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Seeing the Waste

One of the fundamental principles of Lean is that you first have to see the muda (waste) before you can attack it.  Sounds simple; all it takes is discipline.  Ah, there’s the rub!

One of the pillars of our company is applying the principles of compressed air to manufacturing processes.  Everyone in industry knows how useful compressed air is in actuation applications:  pushing, pulling, clamping, pressing, holding, turning, etc.  And the real cool thing about air is that it’s FREE!! . . . not.


Actually compressed air is rather expensive, because a lot of the energy that a compressor uses to compress air is actually dissipated in the form of heat.  Until they make a more efficient compressor, chalk that expense up to the cost of doing business.

The more insidious waste in your plant’s compressed air usage comes in the form of air leaks and misapplication: leaking fittings, valves or filter drains; over-sized cylinders; using more pressure than the application requires; and air piping filled with rust and pipe scale.

Unlike hydraulic oil, when air leaks it’s invisible.  Sure a leak makes noise, but in a manufacturing plant filled with noise, it’s undetectable.  That’s where the discipline comes in.  Maintaining compressed air equipment is a never ending and usually unrewarded activity.  You’d have to be a fool or a martyr to devote time and attention to it.  Right?

Nevertheless, there are HUGE savings to be realized from detecting and repairing air leaks.  If you know what your compressors’ electrical consumption is, figure 25% of it is wasted on leaks.  I guarantee you it is a large number.

Want more information?  Check out our web page on “Green/Energy-Saving Solutions”.  If you’d like our help in tackling air leaks and compressed air misapplications, give me a call at 770-580-1006.  It would be our pleasure to help you.


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