Eating Crow Isn’t So Bad

I’ll take some hot sauce to go along with this crow, please.

A few months ago I blogged about how I grew up as a Cincinnati Reds fan, but finally hopped off the bandwagon after years of fan frustration (Cubs fans are shaking their heads right now). I went on to call the contemporary Reds a glorified AAA team.

This team of also-rans clinched the NL Central division title Tuesday night in dramatic fashion on a walk-off home run by Jay Bruce. It set off a celebration the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Cincinnati since 1995. It was a sight to behold, even if you were only watching on television.

Veterans knew what to expect and donned their goggles. Rookies didn’t care. Sportswriters and television announcers had their dry cleaning bills increased dramatically. Long-suffering team personnel were as happy, if not happier, than the players themselves. Guys who had obviously never tried a cigar suddenly found themselves on the business end of one.

One by one, players were interviewed to get their thoughts on the accomplishment. Much maligned manager Dusty Baker summed it up best. He said no one gave them a chance all year, not even when they were leading the division in August. Everyone thought they would stumble, falter and fade away. He called this group, this team, “special”. Untested rookies effectively combined with seasoned veterans and utility players that might be on their last roster to break a string of ten straight losing seasons and a fifteen year playoff drought. Even when outsiders had their doubts, the team didn’t stop believing in themselves and were able to accomplish more as a team than the sum of their parts.

Special.

That is about the highest compliment that you can pay to any team. They are greater than the sum of their parts. They make each other better. Enthusiasm, attitude and success are all contagious.

The raw emotion was palpable and the camaraderie was genuine. This group really was a team. No whining divas, no pampered superstars, and no one likely to leave early if they weren’t playing in the last game of the season (Larkin and Griffey, I’m looking at you).

As I said, it was quite a sight to behold. I was watching with my wife and son, who was 2 years old the last time the Reds made the postseason. It was something I’ll add to my list of baseball memories and keep forever. No matter what happens during the upcoming playoffs, this team made a city, even a region, believe again.

Originally, I had embedded a YouTube video showing the walkoff home run.  Apparently, the MLB copyright police forced that video to be taken down.

No worries, there are many, many more posted on YouTube.  You can find them here.

Bryan Peters
President
bryanpeters@exair.com

Try the Veal…I’ll be Here all Week

Sadly enough, one of my favorite jokes is this…

A horse walks into a bar and the bar tender says “Why the long face”?

Classic joke, and most likely not as funny as the time I first heard it and the friend involved in telling it to me. And for some reason when I tell or hear a bad joke or pun, I always have the urge to say “try the veal, I’ll be here all week”. I really have no idea where I saw or heard the phrase but it raises the vision of a bad comedian at a nightclub pushing the veal purchased by the club owner who over bought. Not really the best recommendation or motive.

It brings to light many other situations we have all been in where we are dealing with someone who either doesn’t know about a product or situation or who has other motives to recommend something which may not be best for the situation. I recently purchased a drill bit for tile. I needed a bit to drill three holes in ceramic tile. I had never bought a special bit for tile and asked for a recommendation, it was simple for the associate to recommend the most expensive bit they had, pull it off the shelf, hand it to me and walk away. After staring at the drill bits for a few minutes I found another tile bit, not nearly as fancy or expensive, but capable of doing the job – and so I bought it.

That was clearly an associate with experience and knowledge, but not very helpful. It is also a problem when dealing with someone who is inexperienced. They may have good intentions but not the knowledge necessary to be helpful. And the situation can get exponentially worse when they can’t admit they don’t know or are afraid to ask for help from another, more experienced co-worker. Next thing you know, they are recommending the ant and roach killer as a solution for cleaning your oven.

I prefer to work with someone who has experience but also understands I could use a little money-saving in my life. Or a new person who is not afraid to ask for some assistance in finding a solution.

Here at EXAIR we have both. Joe Panfalone who affectionately refers to himself as the “senior” engineer has been with EXAIR for fifteen years. Prior to EXAIR he was in manufacturing for a couple of companies. He has seen and heard it all, solved problems in many industries and has a clear idea of manufacturing processes, problems and solutions. Neal Raker has been around for 13 years, with a manufacturing and engineering background. Neal is extremely thorough and detailed in his explanations and direction. He is very patient with customers and great at recommending the best solution for an application. And our newest Application Engineer, Brian Farno has been helping our customers for 6 months. He came from being a field service tech in the machine tool industry. He has been exposed to many factories, machine shops and processes which give him a great ability to understand what you all are speaking to him about. And don’t worry if he puts you on hold for a moment, he is probably just asking the rest of us a question so he can help you better. And as for me, I am quickly approaching eleven years at EXAIR with a background in mechanical power transmission.

We often make recommendations for customers based upon the information they give us. We all enjoy keeping our customers pointed in the right direction toward a solution. With our experience, we are able to offer the best product not the most expensive one. Many times we are able to offer a variety of choices which could potentially work, making sure to explain the benefits of each solution. And even if one of us who has been around a while is unable to offer a solution, we will ask each other for advice on the application.

So don’t fret, you will not hear us say…”Two guys walk into a bar, the third one ducks… – Try the air nozzles, we’ll be here all week”.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com

Scum Sucker

We have a customer who treats liquid waste stream with a chemical that causes heavy metals to coagulate and float to the surface. The floating scum is allowed to dry to a hard crust, the tanks are drained and crusty coagulant is shoveled out manually.

They were needing more capacity which would require building another reclamation system. If they could eliminate the wait time for the coagulant to dry out, throughput time would be increased. Using a model 6064 2″ stainless steel Line Vac, they vacuumed the floating scum as it appeared on the surface. When the wastewater tested good, the holding pond was released and recharged with the next batch of waste to be treated.

This method saved them 2 days of waiting for the floating scum to harden.  Within that time they were able to treat an additional batch essentially doubling their capacity.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer

Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax   (513) 671-3363
Web: www.exair.com 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/exair_jp
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Buckets of Dirt

I encountered an interesting example of how not to handle customer service over this past week. Last Tuesday, I had a large stump ground out of my front yard. The stump measured 71” by 84”, thus creating a huge pile of shredded chips and dirt. Over a two day period, that pile was moved to the neighbor’s woods, creating an even larger hole.

I left Friday mid-day for Chicago with a group of EXAIR employees to attend the International Machine Tool Show. It is the largest machine tool show in North America and occurs every two years. We toured the show on Saturday and returned Sunday afternoon.

I answered an email from my wife on Friday before I left. She had measured the hole in the yard and by her calculations; we needed 24 sheets of sod to cover the damage in the yard. I double checked her math and agreed. I told her I would call her later that afternoon when we arrived in Chicago.

I called home after we had checked into the hotel in Chicago Friday afternoon. I started to talk about picking up the sod in my car on Monday and she said “Don’t worry, I already picked it up”. She had gone to the local landscape supply house, bought the sod and loaded it into her car. She still had some room in the back of the car, so she had them fill four 5 gallon buckets with topsoil to start filling the hole. When she went to the counter to pay for everything, she found out that the 5 gallon buckets of dirt were $ 5.00 per bucket. She asked the young lady waiting on her to check the price. She came back with “Yup, $ 5.00 per bucket”. My wife took her expensive dirt home and started her research.

She found another landscape supply house, closer to home than the first. She went there Saturday and found that their topsoil was free when picked up and loaded by the customer into 5 gallon buckets. Unfortunately, they closed at 1:00 pm and she was only able to get one load of 12 buckets from there. She spread those buckets and figured out that she still needed another load.

Sod only has a life of 24 – 48 hours, so the clock was ticking on getting the sod in place. Unfortunately, the second place with the free dirt is closed on Sunday, so she had to go back to the first place with the expensive dirt.

One of the managers appeared to be the counter person when she went in early Sunday morning. She had done her math and was ready for them. She asked the new person “How much is the topsoil by the bucket?”

Again the answer was $ 5.00 per bucket. She said “Ok, by my calculations, 35 5-gallon buckets make up a cubic yard of dirt. I need 12 buckets at $5 apiece which is equal to $ 60.00, while a cubic yard is $ 27.95. What if I buy a cubic yard, set out my 12 buckets, you dump your scoop over them and then you keep the dirt that doesn’t fall into the buckets?” The man looked at her with a blank look. Finally, he replied “We have to put the cubic yards into something – like a truck. Buckets don’t count”

She asked how much the 50 lb bags of topsoil cost, to which he replied $ 3.00 per bag. Not giving up, she asked him to explain the economics of them selling a bag of dirt, that they purchased from another supply house, for less money that a bucket of dirt from a pile of dirt larger that a two car garage. He was not in the mood to explain his margins to her on an early morning, so she bought 12 bags of dirt in order to finish the job. The sod was saved and job completed by the time I got home Sunday afternoon.

As she was leaving the landscape supply counter, a neighbor walked in and said he wanted 18 buckets of dirt. She stopped and explained the pricing policies to him. He switched to the bags also.

Bottom line – that landscape supply lost a loyal customer over their pricing policy. You have to be flexible and accommodate all customers.

I remembered a classic scene from a movie featuring a similar attempt to deal with rigid service policies:

EXAIR’s customer service policy is that we want to be easy to deal with for your needs. We can supply your “toast” or “buckets of dirt” however it helps you solve your problems. EXAIR can be very flexible for your special/custom products due to the fact we manufacture our products in-house as opposed to some competition who import products and face long lead times or an inability to get it done.

p.s. The sod is still doing fine, except for the holes punched in it by the deer. Look for my next clip to be from “The Deer Hunter”.

EXAIR Efficiency Lab Does It Again

EXAIR Efficiency Lab

Yet another EXAIR customer has taken advantage of the EXAIR Efficiency Lab.   For those that do not know, the EXAIR Efficiency Lab is a service that EXAIR extends to our customers, to compare their current compressed air process to our engineered compressed air products.  For example, you simply send your existing nozzles to us OR an Efficiency Lab Survey and we will do our best to replicate your conditions.  Then we will cross reference your current product performance to our catalog products and see where we can help you to conserve your compressed air and benefit from an EXAIR product.

This customer was currently using a “Nozzle” in an array of 11 nozzles per line  to blow off debris from their manufacturing process.  The customer was continuously running 2 lines during production which gives a total of 22 nozzles using compressed air.  The nozzle they were using was actually a pipe nipple that had been formed into a somewhat flat shape to disperse the air a little more.  A picture of one of these nozzles is below. 

When the nozzle arrived at EXAIR we first documented what exactly it was then we started to bench mark the customers process.  At the pressure the customer was operating the nozzle was consuming 137.45 standard cubic feet per minute of compressed air.  This allowed the crimped nipple to generate 5.7 lbs. of force from twelve inches away and give off 109 dBA of noise from three feet away.  The other key part of information to this application is that the ambient temperature of the part being blown off was approximately 2,000°F and the crimped nipples were positioned within a few inches of the part.  Because of this we had to consider the temperature greatly in our recommendations. 

Once benchmarked, we then began to test our comparable products at the same operating pressure as the customers existing process, and form a recommendation for the customer.  The recommendation is not only saving them compressed air but also reducing the noise level of the operation and become OSHA compliant.  The nozzle that best fit was the model # 1113SS.  Each nozzle is able to save the customer nearly 46.5 SCFM of compressed air when it is operated just below their operating pressure of 88 PSI.  The stainless steel nozzle can withstand temperatures of 1,000°F and will also lower their sound level from 109 dBA to 96 dBA.  And though the crimped pipe was able to achieve 5.7 lbs of force the 1113SS will produce 4.5 lbs. of force from twelve inches away, more than enough to solve the customers application of removing scale from an extruded pipe.  

The key savings for this customer is the fact that when they implement the 1113SS nozzle into their system they will be saving over 1,000 SCFM of compressed air for their operation.  Using a cost of   $0.25 / 1,000 CF of compressed air, the customer saves $120.00 USD per 8 hour shift or $30,000 per year.  That is a considerable amount of savings and is simply achieved by implementing an Engineered Nozzle into one application in the facility.

If you have an existing compressed air application and want to know if there is a better way, take advantage of the EXAIR Efficiency Lab.  We’ll find the better way for you to utilize your compressed air. 

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com

You’ll Get Nothing and Like It!

Words suitable for a parent, not a business.

Ah yes, those six words – You’ll Get Nothing and Like It – the result of a few dinner time stand-offs in my days both as a child and a parent. You may be familiar with the situation, here is how it goes for me as a parent…

My wife willingly prepares dinner for 5, including kids with a variety of preferences. One who won’t eat anything he doesn’t like the look of, one who won’t eat anything he doesn’t like the texture of and one who will eat just about anything on her plate. The kid who eats anything on her plate may seem like a good deal but is really just an opportunity for her to act like an angel, rub it in her brother’s face and generally perpetuate an already bad situation.

So we tried a few remedies. After a short career of negotiating which resulted in compromised parental control the next natural and not-so-well-thought-out step was bribery. We bribed with desert, Wii time, TV time etc…which resulted in kids who expected a reward for every choking bite they managed to get down AND a noticeable increase in the number of foods the kids thought should qualify for a bribe. I mean when your kid expects to play video games in return for scarfin’ down that plate of chicken nuggets, you have an issue.

So then we began to ponder providing a variety of choices at each meal, catering to each child every meal, but the logistics and implementation quickly rose beyond our abilities – not to mention a clear loss for the parental team. So as it happens to many of us, those traits possessed by my parents which clearly made my youth miserable became the best solution. And though we do not shout “you’ll get nothing and like it!” – the message remains the same with the simple use of an under utilized word in the parental lexicon – NO.

  • Do I have to eat this?      No.
  • Can I have something else?     No.

It’s a beautiful thing to see what a kid will eat after only once making the choice to prove they can go to bed hungry. And over time we continue to try new meals we think will be a success and add any meal with moderate reward to our menu. The result is a broad menu of kid pleasing items, most of the time. It is a win/win.

But as a business, those six words are unacceptable. And even though our willingness, action and outcome of providing a variety of products for a medley of customers in a collection of industry are unmatched, we will still get an unsolvable application or two. And it is at this point where the process differs because we will then negotiate with the customer. This allows us to see if modifying an existing product could provide a solution.  Or we will gather more information about the application to decide if we can offer a different solution at a different point in the process. And at the very least we have listened to the customer and try to offer a potential solution even if it does not involve EXAIR at all.

We will not, however, bribe a customer – though a 30 day unconditional trial is a perk for an application we have not yet solved. And if the customer begins to expect it every time, no problem, it is a standard policy for every cataloged item.

Providing a more diverse product line to cater to each customer is the result of our ability to listen and act. For many years we have listened to what our customers need and want. After listening, we act. Our actions have produced completely new product lines of  Line Vac air operated conveyors and Air Wipes. It has also caused us to expand existing lines, Long Super Air Knives and Large Super Air Nozzles for example. And though we do not shout “you can get anything you want” – the message remains the same with the simple use of an under utilized word when a business is listening to a customer – YES.

  • Do I have an application you can help with?     Yes.
  • If I need something else, are you willing to help?     Yes.

It’s a beautiful thing to see how a customer responds to a business willing to help beyond selling their wares. And EXAIR recognizes the benefits of treating those customers  to the best of our abilities. It is a win/win.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
KirkEdwards@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_KE

Understanding Oil Filter Beta Ratios

When buying hydraulic oil filters elements, the filter industry developed standards to measure the true effectiveness of the filter. A filter that is marked or rated “10 micron” has some ability to capture particles as small as 10 micrometers. However, you do not know exactly what this means unless you also have a description of the test methods and standards used to determine the filter rating. The results from the different test methods may not be comparable as their method varies greatly.

 Two of the key standards are the filters“Micron” rating and the “Beta β” ratio. The “Micron” rating describes the normal particle size the filter removes.

What does the word micron mean? It is another term for micrometer (1 millionth of a meter).  A micrometer is a unit of linear measure in the metric system used to measure distance from one point to another. Its scientific notation is μ. Here are some objects that will give you a visual of comparative sizes:

  • Diameter of average human hair 70 microns
  • Lower limit of visibility (naked eye) 40 microns
  • White blood cells 25 microns
  • Talcum powder 10 microns
  • Red blood cells 8 microns
  • Bacteria 2 microns
  • Carbon black 0.6 microns
  • Tobacco smoke 0.5 microns

Beta ratio (b) is formulated by dividing the number of particles of a particular size in the upstream flow by the number of particles of the same size in the downstream flow:

where bx is the beta ratio for contaminant larger than x mm
Nu is the number of particles larger than x mm per unit of volume upstream
Nd is the number of particles larger than x mm per unit of volume downstream.

The beta ratio is an indicator of how well a filter controls particulate: i.e., if one out of every two particles (>x mm) in the fluid pass through the filter, the beta ratio at x mm is 2, if one out of every 200 of the particles (>x mm) pass through the filter the beta ratio is 200.
Therefore, filters with a higher beta ratio retain more particles and have higher efficiency.
Efficiency for a given particle size (Ex) can be derived directly from the beta ratio by the following equation:


Read more: http://www.lenntech.com/library/fine/beta/beta-ratio.htm#ixzz104rJzTX4

 An example would be a filter with a “β6 = 75” would be 98.67%  efficient at removing particles 6 micron and larger.  CALCULATION:   (75-1)/75 * 100 = 98.67%

Here is an efficiency tabel for your reference:

Beta ratio information can also be stated as β 5/10/20 = 2/20/75. In this example, the media tested removed

  • 50% of 5-micrometer or micron size particles
  • 95% of 10-micrometer or micron size particles
  • 98.7% of 20-micrometer or micron size particles
Beta Ratio  Efficiency

2

50%

10

 90%

20

95%

75

 98.7%

100

99%

200

 99.5%

1000

99.9%

A filter’s beta ratio also does not give any indication of its dirt-holding capacity, the total amount of contaminant that can be trapped by the filter throughout its life, nor does it account for its stability or performance over time.

Nevertheless, beta ratios are an effective way of gauging the expected performance of a filter.

references:
SAE J1858
ISO 4548-12,lube & oil
ISO16889, hydraulic or fuel
ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
NFPA (National Fluid Power Association)
Filter MAnufacturers Council

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
Phone (513) 671-3322
Web: www.exair.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/exair_jp 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

 

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