Bigger Is Not Always Better

This is my first case study and a throwback to my time working for one of the largest brick manufacturers in the country. It dates back in the summer of 2017 with a problem. 

The Problem

For decades, extruded brick manufacture has used liquid ring vacuum generators to remove air from the extrusion process. This had one major drawback though! If the temperature rose too high, the efficiency of the liquid ring units decreased, as did their ability to create a good vacuum. 

Liquid Ring

The table to the left gives a good demonstration of how the efficiency and pressure is impacted by the temperature of the ambient air and liquid. If you have ever had the opportunity to step inside a Brick Manufacturing Plant, you will know just how extreme the temperatures can get. From blistering heat in the summer to freezing cold in the winter! Since the efficiency of the machines where impaired in the summer, this meant that production lines had to slow down, in order to maintain a vacuum level that delivered good quality results.

In the industry, the usual response to a problem like this would be to use a bigger machine. This is where I did some research into the root cause of the problem, and proposed a solution using technology instead of brute force. When we think of technology we always think of computers, data and science. When actually when you take a step back, the technology that you need has already been in the industry for years, it just hasn't been used in that application.

The Solution

I trialled 2 new types of technology on the production line in controlled tests with great success giving  me options of which technology to opt for. Having already made great working relationships with a leading compressed air supplier, with their air products. I chose a total care solution from Atlas Copco, which included installation, commissioning and maintenance and repair for the next 5 years. 


I opted for 2, 5.5 kW Atlas Copco GHS 350 VSD⁺ packages.  This is the same technology used in most air compressors for decades,  it had just never made it's way into mainstream vacuum generation. These units are VSD controlled giving them a huge energy saving advantage. The GHS also has the benefits of being able to interface directly with the machines control system, either via hardwire or common BUS connections. 

The Results

Production is able to continue through any season unhindered. Due to the technology used, temperature doesn't have the same effects on the output of the machine. The solution also came in at a huge half price of the equivalent bigger liquid ring setup. In regards to the bigger unit we received the following benefits:

  • Duty & Standby operation. Allowing one unit to be switched off for maintenance without impacting production. 
  • VSD Energy Savings - Up to 60% Pa energy saving by utilising VSD technology.
  • Extra Capacity - Due to the the efficiency of the technology, the capacity of a single unit was able to satisfy production needs at any one time, leaving another 100+% capacity waiting on standby.
  • Cost Saving - 2 of these units where still half the price of a similar proposed liquid ring.
  • Space saving - With the footprint of just a single pallet each, these units where considerably smaller.

These machines where so much of a success, that they have now been adopted as the new standard vacuum technology in the organisation, and Dorket Head has since become a centre of excellence for it! Don't just take my word for it though, a full case study can be seen on the Atlas Copco website [here].

If you have a problem that you need a solution for, the answer isn't always obvious. That's why Leivers Ltd is so successful, we can generate solutions to all your problems, while tailoring the solution to your budgetary requirements.

If you haven't quite got the solution yet, you can hire us to problem solve and get to the root cause! In either case, reach out today to see what we can do for you!

LinkedIn - Copy