Big Or Small, We’ve Got ‘Em All! Vortex Tubes, That Is

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about using large Vortex Tubes for freeze sealing/plugging of pipes. Even though they’re our LARGE Vortex Tubes, they’re still WAY smaller than the liquid nitrogen rigs that are also prevalent for this application. Smaller, in this case, means easier to handle and quicker to set up (and break down.)

So, that’s a case where a smaller device is used to do the same job. Today, I wanted to examine the different sizes of Vortex Tubes that we offer, when the job itself is what’s changing in size.

The Large Vortex Tubes are specified when a high flow of cold air is needed. Like the aforementioned freeze seals. Or this one, published in our catalog:

This is a typical application for a Large Vortex Tube.

This is a typical application for a Large Vortex Tube.

Our Medium Vortex Tubes are the most popular – there are ten to choose from, depending on the cold air flow rate and temperature you’re looking for. These can produce temperatures as cold as -40°F (-40°C) when set to a 20% Cold Fraction (which is the percentage of total supply air that’s directed to the cold end) and cold air flows as high as 32 SCFM when set to an 80% Cold Fraction, which will produce a cold air temperature of about 20°F (-7°C). Some common uses are cooling ultrasonic welds and brazed joints.

The Medium Vortex Tubes are so popular, in fact, that they’re incorporated into our Adjustable Spot Cooler and Cold Gun Systems. They come ready-to-go with mufflers, cold air hose kits, and magnetic bases, so they couldn’t be easier to use.

The Small Vortex Tubes are great when very low flows are needed, or if compressed air supply is limited. These are specified for much smaller applications, like cooling the needle of a sewing machine, small drill bits, etc. You can also get one with a cold air hose & magnetic base…that’s the Mini Cooler System.

Another advantage that makes the Vortex Tubes a great choice for cold air production is their consistency and dependability. If you supply one with clean, dry air, it’ll operate just about indefinitely, maintenance free. And if you need a constant supply of air as a certain temperature, say, for testing a thermostat or temperature switch, a Vortex Tube is exactly what you’re looking for: the only things that’ll change the cold air temperature are the compressed air supply temperature & pressure…assuming you don’t change the Cold Fraction yourself, as shown here:

If you’ve got an application requiring cold air flow, give us a call. We’re eager to help!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Hard Work Leads To Good Results

A few months ago I wrote a blog titled Great Team Make-up about being an assistant coach for my oldest son’s youth football team. I take pride in the opportunity to work with young kids in teaching them the value of teamwork and showing them when you work hard, the results will speak for themselves. It’s not just about winning or losing, but rather learning to listen, be respectful (win or lose) and growing as a player.

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6 rushing touchdowns in a single game? I’ll take it.

The first 3 practices were no pads, no contact so these days were spent conditioning and learning offensive and defensive positions. (or as the kids called it – “The most boring thing EVER!”). We have been in full contact practice for the last 5 weeks and it’s pretty cool to see how much the kids have learned in such a short time. We’ve had a couple scrimmages but this past weekend we had our first real game.

As both teams took the field you could see the nervousness of the players and the anticipation of the coaches on both sides. When you start playing at 9:00 AM, with dew on the ground, it’s kind of difficult for 5-7 year olds to hold on to a wet football. The game started pretty slow and by halftime it was only a 6 point difference. The second half was much different, our team really started to “click” on offense. We had some great blocking up front coupled with some determined running backs and scored consecutive 65, 52 and 49 yard rushing touchdowns. On the opposite side, our defense tightened up and held their opponent to only 1 score in the second half leading to a 38-16 victory! It was awesome to see our group of young men (who were very recently mere 5-7 year-olds trying to hang on to the wet ball) so excited about winning and to see their effort pay off. As coaches we were equally satisfied that not only were we able to get the win, but to see these incredible kids execute what they’ve learned in practice and transition that to the game.

Here at EXAIR, our commitment to be the best in the industry is best reflected in the solutions we provide for our customer’s needs. Two of our most informative tools are the Application Database and Case Study Library. The Application Database is over 1000 applications in a problem/solution format, detailing various industrial processes and the EXAIR product solution. Whether you’re dealing with a static electricity issue, needing to provide cooling to critical instruments, drying product, looking to convey media or just needing to provide blowoff, chances are you will find the information you are looking for.

The Case Study Library is a database where you can see quantifiable benefits or ROI of installing EXAIR products. We typically show improvements in dollar savings, compressed air savings, production increases, noise exposure decreases and safety improvements focused on reaching important OSHA standards. We are always seeking new case studies and can offer an incentive or SWAG in return for providing us the details on your application. A great place to start is with our Efficiency Lab, where we can actually gather the details for you.

Some examples of the information we are looking to obtain:

  • A decrease in air consumption
  • Improved safety
  • Lowering noise level
  • Reducing the amount of rejects – increasing production

Give us a call at 800-903-9247 to team up with one of our application engineers to see how we can coach you to a win in your facility.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Harvard Stadium 57240 image courtesy of Ted Eytan, Creative Commons License

 

EXAIR Webinar: Simple Steps for Big Savings

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EXAIR Super Air Nozzle Versus and Open Blow off

EXAIR will present a free webinar hosted by Design World September 15th, 2015 at 2 pm EDT ( UTC/GMT -4 hours). I will be presenting the webinar about Intelligent Compressed Air Products. What do we mean by Intelligent Products? We are referencing nozzles that are quiet, safe, and efficient. They are engineered and manufactured to improve efficiency and limit compressed air use by entraining ambient air. The smooth lines of these nozzles produce laminar flow that reduces wind shear creating a powerful quiet blow off.

The focus of the webinar will be to quantify the cost of homemade blow offs and the return on investment of upgrading these simple installations to an engineered solution. We will base our calculations on a 20 HP Air Compressor, an 1100 Super Air Nozzle, a 1/4 Open Copper tube, and $0.08 per kWH electricity cost.

In addition to the cost of compressed air, we will cover two safety issues. First, we will cover dead end pressure. OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) limits the dead end pressure to less than 30 PSIG. We will talk about what type of nozzles do not comply with this regulation, and how engineered nozzles are designed to meet this requirement. Second, we will talk about the noise exposure standard and the effects noise will have on your facility.

The main focus of the presentation will be cost of compressed air blow offs, noise, and important OSHA standards for compressed air. We will also touch on a variety of other compressed air topics. The presentation will be sponsored by EXAIR with 31 years of end-use compressed air product manufacturing and application experience.

CLICK TO REGISTER HERE

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

Peanut Butter And The Flat Nozzle

So, the call came in about mid-morning – an operator at a facility that fills plastic jars with peanut butter needed help with an application…

And I almost got stuck thinking about peanut butter. I like food, and peanut butter is near the top of my list. I’ve seen it successfully applied to cheeseburgers, and the peanut butter & bacon sandwich is even a breakfast staple in some of the Boy Scout groups I’ve been involved with. Crunchy or creamy, peanut butter rules.

Never underestimate the power of peanut butter...or bacon...to improve the quality of any sandwich.

Never underestimate the power of peanut butter…or bacon…to improve the quality of any sandwich. And together, they’re unbeatable. Just don’t ask your cardiologist.

Now, I’m a pro, so I didn’t allow this digression to supplant the attention I was giving the caller. The application was simple enough: the nozzle feeding the jars retains a small amount of the product at the tip, which drips off when it’s good & ready, thank you very much. This is oftentimes when the jar is in motion, so this little glob falls right onto the rim of the jar, causing issues with the protective seal, and a continuing mess as this jar with peanut butter on the outside of it travels down the line.

I recommended a Model 1126SSW 316SS 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle, with Swivel Fitting. They can install this to blow precisely where the air flow can direct the last bit of peanut butter from the fill nozzle into the jar, eliminating the mess, and any chance of a faulty lid seal.

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The Model 1126/1126SS 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle is ideal for high velocity, forceful blow off applications 

If you’d like to know more about how EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products might help your processes run a little smoother, feel free to give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich photo courtesy of Arnold Gatilao  Creative Commons License

Rewards, Deals, And Free Stuff

I’ve got a stack of plastic in my wallet. No; it’s not credit cards…I learned my lesson (and paid my tuition) at that school long ago. See, these are the ubiquitous “rewards” type cards…the ones that get you discounts, “points” for use at future purchases, etc., when you present it to the cashier at the time of your current purchase. While I’m perfectly happy to take advantage of the savings on stuff I’m going to buy anyway, I also know that the business who gave me that card is tracking my purchases (along with everyone else’s, very likely including you, dear reader) in order to position product, set pricing, more effectively advertise, and otherwise promote their goods and/or services in the most profitable manner.

Over the course of the past week, the card that I use at my favorite lunchtime (and…full disclosure: other times too) sandwich shop has netted me a coupon, printed on my receipt for a nice discount on my next meal there. It’s only good for the next four days following, so I have to be mindful to “use it or lose it.” Which is about as likely as anyone in my household finding out what the ill effects of letting ice cream reach its expiration date in our freezer.

But I digress…back to the sandwiches. I’m currently 3 for 3 on the coupon deals. I know, in my heart of hearts, that they will not last forever. I’m not going to lie to you; that’s going to be a hard day. But I’ll manage – I do covet your thoughts and well wishes, though.

We don’t have an EXAIR “rewards” card…

Although, how cool would that be? I'm looking at YOU, Marketing Dept!!!

Although, how cool would that be? I’m looking at YOU, Marketing Dept!!!

…but we do want to help you take full advantage of “deals” that can net you big savings. The biggest of these, by far, is in the amount of compressed air our Intelligent Compressed Air Products can save you, if you’re currently using non-engineered, commercial-grade or even homemade blow off devices. For more on how we’ve helped others with this, check out our Knowledge Base’s Application Database (registration required.) For specific details on how much we’ve helped some of them save, I refer you to our Case Study Library.

Speaking of Case Studies, that’s another way we can help you save. If you have an application where we can possibly quantify the benefits of replacing your current method with an EXAIR solution, successful participation in a Case Study will get you a credit on your recent purchase, or a discount on your next.  Give me a call if you want to know more.

If you’re a fan of free stuff, we also run promotions from time to time…like the two we’re running right now:

*With the purchase of an EXAIR Safety Air Gun, we’re offering a free 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle, applicable to purchases through 9/30/2015. These highly efficient, unique nozzles use a special patented shim to release a precise amount of air, creating a wide, forceful stream of high velocity, laminar airflow, while minimizing air consumption and noise levels. Different shims (sold separately) are available to produce stark changes in performance.

Model 1126 1" Flat Super Air Nozzle is durable and versatile...and FREE, with a Safety Air Gun purchase by 9/3/15!

Model 1126 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle is durable and versatile…and FREE, with a Safety Air Gun purchase by 9/3/15!

*Is the midsummer heat giving you fits with your electrical and electronics panels & enclosures? EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems provide a quick and easy to install solution. Not only can we accurately specify the system you need and ship it the same day, we’ll also give you a free AC Sensor if you buy before 8/31/2015.

Cooling capacities to 5,600 Btu/hr, installed in minutes: EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems. FREE AC Sensor with purchase by 8/31/15!

Cooling capacities to 5,600 Btu/hr, installed in minutes: EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems. FREE AC Sensor with purchase by 8/31/15!

Regardless of how we can start (or continue) saving you money, compressed air (which is money,) or improving your noise levels, safety, and overall conditions in your workplace (which can be even better than money,) we look forward to hearing from you. And soon, if you want to take advantage of our promotions.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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DSCF5588 image courtesy of Joe LoongCreative Commons License

When The Obvious Answer, Isn’t

Certain EXAIR products are designed for specific applications. We’ll still get calls from folks who want to use them in situations different than what they’re intended. For instance:

*Reversible Drum Vacs for use with volatile liquids. Due to the very real risk of ignition, we do not specify our Industrial Vacuums for use with flammables. This is a case where we can’t help, but we do know some suppliers of suitable equipment for these situations.

*Cabinet Cooler Systems for anything but a totally enclosed electrical cabinet. Oftentimes, these alternate applications are really just in need of a reliable, consistent source of cold air, which can be more properly addressed with a Cold Gun, Adjustable Spot Cooler or Mini Cooler.

*Speaking of those particular Spot Cooling Products, we’re able to help many callers who inquire about these by simply pointing them in the direction of a Vortex Tube: they’re lightweight, compact, and with standard NPT connections for compressed air supply, cold flow, and hot exhaust, you can hook them up to darn near anything you want.

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A broad range of products, each with a broad range of applications!

Like the Vortex Tubes, a good many of our products’ designs afford adaptability to a wide range of uses. I submit, for your reading pleasure, these two wildly different Line Vac applications:

*A manufacturer of electrical connector devices needed to move small parts from a mass production line to their assembly area. A Model 6084 2” Aluminum Line Vac and our 6934-20 2” Clear Reinforced PVC Conveyance Hose (20ft Length) was purchased and installed. They operate it as needed to empty the production bin and fill the assembly bin; simple as that. This is a “textbook” job for a Line Vac.

*A service company that specializes in large compressors & engines was looking for a compact & mobile device to evacuate exhaust gases. This is normally where we start talking about Air Amplifiers (and we did) but their calculations called for more suction head than the Air Amplifiers will generate. Their calculations were right, and they’re putting Model 6060 ¾” Stainless Steel Line Vacs on all their service trucks. So, a “textbook” job for an Air Amplifier was actually a better fit for the Line Vac.

And speaking of “textbook” applications that take unexpected turns, another caller needed help with a “pick and place” operation that he’d purchased a small E-Vac Vacuum Generator and Vacuum Cup for. He needed to move these small media filters, one at a time, from a stack, into their product. Try as they might, they could NOT pick up just one of these pieces from the stack, which was about 3” in diameter, and about the consistency of a coffee filter….which was exactly what I used to replicate the application in the Efficiency Lab. I couldn’t just pick one up with the E-Vac either, so I tried to just use the open suction end of a Line Vac – even with the compressed air supply valve cracked open as low as I could manage, it still wanted to pick up 2 or 3 at a time. We’ve got one other product that generates a vacuum, and, crazy as it sounds, I attempted to apply our Air Amplifier in a pick-and-place situation. And it worked: with the supply valve cracked open (it wasn’t even registering flow to the smallest division on our rotameter flow meter,) the Model 120020 ¾” Super Air Amplifier was able to consistently pick up one (and only one) coffee filter at a time. So our “textbook” job for an E-Vac was solved by an Air Amplifier.

Sometimes, what seems to be the obvious solution, isn’t. With a little discussion, and possibly experimentation, though, the right answer will generally reveal itself. If you think this might be where you’re at with your application, give us a call. I can’t wait to see what happens!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Cool Job, Cool Products

I’ve got a pretty cool job. I’ve written about this before…in fact, as recently as last week, in a piece about workplace safety, and how EXAIR is all over it, all the way. Brian Farno also blogged the other day about how EXAIR recognizes, appreciates, and celebrates achievement. Like usual, actually.

So yeah; this is a pretty cool job. And, just to put that into perspective, my first “grown up” job set the bar pretty high: upon completion of Naval Nuclear Power School, I was assigned to the initial manning crew of a new construction Trident submarine. When I got there in the spring of 1987, “tha thirty-five boat,” as the future USS Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) was known, was ON the pier (not NEXT to it) and we boarded through hull cuts in Engine Room Lower Level & the Torpedo Room. For two years, we worked with shipyard personnel to install, test, & certify all ship’s systems, and then took her out in the summer of 1989 for a rigorous series of sea trials. I wish there were words capable of conveying the extent of “job satisfaction” we felt when we submerged for the first time, and the whole ocean stayed outside the boat.

I was reminded of this the other day when I saw a news account of the bow section of a submarine being transported via barge from the shipyard that fabricated this section, to the shipyard that’s assembling the boat. Here’s a video clip of one such transit, from about a year ago:

I’ve written before about how compressed air is (and isn’t) used on board a submarine at sea. Compressed air is also used, for some pretty neat stuff, in their construction & service. And EXAIR Compressed Air Products are in the mix:

*Sometimes during work on a piping system, it’s not possible to isolate a particular section with valves, so a freeze seal is applied: a collar fits around the outside of the pipe, and very cold fluid is circulated through the collar. This freezes the liquid inside the pipe, forming a “plug,” which allows you to work on the piping downstream, just the same as if you had shut a valve there. One method of doing this is with liquid nitrogen…you take a big tank of the stuff to your work site, implement all the safety precautions you need to handle pressurized liquid at -321°F (spoiler alert: it’s complicated,) make up your connections, hope they don’t leak, and activate the system. Depending on the length of the job and the size of the tank, you may need to change it out…which, again, is complicated.  And yes, I’ve done it.

It's a real shame to foul this view with a block & tackle to lower a pressurized nitrogen tank down.

It’s a real shame to foul this view with a block & tackle to lower a pressurized nitrogen tank down.

Or, like several shipyards are doing currently, you can install an EXAIR Maximum Cold Temperature Vortex Tube to the collar, run a compressed air line to it, and you can supply cold air as low as -40°F, which will freeze a plug in that pipe for as long as you keep your air compressor running.

Vortex Tube

EXAIR Vortex Tubes produce cold air, on demand, with no moving parts.

*Another application has to do not with the equipment, but the people working on it. Welding is a hot job – there’s really no way around it – and welding in tight spaces can present real issues for the folks involved. Fans and blowers can provide a good amount of ventilation, but they also take up some room, which there may not be any to spare.

Enter EXAIR Air Amplifiers – they’re compact, lightweight, and use a small amount of compressed air to blow a high flow of cooling air, right where it’s needed.

EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.

EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.

These are just a couple of examples of how a large industry – shipbuilding – is using EXAIR products to capitalize on efficiency in a challenging environment. Regardless of your situation, if you’d like to learn if EXAIR can help out, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Up Ladder courtesy of Russ Bowman  Creative Commons License

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