Compressed Air System Leakage Assessment in 12 Steps
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Compressed Air System Leakage Assessment
Compressed air is one of the principal forms of energy used
in industrial processes. It is often the most expensive when
evaluated on a per-unit, energy delivered basis. In addition,
compressed air systems typically develop operational issues
and air leaks as they age. By implementing a thorough
compressed air system analysis, the typical industrial facility
can eliminate up to 22% of its compressed air energy costs.
Compressed-air system analysis consists of a
complete review of the compressed-air system
from the air intake to the end users, plus a
compressed-air leak detection and correction
program. To achieve success in your compressed-air system
analysis, follow these 12 steps:
1. Conduct a walk-through of the entire plant or specific
areas to be reviewed. This will single out some of the issues
or major areas of concern that demand a higher priority. Pay
special attention to areas that require regular human interface,
such as quick coupling points, regulators, oilers, drip traps, filters,
and areas where plant personnel work. High compressedair
leakage typically occurs in these spots.
2. Set clear goals for the analysis. Examples include:
• Get everyone involved. The most effective programs
involve all levels of plant personnel.
• Eliminate the need for one or more air compressors.
• Understand the system’s needs and requirements.
• Determine the air-pressure requirements of the system.
• Benchmark the different components of the system.
• Compare different types of connections. Different types of
connections leak at different rates.
• Determine the projected cost of the program and document
the (loaded) cost to produce the compressed air.
How many goals are best? Define and document no more
than three major objectives or goals to be accomplished during
the system analysis. (Example: removing one or more
air compressors from operation by increasing the reliability
and efficiency of the compressed-air system.) Define and
document no more than four minor objectives or goals to be
accomplished during the system analysis. (Example: documenting
the performance of