Another Alligator Blog

Joe Panfalone, you inspire me, man. I loved your Alligator blog the other day…it made me think of another alligator analogy, straight from the desk of Senior Chief George Cooper, the saltiest old sailor I ever knew:

“When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s easy to forget that the initial objective was to drain the swamp.”

I want to clean my garage so bad. I have, in fact, started on this gargantuan project several times this summer. But I’m easily distracted. I start clearing off my corner workbench, and I find my long-lost can of Nevr-Dull. Then I remembered I had an old brass lamp in the basement, and I got in touch with my inner old sailor. The lamp is still in the basement “awaiting assignment,” but it sure is shiny.

Then, I found a part I needed to replace on my van’s rear window washer. Try as I might, I couldn’t manipulate the little part back into the hole from ground level, so I got a small stepladder from the basement (there’s a nice, shiny brass lamp on a shelf down there), but that didn’t help. I think there’s a broken tab on the part, which is preventing it from staying in place, so I’ll have to go get another one. Probably from the dealer. And when I see the price, I’ll probably convince myself to continue doing without a rear window washer.

A couple of diversions later, I’ve got a stepladder, my shop vac (hey, I had to clean the sawdust up…long story), and a few boxes bound for Goodwill in my garage. My wife STILL can’t park her car in there, but I swear there’s a little more room than when I started.

This weekend, we celebrate Labor Day with an extra day off work (which I always find funny, but fully appreciate it nonetheless), and, barring a perfect storm of diversions, or an impromptu Cub Scout project (hence the abovementioned sawdust-related long story), Regina WILL be able to park her nice shiny new car in the garage. At least until spring.

So…what is your initial objective? And what are your alligators?

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

Attainable Efficiency Gains in Your Compressed Air System

Our friends at Compressed Air Best Practices have published an article we wrote for their magazine. The article focuses upon the simple and low-cost ways to improve the efficiency of your compressed air system. The results are measurable and the low investment comes with a fast ROI, as you will see in the article. Please give it a read here – Concentrating on Attainable Efficiency Gains.

Comments and questions are welcome.

Thank you,
Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com

Are You an Alligator…All Mouth and no Ears?

Having been given the assignment of twittering and blogging, I do a lot of research for topics on the internet. The best that I can describe the experience is noise, noise, noise! The discussions on current events are raucous, loud, and slanted with a political agenda. The results are unproductive noise.

Barker’s for their causes are talking past one another. I call them alligators, as they are all mouth and no ears. It is amazing how simple problems can become so unmanageable. The current most popular topic is JOBS. The government is asking companies to start hiring, companies are asking for less regulations so they can do their job. Is either side listening to the other or are they alligators?

California environmentalists are wanting to mandate electric vehicles. Have they considered how the electricity use to power them with is being generated?  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration 21.7% is generated by natural gas and 43.6% by coal, two industries that are being assaulted by these same  environmentalists. Is anybody listening or are we all alligators?

Then there is the circus going on in Washington D.C. No further discussion needed, it’s infested with alligators!

In all my years I have not experience such a feverish pitch of unrest. Maybe it was always present but muted by the lack of a venue to express themselves. The internet certainly has presented a platform for anyone with a message with instant distribution and without any vetting . As with any emerging technology, there are caveats.

I don’t have any solutions, just talking, but I am not an alligator so I will be listening for your comments.

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/exai

Another School Year Means Hard Work Ahead

This post may be a little late for some as most schools have already started back for the new year.  My wife’s school starts back on Monday and she is in a new classroom and teaching a new grade this year.  So this meant a good amount of work for me as she had a big idea of what she wanted her new room to look like.

Now when I was in school all the rooms looked the same except the posters on the walls changed.  We never had any rooms that were painted anything other than off-white (maybe it was just dirty white).  Now there are rooms that are painted like a jungle or an ocean to help immerse the students into the learning experience.  Luckily for me my wife is not artistic and she knows I hate painting so she went a little less extreme.

Her deciding factors on the room theme were driven by these bold bulletin boards at one end of the room.  She said all she could think about when she saw them was the circus.  So this year the students in her class will be immersed into the “Greatest Room On Earth” .  The biggest project she had, was to make the wall of windows appear as the entrance to the circus, this meant curtains.  My mother helped her make the curtains and a valance, (I didn’t know what this was until I put it up).  Then my dad and I had the lovely task of figuring out how to hang 30′ worth of curtains.  After a full day of work and only one run to the hardware store we got the final results.   So far some of the kids have seen it and it’s a huge hit.

The only part that didn’t get done was the tight rope.  Now I know what your thinking there’s no way they could pull that off.  The tight rope wasn’t going to be big enough to hold weight but it was going to have a toy on it that would go from one end of the room to the other and also to hold papers.  Maybe we can add that before the end of the year.

The ingenuity that I put into hanging 30 feet of curtains on a wall and ceiling that has no mounting area is the kind of ingenuity all of the Application Engineers here at EXAIR give to your applications every day.  All we need is your big picture and some information and we’ll give you our best idea to make it happen.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

On a Side Note

Last week I blogged about a new diet I want to start and my beginning the diet was hinged on determining my blood type.  I contacted the Red Cross in an effort to determine my blood type and do some good at the same time by donating blood.  Still no callback from the Red Cross, so it made me feel a little like this:

This isn’t to downplay the role of the Red Cross, and in all fairness it’s a good thing if their agents are too busy to return my call.  I hope to find an open blood bank and maybe I can have the process wrapped up by the time they free up and get back to me.

Nevertheless, there is a thin line between acceptable, good service and that which is unacceptable.  Everyone has experienced the runaround when calling customer support at one time or another and it doesn’t take much to get them to share their experiences.  On the other hand, an overwhelmingly positive and helpful experience isn’t shared as openly.  But, here at EXAIR we still receive those calls and emails thanking us all for our assistance and dedication to live, efficient, knowledgeable help.

On that note, I dealt with a woman earlier in the week at the ID Theft Help Center who gave me a tremendous amount of help regarding a stolen social security card.  I called the number, spoke to a real person immediately, and to make it even better, the person I spoke to was incredibly well versed in the process and bylaws in the state of Ohio.  Remembering the appreciation we feel when we get an email from a satisfied OEM or end-user we’ve assisted, I sent an email to her boss.

We strive to give this level of service to every one of our customers.  If you need assistance with your application feel free to give us a call.

Lee Evans
leeevans@exair.com
@exair_le

No Such Thing As A Free…Light Bulb?

Last year, my friendly neighborhood electric company called me up and offered me a free energy audit of my house. It happened to be the day after I got my electric bill, and it had been a long, hot summer, and the bill was proving out my concerns over how much the air conditioning had been running lately. So, I made an appointment.

The auditor gave me some good advice and pointed out a few simple fixes – frankly, some basic home maintenance that I was “planning to get around to eventually.” Then, he surprised me, by going out to his vehicle and bringing in a box full of stuff to make those fixes – a couple rolls of weather-stripping, a “water miser” shower head, and a whole bunch of CFL light bulbs. And it was all free.

But that wasn’t all – while he still had my full attention (free stuff has that effect on me), we sat down and went over a list of incentives they offer to folks who replace older, less efficient equipment with new, high efficiency models – refrigerators, water heaters, and HVAC units were all on that list, as you can probably imagine.

Now, on the surface, it seems like it would negatively affect a company’s bottom line to pay you for taking steps to purchase less of their product, right? Turns out, they’re being incredibly long-sighted. See, as the population increases, so does the number of energy users. Power plants can only generate a finite amount of electricity; when they reach capacity, the only solution is to build a new one. And that costs a LOT of money – more than they can make up for by rate increases (which would be inevitable anyway.) Rather than do that, they would greatly prefer to squeeze every kilowatt they can out of their existing plants, and service every household they can, as efficiently as they can. Power companies across the country are offering similar programs, and if you like free stuff too, I encourage you to seek them out if they haven’t already sought you out.

Of course, they’re not just focusing on residential customers. Increased energy usage efficiency in their industrial customer base is key to the plan as well. If you use a bunch of electric motors, there might be incentives to upgrade to higher efficiency units, and/or install Variable Frequency Drives (if applicable.) Do you have a large shop area? Odds are, it takes a lot of candlepower to light up all that space, and a lot of BTU’s going one way or the other to heat it in the winter and cool it in the summer. Lighting and HVAC are popular incentive programs as well.

EXAIR has worked with several utility companies to provide basic information regarding the savings associated with the use of engineered compressed air products, and I’m preparing another presentation in this regard right now. If you use compressed air, you probably have a good idea of the cost associated. If not, the US Department of Energy has published “Improving Compressed Air System Performance: A Sourcebook For Industry,” which I highly recommend. Additionally, your own friendly neighborhood electric company may offer some assistance, in conjunction with an incentive program. Here is a national database for energy incentives in the U.S. http://www.dsireusa.org.

Whether your concern is for your home or your business electric bill, again, I encourage you to look in to any incentive programs your utility provider may offer. And if compressed air is a factor in your equation, I welcome the opportunity to help you optimize your usage.

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

Have You Tried Vacuuming That Debris?

During the course of many discussions with customers, I try to turn it into a bit of a brain storming session. I find this helps get the customer (and me) thinking about all the possibilities for a solution (even if it doesn’t involve our product). Many times the customer is so close to the problem and so focused on it that they can only see one rational way to solve it. They come to us because they think we have a solution that is in line with what they were thinking and want to discuss it. Many times their ideas are right on the money. Other times not so much.

It is for those other times when customers are really grasping at straws to figure out their solution that I begin this brainstorming approach. One common application that we encounter, since we do make blow-off nozzles, is one for clearing or cleaning residue, liquid, chips or some other contaminant off of a work piece. The customer has their first ideas. But then, they mention some small but crucial fact that the debris being blown cannot land on other, adjacent work pieces. They also have concern that the air that is entrained by many  of our products may be saturated with some sort of un-desirable liquid or mist that they do not want re-deposited on the work piece as it may cause problems for some subsequent operation during the assembly of the product, or perhaps long term performance would be compromised.
So, what do you suggest when you have conditions like these with such restrictions?

Thinking about it for a moment, the idea comes………..Use a Line Vac to suck the contamination away and deposit it into some recycling container or other bin for disposal later. That’s it! Vacuuming away the debris doesn’t blow it all over adjacent work pieces, it keeps us from entraining any kind of bad stuff from the ambient environment that might be re-deposited and best of all, contain the debris into a container away from the work area.

Line Vac sucks debris directly from drilling operation.

We have seen this idea work time and again for processes such as bearing cleaning, spline cleaning or broaching where the contaminated work piece is either set into a fixture where vacuum is applied over and around the work piece, or the work piece is lowered into a special vacuum box powered by a Line Vac to clean things up. Normally, Line Vacs are sold for small conveying applications, but with a little stretch of the imagination, you can set them up for other applications that are more of an industrial housekeeping nature within the process. They take up a small envelope of space, are easily controlled with a solenoid valve, can be remote mounted and are quite reasonably quiet when operating.


Line Vac Sucks oil and debris from vacuum cleaning box.

At the risk of using a cliché, the point of the blog is that there is usually more than one way to skin a cat. If given the chance, we believe that you will find our compressed air products offer a very useful and sometimes even creative solution that you never would have thought of because you are too close to the problem.

We can usually boil just about any application down into its most fundamental requirement and determine reasonably well, which of our products will be best to serve as a solution.
Think on it. Sleep on it even. Then give us a chance to lend a helping hand.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

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