Compressed Air Technology Solves Problems In Multiple Applications


The Heavy Duty Dry Vac family

I received a phone call from an engineer at a coffee manufacturer about a better method to transfer their coffee beans before and after roasting, and after grinding.  The application was similar to processes I saw a few years ago during a customer visit with our Costa Rican distributor, so I was thankfully able to visualize the process fairly well and knew that our air operated conveyors (Line Vacs) could provide a solution.

The conveyance problem was what initially interested this customer in EXAIR products, though after further discussions, we also uncovered a need to vacuum spilled coffee grounds from the floor, sometimes in rather large quantities.

Customer: “It’s a shame you don’t sell these (Line Vacs) as complete vacuum systems.”

EXAIR: “Actually, we do.”

Customer: “Where is that on your site??  We have electric vacs and are BURNING them up!”

I directed the engineer to our Industrial Housekeeping Products, ultimately settling on the Heavy Duty Dry Vac for this application.  Initially, we explored using a Chip Vac, which would have worked well.  But, the customer wanted to vacuum any spilled material as quickly as possible, so the higher vacuum flow of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac proved to be an important feature.  The Heavy Duty Dry Vac also offers a static resistant hose, something else that the customer highly valued.

By solving one problem we were able to uncover another and offer a solution for it as well.  If you have a problem for which a fast, efficient, maintenance free vacuum system could offer a solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

Air Operated Conveyor Provides Solution for Glue Pellet Transfer

As companies move to other facilities or are expanding inside their own, sometimes you have to get creative with your system. In this situation, a paper facility had to move their glue line to make room for another project. The system included a transfer module for moving hot melt pellets from a storage bin into a hopper where it was heated and applied.   In the move, they could not locate the transfer module close enough to the glue line for safety reasons. They contacted EXAIR to see if we could help.

In discussing their layout, the best location would be to place the transfer module on the other side of an office pod but the transfer module could not move the hot melt pellets that distance. They needed to move the hot melt pellets about 20 feet horizontally and about 6 feet vertically to reach their glue line hopper, something an EXAIR Line Vac can accomplish. We decided to use a model 6083 1 ½” Aluminum Line Vac to help out. The conveyance rate would keep up with the transfer module, and it had enough power. The pellets would be transferred to a nearby bin by the module. Then the Line Vac would move it from the bin, over the office pod, and into the hopper on the other side.   With the transfer module out of the way and the hot melt pellets still feeding the glue line, they were able to continue operating the system.


Line Vac

Line Vac – EXAIR’s air operated conveyor.

If you ever need to get creative to solve a process, production or safety problem, you can always contact one of the Application Engineers at EXAIR for help. We have years of experience with our compressed air products to coat, conserve, cool, convey and clean.


John Ball
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Lost In The Din? Not With An Ultrasonic Leak Detector!

Have you ever found yourself in a noisy environment, trying to hear what someone is saying to you? They could speak up, but sometimes that’s not enough. You might find yourself cupping your hand to your ear…this does two things:

*It blocks a lot of the noise from the environment.  This could also be called “filtering” – more on that in a minute.
*It focuses the sound of the speaker’s voice towards your ear.


“What? They’re ALL still RIGHT behind me?”

Now, this isn’t a perfect solution, but you’ll likely have much better luck with this in a busy restaurant than, say, at a rock concert. Especially if it’s The Who…those guys are LOUD (vintage loud). If you’re at one of their concerts, whatever your friend has to say can probably wait.

You know what else can be loud?  Industrial workplaces.  Heavy machinery, compressed air leaks, cranes, forklifts, power tools, cranky supervisors/personnel…there are lots of unpleasant but necessary (mostly) sources of sound and noise, right here, where we work.

In the middle of all this, your supervisor might just task you with finding – and eliminating – compressed air leaks…like the person I talked to on the phone this morning.  This is where our Ultrasonic Leak Detector comes in: in places with high noise levels, it could be difficult (if not downright impossible) to hear air leaks.

Most of that noise from the machinery, cranes, etc., is in the “audible” range, which simply means that it’s of a frequency that our ears can pick up.  In a quiet room, you could likely hear an air leak…all but the very smallest ones will make a certain amount of noise…but when a compressed fluid makes its way out of a tortuous path to atmospheric pressure, gets turbulent, and creates an ultrasonic sound it is a frequency that our ears CAN’T pick up on.

Not only does the Ultrasonic Leak Detector pick up on this ultrasonic sound, it can also block (or “filter”) the audible sound out.  It comes with a parabola and a tubular extension so you can hone right in on the area, and then the exact location, of the leak.

If you’d like to find out more about compressed air leak detection, how much you might be able to save by fixing leaks, or how this could make your supervisor a bit less cranky (no guarantees on that last one,) give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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IMG_1339 courtesy of Rich Hanley  Creative Commons License

Super Ion Air Knife Removes Static Charge On Epoxy Coated Electrical Busbar

This past week I had a local customer visit our facility looking to test the effectiveness of our Super Ion Air Knife on their 6″ wide x 10′ long epoxy coated, copper bus bar. A bus bar is a metal strip or bar (typically copper) that is used to conduct electricity for high voltage equipment in lieu of traditional wiring. With this particular customer they were applying a protective epoxy coating to the strip then used a high voltage tester with a metal brush to check the epoxy for any exposed copper.

They would put an electrical charge on to the brush and rub it across the epoxy. If any charge from the brush is able to reach the grounded copper, the test brush shuts down immediately due to the detection of an electrical path through a defect in the epoxy.  The problem they came to EXAIR to solve was related to the static charge built up on the epoxy from rubbing the test brush on it. This static charge was shocking the personnel responsible for grabbing and removing the bus bars from the test area, so they called and visited EXAIR for assistance.


Example of smaller scale bus bar used in an electrical panel.

The customer brought (2) 5′ lengths samples of the strip and a portable test machine to run the test at our facility. After they rubbed the brush across the the strip and created a static charge, our Digital Static Meter  detected anywhere from 6500V to 15,000V at different points on the epoxy coating. We tested our 6″ Super Ion Air Knife, operating at 60 PSIG at a distance of about 40″ away and were able to lower the reading to around 1400 V in a matter of seconds. While this was acceptable to the customer, they mentioned they had additional time available in the process for removing static. Keeping this in mind we decided to keep the same operating parameters but would treat the sample for 1 minute. The additional treatment time was able to lower the voltage on the epoxy to around 200V.  Pleased with this result, the customer placed an order for (2) 60″ Super Ion Air Knives to cover the length of the 10′ strip.

Super Ion Air Knife

Super Ion Air Knife provides a laminar sheet of ionized airflow across the entire length of the knife. Available in lengths from 3″ up to 108″.

To discuss how we might be able to assist with your static electricity issue(s), give us a call, we’d be glad to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer


Busbars image courtesy of Schezar via Creative Commons License.


Model 1410SS-CS Blows Castings in Cleaning Application

About a month ago I was in the field with one of our distributors in India visiting one of their customers. We were there to make an audit of their applications which were suspected of being high volume compressed air users within the plant. The very first application we were taken to was the point where large, steel castings begin their journey through the plant. It is at this point that the castings must be cleaned of all chips and residue prior to being run through a large parts washer.

The application involves multiple personnel blowing onto large, steel castings to remove machining chips, oil and other debris to prepare them for washing. The existing air gun might have been in good condition at some point, but during our visit, we found the air gun’s trigger was secured in an open position with zip ties so it was “on” all the time. Also, there was no nozzle at the tip of the gun. It appeared to have been cut off with a grinding wheel. The fact that there was no engineered nozzle at the end made the unit quite un-safe, loud and a large consumer of compressed air. The fact that the handle was clamped in the open position also negated the effectiveness of being able to use the air only when needed. Finally, when these operators would blow into blind holes debris would exit with significant velocity, so that represented a danger to the personnel that we could also remedy with our recommendation.

old bg

Old blow gun

After initial review of what was happening in the application and seeing first-hand what the issues were, we recommended EXAIR Model 1410SS-CS (Precision Safety Air Gun with Chip Shield).

new bg

Model 1410SS-CS

Following is our estimate of compressed air usage for the existing air guns and calculated air savings with projected cost savings figured for 4 people operating constantly over three daily shifts. Estimated current air use per each gun = 33 SCFM. Air consumption of model 1410SS-CS = 8.3 SCFM. Net air reduction = 33 – 8.3 = 24.7 SCFM. 75% air savings. Rough estimate for per shift air savings = 47,424 Standard Cubic Feet. At $ .25 USD / 1000 SCF, the “per shift” savings could be $11.86 USD. Total daily savings = $35.57 USD.

As many who follow compressed air savings know, compressed air is one of, if not the most expensive utility in just about any manufacturing operation. And this case demonstrates just how expensive four innocuous air guns blowing in a single application can really be and how it adds to the bottom line costs that every manufacturing decision-maker is usually concerned about.

Point being, if you want to add to your bottom line, give consideration to your air blowing applications. There is usually big savings to be had which can improve the application, help the bottom line, increase safety and conserve on that ever precious resource, energy.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager

Good Communication is Needed to Discover the Best Solution

I had a call the other day about a Cabinet Cooler System that was not working properly. In talking over the problem, the customer decided a picture might help me understand what he was trying to explain, so he sent one for to me to look at it. When opened, the picture did not show what I expected. Instead of the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System, I was looking at an EXAIR Vortex Tube mounted to the top of a cabinet. Further discussion revealed that I was talking to the maintenance manager and he had no idea who had installed this and for what reason. He only knew it was reported that 2 cabinets were having issues – one was continuously leaking (the initial call and picture) and one was not as cool as it should be. Now there were two problems!

Starting with the initial, the vortex tube was actually working as it should. It is supposed to “leak” air. Vortex tubes will push cool air out on one side and hot air out the other. Per the picture, this vortex tube was installed to allow the hot air to exhaust from the cabinet, thus it would “leak” air. In this case, the cabinet was cool, but to what standard? No one knew what temperature was to be maintained. The maintenance manager, and for that matter the workers who reported the defect, did not know what the device was or how it worked. After describing how a vortex tube functioned, I directed him to look at the EXAIR website for more information and adjustment instructions if needed. The manager was surprised, and happy, that it was actually working as it “should be” so he could take it off his To-Do list.

PLEASE NOTE: A Vortex Tube is typically recommended for cooling a small area (spot cooling) or small volumes of gas. We do not usually recommend them for cooling electronic enclosures, EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler systems are the best choice for an enclosure. Cabinet Coolers will provide quick and easy installation while maintaining the NEMA integrity of the cabinet. They are preset to provide maximum cooling and efficiency, and they are available with a thermostat and solenoid to turn themselves on and off as needed to maintain a specific internal temperature.

Now to the second unit. Again, it was determined to be a vortex tube, not a cabinet cooler system as originally thought. This unit was deemed to be working since it was not “leaking” but the cabinet was not cool. To my thinking, this unit was NOT working and explained why. I informed the customer that they may need to check their supply pressure and/or look to see if the unit had been adjusted to the point that the hot end airflow had been closed which would produce cold air. He replied he would look into it and then mentioned that he would have a word with the workers reporting the defects and investigate who and why the installations were done in the first place.

Throughout the conversation, one question kept coming up . . . were these the correct tools for the application? I was unable to answer this directly. I passed on that EXAIR would normally recommend actual cabinet cooler systems. These would provide more control for what they were apparently trying to do (cool the cabinets) and also keep them dirt and moisture-free. However, without more knowledge of what the customer was truly trying to accomplish and insufficient data available, I suggested the manager seek more information and call us back. He agreed. Although the vortex tubes in this application are usually not the choice, we know not all applications are the same. If the environment was extremely hot or space exceptionally tight, a vortex tube may be the best answer.

In my eyes, and to a degree the customer’s, the conversation was satisfactory but may not have provided the most effective and efficient solution. More data was needed, more understanding of the applications, and a better plan of action instead of putting a bandage on the problem. Based off how we left at hang-up, I believe the maintenance manager will be doing a little digging into what is going on in his plant and I foresee a call back to discuss his the best option to cool the cabinets.

John Pinchek
Application Engineer

Multiple Products Provide a Solution to Improve a Laminated Sign Making Process

A manufacturer that produces laminated signs contacted EXAIR for a blow off application. Being that we are experts in this area, I thought this would be a simple solution. The conversation started out about the signs that they manufacture. They are laminated sheets that have a thin aluminum film with a coating on the front and back sides. Their process was to cut stacks of these signs that he called books to specific dimensions. Here is how the conversation went in a shortened version:

Problem –

  1. I need to blow off chips from the saw process.
  2. It has to be strong enough to remove the chips that are melted into the face of the laminate.
  3. When the blade gets dull, the chips become hotter. The operator has to blow on the blade as it is cutting to reduce the amount of chips that melt into the laminated face.
  4. After the machine finishes and the books are removed, the table lifts up and disposes of the excess chips.

Solution –

  1.  Model 1122 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle to blow a wide area off the top of the signs after sawing.
Model 1122: 2

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

2.  Model 5330 High Power Cold Gun with dual point hose to place on the saw blade. This will extend the life of the blade and help keep the chips cool. Eliminating the melting into the face.

5330 High Power Cold Air Gun

High Power Cold Gun System

3.  Model: 110248 Super Air Knife Kit to blow the chips from the table after it is lifted.

Super Air Knife

Super Air Knife

As you can see, with a simple initial question, it became complicated rather quickly. Instead of looking at one area of the application, I was able to improve their entire process. In any manufacturing plant, scrap and downtime are the two biggest culprits in reducing profits. The scrap occurred when the faces were scratched and damaged. The downtime happened during the cleanup between book change-overs and when the saw blades were being replaced. Overall, their process improved in efficiency and speed.

Whenever you need to look at the overall process for improvement, EXAIR may have multiple solutions to offer. You can speak to an Application Engineer to see how EXAIR can increase your efficiency and reduce your scrap. You can either call 800-903-9247 or send an email to

John Ball
Application Engineer


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