstream Norgren pneumatic hardware may be included based on findings, needs, and recommendation, and additional components such as flow meters, sensors, etc., may be included based upon the scope of work.