Gas booster systems play a crucial role in various industrial, commercial, and residential applications, from heating and ventilation systems to food processing plants and life-saving medical equipment.
Unfortunately, fluctuations in gas pressure can lead to inefficiencies in gas delivery, causing increased operational costs and even damage to equipment. That’s where Automatic Pressure Setpoint (APS) controls come in. APS controls regulate your gas pressure to keep it stable despite those inevitable fluctuations.
Let’s explore APS controls for gas booster systems, their key components, and how they work to maintain stable gas pressures.
What Are APS Controls?
APS controls are automated pressure regulating systems that maintain a consistent gas outlet pressure.
Definition And Purpose
The primary purpose of APS controls is to ensure that the gas pressure remains stable, even when the demand for gas fluctuates. This makes them ideal for systems that require precise gas pressures, such as food processing, medical equipment, and manufacturing processes.
Key Components Of An APS Control System
The critical components of an APS control system include a pressure transducer and a wall-mounted control panel.
The pressure transducer is responsible for consistently monitoring the outlet gas pressure. It is typically located downstream of the gas booster, where the gas pressure is at its highest. The sensor sends a constant signal to the controller indicating the current gas pressure level.
Within the control panel, the controller is the central processing component of the APS control system. It receives the pressure transducer’s feedback, processes it, and sends a signal to the included Inverter Drive (also commonly referred to as a variable speed drive or frequency converter) to adjust the speed of the gas booster as needed.
Acting as a mini-computer, the controller employs a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) algorithm to deftly adjust the speed of the gas booster, considering the difference between the desired setpoint pressure and the actual output pressure. It can also be programmed with various settings, such as acceleration and deceleration times, as well as settings to ensure compliance with specific gas supplier requirements.
How APS Controls Work To Maintain Stable Gas Pressures
APS controls work by automatically adjusting the speed of the gas booster to match and maintain the pressure set point. As the demand for gas fluctuates, either increasing or decreasing, without the APS controls, the gas outlet pressure after the gas booster would also increase or decrease, potentially detrimentally affecting the process or application.
The pressure transducer continuously and automatically monitors the outlet pressure. If the pressure deviates from the pressure set point, the controller sends a signal to the Inverter Drive to adjust the speed of the gas booster accordingly.
One of the critical benefits of APS controls is their ability to respond quickly to changes in gas demand. This is due to the pressure transducer and controller’s fast response time. When the pressure transducer detects a deviation from the pressure setpoint input by the user, the controller sends a signal to the VSD to adjust the speed.
This ensures that the outlet pressure remains constant, even if there are sudden changes in gas demand.
Advantages Of Using APS Controls
There are several advantages to using APS controls in gas booster systems. These include maintaining consistent outlet pressure, better energy efficiency, reduced noise levels and wear, and enhanced control functionality.
Consistent Outlet Pressure
The primary advantage of APS controls is that they ensure a consistent outlet pressure. This is essential for applications requiring precise gas pressures, such as medical equipment, food processing, and various manufacturing machinery. APS controls automatically adjust the gas booster based on demand, ensuring the setpoint pressure is always maintained.
APS controls can also lead to significant energy savings because they can reduce energy consumption (and, in the process, operational costs) by reducing the gas booster speed when the equipment does not require maximum performance.
This benefits the environment, of course, since your organisation’s electrical consumption will be lower than it would be without APS controls. But it also helps the organisation’s bottom line since lower energy expenses in manufacturing or other use scenarios mean greater profits.
Reduced Noise Levels And Wear
Using APS controls can also reduce noise levels and lower wear on booster components. These aspects are entirely separate but closely related.
Because the APS controls maintain a stable pressure setpoint, they lower the strain on the gas booster’s components, prolonging the equipment’s lifespan and reducing maintenance. Lower stress also means the machine will generate less noise, creating a slightly more pleasant working environment.
Enhanced Control Functionality
APS controls offer enhanced control functionality compared to traditional gas booster systems. They allow for improved booster acceleration (ramp-up) and deceleration times, enabling more precise control over gas pressure fluctuations.
This is important, as many gas suppliers require it to help prevent low-pressure warnings when you install the boosters on shared main gas supplies. This way, APS controls can help you comply with gas supplier requirements by ensuring that gas pressures remain within the specified range.
Applications Benefiting From APS Controls
APS controls can benefit a wide range of applications that require stable and consistent gas pressures. These include industrial processes, heating and ventilation systems, commercial and residential buildings, and the food and beverage industry.
Industrial Processes Requiring Stable Gas Pressures
Many industrial and manufacturing processes require stable gas pressures to ensure precision and efficiency. Examples include welding and cutting systems. Welding with insufficient gas pressure can cause porosity and brittle welds, which results in lower-quality manufacturing.
Industries that rely heavily on welding, like the automotive and aeronautics industries, need their welding to be on a high standard because failing to do so could cause loss of life.
APS controls can provide stability in gas pressure that leads to increased productivity, better manufacturing quality, and reduced costs.
Heating And Ventilation Systems
Heating and ventilation systems rely on consistent gas pressures to operate effectively. APS controls can ensure these pressures remain stable with more efficient operation and lower energy consumption.
For example, let’s consider a large commercial building with a heating and ventilation system that uses a gas booster to ensure a reliable gas supply for heating and hot water.
Since most tenants will be at home, cooking and showering at more or less the same time, there is high demand during peak hours, but the demand usually drops significantly during off-peak hours. Without an APS control system, the gas booster would operate at maximum speed and pressure throughout the day, wasting energy and increasing operational costs.
By integrating an APS control system into this heating and ventilation system, the gas booster can adjust its speed and pressure based on the current demand for gas.
During peak hours, the gas booster operates at maximum speed and pressure to meet the high demand for gas. However, during off-peak hours, the gas booster slows down and reduces the gas pressure to match the lower demand. This leads to significant savings in energy and operational costs.
In addition to these energy savings, APS controls can also help improve the comfort of building occupants. By ensuring that gas pressures remain stable, APS controls can help prevent fluctuations in temperature and hot water supply, leading to a more comfortable and consistent indoor environment and, consequently, happier occupants.
Commercial And Residential Buildings
APS controls can benefit commercial and residential buildings. The four primary benefits are:
- Improved Comfort and Safety: Gas booster systems are often used in commercial and residential buildings to ensure reliable gas supply for heating, hot water, and cooking. Using APS controls in these systems can help ensure that gas pressures remain stable, improving the comfort and safety of building occupants.Stable gas pressures lead to fewer fluctuations in temperature and hot water supply, resulting in a more comfortable (and safer) indoor environment.
- Energy Efficiency: APS controls can help improve the energy efficiency of gas booster systems in commercial and residential buildings. By adjusting the speed based on the current demand for gas, APS controls can reduce energy consumption during off-peak hours, leading to significant energy savings and reduced operational costs.
- Reduced Noise Levels and Wear: Using APS controls can reduce noise levels and wear on booster components in gas booster systems. By maintaining a stable pressure setpoint, APS controls lessen the strain on booster components, prolonging equipment lifespan and reducing the need for maintenance.This leads to a quieter and more reliable operation of the gas booster system, lowering your maintenance costs and improving the environment for the occupants of the building.
- Compliance with Gas Supplier Requirements: APS controls can help commercial and residential buildings to comply with gas supplier requirements, ensuring that gas pressures remain within the specified range. This helps ensure the safety and reliability of the gas supply for commercial and residential buildings.
Food And Beverage Industry
The food and beverage industry leans heavily on gas booster systems for various applications, from bottling to packaging and beyond. These applications require precise gas pressure levels to ensure product quality and safety.
Of course, the food and beverage industry will also benefit from improved energy efficiency, lower noise levels, reduced wear, and industry-standard compliance, from which the other sectors also benefit. However, it also gains improved product quality and safety.
The food and beverage industry requires precise gas pressure levels for several applications, including bottling and packaging. Any deviation from these exact pressure levels can lead to inconsistencies in product quality and safety. APS controls help ensure that these pressures remain stable and consistent, which improves their quality and safety levels.
Integrating APS Controls With Other Gas Booster Features
APS controls can be integrated with other gas booster features to enhance performance, efficiency, and safety even more. These features include duty standby packages, gas sensor systems, and combining APS controls with other components.
Duty Standby Packages For Increased Reliability
Duty standby packages can provide increased reliability in gas booster systems by helping to prevent downtime. It involves having a backup booster ready to take over in the event of a failure, ensuring that gas pressures remain stable and consistent even during an equipment failure.
A duty standby package generally has two gas boosters that alternate automatically every seven days. Even if you must shut down a gas booster for maintenance, the other one will still function at optimal power with its integrated APS controls.
Gas Sensor Systems For Enhanced Safety And Leak Detection
Gas sensor systems can enhance safety and leak detection in gas booster systems. They continuously monitor gas levels to detect leaks and other safety hazards, usually with alarm systems and automatic emergency shut-down functions to stop leaks before they become a significant problem.
APS controls can ensure that gas pressures remain stable and consistent even as gas demand fluctuates. They offer several advantages, including constant outlet pressure, energy efficiency, reduced noise levels, lower wear on equipment, and enhanced control functionality.
APS controls can benefit a wide range of applications, including (but not limited to) any industrial processes, heating and ventilation systems, commercial and residential buildings, and the food and beverage industry. If you require stable and consistent gas pressures in your business’ gas boosters, APS controls will offer that while saving you some operational costs.