Staying Sharp…and Ahead of the Competition

Whilst sitting down to do my taxes the other night, the lead on my No. 2 pencil broke.  I immediately remembered that the electric pencil sharpener we used had become quite dull, and being non-repairable, had made it’s way to the garbage can.  So I went to the garage to use the trusty hand crank style.  This too proved to be in less than prime condition.  It was one of those cheap plastic kind that only has one blade inside and never gets the point as sharp as I want it.  And when it does get barely sharp enough to use, the unbalanced design of the low-cost sharpener usually winds up snapping off the point.  Having had enough, I pulled out the Swiss Army Knife and sharpened it ‘carpenter’ style.

Learning from my past mistakes, I stopped in an office supply store over the weekend and began looking at the various sharpeners available.  I immediately passed up another non-repairable electric style, which, I might add cost twice as much as the hand crank versions.  I found that this particular store had two brands of the hand cranked style I liked.  Both claimed all metal construction, and looked very similar from the outside.  But I was determined I would not waste my money on another cheap pencil sharpener.  I kneeled down on the floor and opened the two units up.  Although this got some strange looks from other customers as well as staff of the store, I was glad I did it.  The lower cost of the two units was a single blade.  The slightly higher priced unit ($2 more to be exact) had the two-blade style I was after.  I took it home, installed it and immediately ran around the house looking for any pencil in need of sharpening.  After 5 minutes of pure pencil sharpening joy accompanied by that glorious sawdust/graphite smell, I finally let my son have a turn.  He was super excited because 1) this was a pencil sharpener just like the one he used in school and 2) mounting the new sharpener gave me a chance to position lower, so that he could more easily use it. 

So, what does this have to do with EXAIR?  Just as spending a little extra time researching the pencil sharpener paid off, so too will evaluating the next compressed air product you buy.  You might find a lower cost imitator out there, but when you compare apples to apples, you’ll find that any marginal cost savings is soon lost due to poor engineering and manufacturing techniques.  And as an added bonus, our engineers often find they can help customers not only find the best product for their application, but show them a more efficient way to install and use it.

There’s an old familiar saying that rings true here:  You get what you pay for.  Speaking of paying, think I’ll stop and buy a few packs of No. 2 pencils on the way home…

Dan Preston
Mechanical Engineer 
EXAIR Corporation

One thought on “Staying Sharp…and Ahead of the Competition

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