UltraSonic Inspection Services
Compressed Air Leaks
Air leaks are a significant area of wasted energy in a compressed air system, often wasting as much as 20%-30% of the compressor's output.
Air leaks can cause other issues such as:
Fluctuation system pressure can cause air tools and other air operated equipment to function less efficiently.
Excess compressor capacity, resulting in higher costs
Decreased service life and increased maintenance of supply equipment (including the compressor package) due to unnecessary cycling and increased running time.
Leaks can occur in any part of the system. The most common problem areas are couplings, hoses, tubes, fittings, pipe joints, quick disconnects, condensate traps, valves, flanges, packings, thread-sealants and FRL's (filter, regulator and lubricator
Electrical apparatus such as switchgear, transformers, insulators or disconnects and splices fail, the results can be catastrophic.
This is just as true in industrial plants as it is in the power transmission and distribution side. Electrical discharges such as arcing, tracking or corona are all potential for equipment failure. In addition, the problems of RFI and TVI impact on our valuable communication networks.
If left undetected, these conditions can become a source of an arc flash incident, which can result in severe injury or death. Arcing, tracking and corona produce ultrasound and are detected with our state of the art ultrasonic detection instruments.
When steam traps leak or fail, it can be extremely costly in terms of product quality, safety and energy loss.
There are great differences in the way particular steam traps work (for example, inverted bucket trap versus float and thermostatic trap). Our instruments easily adjust for these differences and readily determine operating conditions while steam traps are on-line.
How Ultrasonic Leak Detection Works
Steam traps can either be defined as continuous (or modulating continuous) flow and on-off types.
Our sophisticated digital ultrasonic instruments with on-board sound recording and data logging features allow our certified engineers to quickly identify problematic traps. Our instrument unique frequency tuning feature enables us to literally tune into the trap sound and clearly identify leaking or blowing traps even in the noisiest environments.
According to DOE, in steam systems that have not been maintained for three to five years, between 15% to 30% of the installed steam traps may have failed-thus allowing live steam to escape into the condensate return system. In systems with a regularly scheduled maintenance program, leaking traps should account for less than 5% of the trap population. If a steam distribution system includes more than 500 traps, a steam trap survey will probably reveal significant steam losses.
A general Rule of Thumb for steam costs from a natural gas boiler is 1,000 pounds of steam costs about 1.4x the natural gas rate per MCF.
One pound of 100 psi steam contains about 1,200 BTUs. If the steam is produced at 85% efficiency, the input energy is 1,200 / 85% = 1,411 BTUs per
pound. Therefore, 1,000 pounds of steam requires at least 1.4 million BTUs to produce it.
(1,411 BTUs per pound x 1,000)
1 MCF of Natural Gas contains 1 million BTUs
Cost to produce 1,000 lbs of steam from natural gas = 1.4 x $ per MCF of Natural Gas
When natural gas costs $7.00 per MCF, 1,000 lbs of steam cost (1.4 x $7) = $9.80
A chemical plant undertook a leak prevention program following a compressed air leak survey at their facility. Leaks, approximately equivalent to different orifice sizes, were found as follows: 100 leaks of 1/32" at 90 pounds per square inch gauge (psig), 50 leaks at 90 psig, and 10 leaks of 1/4" at 100 psig.
$57,069 is the total net cost savings from eliminating these leaks.
This figure is calculated as follows:
Assuming 7,000 annual operating hours an aggregate electric rate of $0.05 kilowatt-hour (kWh) and compressed air generation requirement of approximately 18 (kW)/100 cfm.
The cost savings formula
Cost savings = # of leaks x leakage rate (cfm) x kW/cfm x # of hours x $/kWh
L.P. Larson Corporation
64R Hancock Street
Braintree, Ma. 02184
781 848 4875