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An upgrade programme at the Knauf Insulation facility at Queensferry has resulted in all parts of the production line being either replaced or upgraded, including the compressed air system.

This rock mineral wool production facility upgrade programme has resulted in a major capacity increase, together with advances in material and product development as well as the introduction of new items.

High-quality compressed air plays a vital role, so keeping pace with the latest technology and energy-efficient compressed air solutions has been an important task for engineering manager, Philip Bishop.

‘In our specific applications, the quality of the compressed air is very important.

‘But what is equally important to us is energy efficiency.

‘We look at the energy efficiency of plant equipment involved in our production processes in much the same way.

‘We find that Atlas Copco compressed air system solutions have met both of these criteria,’ he added.

The Atlas Copco relationship with the Queensferry plant started 10 years ago when it was invited to recommend a replacement for a competitor’s compressor plant installation, which was subject to overheating, oil leaks, had no drying facility and was allowing damaging moisture into the air supply.

With the application of Atlas Copco’s measurement (ME) box survey techniques it was possible to establish a true indication of Knauf’s air usage.

The ME box analyses the compressed air demand in a plant, and, most importantly, any wastage that is incurred in producing it.

The software programme employed enabled simulated compressor comparisons to be made against the actual system operation and thus provide an indication of how the compressed air system could be improved for maximum efficiency and reduced costs.

Based on that information, it was possible to submit recommendations for the installation of the most energy efficient compressed air solutions available to match the company production needs.

Compressed air is utilised for the air-atomised binder sprays and for the reverse jet bag filters that handle fibre and dust, including recycling systems.

It plays an important role in the plant’s packaging machinery functions and for general plant air required for operating pneumatic cylinders, actuators for valves, dampers, bin doors, diverter chutes, an so on.

Since compressed air does not come into direct contact with finished product within any stage of Knauf Insulation’s Queensferry production operations, it was decided that two Atlas Copco oil-injected rotary screw compressors would fulfil the process need and were selected to replace the existing plant.

The company entered into a five-year lease contract for the installation of a GA75 full feature machine and a GA75 VSD full feature unit.

Four years later, the situation was reviewed to ensure that the installation was still relevant to the manufacturing processes.

The Atlas Copco Airscan audit team got to work and presented new proposals based on simulations.

The recommendation and agreement was for two GA55+ fixed speed machines and a GA55VSD, all full feature machines with integral dryers.

Together with output controlled by an ES 130 unit and Airconnect remote monitoring, this combination allowed one fixed machine to run as a base load supply unit that could be topped up by the variable speed drive compressor or, on low production demand, just to run the VSD machine by itself.

This three-machine option also allowed for maintenance on any one unit without reduction in capacity.

Although the 165L/s output of each of the smaller replacement compressors is lower than those of the original installation, the improved efficiency of the units means that their net capacity is more than sufficient to meet the increased plant air requirements.

Furthermore, this decision satisfied the Knauf Insulation primary considerations of total reliability and optimum energy efficiency.

To ensure that those standards were maintained at all times, the equipment was covered by a Total Responsibility Service Plan 1 contract with 24/7 support coming from the local Atlas Copco service centre.

Atlas Copco Compressors

Atlas Copco Compressors is a leading manufacturer of energy efficient compressed air systems and vacuum pumps. In the UK the company offers a nationwide sales, service and distribution network and specialist compressed air advice and service to UK compressed air and vacuum users. Our product portfolio covers oil-free air compressors, oil-lubricated air compressors, centrifugal compressors, high-pressure compressors, vacuum pumps, blowers, engineered air and gas compressors, nitrogen generators; air treatment equipment such as dryers, receivers, and air line filters, as well as aluminium pipework for compressed air, nitrogen, oxygen and other gases.

Atlas Copco Compressors is a leading manufacturer of energy efficient compressed air systems and vacuum pumps. In the UK the company offers a nationwide sales, service and distribution network and specialist compressed air advice and service to UK compressed air and vacuum users. Our product portfolio covers oil-free air compressors, oil-lubricated air compressors, centrifugal compressors, high-pressure compressors, vacuum pumps, blowers, engineered air and gas compressors, nitrogen generators; air treatment equipment such as dryers, receivers, and air line filters, as well as aluminium pipework for compressed air, nitrogen, oxygen and other gases.

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