When was the last time a professional service company performed an ultrasonic air leak survey of your facility? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, compressed air leaks are among of the most preventable utility costs in facility management today. They also estimate that a single 1/8” leak can cost your business over $500 annually. For many businesses in the manufacturing and power generation industries, compressed air represents the second or third highest utility cost. Air leaks can account for as much as 20-30% of your entire air system demand.
Leaks are ongoing maintenance problems that appear in any part of the system. In addition to being a source of wasted energy, leaks contribute to other operating losses. If the pressure of the system is significantly lower, pneumatic tools will operate less efficiently. In this case, a leak affects performance adversely. In addition, by forcing the compressor to cycle more frequently, leaks shorten the life of almost all system equipment. Increased run time also leads to additional maintenance requirements and more unscheduled downtime.
Leaks necessitate an annual air leak survey and repair program. While leakage can come from any part of the system, the most common problem areas are:
- Cheap or improperly installed filters, regulators and lubricators.
- Hoses, tubes, disconnects and fittings.
- Incomplete pipe joint welds.
- Improperly operating solenoids and dirty seals.
- Improperly welded flanges.
- Incorrect and/or improperly applied thread sealants.
- Missing O-rings.
- Old or poorly maintained pneumatic tools.
- Open condensate traps.
- Worn cylinder rod packing.
- Worn or loss gate/ball valve packing.
A simple program of regular ultrasonic air surveys and repair can go a long way towards reducing these excessive energy costs. With a minimal investment, proactive and preventative maintenance (#PdM) efforts can see leak targets of 20-40% reduced to 10% and in some cases as low as 5%.
We are pleased to offer air leak surveys and complete system audits of your plant. We are the Midwest’s largest service center for rotating equipment and power generation equipment and a leader in #UltrasonicAirLeak surveys for rotating machinery. In an effort to save money by running less air compressor horsepower, our customers have us perform compressed air leak surveys annually. We use sophisticated ultrasonic devices to locate your leaks. Leaks of compressed air and other substances produce significant levels of sound, including ultrasonic noise.
By definition, ultrasonic noise occurs at frequencies beyond the level of human hearing (greater than 20,000 Hz or cycles per second). Although some leaks are identifiable by the noise they make in the audible sound range, many leaks can be located only with ultrasonic detection. We take the time to review your compressed air system. We look for areas of misuse and check for inefficiencies. Our report includes a list of all the air leaks we find and a cost-savings estimate based on the size of leaks found and cost per kWh of electricity.
If your business is in Wisconsin or Michigan, the state’s Focus on Energy Program offers financial incentives to businesses on the survey and repair of existing equipment and the purchase of new equipment from variable-speed drives to flow controllers.[subscribe2]