Dal-Tile Upgrades Compressed Air Systems at Five More Facilities Following Successful 2002 Improvement Project
August 23, 2005
Significant energy and maintenance cost reductions resulting from one compressed air improvement project have spurred Dal-Tile Corporation to implement similar projects in five other facilities. Compressed air is important for the dense phase transfer systems, dust collectors, air cylinders, and other equipment used in the plant.
A 2002 improvement project at a Dallas, Texas, plant resulted in annual savings of $211,000 in compressed air energy costs, and it reduced energy use by more than 5.7 million kilowatt-hours per year. In addition, taking four compressors off line has reduced annual maintenance costs by $14,000. Demand charges are also $63,000 lower, for a total annual savings of about $290,000. At a total cost of $278,000, the 2002 project's simple payback was less than a year.
Before the project, the compressed air system's air quality was erratic and there were wide fluctuations in pressure. Incremental installations resulted in an inefficient arrangement of compressors, piping, and air treatment components. So, as part of a corporate initiative to reduce costs, plant engineers commissioned Air Science Engineering, a DOE Allied Partner, to assess the system.
The resulting project included installing a 10,000-gallon storage receiver and a pressure/flow controller to stabilize pressure. Plant staff installed compressor controls, mist eliminators, a larger dryer, and zero-loss condensate drains. They reconfigured some system piping and repaired leaks. All these measures improved the system's performance substantially, and fewer compressors are now needed to meet the demand.
Established in 1947, Dal-Tile Corporation is the largest manufacturer, distributor, and marketer of ceramic tile and natural stone in the United States. It has 10 production facilities in the United States and Mexico and more than 7,900 employees.