The Urgency for Leak Detection
We all know that compressed air leaks are a huge source of energy (and money) waste, but…
Do you know how much air leaks really cost?
After conducting around 60 surveys in different facilities from different industries, using an ultrasound camera, we concluded that:
- The average leak will cost around $1200 per year.
- On average, approx. 10% of all energy supplied to an industrial facility will be used for compressed air.
- The average leak rate across a site in the industry is 30%.
How to Conduct Effective Air Leak Surveys
Using ultrasound inspection instruments is the most effective way of finding leaks. Normally these are handheld and listen-only instruments – still very effective in detecting leaks, but more recently, with the deployment of ultrasound cameras, you can also see the leaks, in real-time, turning leak surveys into a much more effortless and quick task.
When you consider that:
- Air leaks are more expensive than ever – one leak costs an average of $1200 per year.
- Finding air leaks is now easier and quicker than ever.
We can conclude that having an ultrasound camera is a no-brainer for most industrial facilities, as you can find dozens of leaks in minutes.
Leak Survey Examples and the Cost of Leaks
The examples of leak surveys below were conducted using the UltraView camera from UE Systems.
1. Commercial Printing Facility – 1 Single Leak Costing $1650 Per Year
The printing industry uses a lot of compressed air (especially when printing newspapers and magazines, like this facility), making these facilities perfect candidates for an efficient leak detection device. With a proper leak detection program in place, cost avoidance can be huge.
One single leak was estimated to cost $1650 per year! A 30-minute survey at this facility carried out with the UltraView detected 6 leaks amounting to a cost of $7000 per year.
This is only a small part of the total amount of leaks estimated at this site since almost all printing machines will need compressed air.
Leak detected at commercial printing facility
2. Costly Compressed Air and Argon/Nitrogen Leaks Found At Pharmaceutical Company
Pharma uses a lot of compressed air, as well as special gas, which means leaks can quickly become a huge source of energy waste. We could attest exactly that when surveying a pharmaceutical plant using the UltraView. During the demonstration, we were able to pinpoint and report 29 compressed air leaks in about 2 hours of survey.
The total cost for these leaks is estimated at a costly $28,313 per year.
We could also detect some very expensive argon and nitrogen leaks. Special or innate gas leaks can become quite expensive, as the price for these is usually 3 or 4 times more expensive than compressed air.
In the video, we can see how the UltraView could find an argon leak in a tank. This is a leak losing 0.32 cubic feet per minute of argon, meaning that, if it were left undetected, the tank would be empty in about 3 to 4 days.
Air leak at a pharmaceutial site.
3. Food Packaging Plant: Detecting Compressed Air, Vacuum and Vent Leaks
At a food packaging plant, we did a quick survey using the UltraView Camera. Packaging facilities normally rely heavily on compressed air, so it was no surprise that we were able to quickly find 22 leaks amounting to almost $13,000, including 2 leaks at hard-to-reach locations which we could easily detect even at a 16-feet distance. These would be much more difficult to pinpoint using traditional listen-only ultrasound instruments.
On top of that, the UltraView could also detect 3 vacuum leaks and 1 leak in the ventilation system, as we can see in the video. Vacuum leaks are a big issue in many industries, as they are very hard to detect and can quickly lead to product quality loss and an increase in production time.
Also interesting to note that leak at the ventilation system, which is not a typical application for the UltraView but was very important at this facility, since the maintenance team wants to assure the vents are completely sealed, otherwise dangerous gas might not be expelled from the facility as they should.
Leak dected in the venting system of a food and packaging plant