Compressed Air Measuring & Monitoring Applications

Compressed air is widely used in various industries for powering tools, equipment, and processes. Accurate measurement and monitoring of compressed air is crucial to ensure efficient and reliable operation, minimize energy consumption, and reduce operating costs. Here are some common applications of compressed air measuring and monitoring:

Compressed air flow measurement: Measuring the flow rate of compressed air is essential for monitoring consumption, detecting leaks, and optimizing system performance. Flow meters, such as orifice plates, Venturi meters, thermal mass flow meters, and ultrasonic flow meters, can be used to measure compressed air flow in pipes, hoses, or other parts of the compressed air system.

Compressed air pressure monitoring: Monitoring the pressure of compressed air is important to ensure that it is within the required range for specific applications. Pressure transducers or pressure sensors can be installed at various points in the compressed air system, such as at the compressor outlet, after the dryer, or at the point of use, to measure and monitor the pressure in real-time. This helps in identifying pressure drops, detecting abnormalities, and optimizing system performance.

Compressed air quality monitoring: Monitoring the quality of compressed air is critical in applications where the air comes into direct contact with the product, such as in food and beverage manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and electronics. Compressed air quality can be monitored for parameters such as moisture content, oil content, particulate matter, and microbial contamination using appropriate sensors, analyzers, and detectors.

Compressed air energy monitoring: Compressed air systems can be energy-intensive, and monitoring energy consumption is essential for identifying potential energy-saving opportunities. Energy meters, power monitors, or data loggers can be used to measure and monitor the energy consumption of compressors, dryers, filters, and other components of the compressed air system. This data can be used for energy management, benchmarking, and identifying areas for improvement.

Compressed air leak detection: Leaks in compressed air systems can result in significant energy waste and increase operating costs. Leak detection systems, such as ultrasonic leak detectors or acoustic sensors, can be used to detect and locate leaks in compressed air pipes, fittings, valves, and other components. This helps in identifying and repairing leaks promptly, thereby reducing energy waste and optimizing system efficiency.

Compressed air usage monitoring: Monitoring the usage of compressed air is important to track consumption patterns, identify inefficiencies, and optimize system performance. Usage monitors, such as flow meters or energy meters, can be installed at the point of use or at specific equipment to measure and monitor the consumption of compressed air. This data can be used for demand-side management, identifying over-usage, and implementing energy-saving measures.

Compressed air system performance monitoring: Monitoring the overall performance of a compressed air system is crucial for identifying inefficiencies, optimizing system operation, and improving reliability. This can be achieved through a comprehensive system monitoring solution that includes monitoring of compressed air flow, pressure, quality, energy consumption, and other relevant parameters. Data can be collected, analyzed, and visualized using advanced software or monitoring platforms to provide insights, alerts, and reports for system performance evaluation and optimization.

In conclusion, compressed air measuring and monitoring applications play a vital role in ensuring the efficient and reliable operation of compressed air systems. By accurately measuring and monitoring parameters such as flow, pressure, quality, energy consumption, and usage, industries can optimize their compressed air systems, reduce energy waste, minimize operating costs, and improve overall system performance.

SCBA fill station air quality monitoring
Air filling in fire stations typically refers to the process of filling self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) cylinders with compressed air. Firefighters use SCBA to breathe while operating in hazardous environments, such as during firefighting operations in smoke-filled or oxygen-deficient areas.
Monitoring the air quality during the filling of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) cylinders is critical to ensure the safety and reliability of the breathing air supplied to firefighters. Contaminated or poor-quality air can jeopardize the effectiveness of SCBA and put firefighters at risk.
Fire departments and agencies often follow established air quality standards, such as those set by the National or local regulatory bodies. These standards dictate the acceptable levels of contaminants, including gases, particulates, and moisture, in the breathing air.
Air quality monitoring and maintenance of the air filling equipment are crucial to ensure that firefighters receive the highest quality breathing air when using SCBA during their operations. It helps minimize health risks and ensures the SCBA equipment operates effectively in hazardous environments.

Monitoring compressed air usage within a facility.
To determine the optimum number of compressors that need to be in operation at any given time so that the facility load is satisfied, a measuring station that includes a controller(D300) and a consumption sensor (S401) is installed so that the consumption of compressed air is monitored continuously and automatically determines the optimum number of compressors to handle the facility demand.

Power and Energy Compressed Air

Power plants typically require scheduled maintenance to be performed on the turbine generators. The maintenance outage duration is extended by up to sixty (60) hours or more to allow the turbine to cool down. This results in extending the outage duration in both generation time and reduced revenues for this extended period. In today’s Power Industry, the increased demand for power places an even greater demand on the power generator to minimize downtime associated with plant maintenance outages. By developing ways to reduce the outage time, a plant can maximize its generation output, which translates into maximum availability and profit.

Power Generation Application
Forced draft cooling air is supplied to the H.P.and L.P. housing from a compressed air main pipeline running adjacent to the turbine generator. The H.P. and L.P. housings are supplied with forced air via two lines that are tapped off the compressor air mains. The air needs to be injected slowly and increased to its maximum flow slowly to reduce unnecessary thermal stress to the turbine blades. The use of symmetrical air inlets with entries at the top and bottom of the turbine casing provides uniform cooling by proportioning the flow to the top and bottom casing halves. It is possible to eliminate the differences in temperature between the top and bottom of the turbines which arise during natural cooling and could cause turbine damage. It is necessary to accurately measure the flow rate of the compressed air during this cool down period to minimize thermal stress and maximize the reduction of the cooling time.

Application parameters
User Various steam/electric stations
Media Compressed air
Line Size 3 inch Sch. 40
Flow Range 0.5 to 20 SCFM
[0.01 to 0.57 NCMM]
Pressure Range 10 psig [0.69 bar(g)]
Temperature Range 40º to 100ºF
[4.4º to 37.8ºC]

Dew Point Measurement Applications in Trains

Pneumatic systems in railway applications are vulnerable to water condensation as a result of the cooling of compressed air. This water tends to cause corrosion, degrade lubricants and freeze in cold weather, causing malfunction and damages in brake systems and other pneumatic devices as well as pneumatic components (cylinders, valves). For this reason regular measurement of dew point is essential.

Sigma provides a user friendly Sigma 520 handheld dew point meter  for these measurements and increased operational safety.

Compressed Air Flow Meters for Train Air Brake Leakage Monitoring

Compressed air flow meters play a critical role in monitoring and maintaining the efficiency of train air brake systems. These systems are essential for ensuring the safety and reliability of train operations. Monitoring compressed air flow helps in early detection of air brake leakage, which is crucial for preventing accidents and minimizing downtime.


Cloud computing & Data Centers


Compressed air quality monitoring is essential for cloud computing services and data center facilities where compressed air is used for various purposes, such as cooling, pneumatic equipment operation, and fire suppression systems. Ensuring that the compressed air is clean and meets quality standards is critical to maintaining the integrity and reliability of the equipment. Here are some key compressed air quality monitoring requirements for cloud computing services which we can supply you with:

Particle Count Monitoring:
Continuous monitoring of the concentration of particles in the compressed air is vital to ensure that it meets the required cleanliness standards. This involves using particle counters to measure the number and size of particles present in the air.

Moisture (Dew Point) Monitoring:
Monitoring the moisture content in compressed air is essential to prevent corrosion and damage to equipment. Dew point sensors are used to measure the temperature at which moisture in the air will condense into liquid form.

Oil Vapor and Oil Aerosol Monitoring:
Monitoring for the presence of oil vapor and oil aerosols is crucial, especially in environments where clean air is essential. Oil sensors or analyzers can detect the concentration of oil in the compressed air.

Pressure Monitoring:
Compressed air systems should have pressure sensors and monitors to ensure that the air pressure remains within the specified range. Deviations in pressure can impact equipment performance.

Flow Rate Monitoring:
Monitoring the flow rate of compressed air helps ensure that an adequate volume of clean air is delivered to various systems and equipment.

Alarm and Alerting Systems:
Compressed air quality monitoring systems should be equipped with alarms and alerting mechanisms to notify operators or facility managers when air quality falls below acceptable levels.

Data Logging and Reporting:
Data logging capabilities should be included in the monitoring system to record historical data for compliance reporting, trend analysis, and troubleshooting.

Regulatory Compliance:
Compressed air quality monitoring should comply with industry-specific regulations and standards, such as ISO 8573 for compressed air purity or any other relevant local or international standards.

Maintenance and Calibration:
Regular maintenance and calibration of monitoring equipment are essential to ensure the accuracy and reliability of measurements.

Compressed air quality monitoring is particularly critical in data center environments where even minor contaminants or fluctuations in air quality can lead to equipment failures, increased maintenance costs, and potential downtime. Adhering to rigorous monitoring requirements helps ensure the integrity and reliability of the compressed air supply and, by extension, the overall operation of the data center and cloud computing services.