Leaks Got You Down

Recently I blogged about a refrigerant leak in my homes HVAC system. For that, I had to use a special leak detector which sniffed out gases within the air. Compressed air systems are not as complicated and a simple Ultrasonic Leak Detector can be utilized to find leaks that may be getting you down. Those compressed air leaks can cause inaudible pressure loss within a production line. This leads to equipment faulting out, maybe even compressors over working and an increase in energy demand. So how do you fight a foe that you cannot see, feel, or hear?

Equipping yourselves with the right tools is the ideal way, converting ultrasonic emissions into an audible level by the human ear and a visual representation as well can be done easily with the new EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector. This detector was demoed by Tyler Daniel in a recent video and can be shipped same day on orders received by 2 PM ET that are shipping within the US. So why exactly do you need to worry about this?

Well, leaks can actually account for up to 30% of an industrial facilities compressed air capacity. If you have a 2,000 SCFM compressed air system, That could result in 2,000 * .30 = 600 SCFM of compressed air being wasted. 600 SCFM costs the average user $72.00 USD per 8 hour shift of operation. If you operate for 3 shifts per day and average 6,000 hours of operation per year, then that equates to $54,000 USD per year in savings if you just find and fix the 30 % of airflow that is leaking out.

If you want to discuss how to use the ULD or what a good approach is to how to break down and optimize a compressed air system, that is what our entire team of Application Engineers is for. Contact an Application Engineer today!

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

June’s PRESS RELEASE: New Ultrasonic Leak Detector For Energy Conservation

The generation of compressed air accounts for approximately 1/3 of all energy costs in an industrial facility. According to the Compressed Air Challenge, about 30% of that compressed air is lost through leaks. This means nearly 10% of your facility’s energy costs are simply wasted through poor connections, faulty air valves, improper installation, etc. In addition to simply wasting money, compressed air leaks can also contribute to a variety of other operating losses. A leak can cause a drop in system pressure. When this occurs, end users may not operate as efficiently and have an adverse effect on production. This same drop in system pressure will also cause the equipment to cycle on/off more often, shortening the life of your compressor and other equipment. If the leaks cause an issue in supply volume, it may lead to the belief that more compressor capacity is necessary, further increasing your operating costs.

To put leaks in perspective (assuming energy costs of .10/ kWh):

  • A $200/year leak cannot be felt or heard
  • A $800/year leak can be felt, but not heard
  • A $1,400/year leak can be felt and heard.

(Compressed Air Challenge)

If you walk through your facility, how many leaks can you hear? These are only the REALLY bad ones!!  So if we know that a large amount of compressed air is leaking, what do we do about it? A proper leak prevention plan is the key to success. Since these leaks are impossible to see and some cannot even be heard, you need a tool to help assist you. EXAIR’s NEW Model 9207 Ultrasonic Leak Detector is the right tool for the job. When compressed air leaks through a pipe, it creates an ultrasonic signature due to turbulence. While this sound is not always detectable by the human ear, this meter will allow you to locate leaks up to 20’ away.

High pressure gases create a high frequency turbulence when moving into an area with lower pressure. This results in an ultrasonic noise that is outside the range of human hearing. The ULD detects these signatures, creating an audible sound through the supplied headphones and indicating the intensity via the front-facing LED display as the meter is brought closer to the origin.

The ULD comes with attachments allowing you to filter out background noise in a typical industrial plant and includes “+” or “-“ buttons for fine-tuning the meter’s sensitivity settings. This new model offers heightened ability to detect leaks in hard-to-reach areas while also complying with IEC 613326-1 standard that designates its ability to operate in typical electromagnetic environments found within an industrial plant.

In almost any industrial plant, huge amounts of savings can be realized rather easily by implementing a leak protection program. EXAIR has the Model 9207 Ultrasonic Leak Detector ready to ship same-day from stock. Get yours on order today and start saving money!

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com

Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

The Power of Optimization

When you take your car into the service shop for an oil change, you notice that they will check the fluids, the air filter, the belt, the tire pressure, etc.  The reason that they do this is to make sure that your car will not have any potential safety issues and to get the maximum performance from your vehicle.    

EXAIR has been the leader in “tuning up” compressed air systems.  We have been selling efficient, safe, and effective products since 1983.  At that time, we wanted to become more than a manufacturer.  We wanted to also provide a way to improve your compressed air system.  We developed this into our Optimization product line.   By design, these products are twofold.  First, it shows the importance of saving compressed air, improving safety, and refining processes.  Second, it helps to improve the performance of your compressed air system to get the most out of it.   I am going to discuss a few points about each product below:  

Electronic Flow Control:  The EFC is designed to save compressed air.  If there are any time gaps in a blowing or cooling application, then we should turn off the compressed air.  The EFC is a miniature timing PLC that uses a photoelectric sensor to turn off the compressed air.  By using less compressed air, you will be able to save a bunch of money.  This is why the light bulb in your refrigerator goes off when the door is closed (or does it?).      

Digital Sound Level Meter:  This device is used for measuring sound levels.  For safety reasons, OSHA sets decibel ratings for work environments.  The Digital Sound Level Meter is calibrated to a NIST standard to accurately measure noise level.  If you have poor nozzles on your air guns or open pipes for blow-offs, you could be violating the OSHA standard 29CFR 1910.95(a), which will result in fines.  EXAIR products are designed to meet this standard. 

Ultrasonic Leak Detector:   Many compressed air systems have leaks.  If they go unnoticed, this will affect the overall capacity of the compressed air system as well as cost a lot of money.  Leaks can account for one-third of your compressed air output.  The ULD can find these leaks to optimize your system and improve the “health” of your compressor. 

EXAIR’s Digital Flowmeter w/ USB Data Logger

Digital Flowmeter:  If you can measure flow, then you can find many ways to optimize.  The Digital Flowmeter is able to display and record the amount of flow that you are using in your compressed air system.  You can also use the Digital Flowmeters to find leaks, diagnose pneumatic problems, and use the recorded information for preventative maintenance.  In comparing EXAIR products to open pipes or competitive products, you can easily see the air savings and easily determine the payback period (which is generally in weeks).  EXAIR does offer options that are wireless, serial, or USB Datalogger types for recording, so, you can continuously monitor your compressed air system 24/7. 

With the Optimization products, you can “service” your compressed air system, so you can get the most from it.  The optimization will save you money, make your system safe, and keep things pneumatically maintained.  If you would like to discuss one or more of these products, you can contact an EXAIR Application Engineer for more details.  We can “pop the hood” and see if we can get more from your system. 

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Father’s Day Weekend & Leak Detection

In case you didn’t know, yesterday was Father’s Day. In our household, both Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are pretty low-key, and we normally just get some much-needed family time in. This year for Mother’s Day we prepared the patio and outdoor living space at our home for the Summer activities. For Father’s Day, the schedule was a little different. My wife and oldest had a play to go to in the early afternoon and I had a list of repairs to do as well as some recovery from a dodge ball tournament on Saturday. While most of my repairs were things like fixing a leaking hose, unpacking from the tournament, and weeding the garden, I did not have any major repairs on my list which meant I could take the younger two daughters and head to the pool. That ice-cold water definitely helped with the recovery part of my day, so we went. Met the rest of the crew after their show and had some nice ice cream time then home. I was feeling pretty good as my tasks were all completed, and I was going to be able to just enjoy the meal my wife had fixed for dinner and play some games with my girls. Well, the house had other plans, we arrived home to a thermostat that had crept up while we were gone.

Ice from the compressor line in the condensing coil.
While the leak detector wasn’t out, there was no shortage of thermometers being used here along with a slide rule. (Leak Detection had been completed.)

Now, our HVAC system has limped along for probably a decade longer than most, and we continue to regularly maintain it. This is a true testament to how well preventative maintenance can truly expand the life of an item. Needless to say, during my routine inspection and maintenance at the start of the year, we found the unit was low on refrigerant. One of the first steps we performed when we saw it was starting to freeze up was to begin testing for leaks. This task takes a special gas detection meter that will sniff out the refrigerant vs. just air movement. Sure enough, we found a corroded joint in the A-Coil that has developed a fairly considerable leak. This tool made me think of the Ultrasonic Leak Detector that we sell here at EXAIR. It also made me start to correlate how a leak in a refrigeration system can cause the entire process to ice over because there isn’t enough refrigerant present and so the entire system begins to work harder and harder and the coil temp drops below freezing. The humidity in the air begins to collect on the A-Coil inside the house because the coil is so much cooler than the humid air around it and the ice starts to form. Once the ice forms you restrict the airflow through the coil which causes more ice to form and eventually no airflow happens and the entire compressor line will freeze. This often can lead to other failed parts if not discovered early enough. How is this like a compressed air system?

Well, leaks in a compressed air system cause the compressor to work overtime. It drops efficiency within the other items in the system which creates a lack of performance and potentially shuts down the system. Leaks can be found by utilizing a less specialized, Ultrasonic Leak Detector which can be seen in operation in the video below. Fixing these leaks can easily put capacity back in and save additional maintenance and replacement costs.

If you want to discuss how the Ultrasonic Leak Detector can save you money and costly shutdowns, contact an application engineer today.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer