When to Use a Variable Speed Drive Compressor

Many applications in the manufacturing process require compressed air. Since compressed air requires so much energy (sometimes up to 30% of a plant’s energy consumption), it’s important to make sure your compressed air system is properly sized, designed, and maintained.

While some facilities require constant operation seven days a week, many others experience breaks or slow-downs in production where energy could be saved or recovered. That’s where VSD compressors are most useful. Variable speed drive compressors continuously adjust motor speed and output to match air demand, preventing it from running in an unloaded state. This can help plants save significantly on energy costs – around 35% on average – making VSD compressors one of the most efficient designs in the compressed air industry.

Atlas Copco VSD Compressor
Atlas Copco VSD Compressor

Since the VSD compressor isn’t running at constant full speed, equipment often lasts longer. Longevity and cost savings combined with the added efficiency that comes with purchasing a newer machine results in a quick return on investment. On top of that, there are often rebate incentives available from local utility companies for updates to more efficient compressed air systems. Check out our Ameren ActOnEnergy page here.

Variable speed drive compressor systems are a good fit for nine out of ten applications, but before making any major decisions, it’s important to evaluate exact air demand, patterns in compressed air consumption, piping, and the operating environment with a compressed air audit. An air audit will allow you to make an informed decision on whether a VSD compressed can provide the energy efficiency you want.

VSD compressors reduce the amount of energy used when demand is constantly changing, almost completely eliminating wasteful energy. In fact, this technology has saved over $400 million in energy costs in the U.S. since its launch in 1994. Variable speed drive systems avoid an unloaded compressor from consuming energy when no compressed air is being used. Visit our page for more information on the compressor solutions HTE offers.

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