July 2012

Merck cuts energy costs with CompAir’s Quantima compressor

Merck, Quantima, CompAir case study

Merck KGaA, a paint manufacturer based in Gernsheim, Germany, has turned to CompAir’s innovative, oil-free Quantima compressor technology to help lower energy costs and reduce cost of ownership in just nine months.

Originally Merck planned to purchase a single Quantima Q-52 machine to replace an existing turbo compressor. However, after achieving dramatic energy savings from its initial installation, the company decided to add two more Quantima models to the network. As a result, Merck is now on track to save €60,000 (approx. $80,400 AUD) a year in energy savings.

Merck’s performance material department develops and produces pigments for effect paints, for use on high-end luxury cars, including special glimmer and multi-colour effect paints. The development process requires high-quality air to avoid any contamination issues, making the 100% oil-free Quantima technology an ideal choice.

Previously, Merck used standard turbo compressors but found that Quantima’s gearless driveline and simple compression technology made the system considerably more cost-effective.

A speed-regulated, high-speed electric motor drives a rotor shaft that is directly connected to an impeller at each end. The rotor shaft is supported by magnetic bearings and is literally floating on air resulting in no mechanical contact and therefore reducing wear on components and helping to lower maintenance costs.

Efficient package
The first Quantima Q-52 package included a desiccant dryer that uses the waste compressor heat for full-flow, hot-gas regeneration. This provides high-efficiency because the heat required to regenerate the adsorption material is provided with no additional energy outlay. To make the greatest possible use of the thermal energy, there is also no aftercooler installed, enabling the compressed air to be discharged into the full flow using a hot gas outlet

A nine-month success story
Following the success of the initial installation, when a large turbo compressor in the second compressed air station needed replacing due to old age, it was a logical choice for Merck to upgrade to two smaller Quantima machines.

Demand in this compressed air station fluctuates dramatically in short intervals, so the speed-regulated Quantima system provided an ideal opportunity to match compressor output to varying factory demand. With volume capacities of 2500 m3/h and 3100 m3/h respectively, the compressors are now able to operate in line with the actual air requirements at all times, providing further energy savings.