Test & Measurement

Fluke Precision Acoustic Imager: cut costs, reduce waste, improve efficiency

30th May 2023
Sheryl Miles

Air Liquide, the multi-national company supplying industrial gases and services to the health and industrial sectors, has cut costs, reduced waste, and boosted the efficiency of pipelines in Italy through the use of advanced ultrasonic measurement devices from Fluke.

Air Liquide has benefited from the ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager, designed by Fluke to make it easier, faster, and safer to carry out high-sensitivity detection of gas, corona, and partial discharge (PD). Suitable for use by operators with minimal training, the point-and-shoot device can also detect compressed air, gas, and vacuum leaks, making it ideal for detecting leaks in gas distribution systems.

Strong sustainability agenda to drive energy efficiency

Driven by a strong sustainability agenda, Air Liquide wanted to increase energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint by tackling costly leaks of air and nitrogen at its dual mixed refrigerant (DMR) refinery in Syracuse, Sicily. The company chose to carry out measurements every two years on all pipelines around the refinery – 7,000m for compressed air and 9,435m for nitrogen – as well as 5km of interconnecting pipelines. Leak detection and repair (LDAR) checks are also required every 12 months by Italy’s environmental regulator ISPRA.

With a frequency range of 2 to 100kHz and 64 digital MEMS microphones, the ii910 makes it possible to locate leaks rapidly, detecting a 0.005 cubic feet per minute (CFM) leak at 100PSI from up to 32.8 feet (a 2.5cm3/sec leak at 7 bar from up to 10m). The acoustic imager also incorporates a 1280 x 800 resolution (1,024,000 pixels) LCD display, and offers a battery life of more than six hours in the field. Finally, by eliminating the need for secondary cables or other devices, the ii910 gives operators the ability to swap easily between detecting the leak or PD and fixing them.

Several leaks rapidly identified

Air Liquide called on the services of Belgium-based Intero – The Sniffers who carried out all the required measurements using the ii910 acoustic imager. Thanks to sensitive sensors on the device that work with Fluke’s SoundSight technology, the imager’s ultrasonic signals quickly revealed several leaks on the refinery’s air pipeline and multiple leaks on the nitrogen system. This enabled Air Liquide’s engineers to take immediate action to minimise the leaks and achieve instant efficiency gains.

Says Sebastiano Carpinteri, Process Engineer at Air Liquide Priolo, says: “Because our Syracuse refinery operates on a 24-hour basis, avoiding downtime is essential. That means tests for leaks must be carried out as easily as possible and results analysed in the shortest time. Using Fluke’s ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager, measurements over the entire pipeline can now be assessed from a static position by just one person. The intuitive device clearly identifies leakages, enables measurements to be carried out without any kind of infrastructure required and makes it easy to produce up-to-date and accurate reports on the locations of leaks.”

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