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Precision engineering company opts for energy-saving, eco-efficient compressor

Atlas Copco : 24 October, 2013  (Application Story)
In September 2012 Atlas Copco Compressors invited precision engineering company Di-Spark Group to trial the operation of its latest innovation, the energy and space saving, vertical aspect GA15VSD+ rotary screw compressor, which is powered by Atlas Copco's in-house designed interior permanent magnet (iPM) motor. The compressor’s performance and the impressive energy savings gained to date, plus the unit’s minimal footprint, persuaded Di-Spark to install the compressor as a permanent addition to the air supply plant at its two sites in Horndean, East Hampshire.
Precision engineering company opts for energy-saving, eco-efficient compressor
The new design offers exceptional energy savings. Atlas Copco’s GA Variable Speed Drive (VSD) technology automatically adjusts the motor speed to match the compressed air supply to the air demand. When combined with the innovative design of the iPM motor, which exceeds IE4 efficiency requirements, this results in an average energy saving of 50% and an average reduction of 37% in the lifecycle cost of a conventional fixed-speed compressor. A new, more efficient fan motor achieves yet another saving on specific energy requirement of up to 7% of the compressor power. Furthermore, thanks to the silent motor and fully-enclosed drive train, the compressor runs as quietly as 62 dB(A).
With this new concept, Atlas Copco has redesigned the conventional layout of a typical air compressor. Instead of the normal horizontal design, the new GA VSD+ (which is available from 7 to 15kW) has an upright, vertical, low footprint layout, designed to save floor and work space while improving maintenance access, even when the unit is placed against a wall.
To test the concept in a real production environment, Atlas Copco Compressors trialled the new design in 25 major application sites, including Di Sparks’ plant which now has five Atlas Copco compressors, three of which are VSD type compressors. All of these units provide essential compressed air to Di-Sparks’ advanced manufacturing technology equipment such as 5-axis milling, multi task mill-turn, wire erosion and spark erosion EDM (Electric Discharge Machining) systems producing complex bespoke, precision machined components for high-end global customers within the aerospace, defence, medical, oil and gas, motorsport, nuclear and scientific industries. With plant processes already enjoying at least 35% energy saving from the company’s existing Atlas Copco VSD compressors, the successful trial of the GA15 VSD+ unit contributed a further 15% reduction in energy consumption, equating to an overall 50% improvement over fixed-speed compressor equivalent performance.
Right: The Di Spark company was founded in 1980,
progressing from a toolmaking company using
EDM wire erosion to produce press tools for the
printed circuit board industry. EDM is an established
technology and is still used extensively where intricate
features need to be machined. The company evolved
into a specialist EDM subcontractor and its investments
into dedicated wire erosion and spark erosion equipment
has meant that it has been possible to remove much
of the costs of the manual labour aspect from the process.
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