Kawasaki was invited by Advanced Engineering Ltd to try the new Optimax Junior and Optimax Pro leak detection lamps on the 250 machine tools in its Plymouth factory.
With some 250 machine tools on its manufacturing site in Plymouth, most of which use hydraulics, Kawasaki has very good reason to be constantly on guard against oil leaks. To ensure that they never become a problem, the company uses Spectroline leak detection. In fact Spectroline products have now been an essential part of Kawasaki's rigorous programme of preventative maintenance for the last ten years.
Advanced Engineering Ltd, the UK distributor for Spectroline, therefore asked Kawasaki to try out two new leak detection lamps – the Optimax Junior and Optimax Pro.
Despite its ultra-compact, lightweight construction, the Optimax Junior is very powerful and will show even the smallest of leaks. Very useful for checking in hard-to-reach places, it also fits very neatly into the engineer's top pocket. The Optimax Pro is a little larger and its heavier-duty build is designed to withstand rougher treatment. Both lamps are available in complete starter kits, which each include a 480ml bottle of Oil-Glo 44 dye for oil-based fluids – which is enough to treat up to 480 litres of oil.
Compact and portable
Ray Wilson, Maintenance Manager for Kawasaki, is very impressed by the two new lamps: "The main benefit is their portability. No electrical supply is required, so they can be used both on and off site with ease. The Pro kit is particularly useful for larger jobs and continuous daily use. It also gives a greater inspection range – reaching up to six metres. The Junior is great for tight spaces, but in fact the dramatic reduction in size of both lamps over previous leak detection tools means that either one of them can reach into previously inaccessible areas."
For those still unfamiliar with it, Spectroline's method for detecting oil-based leaks is based on the acclaimed Oil-Glo fluorescent dye. A small amount of this is added to the fluid system and allowed to circulate. If any fluid should escape from the machinery, an amount of dye escapes with it and remains at the leak site. Scanning with an Optimax lamp makes the dye fluoresce a bright yellow-green colour, allowing the exact source of the leak to be pinpointed. If there is more than one leak, each source can be clearly identified.
Once the machinery has been repaired, residual dye can be removed from the leak sites with a dye cleaner/remover. Re-inspection with the lamp will then confirm that the repair work has been successful. Importantly, Oil-Glo can be left in the machinery indefinitely, with no detrimental effects whatsoever. There it can continue to fulfil its role in monitoring for leaks.
Ray Wilson says: "For us at Kawasaki, the most important selling point of the Spectroline system is that it works! We have had a lot of success in identifying even the tiniest of leaks in our machine tools. There is no longer a need to spend days cleaning equipment prior to looking for leaks. What is more, depending on the location of the leak, work can be carried out while the machine is still operating. Crucially, Spectroline saves us time and money by speeding up maintenance and keeping the machines moving. I have yet to come across any other leak detection system that is as convenient or as effective."