Need More Capacity? Start By Finding it in House or Renting

I field a decent number of calls from companies that are trying to expand to new lines or venture into an area of production that they have not crossed into before.  Maybe it is bringing a process in-house that they traditionally outsourced, or altering a process that now requires a large scale blow off operation. In many cases, as these companies grow and succeed, their compressed air systems grow with them. Some of them need to find out find out how much air they will need if when they make decisions to bring processes in house or expand a current process.

One of the first options when needing more capacity from your current compressed air system is to take a look at the existing demand side and determine if we can free up enough supply to meet the requirements of this new option.   Let’s say for instance a new 60″ Super Air Knife is needed.   To test that unit at 80 psig inlet pressure we would need to free up 174 SCFM of compressed air. In all the years we have been around it is still surprising to consult with customers who are using large numbers of open blow-offs, homemade air knives, coolant hoses and nozzles for compressed air etc. These companies can find that extra capacity in their current systems by retrofitting engineered solutions on to the aforementioned poor solutions for keeping compressed air efficient. IF you are using some of those solutions, call EXAIR today to find out how much air our products may save you.

In the event that is not possible to find the necessary new volume of compressed air by streamlining your current system, it means looking at adding compressor capacity.  Some companies think they have to go out to buy a new compressor immediately, simply to test this new process.   That is more often than not, false.   The best recommendation I have is to look into renting a compressor, much like the one shown below.

A Rental Tow Behind Air Compressor

A Rental Tow Behind Air Compressor

The compressor distribution piping.

The compressor distribution piping.

I saw this unit while I was jogging, well attempting to jog, on my lunch break.  This was outside a local company that apparently, going through a very similar scenario like I mentioned above.  When I looked a little closer, I noticed the unit included around a 75-100′ of hose that did not use the dreaded quick disconnect fittings everyone sees.  Instead it utilized what I know as a Chicago style air fitting which does not restrict the air flow nearly as much as a quick disconnect and permits you to utilize the largest volume of compressed air from the compressor – remember folks: properly sized compressed air lines and fittings are extremely important when needing to keep volume and pressure of compressed air at high levels.

A Chicago Style Air Fitting

A Chicago Style Air Fitting

 

Once I looked up the statistics on the compressor I found that it will generate up to 375 CFM at 150 psig.  This is more than enough to test or run a 60″ Super Air Knife and validate whether additional compressors are needed, as well as if the Super Air Knife will perform to meet your needs.   Then, when you are done with the test, you can simply return the air compressor. Based on the results of this test, this could be another point to decide if you could save the needed air from your current system or if you would require a new compressor.

The EXAIR Guarantee

The EXAIR Guarantee

The moral that I am trying to instill in this blog is simple.  If you have a need for more compressed air to validate a new or improved process, don’t hesitate to think outside of your existing system. Where there is a will and a need, there is a way.  If it doesn’t work, take advantage of our 30 day unconditional trial.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

EXAIR Vortex Tubes Reduce Cooling Cycle Time

In a recent phone call with an end user of EXAIR products, we discussed an automotive application within a robotic welding cell.  In this application a series of Fanuc robot arms orient front and rear doors for welding.  After the welds are complete the pre-EXAIR cooling cycle time was more than desired, so Vortex Tube options were explored.

The target cycle time for cooling each weld was 1.5 seconds.  In order to do so, the application needed to be able to quickly produce cold air flow, and required the solution to be lightweight (as to not place excessive torque strain on the robot) and portable within the work cell.

What we found was that the large EXAIR Vortex Tubes would have enough cooling capacity to remove the heat from the welds in the proposed time, but testing needed to be done to confirm.  So, medium sized Vortex Tubes were chosen to prove the concept of vortex-based cooling.

Robot VT 2

Test model installed on the robot

To test the concept, a medium sized Vortex Tube was installed into the application.

Robot VT

EXAIR Model 3299 Vortex Tubes installed in robot welding cell

After positive results from the testing, (3) model 3299 EXAIR Vortex Tubes were installed into the application.  With the installation of these Vortex Tubes the cycle time was brought within spec and the operations increased throughput.

If you have an application in need of instantaneous cold air, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to discuss our Vortex Tubes.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Bad News, Good News, Better News

Recently, I had the pleasure of solving an application for a steel pipe manufacturer. To clean the inside diameters of their freshly-washed pipes, they were using open end blow offs: the ever-popular and easy-to-make, but loud and inefficient crushed-end tubing. I got excited, because this was my first chance to discuss our brand-new Back Blow Nozzle, which is aimed (pun intended) at cleaning inside diameter surfaces. That’s where my story develops a “bad news/good news/better news” pattern…

The bad news: The pipes that need cleaning are up to 20” in diameter…a little too large for our Model 1006SS ¼” NPT Back Blow Nozzle to be completely effective.

EXAIR's brand-new Model 1006 Back Blow Nozzle.

EXAIR’s brand-new Model 1006SS Back Blow Nozzle.

The good news: The user already had a system set up, using the aforementioned “homemade” blow offs, which looked something like this:

Easy to make, hard on your ears...and your air compressor load.

Easy to make, hard on your ears…and your air compressor load.

The better news: They were able to easily adapt their system to install our Model 1120 High Force Super Air Nozzles, which lowered their compressed air consumption as well as the noise level of the operation.

That's the Model 1120 on the far right.

That’s the Model 1120 on the far right.

The moral to this story is, the solution may not be the first one that comes to mind. At EXAIR, that happens all the time. Line Vac questions turn into Air Amplifier answers, and vice versa. Cold Gun calls turn to discussions of Adjustable Spot Coolers. We’ve got three styles of Air Knives to choose from…they’re all perfectly suitable for a wide range of general industrial applications, but they each have their own particular advantages in certain situations. If you have a compressed air product application that you’d like to discuss, EXAIR is your best bet for the most efficient, quietest, quickest solution. It’s like I always say:

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

The Heat Is On…On The Way

The last few weeks of February here in Cincinnati were pretty rough with temperatures in the 20’s, even single digits, with sub-zero wind chills. Even as recent as last week, mother nature decided to show her angry side as we had one last snow blast to close out the winter season. It looks like we will be having a few days with lows in the 20’s this week then, hopefully, we should be well on our way toward spring. With spring right around the corner and temperatures expected to hover around the 50’s and 60’s later next week, I can say that this would be a welcomed trend!

Sunny sky

Is that the sun?

While the temperature rise may seem good for personal reasons, it can wreak havoc on sensitive electrical components in a control panel. A common, ill-advised “simple-fix” is to open the panel door(s) and use a fan to blow air into the enclosure. While this may seem like a good idea at the time, it could actually be causing long term damage. as you are now introducing contaminants to the area which may be contributing to the problem, rather than providing a solution. Luckily, EXAIR has you covered with our Cabinet Cooler Systems.

The compressed air operated Cabinet Cooler System incorporates a Vortex Tube to create two airstreams – one hot and one cold. As the cold, clean air is exhausted into the enclosure at a slight positive pressure, the hot, dirty air rises and exits through the cabinet exhaust. The hot air created by the unit is exhausted through the Vortex Tube. The systems are available in NEMA 12, NEMA 4 and NEMA 4X class rating, thermostat controlled or continuous operation up to 5,600 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity.

CC how it works

How the Cabinet Cooler Works

If you are unsure of you current heat load, we’ve got that covered too with our Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide. This provides us all of the pertinent information to perform our calculations and recommend a system. Of course, you can always call an application engineer and we will walk you right through it.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Sunny image courtesy of wanko, Creative Commons License

What Exactly Does “Easy To Do Business With” Mean?

That’s the goal – we want it to be easy for you to do business with EXAIR. I understand this is not exactly a quantitative expression, and everyone here likes to have data to back up our claims.  Well, here are just a few ways that I have found to verify we are easy to deal with.

Whenever you call in, the phone is answered by a live person.  This of course is true for Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM EST – what most of us consider “normal business hours”. The team that answers the phone is also our Order Entry team who can help with pricing, some general product questions, lead times, freight quotes, etc. And, if you need additional technical information or an expert to assist you with implementing a solution for your problem, they are the team who will pass your calls on to my team, the Application Engineers.

We have a full staff of Application Engineers who are here to assist with selecting the right product to fit your needs and troubleshooting existing compressed air setups. Our Application engineers are experts at determining how much compressed air can be saved compared to an existing setup and how that translates into your dollar savings. They understand how important it is to you to keep your processes OSHA compliant and personnel safe. Our Application Engineers also walk you through any returns which may occur with our 30 day trail period, which brings us to the next topic.

We honor a 30 day guarantee on stock products.  This permits you to get the product in to your facility and put it through the paces and if it doesn’t perform to your standards, give us a call.  We will take the item back and issue you a full credit for the purchase price of the product. I should probably state at this point that – Yes, we do deal with applications we have not dealt with before. In these situations we remain confident in our recommended solution (or we would not have made it) but will remain close to you as the installation and implementation occur just so we can help troubleshoot if necessary. If it ends up not working – see the first 3 sentences.

On top of all those, we stand behind our product with a 5 year built to last warranty for compressed air products, and a 1 year warranty on electronic components.   This just goes to show how strongly we believe in our workmanship and our products.

30 Day Guarantee

30 Day Guarantee

In case you have never called or sent in an inquiry from one of the numerous ways we offer to contact us,  please do.  I can assure you that you will receive a timely response from a live person that will give you the best answer possible.   If we don’t have the answer, we’ll tell you and many times we will offer a good place to find a solution.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

One Air Nozzle Saves $960 per Year – How Many Nozzles Could You Use?

A cardboard manufacturing facility was using a 3/8” outside diameter (OD) open tube to blow scrap cardboard off a conveyor. This scrap cardboard would occasionally be blown inside the roller area at the end of a conveyor creating a maintenance nightmare that required hours to disassemble and remove. To prevent this from occurring they installed another 3/8″ OD open compressed air tube to divert any cardboard headed toward the conveyor roller. The 3/8″ open tubing eliminated the scrap problem, but introduced a few new ones. The open hose is extremely noisy over (100 dBA). It does not comply with OSHA standard CFR 1910.242(b), which requires that a compressed air blow off device may not be dead ended at more than 30 PSIG. The most costly problem though is a 3/8″ open tubing uses a tremendous amount of compressed air.

They were using so much air in the facility that they were draining the system pressure in their facility. Obviously, they were going to replace the open tube with EXAIR 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle. Replacing this open blow off with an intelligent compressed air product, like the HP1125 High Powered Flat Super Air Nozzle or the 1104 Super Air Nozzle, would lower the noise level below 83 dBA. Also, those nozzles use significantly less air. They decided to use the model HP1125 for its thin profile to fit into the tight location. The only question was how much air and energy cost would they save. They could have easily installed a Digital Flow Meter on the supply pipe of the open tube to measure the change in flow once the EXAIR nozzle had been installed, but they wanted to try and estimate the air usage.

Using EXAIR’s test data, we know a 3/8″ OD open tube that is 18″ long will flow 68.5 SCFM at 80 PSIG. An HP1125 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle utilizes 37 SCFM when fed with 80 PSIG inlet pressure. By removing one 3/8″ OD tube the cardboard manufacturer saved 31.5 SCFM of compressed air. With an electrical cost of $0.08 per kWh, compressed air costs $0.25 per 1000 SCF. Saving 31.5 SCFM reduces the manufacturers electrical bill by $0.48 every hour, $3.48 for every 8 hour shift, and $960 per year (250 working days, eight hours a day). If the manufacturer runs two shifts, the savings will double. The simple return on investment for this nozzle is 130 hours! How many projects can you measure a return on investment in hours?

2 Inch Flat

EXAIR’s 2 Inch High Power Flat Super Air Nozzle, HP1125

Take advantage of our free service – the EXAIR Efficiency Lab. Our Application Engineers will test any nozzle or device you choose to send in to the Lab using our calibrated testing equipment. We’ll compare the performance of your existing product (air consumption, noise, force, etc.) with an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air product. The results will be published in a comprehensive report, including a cost savings analysis with simple ROI. For most applications, EXAIR products can help you improve compressed air efficiency AND pay for themselves in a matter of weeks!

EXAIR intelligent compressed air products are easy to install, safe, and efficient. By installing these products instead of using unsafe open blow offs, your company can save thousands of dollar every year with minimal investment. While saving electrical expenses, we decrease the noise level which makes your production force a nicer place to work. We also comply with OSHA’s standards. Finally, we may be able to design the blow off better to consistently produce the quality product you expect. Call EXAIR today to discuss your application.

Dave Woerner
Design Engineer at EXAIR Corporation
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

Let’s Cool Things Down With Heat Transfer Equations

When it comes to cooling products, we get many questions on what would be the best method. Generally with larger parts with heavy mass and large surface areas, we would recommend the Super Air Amplifiers, Super Air Knives or Super Air Nozzles. We have to look at many factors to determine the correct method, but if look at the mass of the part, the ambient conditions, the speed of the conveyor, and the change in temperature, we can get a good start in setting up an application.

In determining a good estimate, we use a couple of heat equations to help. As with any customer, you want to make sure you have as much information to get a good platform to start. We use two equations to begin. The first equation is used for the product that needs to be cooled.

Equation 1

q = m * Cp * (T2 – T1)

Where:
q – heat (BTU) or (Kcal)
m – Mass (Lb) or (Kg)
Cp – specific heat (BTU/Lbm oF) or (Kcal/Kg oC)
ΔT – Temperature (oF) or (oC)

Once we have the amount of heat that we need to remove, then we can look at the product to cool it. With Super Air Amplifiers, we use an equation that is used in fan cooling. This is the second equation.

Equation 2

h = 1.08Qs(T2 – T1)       OR                h = 0.33Qs(T2 – T1)

Where:
h – heat rate (BTU/hr)                                   h – heat rate (Watts)
Qs – Flow (SCFM)                  OR                   Qs – Flow (NM^3/hr)
ΔT – Temperature (oF)                                  ΔT – Temperature (oC)

 

As an example, we have an aluminum part that came out of a baking oven at 400 oF (204 oC), and we want to cool the part down to 100 oF (38 oC) for handling.  If we give the part a mass of 20 lbs. (9.1 Kg), we can determine how long we would need to cool the part. The specific heat, Cp, of aluminum is 0.22 BTU/Lbm oF or Kcal/Kg oC. Applying this to Equation 1, we get the following:

q = 20 lbs * (0.22 BTU/lb/oF) *(400 oF – 100 oF)

q = 1,320 BTU

Or

q = 9.1 Kg * (0.22 Kcal/Kg/ oC) * (204 oC – 38 oC)

q = 332 Kcal

This tells us how much heat we would need to remove in order to handle. To keep going along with this example, we will use the 120021 Super Air Amplifier. With the large amplification level, it has a flow of 436 SCFM (740 NM^3/hr) at 6” away. To produce that volume, it only uses 8.1 scfm of compressed air at 80 psig. There are a couple of things that we should consider with our estimation. Ideally, we will want to be at a distance where the velocity will be between 1,700 to 2,500 fpm (8.6 to 12.7 mps). This gives us the best velocity for the maximum cooling rate. Depending on certain situations, you may have to add a little more time for cooling if the velocity is too high or too low. With the 120021 Super Air Amplifier, a distance of 18” from your target will give you a velocity close to 1,850 fpm (9.4 mps). The other consideration is the rate of heat loss. The bigger the temperature difference, the faster it will cool. As you get near the target temperature, the rate change becomes smaller. With that, I usually take the average temperature as an estimate. Using our example above, it would be (400 + 100)/2 = 250 oF, or (204 + 38)/2 = 121 oC. The other estimation will be the temperature of the ambient air. It will be cooler as it first hits the target and then heat up. If we add roughly 7 oF (4 oC) to the ambient air temperature because of the velocity, then the ambient temperature would become 68 + 7 = 75 oF (20 + 4 = 24 oC). With Equation 2, we will get the following:

h = 1.08 * 436 SCFM *(250 oF – 75 oF)

h = 80,404 BTU/hr

Or

h = 0.33 * 740 NM^3/hr * (121 oC – 24 oC)

h = 23,687 Watts or 20,372 Kcal/hr

With Equation 1 and Equation 2, we can estimate the amount of time needed to cool the part. In having to remove 1,320 BTU at a rate of 80,404 BTU/hr, the equation will give us 1,320 BTU/ (80,404 BTU/hr) = 0.016 hr or 1 minute.  In metric units, 332 Kcal/(20,372 Kcal/hr) = 0.016 hr or 1 minute. This means that we will have to keep the target in the air stream for about 1 minute. Depending on the geometry of the part, the angle of the amplifier, and the speed of the conveyor, we may need multiple Super Air Amplifiers. As I mentioned before, these are estimations, but it will help in getting an idea for your project. You can always contact the Application Engineers at EXAIR for any help.

Cooling with Air Amplifiers

Cooling with Air Amplifiers. The Super Air Amplifiers are mounted across the top of this connecting rod/piston assembly. 

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb
%d bloggers like this: