The United States Department of Energy estimates that is costs upwards of $2,500 per year to run an 1/8” line of compressed air. It is also estimated that up to 40% of industrial energy is lost in leaking compressed air lines. Compressors run anything from machines tools, robotics, lasers, actuators, powder coaters. The list is endless! If there are air leaks in a compressed air line, you are injuring your profitability with a double-edged sword. You are wasting money by running compressors more to make up for the leak, and also damaging the compressor by placing unnecessary strain on account of them having to work harder to make up for the leaking air. This will dramatically shorten the lifespan of your compressor and will make servicing it a lot more frequent. A downed compressor means down time in production which is the worst-case scenario for any industrial facility. On top of that, your energy bill is skyrocketing because these compressors are working non-stop!
Up until very recently, there were two options to find leaks in an air system. The oldest option being soap and water that is sprayed on the possible leak. If there is a leak, the soap and water mixture will make bubbles and have the leak found pretty quickly. The main problem here is where will you know to spray the mixture? You can’t coat your whole production in soap and water, and when you do know where to spray it, it will inevitably drip down onto the floor or other machinery and then present slip hazards or machine malfunctions. Also, how do you plan on shooting the soap mixture at a line that is mounted to rafters 20 or 30 feet above your head? The second and more modern option is by way of using an acoustic leak detector. This is essentially a microphone that is coupled with a pair of headphones and you can point the detector and try to listen for noise of air leaking. Seems simple enough until you remember that you need to be in an almost dead quiet environment for this to work properly. These detectors typically need a good bit of training to use them efficiently which is another cost to remember on top of the quiet atmosphere. To have that quiet atmosphere, your production is going to halt while people are trying to find a leak with a pair of headphones. Downtime is exactly what we are trying to avoid when fixing these leaks, with the other option being to perform the test in off hours of production but then you have overtime costs associated with that.
Thanks to Fluke and their new ii900 sonic industrial imager, these problems no longer exist! Guess work is gone by using this new product. With the statistics listed above, it isn’t hard to see that if you can just find ONE leak, you can pay for the rental of your Fluke ii900 in saved energy costs by repairing the fault. The Fluke ii900 has dozens of tiny microphones that generate a spectrum of decibel leads by the frequency that is selected on the monitor. Based on the input that the microphones receive, an algorithm will create a sound image. This image is what is referred to as a “sound map”. The sound map is then super imposed onto a real-time visual image. The sound map will automatically adjust itself and adapt to the environment based on the frequency level the user specifies, this step is what eliminates any background noise from showing on the image which is displayed on a 7” LCD screen. The sound map updates itself 10-20 per second to ensure that you are getting a clear representation of the environment you are scanning with the ii900. The microphones on the ii900 are so sensitive to the sound of leaks that it can detect a 0.005 CFM leak at 100PSI from up to 32.8 feet away. With a maximum distance of 164 feet to spot a leak and now that ambient noise doesn’t detract from your leak study, the ii900 makes it incredibly simple to stop your leaks!
Some of the most common places that you may find a leak in your compressed air system are:
- Shut off valve
- Pressure relief valves
- Pneumatic tool connections
- Hose reels
- Storage tanks
We have had customers use their ii900 in a variety of applications such as:
- Compressed air leaks
- Compressed gas leaks
- Steam leaks
- Vacuum leaks
- Literally any other leak that makes an audible noise!
Remember that just because you can’t hear the leak with your ears or headphones, that doesn’t mean that the Fluke ii900 won’t pick it up. Leaks can be all around, even the smallest ones really add up in terms of wasted money! Fluke has a return on investment calculator that shows the time it would take to make up your money when buying an ii900 by cutting wasted annual energy costs. If you would like to use it, you can access the calculator here https://www.fluke.com/en-us/learn/tools-calculators/air-leakage-calculator
With JM Test Systems being an authorized distributor for Fluke products, we now stock the Fluke ii900 Sonic Industrial Imager for rental or purchase. We have had customers rent our Fluke ii900 and find dozens of leaks in an hour or two. Even the most trained professionals with an acoustic leak locator would need days to find this many leaks and pinpoint where they are. Let us know if you would like to say goodbye to the old days of cat and mouse methods of chasing down leaks! We have had many reports of clients deciding to rent the ii900 periodically and making leak checks part of their monthly routine and maximizing their profits! You can reach JM Test Systems at 1-800-353-3411 for more information, pricing and availability. Please check back soon for a quick start guide on using the Fluke ii900 Sonic Industrial Imager! To view more information or to submit a quote request, that can be found right here! https://jmtest.com/i/fluke-ii900-sonic-industrial-imager/
Fluke ii900 Quick Start Guide Video
Quick Start Guide for the Fluke ii900 (video transcript):
Hi, this is Patrick again from JM Test Systems. It has been a couple of weeks since our last video but we have a new product that we are excited to share with you! It is the Fluke ii900 Sonic Industrial Thermal Imager.
This product is primarily used to detect and pinpoint air, compressed air and vacuum system leaks.
The imager is equipped with a visible light camera that capture a live-view image of the inspection area. An array of tiny microphones provides what Fluke refers to as “Sound Sight Technology”. The microphones superimpose an “acoustical image” over the real-time image.
The ii900 can capture pictures and videos and it includes two rechargeable batteries. The batteries use a “test” button to show the charge left on the battery.
The camera is also equipped with the newest industry standard of USB Type C
You may have noticed that there are only two buttons on the front of the camera. There is a power button and an image capture button. The rest of the controls are done through the 7” LCD touch screen.
When you receive your camera from JM Test Systems, you are probably very excited to operate it immediately! Let’s run through a quick start guide so you can be up and running in no time!
- Remove the sensor cover from the microphone area
- Aim the camera at the area in question
- Select a band on the frequency scale, this can be found on the right sight of the screen
- Remember that the optimum position on the scale depends on the environment and application that you are performing the testing
- For air or gas focused testing it is usually a good idea to start your spectrum at 35kHz and a 5 kHz range.
- Once you see your picture in the viewfinder, press the capture button the right-hand side of the camera to save the image.
- If the camera detects an audible air leak and it is not in the frame, the camera will display a circular pattern or a “flower”. This is to let you know there is an audible leak nearby but it is not in the frame of the viewfinder.
- Lastly, when you find an air leak you may notice several other air leak spots showing around it. This is usually the air that is leaking being reflected by other surfaces and not directly from the source. Be sure to hone in on the actual leak and it is always a good idea to check with the imager again after you repair the leak.
It is very important to keep the microphone cover on the camera when it is not in use. If the microphones become too dirty to function, you will see an error message on the camera. You can use compressed air to clean the microphones but remember to not spray it directly into the microphones and to always spray from at least one foot away.
If you are interested in receiving more information or maybe renting or purchasing the Fluke ii900, please give JM Test Systems a call at 1-800-353-3411 and we will be more than happy to help you!