The Rate Is Right?

This morning, we played our own little version of a popular segment of the game show “The Price Is Right,” right here in the Application Engineering department. Brian Farno (our manager and host extraordinaire) presented us with a question (that he already knew the answer to after speaking with a current customer):

What would you expect the conveyance rate to be, for an EXAIR Model 6083 1-1/2” Aluminum Line Vac, conveying hot-melt glue pellets, across a total distance of 15 feet vertically & 100 feet horizontally? (And please note we normally have a bulk density in lbs./ft3 and/or other associated information about pipe bends, product shape etc. – but we took our best shot at it anyway).

Our office doesn't look like this.  I kinda wish it did, though...

Our office doesn’t look like this. I kinda wish it did, though…

We didn’t have those cool podiums to stand behind that recorded our answers on the screen, but here’s what we came up with:

Russ Bowman: 5 lbs per minute
Dave Woerner: 10 lbs per minute
Justin Nicholl: 8 lbs per minute
Professor Penurious: 1 lb per minute (Insert $1 bid joke here)

Now, we had all referenced our wealth of data charts for conveyance rates with our Line Vac product series. We used several very different materials over a few different lengths/heights, and use that data to estimate what a user might expect to see, based on how close their application is to our actual test conditions. I actually used this data for my answer – a 1-1/2” Aluminum Line Vac conveyed tumbling media (64 lbs/cu ft; the lowest bulk density material we tested for) at a rate of about 5-1/2 lbs/minute, going 20 feet vertically.

Left: hot-melt glue pellets.  Right: tumbling media

Left: hot-melt glue pellets. Right: tumbling media

Turns out, Dave came the closest without going over: they were actually getting a little over 11 lbs per minute…again, going 15 feet up and 100 feet over. The user was so pleased with the results, they’re incorporating a Line Vac in a similar application, involving hot-melt glue pillows. We’ve now added their data to our database and are pleased with the knew knowledge.

Hot-melt glue pillows

Hot-melt glue pillows

If you have an application involving hopper loading, bulk material conveying, chip removal, parts transfer, etc., and would like to find out how an EXAIR Line Vac can help, give me a call. We might both be impressed with the results. Come on down!

Professor Penurious, by the way, is still concentrating on hosting the game shows.  Stay tuned…

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
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New Beginnings

It’s been a big week for the Nicholl family as our 5 year old son started Kindergarten. On Monday night we had orientation where we learned all the new rules/policy changes for the upcoming year and he was able to meet his new teacher and classmates. He was a little nervous at first because there are 19 kids in this year’s Kindergarten class and last year in K-4 there were only 8. But his anxieties were relieved relatively quickly as 4 of his previous classmates were in this year’s class, including his “best bud”. To make things even “more awesomer” (he is only 5), they were all going to be able to sit together – which I kindly advised his new teacher that she may want to reconsider this choice. Five little buddies all sitting together? That may not be the easiest situation to handle! – HAHA.

kindergarten_room

Wednesday was the big first day so of course it was an event – Mommy, Daddy, Nana and Maw Maw were all there to welcome him to, as he refers to it, “big boy school”. He went straight in to the room, took out his snack then went out in the hallway to hang up his book bag in his locker. Locker? I didn’t have a locker in Kindergarten! That’s when my little guy reminded me – “Dada, this is big boy school, of course I have a locker now!” He then said his goodbyes to us, walked right back in to the room, sat down at his desk and started going through his new supply box. We all left happy and were relieved that he was so excited to start this new chapter in his life. As his father, it is a little bittersweet watching our little man grow up so fast but it is “awesomer” to see him also expand his learning.

At EXAIR we are always striving to grow and expand too. We recently released our new Catalog # 27 which includes some of our exciting new Intelligent Compressed Air Product additions:

One-piece construction Super Air Knives from 3” – 108” – available in Aluminum, 303 and 316 Stainless Steel, and PVDF (PVDF up to 54″) construction.

Internal Mix Deflected Flat Fan Pattern Atomizing Nozzle – designed for tight spaces with spray pattern at a right angle to the nozzle orientation

Internal Mix 360° Hollow Circular Pattern Atomizing Nozzle – designed so the spray pattern is directed away from the nozzle in all directions

No Drip Internal Mix Deflected Flat Fan and Internal Mix 360° Hollow Circular Atomizing Nozzles – the same features as above but also provide the stopping of liquid flow when compressed air is turned off

High Lift Reversible Drum Vac System – with its high powered vacuum, this system is able to vacuum liquids up to 15’. Available in 30, 55 and 110 Gallon

110 Gallon Heavy Duty HEPA Vac – meeting all the HEPA requirements but now available in 110 Gallon capacity

Catalog 27

To discuss how these new products may work with your process(es) or any of our other products may benefit your current system, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
JustinNicholl@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_JN

EXAIR Vortex Tube Cools Gas Sample for Analyzer

sample gas cooler

Every once in a while the above application for cooling with a Vortex Tube comes to us from a customer looking to cool down a gas sample before it goes into a gas chromatograph for analysis. The sketch above is a very good illustration of how the customer might go about cooling down their gas sample. The “cooler” is essentially a metal tube into which either copper or stainless steel tubing is added in a coiled section. A valve controls the inlet flow of gas from the process. The Vortex Tube purges and cools the space between the inner coil and the outer wall of the housing to provide temperature differential for the thermal transfer to occur. The outlet for the cooled gas is connected to the analyzer and there is a third port for the cold compressed air to escape back out from the housing.

The question from the customer was what size Vortex Tube should they consider for the application. Fortunately from previous experience we know that one of our medium size vortex tubes, model 3225 provides good, all around cooling for these applications. The specific cooling power required depends on a variety of factors including start temperature, finish temperature, cold air temperature and the efficiency of the heat exchanger itself. The volume of flow for both the cooling medium and the vortex tube cold flow also play significant roles.

In many cases, the customer isn’t going to know all of the factors involved and are willing to make a test with their cooling system. In such cases, EXAIR has an experimental Cooling Kit model 3930 that allows the user to change to different flow rates and adjust to different temperatures on the cold flow to increase or decrease cooling power as needed per their test result.

In the past, water was the cooling medium of choice. Water cooled systems are effective and can provide a higher maximum cooling value. But water brings with it a whole different set of challenges that many folks do not want to deal with. Water cooled systems inherently leak which creates additional housekeeping and safety issues. This convenience of not being messy makes vortex tube cooling a very attractive option.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

 

 

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

 

 

Super Air Knives Provide Needed Blow Off

Dust hood

I had the pleasure of working through an application in which uncooked hamburger buns are processed and baked.  In the application, dough patties travel along a conveyor into an oven and a small, targeted blow off (technical term: “fluff”) is needed to remove excess flour.

When the flour is blown off of the dough, it is extracted by a system mounted above the conveyor.  The difficulty for this end user was in finding a reliable, laminar solution with consistent blow off force.

Enter the EXAIR Super Air Knife.

By installing an EXAIR Super Air Knife (in the appropriate material), the uneven and inefficient blow off that was originally installed was replaced with a reliable and quiet solution.  We were able to take a problematic application and turn it into a repeatable process.  And, we were able to repeat success in another similar application at another point in the same facility.

If you have an application in which repeatable, reliable, efficient solutions are needed, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Knowledge

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.
Terry Pratchett

Oftentimes we get calls from potential customers, curious to know how a particular product might perform in their application. Some of these are fairly straightforward, and they’re simply looking for collaboration that they’re on the right track. And that’s great – it gives us a prime opportunity to head off a frustrating “looked good on paper” situation.

Expert Testing, Professional Results

Expert Testing, Professional Results

Others can be tricky…maybe it’s something we’ve not encountered before. In those cases, we have an Efficiency Lab, filled with test equipment, where we have tested all of our products for a variety of parameters:

-Flow rate & force applied for our blow off products
-Temperature drops for our Vortex Tube cooling products
-Suction/discharge head for our Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors
-Vacuum levels for our E-Vac Vacuum Generators

If you want to find out for yourself, in your facility, with your product, then you can take advantage of our 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee, which is offered on any catalog product. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll arrange return for full credit. And then we’ll both know.

If you would rather send your products to EXAIR, the Efficiency Lab service is one we provide which tests your current products up against ours in order to determine the better, more efficient, safer or quieter solution. We encourage customers to send in their current products for this Efficiency Lab evaluation and report so we can show you what you stand to gain when implementing EXAIR products into your processes.

Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also.
Carl Jung

If it’s an application where we know compressed air, and/or our product(s) won’t provide a viable solution, we’re always up front about that, and, if we know what WILL work, we’re happy to provide referrals. We won’t sell a product that we know won’t work for an application…the first time is a mistake; after that, it’s a choice.

Customers are also looking for technical data, Installation & Operation Instructions, CAD files, or details on similar applications. We’re happy to provide any and all of this as well. For the do-it-yourselfers, we also have all of this in our Knowledge Base (one-time registration required.) We’re always adding to it, too…feel free to come back often to look for new write-ups in the Application Database and Case Study Library.

If you want assistance, or just have a few questions about a compressed air application, we want to help in any way that we can. The answer is likely just a phone call, or a few mouse clicks, away.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Visit our website: www.exair.com
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Customer Service?

Recently I was having some issues with my cell phone dropping calls and frequent undelivered texts, emails and voice-mails so I placed a call to my provider to see what could be done. From my previous experience with cell phone providers, I knew this was going to be a tedious process but was hoping for the best since I have been an 8+ year customer. So I contacted the company last week and explained my situation. They advised that the service in my area had been acting up and they would need to open a file on my line that could take 7 – 10 days before I would receive a response. The VERY next morning they called to tell me that there were issues with the coverage in my area but it had been resolved.

So as the week went by and I was still experiencing the same issues, I called the company back. This time I was transferred to the technical department so they could troubleshoot my device – after a 2 hour phone call, they could provide no reason as to why I was having issues and offered me no course toward a resolution. Now frustrated, I decided to visit their website and participate in their chat option to see if we could get to a resolution. No such luck, I now had to elevate the situation and speak to a manager.

funny-cell-phone

After 17 phone calls to customer service and a total of 5 online chats, I finally got the one person who was actually willing to help. After reviewing the notes on my account, she offered me a free upgrade, without extending my service contract, shipped the replacement phone for overnight delivery and waived the $40 activation fee for the new device. Of course I was pleased with this resolution but asked why it was necessary to jump through so many hoops about the same issue – “it really depends on who you talk to and if they want to do the work or not”. In my opinion, that’s a pretty sad approach toward servicing a customer.

At EXAIR, our main focus is customer service and we will make every attempt to provide assistance and handle your request(s) in a prompt and thorough manner.  The fact is, a sales person can sell just about anything once.  It is the service that you are provided – that installation and maintenance guide or 3D model that can be easily downloaded – that takes a company with amazing products over the edge.   We strive to ensure you have every possible way to reach our Application Engineers.  We are here to help you not only determine which product will work best in your application, but also to help you troubleshoot your existing product, determine what air savings you have gained from installing an engineered solution, as well as figure out ways to make your operating area a safer, quieter place for your employees.

Here are some very recent comments we have received from customers:

  • “Super fast service. EXCELLENT!” – Joe, industrial laser manufacturer
  • “I called your customer service line and Vikki Foley was very helpful and even though it was late Thursday afternoon, she sounds like she enjoys her job.” – Mark, rapid prototyping and product design company
  • “Fantastic service. Very fast responses and concise information.” – Chase, display technology manufacturer
  • “Russ Bowman was an excellent help. He was respectful and went out of his way to find information that I requested. Would definitely recommend working with Exair. Outstanding customer service!” – Kathryn, engineering consultant

We can’t ask for anything more than that. We want to do the work, we want to make it easy for you.

Please feel free to contact us – via phone @ 800-903-9247, by email techelp@exair.com or our online chat for assistance with your compressed air application today.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

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