When it comes to compressor efficiency, flexible, status-based maintenance removes the need to replace high-value components, such as compressor stages and motors, at previously defined intervals, resulting in significant cost savings for the customer, said Andrew Westwood, service manager at BOGE Compressors.

Good diagnostic information provides important data to ensure that problems are detected early enough to allow planned maintenance intervention or repair to be carried out with minimal disruption, reducing overall maintenance costs, improving safety, and increasing both plant availability and product quality.  Today’s designers and engineers have developed a wide range of portable and online tools to monitor various parameters. With the help of these tools you can swiftly determine how your critical equipment is running and identify early any operational problems so that they can be addressed at a time convenient to you or the production process, thus maximising asset performance and efficiency.

With a growing number of systems now incorporating their own diagnostic tools, companies should review the options to take advantage of the best possible opportunities. Such is the potential saving in lost production and maintenance hours that the designers and engineers behind diagnostic tools are constantly working to improve their solutions for a marketplace eager to reap the rewards. These new products offer enhanced functionality and performance, and are extremely cost-effective.

When it comes to compressors, the increased use of electronics means that there is now an abundance of comprehensive data available to allow for efficient and effective maintenance. Good diagnostic information from compressors ensures that problems are detected early enough to allow planned maintenance intervention or repair to be carried out with minimal disruption – provided that the data is interpreted correctly.  If it is, this will guarantee maximum efficiency and reliability, low service life costs and the best possible return on investment. The best of today’s diagnostic tools dispense with the need for rigidly fixed maintenance intervals and the precautionary replacement of parts by enabling status-based maintenance that cuts costs and improves investment security.

The increased use of electronics in compressors means that comprehensive data already available in the compressor or in a master control system can thus be collected and used to provide information regarding the wear of the machinery and its components. For example, by monitoring vibration, the status of the rolling bearings is determined on a continuous basis. These can then be replaced or renewed only when the diagnostic data indicates that this is necessary. This offers three major advantages to the customer: greater reliability, reduced cost and a lower demand on maintenance.

Energy efficiency can be enhanced, too. This is because the increased use of electronics in compressors has also optimised switching behaviour, reducing costs and energy consumption by using intelligent control systems. Rising electricity prices over recent years have added yet another challenge to those striving to maintain profitability and running a lean business has rarely been so difficult, but compressor diagnostics are developing fast to help manage the cost of energy.

The combination of status checks and remote monitoring enables the provider to offer service and contractual arrangements that are better tailored – and more cost-effective – for the customer’s needs. For example, with a BOGE total responsibility service contract, customers already have the option of a five-year warranty on all the components of the compressor. BOGE will shortly be launching its “Bestcair” service contract, an all-inclusive, worry-free package for all Rotary Screw Compressors in the BOGE range, which will warranty all components for up to 10 years.

The move is towards service contracts that are better value for the user, based on a more modular concept. If customers can select the modules that are most important to them, such as remote maintenance and fault diagnostics, and add these to their service contract as additional modules without immediately having to sign a full service contract, then solutions can be tailored to the customer’s specific requirements and budget.

Machine failure, typically the result of incorrect installation and maintenance of components and equipment rather than normal wear and tear, can be easily prevented by applying advanced, but not necessarily expensive, diagnostic tools. Such tools enable efficient predictive maintenance, and the long term reliability of countless manufacturing and process systems depend on it. Monitoring devices enable plant operators to react swiftly to impending failures within the system and therefore an effective monitoring regime is an essential part of any machine maintenance programme.