Compressed Air Monitoring At Meggit Aircraft Helps Save £££

Meggit Aircraft Braking Systems (formerly Dunlop Aerospace Braking Systems) reduced their compressed air energy consumption by almost 30% when they chose Boge compressors and the expertise of Direct Air & Pipework to optimise their distribution system. 

At their Coventry site, Meggit Aircraft Braking Systems, develops and manufactures carbon composite brakes, braking systems and lightweight alloy wheels for the aerospace industry. 

In late 2005 Meggit Aircraft Braking Systems began experiencnig expensive breakdowns and system in-efficiencies within their compressed air system. At that time, compressed air was provided to many areas of the manufacturing site via two separately installed compressed air systems. This prompted Operations & Development Support Manager at Meggit Aircraft Braking Systems, John Hindmarsh, to contact their current compressed air suppliers for advice on how the system could be improved and upgraded.

Allan Dolby of Direct Air & Pipework suggested that the first stage would be to conduct an audit the current system in order to determine the current system efficiency and to ascertain where savings could be made before making any proposals. 

This approach was favoured by Meggit Aircraft Braking Systems and a full compressed air audit was subsequently carried out by Direct Air. The audit identified some key areas where improvements could be made. Production requirements demand that compressed air is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, not all areas of the site have a 24/7 requirement.

The existing fixed speed compressors and the historical layout of the two compressed air systems provided the constant supply of compressed air to all points, regardless of peak or off-peak demand requirements. The audit revealed that over 20% of the annual cost for generating compressed air was being used upproductively in these ways.

To eradicate these inefficinecies Direct Air recommended upgrading the compressed air system by first replacing the ageing compressors. Subsequently, an energy-efficient Boge SF series frequency controlled screw compressor supported by two Boge S series fixed speed screw compressors, were installed. Boge SF series frequency controlled screw compressors work strictly in accordance with the compressed air demand by producing the exact volume of compressed air at the pressure required. Frequency control minimises idling time and evens out air demand fluctuations. Only the most economical and efficient use of the compressed air is produced regardless of peak or off-peak air demands or fluctuations in production levels.

Direct Air then identified a new location for the compressors which allowed for a bespoke zoning system to be installed. Zoning the compressed air system isolates the areas of the site at times when no compressed air is required which eliminates leakage.

Finally it was proposed that the entire compressed air system should be controlled and monitored via an energy management system allowing Direct Air to continuously monitor the site remotely. As a result Direct Air now creates regular reports for Meggit Aircraft Braking Systems to assure that the system efficiency is kept on track.

Once the compressed air system had been fully commissioned Direct Air returned to the site to undergo a post audit. Allan Dolby, Managing Director of Direct Air comments: "We feel it is only correct that when a customer entrusts us to assist them in reducing their compressed air energy costs that we show them what has been achieved against the savings forecast after the initial audit."

The post audit results demonstrated a reduction in the cost of compressed air energy of 29% and a reduction in air usage during low production periods of 50%.

John Hindmarsh concludes "Naturally we are delighted with the results we have already achieved. The most recent report revealed that we have already exceeded the original compressed air related engery saving targets! Our relationship with Direct Air is very good and the continuous energy management monitoring service is already proving to be invaluable. This system is now allowing Direct Air to identify further areas where additional reductions in compressed air related energy costs can be made."