If your building or warehouse depends on compressed air for daily operation, a compressor control system could save you money and time. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages of air compressor control, as well as the difference between a centralized and distributed control system.
Table of Contents
- Compressor Control System: Overview and Uses
- Benefits of Using Compressed Air Control Systems
- The Difference Between Centralized and Distributed Systems
- How to Choose the Right System for Your Building
Compressor Control System: Overview and Uses
Air compressors use power — typically from either gas or electric — to form highly pressurized air that can be used for a variety of industrial purposes, including sanding, detail cleaning, nail gun operation and more. Many businesses prefer compressed air due to its ease of use, easy storage and easy transportability. Common industry applications of compressed air include:
- Naval and aerospace
- Nuclear energy
- Chemical and petrochemical
- Auto mechanics
- Food and beverage production and distribution
- Paper mills
- Concrete production
- General manufacturing
A compressor control system allows you to monitor and change your compressed air machine. For example, some compressor control systems let you set automatic load and unload when it reaches a pre-set amount of pressure. Others give you the option to adjust the speed of your compressor motor. Some compressor control systems are equipped with advanced safety features, like soft start and automatic shutdown. A compressor control system can be either centralized or distributed.
Benefits of Using Compressed Air Control Systems
Why is compressor control beneficial? Being able to monitor and control your compressed air system can make a huge difference in your daily operations and overall performance. The three most significant advantages of an air compressor control system are increased energy efficiency, advanced monitoring and integration, and maximized performance and reliability.
Increased Energy Efficiency
Monitoring different aspects of your compressed air system can help you run a more energy-efficient business. The United States Department of Energy consulted with experts in the industrial field and concluded more than 50 percent of industrial plant air systems have the ability to achieve far greater energy savings than they were currently, and at a relatively low cost. Compressed air control systems allow you to keep an eye on several factors, all of which impact how much energy your compressor system is using, which translates to energy costs:
- Leaks: A control system will alert you to possible leaks in the lines, which can waste up to 30 percent of your compressor’s energy output.
- Pressure signaling: A compressed air control system will also monitor any fluctuations in power, such as pressure drops, or any areas of your building that are exerting too much force, to see which compressors are operating efficiently and which might need repair. With pressure signaling, it is also easier to know when and for what each compressor is being used.
- Automatic start and stop: Control systems let you establish an automatic start and stop point and feature flow controllers that can help you save otherwise wasted energy.
Advanced Monitoring and Integration
Compressor control systems provide an advanced level of monitoring and integration options. A high-quality control system is not limited to one compressor at a time — you can easily have full management of all your compressor units. The Titus Company offers control systems that can manage as many as 30 compressors at once.
Some advanced monitoring benefits of compressor control systems include:
- Operation control: Dual and auto features let you choose how you want your compressors to operate, whether through loading and unloading, starting and stopping or modulation.
- Temperature control: Compressors that are too cold or too hot can be lead to ice formation or burns. Monitor and adjust the temperature of your compressor system to minimize these risks and keep the internal parts of your equipment — as well as your employees — safe and functional.
- Fixed and variable speed: Fixed and variable speed adjustments let you vary the speed of each air compressor’s motor.
- Remote monitoring: Modern air compressor control systems can integrate with your phone, sending you SMS alerts and push notifications when a concern or change occurs. This level of warehouse integration can help quicken response time, limit administration costs and help establish a more productive workplace.
- Data monitoring: Many control systems record daily logs, so you can compile the data to study trends, note changes and make adjustments where needed.
Maximized Performance and Reliability
Air compressor control systems allow you to maximize the performance and reliability of the compressors in your building.
- Safety: If left unmanaged, air compressors can pose a threat to your building and employees. If too much pressure builds up inside, or if water gathers internally, a compressor can rupture. Control systems allow you to monitor these pressure levels to prevent this from happening. If your compressors operate using oil, leaks are another area of concern, as oil is highly flammable. Many control systems are designed to sound an alarm or automatically stop operation and shut down if safety or operational concerns are detected.
- Troubleshooting: Advanced troubleshooting saves time and money. When something goes wrong with your compressor, a control system lets you troubleshoot and find the issue more efficiently. This results in quicker response time and saves you from having to schedule multiple different repair appointments until the problem is identified. The sooner issues are identified and handled, the quicker you can return to business as usual.
- Longevity: The combined benefits of compressor control all contribute to the longevity of your compressor system. Use a control system to identify and repair leaks and other issues sooner, monitor and manage pressure flow and temperature and have full control over data trends. When everything is working as it should, operation is seamless, and you are setting your compressor up for a long, productive life.
The Difference Between Centralized and Distributed Systems
Your business or warehouse can operate using either a centralized or distributed air compressor system. A centralized system refers to a single, large air compressor set-up that generates and distributes energy and airflow throughout the building to wherever it is needed. Distributed systems — also known as decentralized systems — refer to having smaller, individual air compression systems throughout the building in corresponding departments, so each one can be used when and how it is needed.
The three biggest differentiators between a centralized and distributed air system are cost, convenience and performance.
Cost is a significant factor for most business and warehouse owners. While the final cost of your control system will depend on the size of your building, the number of compressors you plan to control and the type of monitoring features you choose, among others, the simple breakdown for centralized and distributed systems is this:
- Centralized: Centralized control systems are a more significant initial investment due to the size of the lines and pipes required to distribute throughout the entire building. However, fewer pipes are needed than with distributed systems.
- Distributed: Distributed control systems require several smaller pipes, which are typically more affordable. However, more pipes are needed than with a centralized system.
One system is not more cost-effective than the other, and the total price depends on several factors — which is why it’s essential to choose a control system based on your needs.
Maintenance and Convenience
When you choose a compressor control system, you want one that is easy to operate and service if necessary. When it comes to maintenance, centralized and distributed systems differ in a few ways:
- Centralized: Maintenance and troubleshooting are easier at a centralized location because it limits the number of places that an issue could arise and makes it easier to find. With centralized control systems, you can also use a control system to schedule compression shut down for the entire building at the same time, which saves both time and energy consumption.
- Distributed: While installation and troubleshooting are more complex with a distributed control system, some issues are less likely to occur. For example, it is easier to find and locate a leak if all compressors are operating on their own system, especially if the compression system is located in the same area it is being used.
There are many system qualities you can use to judge the performance of your system, including workload balance, usability across multiple applications and the ability to meet various department requirements:
- Centralized: A centralized control system is better at equalizing the workload and keeping production and consumption balanced across all departments and areas of your building. Because it is located in its own isolated space, it is also easier to operate a centralized system quietly. However, one of the most considerable drawbacks of centralized systems is their inability to vary the workload. For example, some departments may require higher or lower pressure than others, and this is not as easily achieved as it is with a distributed system.
- Distributed: The most advantageous part of a distributed control system is its ability to install each system to meet the individual needs and requirements of every department or portion of your building. In some cases, a distributed system might even be necessary if you’re using an application that requires the air source to be close at hand while in use.
How to Choose the Right System for Your Building
- Size: How big is your building or warehouse? If you operate a one-room business with no diverse applications, a centralized system may be a good fit. If your building is large, a centralized system could also be a more convenient choice for balancing the workload across all departments.
- Application: How does each department use the compression system? Will your compression system be used for a single application or several different purposes? Distributed systems are typically better suited for buildings that use compressed air in a multitude of applications.
- Budget: What is your budget for the initial investment? Speak with a specialist and compare the cost of a large centralized system versus several smaller distributed ones. Keep in mind the cost of ongoing maintenance.
If you are still unsure about whether you need a centralized or distributed control system, contact our compressed air specialists at The Titus Company. We have more than 30 years of experience servicing air compressors in an industrial setting, and we can help you make the best decision.
Contact Us for Your Free Compressed Air System Review
If compressed air is a part of your warehouse’s successful operation, it is time to consider how a compressor control system can benefit your business. Both centralized and distributed control systems have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Choose one that makes sense for daily use, including various applications across departments.
Control systems lead to increased energy efficiency by identifying and locating leaks, signaling pressure changes and automatically starting or stopping based on pre-set identifiers. All of this translates to less money spent on energy costs each month. Compressor control systems provide advanced monitoring and integration that uses features like operational and temperature control, fixed and variable speed, remote monitoring with SMS alerts and data tracking that allows you to note trends and make adjustments.
All of these features increase your air compressor’s efficiency and keep both your operation and its employees safe. Maximize the performance and reliability of your system by using safety features that protect against rupture, internal damage or combustion. These benefits work together to help your air compressor systems last longer and reach peak performance.
Using an air compression system has never been easier or more stress-free than with The Titus Company and our 24/7 industrial air compression monitoring and service guarantee. With this guarantee, you get:
- Around-the-clock monitoring: We monitor the status of your air compression system around the clock and will be alerted if an issue arises or breakdown occurs. Once we receive notice, we are available 24/7 to service your compression system and keep it operational, no matter the make or model of your compressor or compressed air equipment.
- Status reports: We provide a comprehensive status report that includes your pressure levels, energy consumption, air temperature, total time in operation, alarm status and more. Using this information, you can make more cost-conscious and effective decisions regarding your business.
- Reduced downtime: Even when your compressor system is running smoothly, our 24/7 monitoring program is there for you to help you avoid future concerns or breakdowns. With us, you get peace of mind knowing your system is always our top concern.
Visit us online today to browse our air control systems, dryers and gas generators or contact us today to request your free compressed air system review or equipment estimate.