When Is A Half Inch Not A Half Inch? When It’s Half Inch Pipe, Of Course!

People have been using pipe to transport fluids for thousands of years. Archeologists have discovered evidence that the Chinese were using pipes made of reeds for irrigation as early as 2,000 B.C. Lead pipe began to supplement, and eventually replace, the Roman aqueducts in the first century A.D. In the early 1800’s, someone got the idea to use gas burning lamps to light city streets, and, over the next few years, men like James Russell and Cornelius Whitehouse came up with better and better methods of mass producing metal tubing and pipes.

Over the course of the 19th Century and the Industrial Revolution, iron pipe came to be manufactured in standard sizes, which were called out by the inside diameter of the pipe. ¼” pipe had a ¼” ID, ½” pipe had a ½” ID, ¾” pipe had a ¾” ID, etc. Iron pipe could be found in any facility that needed to move a gas or a liquid: factories, power generating stations, chemical plants…you name it.

As engineers and metallurgists came up with new ways to produce pipe, technological advances led to the ability to decrease the wall thickness and still maintain high structural integrity. This was a HUGE improvement: not only could piping manufacturers make more pipe with less material, bringing down the cost, it was also lighter in weight, making it easier to transport, handle, and install. Because of the massive amount of existing piping already in place, it made sense to keep the outside diameter the same, so that all the fittings would match when these facilities went to replace worn out or damaged pipe. So, the inside diameter was increased. That’s why, today, ¼” pipe has a 0.36” ID, ½” pipe has a 0.62” ID, ¾” pipe has a 0.82” ID, etc. Lower cost, lighter weight, more flow capacity…it’s all good, right?

Well, yes, but sometimes, it can lead to confusion, especially when we’re talking about properly sized compressed air lines. See, we know how much compressed air will flow through certain sized pipes of specific lengths. The Installation & Operation Instructions for all of our products contain recommended infeed pipe sizes to ensure sufficient air flow. Keep in mind, these are Schedule 40 pipe sizes, and should not be confused with hose or tubing sizes, which usually report the outside diameter but could also report the inside diameter, depending on the source.

Consider this example: you want to install an 6” Super Air Knife in a location 10 feet from the compressed air header. Following the “Infeed Pipe Size Length of Run” column (10’) down, we see that this will require a ¼” SCH40 pipe, which has an ID of 0.36”. If you want to use hose or tubing to supply it, that’s fine – it’ll have to have a 3/8” ID, though, or you’re going to risk “starving” the Air Knife for air. If you choose a 3/8″ tube remember that dimension is usually referring to the outside diameter of the tube and automatically means your inside diameter is smaller than we would recommend.

SuperAirKnifeInfeedPipe

If you’d like to learn more, it’s actually been a pretty popular blog topic as well:

The Importance of Proper Compressed Air Supply Lines

Video Blog: Proper Supply Plumbing For Compressed Air Products

Top 6 Compressed Air Plumbing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

…and that’s just to name a few.  If you have specific questions about how to properly supply your EXAIR product(s), you can give us a call – we’re eager to help!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.exair.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Things Are Not Always As They Seem

A magician got a job on a cruise ship, entertaining the passengers on deck throughout the day, and performing a big nightly after dinner show. The Captain sat in the front row, and brought his pet parrot to see the show every night. After a couple of performances, the parrot started to figure out some of the magician’s tricks, and would cry out “The card’s up his sleeve!” “The ball’s in his other hand!” “There’s a fake bottom in the box!”  This irritated the magician to no end, but despite his protests, the Captain continued to bring the parrot to every show.

Then one night, the ship hit an iceberg and sank. The magician and the parrot ended up in the same lifeboat, where they sat, quietly glaring at each other. Hour upon hour passed in complete silence. Just before dawn, the parrot finally said “OK; I give up. What did you do with the ship?”

Magicians, of course, are the masters of all things “not as they seem,” using sleight-of-hand to create illusions or distractions. That means we see what they want us to see, we’re entertained, and their mission is accomplished.

The laws of physics mean that things are not always as they might seem as well. This morning, I had the pleasure of discussing an Air Knife application with a customer who intended to mount a Standard Air Knife as close as possible to his material, in order to provide the highest possible force from the air flow. The thought was, the closer the better, right? Well…

It turns out, this Air Knife was tested at distances from 3mm – 30mm (about 1/8” – 1”) from the target. The amount of force applied actually INCREASED with the distance over that range. His thinking was, with the velocity of the air flow being the highest, right at the outlet of the Air Knife, this would be where the force was greatest too. And, all other things being equal, this would be true.

The velocity of the air flow exiting our Air Knives can be as high as 13,000 feet per minute, and it’s not slowing down one bit over an inch of travel…not to any degree that we have an instrument to measure, anyway. The Standard Air Knife, however, entrains air from the surrounding environment…in fact, at 6″ away, it’s actually entrained 30 TIMES the amount of air that’s being supplied from your compressed air system. This is a TREMENDOUS increase in the mass flow rate. So, if you have a BUNCH more air hitting the target at the same speed, it’s going to exert a proportionately higher force.

How Std AK works

After explaining this to my customer (who installs these on chemical processing machinery), he was then able to enlighten HIS clients to the benefits of letting a little physics do the heavy (or not so heavy) lifting. In this case, the unexpected increase in force they got by moving the Air Knife about ½” away meant they could actually lower their compressed air supply pressure, conserving a great deal of air in this continuous blowing application.

Do you want to know how EXAIR, our Intelligent Compressed Air Products, and the laws of physics can work wonders in your facility, give us a call. No sleight-of-hand or prestidigitation required, but we’re willing to learn!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.EXAIR.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Cleaning Honeycomb with a Super Ion Air Knife

This week I worked with a gentleman, who was having a problem cleaning a honeycomb web after a sawing operation. The honeycomb was a paper based material, and the sawing operation would create a large amount of dust. This dust filled his honeycomb, which made the product appear inconsistent to his customer on incoming inspections. This was leading to the customer questioning the quality of the product.

honeycomb

His process featured a blower that was incredibly noisy and still left some material on the product.  During the winter, the problem was further exasperated by the dry air, which led to the dust being statically charged and clinging to the honeycomb even more.  In spite of his quality and production issues, the customer was looking to expand his production to meet demand. The blower he was using had been custom-made for his machine, so he was open to any ideas. Also, the blower had no way of removing static electricity from the material.

I recommended he use an 84″ Super Ion Air Knife to clean his 80″ honeycomb web. The customer mounted the air knife perpendicular to the surface of the honeycomb 4″ away from the surface. One of my concerns with the operation was creating even flow. To do this on a long span, I recommended he use have the plumbing kit installed at EXAIR, which allows the air knife to create an even flow along the length of the knife y preventing any restrictions which may occur from poorly sized inlet fittings, hose or tube.  The Super Ion Air Knife cleaned the honey comb with ease, while maintaining a quiet 69 dBA, and without the expensive maintenance required by the blower.

PlumbingKit-bg

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

Life Hacking = Better Easier Life. So What Happens When You Hack Compressed Air?

The birth of the internet and personal computer brought to light a new form of hacking.  For many years now hacking has been considered a negative action, even criminal.  However, within the past several years the term lifehacking has come to mean a process of bettering your life through tips and tricks.  There are entire blogs and TED talks about life hacking, so that has gotten me thinking of how can EXAIR hack your compressed air system and turn it into a life hack?

All of our products are designed and engineered to make your life easier and better.  The best product I can think of to demonstrate this is our Super Air Knife With Plumbing Kit Installed.  This is an option for any of our Super Air Knives which are longer than 24″ that makes installation even easier on your end.  The plumbing kit has already connected air to each port on the Super Air Knife so all you have to do is plumb air to a single port at the end of the kit assembly.  See the picture below for a better idea.

Alumina dust 3 PKI

Another item that has helped many customers is our Chip Trapper System.   This is essentially a modified or hacked Reversible Drum Vac System which  adds the benefit of filtering the liquid you are sucking up to a 5 micron level.  (Other filter levels/sizes available.) This means you can make your cutting fluid last longer and cut that rancid coolant smell in your machine shop down because the bacteria in the coolant doesn’t have any solids to live upon.  This also means that you won’t be giving your coolant reclamation company any of your valuable solids so you keep more of your scrap profits.

So if you are looking for a way to make your life easier while you are working with compressed air, let us know, we’ll see how you can hack your compressed air applications.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

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