When the operating air pressure within a manufacturing facility drops it is easily noticed. This is because the equipment that is depending on that air pressure to stay above a set point will generally stop working and halt in an alarm state safely. (This is not always the case and in fact I have personally seen machines crash due to low compressed air pressure.) This creates down time, safety hazards, equipment hazards and is all around not good for production. This is why low pressure alarms are taken very seriously in most facilities.(See the video below.)
Sometimes the reason behind low air pressure in areas is easy to find. If the alarm happens every time a machine reaches a point in the production cycle where air is used to blow parts off then the point of use blow off can be looked at to see how its efficiency can be maximized. Other times it is not so simple. There may not be a pattern to when the low pressure alarm goes off and therefore cannot be easily traced. This is where the 6 Steps To Compressed Air Optimization comes in to play. The best way to narrow down what area the fault is generating in is to get some base line measurements on the total air usage for the system by using a product like the Digital Flowmeter with USB Data logger.
Once the baseline is known for the complete system, measuring the main branch lines for the systems will then need to be performed. This could be on the main header where it branches off to individual areas of the plant, or if it is a small shop any line that is off the main header. By recording the usage over a period of time it will highlight use trends including low use/high use times and random spikes in demand you may not be aware of. The next step would be to then look further into the high use and random spikes. If a flow meter is placed on individual legs of the air system, it will be easier to determine what area of the plant is causing high use, or knowing what processes occur during the time period shown in the data.
By having flow meters on individual branches the cause of the high demand on the compressed air system will become very clearer, whether it be an open pipe blow off, stuck valve on a drain, or just an operator not paying attention, the cause will be able to be determined and eliminated.
EXAIR offers a full range of Digital Flowmeters with USB data loggers and we offer custom calibrations as well as sizes to fit virtually any compressed air piping you may have within your facility. Feel free to contact an Application Engineer to discuss the possibilities.