Atlas Copco VSD vacuum pump saves energy at Polestar printing plant

Polestar, Europe’s largest independent printing company, is predicted to save more than £10,000 off the annual energy bill at its Sheffield printing plant by adopting a revolutionary new VSD-driven vacuum pump from Atlas Copco.

When Polestar was confronted with the need to make major repairs to one of its three existing fixed speed vacuum pumps at its £100 million purpose-built Sheffield Gravure plant − a production site that has received environmental awards for its green credentials − it made sense to re-assess their combined operation to establish the potential savings that could be made by installing a more energy-efficient replacement.

Recognising the clear synergies between compressed air and vacuum in the field of air movement, it was a logical move by Polestar Sheffield to seek the recommendations of Halifax-based Pennine Pneumatic Services (PPS) for the optimum solution to their vacuum needs. Atlas Copco Compressors’ premier distributor in Yorkshire, PPS has been a long term supplier of compressed air systems, both fixed speed and VSD-driven, pipework and maintenance services to the company. As a result, a GHS900 VSD+, one of Atlas Copco’s new generation of intelligent, oil-sealed, plug-and-play rotary screw vacuum pumps, was installed on a trial basis to show how it could deliver peak performance at the required operating pressure, and help achieve substantial energy savings.

Of the three existing units, the two smaller fixed speed vacuum pumps previously used by Polestar Sheffield were running at approximately 20kW an hour (one rated at 11 kW and the other at 9.7kW combined). The single GHS VSD+ vacuum pump that replaced them is a 15kW unit, which operates at approximately 20 per cent load, equating to just 4kW. Based on an operation of 8,000 hours per annum, the estimated savings are expected to exceed £10,000 (16KW x £0.08 x 8,000 hours).

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