Gaining Insight – The Key to Continual Improvement

HVAC unit


With utility bills rising, Schneider Electric wanted to find and fix costly air compressor leaks. The first step? Finding a reliable detection method that wouldn’t disrupt work.


Digital Sound Technology (DST), part of Lee Company’s innovative INSIGHT technology platform, offers a cost-effective, non-intrusive way to locate leaks.


A Lee Company technician pinpointed and quanti- fied dozens of leaks without impacting normal business operations. Guided by these insights, Schneider Electric was able to repair critical leaks, saving thousands of dollars in utility charges per year and realizing its ROI in about half the time expected.

Big Challenge? Great INSIGHT.

From 1836 to today, Schneider Electric has trans- formed itself into the global specialist in energy man- agement. Starting from its roots in the iron and steel industry, heavy machinery, and ship building, it moved into electricity and automation management. After 170 years of history, Schneider Electric has become a global solution provider that helps clients make the most of energy.

As the facility manager at the Schneider Electric plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, Keith Smith was always looking for ways to improve the company’s energy performance.

“I knew from the energy numbers that there were leaks in the air compressor system,” says Smith, “but I didn’t have the time, resources or technology to find those leaks.”

The air compressor loop encircles the facility’s ceiling, making it a challenge to locate leaks during regular working hours without disrupting business. Old processes – bringing a lift to hoist a worker to the ceiling and using peppermint mist or spraying soap bubbles – wouldn’t work.

“With DST, the Lee Company technician came in during the day, during our regular production time, and was able to just point and shoot – pinpointing leaks under normal business conditions,” says Smith. “This was a big advantage for us in terms of costs and intrusion, vs. the old technology.”

Smith says another advantage was the added “Insight” DST provided – the technician quantified leaks as he found them.

“It was pretty amazing,” Smith says. “By measuring the sound and air velocity, the Lee Company techni- cian provided real-time cost data as he went. We were able to use that information to prioritize the leaks and know what to fix first.”

That benefit made a real bottom-line difference.

“We expected about a two-year return on investment,” he says. “When you look at the leaks and the resources needed to fix them, we made our ROI in about 1.2 years, far better than expected. I think it’s a great investment. Everyone in the industry is constantly looking for continual improvement in maintenance. We have to continually improve our budget performance and our machinery performance. That means we have to start looking at doing things differently and taking advantage of advanced technology. DST falls right into that category.”

Smart People. Dedicated Partners. Creative Solutions.

For more than 70 years, customers have trusted Lee Company to handle everything from HVAC to plumbing to electrical services; we are the established experts in installation, maintenance and repair.

Today, with more than 1,200 professionals on the team, we’re the people facility managers call when they need collaborative partners, eager to tackle the toughest challenges.

We’re ready to create a solution just right for you.

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