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Intelligent interlockingcontrol of air compressors

For greater efficiency
Intelligent interlocking control of air compressors

Using state-of-the-art compressor technology is not enough to obtain maximum efficiency. Rather, it is the perfect interaction of the compressor and the higher-level control that guarantees the optimal performance of the compressed air systems at all times. How impressive this relationship can be, is demonstrated here by combining screw compressors from the S-4 series and the Airtelligence provis 3 interlocking control.

For years, compressed air specialist Boge has focused its research and product development on the efficiency and cost effectiveness of its compressors, closely followed by reliability and quality. The S-4 series is one example of how tried-and-tested technology has been kept constantly under review to achieve new milestones when it comes to efficiency. The screw compressors from the 55 to 160 kW performance classes feature an airend developed in-house for maintenance-free operation and high efficiency.

This “Integratedrive” airend is impervious to dusty environments and works with minimal loss. By making the airend bigger and thus slower, Boge has been able to achieve optimal peripheral speeds. “There is less wear and tear and the compressors have a longer service life,” explains Frank Hilbrink, Team Leader of Product Management at Boge. “This pays off because these measures help us to improve efficiency by up to 15 %.” Large components, for example coolers or pipe systems, result in much lower internal pressure losses, which in turn leads to a reduction in energy consumption and costs. The efficiency of the airend also essentially depends on how much oil is injected. Boge sets the optimum amount of oil to be injected for each of the available main drive ratings according to the various maximum pressures to ensure high efficiency. The stepless speed control of the oil-injection cooled screw compressors allows the free air delivery to be set and adjusted according to the current demand for compressed air. In this way, Boge has kept switching operations and no-load losses to a minimum. Energy consumption is also reduced.

Intelligent control system

However, the increase in efficiency is not down to compressor technology alone. The integration of individual compressors in the compressed air network and the cross-system control are also key factors. The idea is to make compressed air management as flexible and as effective as possible. Boge has mastered this with its Airtelligence provis 3 interlocking control.

Whereas conventional control systems only control a certain number of compressors and accessory components, this smart interlocking control can manage any number of compressors, dryers, other components and even entire compressed air networks – proactively and based on consumption. Multiple functions and a 15.6” screen provide a clear display of the pressure gradient, operating statuses and other parameters, while communication by Ethernet based on Modbus TCP ensures faster data exchange between several subscribers at the same time.

The Airtelligence provis 3 can be used to create individual profiles, for example for the perfect configuration on individual days of the week, at certain times of the day or at weekends. Control algorithms optimally set compressors for a certain operating point.

Before the pressure limit is even reached, the appropriate compressor is activated and the system pressure is controlled within a defined pressure range. The control, however, can also be programmed according to machine priority, free air delivery or run time optimisation. Boge’s Airlogic 3 software module offers maximum flexibility as the supply air, circulating air and exhaust air valves can be controlled according to status or temperature. The additional pro-FU option allows several frequency-controlled compressors to be operated at the same percentage load. This prevents energy losses, which can have a positive impact on the efficiency of the compressed air system as a whole. “Improving efficiency is what Boge is about,” says Juliana Sträter, Product Manager at Boge. “By decreasing the pressure range by 1 bar for example, our Airtelligence provis 3 has already reduced energy costs by up to 10 %.” An integrated energy reporting system breaks down the costs of each connected component in detail.

It’s all in the combination

Boge compressors are particularly ideal for 3-shift operation in sectors such as the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry. The compressed air machines come into their own in applications involving dusty or polluted air. Thanks to their direct drive and sealed mechanical components, they are unlikely to experience glitches.

They offer high quality compressed air, process reliability as well as robust operation, and can be precisely controlled via the interlocking control. Users benefit from optimised run time, shorter start-up and follow-up phases and avoid idle capacity costs. Expensive machine configurations are a thing of the past, and there is no over-compression. The pressure is within the defined pressure range and is thus always set exactly. The Airtelligence provis 3 also integrates compressors by different manufacturers as well as the corresponding peripheral equipment, and even entire compressed air networks.

Boge Kompressoren Otto Boge GmbH & Co. KG, Bielefeld


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