Ford Authority

How Ford Uses Smart Compressed Air Controls To Save Energy

As the world comes to embrace smart new automation technologies, Ford Motor Company has employed a cutting-edge industrial control system from Ohio-based company Bay Controls to help cut down on the energy used to deliver compressed air at ten of its North American plants.

Ford has Bay Controls’ “Tridium” platform to thank for an annual savings of about $1 million in energy costs across plants in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The platform allows the air compressors at ten different Ford manufacturing facilities to be controlled remotely through a secure network, while returning performance data like pressure, power, and flow. Air compressor operation can also be scheduled automatically for optimal efficiency.

“Remote control of air compressors allows operators to make decisions from anywhere in the facility, saving time and improving productivity,” said Bay Controls Operations Manager Brian Bee at the 2016 Niagra Summit in May. “If anything causes a problem – like higher power demand or sub-optimized equipment performance – alarm notifications are directed to the correct personnel so they can respond quickly to issues without being tethered to their equipment.

“This process is automated, almost instantaneous, and cuts human error.”

Ford’s compressed air energy usage has been cut by an average of about 9 percent at each of the ten Ford plants with Bay Controls’ Tridium system installed.

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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