Summer Time = Vacation Time

I personally can’t believe I’m saying this but summertime is almost here.  With that comes vacations or the increasingly popular “Staycations”.  For myself I get to see a good friend from college get married as my vacation this year.   It will be the first time my wife and I have left our daughter for more than just one night.  With the vacation of course came a good amount of planning, both at home and at work.

At home we got lucky because our parents are going to take turns watching our daughter, house, and dogs.  (Can’t beat free baby/house/dog sitting.)  They’ll of course be eating it up because they get to spend so much time with their grand-daughter and getting to completely spoil her for several days.  For most people when they go on vacation they have to prepare the house for no one to be there during their vacation.  A few points we make sure to cover in the case no one will be home is to turn off the water at the main shut off, set the thermostat for around 80° F so the A/C isn’t running that much, get rid of as much food from the fridge as possible so there isn’t a loss in the case of a power outage.   We also stop the mail and the paper, and lastly we set a few lights to turn on and off so it still appears someone is home, this can be done through timers or trusted neighbors, which is what we use.  This makes sure that you aren’t wasting energy while you are gone and when you come back home everything is ready to go back to normal or in our case as close to normal it can get.

At work I have a similar checklist.  Make sure all my emails are taken care of that need to be, ensure the e-mail and voicemail messages are set correctly, clean the desk up, and make sure to log out of the computer so there is a lower risk of shenanigans involving my background image or desktop icons.  This makes sure than when I get back to the office I’m not spending time and energy trying to get to the point of caught up and working on new projects.

Preparing to leave for vacation is something you can very easily translate into how to prepare your compressed air system before you leave for a few days or even before you go home for the night.  You probably shut your compressor down so you can save money on your energy bill, the problem is if you don’t have a well maintained system you won’t have that stored air available when you come back.  If your system has leaks or if you are leaving a blow off on continuously even when the process is not needed then when you come in the next day or after a few days away the air isn’t there and you have to wait for the compressor to build up an initial charge to even begin work.  This not only causes additional work load on your compressor but it is down time that is easily avoidable.  With the help of our Six Steps to Compressed Air Optimization you can make sure you still have air in the storage tank when you get in on Monday rather than having to wait for the compressor.

So whether you are going on a vacation or just leaving for the day make sure you are doing everything you can to conserve, turn off those lights, seal up the leaks, and it will make the next time you come in that much easier.  Not to mention the savings you will see.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_BF

A Friend In Need

Recently, I undertook a project to help a friend replace the head gasket on his Jeep.  Like most people, my time is generally spoken for, and new commitments can be hard to tackle.  Nevertheless, I’m not one to refuse a friend in need so I found myself with a Cherokee parked in my garage.

In appreciation for the help, my friend obliged to assist in any way he could.  The biggest helping hand was in removing the cast iron cylinder head from the engine block.  Many hands make light work, but it still felt heavy…

As we tore the engine down, checked valve seats and surface tolerances, the time passed quickly.  We ended up spending a few late nights in my garage to finish the project, but after some hard work the job was a success.

Helping my friend felt great, but it also strained my time and my productivity.  It make me think about how much we all rely on a certain level of productivity, and when it declines, the effects are easily noticed.  In the days after the Jeep was back on the road and my evenings returned to their normal level of activity, I began to appreciate my time more.  I imagine this is what our customers experience when they implement our products onto their production lines.

In the engineering department at EXAIR we frequently deal with applications facing downtime.  Sometimes the loss of production is due to static or heat, but we have full product lines to handle these concerns.  Through the use of our intelligent compressed air products, we take pride in returning our clients to their full production capacity.  If you’re experiencing a productivity loss and would like to learn more about using our products, please contact me.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

A Good Sharpening

I’m going camping this weekend. This could be the start of any Russ Bowman Blog, it’s true, but this one’s different. See, for the past six years, my best friend Andrew and I have gone camping with our sons on Father’s Day weekend. We jokingly call it our Mother’s Day present to our wives, but it’s really all about a bit of wisdom that we found in the writings of one of Israel’s ancient kings, Solomon, who said: “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” He and I practice this principle with each other, and hope that we’re imparting it to the young men in our charge as well.

Now, these outings are notoriously low impact – we’re ardent connoisseurs of State Park Campgrounds. The highest adventure we encounter is ignoring the “No Wading or Swimming” signs at the Lower Falls at Hocking Hills, chasing the raccoons away from our coolers at Paint Creek, or racing down the giant inflatable water slide at Maumee Bay.

Occasionally, we’ve been known to visit local tourist attractions as well, like the Creation Museum, when we camped at nearby Big Bone Lick. This year, we’re going to East Fork State Park, which is just outside of Cincinnati. We thought about a day trip to King’s Island, or taking in a Reds game (Saturday’s promotion is a free Mohawk hat), but in the end, we decided to “just go camping.” Nice and easy: regardless of weather, wildlife, or whatever, it’s a simple, reliable plan to achieve our goal of refreshing and invigorating ourselves and each other. I’ve got enough silly hats anyway.

EXAIR has posted an FAQ in our Knowledge Base regarding the comparison of compressed air products to those that rely on blower systems, and the analogies to this weekend just started writing themselves:

*Lower purchase costs: A Blower Air Knife can cost over ten times the purchase price of a similar-sized Super Air Knife. Why would we pay to go to an amusement park when the lake is within bicycling range of our reasonably priced campsite?
*Very little, if any, maintenance: Blower bearings need lubrication, and sooner or later, they’re still going to fail. Inlet filters clog and need replacement on a regular basis. With precious few exceptions (the Reversible Drum Vac’s Overflow Preventer Float comes to mind), EXAIR products have no moving parts, and, when supplied with clean, dry air, will run indefinitely…no special attention required. I wish I could say the same for my nine-year old…
*Lower noise levels, well below OSHA requirements: There’s no way around it: blowers make noise. Our products are specifically engineered to operate below OSHA thresholds for occupational sound level exposure. I’m actually going to take the high road here and not comment on the noise level associated with taking the boys camping. Never was a fan of shooting fish in a barrel.
*Infinitely variable force and flow rates: With a blower, you’re locked in to operation at/near it’s output capacity. Sure, you can throttle it down, but it still consumes same amount of energy, and let’s not forget about those bearing replacements (constant throttling puts this in the “sooner” rather than the “later” column). Conversely, when you regulate the air pressure supplied to an EXAIR product, you actually ARE consuming less energy, in the form of less compressed air produced by your compressor. By not locking ourselves into any specific plans this weekend, we’re, in essence, planning for the “infinitely variable” to happen. And I can’t wait to see what that is.
*Simple, compact installation: EXAIR products, unlike blower-fed units, don’t require cumbersome ductwork or noise containment cabinets. “Just camping” requires a tent, a sleeping bag, and a cooler for our food. The most elaborate that we get is the use of bite-size peanut butter cups for our S’mores. And yes, they’re spectacular.

Even if we just use plain old chocolate bars – and we may – I’ll be sharpened, come Monday. Count on that. I am.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax

Flag Day

Today, June 14th is Flag Day. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. The United States flag has undergone 28 iterations. The 13 stripes, which represent the 13 original colonies, have not changed. The number of stars is what changed as states were added to the Union.

A flag day is a flag-related holiday—either a day designated for flying a certain flag (such as a national flag), or a day set aside to celebrate a historical event such as a nation’s adoption of its flag. Thirty five countries around the world observe a flag day.

The American flag to me represents the fortitude and resilience of its citizens who have come here from the four corners of the earth with only the promise of an opportunity. Anyone with a dream and the willingness to work hard and stick to it can succeed. EXAIR’s founder had a dream, the fortitude, and the willingness to see it to fruition. He left a good paying job to start his own company. It came with much sacrifice. The family budget became so tight that they could not afford any frills like a newspaper. He did not ask for any handouts, bailouts, or other such nonsense that we see going on today. He represented the very fiber and grit that made America great.

So as I celebrate Flag Day, it is with a sense of pride as well as concern. I am proud of America’s exceptional individual independence and concerned for its future. As a society we have become less self sufficient and more willing to let others do for us. That is not what has made America great; but what was the downfall of Ancient Rome.

So when you raise your eyes up to the flag at the next sporting event, think of what it represents – free people willing to be all that they can, producing goods and services for the benefit of all.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer

Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax   (513) 671-3363

Can I Use a Vortex Tube and an Air Knife Together?

This concept does seem a really cool idea. Taking the cold output flow from a Vortex Tube and pumping it into an Air Knife to get the advantage of the Air Knife to amplify the cold air volume. That would be really cool if that were the way it actually worked. The idea that you can take two really interesting products and combine them together like this has intrigued many would be problem solvers who have called or e-mailed us about the idea.

The problem is that the idea does not work and I would like to explain why.

There are two issues that you have working against the idea:

1. The Vortex Tube is a device that works on a pressure differential between its inlet and both outlets (hot and cold). The more extreme the pressure differential, the more effective it is at producing cold air. For example, when 100 PSIG is measured at the inlet and there are zero restrictions to hot and cold flows. This provides for a very strong 7.8:1 ratio of pressure differential across the Vortex Tube. And so, when you place a restriction to that cold end flow (an Air Knife in this example), you raise the pressure at the cold air outlet. When you raise the outlet pressure, the pressure ratio lessens to a point when 20 PSIG is reached at the outlet, the Vortex Tube function is rendered useless for practical purpose. Given the fact that our Super Air Knife only really begins to move a large volume of air at 20 PSIG, you have a mis-match of useful pressures from Vortex Tube outlet to Air Knife inlet.

2. Let us imagine for a moment that you could produce a reasonable cold compressed air flow and feed it into an Air Knife. The manner in which our compressed air operated Air Knives work is that they have a primary flow of compressed air, 1 part. That 1 part pulls in 30 to 40 parts of ambient air from around the immediate area of the Air Knife body. What ends up happening is with an amplification ratio of even 30:1, the output flow becomes highly diluted with the temperature of the secondary, ambient air becoming the majority of the overall output flow temperature. So, you have just made a whole lot of effort to pipe cold air to an Air Knife that ends up producing only a negligible effect in terms of temperature drop.

Perhaps some day we will be able to work around this little problem of back pressures and air entrainment so the two devices could actually be used together. But until then, it is only a fantasy.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer

How to size a Cabinet Cooler

The past few weeks the summer heat has decided to try and burn any vegetation that I might call a yard, so I thought it would be a good time to discuss the information that is needed to appropriately size a Cabinet Cooler® System for your electrical enclosure.

When you are inside your facility sweating because it is hotter inside than it is outside remember to think about how hot is getting in your electrical enclosure.  Maybe you don’t have to remember because the machine has been alarming out because of temperature overloads. Perhaps the operators have opened the doors and area letting all the dirt and dust be blown into the open cabinet by the fan that is now in front of it to cool it down.

I must say the fan in front of an open cabinet is something that I saw quite a bit when I was in the machine tool industry.  I would have to replace entire circuit boards in machines because the metal dust in the air from the metal-cutting had been sucked up by a fan and spit into the machine combined with oil/coolant mist and caked onto the exposed boards.  This of course doesn’t help with the component temperatures because then the heat sinks don’t perform as good.  I’ve even seen board burn, actually burn, because the metal dust had bridged two contacts that have no business touching each other.  These are just a few of the issues I’ve seen in electrical enclosures that are overheating.

With an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler® System the doors can remain closed, there’s no blue filter that can clog or fan that can short or burn up.  You don’t even have to worry about the wash down in the area if you have a NEMA 4 or 4X area because they are UL listed to maintain NEMA integrity.  The Cabinet Cooler® Systems are easy to install and even easier to maintain than any other cooling system I have ever encountered.   Mainly due to the fact that there are no internal moving parts which makes the unit maintenance free.  The only  part you may need help with is how to appropriately size the Cabinet Cooler® System for your enclosure.

In order to correctly calculate the heat load within your cabinet you will need to provide us with a few pieces of information.  We offer the Cabinet Cooler® Sizing Guide which is a simple worksheet for you to fill in the information then send it to us.  The information we’re going to need is the dimensions of the cabinet, don’t worry about whether it’s in inches, feet, centimeters, or meters, we’ll get what we need as long as they are all there.  We need to know what NEMA rating the enclosure is, 12, 4 or 4X.  If the cabinet is wall mounted or free-standing, if the enclosure is vented or not, and if so are there fans.  Then. we need some air temperatures.  In order to get the accurate temperatures a “Temp Gun” should not be used.  An example is shown below of how a roofing company uses both types of thermometers appropriately.

The reasoning for this is, the no contact laser thermometers measure the surface temperature of whatever it’s pointed at.  In order to calculate the internal heat load of the cabinet we need to know the current internal and external air temperatures of the cabinet.  When you point the “temp gun” at a component you may be getting a cool or hot spot.  The air is going to be an average temperature throughout the cabinet and tells us whether the heat is coming from the components inside the cabinet or the environment the cabinet is in.

The only other piece of information we need is the maximum external air temperature of the enclosure. Once we have this information we can easily calculate how much cooling you are going to need and appropriately size a Cabinet Cooler® System for your enclosure.

So make sure you keep the “temp guns” in the tool box and get the old-fashioned thermometer and tape measure out then give us a call.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_BF

The Future is Now

There is a video posted on several internet sites showing Apple CEO Steve Jobs presenting his plans for the future Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.  The ultra-futuristic state-of-the-art facility conjures the feeling that the omnipotent high-tech future is now.  The long away days of science fiction are close on the horizon if not here already.

Consider that Spaceport America (a 27 square mile area of land in New Mexico designated as the world’s first purpose built  commercial spaceport) is set for completion later this year, and when complete,  it will begin tourist flights to space.  Consider that there is currently a race to send a robot to the moon between university consortia and billion dollar businesses (Lunar X Prize).  The days of strictly governmental space exploration are coming to an end.

Now consider the advancements in medicine that aim to design preventative medical plans based on individual genome configuration rather than reacting to symptoms and disorders.  Think about the application specific printers that can print skin for burn victims and may one day print human organs.  That’s right, print human organs.

I remember reading about the possibilities of technology when I was a kid.  As I became fascinated with learning how things work, the abilities of mankind intrigued me, and still do.  One of the things most intriguing to me is our never-ending desire for improvement.

I think you can be content and still seek improvement.  Although this is a paradoxical juxtaposition of sorts, I think it’s what we all strive for every day.  Content doesn’t have to mean complacent, and if you need proof look at our line of air nozzles.

We’re satisfied with the performance of the product line, but if we see an area that can improve, we address it.  If you’re in a similar position, where you think you can make an improvement using our products, call us to discuss your application.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer