Up and running
There are two parts to Linde’s system, the detection apparatus and the gas cylinder bank. The bank contains hydrogen in separate cylinders or in cylinders premixed with the MAP gases and bundled. MAP gases are usually CO2 or nitrogen (N2) and often used in combination depending on what best suits the product for extended shelf life. If a plant is already using CO2 or N2 for cryogenic chilling or freezing, those gases may be piped from outdoor storage tanks.
Following an on-site assessment and engineering audit, Linde installs the leak detection unit in line with the package conveyor. The detection part of the system applies pressure to each package which causes any leaks that may be present to become visible. If the sensors detect hydrogen from any of the pressurized packages moving through the system, a control arm removes the package, and an alarm immediately signals the operator. “It’s one of our most simple systems,” DiMaggio says. “It’s very simple and inexpensive.”
Return on investment depends on multiple factors. Bell says WITT’s Leak Master Easy water submersion systems have a lower entry price point than its CO2 systems – Leak Master PRO and Leak Master MAP MAX – leading to a quicker ROI, but limited in level of test documentation.
“Both technologies offer a quick ROI as leaks can either shut down a production line causing loss of thousands of dollars,” Bell says. “Or worse, a recall of the product.”
The return on investment from Linde’s new system comes in three different areas, and it can come in less than a year, according to DiMaggio. “It’s a redeployment of labor, it’s the cost of reworking/repackaging product and then the cost of just wasted product.”
He goes on to explain, “First, you’re finding that there is an adulteration in a lot, and then taking that lot, removing the packaging and reworking it. The second is the cost of returns. If it’s gotten into the marketplace and you’re getting returned product, you’re not going to rework that product, that’s a total loss.”
The third area of cost pertains to the quality control personnel devoting time and labor to overseeing and maintaining the integrity of packaging and whether or not it has leaks.
“This is a technology that creates significant value if you just take the $250,000 worth of net annualized savings per line,” DiMaggio says. That is a conservative estimate according to Linde’s research and market intelligence, based on wasted product from less efficient leak detection methods.
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