Detecting compressed air leaks in pulp and paper mills

With compressed air leak detection with an acoustic camera, factories can detect pressurized leaks in compressed air systems more safely and up to 10 times faster than with point scan methods.
Detecting compressed air leaks
Using energy more efficiently

The challenge: using energy more efficiently

Amid an ongoing energy crisis, industries must prioritize give to the efficient use of resources to ensure they are ready are for the future. In various manufacturing industries, such as paper and pulp, energy costs are a significant part of total production costs. In the pulp and paper industry, for example, energy consumption can account for up to 20% of total production costs. 

Compressed air systems often operate continuously in mills and contribute significantly to overall energy costs. Compressed air is used throughout the paper production process. Compressed air is used to separate and clean the raw pulp fiber, operate pneumatic tools and even control valves. 

Unfortunately, compressed air leaks are common in factories. Compressed air systems typically lose 25-30% of their air to leaks 2. Experienced leak auditors indicate that some plants are wasting far more than average, with leakage levels of more than 80% not uncommon.3  

Compressed air leaks can lead to energy waste, reduced productivity and increased operating costs, so it is essential for the pulp and paper industry and other manufacturing sectors to address these compressed air leaks with proactive measures, such as regular system maintenance, timely leak repairs and implementation of advanced leak detection technologies to minimize energy costs and improve production efficiency.

Compressed air leaks
Saving with air leaks

The solution: safer and faster compressed air leak detection

Unlike traditional methods such as sniffers and leak sprays, the FLIR Si124 ultrasonic air leak detector a much safer and faster alternative for maintenance personnel. Advanced technology allows accurate remote identification of compressed air leaks, eliminating the need to work in close proximity to suspected leak areas and heavy machinery, reducing the risk of occupational hazards and promoting a safer work environment. 

With 124 microphones, the FLIR Si124 provides fast and accurate leak detection and estimation of severity and associated costs in real time using artificial intelligence-driven analysis. The Si124's sensitive microphones also offer advantages when inspecting high-voltage systems, which require a safe distance from live equipment. 

In addition, the camera requires minimal training. One-hand operation makes the camera user-friendly and compatible with every stage of a plant's maintenance cycle, while its large-scale inspection capability ensures that inspections can be performed without interrupting production, further reducing costs. 

FLIR Thermal Studio Suite

The software of the FLIR Si124 sets this camera apart from other acoustic cameras. With the FLIR Si series plug-in for FLIR Thermal Studio Suite you can capture acoustic images from FLIR Si-series cameras into FLIR Thermal Studio. The software enables maintenance departments to prioritize reporting and makes it easier for maintenance managers to understand the impact of leaks on business results. With the plug-in, you have support for automatic fault classification, an indication of the severity, recommended action for inspection of utilities, an estimate of leakage volume and cost savings for air leaks. The software even integrates thermal and acoustic imaging into one report.

In addition, FLIR Acoustic Camera Viewer allows images to be quickly uploaded via Wi-Fi and thoroughly analyzed, making it easier to quantify compressed air leaks, including estimated leakage costs. 

FLIR Thermal Studio


With the FLIR Si124 acoustic camera, factories can detect pressurized leaks in compressed air systems up to 10 times faster than with point scan methods.  

The FLIR Si124 can also help pulp and paper mills save money. To estimate the potential energy a mill could save in detecting and repairing air leaks, relative to the cost of the camera itself, the Si124-LD ROI Calculator can be used. 

Ultimately, acoustic cameras a wealth of benefits and results related to air leak detection in pulp and paper mills. By deploying an ultrasonic acoustic detector, paper mills can save money and ensure uninterrupted operation by identifying hidden compressed air leaks before they grow into critical problems.

The advantages of using an acoustic camera to detect air leaks in pulp and paper mills include:

  1. One can save money and ensure operational continuity and uniform quality by detecting hidden compressed air leaks in time.

  2. Large areas can be quickly scanned and critical problems accurately located for time, energy and cost savings.

  3. It requires minimal training and is easily incorporated into maintenance cycles.

  4. Delivery of real-time results and actionable data for maintenance and repair plans through machine learning-driven analytics.

Ron van Sambeek - Thermography specialist

Thermography specialist

Ron van Sambeek

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