Cincinnati!

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I picked up a copy of Illustrated Cincinnati over the weekend, by chance, and have been enthralled with some of the contents.  For example, I’ve learned that the stone of our fountain that sits on Fountain Square came from Upper Franconia, a small administrative region in Bavaria, Germany.  And, that the bronze used to cast the statues of the fountain was sourced through the Danish government in the form of unused cannons.  How cool!

Within the book, nestled in between descriptions and history of our bridges and oldest neighborhoods, is a section on manufacturing and commerce.  To quote: “The great public buildings, the colleges, the schools, the libraries, the hospitals, the hotels, the bridges, the parks, and the theaters, imposing as they are by themselves, present but one aspect of the many-sided life of a great and busy city.  They are not the cradle of its birth, but the outgrowth of its prosperity…”  This prosperity, for Cincinnati as a city, came from manufacturing and commerce.  At the time of printing (1875), Cincinnati was the second largest manufacturing hub in the United States, second only to Philadelphia.

A little over 100 years after the book was published, EXAIR opened our doors.  And, while much had changed between 1875 and 1983, EXAIR hasn’t changed our commitment to solving problems in the 30 years since our founding.

For example, an end user contacted me this morning needing a solution for cleaning a lubricant tip on the end of a robot arm.  The robot arm would provide a preset amount of lubricant at a precise location, and then pull away, waiting for its next call in the program coding.  Currently, the process was to wipe the lubricant tip with a sponge.  This presented a problem with repeatability and contamination.

We examined the possibility of using an EXAIR Air Wipe, model 2400SS, to clean the tip, but there was insufficient length to allow the robot to plunge into the Air Wipe airstream.  We then explored the use of our 1126SS nozzles, and found a suitable solution.  However, seeing the potential to lower compressed air use through a Super Air Knife (either custom length, or stock length with a custom shim), we settled on a final solution to use two Super Air Knives, mounted at 45°angles, opposite of each other but relative to the same axis, to provide the needed drying.  Given the need for a custom shim or complete custom Super Air Knife, we thought it best to test the application with stock product and evaluate the results.

So, that is what the end user chose to do.  And EXAIR chooses to offer the best suited, most efficient solution for each and every one of our customers.  If you have an application problem in need of an EXAIR solution, we’re here to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

A Tale Of Two Engineering Projects

At our Boy Scout Troop meeting last night, we had adult volunteers in two rooms, putting their “day job” skills to use. Two of our troop parents are dental professionals, so they were working with the Scouts, as a group, to complete the requirements for their Dentistry Merit Badge. In the other room, a couple of other parents and I were making last-minute equipment preparations for the Troop’s annual Lenten Fish Fry.

Anyway, one of our projects this year is to fix or replace the fryer tank. Nobody knows how old it is or where it came from…one of our Assistant Scoutmasters has been around for almost 20 years, and it was here when he came. Now, it’s just a big metal box that sits on the stove and holds the oil that we fry the fish in, but with three engineers looking it over and coming up with ideas, it’s got the potential to be the most complex big metal box in the county. The current problem is only a ¼” crack near the top of a corner, but also on our “wish list” are items like:

*Handles: this tank is about 4 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 18 inches deep. It’s not heavy at all, but handles sure would make it easier to move around, wash, dry, etc.
*Drain: Currently, we use a small battery operated pump to empty about 10 gallons of oil out of it every Friday night. A strategically placed petcock valve will cut our clean up time to a fraction of what it currently is.
*Temperature control: these ideas ranged from a port for a permanently mounted thermometer to a thermocouple that we could tie in to a regulator in the gas line. We’re all scared of tapping into the gas line, so the thermometer is looking better and better. It’s always fun to see yourself on the news, but not when it’s because you were involved with a fire that burned a church building down.
*Material of construction: Stainless Steel is awesome, but we’re probably on more of an aluminum budget.

Last week, we had the pleasure of conducting an Efficiency Lab Test of a customer’s drilled pipe compressed air blowing device. It was doing the job, but it used a lot of air, it was loud, and it had been in place for as long as anyone could remember. As it turns out, our 12″ Aluminum Super Air Knife looks to be a viable solution to the items on their “wish list”: reduced air consumption, and lower noise levels…it’s going to cut both to a fraction of what they are currently. This is a significant improvement, because not only are they going to save $500-$1,000 per year on compressed air for each of two units, but the operators no longer have to wear hearing protection, since the maximum sound levels are going from 108 to 67 decibels…well below OSHA’s published 8-hour limit of 90 dBA.

These are two examples of what can happen when you get a couple of engineers involved in a project. If you’d like to find out how much you can save your wallet…and ears…by switching to EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products, give me a call. If you find yourself hungry and on the east side of Cincinnati on a Friday night in the coming weeks, I can also tell you where to get a great meal in support of a great organization.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
russbowman@EXAIR.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Combat Rising Energy Costs

It has been a long cold winter this year and I just got my utility bill in the mail. I almost fainted. Sad to say, I’m told that I should expect rising utility costs due to the increased cost of producing electricity.

Rising utility costs has a trickle down effect and no one is exempt. Manufacturers, retailers, farmers, food service, etc. all share the same duress. As the cost to do business increases, prices go up. It’s almost like I’m taking the hit twice.

A recent survey by the U.S. Department of Energy showed that for a typical industrial facility, approximately 10% of the electricity consumed is for generating compressed air. For some facilities, compressed air generation may account for 30% or more of the electricity consumed. Compressed air is an on-site generated utility. Very often, the cost of generation is not known; however, some companies use a value of 18-30 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of air.(ref. DOE)

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With that being said, EXAIR is your partner in compressed air energy savings. Our products are designed to use less compressed air for blow off, cooling, and non contact motion control. It is as simple as finding the leaks and making the repairs, controlling the air use, and upgrading to efficient engineered blow offs. Request your copy of our blow off guide [link]

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax (513) 671-3363
Web: www.exair.com
Twitter: EXAIR_JP

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Another Open Pipe Blow Off Thwarted by Application of EXAIR Super Air Nozzle

A customer came to me last week with what she thought was a fairly good application question. And it was to a point. Allow me to explain.

My customer is a reseller who understands the basics of compressed air. When you are talking about closed systems, valves, Cv and all that sort of stuff, she’s good at what she does. But there is another side to compressed air. That of precision blowing, about which other air professionals may not have a good handle in order to make good estimations about what is going on in an application.

The situation she had was with her customer who had an open hose with 0.439” ID blowing onto some acrylic sheets for cooling and separation purposes. My contact’s estimate for air usage was 210 SCFM @ 30 PSIG and that this hose was producing 13.7 lbs. of force. I could tell right away that her estimate for force was going to be way high. Not sure how that was estimated but that is part of what we have to sift through. Force wasn’t even really part of her stated problem of a cooling need within the application. And she needed a nozzle that could perform the cooling while using less air and being quieter in operation than an open pipe.

The first thing I did was to determine what the actual air consumption most likely was at 30 PSIG. The first thing I did was to determine what pipe size an internal ID of .439” corresponded to. Turns out a 3/8 Schedule 40 steel pipe nipple would be equivalent. And so, I made my estimation of flow using some available test data and determined that 125 SCFM would be the air consumed if the hose was truly at 30 PSIG, which I doubted. Anytime you have an open-ended hose or pipe like this, you have a tremendous pressure drop across the hose or pipe. You can read more about this subject at my previous blog, “Sometimes Back Pressure is Good, Sometimes It Is Bad”.

In a nutshell, our 3/8 NPT size Super Air Nozzle Model 1104 was put into use in the application and dropped the customer’s air consumption from an estimated 125 SCFM @ 30 PSIG, down to 17.6 SCFM @ 30 PSIG. This represents and 86% air savings. And what do you think happened to the force value that the customer was so concerned about? It actually went up. We asked them to measure the force anyway and it came in at 0.5 lbs. (a whole lot less than was estimated earlier). When they installed the Super Air Nozzle, it went up to 1.2 lbs. more than double the original value.

The upshot to all of this was that the customer not only reached her goals of air reduction with maintained force, but she was able to reduce the overall sound level in the application and the application is now OSHA compliant because she is using the EXAIR Super Air Nozzle model 1104.

Finally, this was only one of 10 production areas where this same kind of improvement could be made. In this case the customer was able to find a lot of extra compressed air capacity by simply installing EXAIR Super Air Nozzles. Not bad for a bolt on improvement!

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com

PEEK – A – Boo

Having an almost 4 year old and an 18 month old at home means I spend at least 15 minutes every evening playing some form of Peek-A-Boo.  Last night it was my oldest holding a blanket in front of her while her younger sister sat on the floor and watched.   Then she would drop the blanket on the ground and yell PEEKABOO!  I’m sure we all know this as the normal version of the game.   However, my oldest also easily confuses Peek-A-Boo with hide and seek as well as just flat out scaring people.  (Which is hilarious until it happens to you.)

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Here at EXAIR we use a different form of  PEEK.   In fact, we just released another Super Air Nozzle in PEEK plastic.   The model 1104-PEEK Super Air Nozzle.   This nozzle will tout the same performance as the Zinc/Aluminum and Stainless Steel models but will be better suited for certain applications.   Why might someone use a PEEK nozzle instead of a metal one?

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The brief list below is just a few of the advantages.

  • Non Marring
  • Chemical Resistance
  • Hydrolysis resistance
  • Weight Reduction
  • Temperature resistance
  • UV Stability
  • Non-conductive

So if you have an application where you need something a little different than metal, don’t forget we offer many of our Super Air Nozzles in PEEK plastic.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Troubleshooting 101: Super Air Knife

Yesterday, I was working with a customer on troubleshooting a Super Air Knife. He had brought the knife into EXAIR’s demo room so I was able to verify a few items very easily.  When trouble shooting air knives there are no moving parts, so it is very small list of items to check.

  1. Check the Air Supply

  2. Check the plumbing

  3. Check the inside of the Air Knife for debris

The customer had a 36″ Super Air Knife ,and he was seeing some weak spots in the air flow as well as a gradient in flow from one side of the knife to the other.  The first thing I did was to install a pipe tee with a pressure gauge in both ports on the bottom of the knife.  This would allow me to monitor the pressure we were supplying to the knife to calculate the air consumption and ensure the our piping was not starving the knife for air.

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Feeding the knife with equal pressure from both sides, is necessary for any air knife 24 inches or longer. The customer immediately noticed that the flow from the knife lost any sort of gradient, once it was fed in (2) locations. Still the air knife exhibited a spot in the flow where air velocity significantly decreased.  Since we were getting correct pressure and supplying enough air, we decided to remove the cap from the Super Air Knife.  Under the cap we found a variety of debris and one dreaded piece of PTFE plumbing tape. The plumbing tape was suppose to prevent air leaks throughout the compressed air system, but a piece had become lodged in the air gap of the Super Air Knife preventing air flow through a small portion of the Super Air Knife.  As you can see, once we followed a few simple steps to ensure proper installation of the Super Air Knife, it was quick and easy to narrow down what caused the lack of performance. This is yet another reason to make sure you have clean and dry compressed air, as well as use a point of use filter separator.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

EXAIR Products Continue To Deliver Solutions

SIAK Curtain For Car Body Blowoff

Years ago when I first joined the EXAIR team, I spent time going through the current and old catalogs, newsletters, press releases, and case studies to learn about the products.  One of the applications that stood out to me, probably because of my background in the automotive industry, was the use of our Super Ion Air Knives to remove static from a car body prior to painting.  In this application EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives solved a static related problem causing imperfections in the paint process.

A year or so later I was in a Ford factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, discussing the same application.  When they asked if we had ever solved a similar problem, I could say with certainty that we had.

Now, a few more years later, another auto manufacturer has contacted me, looking to solve the same problem.  So, it is again with certainty that I can confirm we have solved this problem.

Often, EXAIR products are used within a new application.  Whether it is the use of a Line Vac to pull material through the center of a metal detector (vacuuming the “found” items), or separating concrete and plastics through the airstream of a Super Air Knife at a recycling center, the new uses of our products are found daily.

And yet, there are tried and true solutions in which EXAIR products continue to deliver.  If you have a problem in need of a compressed air based solution, we’re here to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE