A SUSTAINABLE COMMITMENT, since 1870.
Sustainable economic development.
Ateliers François S.A. was founded in Liege in 1870, and since its various activities in the compressed air field over the centuries, AF Compressors has been the world leader in oil-free piston compressors for the PET blowing industry for 20 years.
1) Corporate social Responsibility (CSR)
Ateliers François and AF’s people management is carefully set up and developed on the most stringent employment and social legislations, from a national or international aspect.
Diversification of origins, ages, genders and opinions of people inside the company organization are matching wellbeing and tolerance, hence against any kind of harassment. Differences of skills, competences and experiences are keys of recruitment and Human Resources. HR defines people responsibilities to be set up and endeavored in order achieve both company and personal objectives on the short and long term. Each stakeholder displaying team spirit, adaptiveness, flexibility, with competence in the sense of community and goal achievements.
Healthy & Safe, ergonomic and practical working environment is essential at AF.
This social commitment inside the company is a continuous goal and daily a care of AF Management for its own organization or in its supply chain process.
2) Responsible economic growth
Over the last 40 years, AF Compressors developed its Air-Compressor range and optimized the technology for Durability, Low maintenance and High Energy Efficiency. On demand of their customers for more Sustainable Oil-free Air compressors for 20-40 bar and 7-10 bar, AF Compressors has continually developed and improved the efficiency of its products to lower the energy consumption. AF Compressors has introduced the same technology into the Standard Air 6-15bar for Oil-free Applications exceeding expectations from customers on Energy efficiency, Low maintenance and Long lifetime, even under extreme environmental conditions such as High temperatures reaching 50 deg C ambient temperature and high relative humidity.
The trend in compressed air is driving towards higher air quality across the globe. More and more applications and users are choosing for Compressed Air free from any contaminant, no oil-contamination, low dew point, complying with the Class 1 according to ISO8573-1 standard. Class 1 is the standard for the Food Industry with measureable targets.
Not only is the trend shifting towards higher Air-quality standards, the requirements on Sustainability are getting tougher. Sustainability for compressed Air can be expressed in the Energy consumption of the Compressed Air installation in all conditions (full load and partial load), the waste produced during its usage and the lifetime and disposal of the compressed air installation.
Unfortunately, for Oil-free Compressed air users, the cost of the Compressed Air is also increasing. The sales price of equipment is getting more expensive, the maintenance costs are continuously rising and the Energy cost is and will further increase. With the Climate change, Electricity costs will further continue to increase due to higher demand and lower supply.
Energy Consumption & carbon footprint
Throughout the world, the operational cost of Compressed air consists 80% out of Electricity. The Energy Consumption is expressed in the Specific Energy Consumption (SPC) of a Compressor. An Air-Compressor will run in full load and in partial load. Very few Air-Compressors are running continuously in full load. It is well known, that in partial load, many Air-Compressors are wasting a lot of energy. Variable speed drives do not eliminate the losses at partial load as the performance is less that what is promised. On top, expensive breakdowns and short lifetime of the electronics are introduced.
The Innovation done by AF Compressors in the Oil-free Compressed Air, is the introduction of a new generation 90-132kW Oil-free Air compressors, having as well at full load a superior Energy Efficiency and at partial load remain with very low losses. In idle condition, the OPC90-132 remains with its specific energy consumption below 7kW/m3/min while at full load it is one of the most Energy efficient Air- Compressor with only 5,5kW/m3/min @ 8 bar. At 5,5kW/m3/min, the range 90-132kW is 29% below the BAFA (German organisation for subsidising Energy projects) minimum requirement.
Most Oil-free compressors running in partial load will find their specific energy consumption climbing up to 8 to 9 kW/m3/min.
The newly developed dual flow control AFS on the OPC90-132, allows to smoothly control the flow in a narrow pressure band. With the digital control, the OPC90-132 is controlled like 2 machines into 1. The use of a Frequency converter becomes useless and avoids expensive and short life time electronics.
Lifetime of the compressed air installation, the sustainable solution.
When the compressor comes to its end of lifetime, the complete unit needs to be disposed. Most compressors last 10yrs to 15yrs, depending on its usage and maintenance. For Rotaries, after 2-5 years, the compressor blocks need to be overhauled and the blocks are being disposed. For centrifugal units, after 5 years a major overhaul is needed on the core. At the end at the age of 10-15 years, most complete units are being replaced or complete refurbished. As the cost of refurbishing is high, most logic is to replace by a new compressor unit. The AF reciprocating compressor has a lifetime of 40 years or 4 times longer. This reduces the waste produced. For the AF compressors, during its full lifetime no overhaul needs to be done, only normal maintenance with genuine parts.
With this AF technology and related innovations, AF puts a new standard in the market for Oil-free Compressed Air. The OPC range hereby contributes to the substantial Carbon Footprint reduction.
3) Waste produced and ecofriendly technologies
The majority of compressors are Oil-injected or Oil-flooded Air-Compressors. During the usage, waste is produced in the form of, Oil-carry over in the air in case of Oil-flooded compressors, Oil into the filter cartridges, contaminated condensate, disposal of worn out compressor components, disposal of the complete compressor after 10 years.
In Oil-free compressors, the three types of technologies, the Industrial Pistons, Rotaries and Centrifugal units. The waste produced by Oil-free compressors is less, as the Condensate is pure water, the filters are not contaminated with Oil and there is no change of Oil every 2000 hrs.
The newly developed OPC 90-132, has very long service intervals of 8000-16000 hours, minimizing the waste from wearing components and lubrication to a minimum. The seals need to be replaced on the second stage every 8000 hrs. and on the first stage every 16000 hrs. The valves, to guarantee high efficiency, are refurbished also after 8000hrs for the second stage and 16000 hours for the first stage.
AF continually improves the management of natural resources by recycling, sorting and reducing waste on their equipment according to the regional and national standards in force. An annual declaration with figured out reporting is submitted annually to the Belgian institution Valipac and biannually to Statbel.
The entire lighting system has also been converted to LED. Heat recovery and water recovery projects are also underway.
In addition to the recent construction of facilities in Alleur-Liège, AF has invested in photovoltaic technology to enable a sustainable energy source of 200 kW of electrical power, which represent on one year, the average annual electricity consumption of 300 European households.