If you operate an air compressor, you’re drawing water vapor into your compressed air system. Factors like climate control (or lack thereof,) and humidity will dictate how much. If (or more to the point, when)… More
Over the years, EXAIR has come across a variety of different types of blow-off devices. We have seen copper tubes, pipes with a crushed end, fittings with holes drilled into them, and modular flex lines. For compressed air use, these are very dangerous and very inefficient. In many instances, companies will go through a mixed bag of items to make a blow-off device for their application. It is inexpensive to do. But what they do not realized is that these items are very unsafe and will waste your compressed air, costing you much money in the long run.
When EXAIR started to manufacture compressed air products in 1983, we created a culture in making high quality products that are safe, effective, and efficient. Since we stand by our products, we created a program called the Efficiency Lab. We test blow-off devices against EXAIR products in noise levels, flow usage, and force measurements. With calibrated test equipment, we compare the data in a detailed report for the customer to review. If we are less effective, we will state that in the report, but this is very rare. With this quantified information, we can then determine the total amount of air savings and safety improvements that EXAIR products can offer.
With our Efficiency Lab, it is quite simple to do. For starters, you can go to our Product Efficiency Survey on our website to give the conditions for testing. If you wish for a side by side analysis, you can place your pneumatic device in a box and send it to EXAIR. We will run the tests at the specified conditions or in a range of settings. We will then return your pneumatic device back to you with a report of the comparison. This report can be used to show managers, executives, HSE, etc. on the improvements that EXAIR can provide in cost savings and safety.
In a recent Efficiency Lab, a customer sent us a water jet nozzle that he was using to blow off product passing on a conveyor (reference photo above). The customer supplied us with the required information to test. They had three water jet nozzles on a manifold that had ¼” NPT male connections. The air pressure was set at 75 PSIG (5.2 bar), and the air pattern was round. Their annual usage for this blow-off device was 7000 hours continuous, and their electric rate for their facility was $0.10/KWh. The reason that they sent their nozzle to EXAIR was because the operation was very loud, and they believed that they were wasting compressed air. They asked me for a recommendation and what the payback period might be with my selection.
I recommended the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle as our standard round pattern with a ¼” NPT male connection. With our engineered design, the Super Air Nozzle can entrain the “free” ambient air into the air stream to generate a hard-hitting force; using less compressed air. Also, with this suggestion, they will not have to redesign their blow-off station; just remove the water jet nozzles and replace them with the Super Air Nozzles. We tested the water jet nozzle, and we found that it used 17.5 SCFM (496 SLPM) at 75 PSIG (5.2 bar). The noise level was measured at 91.2 dBA for a single nozzle. As a comparison, the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle will only use 13.3 SCFM (376 SLPM) of compressed air at 75 PSIG (5.2 bar); and, the noise level was reduced to 73 dBA for each nozzle.
The first thing that is important to me is safety. High noise levels will cause hearing damage. OSHA generated a standard 29CFR-1910.95a with a chart for Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure. To calculate the noise level for three nozzles, I will reference a previous blog that I wrote: “Measuring and Adding Sounds”. With three water jet nozzles, the total sound is 96 dBA. From the OSHA table above, the usage without hearing protection is less than 4 hours a day. With the Super Air Nozzles, the noise level will be 78 dBA for all three nozzles; well below the requirement for 8 hours of exposure. It is difficult to put a monetary value on safety, but using PPE should never be the first step as a solution.
For the annual savings and the payback period, I will only look at the electrical cost. (Since the Super Air Nozzle is using less compressed air, the maintenance and wear on your air compressor is reduced as well).
The air savings is calculated from the comparison; 17.5 SCFM – 13.3 SCFM = 4.2 SCFM per nozzle. With three nozzles, the total compressed air savings will be 12.6 SCFM for the blow-off station. An air compressor can produce 5.36 SCFM/KW of electricity at a cost of $0.10/KWh. For an annual savings, we have the figures from the information above; 7000 hours/year * 12.6 SCFM * $0.10/KWh * 1KW/5.36 SCFM = $1,645.52/year. For the payback period, the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle has a catalog price of $44.00 each, or $132.00 for three. The customer above did not disclose the cost of the water jet nozzles, but even at a zero value, the payback period will be just under 1 month. Wow!
Not all blow off devices are the same. With the customer above, they were able to reduce their noise levels and compressed air consumption. If your company decides to select an unconventional way to blow off parts without contacting EXAIR, there can be many hidden pitfalls; especially with safety. Besides, if you can save your company thousands of dollars per year as well, why go with a non-standard nozzle? If you have a blow off application and would like to compare it against an EXAIR product, you can discuss the details with an Application Engineer. What do you have to lose?
Occasionally, a caller will ask if we offer installation services for our products. They’re usually very pleased to learn that there’s not all that much to it.
Shorter lengths, like the Model 110006 6″ Aluminum Super Air Knife (below, left,) can be adequately supported by air supply piping. We don’t recommend that with longer lengths (due to overhung load concerns) but even a Model 110018 18″ Aluminum Super Air Knife (below, middle,) can be supported by the supply pipe in a vertical position. We even stock our 3″ Aluminum Super Air Knives with Stay Set Hoses & Magnetic Bases (below, right.)
The Super Air Knife also has a series of 1/4″-20 tapped holes, 2″ apart, along the bottom of the body. These are often used for installation & mounting as well, and we’ve seen some creative methods, for sure:
EXAIR Super Air Knives come in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet long. We stock them in aluminum, 303SS, 316SS, and PVDF. If you need a custom length or material, though, we do those too. We can even talk about the best way to mount it. Call me.
EXAIR offers the model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter. It is an easy to use instrument for measuring and monitoring the sound level pressures in and around equipment and other manufacturing processes.
Sound meters convert the movement of a thin membrane due to the pressure waves of sound into an electric signal that is processed and turned into a readable output, typically in dBA. The dBA scale is the weighted scale that most closely matches the human ear in terms of the sounds and frequencies that can be detected.
Noise induced hearing loss can be a significant problem for many workers in manufacturing and mining. To protect workers in the workplace from suffering hearing loss OSHA has set limits to the time of exposure based on the sound level. The information in the OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a) is summarized below.
The EXAIR Digital Sound Level Meter is an accurate and responsive instrument that measures the decibel level of the sound and displays the result on the large optionally back-lit LCD display. There is an “F/S” option to provide measurement in either ‘slow’ or ‘fast’ modes for stable or quickly varying noises. The ‘Max Hold’ function will capture and hold the maximum sound level, and update if a louder sound occurs.
Certification of accuracy and calibration traceable to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is included.
If you have questions about the Digital Sound Level Meter, or would like to talk about any of the quiet EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
This video showcases just how easy it is to install a Super Air Wipe or a Standard Air Wipe onto an extrusion line. The split ring design makes it possible to install or remove from the line without having to thread the product, all within a minute or less.
If you would like to discuss your application, or any point of use compressed air application, please contact us.
EXAIR manufactures three different sizes of Back Blow Air Nozzles to clean inside tubing, pipes, hoses, and channels. The 360o rear airflow pattern can “wipe” the entire internal surface clean from coolant, chips, and debris. They are constructed of 316SS, making these nozzles robust and durable.
Our smallest Back Blow Nozzle is the Model 1004SS. It has a M4 X 0.5 male thread and can clean diameters ranging from ¼” (6.3mm) to 1” (25.4mm). Model 1006SS has a ¼” NPT air connection for cleaning inner diameters ranging from 7/8” (22mm) up to 4” (102mm). Our largest Back Blow Air Nozzle is the model 1008SS. It has a 1” NPT connection, and it can be used inside diameters ranging from 2” (51mm) to 16” (406mm).
Now, what can make these unique types of air nozzles even more useful? Attaching them to an EXAIR Safety Air Gun. In this blog, I will go through each of our Back Blow Safety Air Guns that EXAIR can offer from stock.
The unique feature that sets the VariBlast apart from other small air guns is the force variability. The valve is designed to control the opening to allow for a variable force with the same nozzle. The VariBlast is made from a durable cast aluminum construction for tough industrial use. It has a rugged ergonomic grip with a user-friendly trigger. The compressed air inlets are located in two different positions to select the best fit for your application.
With the model 1004SS Back Blow nozzle, the VariBlast Compact Back Blow Safety Air Gun is a small but powerful tool that can clean inside smaller pipes, tubes, and hoses. They come standard with extension tubes and a Chip Shield. The extension tubes range from 6” (152mm) to 36” (914mm) to extend deep inside cavities and openings. The Chip Shield is made from a durable polycarbonate material that will protect your operators during use.
The next air gun in this series is the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. With an ergonomic soft handle and full-grip trigger, the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun can be used for hours without fatigue. EXAIR offers two types of Back Blow Nozzles with the Soft Grip; model 1004SS and model 1006SS.
As a “bigger cousin” to the VariBlast above, the Soft Grip Back Blow Safety Air Gun with the model 1004SS has extensions ranging from 6” (152mm) to 36” (914mm) as well as a Chip Shield. The Soft Grip with the model 1006SS Back Blow Nozzle has extensions that range from 6” (152mm) to 72” (1,829mm) in length with a Chip Shield. Both of these types of Soft Grip Back Blow Safety Air Guns are great products in allowing you to clean inside a greater variety of diameters and lengths.
For rough industrial environments, EXAIR offers the Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns. They come with a composite rubber grip and a wide curved trigger. It has a 3/8” NPT inlet for increased compressed air flow for those “tough” cleanings.
The Heavy Duty Back Blow Safety Air Gun comes standard with the model 1006SS Back Blow Nozzle, an extension pipe, and a Chip Shield. The extensions lengths can range from 6” (152mm) to 72” (1,829mm). If you need a tough air gun for rugged areas to clean inside pipes and tubes, the Heavy Duty Back Blow Safety Air Gun could be the best candidate for your application.
As our largest model, the Super Blast Back Blow Safety Air Gun has the strongest blowing force. They can clean large areas inside pipes, channels, and tubes ranging from 2” (51mm) to 16” (406mm) in diameter. It has a soft foam grip for easy handling and a spring-loaded manual valve that will turn off if dropped. The model 1008SS Back Blow Nozzle is mounted to an extension that is either 1 foot (0.3m), 3 feet (0.9m), or 6 feet (1.8m) in length. With a 1” NPT inlet, the Super Blast Back Blow Safety Air Gun will generate a strong blast of air for cleaning and removing troublesome material.
If you need to clean inside tubes, hoses, channels, pipes, etc., EXAIR has the perfect product, the Back Blow Air Nozzles. They can remove the dirty coolant, chips, and debris in a non-contact way. EXAIR offers these nozzles with our VariBlast, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty, and Super Blast Safety Air Guns for manual cleaning operations. EXAIR stocks these Safety Air Guns for fast delivery. And if you are located in the U.S.A or Canada, we offer a 30-day unconditional guarantee. You can try them out and see how effective, safe, and powerful they are in improving your internal cleaning processes. If you need more details, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to help you.
During a recent visit with our distributor in Lima, Peru I had the pleasure of visiting a beverage manufacturing facility to discuss EXAIR’s Cabinet Coolers. They have several panels throughout the facility with A/C units installed. A lack of adherence to scheduled maintenance was causing the filters to clog and restrict the cooling power of the A/C unit. Due to staffing issues, their maintenance department was very thin and regular maintenance items were getting missed.
When the filters would clog, the panels would overheat and stop production. Their solution was to open the panel up and blow fans on them, forcing even more dust into the enclosure. In their search for an alternative solution, they came across EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler Systems and reached out to our distributor. The A/C unit that was installed on the panel had a capacity of 800W (2,728 Btu/hr). EXAIR offers a 2,800 Btu/hr system from stock that matched up perfectly for them.
They installed a Model 4340-24VDC Nema 12 Cabinet Cooler System with 24VDC thermostat control and removed the A/C system. With no moving parts and no refrigerants, there’s absolutely no maintenance required. Just set it and forget it! The Cabinet Cooler has kept the electronics inside at 95°F, preventing any potential for heat related shut downs. Since all Cabinet Coolers must be installed onto a sealed enclosure, there is no need for filters on the enclosure to prevent dirty ambient air from entering. They’re now working to replace each of the A/C units in the facility with an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler.
EXAIR manufactures Cabinet Coolers for any industrial environment. Cabinet Coolers maintain Nema 4, Nema 4X, and Nema 12 integrity on the enclosure and are also UL Listed and CE Compliant. For applications that may be in a classified area, the Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler has been approved by UL for use in Class 1 Div 1 – Groups A, B, C, and D; Class II Div 1 – Groups E, F, and G; and in Class III areas. Cooling capacities as high as 5,600 Btu/hr can be achieved with one of our Dual Cabinet Cooler Systems.
Stop wasting precious time maintaining you’re A/C systems, or dealing with heat related shutdowns and get a Cabinet Cooler on order today. Fill out the sizing guide online, and one of our Application Engineers will be in touch to provide you with the most suitable model for your application. Act fast, the current Cabinet Cooler promotion expires at the end of August!
As compressed air technology advanced through the 20th Century, its uses multiplied. Pneumatic cylinders became common for rolling and forming presses. The convenience and portability of powerful pneumatic hand held tools spread in assembly and manufacturing facilities. Along the way, operators also found that an open-ended compressed air line could be used for quick and easy blow off in a number of applications. There were, however, some pretty risky safety issues associated with this.
In December of 1970, the Occupational Safety & Health Act became the law of the land, and in 1971, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) was created. Among the many hazards in workplaces they targeted was compressed air use for cleaning. The primary concerns were:
- An open ended blow off could inadvertently be dead ended onto a person’s body, and if the pressure were high enough, it could break the skin and cause a deadly condition called an air embolism. So they limited the outlet pressure to 30psi.
- Blowing something off with air can (and usually does) result in airborne particulate traveling at a high velocity that can imbed in your skin or in your eye. So they mandated the use of proper chip guarding, protective clothing, and eye protection.
This is where the history of the safety air gun begins. Through the 1970’s & 1980’s, engineers rolled out product after product conforming with these new safety standards, sometimes looking for economy, sometimes efficiency…and occasionally, both.
It’s not hard to make a blow off nozzle that complies with OSHA’s dead end pressure requirement; you just need to provide a path for the air to escape in case the nozzle end is blocked. Cross drilled nozzles (shown at right) are simple, cheap, and OSHA compliant, but they’re also loud & inefficient.
EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles not only protect against injury from dead ended high pressure air, their engineered design also makes them quiet, and efficient. They are commonly installed on the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. Along with our Chip Shields (shown at right) and your personal protective equipment, you get OSHA compliance, AND lower air consumption & noise levels.
With the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, you also get a diverse range of options to suit the specific needs of numerous applications:
- Our Model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is fitted with our Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle, and is ideal for most typical industrial & commercial blow off tasks. If your needs call for it, though, it also comes with nozzles as small as our Atto Super Air Nozzle (2.5 SCFM; 2.0oz of force) or as large as our Model 1106 High Power Super Air Nozzle (60 SCFM; 3.3 lbs of force.)
- We can provide most Soft Grip Safety Air Guns with Rigid Extensions or Stay Set Hoses, for additional reach and/or aiming of the air flow.
- The Soft Grip Super Air Scraper uses a scraping blade in conjunction with our 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle to remove stubborn debris like caulk, paint, stickers, gaskets, etc., from flat surfaces.
- Cleaning out the inside diameters of tube, pipe, channel, blind holes, etc., has never been easier than the Soft Grip Back Blow Safety Air Guns. You can get it with the 1004SS (1/4″ to 1″ diameters; 6″ to 36″ extensions) or the 1006SS (7/8″ to 4″ diameters; 6″ to 72″ extensions) Back Blow Nozzles.
If you’re looking for a hand held blow off device, your choices are many. If you’re looking for a quiet, efficient, safe, and versatile one, your choice is easy: the EXAIR Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. Call me and we’ll figure out which one you need.