At Tipperary Cooperative product quality is paramount and now, increasingly so, is energy efficiency and sustainability. This was acknowledged by the SEAI in 2019 when the company won the large business category at their annual awards. So, when the plant’s Compressed Air Treatment System was approaching its end of life, a project was undertaken to analyse how best to upgrade the system to meet best practice guidelines for food quality compressed air, while simultaneously maximising its energy efficiency.

Although functional, the existing Air Dryer system was a heatless-type unit and was suspected of using excessive amounts of purge air in its regeneration cycle.

Manager’s Preview

According to Richie Corcoran of Veolia, the Facilities Manager at the Cooperative, “It was difficult to determine exactly how much purge air was being consumed by the Air Dryer as the plant compressed air Flowmeter was installed downstream of the unit. However, through the rigorous collection of both electrical and compressed air data over previous years, it was possible to baseline the electrical energy and compressed air usage of the overall system.”

Using this historical data, Colin Donohue of Optien Ltd, an energy management consulting company which specialises in implementing ISO 500001 for their clients, analysed the available data and recommended a Dryer replacement solution that would meet the criteria for both air quality and energy efficiency.

After a rigorous selection process, O’Neill Industrial was selected as the successful vendor to supply, install and commission a new Ingersoll Rand Model D2200IB Air Dryer and Filtration system with the mechanical installation element subcontracted to Damien Grieswood and his team at Brodeen Engineering, a specialist stainless steel installation company.

Austin O’Neill of O’Neill Industrial, Ingersoll Rand distributors since 1970, said, “When we were invited to tender for a replacement Air Dryer Package and saw the data for the specific power of the existing system, we knew we had a product which would exceed Tipperary Cooperatives demand for high quality compressed air while also providing a system which would significantly lower compressed air cost. Air treatment is important because properly treated compressed air, and the right air dryer, will improve productivity, system efficiency and process quality.”

With the Air Dryer in operation for almost two years and the performance measured and evaluated by the stakeholders, the results have exceeded the most optimistic predictions. The compressed air quality now exceeds Class 1.2.1 in accordance with ISO 8573.1 and meets the highest standards as recommended by the BRC and FDA for compressed air in the Food & Beverage Industry sector. The reduction in specific power of 0.06 kw/m3 of compressed air has resulted in electrical energy savings of €45,000.00 per annum!

Commenting on the success of the project, Pat O Neill, Engineering Manager at Tipperary Cooperative, said “When engineering resources and time are dedicated to finding the best solutions, then first-class outcomes can be achieved.”

How to choose the right Air Dryer

Choosing the appropriate air dryer and compressed air filtration is very important. An air dryer is an integral piece of your air treatment system. Compressed air drying can keep water out of your distribution system, avoid corrosion, minimize the impact on your product, avoid freezing in winter and avoid clogging in material transport. However, you need to decide on the dew point settings which might differ between summer and winter, which drying technology is most appropriate and whether you have a centralised treatment for full flow or decentralised add-on treatment for dedicated applications – these can all cause indirect energy costs. The higher the quality of the air you demand the higher the cost of producing it.

About O’Neill Industrial

O’Neill Industrial is a leading supplier of compressed air and pneumatic equipment with a strong focus on helping companies meet their energy efficiency and sustainability targets. Products such as the Dryer featured in this article and Air Compressors such as the new Oil-free E-series with integrated heat recovery allow us to forge new partnerships with companies who make energy efficiency and sustainability a core driving principle.

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