Is It The Valve Or Is It The Cylinder Whichever Its Costing You A Lot
Of Money

Is It The Valve Or Is It The Cylinder Whichever Its Costing You A Lot Of Money



Reducing air leaks in​ your plant can save thousands of​ dollars annually. Compressed air is​ one of​ the​ most costly forms of​ energy you can use in​ your plant,​ of​ course,​ it's one of​ the​ most versatile,​ fast and strong too.

When it's "quiet time" in​ the​ plant,​ wander around the​ machinery and listen. You will often hear the​ gentle (or perhaps not so gentle) hissing of​ air escaping from the​ exhaust port of​ your air valves.

The sound of​ compressed air "chewing up your dollars" as​ it​ wafts to​ atmosphere can be muted if​ your air valves have mufflers in​ the​ exhaust ports,​ but nevertheless,​ it​ can be heard.

Also,​ there are commercially available ultra-sonic compressed air leak detectors on​ the​ market. if​ your plant doesn't have a​ "quiet time",​ which would enable you to​ actually hear the​ leaks yourself,​ investing in​ an​ ultrasonic leak detector can bring substantial payback in​ energy savings.

Usually you'll have one air valve connected to​ one air cylinder. Usually that cylinder will be double acting - which means that it​ will have two air lines running to​ it,​ and as​ the​ air valve shifts back and forth,​ air will alternatively flow to​ the​ cylinder through one line or​ the​ other. When it's flowing into one line to​ the​ cylinder,​ the​ other line is​ allowing the​ air at​ the​ other end of​ the​ cylinder to​ flow through the​ valve to​ exhaust.

While an​ air valve and cylinder are doing work of​ course there will be air being exhausted continuously from the​ air valve exhaust ports.

It's when the​ machine is​ down,​ when it's doing no useful - and hopefully money generating work for you - that air should not be escaping through the​ valve exhaust ports. at​ this point that loss of​ compressed air is​ just that; loss - of​ profits - of​ money.

Inside,​ the​ two ends of​ the​ cylinder are separated by a​ piston. the​ piston is​ what drives the​ rod out and back as​ the​ cylinder cycles.

Around that piston will be an​ air seal that "crunches" between the​ side of​ the​ piston and the​ inside of​ the​ cylinder barrel,​ effectively stopping air from flowing by (bypassing) the​ piston.

In time that seal will wear,​ and air will start bypassing into the​ other side. This means that this air now has an​ open path from the​ supply side down the​ other air line to​ the​ valve,​ and thence to​ the​ exhaust port. And a​ gentle (or not so gentle) hiss occurs as​ your compressed air dollars exhaust to​ atmosphere.

Or....inside your air valve there is,​ too,​ a​ series of​ seals that normally prevent air from getting from the​ air supply side into the​ exhaust side of​ the​ valve,​ and then out the​ exhaust port. And that air,​ as​ it​ gently (or not so....etc. ) is​ pouring your compressed air dollars from the​ plant air supply.

So,​ which is​ it​ that's leaking; the​ seal around the​ piston in​ the​ cylinder,​ or​ the​ seal inside the​ valve that stops the​ incoming air from getting across to​ the​ exhaust port without going up to​ the​ cylinder?

Have a​ look at​ the​ cylinder. if​ the​ rod is​ out,​ air will be entering the​ air port at​ the​ rear of​ the​ cylinder. if​ the​ cylinder is​ in​ - retracted,​ the​ air will be coming into the​ cylinder at​ the​ rod end.

Take the​ air line that is​ charged,​ that is,​ the​ air line that is​ supplying air to​ the​ cylinder,​ and crimp it. Many air lines are made of​ polyethylene or​ polypropylene,​ and it's quite easy to​ make a​ bit of​ a​ bend in​ the​ air line,​ effectively shutting off air to​ the​ cylinder.

Listen at​ the​ valve. if​ the​ air has stopped escaping the​ valve's exhaust port,​ then it's the​ seal in​ the​ cylinder that's at​ fault.

If,​ after ensuring that the​ air to​ the​ cylinder is​ completely stopped,​ air continues to​ exhaust from the​ exhaust port of​ the​ valve,​ then it's the​ seal inside the​ air valve that's at​ fault.

Regardless of​ which is​ the​ culprit,​ the​ air valve or​ the​ cylinder,​ get it​ fixed....fast! Compressed air costs a​ bundle. You don't want to​ waste it.




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