Are VSD Compressors the most energy efficient and cost-effective solution?
The idea of VSD (Variable Speed Drive) compressors ‘paying for themselves through energy savings’ is attractive to most – but are VSD compressors the best option for your business?
VSD compressors have been designed to produce air as needed. The speed automatically adjusts so production of air matches real time demand – perfect for those whose need for air fluctuates throughout the shift.
This is where the ‘potential’ energy savings come in, unlike a Fixed Speed Compressor which runs at a constant speed until turned off, the VSD will decrease in power when not in use. Which, in theory, should save you on power costs. However, there are so many variables that you may not see any savings at all.
VSD compressors are most economical and efficient when running between 40% load up to 80%. Outside this, the air-end is running beyond its optimum efficiency ranges. VSD’s are also sensitive to averse atmospheric conditions. Additionally, your quality of power supply, voltage and frequency needs to be considered. So, unless you are running at optimal load, working in a cool and clean environment, plus have a clean and uninterrupted power supply, then a VSD is probably not for you.
When VSD compressors fail, they are often quite expensive and time consuming to repair. Models are often superseded within a few years, along with the parts needed to repair. Therefore, you are stuck with a broken compressor that isn’t all that old but would be worth more as scrap metal.
If you are sold a VSD with the promise of dollar savings through energy savings, ask the supplier to stand by their claims. Record your actual power usage over a standard month from your existing compressed air system and if the new VSD does not reduce the power usage by what they told you, ask them to pay the difference – we bet they won’t!
So, in the right application and environment, VSD compressors will consume energy and can you save you in energy costs. However, they are NOT a one-size-fits-all solution and the decision to purchase shouldn’t been taken lightly. Research and analysis are required.
Are you having trouble deciding whether a VSD or fixed speed compressor is better for your business?
Contact Air Powered for a full Compressed Air Audit to determine which compressed air system is best for you.
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