Extraordinary energy savings in
by Imtiaz Rastgar.
can today be seen as an important raw material in any
manufacturing process. With ever increasing energy costs
creating new challenges for manufacturers, high dependence on
suitable and sufficient compressed air supplies merits the
attention of top management in any manufacturing enterprise.
RF2M Technologies (RF2M), a UK manufacturer of electronic
components for the defence-aerospace sector, is saving more than
GBP 30,000 in energy costs per year after switching to a CompAir
L75 variable-speed compressor with the heat-recovery system from
Gardner Denver distributor, Rodwell Bayne. The system has been
so successful that the customer has recently invested in a
second L75 RS compressor to achieve even greater energy savings.
The RF2M (RF/Microwave & Microelectronics) Division of API
Technologies at Great Yarmouth has been manufacturing sensitive,
high-tech electronics since the early 1980s. Operating 24 hours
a day, seven days a week, RF2M has high-demand for a reliable
source of instrument air which must also be highly efficient to
ensure energy consumption remains as low as possible.
In 2007, the customer invested in its first CompAir L75
variable speed compressor, which was one of the first in the
industry to have a heat recovery system fitted. Recent analysis
shows how significantly this investment has contributed to
energy savings at the Great Yarmouth site, as Andrew Rodwell,
director at Rodwell Bayne explains: “the boiler is working up to
66% less and at times, is not required at all, creating
significant cost and carbon reduction savings.”
David Yates, RF2M Site Manager Praises Variable Speed:
“RF2M’s manufacturing processes require high volumes of air and,
over the years, its existing compressors had become costly to
operate, due to inefficient loading. Following an air audit of
the existing installation, including power cost calculations and
data logging, we recommended a variable-speed compressor with
heat-recovery, with an anticipated return on investment of just
The regulated speed technology in the L75RS produces the
correct amount of air to match RF2Ms demands, helping to reduce
the risk and associated costs of off load running.
In the first year alone, the customer saved over 370,000 KWh
of electricity on an average 35% compressor consumption rate,
with a high percentage of this saving attributed to the
efficient, variable-speed technology.
Typically, almost all of the energy that is used to power a
compressor is converted to heat, which is released into the
atmosphere and wasted. Using heat exchangers, Rodwell Bayne was
able to develop a system to recover this energy as a source of
factory heating, reducing the requirement on the site’s gas
The RF2M’s site manager, David Yates adds, “Despite average
colder winter temperatures over the past few years, the heat
recovery system is still saving up to GBP 3,000 per annum in gas
consumption. Additional savings are also expected this year as
we now supply our nitrogen generation plant directly from the
factory-air supply, rather than using a separate, fixed-speed
Therefore, placing a higher demand on the L75 in this way has
the effect of raising the temperature of the heat recovery unit,
which in turn is reducing the demands on the gas-fed boiler. As
a result, the boiler is working up to 66% less and at times, is
not required at all, thus offering significant cost and carbon
reduction and other savings.
The site operates round-the-clock, only shutting down for
essential maintenance and therefore requiring the compressor
installation to provide high reliability. The L75RS compressors
have been proven in numerous applications across the globe for
their high durability, longevity and ease of maintenance.
Benefits realised with VS Compressor
- Variable-speed technology – delivering electricity
savings of over GBP 30,000 per annum .
- Heat-recovery system – Reduces requirement on gas boiler
by up to 66%.
- Saving up to GBP 3,000 per annum on gas costs.
- Reduced off-load running – helping to improve
- Higher volumes of air – sufficient factory-air to supply
nitrogen generation plant, removing the need for a separate
- High reliability – to ensure 24/7 production is
Energy saved: In the first year alone, the
customer saved over 370,000 KWh of electricity on an average 35%
compressor consumption rate, with a high percentage of this
saving attributed to the efficient, variable-speed technology.
Gas saved: The boiler is working up to 66% less
and at times, is not required at all, creating significant cost
and carbon reduction savings.