How to report savings from a compressed air survey Pt. 2

January 30th, 2015

Conducting a compressed air survey is only half the battle. You need to be sure you’re reporting your findings in a way that makes business sense and accurately portrays the money your saving.

Mike Naro is a technical trainer with UE Systems with extensive experience conducting compressed air surveys. In the first part of this series, we reviewed his webinar on the benefits of fixing compressed air leaks and how to conduct a leak survey. The second part of this series will focus on how to report the findings from a compressed air survey so that you can effectively present these savings and calculate your return on investment.

Reporting your findings
Once you’ve found your leak and stored the sound file, you can use software provided by UE Systems to calculate energy waste and carbon emissions. However in order to get to this point, you need to know how to properly enter this data, and calculate these savings.

UE Systems Ultratrend Data Management System is software of choice when it comes to these calculations. When you open the program, make sure that your communications are properly configured for your Ultraprobe so that you can upload and download your information successfully.

In his webinar, Naro uses the Maple Street Plant option, which is a tutorial that comes with all copies of Ultratrend DMS. For the sake of clarity, we will reference this tutorial throughout the piece.

Within the Maple Street option, you should select the “Leak” tag, followed by “Utility.” This will list a number of different data points from the most recent compressed air leak. In the case of Maple Street, the maintenance employees conducted a compressed air survey in the shop, and identified several leaks, which are marked with tags. The software will label each leak at the end with a three-digit number, but these identifiers can be changed to your preference as well. Once chosen, one of these data points will provide further details on the leak.

Creating a spreadsheet
Once you chose a specific leak, you can examine the information that you were able to collect for that particular fault. This includes information on when and where it was detected, along with decibel of the leak and its pressure, which are essential components to calculating a CFM. You can also include comments to include any additional information about the leak, such as its specific location along a machine.

The different data points that are located under “Utility” need to all be exported to the leak software. From here we lick the “Launch Export Wizard” button to make a compressed air spreadsheet. This will put the information from your air survey into an excel spreadsheet and export to your designated file.

Within the spreadsheet, you will notice that the pressure at leak may vary. Naro recommends rounding to the lower number so that you don’t overestimate the leak’s expense.

The cost of the leak will be estimated for you within the spreadsheet, but it is important to make sure that you check the “Cost” tab in Excel, so that you can accurately assess how much the leak costs. Essentially, this means calculating how much you pay per kilowatt hour. Depending on where your plant operates and its energy provider, this can vary quite a bit. For instance, in New York, the rate can be above $0.20 per kilowatt hour, but as low as $0.06 per kilowatt hour in other states. You also want to include the year of the assessment and the state in which you operate.

Another important factor to note is the operation times of the compressed air machine. If your compressor is running all day for the entire year, rather than at select times during the day, the amount of energy that’s being wasted will vary. Updating these figures will also influence how much air is costing you per thousand cubic feet.

Because compressed air is one of many resources that a compressor can produce, you may want to assess how much certain gasses cost. The Maple Grove example includes Argon, Helium and other gasses as well. You will need to specify how much you pay for each of these gases.

The last important piece of data to note is the state in which your plant is located. This will provide the state electricity coefficient, which will be used to factor in how much carbon emissions are being prevented by fixing this leak.

Assessing overall performance
Completing the aforementioned tasks will provide us the necessary information for creating an overall assessment of compressed air performance within the plant. Once all these data points are checked and updated, we can return to the original spreadsheet.

Make sure that detected leaks are accurately listed on the spreadsheet (for instance, if its an Argon leak, rather than air) and note whether or not they have been fixed.

The equations within the spreadsheet will then be able to calculate the various figures you need in order to present a business-friendly leak report. This includes how much the each individual leak and the all the leaks as a whole are costing the plant, how much each repair is saving the plant, and how many of the total leaks have been repaired. It also includes how much greenhouse gas emissions are being avoided in the process.

From here, you can click on the “Report” tab, which compiles the essential information from the current survey – the costs and emissions data – and compiles it with the rest of the surveys you have completed over the years in order to keep a running total of how much you are saving with each new survey.

At the end of the day, making the case for regular compressed air surveys, and reliability centered maintenance programs in general, all comes down to being able to easily present the kinds of savings you can produce. By being able to effectively identify leaks, and present them in the way decision makers can understand (dollars and cents) you can show how important RCM is to your plant.  Click here to review Part 1.

Suggested Compressed Air instruments: Ultraprobe 3000; Ultrparobe 9000: Ultraprobe 10,000: Ultraprobe 15,000

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