Compressed Air leakages
Leaks can be a significant source of wasted energy in an industrial compressed air system, That can result in 20-30% wasting of a compressor’s output sometimes. If regular maintenance activities have not been followed, a possible leak rate can be equal to 20% of the total compressed air production capacity. With regular maintenance activities in a place like proactive leak detection and repair, leaks can be reduced to less than 10% of the compressor output.
1. Planned Leaks
The planned air leaks are the ones that have been designed into the system. These leaks are the blowing, drying, sparging etc. used in the production process. Many times these have been installed as a quick fix for a production problem. Some leaks take the form of “coolers”, which are used to cool production staff or equipment.
2. Unplanned Leaks
The unplanned leaks are ongoing maintenance issues and can appear in any part of the system. These leaks can be minimized with the help of air leak detection and repair programs.
Relation with energy
Compressed air is often considered an on-site generated energy source since energy is needed to convert electricity into compressed air. It can be one of the most expensive sources of energy in a plant. Very often, the actual cost of generation is unknown. Only 10% to 20% of the energy required to generate compressed air ever reaches the point of use, while the remaining energy is wasted in the form of heat. The overall efficiency of a typical compressed air system can be as low as 10%-15%
All of this requires energy. On average, generating compressed air accounts for 10 to 30 per cent of a plant’s electricity costs.
While air is often a clean resource, it requires substantial electrical energy to compress. As a result, compressed air systems are often more costly to run than other solutions. They can consume up to 30% of a site’s electricity use, 90% of which can be wasted. Half of this energy is lost in leakages, even in new equipment.
Relation with production
In a manufacturing facility, Running a compressor is a necessary piece of equipment and its efficiency is often overlooked. However, a typical plant will have a leakage rate equal to 20%-30% of its total compressed air/compressor production capacity throughout its entire system. Hence the time required to produce the required amount of goods increases hence it requires more electricity. So if the leaks are present in the system, there will be less production with more electricity usage which will turn out to be cost incurring factor.
Impacts of Air Leakages
1. Inefficient tools and lower productivity:
Drops in air pressure resulting from leaks can greatly impact the productivity of your plant by causing tools to operate inefficiently and creating an overall less-productive environment.
2. Reduction in the longevity of your equipment:
Because leaks cause a higher demand for air power than what is typically needed, compressors need to cycle more frequently, which can result in a decreased lifespan of your compressed air system. This could be a very expensive investment, which can be avoided through routine maintenance and inspection so leaks are identified and repaired.
3. Increased maintenance expenses:
Air leaks not only reduce your compressor’s longevity by putting a higher demand on the system, but leaks also likely mean more frequent repairs and maintenance expenses than if the compressor were operating at peak performance and output.
4. Losses due to downtime:
If your system is experiencing unnecessary demands, and maintenance is the result, you may be faced with downtime which can severely hamper productivity — and profits.