Compressed air leak management
Compressed air leaks are an unfortunate but unavoidable reality of operating a compressed air system. Losing compressed air through leaks can be a costly exercise in terms of unproductive air consumption and increased energy usage. Locating and repairing leaks on an on-going basis is therefore essential in order to maintain an acceptable leakage rate. In this blog post we provide an extract from a recent whitepaper which discusses the potential costs of compressed air leaks along with the benefits that can be realised through sustainable compressed air leak detection and management.
From reducing the impact of elevated energy costs to meeting environmental sustainability goals, more businesses than ever have a keen focus on operating an energy efficient plant. As one of the largest consumers of energy in a business, the compressed air system cannot be ignored. And, with 25 percent on average, of the compressed air produced by a typical compressed air system being lost to leaks, a compressed air system in fact needs regular attention if it is to operate at its optimum efficiency day in and day out. Here, on-going compressed air leak detection and management plays a key role.
All compressed air systems will have air leaks. On average, a well maintained compressed air network will lose around 5 to 20 percent of its compressed air through leaks, and with an older network this can easily be 30 to 40 percent. However it is not unheard of for some plants to be losing as much as 80 percent of their compressed air through leaks. Put simply this is wasted and unproductive compressed air that still has to be paid for to produce. And this ends up being paid for in the electricity bill, the maintenance bill, the CapEx bill and in increased CO2 emissions.
Whilst unavoidable, it is possible to manage the leak rate in a compressed air system and therefore the impact on energy usage and costs.
Due to their size and audibility - compressed air leaks can quite easily go unnoticed. There are various methods however that can be employed to find compressed air leaks starting with the most simple in-house technique of listening for the hissing sound of air leaks, to wiping soapy water on suspected compressed air leaks and seeing if the water bubbles up. However both methods are far from thorough, with many leaks being inaudible to the human ear. In addition, in order to be able to listen for air leaks, you would need to do this when the plant is quiet and all equipment is switched off.
A more comprehensive approach is to use UltraSonic Leak Detection (USLD). A USLD kit consists of directional microphones, amplifiers, and audio filters. As ultrasonic is a high frequency signal, the sound from a compressed air leak is both directional and localised to the source. This allows the detector to sense and therefore locate the source of leaks with relative ease.
Fast and accurate, USLD is the most versatile form of leak detection capable of detecting leaks as small as a pinhole. Leak detection can also be completed when the site is fully operational.
Once leaks have been detected they should then be tagged, recorded and a report prepared detailing findings, potential savings in kWh, $ and CO2 and recommendations.
Fixing leaks requires a cost-benefit analysis
Potential savings, cost of repair and payback period are all factors that should be considered once leaks have been identified. This will help to determine which leaks will be fixed and in what order of priority - effectively a cost-benefit analysis.
Download the Whitepaper today!
Download the full whitepaper today to read on.
Leak Detection and Management
KAESER AIR SERVICE provides a comprehensive leak detection programme. This includes UltraSonic Leak Detection, tagging, fixing and on-going management. This can be selected as a stand alone service or integrated into a service and maintenance package.
Contact Kaeser today for more information! Just phone 1800 640 611 or fill in the form below and we will get back to you.
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