With energy bills skyrocketing, it becomes critical to stop the waste. Air leaks are a constant part of any compressed air system. If you do not own an Ultrasonic Leak Detector, you are throwing money away. As air lines age, leaks happen. Rust erodes the pipes. Curves, twists and turns lead to weak joints. Fittings (especially push-in fittings) and other pipe connections will degrade and begin to leak. Day-to-day wear and tear, bumps and bruises will all cause small air leaks over time. Having an air leak in your system is similar to having a running toilet in your home. You won’t see any visible damage, but when you get that utility bill!
It can be difficult to find the leaks in a large facility. The air lines could run a long way, with multiple twists and turns within your system. The area can be loud, and leaks can be very quiet… Of course the large leaks are easy to identify, see, hear and feel. But many leaks are very small, hard to locate and the noise form these leaks can be “Ultrasonic sound”, meaning that they are at a frequency between 20kHz and 100kHz, and cannot be heard by the human ear. To find these small leaks and to hear Ultrasonic sounds, you will need an Ultrasonic Leak Detector.
With this precision tool, you will be able to both hear and see where the leaks are. As you pass the Detector across the pipes the alarm lights will glow and grow, and if you have the noise canceling headphones on, you will also be able to hear the leak.
Here is an example of how costly 1 small 1/16th” leak can be:
Reach out today to discuss or order one of these money savings jewels, or any of our other intelligent compressed air products.
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Pressure profiles and flowrates of a compressed air system are essential parts in understanding and maintaining an industrial compressed air system. Understanding what the pressure is coming out of the compressor, what it is in your header system, and then down into the drops of your machines and points of use are all beneficial to building an efficient compressed air system. Of course, this will take some monitoring.
In a perfect system, the compressor outlet pressure and the point of use line pressure will be the same. Due to factors such as friction loss, unregulated demands (leaks), and inefficient pipe sizing, it is difficult to produce in a real life scenario. This results in a pressure drop across the compressed air system, a decline in pressure from the compressor outlet to the end use devices. Understanding the full pressure and flow layout of a system can be used to zero in on artificial demand on the system which is a result of a leaks or inefficient use of compressed air.
The Pressure Sensing Digital Flowmeters provide the ability to see both the flow on a pipe as well as the operating pressure. When coupled with other items such as our Wireless Communication network they can easily be setup to generate alerts to operators as well. This would look like a message stating that operating pressure has dropped and that would result in the operator halting production to determine the cause. While a production halt is less than desirable, a crashed machine or loss of clamping a part due to pressure drop can be worse.
By using the Pressure Sensing Digital Flowmeters you will be able to build a pressure profile throughout your system. This can all build back into an efficient compressed air system by tying directly into the information gathered for the overall system.
For instance, If a compressor set point is 90 psig, and at the point of use you are seeing 70 psig, you have a 20 psig drop in piping, fittings and/or artificial demand. If the operator needs 80 psig to maintain their process then that means someone will want to bump the compressor set point to 100 psig to compensate. First off, that pressure drop should never be present in a system as it is excessive. Second, if this is a positive displacement compressor then for every 2 psig added, the compressor itself will increase by 1% of energy demand from the drives.
If you would like to dig into your system and start building a pressure/flow profile to start off your path to an optimized system, please contact an Application Engineer.
Leaks, and not the kind you see on a cooking show, are never good. Before you comment, yes I know the vegetable is spelled leek, that’s just the strength of my dad jokes. The point of this post is actually discussing leaks, mainly of the compressed air variety. All leaks cost. I recently found a leak within my home which was accounting for around a 20% increase in my water bill. Sad to say that it took a few months to locate, and solve the issue. Over the years, I’ve seen many facilities deal with common leak problems like being unable to leave their compressed air pipes energized over night because the parasitic draw will drain the entire system. That’s a problem!
If the leaks are present when nothing is being utilized, then that means parasitic draw is happening on the system. This is when energy that is being converted into compressed air isn’t used but instead, leaking out to atmospheric conditions. These parasitic draws are not always easy to locate, so over the years I’ve had to help a few customers address this problem. One in particular stands out, so I am going to share how we honed in on the leak and ultimately gave them days without a shutdown.
The conversation all started with a customer asking about how our Digital Flowmeters work, and if they could be used to determine which production line is using the most air, and more importantly why their production line shuts down for low air pressure. After I explained how we would select their infeed pipe size as well as size a meter that would fit each machine infeed, we got to talking about the shut down sequence.
The approach they took to solving the issue was to first capture the flowrate of the entire system and then to evaluate the flowrates of each segment of their plant. From there, we would install flowmeters on the higher usage sectors, and drill down to each machine for the finite analysis. They could then go through all the other production lines and generate a full facility consumption profile. To start, they found one packaging line that was using a considerably higher volume of air throughout their first shift than any other line and than any other shift.
Once they started breaking down the high demand production line they found one leg of the production line which had a spike in usage at the same time every day. The trick was they couldn’t find a machine with high usage, that is until they traced all of the piping and found a filter bag house on the roof that had been added to the line at some point. This wasn’t documented and had a piece of pipe that had failed causing an open dump during the cleaning cycle every day at 2:30 in the afternoon.
This was all made possible by setting up multiple flowmeters with wireless capabilities so they could document and compare the usages between machines and production lines ultimately giving them a considerable amount of production time back into the day by fixing a broken pipe that caused daily shutdowns.
If you would like to discuss how to layout a compressed air monitoring system in your facility or the best way to track down the cause of some leaks and high compressed air demand, contact an Application Engineer.
What is an air compressor? In simple terms it is a machine that increases fluid pressure, it works by changing the volume of air and storing it in a storage tank. Many industries use compressors to increase production and thus has led to the development of many new industries. There are a couple types of air compressors but today I will focus on the Rotary Compressor.
The Rotary Screw Compressor is a very common type of air compressor. This compressor uses dual rotors with meshing lobes that trap air while rotating. The rotation continues to push air toward a discharge port while decreasing the space the air take sup, thus increasing pressure. The rotary compressor has a simple structure with few components and has some clear advantages over other compressors:
When operating, they are quiet
Continuous operation, or they can match demand
Some disadvantages include:
Skilled maintenance required compared to other compressors.
They are more expensive than other compressors
There are two types of rotary air compressors. They are oil-injected and oil-free rotary air compressors. Oil-injected rotary screw compressors as the name suggests has oil injected in the compressor element during the air compression. An insignificant amount of oil will escape into the compressed air system also known as “oil carryover”. The use of EXAIRs oil removing filters and filter separators will help remove the oil, moisture and other particulates from the compressed air lines resulting in clean compressed air.
Oil-free rotary screw compressors are similar to the oil-injected compressor but without the use of oil. The oil-free compressors use a two stage system with a cooling process between stages as the compressed air will become extremely hot if not for a cooling process between stages of compression. The oil-free compressors are commonly used in food and medical industries.
EXAIR is here to help with your “Intelligent Compressed Air Products” so please contact us with your compressed air tooling needs.