Keeping Up with the Latest Fads

If you were of a similar demographic as myself, you may have young kids. I have 3 kids from 6-10 years old. They crave time spent with a “DS”, trade Pokemon cards and think Shrek should be a role model without ever having seen a Shrek movie. They are of a new generation of Michael Jackson fan due to his untimely and media saturated death, and play their music on MP3 players with earbuds. Fortunately they never pass up an opportunity to watch Phineas and Ferb which I too would recommend to people of any age.

But the latest fad which causes them to beg, whine or flash puppy dog eyes my way are these crazy Silly Bands…

First there was panic because the local Walgreens was selling out within minutes of receiving the shipment, just like every other store in the greater area. Next came victory in scoring one overpriced pack (split between the three of them) from the zoo gift shop. Shortly afterwards they developed a reliable source and began to stockpile their booty to the extent they could sort them by color, letter, glowing or not glowing, animal or vehicle – you get the picture. As the days go on I see less of their arms and more Silly Bands. I am just waiting for the day they bust out of the house covered in silly bands and scream “I pity the fool without Silly Bands” – if you catch my drift. And then another fad will come along and start the cycle over again.

And we as adults are not immune to similar frenzied products or catch phrases. Optimistically we are seeing this great push for a greener world and more efficient products. It seems that marketing from every company selling everything pitches an earth saving widget, almost to the extent of being a fad. EXAIR is just happy everyone is catching on to how important efficiency is because we have pushed the boundaries of compressed air efficiency since we began.

Originally replacing those ridiculously outdated open blow offs and pipes with drilled holes with our Standard Air Knives. Then  we introduced the second generation Super Air Knife with improved economy. The Super Air Knife continues to be unmatched in the compressed air industry.

EXAIR began by representing an existing line of Air Amplifier but soon realized how to improve on that design as well. We now offer the patented Super Air Amplifier, the most efficient Air Amplifier available. Our original Safety Air Nozzles were the best solution for retrofitting open pipe applications, but now the Super Air Nozzle product line boasts the best compressed air reduction in our industry.

And to continue we began to develop our compressed air optimization product line so our customers can measure and control air usage and find problem areas. The accessories we offer allow for operating products at lower pressure and keep the compressed air clean to keep products working long-term and effectively.

 We have these products on our shelves for quick delivery, you will not experience any panic due to unavailable inventory. We are certainly a reliable source for product, service and technical information so please take advantage of us. You too can soon be stockpiling compressed air for use in other areas, or to eliminate an extra compressor. And if you like you could shout “I pity the fool who isn’t using EXAIR to improve their compressed air efficiency” (OK so it doesn’t have that edgy buzz to it).

And it may very well be that the greening of industry is not exactly a fad (and it should not be) but it certainly is a bandwagon others are choosing to jump upon. And that’s OK with us because in EXAIR’s industry, we are not just on the bandwagon, we are driving it.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com

Down in the Dungeon

Compressed air is the lifeblood of a manufacturing facility. Actuators, vises, sensors, etc. all use the convenient supply of shop air. When it comes to the air compressor that supplies all this power, it is usually relegated to some dark, dank, dirty, non-ventilated dungeon away from the general work area . If you’ve ever been in a compressor room, you know why it is not a popular place to hide from the boss.

I had brick making customer with dirty compressed air getting into our product and fouling it up. A quick visit to their compressor room made it clear why dirt was in the compressed air. Keep in mind the compressor breathes in air from the area it is installed. The quality of air in the room will have an effect on the air being delivered throughout the system. They were storing bags of powdered colorants in the room along with the compressor and it was getting into their air system. They could not move the compressor because they really needed the floor space so they ran ductwork to the outside for fresh air. Problem solved.

Another issue with compressor room environments is temperature. When air is compressed it creates heat warming the air in the room. The compressor breathes in this warm air and heats it up even further. If the room is not fully vented it becomes an endless cycle. When this warm compressed air is sent through the system it cools within the distribution lines. This cooling process causes the humidity to condensate out causing water problems at the point of use.

For a healthy compressed air system, your first line of defense is the compressor’s environment. Then a second line of defense is to install an EXAIR filter separators at the point of use. These will filter out dirt to 5 micron and separate out any condensate that has formed in your air lines.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
joepanfalone@exair

The Proof Of The Pudding Is In The Eating

 

Flaming Pudding

The title of this blog is actually the correct version of what may be the more popular but incorrect version, “The Proof Is In The Pudding”. The meaning of these statements pretty much hold true though; to fully test something, you need to experience it yourself.

And so, I wanted to tell you a short story about a customer who contacted with me recently about our Heavy Duty Dry Vac. The company that contacted me specialized in preparing and painting die-cast, metal parts. Part of the preparation process was to blast the parts with an Aluminum Oxide blast media to remove all foreign material and contaminants from the parts.

The customer had found our Heavy Duty Dry Vac on-line. They were interested in using it to pick up the Aluminum Oxide blast media after they had run a batch of parts through the blasting booth. The customer had a real concern about the ability of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac to effectively pick up the blasting media. Once I understood their concern, I brought up the fact that all stocked EXAIR products come with a 30 day guarantee and that meant the customer could return the Heavy Duty Dry Vac if they were un-happy about the performance of the product.

The customer appreciated that we had such a generous program to get the tool out in the field so they could test with their own hands. But their hands were tied due to their own internal regulations. So, we did the next best thing.

The customer arranged to send a bucket full of their blasting media to EXAIR for a trial run here at our demonstration facility. We made a short video of the performance with the Aluminum Oxide material which you can view below.

The customer could not believe that we would actually produce a short but effective video to prove to them that the EXAIR Heavy Duty Dry Vac actually worked very well to move their material. They were satisfied with the result achieved on the video and placed the order for the system that very same day.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

Flaming Pudding image courtesy of James Petts  Creative commons license.

Have A Dirty Super Air Knife Or Reversible Drum Vac?

             I get a fair number of calls from customers asking for model numbers that they ordered years ago and now the product is dirty or what they think is worn out and bad so they just want to know how they can clean it or get it back within operating specifications.   For instance if you have a Super Air Knife that looks like the one shown below we can let you know the proper ways to clean and inspect the knife to get it back to operating like new.  

 

            In some cases your facility may not be staffed or equipped properly to handle the cleaning and refurbish of a Super Air Knife or a Reversible Drum Vac for instance.  This is a service that we can provide to you here at EXAIR Corp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

            Take the Reversible Drum Vac  (RDV) that is shown above.   It was thought that this RDV was beyond repair.  The float could not even move because of all of the buildup.  The first step we took was to send the customer a PDF file we have on the process to clean a RDV.  One of the slides is shown below. 

 

             While this customer was not comfortable trying to return the product back to new, working condition we offered to have them send it to us for refurbish.  If you have a Reversible Drum Vac and are in need of cleaning please contact us, and we’ll get this slide show to you.

            This unit was in bad shape.  When we checked the flow rates on the RDV it was off the charts bad. After we refurbished the unit and replaced a single O-Ring, (also put new stickers on it to make it shine like new) the RDV worked just as good as a brand new unit.   It was sent back to the customer to be placed back into service instead of into a scrap bin.

            This is yet another way we are able to prove to you our customer that we want to do what is best for you.  We don’t want to just make a sale but build a relationship where we can not only help you get your application started up and running pristine, but also maintain that system and when it needs a little bit of work we’re here to offer our services.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com

Have It Your Way

I can happily report that after reading my last blog entry, my son was too busy laughing to challenge the father-son line of demarcation, at least for now.

Back in the 1970’s, Burger King launched their “Have It Your Way” ad campaign to position themselves as a more flexible competitor to McDonald’s strict menu.  As we all know, everything we see on television or in movies is simply fodder for a remake at some future date.  In true Hollywood and Madison Avenue fashion, BK rolled out this epically bad update a few years back…

BK was willing to adapt their offerings to your own personal preferences or needs instead of offering a rigid list of difficult-to-customize products.

At EXAIR, we can relate to that approach.

Imagine for a moment, if you are just an import-export warehouse that simply buys parts from the lowest bidder around the globe, how difficult it might be to give a customer exactly what they want.  Even if you could actually deliver the goods, how long might it take and how much would it cost if you simply have no engineering or manufacturing capabilities of your own?

As both the designer and manufacturer of our own line of products, EXAIR has all the capabilities we need to offer custom solutions, and we do it just about every day.  In fact, we actually publish photos of many custom configurations in our catalog and on our website just to make sure that our customers know that we can and will make something special for them if that is what is needed to get the job done and make their application successful.

Here are a few examples:

curved super air knife

 

Need a custom length Super Air Knife?  No problem.

How about an Air Amplifier or a Line Vac with different connections at both ends?  No problem.

Can I get a Cabinet Cooler System with different temperature settings?  No problem.

How about a special Super Air Knife for a cleanroom?  No problem.

If a vendor is unable or unwilling to customize their products to your specific requirements, that should be a very large red flag.  Either the vendor doesn’t care about your needs, simply doesn’t have the capabilities to accommodate them, or most likely both.

How many vendors like that do you need?

Thankfully, EXAIR is happy to let you “Have It Your Way”.

Bryan Peters
President
bryanpeters@exair.com

About Vortex Tubes

Vortex Tubes are a phenomenon of physics generally used for spot cooling and we get many questions about them. Typically we have customers ask “how do they work?” or “when did you come up with them?”. The latter question is the easy answer…

We did not come up with Vortex Tubes, George Ranque did in 1928. George was developing and testing a vortex pump he designed and observed a warm air exhaust and cold air exhaust from opposite ends of his pump. He got so excited about this development, he shut down the research and development of the pump he was working on and jumped headlong into the commercial potential of this hot and cold air product. He started a small firm which soon failed and the visibility of the Vortex Tube along with it.

Recognition of a Vortex Tube increased again in 1945 with a scientific paper published by  Rudolph Hilsch. The paper became popular enough to raise awareness and continued interest in the potential of Vortex Tubes.

The first question, “how do they work?”, is the tough one. First, here is what they do – A Vortex Tube uses compressed air as a power source, has no moving parts, and produces hot air from one end and cold air from the other. The volume and temperature of these two airstreams are adjustable with a built-in valve on the hot air exhaust. Temperatures as low as -50F (-46C) and as high as +260F (+127C) are possible.

Again, how do they work? Nobody knows for certain. If I could choose who to try to explain it I would choose Julius Sumner Miller to explain it, there is nothing this guy couldn’t explain, but alas, he is no longer with us. We can still enjoy his passion for physics (and his unique delivery) through YouTube. Here he discusses Bernoulli, the video is a bit long but take the opportunity to learn about Professor Miller if you have the time.

Nobody has been able to “do the math” to prove exactly how it functions but there is a widely accepted theory. Compressed air is supplied to the Vortex Tube and passes through nozzles tangent to an internal counterbore. These nozzles set the air in a vortex motion. This spinning stream of air turns 90 degrees and passes down the hot tube (thin tube part of a Vortex Tube) in the form of a spinning shell, like a tornado. A valve at one end of the tube allows some of the warmed air to escape. What does not escape heads back down the tube as a second vortex inside the low pressure area of the larger vortex. This inner vortex loses heat and exhausts through the other end as cold air.

While one airstream moves up the tube and the other down it, both rotate in the same direction at the same angular velocity. That is, a particle in the inner stream completes one rotation in the same amount of time as a particle in the outer stream. However, because of the principle of conservation of angular momentum, the rotational speed of the smaller vortex might be expected to increase. (The conservation principle is demonstrated by spinning skaters who can slow or speed up their spin by extending or drawing in their arms.) But in the Vortex Tube, the speed of the inner vortex remains the same. Angular momentum has been lost from the inner vortex. The energy that is lost shows up as heat in the outer vortex. Thus the outer vortex is warm and the inner vortex is cooled.

Yes, I know – you too are longing for Professor Julius Sumner Miller to explain. Thanks for reading.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com

We’ve Come a Long Way Baby

In seventies we thought we were on the cutting edge of technology if we had a touch tone phone and an electric (no battery operated ones yet) calculator with a square root key.

In the eighties we were in tall cotton with a networked computer system running a point of sale program offered by Radio Shack, life couldn’t get better.

In the nineties we had cell phones as big as a brick, PC’s with color screens and not the monochrome green, automated reorder systems for parts, equipment service tracking, and some of us were dabbling in something called the world-wide web thinking it might actually be used someday by customers looking for us.

Entering the 21st century, everyone is carrying around laptops, I-pads, flip phones with built-in cameras and all are interconnected. Service techs and sales staff can access equipment, customer and part records with just a few mouse clicks. Trucks get tracked and dispatched with the use of global positioning, and the internet has become an integral part of our business and personal communications.

At dinner parties, when asked what I do for a living, a frequent riposte is ” so you work for an old school brick and mortar company” In actuality nothing can be further from the truth. I counter question them as to how high-tech is their customer service.

  • Can their customers talk directly with technical staff by online chat, e-mail. phone, and FAX ? EXAIR customers can.
  • Can their customers attain product information, prints, manuals, and pricing 24/7 ? EXAIR customers can. All this is posted on the internet.
  • Does their company interact with their customers through social media? EXAIR interacts with customers through Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging.

By now the conversation has generated shuffling feet and lowered eyes because they have come to realize their company’s automated telephone system is akin to the “old school” electric calculator.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
joepanfalone@exair.com