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and optimises compressed air consumption
Bombardier Transportation uses compressors for
the production and maintenance of its trains. These urgently required
replacement. Encon assisted the company with customised engineering.
Anyone who occasionally travels by train will probably have already sat in a
Bombardier carriage. After all, this Canadian group specialises in producing
and maintaining trains, locomotives, metros and trams. The group also operates
in aircraft construction - mainly private jets and smaller aircraft. Bombardier
employs 63,000 people worldwide. The Bombardier Transportation division has
since become the world leader in the railway sector. Approximately 34,000
people work in this division. It comprises more than fifty production,
maintenance and engineering sites, spread over twenty-five countries. One of
these sites is located in Bruges. Bombardier Transportation has already
contributed to the development of innovative transport solutions for clients
from throughout Europe from here for over twenty years. Furthermore this
Belgian facility offers several essential services for rolling stock, which
makes it one of the most diversified Bombardier Transportation sites in Europe.
‘We use compressed air here for many different applications,’ says Marc
Wuidart, plant engineering manager. ‘Among other things for hand tools, in
spraying plants, for jet –blasting applications and to vacuum the trains.
However, our originally installed compressors were outmoded at the energy level
and so the compressed air stock was due to be replaced. Furthermore, our compressed
air consumption has fallen by a quarter compared with twenty-five years ago.
After all we produced everything ourselves in the past, whereas we outsource
many orders today. In a nutshell, our heavy compressors were no longer fully used.
Flow measurements to map the current consumption profile had therefore become a
FIRST PHASE: ANALYSIS
called in to analyse, optimise and replace the compressed air stock. ‘We
selected this firm because we knew that its engineering team had a great deal
of expertise,’ says Wuidart. ‘Moreover, we were aware of a number of good
references in the compressed air field.’ The Bombardier compressed air stock
was made up of two compressor rooms. The first was equipped with two oil-free
compressors which each had a capacity of 470 kilowatts. Two oil-free
compressors with a capacity of 132 and 230 kilowatts respectively were
installed in the other compressor room.
In a first phase Encon performed an analysis of the existing installations on
the one hand and of the compressed air consumers on the other. It quickly
emerged that the jet-blasting and vacuuming applications were the biggest
compressed air consumers. In the jet-blasting application trains are brought to
a special cabin where they are then blasted with steel granules or aluminium
oxide. This process initially accounted for no less than 29 percent of the
total compressed air consumption. In the vacuuming application the remaining
blasting agent on the trains (which comes from the blasting cabin) is vacuumed
up again or possibly blown away. That process accounted for 12 percent of the
entire compressed air consumption.
SECOND PHASE: MEASUREMENT CAMPAIGN
carried out an extensive measurement campaign in a second phase. This made it
possible to study the compressed air profile. This was done with the help of
various pressure sensors which determine the compressed air pressure (power per
second) at different locations in the compressed air network. The first
measurements showed that sharp pressure fluctuations existed. It was also
possible to map the total compressed air consumption by using a simulation program
developed by the Encon engineers. This exposed very large peaks in the
consumption profile. The measurement campaigns also revealed that the
compressed air leakages share amounted to twenty percent of total consumption.
So the Encon analyses made it clear that Bombardier Transportation was due to
acquire new compressors. These had to be well-dimensioned based on the
measurement campaign. This is why it was important to investigate the influence
of the large peaks and to optimise the pressure in the network. To do this, a
specific flow measurement was carried out on the jet-blasting and vacuuming
application in order to define the compressed air profile.
on the measurement campaigns carried out, the pneumatic and electrical
engineering and an analysis of the locations Encon sent a request for a
quotation to various suppliers for the installation of new compressors (of
course, in consultation with Bombardier). ‘The bids and proposals were then
carefully analysed,’ says Wuidart. ‘Among other things the energy consumption
of the proposed installations was closely examined via simulation programs
during this analysis. In a final phase an analysis was carried out on the
investment and operating costs for energy and maintenance. Bombardier finally
made a decision on the supply of the new compressed air compressors based on
the results. Thanks to the specific engineering in the Encon analysis we only
installed compressors that consume 480 kW. As a result a saving was also made
on the purchase cost of the compressed air compressors in addition to the
saving on the energy consumption and compressed air consumption’.
These compressors have since entered service. Today Bombardier is still very
satisfied with the cooperation with Encon. ‘We shall cooperate even more
intensively in the future,’ says Wuidart. ‘After all there is still a lot of
work to be done in the lighting area at our site. We have already equipped our
roofs with continuous-strip roof windows, but we are also considering replacing
our old high bay lighting with more modern systems. Encon’s expertise can also
help us here as well.’