Good practice

Compressed air leak detection and repair

Compressed air leak detection and repair
©Marlon Bönisch, image #173424030, source:
All manufacturing industries, Chemical and process engineering
Medium cost
Annual saving:
Payback time:
1.3 Year(s)
Resource savings: Energy:
30 500 kWh per year
Co2 emission reduction:
1.6 tonnes of CO2 per year
Premises and operation areas:
Production building, Production processes
Size of company:
Medium (less than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Intermediate, Advanced
One off investment:

Listen carefully!

  • Innovative tool detects compressed air leakage while maintaining production
  • The investment reduces CO2 emissions by 1.6 tonnes and saves € 2 400 annually

Merck is a French chemical and pharmaceuticals manufacturer. As part of its CO2 emissions-reduction programme (Edison Programme), the company decided to address compressed air leakage at its industrial site.

The addition of new equipment on the site has led to a proliferation of compressed air junctions and collection points, and increased the risk of leaks. The Merck site is vast and relatively old, which means the compressed air network is also ageing. Annual reports indicated that leaks of 181 m3 per hour were causing more than € 10 000 in losses. Something had to be done to address this.

For Merck, it was difficult to take action on compressed air leaks while the site was operating: the production noise masks the sound of leaks and it was necessary to wait until the summer maintenance period to measure the leakage rate. Merck brought in experts who used specialised equipment to identify normally inaudible leaks on its compressed air system during normal production time.

Key benefits

Thanks to the repairs of large leaks, Merck was able to save some € 2 400 per year and cut CO2 emissions by 1.6 tonnes. Based on this positive outcome, the company has chosen to invest in a continuous improvement approach. The maintenance team is looking to secure further savings by setting up a systematic leak-detection system and monitoring the leakage rate annually. 


“This project is part of an extensive CO2 emission-reduction programme, called the Edison Programme, initiated by the Merck Group, which aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 % by 2020. The success of our approach depends on the involvement of all teams at all levels.” - Mr. Segard, Head of Maintenance, Merck

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