compressed air distribution systems

Case Study : Design and Installation of New Compressed Air Distribution System (Waste Recycling Facility)

The benefits of lowering compressed air operating pressure.

» The Problem

A prominent waste recycling facility in Western Sydney requested assistance in the design and installation of a new compressed air distribution system and additional compressor capacity to facilitate the installation of several new optical sorting machines.

Their existing plant included two 110kW Compair fixed speed air compressors with a combined output of 37.36 m3/min at 10bar and a back up 110kW Atlas Copco air compressor that was used only in the event of failure of one of the main units. Proposed demand increase for the Optical Sorters would take the plant total up to 46 m3/min. Pressure requirement for the new equipment was 6.5barg…

» Background

Prior to installation of the new optical sorters, plant demand was averaging 20-25 m3/min with pressure modulating between 9 and 10barg.

None of the machinery currently being serviced required 9bar inlet pressure.

The existing compressed air distribution system was over 10 years old, in a poor state and was very convoluted. Constructed from a mixture of 50mm PE100 polyethelene and 50mm copper, the system was not reticulated and had been modified on numerous occasions.

As plant compressed air demand grew (new compressors were added), the piping diameter became restrictive due to increased air flow, leading to excessive air velocity and an increased pressure drop across the system. This forced the plant to operate at a higher generation pressure to meet equipment at point of use, hence the facility procured the two existing main compressors, configured for 10bar…

» The Solution

Our compressed air specialists analysed the plant and determined a new compressed air distribution system should be designed and installed.

A brand new 110mm diameter Infinity aluminium compressed air delivery system was installed in a ring main configuration around the perimeter of the production equipment. A 63mm sub-ring main was installed to accommodate the new Optical Sorters which were then directly connected with 32mm diameter supply piping. Finally, the existing piping system was linked to the new ring main at four locations to balance out the air flow and lessen the effect of pressure drop across the old pipework.

The site procured a new 160kW Elgi variable speed compressor to work alongside the two 110kW Compair fixed speed units, to meet increased demand with back-up redundancy. They also procured additional storage, drying and filtration capacity to meet the new loads.

compressed air distribution system

» The Outcomes

Pressure drop across the distribution system from plant room discharge to the new optical sorters at the far end of the facility (approx 100mtr) now measures just 0.1bar. The variable speed compressor has been set up to trim the system giving a constant stable pressure as opposed to 1barg fluctuations with the fixed speed machines.

Slowly, over time, the compressed air generation pressure was lowered in 0.5bar increments and the effect on the older production lines and processes was monitored to ensure no negative consequences. After a period of six weeks the generation air pressure was successfully lowered down to 7.2barg with zero negative effects on new or old equipment/processes.

With energy savings of 4-6% achievable for every 1barg reduction in generation pressure, site savings have been estimated at between $29,300 and $44,000 annually

In the absence of any existing monitoring systems, Compressed Air Technology further recommended the installation of a permanent monitoring solution and a package is currently being designed, utilising the latest technology from instrumentation equipment supplier Suto iTec.

Permanent monitoring of compressed air flow, energy consumption, pressure and dew point with pre-set alarm functionality ensures compressed air systems are functioning efficiently and not costing more to run than is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, issues can be identified and rectified promptly through permanent monitoring and proper system maintenance

Remote functionality allows our team of compressed air experts to cost-effectively analyse your systems on a monthly basis with trend analysis and reporting to ensure systems are performing within specification


For assistance with all aspects of the design, installation, commissioning and on-going analysis of your compressed air system, contact our friendly team.  We work with industrial compressed air operators across all industries in Sydney and Australia-wide.

compressed air technology

Compressed Air Technology

Compressed air specialists Sydney + Australia

Compressed Air Technology are specialist consultants and contractors for the compressed air industry. Working with industrial compressed air operators to maximise efficiency, reliability and productivity. We design, supply, install, monitor and certify compressed air systems for a wide range of industries Australia wide.

Our independence is the key to our success

Huge increases in the cost of energy has seen the company start to focus on energy management. We are now regularly called upon in a consulting capacity to design compressed air systems that are efficient as well as reliable and safe. Our independence is key to our success, we are not encumbered by the constraints of a typical compressor dealer, we design each system with an open mind and scour the market for equipment that best suits our clients needs.

Helpful links : Compressed air system design | New air compressor installations | Compressed air system sales

We use specialist compressed air equipment

The company has invested heavily in specialist instrumentation equipment and the training of personnel to operate and understand measurement and monitoring methods for compressed air and gas systems. Our whole approach sets Compressed Air Technology apart from the crowd, we believe in what we do, are passionate about compressed air and strive to build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with a wide range of clients across a variety of sectors.

Helpful links : Air compressor services | Compressed air evaluation & audits | Compressed air leak detection | Compressed air quality testing

air compressor equipment sales

Compressed air equipment sales

Buying a new air compressor? Do you really understand the compressed air requirements of your plant? Do you know how much air your equipment consumes and at what pressure? Are you aware that the single biggest cost associated with owning and operating an air compressor system will be the electricity costs required to run it?

Over a typical 10 year air compressor life cycle, the cost of energy will account for around 75%-80% of total costs, dwarfing the initial costs associated with equipment purchase, installation and maintenance.

Independent air compressor sales advice

Before you contact the usual air compressor dealers, consider getting your current or proposed new system properly appraised, so that you can be sure you are buying what you actually need as opposed to what you are being sold.

At Compressed Air Technology, we make the effort to actually measure and monitor your system BEFORE you proceed with a high value purchase, ensuring the lifetime ownership costs are kept to a minimum.

As an independent operator, not tied to any particular brand, we have access to a huge range of premium quality equipment that is selected to ensure compressed air is supplied to your plant at the correct volume, pressure and quality, with a heavy focus on reliability.

We also supply a range of piping systems including aluminium, copper, stainless steel, HDPE and many more

Contact us for an obligation free compressed air system assessment on 1300 663 113

compressed air system design

Compressed air system design

Too often we see the wrong compressors installed for the application.  A great deal on a larger compressor may look appealing initially, but seldom does anyone point out the additional electrical costs incurred to run it over the ten or so years it will be in operation.

Our approach tends to differ from that of a traditional compressor dealer, we believe in spending time with our clients to get to know the true compressed air requirements so that the correct equipment can be evaluated and selected accordingly.

We take a similar approach to designing your piping and distribution systems. Remember, a compressed air system is only as efficient as its installation. We often hear clients complain they are ‘running out of air’, when the fact is their compressors are perfectly cable of supplying their processes, but restrictions in piping and poor design are leading to pressure drop and subsequent equipment malfunction.

More information about air compressor design »

commercial air compressor installation

Compressed air machine installation

A compressed air system is only as effective as the installation allows it to be. A properly installed compressed air system will deliver a return on investment time after time. Understanding compressed air and its unique characteristics is the key to our success.

Our team of dedicated compressed air installers are true industry specialists. Installing compressed air systems on a daily basis ensures we are kept up to speed with the latest advancement in technologies.

More information about air compressor installation »

compressed air system efficiency audit

Compressed air efficiency audits

Have you considered how much your compressed air system costs to run? Many business owners haven’t and it’s a common misconception that compressed air is free.  It’s only air, right? Wrong!

Compressed air is expensive!

Did you know that compressed air is one of the most expensive forms of energy used in industry today?

Often termed the ‘Fourth Utility’, compressed air is just as important to some businesses as electricity, water or gas. It is also very expensive to produce when you consider it takes approximately 7hp of electrical power to produce just 1hp of compressed air power…

10-15% of all industrial electricity is used to general compressed air.

More information about air compressor efficiency audits »

compressed air system monitoring audit

Compressed air repairs and leak detection

Did you know that most compressed air systems have leaks? Studies show that system leaks typically account for between 20-50% of compressor output, potentially wasting thousands of dollars every year. Most leaks are quick and easy to fix. Ask us how…

At Compressed Air Technology we offer a range a leakage detection and repair programs to suit all businesses and budgets. Our state of the art Ultra Sonic Leak Detectors and factory trained technicians are used to detect system leaks, and repairs can often be carried out on the spot, generating instant savings.

More information about air compressor repairs and leak detection »

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