A Dull Knife Is A Dangerous Knife

Anyone who’s ever cooked, hunted, crafted, fished, whittled, opened a well sealed package, or sharpened a stick for roasting marshmallows knows what I mean. A dull knife requires more force to cut your material, which means that you’re using less of your muscle strength to control the blade. If you’re not sure of where the blade is going, that’s a heck of a thing to leave to chance, especially if you’re holding what you’re cutting in your other hand.

Even if (I might even say “especially if”) you don’t use a knife for cutting every day, the conventional wisdom dictates that you should keep its blade sharp. Not only is this imperative for safety reasons (see above,) but you’re going to make a MUCH higher quality cut as well.

Sharp blades result from high quality material that is professionally crafted, and expertly maintained. The cheaper the material, the easier the blade will dull. High carbon stainless steel blades cost a little more, but they’re also easier to sharpen, and they stay sharp longer. A decent stamping machine can turn out hundreds of blades an hour, but forging a single piece of metal results in a level of hardness that is much more conducive to maintaining a sharp edge. Speaking of maintaining a sharp edge, that’s going to be left up to the user. A lot of hardware stores provide sharpening services, but it’s not all that hard. Expert results can be obtained by following what the experts do, and the Boy Scouts of America have taken pride in doing stuff like this for over a hundred years now. Full disclosure: I’ve been a Scout Leader for over nine years now, so I may be biased, but I am unapologetically so. I use these tips, and my pocketknife is VERY sharp.

High quality material, professionally crafted and expertly maintained, is, of course, a successful recipe for a great many products other than knife blades. EXAIR applies these principles to every single item in our 168-page catalog of Intelligent Compressed Air® Products. Here are just a couple of examples:

*The Super Air Knife (no relation to the cutting tools discussed above) is available in a range of materials: aircraft grade aluminum, types 303 or 316 stainless steel, or PVDF. They’re engineered for maximum efficiency, minimum noise level, and manufactured to exacting quality standards.

Capture
*The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac System turns your open top drum into a powerful, high capacity, dust free, industrial vacuum. It’s made of a hardened alloy for superior abrasion resistance, and, with no moving parts, it’s virtually maintenance free.

Exair-heavy-duty-HEPA-vacuum

I could go on, but these are the two products, and the benefits they provide, that I’ve actually discussed with potential users just today. If you’d like to know more about how EXAIR products can keep the use of your compressed air sharp, effective, and safe, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Vac-u-Gun Makes the Job Easier and Safer

I worked with a customer this week who was wanting to use one of our small Light Duty Line Vacs to remove plastic chips from their small machining operation. The Light Duty Line Vac  is a lesser version of our more powerful Line Vac models and provides an alternative solution for conveying smaller volumes of material over a short distance.

Light Duty Line Vac

Our family of Light Duty Line Vacs are built for use with 3/4″ to 6″ hose or pipe.

The customer is currently using an ordinary blow gun to blow out the chips onto the floor which was creating an unsafe work area. Another concern was the decrease in production, as the operator would need to stop machining, find a broom, sweep up the chips and dump them in a receptacle. To eliminate this, they were thinking that the operator could manually use the Light Duty Line Vac to vacuum the chips and convey them to the collection receptacle which was only about 5 feet away.

The Light Duty Line Vac would have worked well in the application, but since the process of vacuuming the chips would remain a manual operation, I mentioned our Model 6292 Vac-u-Gun Transfer System. The Vac-u-Gun is a hand held product, with a trigger valve built in. It is a more ergonomic and efficient solution than the Light Duty Line Vac. The Vac-u-Gun can be used as a vacuum gun, blow gun or transfer tool providing the customer with a single tool for a variety of different jobs. Utilizing only 13 SCFM @ 80 PSIG, it creates a vacuum of -29.5” H2O and produces a force of 9 ounces. By changing the orientation of the nozzle insert, the unit can be easily changed from a vacuum gun to an efficient blow gun.

Vac-u-Gun orientation

Offered in 3 different systems to cover several applications:

Vac-u-Gun Systems
By choosing the Vac-u-Gun rather than the Light Duty Line Vac, the customer was able to keep the manual operation, eliminate the unsafe working conditions, perform the job with less compressed air and improve their overall production. I was happy to assist them with the information to make the best decision.

At EXAIR, we have many different intelligent compressed air products that may fit your application. For help selecting the best option, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always willing to help!

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

What You Can Get Used To, Revisited

I just got a new pair of glasses. My existing pair was fifteen years old…it had also been that long since I had been to the ophthalmologist. Which is a shame, because my health coverage includes an eye exam every year. That’s a subject for another time, though. Today, I want to talk (again) about what you can get used to (if you allow yourself,) and what I HOPE I can get used to.

eyesight

It shouldn’t be hard to believe, but my eyesight has changed a bit since my mid-thirties, when I got my last pair of glasses. I’d been noticing for some time that I had to take off my glasses to read small print, and some of that was getting too small to read if the light wasn’t just right. I got used to taking things into another, better-lit area in those cases. My new glasses have changed all that, making me think that I should have done this a few years ago. I’m committed to having my eyes checked on an annual basis now, and I encourage you, dear reader, to do the same, especially if your health plan covers any part of it.

I had the pleasure of talking to a Chip Trapper user recently – they’ve had our system in their shop for almost five years, and I got the call because it had lost its suction, and they wanted to purchase a new pump unit (Reversible Drum Vac or RDV) for it.

This is a fairly regular call for us. It’s a situation that is usually very easily remedied by a simple cleaning of the RDV unit itself. In fact, it’s so common that Brian Farno’s RDV Cleaning & Rebuild Video is our most popular Video Blog (even beating out the Professor Penurious series, if you can believe that.)

Once they had watched the video, they dove in to their RDV. Once it was restored to operation, my new friend called me to express amazement at how well it was working…it seems that the performance had degraded over time, and, week in/week out, they had simply gotten used to it taking a little longer to draw the coolant out of their sump. They’ve now incorporated the RDV cleaning ritual into their planned maintenance schedule…something else they’re already used to.

Another thing I’m having to get used to is the ribbing I’m taking for my new glasses. See, they’re my first pair of bifocals. Which brings me to my parting advice for today: Don’t get old if you can help it. Especially if you’ve got friends like mine.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Visit us on the web: exair.com
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Need A Lift? Use the New High Lift Reversible Drum Vac

At EXAIR we continue to develop new products to meet our customer’s needs. For example, check out Brian Farno’s blog titled “Once Again EXAIR Is First To Tackle The Impossible”, introducing our new single piece construction, Long Super Air Knives (up to 108”- In Stock!).

I would like to introduce another new product, our High Lift Reversible Drum Vac. Consuming only 43 SCFM @ 80 PSIG, this system will produce a lift of 180” H2O or 15 feet – filling a 55 gallon drum in less than 85 seconds! With 3 available sizes, 30, 55 or 110 gallon, this system is designed to quickly attach to any closed head drum. The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac can also move thicker liquids than the standard duty product.

HLRDV

You can easily convert this system to a pump, providing 30 GPM (water), with the simple turn of a knob – quickly emptying the drum.

Requiring no electricity and with a built in pressure/vacuum relief, these units are safe to operate. Considering these units have no moving parts, they are virtually maintenance free.

Visit EXAIR.com and check out our complete line of Industrial Housekeeping Products. Or for assistance with a specific application, contact one of our application engineers.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Don’t Waste Money On Your Waste Removal

Lately, we have been receiving calls from customers that are looking for a wet/dry vac that they are accustomed to seeing in the form of an electrical vacuum for their home work shop.  They call us wanting a general clean up vacuum for their shop.  The items they are looking to clean up are coolant, dust and chips.  Our solution for this is to run two vacuums, and most people are asking why can’t it do both.  The answer – cost.

Generally, people seeking EXAIR’s pneumatic vacuums already see the value in the durability of a vacuum with no moving parts to maintain or replace when comparing to electric vacuums. It is the simplest of dollar savings,  the longer the product lasts and is maintenance free, the more money you will save from the absence of repair parts or new vacuums. And electric vacuums are notorious for burning up motors and not lasting within tough industrial environments. You can read about additional features/benefits within EXAIR’s pneumatic vacuum line here and here, but I will talk about our products specifications in detail.

EXAIR has two categories of vacuum, wet vacs and dry vacs.  The original wet vac for vacuuming coolant, swarf, or oil is the Reversible Drum Vac (RDV), used to easily empty and fill coolant sumps quickly. The Chip Trapper features a filtration system which removes chips and debris that is within the coolant, keeping the coolant clean, extending the coolant life and minimizing surfaces for bacteria to grow.  The Reversible Drum Vac and the Chip Trapper Systems use 19 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG of and can fill a drum with 55 gallons of water in 90 seconds. These workhorse vacuums will last many years and withstand the rugged treatment found in hardworking manufacturing facilities.

Drum Vac

In the other category of  our industrial vacuums are the “dry” vacuums.  This term “dry” is a little ambiguous, because the vacuums will be able to move some liquid.  For instance, the liquid coating a chip or spills on the shop floor can easily be picked up with the dry vacuums.  We have a number of dry vacuums available:  The Chip Vac is a continuous duty vacuum used for general cleanup around machinery. The Chip Vac drum lid assembly can be used from drum to drum to aid in separating and recycling materials. Our Heavy Duty Dry Vac is best for applications vacuuming heavy materials, abrasive medias or longer distance (20′). And the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac is designed to provide protection from airborne particulate and is suited for dusty environments.

Exair-heavy-duty-HEPA-vacuum

To compare EXAIR products with other pneumatic vacuums, let’s look at the Chip Vac (40 SCFM at 80 PSIG) and the RDV above (19 SCFM at 80 PSIG). Combining the two vacuums you would require (59 SCFM at 80 PSIG. If you search long enough, you could find a pneumatic vacuum that is advertised as wet/dry, but this ability comes at a cost.  The most obvious cost is the upfront purchase price, which is consistently much higher than the combined cost of the (2) EXAIR units.  Also the units range in air use from 68 SCFM to 110 SCFM.  That is up to 86% more air required!

Let’s assume that you did run both constantly.  The wet/dry vac will cost you $0.14 extra an hour to run, assuming that your compressed air cost is $0.25 per 1,000 SCF.  That is really an unfair comparison to our products though, because we could have (2) vacuums operating at different locations in the plant accomplishing twice as much work.  Even still the (2) EXAIR units will save $810 per year with 250 working days in a year and 24 working hours in a day.

$810 per year may not sound like to much to you.  What if we change the scenario? How much air can you save? Let’s say you run a large wet/dry vacuum, which consumes 110 SCFM, everyday for 8 hours over 250 working days. The wet/dry vacuum will use 52,800 SCF per day or 13,200,000 SCF per year.  This compress air will cost you $3,300 just to compress that air. By comparison, the Chip Vac will only cost you $1,200 per year to run in compressed air.  Using the Chip Vac instead of the wet/dry vac, will save you $2,100 per year. in compressed air operating costs.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

EXAIR’s Industrial Housekeeping Products are Portable

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I had noticed somewhat of a trend in my inquiries regarding our Industrial Housekeeping Products of late. It seems that customers want to use our Chip Vac, Heavy Duty Dry Vac or perhaps the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac with a really long vacuum hose. I’m talking like 50 or 60 feet worth of suction hose. And when I ask the customers why they want such a long hose, they say it is so they can reach all parts of their shop from a central location.

It did not occur to me until now that folks may not realize that, in fact, all of our Industrial Housekeeping Products are made to be moved around the shop, just like you would an electric shop vacuum with casters.

All of our Industrial Housekeeping Products have an industrial drum dolly available for them from the smallest 5 gallon sizes up to the big 110 gallon units. In fact, our Chip Trapper product comes with one included as part of the base system.

If you have a need to vacuum debris from multiple locations, moving the Industrial Housekeeping unit around the shop allows you to keep your vacuum hose as short as possible (we have 10 ft. hoses). With this configuration, you do not suffer the line losses associated with trying to create a vacuum across a 60 ft. long vacuum hose which results in lost performance. Dealing with a 10 ft. hose is also a lot less hassle than a much longer one.  It is a better idea to use a longer compressed air hose to supply your Industrial Housekeeping Vacuum system with compressed air and roll it around to each area where you need to use it. Compressed air travels through hoses much more readily than vacuum flows do.

EXAIR has all the necessary accessory items available including Drum Dollies and compressed air hoses to outfit the Industrial Housekeeping Products.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

21st Century Solutions to 21st Century Applications

The other day, I had the pleasure of helping a caller with a question about a particular EXAIR product…he referenced a certain page in our catalog, but when I turned to that page in the current catalog that I keep on my desk, I quickly realized that we weren’t looking at the same book.  I asked him which edition he had, and it was (gasp) our “Catalog 97.”  From 1997.  That’s right…the 20th Century.

Now, I’m old enough to remember when saying “20th Century” meant that something was new, modern, and technologically advanced.  That meant, among other things, color TV, cruise control, push-button phones, and dial-up modems.  Of course, let’s remember that, at the beginning of the 20th Century:

*The concept of powered flight was commonly ridiculed as a physical impossibility until two brothers from Dayton, Ohio lifted off from a North Carolina beach one day in 1903.

*An injury that broke the skin was potentially life-threatening: penicillin wasn’t developed until 1935.

*Pluto wasn’t a planet.  OK; it isn’t now either, but back then it was because it hadn’t been discovered yet.

Back to my story about the caller, though:  I grabbed our copy of “Old #97” so we’d be on the same page (literally), and was able to help him with his questions.  I also made sure that we mailed him a copy of our current Catalog 26, of course.  If you don’t have one, click here.

A collection of EXAIR Catalogs, with "Old # 97" right there in the middle (we don't really call it that)

A collection of EXAIR Catalogs, with “Old # 97″ right there in the middle
(we don’t really call it that)

Inside, you’ll find details on all of our current products…some of which EXAIR has been making since 1983.  Others have been introduced during my 3-year (so far) stint here, such as our:

*USB Data Logger for the Digital Flowmeter

*A BUNCH of Super Air Nozzles: Atto, Pico, 1” Flat, and 3/8”NPT PEEK (we just put out the Press Release on that one today)

*External Mix and Siphon Fed Atomizing Spray Nozzles, AND a No-Drip option for this product line

*Chip Shields for Safety Air Guns

*3-foot and 6-foot Extensions for Super Blast Safety Air Guns

*Heavy Duty HEPA Vac

*High Temperature 316SS Dual Cabinet Cooler Systems

If you want to know what’s new at EXAIR, you have to look quick…and often.  We intend to keep providing current solutions to current applications – what’s yours?  I bet we can help.  Try us.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(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

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