Olympic Steel – Air Compressor Leak Study

Founded in 1954, Olympic Steel is a metal services provider in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Its operations in Milford, Connecticut, is a premier source for flat-rolled carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Its full portfolio of metals includes the following and more:

  • Cut-to-length
  • Stretcher-leveled
  • Temper-passed
  • Burned-to-shape
  • Formed
  • Machined
  • Painted
  • Welded

Olympic Steel’s expansive geographic footprint allows it to excel in partnerships with national, multi-location accounts and regional customers alike. It has a manufacturing footprint of over 3.7 million square feet and over 30 facilities in North America.

The company is committed to providing national and regional original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), fabricators and service centers with quality materials and timely delivery. Its superior service is reflected in its extensive processing facilities network, outstanding sales and high customer satisfaction rankings.

Our team at Quincy Compressor performed an exhaustive study after Olympic Steel’s compressed air system faced some costly leaks. Read on to learn more about the challenges this leakage caused and our process for addressing them.

why it's important to address air compressor leaks

Why Is It Important to Address Air Compressor Leaks?

Many industries rely on compressed air systems daily, from breweries and dry cleaners to food and beverage processors. In fact, about 70% of manufacturers use air compressors. Compressed air is one of the most expensive yet essential utilities in many industries, using more energy than other equipment.

Leaks are a common issue facing air compressors, leading to expensive energy losses each year. They can significantly decrease system performance, causing a 25%-50% waste in total output and negatively affecting pressure settings. It only takes a small leak for your business to take a financial hit, leaking large amounts of air over time when left unresolved.

The Challenge

Olympic Steel had air compressors running at a higher capacity — an extra 20 horsepower, to be exact — to compensate for the audible leaks they were experiencing.

In Connecticut, the local utility company pays for 50% of the leak study. The state’s cost of power is incredibly high — $.28 per kilowatt hour. With the utility company paying for half of the leak study, Olympic Steel felt inclined to choose Quincy Compressor to perform the study.

The Action Plan

Our experts at Quincy Compressor performed a comprehensive leak study using a 124-microphone acoustic camera. This technology helps you detect leaks quickly, regardless of size. Because it allows you to scan a larger area, you can identify two leaks every five minutes.

The competitor’s solution involved one microphone leak detector, which requires the use of headphones due to hearing safety concerns. Additionally, the competitor’s technology requires manually scanning a small area, yielding only one leak every 20 minutes. Our Ultrasonic Leak Detection saved valuable customer time while addressing safety concerns.

Conclusion Highlights

At Quincy Compressor, we provide customers with more than parts and services. We also offer innovative digital solutions to optimize and reduce the costs of customers’ compressor operations.

Our team located a total of 49 leaks, equating to 79.40 cubic feet per minute of wasted flow each year. The leak study also saved $47,430 for Olympic Steel. We provided them with a comprehensive leak report, which gave them clear priority on what leaks to repair first based on their sizes and price estimations.

Air Compressor Leak Detection Solutions by Quincy Compressor

Did you know that air compressors lose an average of 20%-30% of compressed air due to leaks? This is a significant waste of money. A standard 200-horsepower installation with an air leak can waste up to $46,531.

Unfortunately, leaks are an unavoidable issue — every air compressor will experience one at some point. Numerous factors can contribute to leaking, such as poor pipe connections, weak seals and corrosion holes. Your air compressor could be hissing away money without your knowledge.

An air leak is expensive, but fortunately, Quincy Compressor can help you detect and repair it.

How Our Solutions Differ From Traditional Leak Detection Technology

We can perform a comprehensive air compressor leak study to help you avoid costly losses. Our acoustic imaging camera can identify leaks incredibly faster than conventional methods. A standard leak detector uses one microphone. Our camera uses 124 microphones to take measurements, letting you identify leak locations and determine priority based on size and cost estimation.

You can pinpoint smaller leaks due to the camera’s increased sensitivity and detection range (two leaks every five minutes). Additionally, you can locate leaks up to 426 feet away. Here are some other factors contributing to our industry-leading solution:

  • Increased safety due to no soundproof headset requirements
  • Real-time analytics for leak size and cost estimation
  • Automatic report generation
  • Minimal training to use the leak detection camera

Comprehensive Customer Leak Detection Reports

After you find the leak, repairing it may be as simple as tightening connections. Alternatively, it could require more substantial measures like replacing pipe sections, couplings, hoses, traps, joints, drains or fittings.

A leak audit provides a high-value report following the in-depth leak study. You can seamlessly create a professional customer-facing report once the audit is complete. This report summarizes the findings, clarifying actions that will yield the best results.

You can view each leak’s location on your facility’s site map. The report ranks leaks by the annual loss of cubic feet per minute and dollars. That way, you can easily determine which leaks require immediate action for optimal cost savings.

Choose Quincy Compressor for Quality Compressed Air Systems and Solutions

Since 1920, Quincy Compressor has built an unparalleled reputation for innovative solutions and reliability in the most demanding industries and applications, including the following:

  • Aerospace
  • Amusement parks
  • Automotive
  • Brewing
  • Climate control
  • Dry cleaning
  • Energy exploration
  • Farming and agriculture
  • Food and beverage
  • Manufacturing
  • Medical
  • Mining
  • Natural gas
  • Oil and gas
  • Painting
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Plastics
  • Plumbing
  • Textiles
  • Woodworking

No matter your industry, we can provide your company with dependable, affordable air compressor systems and services. Feel free to browse more of our case studies to discover how our innovative solutions have served customers and industries.

Contact a Quincy Representative for Air Compressor Leak Detection Services Today

In addition to our line of durable, efficient air compressor products designed for decades of use, we’re proud to provide industry-leading leak detection services for our customers. If you suspect an expensive leak in your air compressor system, you know who to call.

Additionally, we have a broad network of authorized distributors throughout the United States and worldwide. Your authorized dealer representative can guide you through the scheduling process and answer any questions you might have about the leak detection procedure.

Don’t let an air compressor leak cost you potentially thousands of dollars. Get in touch with our air experts for advanced leak detection and audit services. We invite you to find an authorized Quincy Compressor representative near you and schedule a leak audit today.


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Ashley Oberkirch

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Ashley is the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Quincy Compressors headquarters in Bay Minette, AL. She has more than 16 years of experience working in the manufacturing industry.

About Quincy Compressor

Quincy Compressor specializes in compressed air technology, offering top-notch products and services since 1920. Serving the industry for over 100 years, Quincy is on the cutting edge, engineering quality and reliability into every offering. Award-winning accomplishments have allowed Quincy to build solid relationships with its customers and achieve compressed air systems best practices. Quincy’s flagship products include the QSI and QGV rotary screw compressors, the reciprocating QR-25, QT and Climate Control packages along with its innovative Royal Blue Warranty, widely recognized as among the industry’s strongest warranty program.

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