Views: 0 Author: by Cummins Inc., Global Power Technology Leader Publish Time: 2023-05-06 Origin: https://www.cummins.com/news/2023/05/04/jamestown-engine-plant-ultrasound-program-helps-lakewood-fire-station-save-energy
Cummins Inc. employees are dedicated to building reliable engines for customers all over the world every day. It’s that kind of dedication that often extends beyond manufacturing plants and into volunteer work with surrounding communities and local organizations. For Jamestown Engine Plant (JEP) employees, Lakewood Fire Department in Lakewood, New York (U.S.) was one such organization.
When most people think of their local fire department, they think of big red trucks and fire hoses. Few think of air, but luckily for Lakewood Fire Department, Mr. Hallett did.
Hallett, a recently retired Cummins mechanic, reconnected with the Lakewood Fire Department and has been a volunteer firefighter since 1978. With just over 38 members and no on-site mechanics, this small but mighty squad is dedicated to creating safe working conditions for its volunteers and providing the best possible service to the community.
So, it was fate that Hallett, with his Cummins background and connections, was just the right man in the right place at the right time to discover how often the station air compressor was running to maintain system pressure.
“Our four fire trucks are connected to the station air system for faster response times when calls come in,” stated Hallett. “We noted that our fire-horsepower compressor was starting up every 30 minutes which equals 48-times a day. It comes out to 17,520 starts per year. It was always hot to the touch.”
From his experience as a Cummins mechanic, Hallett knew air leakage could cause the extended run time, so he sprayed soapy water on the fittings to find leaks and repaired the ones he could reach. He knew there were more, however, so he contacted Patty Warner, his friend and long-time Cummins colleague, to help.
Warner has been with Cummins for 30 years and works in the Predictive Maintenance Group (PdM). Warner is joined by PdM colleagues Joash Chamberlain and Joseph Johnson, who have a combined 40 years of service under their belts.
“We do vibration analysis on the equipment and infrared scans of the electrical cabinets, building envelope and the roof to identify wet insulation, oil analysis, oil usage and exhaust ventilation inspections. We have a borescope to inspect internal components of equipment if we need to,” Warner explained. “We also have the ultrasound program.”
Hallett knew the ultrasound, which he calls “the sniffer,” would find the remaining leaks in the truck. He, Warner and Chamberlain checked all the fittings in several hundred feet of pipe.
“That’s what they do at the plant. Even with the machine lines running, they can walk around with the sniffer and check for air leaks,” said Hallett. “There’s no way a person could hear those leaks. It’s like a dog’s ears. It’s ultrasonic.”
The station compressor starts 48 times a day – that’s a five-horsepower electric motor that refills the air tank in the building, and that air tank is plumbed to the fire trucks. The station also had two minor leaks in air hose reels with manual values thatwere turned on only when needed. Hallett says people think air is free, but it’s incredibly costly to compress air only to have it leak someplace it can’t be detected.
Energy consumption, wear and tear on equipment and expense all decreased significantly after finding and fixing the leaks.
“We stopped the air compressor from cycling so often and lowered the number of runs,” said Hallett. “That eliminated close to 15,000 cycles per year! Now the compressor runs about five times daily instead of 48 times per day. With the compressor located near our main gathering area in the station, we don’t have to put up with the noise.”
Warner felt honored to provide the Cummins ultrasound equipment that supported this endeavor. With more reliable equipment and peace of mind knowing their trucks no longer leak air, Lakewood Fire Department can better serve their community.
If interested in learning about Jamestown Engine Plant employees’ volunteer initiatives, don’t forget to explore how JEP raised over $12,000 to donate toys to patients at the local hospital.