Leaving the EU won’t let you off the hook where VOC leaks are concerned. The EU Directive on Industrial Emissions will still remain part of British law. So if you store or handle gases you will still be required – in the words of the Directive – to “control emissions using the best available techniques.” But do you know what those techniques are?
A mechanical “sniffer” is one way to find a leak – as long as the leak’s not near a draught, outside on a windy day, or too small to trip an alert. Or you can pressure test – though that means shutting down and flushing out the system, with several days’ lost production as a result. Or you can go low-tech and smear soapy water around, then look for bubbles.
Alternatively, you can use the best available technique that’s actually EU-recommended: “Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) cameras should be introduced… for easier and faster identification of significant leaking components.”
Leaks, camera, action
An OGI camera works on the principle that different gases prevent infrared light from passing through them on different wavelengths. So a camera which detects infrared light, if tuned to the correct wavelength, will reveal an otherwise invisible gas.
However this will only happen if the camera is expertly tuned to the correct wavelength, temperature range and resolution. It also needs an operator who can interpret the image. And it needs the skill and experience to know where to point the camera for the best chance of spotting a leak.
30+ ways to damage your business
The 30+ most common VOCs covered by the Industrial Emissions legislation are not just one problem, but several.
If they leak out, they’re a problem for employee health and safety – through toxicity, explosiveness or flammability. If they cause an injury, explosion or fire they’re a problem for your business’s reputation, as well as for its productivity if there’s downtime as a result. They’re a problem for the environment. And if the gas that leaks is actually the product you’re manufacturing, they can be a problem for your profitability too.
The OGI camera used by ERIKS can detect even the smallest leaks in your gas system, whether during a stand-alone VOC leak survey, or as part of complete Condition Monitoring package.
Either way, ERIKS will survey your gas lines from end to end, checking joints, valves, flanges and the lines themselves. The whole survey will be videoed to provide you with a record of your system’s condition. Small leaks will be logged and reported, and if there’s a large leak detected which represents an immediate danger you ‘ll be alerted at once. You’ll receive a report in digital format, with links to relevant pieces of video. And if the survey is part of a larger Condition Monitoring package, any leak that’s repaired will be surveyed afterwards to ensure the repair is effective.
Prevention is better than leaks
Knowing how and where equipment fails is important in finding leaks faster. Since research shows 84% of leaks occur in just 1% of plant, it’s also invaluable in reducing the amount of plant that has to be shut down.
ERIKS’ camera operators are Level 2 certified – the highest level of training for interpreting the camera data. They’re also highly experienced, since they use OGI cameras every day. And they’re steeped in ERIKS know-how, covering a vast range of industrial equipment and components.
So they know where and how equipment fails, where leaks are most likely to occur, and where to look first to save time.
As an additional element of an OGI survey, ERIKS can help you find the root cause of leaks to prevent them reoccurring.
Available data indicates that 10–15% of pipework failures result from vibration-induced fatigue of small bore process piping systems. ERIKS can identify the issue and help to overcome it with a variety of solutions: from installing effective pipe supports and correctly bracing connections, to eliminating poor system geometry.
Industrial emissions regulations can’t be avoided – even after Brexit. But with ERIKS’ OGI expertise, leaks can.