PET Air Compressor Sizing

Plants and other manufacturing facilities making use of bottle production rely on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) air compressor systems. The sizing of this type of compressor is critical, both to manage sufficient production volume and to deliver the necessary, consistent air pressure for PET bottle production.

Most of the running costs for any type of air compressor consist of the energy it consumes. While heat recovery saves money in the long run, the initial approach should always be to size the PET compressor system properly for the needs of the plant.

The Risks of Using an Improperly Sized PET Air Compressor

Air compressors, like other large industrial equipment with moving parts, have optimal functionality. Getting into deep water is easy when straying too far from what’s optimal.

Infrequent or Overuse Risks

If you run air compressors too infrequently, they’ll break down more often due to irregular use. This defies low maintenance objectives and increases maintenance costs long-term, even if they only produce low-pressure air.

On the opposite end, the potential wear and tear could become excessive when running compressed air equipment beyond it’s expected runtime hours. With that said, air compressors are built to be robust, reliable machines.

Size Matters with Air Compressors

The capacity of an air compressor to produce the necessary volume of compressed air at the required bar or PSI level needed has it’s limits, too. This applies equally to a high-pressure air compressor as it does to a low-pressure one.

When any air compressor, including a PET air compressor, is too small for the commercial need it is supporting, performance will often disappoint. This includes the compressor failing to match air demand or delivering low air pressure. Either situation would make it less useful for certain PET-related bottle production applications, where a set minimum pressure level is required for the system to function correctly.

Overly large PET compressors compared to actual needs create other issues, such as more frequent breakdowns and wasted energy running them below maximum capacity. Oversized PET compressors are required to increase energy when underutilised, boosting a plant’s energy expenses unnecessarily.  

Does a Compressor Booster Help to Meet Pressure Requirements?

What about boosters? It’s worth noting that a booster is often included in air systems. These increase air pressure levels from what a compressor initially produces.

Nevertheless, they aren’t a cure-all for a pressure drop, or an air compressor that cannot produce enough high-pressure air to meet pressure requirements.

Proper PET Compressor Sizing Relies on Pressure and Flow

Regardless of whether you’re considering the suitability of an existing air compressor to support PET bottle production, or it represents a new plant investment, required pressure and flow needs are where the rubber meets the road.

Without a significant degree of accuracy on the estimates for these, they will be too inaccurate to use.  

Pressure Requirements Differ for PET Air Compressors

Pressure equals force. Compressing air takes considerable energy too.

There are different methods for measuring the pressure level, but the most common are PSI or bar. The former is the Imperial system, and the latter is part of the Metric system.

One important distinction for buyers generally familiar with air compressors is that pressure level needs differ markedly for general commercial applications vs PET bottling plants. Whereas some commercial uses of compressed air might find under 10 bar as adequate, the pressure range needed for industrial PET bottle blowing can begin at 18 bar and reach 40+ bar for a higher-pressure air compressor.

From an energy expense standpoint, each bar of added pressure considerably increases a company’s electricity bill. This is why in a rising energy cost environment, companies are looking at operating at lower pressure levels for energy savings, wherever possible.

Know Your Flow Requirements

They establish flow based on the volume of compressed air that a compressor produces. When talking about flow, we must first mention a little about flow measurements.

Cubic feet per minute (CFM) is how free air delivery is tracked. CFM puts a number on the airflow capacity of an air compressor at a fixed pressure level. The pressure capability of the air compressor is also a factor.

Alternatively, cubic meters per hour (m3/h) or litres per second (l/s) are valid measurements within the industry too.

Obtaining the air demand and how many pieces of high-pressure air equipment and pneumatic-related tools or machines are present is the place to start. This is meaningful when owning a compressor, to rmaintain lower energy costs.

For the booster, a separate calculation is needed. This relates to the number of PET bottle machines and the volume of bottles to produce. This is vital for determining the flow needs for the booster.

Calculating PET Compressor Sizing Correctly

Compressor technology comes in different versions and types, even with PET compressors. While some popular systems are oil-free compressors, others promote that they’re air-cooled or water-cooled. Each comes with a minimum and maximum pressure capability when producing bottles.

When calculating the correct PET compressor size, it’s necessary to consider many factors. In some cases, a rough calculation might be enough. However, if you must justify the purchase to your board of Directors, a calculation mistake cannot be made, since the stakes are much greater, to push the project through.

More factors affect the calculation than people think. Mistakes by the layperson are common. At the same time, the compressor type and cooling system matter, even the relative elevation to sea level, wall thickness, ambient temperature, nearby ambient pressure, and even humidity levels play a part, too.

Another potential issue relates to the bottles themselves. Other aspects, like shape, weight, thickness, and other form factor aspects, alter what’s required to get the desired results.

PET Air Compressor Sizing
Air Compressor

Seek Assistance from Anglian Compressors

It is much better to seek a PET air compressor consultation with Anglian Compressors than try to go it alone.

As a practical matter, many factors and aspects go into a proper calculation. Given the financial consequences of making a bad calculation, and acquiring a poorly chosen PET air compressor, working with a specialist to figure out your company’s needs is safer. To determine your best options, get in touch to discuss it with a trained air compressor professional.

Contact us below.