Aurora Bearing Company: $4,500 Saved Through Leak Repair!

08/21/2020


Aurora Bearing Company had a large number of leaks in their compressed air system that added up to thousands of extra dollars on their energy bill. Fluid-Aire Dynamics fixed 150 leaks, resulting in a reduction of 64,660 kWh and energy savings of more than $4,500 annually. Thanks to an energy incentive program offered through ComEd, the cost to Aurora Bearing was $0.

“I appreciate the opportunity to work with Fluid-Aire Dynamics. Their team was very knowledgeable and professional and completed the work efficiently. They did a phenomenal job for us.”
– Oscar Fletes, Plant Superintendent, Aurora Bearing Company

Challenge: Aging Pipes with Lots of Leaks

Aurora Bearing produces precision rod end bearings and spherical bearings for the aerospace, military and industrial markets. Their plant in Montgomery, Illinois houses hundreds of CNC machines and other specialized equipment, nearly all running on compressed air. The compressed air system is powered by two 125 HP compressors which are run on an alternating basis so they always have full backup. Prior to the leak repair project, the compressors typically ran at around 75% capacity during normal operations. 

Their piping system is more than 12 years old. Oscar Fletes, the Plant Supervisor for Aurora Bearing, knew that their compressed air system had numerous leaks; his maintenance team had identified more than 80. They were fixing leaks as they had time and as they became a noticeable nuisance to operators.

When Oscar received an email from Fluid-Aire offering to fix his leaks for free, at first he thought it was too good to be true. After checking with his energy provider, ComEd, to verify that the program was legitimate, he called Fluid-Aire to schedule a leak repair appointment.

The Fluid-Aire Solution: The Fix-It-Now Leak Repair Program

The Fluid-Aire Dynamics Fix-It-Now program provides compressed air system leak repair at no cost to manufacturers with air compressors of 25 HP or larger. It is part of an energy incentive program offered to ComEd customers. ComEd covers the cost of compressed air system leak repair up to $120 per leak to improve energy efficiency and reduce the overall load on the grid.

Fluid-Aire’s qualified technicians performed a comprehensive diagnostic, using specialized equipment to find even small leaks not detectable to human senses. They found 150 leaks in need of repair throughout the 200,000 ft2 facility. It took nearly two weeks to get them all fixed. 

Oscar says, “They were very professional and respectful while they were here. If an operator was running a machine, they stayed away so they wouldn’t interrupt our production processes. It probably took them a little longer to get done because they didn’t want to be intrusive. I’m very pleased with how they went about their business.” Relying on Fluid-Aire to fix the leaks also reduced the maintenance burden on Oscar’s own staff, so they can stay focused on the production equipment and daily standard compressor maintenance. 

Fluid-Aire Dynamics took care of all of the paperwork to make sure that Aurora Bearing would be covered under the ComEd program. At the end of the project, ComEd was billed for the work.

Results: Better Compressor Performance and Thousands in Energy Savings 

After the leaks were repaired, Oscar noticed an immediate difference in air compressor performance. Rather than operating at 75% capacity, the compressors now rarely run at more than 50% capacity. This vastly reduces the strain on the compressors and wear and tear on system components. Oscar says, “We maintain these compressors every day, because we rely on compressed air just like we rely on electricity. They are already 12 years old, and I am hoping that by reducing the workload on them we can extend their life.” Fluid-Aire’s analysis shows that overall system load has been reduced by 117 CFM or 29.25 HP. 

Oscar is also enthusiastic about the energy savings. The reduction in CFM adds up to an overall reduction in energy use of 64,660 kWh per year. At their current rate of $0.07 per kWh, that’s a savings of more than $4,500 annually

Oscar highly recommends the Fluid-Aire Fix-It-Now program to other manufacturers with aging compressed air systems. “It’s a real benefit in the long run when you don’t have to waste compressed air, and it makes a world of difference in how the compressors work. If you have a compressed air system, it makes sense to have someone who knows what they are doing take a look at the system and fix all the leaks—especially when it’s free!”

Just the Facts:

Leaks repaired: 150
Load reduction: 117 CFM (29.25 HP)
Energy savings: 64,660 kWh/year
Cost savings: $4,526/year
Repair cost to customer: $0