Duct Tape (also called duck tape) has been around since the 1940s, when it was designed to be easily used to make quick repairs on things (see Wikipedia). Over the years, it seems many strange and wonderful uses have been found for this handy adhesive tape, including its incorrect use on compressed air systems.
The product is designed to be easily ripped by hand and has a mild adhesive backing, something perfect for making quick repairs on items of general use — but unfortunately, it is not strong enough to stop compressed air leaks.
A small manufacturing company tried to adopt a leak repair program using duct tape; the plant manager was tired of hearing all that hissing during non-production times. The liberal application of this tape on leaky tools and hoses did the trick …well, at least the annoying sound went away. But a quick look at their leakage level found that 70% of their compressed air usage was equipment leakage. The cost to the plant was about $10,000 per year in wasted energy.
Duct tape lasts only a fraction of a second in stopping a high pressure compressed air leak, but using it blocks the sound of the leak — making it harder to find. Compressed air auditors have found that wrapping leaks in duct tape blocks the ultrasonic signal of a compressed air leak in some cases so that it cannot be found even with sensitive ultrasonic leak detectors!
Make it a policy to outlaw the use of duct tape for compressed air repair in your plant. Find and repair your compressed air leaks and save yourself a bundle.