Most companies spend little time thinking about their facilities, such as pipes and valves. However, sudden leaks can result in costly downtime and a wastage of materials.
How a good sealant can reduce costs
Leakage is the single largest waste of compressed air in pipes and gaskets. It is estimated around 30% of compressed air is lost through leaks, poor maintenance, misapplication and control.
The greater the number of pipes, spliced connections and valves, the more important it is to invest in maintaining these critical parts. It is important to know the number and location of these pipes to monitor any leaks.
There is a tendency to procrastinate these repairs, especially if the leaks are small and insignificant. The problem is a single, small leak can soon become a big expense.
A leak in an air pipe, caused by a 3mm diameter hole can result in a cost of around £454.27per year. If the leakage is given by a 6mm diameter hole, the cost goes up to £1,817.09per year and increases progressively depending on the size of the leak.
There could also be further costs with the loss of the substances in the pipeline, not to mention environmental contamination.
In the next scenario, a slow leak in an oil pipe that produces on average five 1cm3 drops per minute would result in a loss of 0.7L of oil per day, 21L per month (30 days) and 252L per year (12 months) equating to over £990 in a year, assuming the lubricant costs £3.93 per litre.
As the focus in this example is on one damaged area, if there were several minor leaks over a long period of time, this could add up to a significant annual cost. The environmental, health and safety impact would also have to be considered.
How to manage these problems?
One of the main causes of leaks is poor seal maintenance. For example, the seal is incompatible with the lubricant or working environment or excessive contamination has caused the seal to wear over time. There are many types of sealants that can be used to address these problems. Corrosion inhibitors such as Tectyl can also help.
Anaerobic sealants are ideal for splices and bolted connections, where most leaks occur.
Silicone sealants are used when the leak is in the socket of a splice.
Corrosion inhibitors can be used to protect metal pipes from corrosion, weathering, moist and salt corrosive atmospheres.
The information and statistics provided on this page is intended as a guide and we recommended that you consult a technical advisor for individual recommendations and advice on industrial applications.