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Food Packaging Company Cuts Compressed Air Costs by $250,000


    While many companies claim their products or services pay for themselves, iZ Systems proves it. Based in Macon, Georgia, the company provides clients across a range of industries with energy auditing services and control systems that quickly deliver a complete ROI from the resulting energy reductions. “Almost every system upgrade we complete is based on green initiatives to reduce energy consumption at plants,” says Dean Smith, general manager and technical manager for iZ Systems. “We guarantee these savings, and our technology platform proves that significant energy reductions are maintained in the long term.”

    Since Smith founded iZ Systems in 1990, the company has continued to expand its product offerings and client base, gaining customers internationally as a division of its parent company Blake & Pendleton. iZ Systems has long performed audits and upgrades of compressed air and industrial vacuum systems, and it now offers these services for cooling water systems as well. With its standard control cabinets that include built-in HMI displays, iZ Systems supplies eco-friendly technologies that measure efficiencies, support remote data acquisition and deliver insightful energy usage information to customers.

    For seven years, iZ Systems has provided these services to food packaging manufacturer Pactiv at its Macon facility, which focuses on molded fiber egg cartons. The partnership began with a project to replace the compressed air systems supplying low-pressure blowers, according to David Powell, maintenance manager for Pactiv. “With every blower we tested, the pressures would change too much even if a single nozzle was adjusted,” Powell says. “The iZ Systems team promised a blower system that would not change in pressure, even if you shut off all but one nozzle, and their system has worked flawlessly.”

    Open, Transparent Technologies Have Universal Appeal

    The system improvements for Pactiv resulted in unique technical specifications, highlighting the fact that greater system openness is increasing in importance across all industries. To guarantee that customers’ systems achieve peak performance, iZ Systems must be able to monitor data remotely and make adjustments whenever necessary. However, connecting to clients’ diverse networks can be difficult, according to Allen King Jr., inside application project manager for iZ Systems. “The ability to access and analyze performance data with ease is very important,” King says. “To this end, we access data from systems across the globe using a common source and format.”

    In addition to its thorough audits, the company accomplishes these goals through its turnkey iZ Compressed Air Automation and Data Acquisition System, which combines the automation controller, I/O and HMI in a single control cabinet and utilizes custom software. This system must support an increasing number of connected devices – 50 compressors across a factory, for example – while reducing footprint, complexity for users, cost and, most importantly, unplanned downtime. “Improved reliability is an ever-present demand from industrial clients,” Smith says. “A compressed air system that is not reliable has the ability to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost production and energy costs. A reliable and well-managed compressed air system has the ability to save those dollars. Our iZ Compressed Air Automation and Data Acquisition System has the ability to assist in maintaining those savings.”

    Open Controls Maintain Performance Under Pressure

    The engineering team at iZ Systems accomplished its mission at Pactiv using PC-based solutions from Beckhoff Automation. Beckhoff and iZ Systems first partnered on projects about 15 years ago, because TwinCAT automation software helped the company establish remote monitoring of its compressed air automation and data acquisition systems. Smith explains that interfacing horizontally via Modbus TCP to diverse compressor control systems within plants and vertically via OPC UA are important features that exemplify the system openness of PC-based control technology. “The TwinCAT software platform provides tremendous flexibility to the process of applying our iZ Compressed Air Automation and Data Acquisition System software to any system,” he says.

    Stratospheric Energy Savings, Guaranteed

    By implementing open, PC-based solutions, iZ Systems kept its promise to Pactiv. As a result of the blower equipment upgrades, Pactiv reduced its energy consumption for compressed air by 45%. “By using blower air, we replaced nearly 400 horsepower of compressed air with 50 horsepower. This amounts to a cost savings of nearly $250,000 each year,” Powell says. “The improvements to our air compressor design have stabilized our pressure, and the remote monitoring has given us peace of mind.”

    The results are impressive by any standard, but they are not unusual for iZ Systems, Smith explains: “For some clients, we have reduced compressed air energy costs by more than 50%, and we can prove that we have maintained those savings ever since.” More importantly, the systems with Beckhoff components achieve the utmost reliability. Secure communication with customer machinery via OPC UA allows iZ Systems to monitor any changes in performance that could require maintenance. Powell says this, along with excellent support, has been crucial for Pactiv: “The system alerts me when there are any abnormalities with the compressors, but iZ gets the warnings as well and their engineers are usually working to address the issue before I call them.”

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