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16 May 2017

At this year’s Hannover Messe, rotary vane compressor manufacturer Mattei released a whitepaper revealing the inaccuracies of the current Life Cycle Cost (LCC) calculation for air compressors.

Alongside a showcase of its core product range, Mattei chose Hannover Messe, the world’s leading industrial show, as the launch venue for its ground breaking whitepaper, Air Compressors – The real economic and environmental impact of using the current industry standard Life Cycle Cost analysis.

From a UK perspective, the whitepaper is perfectly timed. A recent report produced by Engineering the Future, a collective representing 450,000 UK engineering professionals, cites energy efficiency as the single most important area for the Government to focus on in its Industrial Strategy.[i]

Penned by Giulio Contaldi, CEO of Mattei, the whitepaper challenges the present method of calculating LCC, contending that the assumption of constant compressor efficiency throughout the life of the unit is incorrect.

The core issue lies in the differences between rotary vane and screw compressors, and the respective wear to these units over lifespan. Essentially, although a screw compressor off the assembly line will sit within the manufacturer’s verified zero hour specific energy performance guideline, once it begins running, a process of wear will begin on both its roller and thrust bearings, leading to a loss of efficiency over time, and a life cycle cost far removed from initial estimates.

Whereas, whilst performance does not remain constant for a rotary vane compressor either, this is because the efficiency of these units actually improves over an initial running in period. Rather than experiencing damaging wear, the blades of a rotary vane compressor undergo a polishing process during use, which results in less friction, and consequently, better operation and reduced energy requirement. Therefore, assuming that a rotary vane compressor may share the same zero hour specific energy as a screw model, although in reality the zero hour specific energy of a vane compressor is often better, the LCCs will vary significantly between the two.

Andy Jones, managing director at Mattei, comments: “At this year’s Hannover Messe, we shared our pioneering whitepaper with the industry, and received a fantastic reception. Energy efficiency is a serious priority for the industry, and air compressors play a major role within that.

“Mattei aims to change the way life cycle costs for compressors are calculated, to ensure that decision makers have a clear view of the difference between zero hour performance and accurate life cycle costs. This goes beyond individual savings and, we believe, is vital information in the effort to reduce energy consumed through industrial air compression.”

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