Plant & Works Engineering
The need for clean compressed air
Published:  10 November, 2015

In the world of classic cars the E-Type Jaguar would probably be among the first to be mentioned by anyone asked to name a design classic and today this is certainly one of the most prestigious and sought after models. Demand for the car, famously described by Enzo Ferrari as ‘the most beautiful car in the world’ continues to grow and the restoration and re-engineering of E-Types has become a highly specialised process requiring exceptional craftsmanship, expertise and a great deal of time. PWE takes a look at how HPC Compressors is helping with re-engineering of the iconic E-Type.

Sussex based Eagle E-Types has dedicated the last 30 years to dismantling and restoring original E-Types, assessing every single part and undertaking all of the work necessary to attain the standards expected for it to become an Eagle E-Type. Eagle both restore and provide customers with the option of sympathetic upgrades designed to improve on and enhance the performance of the original car. In addition to developing upgrades and perfecting the restoration processes, Eagle has always maintained an impressive stock of top level original E-Types, presented in showrooms and then prepared to the highest standard when sold.

The upgrade menu is kept strictly available only to buyers of these cars and the full restorations maintaining maximum exclusivity. Furthermore, Eagle has created two additions to the E-Type model range of coupe and roadster; the Eagle Speedster and the Low Drag GT. They are bespoke full restorations that not only incorporate the aforementioned mechanical improvements but are also re-styled.

Prices range from £195,000 for a first class coupe or roadster to in excess of £700,000 for a Speedster or Low Drag GT. Each year Eagle probably sell about a dozen existing E-Types from the showrooms and 16 expert craftsmen produce two full Eagle E-Type restorations and one Speedster or Low Drag GT.

Among the important requirements of the restoration and re-build process is component cleaning and premium quality paint finishing which requires the supply of high quality, clean compressed air and this is provided by HPC Compressors.

The Challenge

The restoration and re-engineering of original E-Types, demands not only a lot of time, but also specialist equipment and resources. The Eagle site, in the heart of the Sussex countryside, consists of a number of interlinked, converted buildings that house very specialised workshops and impressive showrooms.

As is the case in many manufacturing processes, the supply of high quality, clean compressed air from compact and reliable compressors is absolutely essential and it’s importance is perhaps best understood by some users who describe compressed air as the ‘fourth utility’. Furthermore, a detailed understanding of the application and the ability to provide an energy-efficient compressed air system has helped Eagle to achieve the very high standards its customers expect.

The Solution

The compressed air supply for Eagle’s paint spray shop is provided by a 7.5kW HPC SM Series Rotary Screw Compressor package. This provides clean, compressed air to the finishing process where all the E-Types pass through a multi-coat, premium quality paint finish. To meet the specific compressed air demand of a new specialised piece of equipment and to enhance the supply of compressed air to their service bay and trim shop; Eagle recently invested in a further 9kW HPC SM15T Rotary Screw Compressor package complete with an integral refrigerant air dryer. Replacing an older, now redundant, reciprocating compressor, the new HPC compressor operates independently of the paint shop compressor and its primary function is to operate an AquaBlast cabinet, an impressive piece of equipment that is commonly found in specialised automotive and workshop environments. The AquaBlast cabinet is a wet blasting machine that can simultaneously degrease and clean multiple components. Compressed air is added to a water/media slurry within the unit to accelerate the slurry at the cleaning jet nozzle and create the cleaning effect.

As the process cleans by flow and not impact, it is a perfect alternative to traditional dry blasting and ensures a ‘soft’ superior finish which, in cosmetic applications, keeps components cleaner for longer. As it fulfils a critical part of the Eagle restoration process, sympathetically cleaning valuable original components and parts, it is important that both the AquaBlast cabinet and the compressor operate effectively and to their full potential.

Andy Wilson, regional sales manager at HPC Compressed Air Systems, combined both his knowledge of Eagle’s operational requirements and his experience of the compressed air demands of AquaBlast cabinets to good effect for this project. In relation to the specific pressure and flow of requirements of both the cabinet and the workshop air, Wilson used HPC analysis and simulating tools to provide Eagle GB with a randomised energy profile report predicting the energy savings to be made from the proposed HPC solution. His comparison between a 9kW HPC SM15T and an alternative 11kW screw compressor (using between 1.2 and 1.5 m³/min over an 8 hour working day assuming 250 working days p.a. and 10p per kW/hour energy cost) showed that the HPC SM15T perfectly matched Eagle’s compressed air requirements and would save energy.

Matt Dewhurst, workshop manager at Eagle commented: “Our HPC compressor packages and the support we receive from HPC, continues to exceed the level of performance that we expect from our suppliers. Andy was able to highlight considerable savings for Eagle GB even with full utilisation of our AquaBlast cabinet whilst also improving the supply of compressed air to our mechanical workshops and trim shop”.

The result is an effective, energy-efficient compressed air system which meets the customer’s specific needs,not least for helping to maximise the potential of all the systems required for the restoration and attention to detail that defines Eagle and an Eagle E-Type.

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