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Variable Speed Drive Technology Saves Customers $300M

December 9, 2014

3 Min Read
Variable Speed Drive Technology Saves Customers $300M

Since its launch in 1994, Atlas Copco Compressors’ variable speed drive (VSD) technology has saved customers in the U.S. an estimated $300 million in energy costs.          
“Our commitment to sustainable productivity is apparent in the energy savings we’ve achieved over the past 20 years,” said Robert Eshelman, vice president, Atlas Copco’s Industrial Air Div. in the U.S. “We’re proud to have made such a significant contribution to the industry, which in turn makes a significant impact on the environment.”
Based on the number of Atlas Copco VSD compressors currently operating in the U.S., approximately 538 million kilowatt-hours and approximately $53 million in energy savings are saved annually.
“According to greenhouse gas calculations by the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of kilowatt-hours saved annually by our VSD compressors is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of 51,029 homes’ electricity use, or removing 78,101 passenger vehicles from the road,” said Eshelman. “While we’re proud of these numbers, we know there are always additional opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption through new innovations.”
Launched in 2013 and reflective of Atlas Copco’s commitment to innovation, the 10-50 hp (7-37 kW) GA VSD+ range of compact, oil-injected rotary screw compressors reduces energy consumption by up to 50 percent, compared to a traditional load/unload compressor of the same type. The award-winning GA VSD+ range also increases free air delivery by up to 13 percent.
“When we unveiled the world’s first economical to manufacture variable speed drive compressor in 1994, we changed the industry forever by offering a compressor that provided energy savings of 35 percent,” said Eshelman. “After years of research, development and testing, we revolutionized the compressor industry again with the introduction of the VSD+.”
With a patented motor that exceeds the latest NEMA Premium efficiency requirements, the GA VSD+ range features a motor and drive train that share a single drive shaft and are vertically aligned, reducing the total footprint by up to 55 percent compared to other similar-sized compressors on the market. The motor drive train is completely enclosed, resulting in a NEMA 4 rating for protection against dust, debris and water; the single closed oil-circuit cools the motor and lubricates the element and bearings, resulting in a reliable and compact compressor that is also extremely quiet.
The GA VSD+ also features a condensation prevention cycle, the first in the market for variable speed drive compressors. Integrated with the Elektronikon controller, the cycle prevents condensation in compressor oil, even in extremely low load conditions.
“As the result of our many innovations over the past 20 years, we can now offer VSD+ technology for 75 percent of the oil-injected screw compressor applications worldwide,” said Eshelman. “We believe the future of industrial compressors is 100 percent variable speed drive and expect to see the continued adoption of VSD technology across most industries, continuing to reduce energy costs and contribute to a more sustainable industry.”

Atlas Copco Compressors LLC is part of the Compressor Technique Business Area, and its headquarters are located in Rock Hill, SC. The company manufactures, markets, and services oil-free and oil-injected stationary air compressors, air treatment equipment, and air management systems, including local manufacturing of select products. The Atlas Copco Group, which celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2013, is among the Top 100 sustainable companies in the world and a member of the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index. Atlas Copco has also been recognized by Forbes, Thomson-Reuters, and Newsweek, among others, for its commitment to innovation and sustainability. Atlas Copco Compressors has major sales, manufacturing, production, and distribution facilities located in CA, IL, MA, NC, SC, and TX.

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