The service is complete. The compressor is running well. The site is clean. The customer is thoroughly impressed. The technician leaves. What happens now? If the service company is not monitoring the air system, then it is impossible to know.
As soon as the technician leaves, the plant starts using the compressor again. Dust, water, and aerosols, are being drawn in through the inlet filter. Heat exchangers are having contaminants run through them even as they try so valiantly to reject the heat of compression. Oil is squeezing through the separator filter, and hoping to hitch a ride past the minimum pressure check valve instead of being scavenged back to the airend. Solenoids are clicking and discs are beating their seats. Grease is being slung from bearing races, and oil is trying its best to escape the confines of the system.
As much as we might sometimes like to believe it, the air compressor is not simply “go” or “no-go”. A compressor can operate improperly for months without ever giving an alarm. Low air demand, cool ambient temperatures, and/ or overcompensated pressure bands can easily mask the true condition of the equipment. As technicians, we can try to simulate plant conditions while we are testing the compressor, but at the end of the day, we are going to get back in the truck and leave. Continuous trending the compressor’s operational, electrical, and efficiency parameters is paramount between service intervals if we want to keep the air system optimized.
The time between service intervals is different for our customers. It may be three, six, or even twelve months before we are scheduled to go back onsite. Plant maintenance personnel have wide ranges of abilities, and they are given more responsibilities every day. Adding to their workload with a needy air compressor is a quick way to make them grumpy! Plant managers are tasked with stout production goals and can view any shutdown of an air compressor as an overall and complete failure by the service company. As the service company, our reputation and continued business with the customer are dependent on our ability to meet and exceed their standards. Continuous monitoring of your customers’ air systems will drastically improve your ability to exceed expectations.
There are compressor manufacturers that offer monitoring. They give you remote access to the microprocessor of only their newest compressors, and not much more. There are sequencer manufacturers that offer monitoring, but spending tens of thousands of dollars and needing access to the customer’s network makes this a hard option to sell. The fact is that if you would like to monitor the operational, electrical, and the efficiency parameters of your customers’ systems, it has to be cost effective, and it needs to work on every compressor that you service. If you would like to really know what happens when your technician leaves, then you need to monitor your air systems with Air Support iO.
QUESTIONS FROM THE AUTHOR: