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



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



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


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
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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.


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





Customer Requests Proof That Recommended Cabinet Cooler Will Perform in Application


Working in EXAIR’s International Sales Department at EXAIR can get a little tricky sometimes. Not only do we deal with multi-national companies who have R&D in one country, purchasing in another and the end use customer in a third, sometimes we are requested to make a calculated proof that what we recommend truly will do the job.

In a recent case, a design engineer in Singapore had instructed a purchasing agent in China to get a commercial offer for a system that met their needs. The need for the Cabinet Cooler System was in Kuwait with very hot, dry conditions. The customer’s panel was 2 meters high, 1 meter wide and 0.6 meters deep. The panel designer knew the heat load was going to be quite large, so he wanted to do all he could to mitigate heat going into the inside of his cabinet. His first decision was to implement a sun shade to keep the sun load from being a problem. The second thing he did was to specify foam insulation to be applied to all surfaces of the enclosure. With these couple of things in mind and a few other issues concerning the condition of the compressed air at the site, we were able to make the following proof to the designer that our recommendation would work according to his stated conditions.

Following are the basis calculations:

  1. Panel size: 2 m x 1 m x .6 m = 7.6 m2
  2. Internal heat load = 300 Watts
  3. Internal Heat Load = 300 Watts
  4. Maximum external temperature possible = 55°C
  5. Desired temperature inside panel = 45°C External Temperature differential = (55°C – 45°C) = 10°CΔT
  6. Insulation value = 0.5 W/m2/°K (insulation to be added) External heat load = 0.5W/m2/°K x 7.6m2 x 10°ΔT = 38 Watts
  7. No sun load due to shade structure.
  8. Panel is free standing and NEMA type 4
  9. Compressed air utility is at 60 PSIG maximum and 60°C.

Total Heat Load = (300 Watts internal load + 38 Watts external load) = 338 Watts x 3.41 = 1,153 Btu/hr.

Cooling power de-rating:

Model HT4880-240 produces 5600 Btu/hr. with 21C compressed air temperature and 35C target temperature of panel.
Total air consumption @ 60 PSIG = 52.1 SCFM
Total cold flow @ 60% CF and 60 PSIG = 31.3 SCFM
Temperature drop expected = 40.6°CΔT = (73°FΔT)
Net output temperature = 19.4°C = (67°F)
Target temperature = 45°C = (113°F)

Net cooling power = 1.0746 x (113°F – 67°F) x 31.3 SCFM = 1,546 Btu/hr.

We evaluated the net cooling power compared to calculated cooling power needed under stated conditions. Since we have at least 200 Btu/hr. spare capacity which we do, so this model is OK to recommend.

The customer in this case only had compressed air that could be piped to the location of the cabinet. So he really needed this to work. Fortunately, for him we did manage to make a reasonable recommendation. Of course, the recommended Cabinet Cooler System would go on to work well for the customer in this application. The keys to success were the ability of the customer to recognize how important it was to take the couple of steps to provide for the passive methods of heat mitigation with the use of the sun shade and application of foam insulation board to the outside of the panel. Also, the availability of EXAIR’s High Temperature style Cabinet Coolers afforded sufficient cooling power under these very demanding conditions.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer

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.


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


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