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A water-cooled, oil-free compressor from Atlas Copco has helped optical storage media manufacturer Sony DADC achieve its energy efficiency and environmental protection objectives.

Sony DADC recently installed an energy-efficient compressor system in its West Sussex plant and is now taking steps towards recovering the energy from the compressor.

It was important to Sony DADC’s Southwater plant management that the proposed upgrade installation should not only incorporate optimum energy-efficiency features but additionally contribute to reducing the plant’s carbon footprint by providing the capability to recover energy in the form of heat.

The recovered heat could be utilised to supplement the site’s hot-water system as well as the warehouse and office heating circuit.

The Southwater facility is one of three production sites in Europe; much of its output is produced within a clean-room environment, so it is important that quality compressed air is provided for many of the process operations.

Atlas Copco replaced the existing GA oil-injected compressor with a water-cooled, oil-free, rotary-screw ZR160VSDFF unit, with an energy recovery capability and an integrated no-loss MD regenerative heat dryer.

The Southwater plant runs two independent compressed-air networks – the major system runs at a pressure of 7bar and the secondary network at 8.4bar.

Part of the air for the 7bar system is supplied by an existing compressor, but the principal input is from the newly installed ZR160VSDFF machine.

Approximately 65 per cent of the compressed-air output is devoted to the disc replication process, which includes the operation of pneumatic cylinders.

It is also blown directly onto the discs for cooling purposes and required in the operation of vacuum generators.

A further 15 per cent is utilised in the process of printing on the discs themselves, again involving the operation of pneumatically operated cylinders.

The remaining 20 per cent of the air supply is utilised within packing operations.

At the same time, a portion of the air from the 8.4bar system supplies the mastering department’s laser-cutting equipment, with the rest feeding the offset lithographic disc printing machines.

The new installation provides oil-free compressed air to help protect all of these plant processes and end products.

At the same time, it saves energy in a number of ways.

The VSD feature of the compressor matches output to user demand and is capable of achieving energy savings of up to 35 per cent, according to Atlas Copco.

With the major compressed-air systems operating at 7bar, running costs are lowered and, as a result of the reduced working pressure, any costly air net system leaks are also minimised.

Additional energy economies are a result of the adoption of a regenerative MD no-loss, heat-of-compression technology dryer – the dryer integrated within the ZR160VSDFF – replacing the original heatless desiccant dryers and their associated purge air loss.

The whole installation now also features centralised compressor room control with Atlas Copco’s ES8 system, which is designed to monitor and maintain optimum performance for all of the compressed-air equipment.

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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