System Design

The main consideration in the design of a compressed air system is the production of an adequate supply of compressed air at the lowest cost consistent with reliability.  Marshall Brewson has a well-established design team for compressed air systems which will help its clients on every step of the selection process.  The process we take involves seven basic elements.


Step 1. Air Demand Analysis

Determining air demand in a system is the 1st critical step; as air demand often fluctuates significantly. Marshall Brewson use their ADA electronic data logger as well as a power meter to determine the existing plant usage. When establishing compressed air demand for a new system operating pressure and the duty cycle of individual equipment must be determined.

For more information on Air Demand Analysis.

Step 2.  Compressed Air Quality

Different applications require different levels of air quality and to produce the highest quality compressed air usually is the most expensive. It is important to meet but not exceed the required air quality level. If different sections of plant require different levels of air quality it is more economical to treat small amounts of compressed air for an individual application rather than the whole system

For more information on air quality.

Step 3. Supply

Compressed air supply is provided by air compressors. Utilising sufficient storage and correct distribution must meet you system demand. Badly design systems can cause excessive pressure fluctuations and system pressure drops, resulting in increased operating costs and reduced productivity.  The total system supply can be provided by a single compressor or multiple compressor installation, a single compressor is best suited to smaller systems, a multiple compressor installation offer the client flexibility on air demand, maintenance, and back up capacity.

For more information on our compressor range.

Step 4. Storage

Sufficient storage is essential on a compressed air system and a common design issue is insufficient air storage, a properly sized air receiver provides sufficient storage capacity for any peak demands. An insufficient sized air receiver will cause pressure drop and can even call extra machine to load on a multiple installation causing higher running costs. The air receiver is often used as a first point of condensate removal, so the material of the receiver is also a major consideration a galvanised or stainless steel receiver will have a longer life cycle than a more traditional steel version.

For more information on Air Receivers.

Step 5. Pipework Distribution

The distribution of the compressed air is an important part of the system design, an incorrect sized pipework system will cause pressure drop and air starvation at point of use, most system are installed in a loop style ringmain to give equal pressure throughout the air system. Pressure drop is very common in poorly designed systems this can be avoided by correctly sizing the pipework and ancillary components such as in line filters, the material of the pipework system can greatly improve any pressure drop, the tradition robust galvanised steel pipework can be very inefficient due to friction from the rough inside of the pipework, a smooth bore system such as Transair can really improve air flow and save energy.

For more information on our pipework distribution system.

Step 6. Control and management

The use of a management controller or a compressor with a variable speed drive inverter can help reduce the system pressure of any air system, the band width on a standard air compressor is usually at least 0.5 bar but with the aid of a controller or inverter the band width of a compressor can be reduced down to 0.1 bar. If an air system pressure can be reduced by 1 bar an energy saving of 6% can be achieved as well as a reduction of any air leaks in the system.

For more information on our compressor controllers.

Step 7. Energy Recovery

The final step in the Marshall Brewson system design is recovering the energy used to make the compressed air. Reducing the carbon foot print a key topic in any business, any way of reusing the energy has to be a serious option. Up to 94% of the energy used in compressing the air via a screw compressor can be recovered via heat recovery be it ducting the hot air into a factory or using a plate heat exchanger to heat up water. The saving can be considerable.

For more information on heat recovery.


System Design