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Low-cost leak detector goes with the flow

01 March, 2002

Low-cost leak detector goes with the flow

The imposition of the Climate Change Levy has made users of compressed air systems more aware of the cost of leaks. But obtaining accurate information on leaks and airflows in a compressed air installation can itself be expensive.

Measuring flow rates accurately is a challenge, involving variables such as velocity, pressure and temperature. Some systems can cost over £10,000, will only operate with air pressures above 4 bar, and have to be fixed in place.

A UK company, PVL, claims to have overcome these drawbacks with a portable flow measurement tool that can be used to detect and isolate leaks. Its ClimaAir system has a measuring range of 0-7 bar and costs around £2,000.

A probe carrying a laser-cut turbine, and pressure and temperature sensors, is inserted into the centre of a pipe through a ball valve. The user enters the shape and diameter of the pipe via a handheld display, which can then display the air velocity, temperature and pressure, and the flow rate in m3/h. The data can be sent to a PC for storage and analysis, or printed out.

A multi-input desktop version of the instrument is also available, and PVL also offers an on-site flow measurement service.

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