14 Sep Compressed Air Analysis – A Conservation Strategy for Commercial Businesses
Many American businesses operate full-time compressed air systems to run machinery, tools and equipment throughout their facility. These noisy systems often run nearly nonstop to supply sufficient air pressure to critical building systems. The problem is however; that few organizations consider the energy consumption lost due to air leaks throughout the system. After all, air leaks are difficult to hear, smell, see, and feel, and since air doesn’t cost anything some might think, what difference does it make? It is that thinking that has motivated some power companies to offer free full day classes to educate facility managers about compressed air inefficiencies and alert them to the issue.
National statistics show that these large commercial compressed air systems will leak from 25 to 35% of the air created. Leaks can only be identified accurately by a skilled technician with an Ultrasonic Acoustic Detector. More complex and expensive ultrasonic equipment is now able to figure approximate leak volume and the value of each leak loss. If you can prove that value you can justify the project and it’s ROI. It is common to be able to cut the compressor run time as much as 40% with compressor adjustments and addressing lost air. These leaks are common in couplings, joints, fittings and traps, are mostly silent and pressure inefficiencies are rarely detected. The pressure supplied to tools and equipment needs to be analyzed and properly balanced. Today suppliers are offering a premium more efficient fittings that leak less. Rapidly technicians are learning to operate latest ultrasound technologies used to detect leaks and inefficiencies.
A compressor consultant will check the system for design inefficiencies and may install a supplement lubricant oil that will improve performance and running amps. This oil has proven to be 1600 times more effective than the standard manufacturers installed oil. This product is capable of reducing noise, vibration, maintenance, and extends compressor life. An important part of a compressor analysis is the detailed written report itemizing each recommended correction, with photos and the cost of the leak loss. Generally a full inspection and detailed report on a 100,000 square foot facility can be completed in about 2-3 days, depending on complexity. The leaks can then be repaired by order of priority by facility staff or a recommended contractor. Many companies systematically chase down these leaks during scheduled equipment down times. Because system remediation will reduce the air compressor run time it will also reduce the noise in your facility, and can significantly extend the life of the equipment. A well done compressed air analysis and repair will often pay for itself well within 12 months.