The simplest way to minimize air leaks, no cost and no tools.

What if you could minimize all your air leaks without the need for manual adjustments in compressed air systems? Well, achieving this is feasible through effective pressure control. Sometimes, it can be as simple as turning a knob. So, let us see more about the use of compressed air.

The underlying principle is illustrated in the following orifice chart, depicted in Figure 1. As the pressure at a leak decreases by 1 psi, the flow rate consumed by the leak diminishes by approximately 1%. This holds significance because many compressed air systems operate at pressures higher than necessary. Furthermore, it’s common to encounter pressure regulators set higher in a system than required, and in some cases, they are adjusted so high that their output mirrors the compressor discharge pressure.

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Fig.1 illustrates the concept of leak reduction through pressure reduction. A 122-cfm leak diminishes to 104 cfm at 100 psi or 95 cfm at 90 psi, decreasing by approximately 1% per psi reduction.

There are two common approaches to reduce pressure. The first option is to simply lower the compressor pressure settings. This not only reduces leakage flow, sometimes referred to as artificial demand, but also cuts down on the power consumed by the compressor, offering a dual benefit. The second approach involves lowering the regulated pressure at the plant while maintaining the compressor pressure at the same level. This can be achieved by employing a pressure/flow controller in the main system or by decreasing the pressure at local pressure regulators.

For instance, consider a vehicle service shop. This shop already had a primary pressure/flow controller in place, but it remained unused due to improper adjustments. During off-hours, the flow rate was 65 cfm, resulting in an annual cost of $12,525 for supply. After fine-tuning the pressure regulator to just under 98 psi, the leakage flow decreased by 10 cfm, yielding an annual savings of $1,925.

Certainly, aside from addressing actual leakage, one of the most apparent steps to achieve even greater savings is to reduce plant pressure to zero by shutting down the system during off-hours. In this scenario, approximately 4,000 hours of system operation were attributed to these off-hours, representing a substantial cost reduction.

Minimize your leaks by all available means and cut down on operating expenses!

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