Find It, Tag It, Fix It: Addressing Parasitic Draw

Leeks, and not the compressed air kind!

Leaks, and not the kind you see on a cooking show, are never good. Before you comment, yes I know the vegetable is spelled leek, that’s just the strength of my dad jokes. The point of this post is actually discussing leaks, mainly of the compressed air variety. All leaks cost. I recently found a leak within my home which was accounting for around a 20% increase in my water bill. Sad to say that it took a few months to locate, and solve the issue. Over the years, I’ve seen many facilities deal with common leak problems like being unable to leave their compressed air pipes energized over night because the parasitic draw will drain the entire system. That’s a problem!

Burst pipes and leaks are ALWAYS costly!

If the leaks are present when nothing is being utilized, then that means parasitic draw is happening on the system. This is when energy that is being converted into compressed air isn’t used but instead, leaking out to atmospheric conditions. These parasitic draws are not always easy to locate, so over the years I’ve had to help a few customers address this problem. One in particular stands out, so I am going to share how we honed in on the leak and ultimately gave them days without a shutdown.

The conversation all started with a customer asking about how our Digital Flowmeters work, and if they could be used to determine which production line is using the most air, and more importantly why their production line shuts down for low air pressure. After I explained how we would select their infeed pipe size as well as size a meter that would fit each machine infeed, we got to talking about the shut down sequence.

The approach they took to solving the issue was to first capture the flowrate of the entire system and then to evaluate the flowrates of each segment of their plant. From there, we would install flowmeters on the higher usage sectors, and drill down to each machine for the finite analysis. They could then go through all the other production lines and generate a full facility consumption profile. To start, they found one packaging line that was using a considerably higher volume of air throughout their first shift than any other line and than any other shift.

Once they started breaking down the high demand production line they found one leg of the production line which had a spike in usage at the same time every day. The trick was they couldn’t find a machine with high usage, that is until they traced all of the piping and found a filter bag house on the roof that had been added to the line at some point. This wasn’t documented and had a piece of pipe that had failed causing an open dump during the cleaning cycle every day at 2:30 in the afternoon.

This was all made possible by setting up multiple flowmeters with wireless capabilities so they could document and compare the usages between machines and production lines ultimately giving them a considerable amount of production time back into the day by fixing a broken pipe that caused daily shutdowns.

If you would like to discuss how to layout a compressed air monitoring system in your facility or the best way to track down the cause of some leaks and high compressed air demand, contact an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – Leeks on shelf – Jeffery Martin, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons – retrieved from – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/user:Veronicasgardentracker

NEMA/UL and IP ratings

From right to left: Small NEMA 12, Large NEMA 12, Large NEMA 4X

EXAIR manufactures Cabinet Coolers to keep your electrical components inside cool.  This will help to stop any costly shutdowns or premature electrical failures due to overheating.  The EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System is a simple device that generates cold air with no moving parts, condensers, or freon.  They are maintenance-free with a long-life cycle; and installation is quick and easy.  But when mounting the system to your electrical panel, you want to make sure that the Cabinet Cooler meets or exceeds the integrity standard for that environment.  There are standards that categorize electrical panels to protect workers, shield the environment, and contain the electrical components. 

Electrical panels come in all shapes, sizes and colors; and can be used in a variety of environments; indoor, outdoor, and even hazardous locations.  Depending on the place and setting, you will need to determine the minimum requirements for the integrity of your electrical panel.  For example, you do not want to use an “indoor only” electrical enclosure for outside areas.  Also, you would not want a standard enclosure to be used in a hazardous area, as it can be very dangerous.  The major organizations that create these electrical standards are NEMA, UL, and IP.  In this blog, I will cover these organizations and how they rate them.

NEMA, or National Electrical Manufacturer Association, and UL, or Underwriters Laboratory, are generally used in North America.  The difference between these two organizations is that the NEMA ratings are self-certifying while the UL requires testing by qualified inspectors, independent of the manufacturer, for compliance.  They use numbers and in some instances letters to indicate the type of environment that the enclosure can operate. EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are UL listed; so, they have been tested and verified.  Currently, there are over 20 different NEMA/UL classifications.  Here is a description by WIKA that shows the different categories for both NEMA and IP.

IP, or Ingress Protection, is an international standard commonly used in Europe and is established by the International Electrotechnical Commission, or IEC.  This organization also allows for self-certification.  They use two digits to define levels of integrity for electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies and moisture. The first digit ranges from 1 to 6 which specifies the protection rating from solids.  The second digit, which ranges from 1 to 8, specifies the protection rating for ingress of water.  The higher the number, the better the protection.  The combination of these two numbers will give the protection level of the enclosure against dust and water.  There is an equivalence with the NEMA ratings to the IP ratings, but it is up to the preference of the user to verify the protection requirement. 

EXAIR offers three main NEMA types for our Cabinet Cooler Systems which are the most commonly found within facilities. We also offer an additional two types that are designated strictly for Hazardous Locations and are separately certified by UL to meet those standards.

NEMA 12

NEMA 12 (IP54) Cabinet Coolers are rated for dust tight and oil tight. NEMA 12 cabinet coolers are ideal for general industrial environments where no liquids or corrosives are present and are located inside.

NEMA 4

NEMA 4 (IP66) Cabinet Coolers are rated for dust tight, oil tight, splash resistant and indoor/outdoor service. These Cabinet Coolers incorporate a low-pressure relief valve to allow the internal hot air to escape as well as to close and seal when the cooler is not in operation.  This allows for this Cabinet Cooler to maintain the integrity of a NEMA 4 enclosure.

NEMA 4X

NEMA 4X (IP66) Cabinet Coolers offer the same protection as the NEMA 4 but are constructed of stainless steel for food service and corrosive environments.

HazLoc Cabinet Cooler Systems

HazLoc Cabinet Coolers are designed for hazardous locations and are mounted to NEMA 7, 8, and 9 enclosures.  EXAIR catalogs these Cabinet Coolers as NEMA 4 (IP66) or NEMA 4X (IP66) as mentioned above.  But their registration by UL classified is for Class I, Class II, and Class III hazardous areas.  The reason that they do not match the NEMA rating of the hazardous panels is because they require an X-type or Z-type purge system.  In combination, they will not sacrifice the integrity of hazardous electrical panels. 

EXAIR has Cabinet Coolers in stock with a variety of cooling capacities from 275 BTU/hr to 5,600 BTU/hr (69 Kcal/hr to 1,411 Kcal/hr).  We also offer them in 316SS, high temperature versions, and non-hazardous purge.  We do have a Cabinet Cooler System Calculator to help determine the best product for your application.  If you have any additional questions, an Application Engineer at EXAIR can assist you.   

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Stainless Steel Super Air Knives Boost Productivity in Drying Process for Medical Device Manufacturer

I’m a big proponent of investing in devices that help to improve on efficiency in a variety of tasks around the household. At the onset of this year’s pool season, I was reminded exactly why I made the investment several years ago in a robotic pool vacuum cleaner. If you have a pool, you’ll know just how time consuming it is to keep it maintained perfectly. That I have 4 large maple trees ready to drop a bunch of helicopters into my pool each spring only adds fuel to the fire. After enduring my first full season as a pool owner using the old-school manual vacuum, I immediately purchased a new robotic vacuum for the following season.

Things had been great ever since as I opened up the pool each year. I’d toss Scuba Steve in (yes, we named him Scuba Steve) and let him do his thing. Clean out the filters after he’s done and we’re ready to swim. This year, however, he had other plans in mind. After years of functioning well, it was time for several replacement parts to get him back to operating in peak condition. Since seemingly everything you need is out of stock at the moment, I had to resort to the old, trusty manual vacuum as I opened up my pool this year. After weeks of dealing with the uncharacteristically stormy May we’ve had in 2022, I was happy to finally get the parts in and get it repaired right before we got into swimming season this summer.

At EXAIR, we often have cases where we’re contacted by a customer who’s looking to improve in their efficiency in a particular process or application. Recently I worked with a customer in Pakistan who was looking to improve on a process for drying medical instruments that they manufactured.

Instruments just prior to drying

At present, they would dip the instruments into a series of washing tanks followed by a last dip in a rinse tank. Upon completing the final rinse, they’d manually dry the rack with an air gun. In some cases, they wouldn’t get completely dry and would end up with water spots that would require them to start the cleaning process all over again.

Another issue with their present setup was cross contamination between the different tanks. With no drying in between, they were getting detergent in their rinse tank. After a few cleaning cycles, they’d have to drain the tanks and fill them back up again before continuing.

The solution was to install (2) Model 110018SS Super Air Knives on either side of the two tanks. As the instruments are lifted out, the high-velocity laminar airflow from the Super Air Knife dries them off quickly while blowing the residual moisture back down into the tank. The detergent solution stayed in its own tank, keeping the rinse water free from contaminants. As the parts are brought up from both the cleaning tank and the rinse tank, they’re sufficiently dried without having to do a manual process with an air gun. By preventing cross-contamination, they were also able to maintain the same solution for an entire shift rather than frequently having to drain the tanks and replace them. This alone represented about a 10% boost in productivity over the course of a full day.

If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your cleaning operations, give us a call. With a variety of different products suitable for compressed air blowoff available from stock, you won’t be stuck waiting for weeks for the parts to arrive. We have them ready to ship as soon as today!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Pool image courtesy of southbay poolservices via Pixabay, Pixabay License

Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler Systems “Make Things Better”

In a previous arc in my career path, I worked on, and then built, and then sold industrial pumps, so I’ve been in my fair share of chemical plants. Did you ever wonder what all these places make? A decent number of them make what are called “intermediates”. These are compounds, solutions, & substances that aren’t found in stores, but go into almost all of the goods that ARE found in stores. One such company used to make commercials that explained it nicely:

I recently had the pleasure of assisting a caller from a company like this, who wanted to install three of our Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler Systems in their facility. This particular company doesn’t make anything shown in the commercial above; they make intermediates for agricultural use (to paraphrase the commercial, “they don’t make fertilizer; they make fertilizer better”). As is the case in MANY chemical plants, a good portion of their real estate is classified as hazardous area (as defined by regulatory oversight agencies) AND subject to exposure to some fairly corrosive chemicals. Now, these places all go to great lengths to ensure safety for personnel AND equipment, through compliance AND design. So, when they needed to add durable & reliable heat protection to their electrical panels, they called EXAIR.

This was a pretty easy application, as the engineer I spoke to had gotten the internal heat loads from the equipment supplier, and already knew that 316SS construction was needed for the corrosive elements the equipment could be exposed to. The panel was in a Class I Div 2 area (flammable gasses or vapors may be present in the event of an accident or during unusual operating conditions). After calculating the external heat load, we specified a Model HZ4725SS-316 NEMA 4X (316SS Construction) Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler System, rated for 1,700 Btu/hr, and Model 902021 24VDC HazLoc Solenoid Valve. These panels came equipped with temperature monitors that they could wire our valves into, otherwise we’d have supplied Thermostat Controlled systems.

EXAIR HazLoc Cabinet Cooler Systems are rated for Class I Div 1 & 2, Class II Div 1 & 2, and Class III environments.

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are available, from stock, to suit most any electric/electronic panel heat protection need:

  • Cooling capacities from 275 to 5,600 Btu/hr. Call me if your heat load is outside this range…we can look at customized solutions too.
  • NEMA 12 (IP54), 4, or 4X (IP66) ratings.
  • Thermostat Control – Standard, or Electronic Temperature Control.
  • Non-Hazardous Purge for contaminant exclusion on less-than-ideally sealed enclosures.
  • High Temperature models for ambient temperatures from 125°F (52°C) to 200°F (93°C).
  • Side Mount Kits when space is limited above the panel.
  • 316SS construction for particularly aggressive environments.
  • UL Classified for hazardous locations, just like the one I wrote about above.

If you’d like to find out how easy it is to provide durable and reliable heat protection for your electrical panels, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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