Compressed Air Is Free

I am certain many of us work in places where the production staff believes compressed air costs next  to nothing or even thinks it is free. When they see compressed air doing a good job cleaning, cooling or moving product it is hard to understand that there could be any consequences to using it. But EXAIR knows it is a resource, a utility that you must pay for to produce and saving compressed air is an important piece of keeping your whole production line efficient.

Of course if you asked your production folks exactly how much compressed air they were using and how much it costs, they could certainly tell you. Just like my kids can tell me how much gas and food and electricity cost right? Rest assured, you are not alone. Many facilities do not know their actual compressed air usage or keep good records of its cost. And if you are not paying too much attention to your compressed air system, it is difficult to see opportunities to save it, and ultimately save money.

We have seen a lot of customers who choose to add horsepower to increase system pressure or meet increased demand. EXAIR knows there are many other opportunities to reduce your air demand and/or increase your system pressure without adding horsepower. The EXAIR product line is full of items to help reduce demand, increase pressure and generally optimize your compressed air applications. It is possible to find added capacity in your compressed air system by reducing leaks, minimizing consumption and adding storage.

If you are interested in how you may be able to reduce your compressed air consumption and increase the efficiency of your production, please contact EXAIR. After all – Money doesn’t grow on trees… Keep your eyes open for an opportunity to save and don’t fail to act once you see it.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
Kirkedwards@exair.com

A Little Courtesy Goes a Long Way

Do you believe that the person you’re on the phone with can hear you smile?  I thought that was about the nuttiest thing I’d ever heard when Jimmy Lee instructed us to smile whenever we picked up the phone, even if it was to change our voice mail greeting.  Which, by the way, we were instructed to update daily.  Well, like anything else I don’t really want to believe, I started looking for ways to disprove it.  Funny thing was, I discovered that I could indeed tell if people on the phone were smiling or not.  Facial muscular contractions add a recognizable inflection to your speech.  Also, it feels good.  I dare you to try it.

That was a long time, and a couple of career direction changes ago, but it’s always stuck with me.  You can even frame it in terms of economy:  It costs you nothing to be nice.  The costs of NOT being nice, however, can be great.  If you’re not nice to your spouse, you can end up in the doghouse.  If you’re not nice to your kids, you can end up in one of those nursing homes that “20/20” or “Dateline” does stories about.  And, of course, if you’re not nice to your customers, someone else will be (and that could be your competition.)

Anyone who drives to work knows that companies who provide field service LOVE to use their vehicles as rolling advertisements.  We’ve all seen trucks & vans emblazoned with logos, websites, and, of course, the company’s phone number.  They even pay extra to register those vehicles because of all this decoration.  I know this, because a couple of career direction changes after I learned to smile on the phone, I had to employ that smile when talking to callers who were upset about the way the service technicians in my charge were driving.  I’ll use truck numbers to protect the innocent…and others:  C239 sped a LOT.  Even after we installed GPS “tattlers” in the trucks.  He had a radar detector, and he was incorrigible.  C236 also sped, and weaved in and out of traffic.  He didn’t last long.  His replacement in C236 cut someone off on the highway once.  When he returned to the shop, he came directly to me and told me about it – the other car was in his blind spot, and he was so genuinely contrite, I actually felt bad for him.  I’m pretty sure that never happened again.  Then, one particularly irate caller told me G33 stuck his middle finger up at him.  Just like you can tell if someone’s smiling, you sometimes know when they’re lying too: there was a little too much righteous indignation in the caller’s voice, and besides, G33 was a kindly, thoughtful gentleman in every sense of the word.  I’m not sure he even knew how to give someone The Finger.

Once in a blue moon, a call brought a legitimate safety concern to light.  The vast majority pertained to courtesy issues.  I started talking about this at our weekly meetings, usually to a room full of rolled eyes and sarcastic smirks.  But it started to sink in.  C239 never slowed down, but one time, someone called to tell me that, despite the caller’s inattention to his rapidly approaching exit, C239 seemed to go out of his way to slow down & let the caller merge.  I thought he had the wrong truck number, but the GPS tattler confirmed it: C239, the incorrigible speed demon, was capable of a simple act of courtesy.   I assure you, gentle reader, if C239 can do it, so can you.

Smile when you pick up the phone.  We can tell.  Let that poor fella who’s not paying attention merge.  It’s only adding a fraction of a second to your commute.  A little courtesy goes a long way.  Even if it doesn’t make you feel good (and that would be a real shame, because this is the low-hanging fruit of feel-good moments), the other person is probably feeling good enough for both of you.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.exair.com
Blog: https://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Effective ESD Management

Have you ever walked across the room to pet your dog, but got a shock instead? Perhaps you took your hat off on a dry winter’s day and had a “hair-raising” experience!  Or, maybe you have made a balloon stick on the wall after rubbing it against your clothes?

Why do these things happen? Is it magic? No, it’s not magic; its static electricity!  Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges in an object. These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or discharged. This is referred to as an ESD event.

The rubbing of certain materials against one another transfer negative charges, or electrons from one to the other. For example, if you rub your shoe on the carpet, your body collects extra electrons. The electrons cling to your body until they can be released. As you reach and touch your furry friend, you get a shock.

And what about that “hair-raising” experience? As you remove your hat, electrons are transferred from hat to hair, creating that interesting hairdo! Remember, objects with the same charge repel each other. Because they have the same charge, your hair will stand on end. Your hairs are simply trying to get as far away from each other as possible!

While ESD is a great way for science teachers to impress their students, it has harmful consequences in an industrial environment. It can blow out electronics, cause materials to mis-feed, ink to spider, and a host of other maladies.

So how does one go about managing ESD? By developing a working knowledge of the science, doing a process audit, and modify the material that is the source or employ static eliminating equipment.

Basic Principles of Effectively Managing Static

Virtually all materials, sometimes even conductors, can be triboelectrically charged. Knowing that some materials are more prone to static, avoid their use in the manufacturing process. Nylon, PET, and Lexan lead the list of offenders. Can you guess what happens when a PET bottle slides down a nylon chute?

Static can occur throughout the manufacturing, test, shipping, handling, or operational process. Wherever two materials come into contact and rub with one another, there is a potential for a static build up. A great diagnostic tool is a static meter. With it you can find areas of static build up.

The next step is to analyze the materials that are coming into contact with your product. Grounded conductive surfaces are preferable. An alternative is the use of a static  eliminator.

Humidity plays an important role in static control. Have you noticed that static is more of a problem in the dry winter months than it is in the humid summer days? The more humidity in the air the more conductive it is. A conductive atmosphere will drain off static charges before they become a problem. Climate control is not always possible so the use of  static eliminators is your only option.

Keep in mind that once a static charge is removed it does not stay removed. It will develop again whenever it comes into contact and rubbed with other materials. Static free product packed with static generating materials can become charged before they reach your customer.

Need help? Call one of our application engineers 1-800-903-9247.

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

References

Library of Congress – “Everyday mysteries
ESD Association, Rome, NY –Fundamentals of Electrostatic Discharge

A Week of Winning – Not Involving Charlie Sheen

Some more excitement around the Edwards’ household last weekend, you know, the big Pinewood Derby weekend. After already taking my boys to Grandpa’s house for a day of cutting and sanding; we spent the night before the big event working on the final touches.

We concentrated on the finer things, the “tweaks”. First, polishing the axles to decrease friction between the axles and wheels. We made sure to have just slightly too much weight; we think it is easier to remove weight than add it at the official weigh in. So we ended up at 5.05 ounces for each car, the limit is 5.00 ounces. We also made sure to get the wheels level and square to the car and covered all the friction surfaces with a liberal supply of graphite lubrication.

Concentrating on the finer points paid off for my boy in his last year of competition. He has learned from his peers and from attending past derbies what to concentrate upon. He is naturally inquisitive and observant so he had a few ideas of his own this year – where he would like to add weight to his car, what shape he thinks will be fast etc… And those things paid off for him as he took first place among the Webelos, I couldn’t be happier for him.

Some more excitement around the Edwards’ workplace as well as more of the EXAIR team’s hard work has been rewarded. EXAIR has learned that our PEEK Super Air Nozzles are again a finalist for engineering innovation and creativity in product design from Design News. We are happy to be a finalist for the 2011 DesignNews Golden Mousetrap awards.

And much of this recognition is attributed to a similar process at EXAIR as compared to that of my son’s derby car success. The PEEK Super Air Nozzles are the result of a few tweaks of EXAIR’s own. In this case we had already tweaked the design for the nozzle which we were making in zinc/aluminum and 316SS. With our close attention to the needs of our customer base we were able to learn that a material which can stand high ambient temperature, resist chemicals and also be non-marring was desirable. Further investigation into materials, additional conversations with peers and learning more about the experience of others allowed us to choose a material with all of the previously mentioned attributes.

The PEEK material nozzles have been a great success for our customers with the described needs. Many of our customers use these nozzles because of the added feature of being non-marring, which is not an attribute of a zinc/aluminum or 316SS nozzle. To date we are protecting sensitive lenses for lasers, removing debris from the critical surface finish of a telescope mirror and keeping a multitude of calendar rolls clean and protected from metal nozzles which could break loose/fall into the rolls.

And my same reaction holds true – I couldn’t be happier for all who worked on this project.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com

Alarmingly Helpful

I was talking with someone the other day about EXAIR, and they asked me for some words or phrases to describe our company and our philosophy.  I thought about it for a few minutes, and I added “Alarmingly Helpful” to the standard “Big 5” (Efficiency, Performance, Safety, Quality, Service), along with some others.

“Alarmingly helpful?  How can help be alarming?”, they asked.  Here’s the explanation:

EXAIR strives to be so helpful that customers are actually taken aback that we are willing to go to the lengths that we are in order to help a them.  We want them to take away the impression that we aren’t like most other companies.  Truth is, we aren’t, and we’re proud of it.

When a customer calls us with an application that we can’t solve with EXAIR products, we’ll REFER THEM TO ANOTHER COMPANY instead if we know that the solution already exists.  Our Application Engineers maintain an extensive list of products and technologies sold by others that can sometimes help customers.  If you require something like an explosion-proof purge system, a dense-phase conveying system, or a vehicle-mounted air compressor – we have a list of companies that can probably help you with your application.

Want a more extreme example?  From time to time (including a couple of times in the past week or so), customers contact us for technical support for a product that’s in their plant and isn’t working correctly.  The catch?  They aren’t even EXAIR products.  A handful of times already in 2011 a customer with a competitive product has contacted us for technical support even though we didn’t make the product at all.  Why did they contact us?  Because they couldn’t get the support they needed from the other manufacturer or distributor.

Here at EXAIR, we put the customer first, and we try to help them solve their problems even if we didn’t sell them the product.  Of course, we let them know that the product isn’t ours, but we try to help them anyway.  Why?  Because they will remember that we were able to help them even though we didn’t make or sell the product that is causing them problems.  They’ll also remember that we helped when the company that sold the product (and took their money) could not or would not.

So what makes EXAIR, EXAIR?  Give us a call, drop us an e-mail, a live chat request or even a tweet.  We’ll be there to help.

Just don’t be too alarmed.

In the meantime, please check out this video about Blackberry technical support.

Claims are easy, proof is hard.

Bryan Peters
President
bryanpeters@exair.com

Safety Schmafety…But It Beats The Alternative

Soon it will be summer, and for those of us involved with Cub Scouts, it means a transition from regular meetings to a series of less regular outdoor activities.  For our Pack, that means a picnic where we hold our annual Raingutter Regatta, a flag retirement ceremony with a local American Legion post, and a marshmallow extravaganza that we call “S’more Summer Fun.”  It’s all in fun until someone falls into a diabetic coma…

Then there’s Summer Day Camp.  For a whole week, Cub Scouts from all over the District converge on a local State Park to shoot BB guns and Bows & Arrows, learn how to cook over an open fire, take turns raising and lowering the US Flag at formal ceremonies that start & end the day, and get a jump start on some of next year’s advancement requirements.

For the past few years, Day Camp in the US Grant District has culminated with a Water Gun Event on Friday afternoon.  We didn’t call it a “Fight” because that might be construed to be in conflict with the central controlling authority: The Guide To Safe Scouting.  Now, I know to the uninitiated, the name itself doesn’t sound all that foreboding, so allow me to draw a familiar parallel:  Think OSHA.  ‘Nuff said?   More on OSHA later, though.

We were recently informed that either a change in The Guide, a stricter interpretation of The Guide, or a previous misunderstanding of The Guide has rendered the Water Gun Event a violation of The Guide.  We’re struggling to come up with a suitable replacement activity, but it’s hard to top a couple hundred hyperactive boys – and most of their parents – loaded for bear with Super Soakers.  I’m sure we’ll come up with something, and if I know my fellow leaders, it will be the stuff of legend.

Although it's not officially a competition, the Bethel Fire Department usually "wins" The Water Gun Event.

Just as the The Guide To Safe Scouting has cancelled our Water Gun fun, there are a multitude of stories about seemingly over-reaching OSHA regulations that look like they only protect against a Complete-Loss-Of-Common-Sense accident.  But the fact is, they’re there for a reason, and a great majority of us should be glad that a great majority of them are.  Let’s face it: forklifts, acetylene torches, and drill presses are inherently dangerous.  Until rules of safe operation are applied, then there are no safer or more efficient ways to move a steel beam into the shop, cut it in half, and drill a bunch of holes in it.

OSHA has rules about compressed air use, too.  We’re all familiar with the ones about safety glasses and ear plugs…those of us who like to see and hear, anyway.  Some of you may even be intimately familiar with the 30 PSIG limit on any compressed air that can be deadheaded – OSHA standard 1910.242(b).

EXAIR, to date, doesn’t manufacture a product which discharges a force of compressed air that precludes the need for eye protection.  But we are proud to offer a complete line of products that are specifically engineered with those other OSHA safeguards in mind: None of our nozzles, jets, knives, etc. can be dead-headed.  We also pay particular attention to sound levels and engineer our products to reduce the amount of sound power generated. 

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.exair.com
Blog: https://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Compressed Air Consumption Assessment

Today I am going to share with you an application that started out as an analysis for purchasing a new compressor but ended up with shutting down one 50 HP compressor.

My customer approached me with an interest in the EXAIR Digital Flow Meter to monitor various sections of their facility for compressed air usage. At times their system pressure would drop precariously low for some machines. It was their thinking that by monitoring compressed air demand by sector they could decide the size of compressor they needed to add and where to direct that air.

They installed model 9092 1″ Digital Flow Meter to each spur feeding the various sections of the plant. The monitored results were quite unexpected! It was thought the machining sectors were the ones drawing the most load. As it turned out it was the packaging area. Upon investigation they found blow guns with their triggers taped open for a constant blow off as the operator packed parts. Ten work stations alone were using over 200 SCFM of compressed air!

The blow guns were replaced with air saving Super Nozzles activated by a foot pedal. 

 Model 9040    

  •   

 Model 1101

The air savings enabled them to shut down a 50HP air compressor. So instead of a capital expenditure for a new compressor, they realize an operational savings.

If you would like to see how much you can save with EXAIR’s engineered nozzles feel free to call 1-800-903-9247 and ask to speak with one of our application engineers.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
joepanfalone@exair.com