Compressed air leaks can easily become a significant source of wasted energy in an industrial facility, sometimes wasting 20 to 30 percent of a compressor’s output. But if you can’t see leaks, how do you detect them? Most experts agree that the use of an ultrasonic acoustic detector is the best way to detect leaks. This device recognizes the high frequency hissing sounds associated with air leaks and uses a variety of visual and audio indicators to identify the leaks’ location.
Ultrasonic leak detection
Ultrasonic leak detection is one of the most versatile forms of leak detection due to its ability to adapt to a variety of leak detection situations. Its acoustic sensor focuses in on fluctuations in noise to identify where mid- to large-sized leaks are located. Because ultrasounds are short wave signals and directional in transmission, they can identify leak sites by honing in on the loudest sound level. Ultrasonic detectors are generally unaffected by backgrounded noises in the audible range because the signals are filtered out.
How to fix leaks
Leaks occur most often at joints and connections. Stopping leaks can be as simple as tightening a connection or as complex as replacing faulty equipment such as couplings, fittings, pipe sections, hoses, drains and traps.
In many cases, leaks are caused by bad or improperly applied thread sealant, which can be fixed by properly installing equipment with the appropriate thread sealant.
Another source of leaks can come from non-operating equipment. Equipment that’s no longer in use should be isolated with a valve in the distribution system.
Lowering the demand air pressure of the compressed air system can also reduce leaks. The lower the pressure differential across an orifice or leak, the lower the rate of flow, which equals a decreased leakage rate.
Once leaks have been identified and repaired, the compressor control system should be re-evaluated to realize the total savings potential. Are you interested in establishing a leak prevention program that can save your industrial facility costly repairs? Leave us a comment below to get started.