Compressed air production is responsible for approximately 10% of the industrial electricity consumption within the European Union. Meanwhile, inefficient downstream throttling is mostly used for speed control of pneumatic drives. Thus, in the past, more efficient control strategies have been in focus of multiple research projects. Nevertheless, negative impacts of the resulting systems on simplicity in implementation and commissioning as well as on procurement costs are hindering a broader application. Therefore, the focus of this paper lies on a novel compressed air saving switching scheme, looking not for the utmost efficiency, but for simple and cheap implementation.

The solution bases on simple to implement state of the art circuits, the up- and downstream throttling. The novel system aims to combine the benefits of the two before mentioned circuits in a compact, simple to implement component. The paper presents the three before-mentioned systems and compares these by means of analytical equations and lumped parameter simulations. The study reveals a broad applicability of the novel switching scheme and significant efficiency improvements.

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