The Patrol Method Still Works

Something doesn’t feel quite right about this past weekend. A few hundred Boy Scouts gathered along the bank of the East Fork of the Little Miami River from Friday to Sunday for our District’s Spring Camp-O-Ree…and it didn’t rain once. It totally went the wisdom of great American author, philosopher, and truth-teller Dave Barry:

Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds, for the opportunity to rain on a tent.

The beautiful weather, though, was just the icing on the cake of a glorious weekend. We set up a series of team-building/problem-solving exercises for the Scouts to perform. One of these was known as “The Hot Chocolate River” which consists of:

(2) lengths of rope, staked to the ground about 15 feet apart…these are the “banks” of the river.
(5) 2-foot wooden squares…these are the “marshmallows” that the team uses to cross the river.

Here’s the deal: each 8-Scout Patrol attempts to reach the opposite bank by placing the marshmallows in the river. At least one Scout has to be in physical contact with each marshmallow in the river, or the unattended marshmallow is removed from play, and they’re left to cross the river with just four marshmallows. Or three, when they find another way to leave one unattended. And some of them did, with alarming quickness. One Patrol (the one my youngest son belongs to) successfully crossed the river in 1:14 (min:sec). The next fastest was 1:44. Another Patrol lost three marshmallows almost immediately, but were able to get all eight members across in under seven minutes, using only two marshmallows. A couple of Patrols “timed out,” being left with only one or two marshmallows after ten minutes, with members still on the starting bank.

One thing I noticed…from the quickest (did I mention that was my son’s Patrol?) to the slowest, was that their success (or lack thereof) was tied to their teamwork and communication (or lack thereof.) These are key components of “The Patrol Method,” which I wrote about once. Well, twice.

That was a couple of years ago, and the Application Engineering team at EXAIR STILL practices The Patrol Method. It’s indispensable, whether we’re looking for a solution to a challenging application, training a new member of the team, or just getting everyone one the same page…no sense in just one of us learning something if we can ALL learn, right?

How are teamwork and communication contributing to your team’s success?  Something to think about.

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

Can I Use a Vortex Tube for Heating?


I had a customer come to me the other day. He had an application that required him to heat some metal bearings up to 230°F. He wanted to know if he could use a vortex tube to heat them to the desired temperature. Technically speaking, if he had a compressed air source that started at 70°F, he could conceivably heat the bearings up to about 260°F as that is about the maximum temperature of the vortex tube hot air output.

But the question really is, should he be using a vortex tube to heat those bearings? And generally, the only time vortex heating should seriously be considered is if there isn’t any utility to heat any other way, such as with electricity or with fuel of some sort. There are times when those other utilities are simply not available, but compressed air is. Or perhaps there is some reason why the customer does not want to use those other methods such as dealing with noxious fumes produced from burning a fuel.

You might ask, why not sell a vortex tube into just about any application that requires heating. The simple answer is that it truly has to be the right application to make sense from an application goals standpoint and also from the standpoint of whether it is the most effective method of heating a target object.

EXAIR Vortex Tubes, in and of themselves, are a wonderful product. They produce a hot and a cold air flow. The cold air flow volume will be the  majority of those two flows in most cases. So you could say you get more from a vortex tube in terms of energy output when it is used as a cooling device than as one for heating.

What does this explanation mean? In short, vortex tube applications for heating are usually few and far between. At least those which make any sense. A couple of those applications include heating up 5 gallon buckets of grease, paint and other chemicals on an oil rig platform located in cold regions. Another one is to use the hot flow of a vortex tube to keep a mirror in a laser application warm enough that it does not form condensation during use of the laser in a cold environment.

Do you have an application where you think a Vortex Tube might help?  Please e-mail or call one of our Application Engineers to discuss your idea. We would love to hear about your application.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer

It’s Always Nice To Find “Good People”

lost-wallet (1)This past Friday I got home from work and went to drive somewhere when I realized I couldn’t find my wallet.  This of course induced panic since, like most people, I carry my life in my wallet.   So the search began, as well as the trouble caused by short term memory loss.  After searching through both cars, the motorcycle, all the dirty laundry, and the house, it was not found.   Not only could I not find the wallet but I had no recollection of when the last time I used something from my wallet was.

Saturday was a new day and I went through everything again with no wallet.  Contacted a few of the EXAIR team members and luckily one was in the area of the office so we stopped in to see if it was here.  After he had to wait for me to get here for at least 20 minutes due to some lovely mid-Saturday traffic, we came in and still couldn’t find the wallet.  So I just started watching all of the accounts for my various credit cards, waiting to see the balances change.  There was nothing, zero transactions, so I decided to wait until today when the entire crew is here to see if someone had found it.  The first stop I made after searching my desk again was our Human Resource person, who oddly enough had a grin on his face.   It turns out the cleaning crew had come in on Friday night and found it, so they left a note on the wallet and put it in a locked office so it wouldn’t be bothered.

The entire time my wallet was lost I had little hope that if someone found it, they would do the right thing and return it.  I did have the slight hope it would show up in the mail but was still extremely doubtful.  It all boils down to the fact that everyone I reached out to here at EXAIR was more than willing to help me try to find the wallet and were willing to sacrifice time with their families just to help out a fellow team member.  Those are the only type of people that work with our way of doing things here at EXAIR.  I would consider them all to be “Good People”.

We aren’t just going to treat each other like that, we even treat all of our customers like that.  We’re not going to try and steer you to the most expensive solution just to get more money into our pockets, we’re going to try to find the best solution for your given problem and if we can’t help you solve it, well, we will tell you that too!

So if you need help with finding the correct EXAIR product to fit your application, give us a call.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer


Award Winning HEPA Vac

Continuing my series of EXAIR award winning products for 2014.  Plant Engineering’s readers voted the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac a silver award for Environmental Health. The HD HEPA Vac differs greatly from most of the EXAIR products.  We often improve a work environment by reducing noise level from compressed air blow offs or limiting the energy usage of a facility by conserving compressed air, but when EXAIR introduced the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac, we entered a new area of environmental health.


High Efficiency Particulate Air standards are set by the US Department of Energy. Originally, the standards were created to protect workers, the public and the environment from particulate that may be found in DOE’s nuclear facilities. (For more information on HEPA filtration consult DOE-STD-3020-2005.) The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac filter meets the HEPA standards to filter a minimum 99.97% at 0.3 micron level.  Each filter is tested in strict accordance with IEST-RP-CC-007. After testing the filtration, vacuum and ventilation companies discovered the added benefit of using HEPA filtration is to remove particulate that may inflame allergies or asthmatic symptoms. Pollen, pet dander, and dust are physically too large to pass through the HEPA filter. For instance, most pet dander is 5 microns and will become trapped inside the circuitous air passage route inside the HEPA filter. Also, HEPA filters will even filter airborne pathogens.  Engineering Toolbox list several nominal particle sizes to give you the idea of scope. By meeting these strict standards, EXAIR’s Heavy Duty HEPA Vac can be used in a whole new industry where HEPA filtration is required.

Tries to imitate the late Billy Mays

But wait there’s more!

We haven’t even talked about the HEAVY DUTY DRY VAC component of the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac.  The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac features the same hardened alloy construction of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac.  This alloy holds up to abrasive materials such as garnet, crushed glass, sand or hard materials like stainless steel chips, pipe plugs, or brass piping caps.  We tested the conveying power of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac, it moved 32 pounds per minute of steel shot blasting media, 146% percent more than a standard Chip Vac.  With all this vacuuming power, it still maintains a surprisingly quiet 82 dBA of sound level.

The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac would be the perfect item to clean out that clogged filtration system, or to clean up that spilled kitty litter that will clog up a standard electrical vacuum. It will not blow tiny particulate all over your shop and it can help protect your personnel from airborne particulate.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer

Line Vac Solution For Fiberglass Application


Recently, I worked through a project with an end user in the UAE in need of a more viable material transfer system. As a manufacturer of fiberglass liners, they developed a need to convey a mixture with properties similar to cement approximately 10’ vertically. At the end of this conveying distance is a hopper, situated atop a machine used to mix the compound needed for production.

Presently the material is transferred from a small storage silo to the hopper by hand, but such a setup has proven to be insufficient and time consuming. After working with the end user to determine the bulk density of the material and the required conveyance rate, it became apparent that a single Line Vac would not have sufficient transfer capabilities to keep up with the demand. However, if two Line Vacs could be run in parallel, our solution became much more feasible.

By installing two 150200 Line Vacs to move the material, the end user is expecting to meet the needs of production, and to transfer the material into the hopper at a more productive and efficient rate. In this application the need is for non-continuous material transfer at a high rate, so the parallel Heavy Duty Line Vacs provided a perfect solution.

EXAIR products and staff are in place to provide solutions. If you have an application problem, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

OSHA Compliance? We Got That.

OSHA Standard # 1910.242(b)

Compressed air used for cleaning. Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes except where reduced to less than 30 p.s.i. and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment.

We get calls on a regular basis from folks, looking for products that will provide an effective flow of air for cleaning, blow off, drying, etc., but with the supply pressure turned down to less than 30psig, like OSHA requires. When you limit yourself to that low of a supply pressure, though, you’re simply not going to get the volume flow rate or air flow velocity to be successful.

You don’t have to limit yourself to that pressure at all, however…they’ve also published documentation that further explains that this limit applies to the “nozzle pressure,” or, the static pressure that would exist due to the dynamic flow, if dead-ending were to occur.  That means that if the nozzle’s outlet(s) were completely obstructed (dead-ended), the static pressure, if it were greater than 30psig, would be great enough to break the skin and cause a grave and potentially life-threatening condition, known as an air embolism. Of course, if the nozzle’s outlet(s) can’t be completely obstructed, then the static pressure realized at whatever portion IS obstructed will be much lower, and therefore, safe & compliant.

Untitled This is where EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles “earn their stripes” – by design, they cannot be dead-ended. It’s not the ONLY design that can’t be dead-ended, but it IS the most efficient …we’ve tested a good many of the others in our Efficiency Lab, and have proved this time after time.

Speaking of OSHA compliance, most of our Super Air Nozzles also meets OSHA’s standard 1910.95(a) for Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure. Only our largest ones (3/4” NPT and up) exceed the 90 dBA limit for 8 hour continuous exposure, so hearing protection is necessary, but they’re still considerably quieter than the same sized open-end pipe blow off. OSHA Noise Level Back to that last part of 1910.242(b); the part about effective chip guarding: EXAIR’s Precision, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns are all available with clear polycarbonate Chip Shields. They’re all in stock, available for same-day shipment; same as any other EXAIR catalog product. 1210-6cs If you’d like to know more about how EXAIR products can help you achieve OSHA compliance in regard to your use of compressed air, give us a call. We’re eager to help!


Russ Bowman
Application Engineer

If Only I Had A Line Vac When I Was A Kid

I read an article earlier this week talking about the types of toys you played with as a child and what your career lead to.  Then I got to thinking, what if I had some EXAIR products and an air compressor when I was a kid?  What kind of madness could ensue?

The first item that came to mind for me was using a Line Vac.  This would not only be used to propel Hot Wheels a record breaking speeds into the loop of death or see how many full size cars the scaled car can jump.   Also what happens to a full size car when you launch a small die cast car into it?   Needless to say that is not all the ideas I have had for taking the orange track to the next level.

In case cars weren’t your thing, a Line Vac would be great to launch a parachute assault using your favorite G.I. Joe with a parachute, not to mention go quite higher than I could ever through it.  It could also help launch zip lines or remove excavated dirt out of bunkers.

When I was a child, I didn’t know what compressed air or an air compressor was other than that my dad used one to inflate bike tires.   Now, I work around compressed air every single day and I make sure to introduce my girls to it whenever possible,  especially how to use compressed air safe.

The point is, a lot of the toys I played with as a child kept me thinking about mechanical ways to do things and thus I ended up with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology.  Hopefully by introducing kids today to our products and the many uses they will help perpetuate the design cycles of Intelligent Compressed Air Products.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer