Single-handedly stopping energy loss: how acoustic imaging is saving manufacturers serious money

Federico de Lucia, Team Lead of Condition Monitoring Specialists at Teledyne FLIR

It’s no secret that increasing costs are compounding pressure on businesses and the manufacturing sector is among the worst-hit industries.

With so many energy-intensive processes operating around the clock, rising energy costs threaten to blight even the most well-known brands - that’s without inflation, labour shortages and mounting material costs to contend with. 

How can manufacturers counter these rising costs in a clear and quantifiable way? The answer lies in harnessing the power of sound.

Air leaks are driving up operating costs

Over 70% of all companies in the industrial sector use compressed air to drive automated processes and underpin production - according to the British Compressed Air Society. In fact, a staggering 10% of the energy used across Europe is used to generate compressed air, making it a hugely significant element of manufacturing that simply can’t be understated.

For this exact reason, the energy lost through leaks in air compressor systems is an acute cause for concern as it is, quite literally, allowing profits to disappear into thin air.

Over the lifetime of a machine, even the most minute gas leak decreases a machine’s energy efficiency, causing it to consume more power to perform core operations and, of course, can eventually lead to component failure and costly downtime as the production line grinds to a halt.

Acoustic imaging is enabling manufacturers to seek out the source of these previously undetectable air leaks in real-time and in measurable terms. Introducing the FLIR Si124.

Pinpoint energy loss and evidence its expense

The primary step in fixing an air leak is the most difficult; first, you have to find it. In loud industrial environments, this can prove tricky for even the most adept inspector. With the constant whirring of equipment, detecting an air leak over the din can often seem daunting - but not for the FLIR Si124.

The next generation of acoustic imaging technology detects air leaks easily, even in the noisiest environments. It uses high-spec MEMS microphones to expose air leaks instantaneously and its bandwidth range of 2 - 65 kHz yields unmatched detection accuracy and identification down to even the smallest breach. This industry-leading tech filters out the noise, allowing you to focus on the facts.

In fact, it detects air leaks up to ten times faster than traditional methods. Once a leak is identified, its location is immediately pinpointed so that essential maintenance can be performed.

Evidencing costs up the line is also simple and convenient, as the FLIR Si124 uses real-time data to project both the severity of an air leak and even how much the breach will cost production over a specified time period - meaning that you can show clear and actionable information.

Making the unseen effortlessly visible

Another perk of the FLIR Si124 acoustic imaging camera is that it uses its combination of 124 low-noise MEMS microphones and 800 × 480 resolution screen to show real-time sound visualization.

In essence, it transposes an image of the leak onto a video of its surroundings, making sure that operators can see the exact location of the issue. This enables them to initiate accurate repairs precisely where needed, so problems are being dealt with directly at the source. Impressively, automatic AI-based severity assessments also help to prioritise improvements which reduces financial and energy losses, starting with the most severe instances.

When it comes to wasting energy through leaks in compressed air tools and pneumatic machines, it is not a case of ‘if’ but an issue of ‘when’ it will occur.

No facility is infallible and even the most well-maintained automated processes and robotics can and do fail through consistent use. While operators can’t prevent leaks, they can ensure that they are found and fixed before the problem can proliferate - cutting down operating costs and reducing downtime

On average, 20-30% of energy wasted in industrial environments is lost through air leaks, which makes detecting and dealing with them of the utmost importance to energy-intensive industries already under strain.

The FLIR Si124 offers a seamless solution to this pervasive problem and, unlike other models available, its lightweight design means that operators can use the powerful machine with a single hand.

A compelling case for acoustic imaging effectiveness

If you work in an industrial manufacturing environment, the FLIR Si124 enables you to harness sizable savings by locating air leaks as they appear, seamlessly generating instant reports on the severity of leaks and their projected cost to your bottom line over time.

Investing in a FLIR Si124 can pay for itself in as little as only a few months in high-air consumption industries, with radically improved leak detection amping up energy efficiency and driving down rising operational costs.

Explore the new and improved Si124 range today to take back control of your factory floor or click here to learn more.

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