Efforts And Hard Work Coming To Fruition

This past weekend I got to check one of the many projects off my “Honey-Do” list from my wife.  I finally got the plants we had started from seeds several months ago into the ground in the backyard in a freshly made garden.  After running errands for most of the day on Saturday and Sunday, picking up supplies for other projects, I had some time to start outlining this garden.

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I thought it was going to be a small garden, maybe 4′ x 4′.   It turned out to be a 6′ x 12′ garden that could stand to be a little bigger.  I did have the help of a 10″ wide tiller that lost the muffler before the first stripe was done.   It was by no means an easy task but I finally got the entire area tilled and laid out the plants with the help of my father, my wife planted them.

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Now we have to ensure the weeds are kept, the plants are watered, and the animals are kept out.  With any luck, we will get to see the hard work turn into something the whole family can enjoy, mainly vegetables.

Here at EXAIR we are constantly working hard  to develop new products and processes to help you, our customer, save time, effort, money, and most importantly compressed air.  If we didn’t put in the hard work to get our messages out and make sure that every product performs how we say it will then we wouldn’t be here.   The company would dry up like a garden that is untended.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Line Vac Back Pressure

Line Vac Back Pressure

The photo above was received from an end user curious as to the back pressure limitations of a Line Vac.  They have numerous EXAIR Line Vacs in place and were curious how the air operated conveyor would fare when forced to supply product into a slightly pressurized vessel.  The application proposal and setup highlighted two great opportunities to educate our client about the product.

The first was that the Line Vac is designed to vent to ambient conditions – we never recommend installing a Line Vac against an opposing pressure.  In this case, back pressure was generated by adjusting a ball valve at the point where air vented to atmospheric conditions.  The second opportunity to educate about the Line Vac in this setup was in regards to the outlet line size.  The exhaust piping of a Line Vac should never be sized smaller than the Line Vac, and in this case the piping at the exhaust end of the Line Vac was undersized by 0.5”, creating a back pressure of its own.

Unfortunately, the pressure present in the area which to the Line Vac would be routed was too great for an EXAIR solution.  Fortunately, through a discussion with our Application Engineering department, the end user was steered toward a viable solution all while learning a little along the way.

Lee Evans

Application Engineer

LeeEvans@EXAIR.com

@EXAIR_LE

The Solution To Intermittent Compressed Air System Loads

I recently had the pleasure of assisting an EXAIR Cold Gun user with an application: the parts that the Cold Guns were supposed to be cooling weren’t always getting as cool as they wanted…they’re thermistors being assembled onto a component, and they need to be below a certain temperature when they test them, so they can make sure they’re set properly. Some were getting to the test station while they were at a temperature above their setpoint, which resulted in a rejection of that part. The user wanted to know what could make the Cold Gun work better at times, and worse at other times.

The Cold Gun Aircoolant System has a Vortex Tube with a preset Cold Fraction (that’s the percentage of air supply that is directed to the cold end), so, assuming a constant compressed air supply pressure and temperature, it’ll produce the same amount of cold air flow, at the same low temperature, continuously. The user told me that they used some pneumatic tools in the area, and that these were supplied off the same header as the Cold Guns. We supposed that, during the tools’ operation (which is largely intermittent, as are the Cold Guns’), that portion of the compressed air system may be experiencing a pressure drop, possibly large enough to affect the Cold Guns’ temperature drop.

This could have resulted in a complicated re-plumbing of the compressed air supply in this area, but they were in luck…they had an unused receiver tank, and were able to install it upstream of the feed to the Cold Guns. This resulted in an undisturbed supply of air at a constant 100psig, regardless of whether, or how many, pneumatic tools were being operated at the same time in this area.

This kind of intermittent pressure drop could just as easily affect an Air Knife used for blow off (causing it to not be able to remove moisture/debris in some spots but not others), a Line Vac’s conveyance rate, an E-Vac’s suction power…and the list goes on…not to mention the reduced performance of the pneumatic tools.

If this situation sounds familiar, give us a call. We can look at your supply and demand conditions, and see if a receiver tank might be the solution. Oh, and if you don’t have one, we do: our Model 9500-60 60 Gallon Receiver Tank is ASME rated, and is ideally sized for a wide range of intermittent demands. Let us know if we can help determine if this is a viable solution for your needs.

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

Vortex Tubes Keep Load Cells in Steel Mill Cool

ladle car

Our Australian distributor, Compressed Air Australia has a customer in the foundry business that produces large building components. Recently, they ran into a problem with their load cells overheating. Load cells are positioned underneath what is called the ladle car so that the contents of the ladle that rides on top can be weighed.

load cell

The contents of the ladle are obviously very hot and radiate heat in all directions. This can cause the compartments in the floor where the load cells are contained to become very hot as well. This caused errors in readings that were being produced by the load cells. It was determined that some form of cooling was going to be necessary. However, due to very tight configuration of the load cell compartments, choices were limited.

The customer had heard about vortex tubes, made an internet search and found EXAIR Vortex Tubes. With the guidance of our distributor, we were able to determine that a model HT3230 (High Temp. Vortex Tube) connected at each load cell compartment, purging the enclosed space, dropped the temperature from 200°C down to a much cooler 80°C that was requested by the customer.

The customer was able to address their over-heating problem adequately and the load cells are working properly.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

Remember Memorial Day

Memorial Day for a lot of people is the start of summer, a day of barbecues, and outdoor recreation. Traditionally, Memorial Day is a day we take the time to pay tribute to the men and women of the armed forces who lost their lives serving our country.

Memorial Day - ArlingtonCemetery

Most of us will not attend any of the memorial services over the weekend.  I just hope we do not get wrapped up in the gala of a four day holiday weekend and forget those who made the supreme sacrifice.

Many of our cities and towns will have some Memorial Day ceremony. Some of the activities EXAIR employees will participate in include walking in a parade, distributing flowers on veteran gravesites with their 4H club and enjoying family and friends. We encourage you to find out what your community (or one near by) is doing and participate. At the very least, take a minute to think about those who fought for your opportunity to choose whatever you will do over this weekend.

My hats off to all of our lost defenders – Thank You!

Joe Panfalone

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

Real Toys For Engineers!

Optima Exhibition 2

Earlier this week I was in a conversation with our Nicaraguan distributor, Optima Industrial.  We were discussing the results of a recent exhibition, products gaining traction, and the direction in which the market is headed.  During the recent exhibition in Nicaragua, one customer came to the Optima display booth exclaiming “Wow, you have real toys for engineers!”.  I’ve heard that before, and it’s always a pleasure to hear it again.

Fast forward two days to a phone call from an injection mold company, and the theme came up again.  The end user on the other end of the line had an application that needed to be cooled, and the choice was split between a Super Air Knife and a Super Air Amplifier.  In this particular case, the Air Amplifier would have moved a great deal of air, but the complexities of the surface area to be treated meant that a wider, laminar airflow pattern was more beneficial.  So, a series of Super Air Knives on the top and sides of the molded item were chosen.

But, as the conversation carried on, we got into the topic of the Cold Gun.

“How does it work?”

“The Cold Gun uses the same technology as a Vortex Tube.  A compressed air supply travels through the Cold Gun and separates into two distinct air flows.  One hot, and one cold.  We offer the Cold Gun as a turn-key solution for an application needing point-of-use cold air.”

“Amazing.  I’m sure we need one of those around here.  Add one of those to the PO too.”

It’s a great feeling when someone shares excitement for the same things you do.  Usually we share that with our end users.  This week, it was the end users sharing it with us.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Don’t Be Fooled by Fool’s Gold

Fool’s Gold, or pyrite, is a mineral with a superficial resemblance to gold.

Here at EXAIR, we are always trying to get better at helping our customers.  You can see that in our award winning products, and you can see it in our never-ending quest to improve our service levels.  We are always testing, measuring and verifying our performance, whether it’s our products or our service.  We always want to know how we are doing and that we are delivering what we promise to our customers. 

And, of course, we always want to know how we stack up against our competition.  We constantly benchmark ourselves against others.  In that spirit, we test a LOT of products from other companies and compare them both with our own products and against the specifications promised by the manufacturer.  One recent test was eye-opening, and should point out the perils of trusting in “Fool’s Gold”…

Well, it LOOKED pretty good coming out of the box.  It was shiny.  It had a decent finish, despite some questionable design choices.  It had the appearance of a tool with some utility.  The manufacturer had chosen to publish specifications for this product that were, not coincidentally, slightly better than our specs for that sort of product.  This isn’t surprising – other companies are always trying to match EXAIR, although most fail in that regard.  An unsuspecting buyer who chose to purchase this product based on those specifications would be terribly disappointed once they put this particular item into service, however.  You see, as often happens, this product of inferior design and substandard workmanship couldn’t deliver what its manufacturer had promised.  That is not to say that it delivered LESS than the manufacturer said it would.  No, it delivered much, much MORE than advertised

At an inlet pressure of 80 PSIG, this product consumed 49.6% more compressed air than its manufacturer claimed.  And the noise level?  It was 13.7 dBA louder than promised.  To put that in perspective, the increase in noise level would make the product seem more than twice as loud as one that performs as promised.

Over promising and under delivering are a common problem in many industries.  In this case, the broken promises are bad enough, but these unrealistic performance claims carry along with them very real costs.  This product consumed about 67 SCFM more than advertised.  That means it was wasting 67 cubic feet of compressed air every minute it was in operation.  This equates to over 160,000 cubic feet of compressed air wasted each week by just one unit running during an eight hour shift, five days per week.  That’s over 8 million cubic feet of compressed air wasted each year for every one of these units that are put into operation. 

To put that into monetary terms, an unsuspecting buyer of this sort of inferior product would be wasting nearly $2100 per year per unit in unexpected operational costs simply because the manufacturer could not deliver what they promised. 

Wasting $2100 per year in order to operate a tool that is supposed to save you money is an unwelcome and unwanted surprise.  Imagine that waste multiplied across a plant-wide installation.  Facility managers would be coming with pitchforks if they knew this was going on in their plants.

Don’t be fooled by Fool’s Gold that isn’t what it seems to be and doesn’t deliver what it claims.

Here are some tips from the History Channel to help identify Fool’s Gold.

Claims are easy, proof is hard.

Bryan Peters
President

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