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Compressed Air Leak Detection - FLIR SI124

Compressed Air Leakage

Are compressed air leaks costing you money?

Compressed air is the most expensive energy source in factories. Around one-third of it is lost due to leaks and inefficiencies.

The human ear can detect air leaks in a silent environment. However, in a typical industrial setting with loud background noise, it is impossible to hear even larger leaks. Fortunately, the S124 filters out the industrial noise, allowing professionals to “visualize” sound even in noisy environments.

Compressed air leak detection is essential. This is because it greatly affects energy usage and cost savings in manufacturing plants. The US Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that up to 30% of a manufacturing facility's electricity is used for compressed air. 


This highlights the substantial energy demand associated with compressed air systems. Unfortunately, on average, one-third of compressed air is wasted due to leaks, misuse, pressure drops, and overpressurization. This means that a significant portion of the energy used to generate compressed air is being squandered.

The financial implications of compressed air wastage become evident when considering a typical manufacturing facility. Considering the average facility runs a 200 Hp compressor for 6,800 hours per year. It costs $0.11 per kilowatt-hour. 


Compressed air leak detection is essential for any facility. It can result in cost savings, improved energy efficiency, reduced environmental impact, enhanced system performance, and increased equipment lifespan. Overall, it is a beneficial practice. 

compressed air leakage chart

*Actual cost based on 8500 hours and 8 cents/kWh *

FLIR Si124

What is acoustic imaging?

Acoustic imaging is a non-destructive testing method. It uses sound waves to create images of the internal structure of an object or environment. It is used in many industries, such as aerospace, automotive, and manufacturing. Its purpose is to identify defects, locate flaws, and monitor equipment condition. 

Why Ultrasonic imaging?

  •  A pressurized leak WILL CAUSE TURBULENCE, which can be located using ULTRASOUND.
  • When AIR LEAKS INTO AIR, finding it using any other method than ultrasound can be difficult. With an advanced ultrasonic system it can be easy.
  • Multiple microphones allow the camera to triangulate the source of the high frequency sound because the sound is directional.
  • Combine an array of microphones with a camera and you can pinpoint the sound location on a picture.
  • Background noise can be filtered out effectively. This means that a good ultrasonic solution like the FLIR Si2 Series Cameras can still work in noisy conditions.
  • Imaging technologies typically provide a 90% reduction in inspection time.
  • Imaging technologies are relatively easy to learn.

How Acoustic Imaging Cameras Detect Compressed Air Leaks

Acoustic imaging cameras detect compressed air leaks by analyzing the sound waves generated by the escaping air. As the air rushes out of the leak, it creates a unique sound signature that is captured by the camera. The camera creates a visual representation of sound waves. This allows operators to quickly identify the leak's location and size. 

Why Ultrasonic imaging for Leaks?

• Directional nature of ultrasound allows us to triangulate the noise source and display on an image.

• Imaging is typically 10X faster than point scanning methods.

• Imaging techniques are easy to learn.

Advanced analytics can distinguish the noise signature of a leak from the general background noise. This helps us work in noisy environments.

• ULTRASONIC IMAGING provides a quick and simple way to scan a lot of complex machinery and compressed air systems.

The Accuracy and Precision of Acoustic Imaging Cameras

Acoustic imaging cameras can precisely locate, and accurately measure compressed air leaks. They can detect pinhole-sized leaks. 

This enables operations to quickly identify and repair them. This helps save energy and reduce safety risks. They can also measure leaks as small as 0.004 L/min so that users can prioritize repairs.

Where to Look for Air Leaks?

  • Couplings

  • Hoses

  • Tubing

  • Fittings

  • Pipe joints

  • Quick-disconnects

  • Filter/regulator/lubricator (FRL) units

  • Condensate traps

  • Valves

  • Flanges

  • Packings

  • Thread sealants

  • Point-of-use devices

  • Open condensate traps

  • Open shut-off valves

where to look for air leaks

FLIR Si124

The FLIR Si124 acoustic imaging camera is useful. It can help you find pressurized leaks in compressed air systems. It can also detect partial discharge from high-voltage electrical systems. This lightweight, one-handed solution can be used to identify issues up to 10 times faster than with traditional methods. 

Built with 124 microphones, the Si124 produces a precise acoustic image that visually displays ultrasonic information, even in loud industrial environments. The acoustic image is transposed in real time. This transposition is placed on top of a digital camera picture. This allows you to pinpoint the exact source of the sound.  


What sets the Si124 further apart from other acoustic imaging cameras is our software. Field analysis and reporting can be done using the FLIR Acoustic Camera Viewer cloud service. 


Captured images are quickly uploaded over Wi-Fi. They are then analyzed immediately. 


This provides the user with detailed information such as the size and energy cost of a compressed air leak. It also provides partial discharge classification, severity assessment and corrective action. In addition, users get 8 GBs of storage and wireless data transfer capabilities, making sharing photos and data simple and efficient. 


The Si124 has a plugin. It allows users to import acoustic images to FLIR Thermal Studio suite. This suite can be used in the same way as the cloud viewer. The added benefit is that it can include thermal imaging and acoustic imaging in the same report. 


This dual-functionality improves maintenance decisions and saves time and cost of learning multiple software platforms. A regular maintenance routine with the FLIR Si124 can help facilities save money on utility bills. It can also delay the expense of installing new compressors. 


The Si124-LD is available for leak-detection applications. The Si124-PD is available for electric utility applications. Both models have a cordless battery option. View the models in the related products section below. 


Detect compressed air leaks, partial discharge, and corona up to 10 times faster with sound imaging vs. traditional methods.


Minimize utility costs, equipment failures, and downtime. Ensure proper air pressure to pneumatic equipment. Locate partial discharge or corona precisely. 


Classify leak severity and partial discharge type in real time with this tool. It is lightweight and smart and can be operated with one hand. 

Advantages of Using an Ultrasonic Leak Detector

Energy efficiency: Compressed air is an invaluable resource in various industries, but its production can be costly. Shockingly, studies reveal that a significant amount of compressed air is wasted due to leaks in the system. By detecting and promptly repairing these leaks, companies can improve their energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. 


Cost savings: Over time, compressed air leaks can lead to substantial financial losses. However, by identifying and fixing these leaks, businesses can achieve significant cost savings. Taking a proactive approach reduces the amount of compressed air created. This minimizes the wear and tear on the compressor system, leading to fewer maintenance and repair costs. 


Environmental impact: Leaks in compressed air systems contribute to unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. By promptly detecting and repairing leaks, companies can reduce their carbon footprint and actively contribute to environmental sustainability efforts. 


System performance: Compressed air leaks can have a detrimental impact on the overall performance of a compressed air system. These leaks cause a drop in system pressure, leading to reduced equipment efficiency and productivity. By promptly detecting and fixing leaks, businesses can ensure that their compressed air systems operate optimally, maximizing productivity and output. 


Equipment lifespan: Excessive leaks put additional strain on compressors and associated equipment, leading to premature wear and tear. By swiftly identifying and repairing leaks, companies can extend the lifespan of their equipment. This approach reduces the frequency of replacements, resulting in lower capital expenses.  


Safety: Compressed air leaks pose hazards in the workplace. High-pressure air released from leaks can cause objects to move or become dislodged. This can lead to accidents or injuries. By proactively identifying and repairing leaks, businesses prioritize the safety of their employees and create a secure working environment. 

Compressed Air Example
Compressed Air Example
Compressed Air Example
Compressed Air Example
Compressed Air Example
Compressed Air Example
Compressed Air Example
Compressed Air Example

Ultrasound technology is effective for detecting electrical partial discharge, leaks, and other equipment issues. It is an important part of a comprehensive Asset Management system. Ultrasonic Imaging improves on the non-imaging technology, making it easier to use and typically 10X faster. 



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