We’ve seen and heard varying war stories about inappropriate uses of compressed air. What some people may proudly show off with pride as an example of jury-rigging is, in reality, a tremendous waste of money, energy and other valuable resources.
A single quarter-inch leak in a compressed air system running at 100 psi will result in more than $2,500 in wasted energy each year. One leak. Can you imagine how much all of those cunning, unauthorized “field engineering” fixes cost? Here are some examples of the costly innovative solutions we’ve stumbled across over the years:
- Employees using compressed air instead of air conditioning or fans for personal cooling or to cool electrical components.
- In one manufacturing facility, workers used air from the motion-activated, above-door fan, powered by a 200 hp air compressor, to dust and dry door frames when they were being moved inside from an outdoor storage facility.
- Most commonly, we see open hose nozzles being used instead of brushes, blowers or vacuums to dust off parts or remove debris.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that compressed air accounts for 10 percent of all electricity use in U.S. manufacturing facilities – a figure that doesn’t account for inappropriate uses. We put our equipment through a lot and then expect it to respond to our demands. Let’s make a commitment to use the right tool for the right job. What “innovative” uses of compressed air have you seen at your facility? Share your compressed air “war stories” below.