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Driving Efficiency With Hydraulic & Pneumatic Systems

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TJ McDermott
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Working with what you have
TJ McDermott   10/18/2012 10:19:43 AM
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With regard to pneumatic systems, the single largest cost in any plant is - LEAKS.  Walk through any plant, paying attention to your ears.  You will hear, EVERYWHERE, the hiss of leaking compressed air.  That sound is money being literally thrown away.

If one wants to save energy, reduce consumption, then the leaks must be found and fixed.  Only after the plant floor stops hissing would optimizing the pneumatic system for efficiency make sense.

It's analogous to proper tire pressure and fuel economy.  Keeping tires properly inflated is probably the simplest way to improve fuel economy, but is the most ignored.

Charles Murray
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Re: Working with what you have
Charles Murray   10/18/2012 5:29:33 PM
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Pneumatic component suppliers are painfully aware of the leak issue, TJ. But while they've improved on the problem, they still haven't eliminated it, even after many years of trying.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Working with what you have
Rob Spiegel   10/22/2012 8:36:38 PM
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TJ, I wasn under the impression this area of plant inefficiency -- leaks -- was showing some real improvement. Perhaps I'm mistaken.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Working with what you have
TJ McDermott   10/23/2012 12:36:37 AM
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Walk through a plant off-shift, or third shift, and listen to the not-silence.  Big factories, small mom-and-pop operations, it doesn't matter.

 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Working with what you have
Rob Spiegel   10/24/2012 12:37:24 AM
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Seems like this is a problem that could be fixed without getting fancy, TJ. But again, I may be mistaken. Is the solution more expensive than the inefficiencies of the problem?

TJ McDermott
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Re: Working with what you have
TJ McDermott   10/24/2012 12:47:45 AM
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The solution can be as easy as some pipe sealant paste or tape, or repairing/replacing a cracked hose.  A single 1-mm air leak can cost $200 / year (based on calculations found on the net).  One leak may not sound like much, but even a small plant will have multiple leaks. Just 5 is a $1000 per year, and that is if they're as small as 1 mm.

 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Working with what you have
Rob Spiegel   10/24/2012 5:00:31 AM
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Sounds like the cost of a repair would pay for itself, TJ. As for sounds in plants, I've heard some complaints from baby boomer plant managers who say that the young engineers coming into the workforce rely too much on computer technology and they're not learning to tell the health of the plant by sound and vibration.

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