A world leader in paper-based packaging solutions

The Ace Group recently revisited one of its clients to review the progress made since our installation work at the end of 2015. The company, a world leader in paper-based packaging solutions, invited us back to one of their vast sites in the North West to discuss their experience since contracting The Ace Group.

On site, the responsibility of the compressors is immense, powering everything from splicers to rotary die cutters to starch pumps, all crucial in producing the corrugated card in which this particular site specialises. Therefore, running the compressors at their optimum efficiency is imperative to consistent production.

Before Ace’s recent installation the site was running at 7 bar working pressure and had suffered from reoccurring breakdowns on their main air compressor, specifically the load valve, due to frequent on and off load cycling.

The system was hugely inefficient as the 150kW compressor was running constantly even during periods of low demand, especially weekends. The Company received a group directive to reduce their working pressure across the factory to 5 bar and introduce Efficient Variable Speed Technology. The Ace Group were instructed to carry out an Energy Survey and advise how this initiative would be achieved.

Gardner Denver Compressors

Following the survey, Ace’s first step was to supply two new Gardner Denver Compressors, the existing compressor would then be used as a backup unit in standby for emergencies only.

The first compressor chosen was a 75kW Fixed Speed Compressor, this would run continually at 100% load, the second was a 75kW Variable Speed model which would start and regulate the Air Pressure to its set point. This selection of compressors working in conjunction with each other created the Energy Efficient profile required by the Group Directive. Ace also installed a programmable Comp-Air SmartAir Master Control System (SAM). Amongst other features, this allows the compressors to be remotely shut down completely during periods of no air demand. This was previously done manually but was overlooked on occasions by the factory’s maintenance staff.

The SAM full computer visualisation package Ace installed allows permanent monitoring of the equipment from any office with specific IP address access. The data provided not only prevents breakdowns but produces accurate kW consumption every few seconds.

To meet the pressure reduction initiative, the working pressure across the factory was initially reduced to 6.5 bar and after additional air leak repairs and the installation of pressure boosters, the second phase further reduced pressure to an impressive 5.4 bar.

A smoothly run contract

We spoke to Gerard Warburton, Works Engineer, who said that the Service Contract was smoothly run, largely attributable to Mike Irvine, Ace’s Technical Service Manager, who was quick to respond and offered comprehensive advice and support especially in the event of breakdowns, ensuring production was not compromised.

He added that the engineers responsible for the new installation were prompt, abided by the site rules, were consistent in completing reports and kept everyone up to date.

Gerard was very pleased with the benefits the factory has seen so far. The significant pressure reduction across the site showed no compromise in the performance of their production machinery at all. Since the new installation there has been a substantial decrease in the site’s total energy bill which they soon hope to quantify with the use of independent kW meters for the compressed air system only. The new Gardner Denver Compressors are also a great deal quieter than the previous equipment which is another bonus for this significant investment.

The strong relationship with Ace continues as future improvement works are planned. The factory has now contracted Ace to add another compressor to the SAM system. A 15kW Comp-Air compressor located on the shop floor will be included in the compressor selection menu to further increase running efficiency and decrease overall energy consumption and assist in Gerard’s aim to surpass the 5 bar Group directive.

With the installation already proving beneficial and additional work in motion, it is sure that the future of this packaging giant is with The Ace Group, who via quality products and service, continue to form strong working relationships with new and existing clients.