Many large factory facilities and manufacturers face issues with their hydraulic pipes. No matter how good and reliable a system could be, leaks are the biggest potential issue of all. LDAR regulations exist to ensure that no minor leak would ever be an issue for your industry.
However, leaks can happen abruptly and without any prior consideration. That’s why leak detection remains one of the prime things to know and plan beforehand when you are the owner of such a facility. It may seem weird, but the larger the facility, the greater the danger you may have with your leaks. Any unplanned maintenance could cost you thousands of dollars and even wipe out your profitability by the end of the financial year.
Let’s see why leak prevention is essential through regular maintenance and what you need to do to make them less detrimental to the system’s functioning.
It’s true that leaks can easily make you lose money. Don’t forget that even if it’s water circulating through the pipes, you still need it to cool off the engines and keep your industry in good shape. On the other hand, some factories use pipes to transfer the oil to other parts. That means a small leak in the system could easily cost more money because the fluid is expensive and there is little chance you can regain it back from the floor. A leak could be catastrophic as the value of the fluid rises so you better be prepared to check the pipes and their connections every once in a while to ensure there is no leak anywhere close.
Even small leaks can end up being big. You need to train your personnel to fire an alarm when there is a leak of fluid in any part of the system. The hydraulic pipes are made to sustain large amounts of pressure without any significant change in shape and size. However, their vulnerable point is at the connections with other pipes or the entrance points for the system’s pumps.
In case your staff checks the pipes and sees a small leak, it’s better to report it to the engineers. Then you need to stop the functioning of the system to ensure you find a secure way to isolate the leak and fix it before it becomes bigger and more dangerous for the whole system’s reliability.
Sometimes leaks are responsible for many crucial parts of the infrastructure’s misuse or breakdown. Such parts could be the engine, the pumps, or the reservoirs of your factory. Not to mention that leaks can go on and destroy the electronics since they can reach the central panels and create short circuits. Don’t forget that leaks may transfer from one place to the other using the outer track of the pipes. So if you see fluid on any part of the system or even the floor, it’s better to follow the traces and find the initial source of it to fix it before the mess becomes even bigger and more costly to repair.
The first thing inspectors check in your factory would be the potential for leaks. If you have any leaks in your system, it’s better to find them and repair them as soon as possible before you get your factory shut down by the inspectors. These inspectors are very keen on seeing every leak and sealing the pumps. They constantly check the outer pipe surface and the connections to ensure that there is no possibility of fluid traveling outside of its designated track.
When they see a leak, they can first do a report to your chief engineer and ask for a repair. After a few weeks, they need to come back and check if everything works normally, but the persistent leaks could cost your license. So you better make them look right at the beginning.
Another crucial issue about the need to isolate and identify the leaks in the hydraulic system is personnel protection. You may not know it, but any personnel injury could cost you thousands of dollars in recovery and even lawsuits from the unions or the family. If someone loses his life while working on a leak or close to a leak, that could cost you your license for the following years. So it’s better to protect your personnel, making them familiar with what a leak looks like and what actions they need to take when there is a leak close to them.
Leak monitoring programs are now available in the market. They are suitable for any factory and industry, provided you give the right inputs. If you want to have a worry-free functioning of your factory, it’s better to implement and install an automated leak monitoring program to ensure that you check the flow of your fluids from your computer in real-time. That will cost you more in the beginning, but in the long run, you will have the chance to save on resources and maintenance. It will be the cheapest solution to follow in the long run, and you should implement it immediately.
Finally, it’s obvious that when you choose new materials for your pipes, the leaks will surely disappear. That means that leaks are directly associated with your infrastructure, and you will be more anxious to check that everything is ok when you have an old pipe system rather than a new one. That system can make you feel a lot more secure since new materials are less vulnerable to pressure and temperature. When you are all set with your pipes, you can be sure that leaks will never again appear on your system, and you will have a flawless operation.