Safe Trip

Just getting back in the swing of things after being on vacation last week. My family, along with my mother, went on a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise which included 3 days at sea and 3 days at different ports. Our port stops included the Bahamas, San Juan Puerto Rico and the island of St. Maarten. My wife and I have cruised several times and have already visited these islands, but with this cruise being our son’s and my mother’s first, we thought we would try to experience some different things.

Our last port was St. Maarten, where “we” (my wife and mother) planned our day of shopping and having an authentic lunch at a local restaurant. With the shopping portion of the day complete, we started asking locals for a good place to have lunch. We met a local who ran his own taxi company and recommended we have lunch at Maho Beach but it was going to be a 20 minute taxi ride. When we arrived, for some reason the area seemed somewhat familiar and then it hit me…. I’ve seen this place on TV! Their airport sits right on the edge of the island and arriving and departing planes basically fly right over your head while sitting at the restaurant/bar or swimming at the beach.

People line up along the road and fence line and wait for the next plane (the restaurant/bar has arrival and departure screens and will yell out when a large commercial jetliner is approaching), making it a very crowded area. Due to the potential jet blast coming from the engines there are safety signs posted that people ignore. I did ask one of the restaurant/bar managers if safety is such a concern, then why do they allow people to line up and he said “all they can do is warn people, if they want to subject themselves to injury, then that’s on them”. I don’t want to see anyone getting hurt, but I must admit, it is a little humorous to see people get blown all over the beach. Needless to say, we stood a good distance away.

St Maarten02_Maho Beach38Safety signmaho-beach-st-maarten

In all seriousness, safety should be a primary concern. Is your plant currently practicing safety when dealing with compressed air? Open pipes, tubes or drilled pipe can consume large amounts of compressed air, and exceed the pressure and noise level thresholds outlined by OSHA. And we are all aware that personnel don’t always abide by the safety rules – much like ignoring a safety sign.

At EXAIR, our customer’s safety is of utmost importance. All of our intelligent compressed air products meet or exceed the OSHA standard 1910.242(b) for safety.  This means that you can still operate the devices at 80 psig while not having to worry about an operator injuring themselves with the compressed air.  This is not just for one product line, but ALL of the compressed air products that we manufacture.

EXAIR products also meet or exceed the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) for maximum allowable noise exposure levels.   The chart for allowable noise level exposure is below. Occupational hearing loss is a serious issue in manufacturing, in fact, it is the most commonly recorded illness is manufacturing. Engineering controls, like replacing open air lines with engineered air nozzles, are one of the top recommendations to solve the problem. Engineering controls can effectively eliminate the problem of people forgetting, refusing, or ignoring safety processes.

OSHA Noise Level

By implementing the EXAIR engineered solutions into your facility you can effectively lower the noise level cause by unsafe compressed air blow offs and possibly eliminate the need for hearing protection all together.   In my experience any time an operator doesn’t need to wear hearing protection or you can make their surrounding environment a little quieter, they tend to be a little happier which, always leads to better production. Again, many resources back this up, loud noise can also create physical and psychological stress.

These are just two of the standards that EXAIR will never take a vacation on.   Every product that EXAIR designs must be safe for operator operations, whether that be through pressure output or through the noise level it creates.

Contact one of our applications engineers to see how we may be able to improve similar safety concerns at your facility.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Engineered Solutions Are Cost Effective

3ec2b1c1a2f34f7fb18c60ebbaa49335anj_003_400.jpg

One of the easiest ways to solve a blow off application is to install an open pipe or tube; it’s generally quick and available. They are easy to make, mainly you just need some pipe, maybe a hacksaw and hammer, and a way to hook them up to your compressed air system.  They will provide a good amount of force but at the cost of safety, noise level, and air consumption. That’s right: it will cost you in SAFETY, NOISE EXPOSURE and COMPRESSED AIR CONSUMPTION. I’m going to go out on a limb here (not really) and wager there are a number of folks in any organization unwilling to pay those costs – if you are willing, you may want to reconsider.

I have been to many manufacturing facilities where they have used copper line to bend into a tight space and then pump 85 psi into the pipe in order to try and blow a piece of lint out of a roller or to keep trim from getting caught in a pulley system.  In some cases I have seen 3/8″ ID pipe to keep dust and lint out of a pulley.

This is not needed at all.   The estimated flow through a 3/8″ ID tube that is around 3′ long would be roughly 109 SCFM when powered at 85 psig.   All to keep dust off and loose fiber out of a certain area.  The reason they plumbed this large of a piece of tubing into the area was simple, it’s what they had and it worked great (words from the maintenance worker). For additional reference, our 91 SCFM air nozzle produces 4.5 pounds of force which seems a bit of overkill when you can blow dust away with your breath.

20140903_164126

In one instance I looked over the material and scrap they were trying to keep from getting to the outer workings of the machine I made the recommendation for them to utilize a model 1100SSW, –  a 1/4 NPT Stainless Steel Super Air Nozzle w/ Swivel Fitting.   This would give them flexibility to target the right area through the swivel and require them to change the existing tubing out to a schedule 40 threaded pipe, or use a compression style fitting.

By replacing the single nozzle, the customer was able to reduce compressed air consumption in just this single blow off point from 109 SCFM at 85 psig to 14 SCFM at 80 psig inlet pressure.  This single replacement equates to saving 95 SCFM, or $11.40 per 8 hour shift that the blowoff is operated.   If the customer operated this blowoff 24 hours a day it would take a mere 4 days to pay the unit back in air savings.

The above savings do not include the benefit of being able to reduce the overall operating pressure of the compressed air system feeding this application to 80 psig, instead of 85 psig. In case you weren’t aware, if you lower the pressure value where your compressor shuts off, say from 85 psig to 80 psig, it will save an estimated 2.5% of drive energy for their air compressor.   Depending on the type and size of the compressor this could amount to a substantial savings.  This system pressure reduction will also lower the operating pressure of any leaks that may be within the system which will also be another amount of savings.  All of this is from simply replacing open pipe with an engineered nozzle.

This was just one area where the quick and easy way turned out to be the costly and dangerous path.  The best part about our engineered solution is they are all in stock, ready to ship same day.  This means you can find the problem today, have a solution waiting to be installed tomorrow.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Reduce Noise Exposure with Super Air Nozzles

News from the CDC that those of us involved with industrial safety are paying close attention to is the release of their NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) division’s Hazard Evaluation Program Noise Measurement Database, which contains data obtained through Health Hazard Evaluation surveys performed between 1996 and 2012. It includes hundreds of personal noise exposure measurements (how much noise was received by individuals) and almost as many area noise measurements (how much noise was made.) A comparison of these measurements, of course, is valuable in determining if appropriate measures are being taken to abate the exposure, which is key: there are an awful lot of industrial processes where there’s nothing that can be done about the generation of noise…they’re just simply LOUD. So, they focus on what they can do to limit exposure: Use engineering controls (retrofit open line with engineered nozzles, build sound barriers) , use administrative controls (relocating personnel away from the sound), use personal protective equipment, and spending as little time as possible near the source.

Regardless of what people can get used to, the area noise associated with compressed air use CAN be reduced, while still maintaining the efficiency of the operation. Here’s the deal:

*The most basic form of air blow off is a piece of pipe, tubing, or hose connected to a source of compressed air. When it’s opened to the atmosphere, the compressed air exits with a great deal of force. This makes quite a racket, and the only way to quiet it down is to reduce the air supply pressure. Then you get less force, however, and it might not get the job done.

*Engineered air nozzles, such as EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles, solve this problem by design:

air nozzle flow

The compressed air supply (black arrow) uses the Coanda effect when it exits the series of holes recessed in the array of fins (dark blue arrows.) This serves to entrain an enormous amount of air from the surrounding environment (light blue arrows,) which not only results in a high volume flow rate at minimal consumption, but also makes the resultant air flow very quiet.

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are quiet, efficient, and easy to get…we maintain inventory of anything you see in the Catalog, all available for same day shipment. If you’d like to know how EXAIR products can be easy on your ears…and your wallet…give me a call!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Safety, Efficiency, and Production Improvements

Last week, I received an email from a satisfied customer, after he had already purchased our product.  Come to find out this customer had not spoken to an application engineer during the planning stage to make their purchase. With our excellent resources listed at EXAIR.com, the customer was able to fulfill his application without even speaking to us. After his initial email of thanks, he also shared with me some details of his application that I want to share with you today.

The customer works as a machinist at a large aircraft part manufacturer. The parts require a very tight tolerance. A sample of each part needed to be gauged and measured in an automatic thread gauging machine or a coordinate-measuring machine (CMM). Their machining process required a water based flood coolant, so each part would be coated in water based coolant and chips, which needed to be remove before gauging. Before visiting EXAIR’s site, the company used a variety of homemade and commercial blow offs, as safety air gun tips. Here is a photo of (20) of the (25) nozzles the customer was using.

Aircraft manufacturer's obsolete nozzles

As you can see, the nozzles vary in design purpose, flow and safety. Most of the nozzles feature a cross drilled hole or a secondary escape path, but not all of the nozzles do. Any nozzle without a secondary relief port violates OSHA standard CFR 1910.242(b), so replacing some of the nozzles increased the safety in the plant. Secondly, these nozzles are wasteful in their use of compressed air because some were designed as liquid nozzles and have large exit holes. A hole that is 1/8″ in diameter at the nozzle outlet can consume up to 21.4 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG. For comparison, the model 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzle with a 1/8″ NPT inlet will flow 10 SCFM at 80 PSIG, which would be a 53% compressed air savings. In 24 running hours, the 1103 nozzle will save 16,416 Standard Cubic Feet, which the plant spent $4.10 for a standard industrial compressor to produce (The standard for compressed air cost is $0.25 per 1,000 SCF). Replacing just one 1/8″ drilled hole with 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzle saves the aircraft company $1,026 over 250 working days running 24 hours a day.

Neither of these were the real reason that the customer emailed to thank us though. He was actually an office employee just entering the work force.  Starting in June until after the company finally acquiesced to his request to buy a better, quieter nozzle near the end of July, he had left work needing an aspirin to relieve the headache he acquired due to the noise from these other nozzles. The nozzles the machining center had been using would create noise levels between 88-100 dBA at 80 PSIG of inlet pressure. For reference OSHA mandates that employees are required to wear hearing protection, if they are exposed to noise levels over 90 dBA over an 8 hour work day.  The employees doing the machining wear hearing protection, but the employees in the office were still exposed and affected by the noise level.  This is just one anecdotal example, but everyday more and more research shows that noise exposure has a negative effect on our health and productivity in the workplace.  If you are interested in more information here are some links to a number of studies/research – please read this, here or this.

Anyway, that’s enough of my soapbox. The company purchased 25 of EXAIR’s 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzles and utilizing the same guns they were currently using saw between a 10-15 dBA decrease in noise levels near the work stations. Here is a photo of one of their setups with the model 1103 installed on one of their current air guns.

Nozzle Replacement

The 1103 Super Air Nozzle is an engineered solution to replace a plethora of commercial nozzles. It was a simple and cost effective retrofit which increased the comfort of employees.

 

We know that every time they squeeze that air gun trigger they will be using less compressed air than before, and we know they are now in compliance with OSHA. But the best benefit for EXAIR is we know that the engineer took the time to email us to thank us for taking away his headache everyday.  That’s enough for me.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

 

 

Expanding The Family And Our Product Lines

If you follow my blogs and or Twitter you may know that I am currently the proud father of two wonderful and amazing daughters.   My wife  and I just recently found out that our third child which is due in early December is also a girl.   So I will then be the proud father of three beautiful daughters (and the guy with a really nice shotgun that holds multiple rounds). Some may say I’m overprotective – I’ll just have to agree.

All of our friends continually ask me if I am upset that I didn’t get a son, my truthful response is, “No.”  I am rather pleased to have all three girls for right now.   The fact is, the oldest and now middle daughter are both already working in the garage with me, constantly wanting to do whatever it is I am doing, and they are a blast to be around.   Since they are all three girls I don’t have to worry about giving them that awkward adolescent discussion (I would give that to any boys we may have), and I get to scare whoever tries to come and date any of them when they turn 21 or 25, perhaps 30.

EXAIR is also expanding its family.  We have welcomed a wonderful little PEEK nozzle to our already large Super Air Nozzle product family.   This one comes in with M5 x 0.5 threads, or with a 1/8th” NPT adapter.  The nozzle can produce 5 ozs. of force while using only 4.9 SCFM of compressed air at 80 psig inlet pressure.   The PEEK plastic construction gives it excellent ratings for chemical resistance and temperature resistance while also being non-marring. PEEK thermoplastic fits well into the plating industries, metal etching, pickling lines, sea water environments because it outperforms the 316SS material of our other nozzles when in those environments. The maximum temperature rating for this nozzle is 320F.

1109_peeksan_300x300ce

The picture above shows the nozzle removing excess plating solution which takes advantage of the chemical resistance for nickel plating, as well as the non marring in case of contact with the part.

The wonderful and wacky Professor Penurious has named this little nozzle as our Pico Super Air Nozzle.

If you have an application that needs good chemical resistance, or just an upgrade to save compressed air, contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Bottling Line Can Run Efficiently by Taking a Few Simple Steps

I recently visited a local customer who bottles a liquid drink.  They do two different sizes, single serve and gallon bottles.  The main issues they were having is the gallon bottles were not dry enough after they come out of a cooling / rinse tunnel.  They currently had three different blow off devices in place outside of this cooling tunnel.  The cooling tunnel had hundreds of spray nozzles to both rinse and cool the gallons of liquid.

On the exit of the tunnel there was a blower driven air knife that was being powered by a high maintenance motor that was also sucking in non filtered air to blow the moisture off thee gallon jugs.  The blower was not producing high velocity air and the knife position could not be adjusted for maximum effectiveness due to the hard piping from the blower.

The bottles come out of the blower and go from a 60″ wide conveyor to a 24″ wide conveyor in about five feet of travel. The bottles are then funneled down even further into a single file line and then sped up and sent through two 90 degree bends to try and knock any residual water off them before going into the casing machine.

There were no other blow offs on the gallon line because they were concerned with their compressed air use.  The other two blow offs they had in place were on the single serve bottling line. On that line there were two points that had six separate clusters of a metal flat nozzle that was approximately 1″ wide and were all pointed at a different point of the cap to try and eliminate some moisture that would get trapped under the lip.

The single serve bottles would come out spaced approximately six inches apart but the nozzles were blowing continuously.  This was a very large waste of compressed air.  They could have very easily installed an EXAIR EFC on these supply lines to cut their usage by more than 50% of their current demand.   They then went past an open pipe blow off to help dry the final labeling point.   This was also on continuously which was another opportunity for air savings.

I recommended installing two Electronic Flow Control (EFC) units and replacing their existing nozzles and open pipe with the EXAIR model 1126 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle outfitted with swivels to allow them to be positioned properly to reach under the bottle cap. Proper positioning, in many cases, increases the effectiveness of the nozzles and can get the job done with fewer nozzles installed. In this application I am confident we can get that bottle cap area blown off with only 2 nozzles.

By eliminating excessive nozzles and cycling compressed air on and off only as needed, the customer saves compressed air. I estimated it was enough compressed air to install a 24″ Deluxe Super Air Knife Kit to blow down on top of the gallon containers, which is the primary reason they asked me to visit in the first place. This will not only give them the 24″ Super Air Knife, but it will also include the crucial EFC and a filter separator to clean the compressed air and a pressure regulator to adjust the pressure down to the minimum necessary for success. All of these factors contribute to optimizing compressed air and using it effectively within anyone’s plant:

  • Eliminate open pipes and ineffective blow offs
  • Turn off compressed air whenever possible
  • Keep it clean to reduce wear and maintenance
  • Adjust the pressure to a minimum level for success

This is just one location in the entire facility where implementing the Electronic Flow Control and EXAIR engineered nozzles will help the customer to optimize their compressed air use.

If you would like to learn more or have questions on any of the EXAIR products mentioned in this blog, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Everybody Wants Options III: Options You Can’t Live Without

I wanted to call today’s blog “Everybody Wants Options III: Back to the Future Past.” But, I wanted to get your attention so I settled on Options You Can’t Live Without. In this case, I’ll choose to jump on the bandwagon and just like Hollywood, if we have a hit of a blog topic, we are going to make as many sequels as we can. After Justin wrote about ordering options in Everybody Wants Options, Russ followed it up with the blockbuster Everybody Wants Options II: Is Bigger Better?. I hopefully will conclude the series with “Everybody Wants Options III: Options You Can’t Live Without:, which is also the conclusion to my OSHA compliant Air Gun Primer, which I have already started here and here.

I don’t know though, maybe in twenty years they will want to make two more trilogies after “the mouse” buys us. Perhaps even JAR JAR Binks could write the blog.  …Mesir wants Yousir to buy BEST AIR NOZZLE EVER… 

Last week, I spoke about how important it is to get the right air gun for your shop, so that your employees are safer, more efficient and effective.  Today, I want to talk about the Safety Air Gun themselves and why you would select each one.

EXAIR Safety Air guns include the Precision Safety Air Gun, the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, the Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, and the Super Blast Safety Air Gun.

Left-right:  Precision, Soft Grip w/Stay Set Hose, Heavy Duty w/Rigid Extension, & Super Blast Safety Air Guns

The first step in figuring out which gun will work for you is to figure out how much force and flow you need to get the job done. If you do not know the force and flow of your existing solution, the second step is to contact EXAIR and speak with one of our Application Engineers. They can assist you with the best choice air gun for your application or measure force, flow, and noise levels of any of your current air nozzles, open pipes, air guns etc. and provide a report through our efficiency lab service.

The Precision Safety Air Guns are the smallest, lightest and lowest flow safety air guns. This gun has the smallest diameter nozzle and extension which fits in to tight spaces. It will fit best in smaller hands, and is suitable for light duty applications and environments. They can generate between 2 ounces to 8.1 ounces of force. They can produce flows between 2.5 SCFM to 8.3 SCFM of compressed air.

Our most common Safety Air Guns are the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. These guns are cast aluminum with a comfortable ergonomic grip to help relieve fatigue. Soft Grip guns resist rugged industrial environments and have a built in hanger hook for easy storage. They utilize the same small nozzles as the Precision Safety Air Guns, but can also use EXAIR’s whole series of air nozzles up to 1/2 NPT Safety Air Nozzle.  These flows range from 2.5 SCFM up to 60 SCFM. The force of these guns can range from 2.0 Ounces up to 3.3 pounds of force.

If the Soft Grip Safety Air isn’t enough power for your shop, the Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun will give you a powerful rugged gun for industrial environments.  This gun is also cast aluminum with a slightly larger handle and a soft rubber grip with a full length trigger. The Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun features a steel 3/8″ NPT air inlet for added durability against the harshest of environments.  This air inlet can generate force from 22 ounces of force up to 3.3 pounds of force.

Finally, if you need more than the Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, we have to call the Super Blast Safety Air Gun, which can generate up to 23 pounds of force.  Batten down the hatches when you turn this thing on and it will conquer the heaviest duty blow off or cleaning applications such as removing scale from steel.  This gun features an Spring Loaded Manual Valve, which will automatically shut off, if dropped.

And don’t forget…on top of these choices of guns and nozzles, EXAIR’s air guns can be outfitted with light weight aluminum extensions up to 72″ long. They also can be outfitted with a chip shield for eye protection.  If you need to get into a tight spot we have Stay Set Hoses mounted on the Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun or Soft Grip Safety Air Guns.

That’s more options than you can get on your Chevy.  Give an Application Engineer a call, if you have any questions.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 801 other followers

%d bloggers like this: