ALUP, Imtech and the TU/e, an efficient collaboration

Interview with Ad van Rooij (TU/e) and Jeroen van Veldhoven (Imtech)

Even before the 80s of the last century ALUP worked together with the Eindhoven University of Technology TU/e to provide the laboratories, lecture rooms and facilitating companies buildings with compressed air. That cooperation also included the maintenance of the machines - and even remained when the TU/e decided to outsource the overall maintenance of the campus.

ALUP compressor installation TU/e

Hans Tillmann (ALUP), Ad van Rooij (TU/e) and Jeroen van Veldhoven (Imtech)

Oil-free compressed air

In recent decades ALUP has built a high quality central plant in Eindhoven for the oil-free production of compressed air, focusing on the air quality and supply certainty. "A company like the TU/e cannot afford being without compressed air," said Ad van Rooij, Account Management and Maintenance of TU/e, "and the demand for compressed air varies greatly - from 0 to even 80% - because there always will be new and different research. Some projects require a lot of air in a short period of time - there sometimes are experiments that have to be performed outside regular working hours." The central installation consists of three water-injected screw compressors WIS 130 with a capacity of 45 kW each, two WIS 75 (55 kW, with ceramic bearings) and two cool dryers DW 210 and DW300, with a respective capacity of 35 and 50 m3/min. The air is delivered to a several kilometres long network, which is evolved, improved and made more energy efficient throughout the years. Besides this, some buildings and departments have their own compressed air installation at the TU/e. For example, BBC (Storage Special Chemicals) has its own compressor, with which also the air treatment is driven (pneumatic spark-free operation). Moreover, there is a separate high-pressure net (80 bar) for special purposes.

Core business

As well as other (government) companies, in recent years the TU/e focussed on its core business. Instead of the usual “hour-invoice” the maintenance tasks were largely given to a single contractor. For the compressed air network Imtech was chosen. "But the TU did not want to risk losing our accumulated knowledge and experience from the past years," says Hans Tillmann, sales engineer ALUP. “We know the possibilities of the machines - and also of the appliances that are here for over 10 years - and the demands made here."

Collaboration

The solution was found in the formation of a team where Imtech was given the responsibility to the TU/e and became an ALUP customer. “This works perfectly," says management expert Jeroen van Veldhoven of Imtech, "as long as you keep the communication lines open. Four times a year for instance we have to come up with ideas to decrease the consumption of energy. And we communicate that with our suppliers.”
In the forthcoming reorganization of the TU/e campus into a science park with conference rooms, a business park and residential towers for hundreds of students, high demands will also be made on the development and maintenance of the compressed air network. The three-headed team is very confident about the future. Ad van Rooij: "Although we are now bound to a tighter budget, thanks to our long-term planning, we know what it takes to support the new developments with this unique network. And the three of us can, in accurate reports and prognoses, substantiate this.”