We have customers that call because they feel the pressure of trying to save money by saving compressed air. One such customer that contacted us for this exact reason, had an operation that was working fine, but management had to reduce cost by saving compressed air. The operation included a robotic “pick and place” machine to move sheets of corrugate from a stack to a converter machine. When they first started their operation, they had issues with the corrugate “sticking” together. The speed of pulling the corrugate from the stack would create a vacuum strong enough to pull the sheet behind it. This would cause the operation to stop. To fix this issue, the maintenance manager placed a ¼” (6 mm) poly tube at each corner of the stack to help separation. This would break the seal between the two sheets, allowing only one to be picked. The problem was solved. Or was it?
Sometimes when you place a band aid on a situation, you can cause problems in other areas. The other area in this case was on the side of money to make the compressed air. More companies are trying to save money by being more efficient with their compressed air usage. The quickest and easiest way is by retrofitting open tubes and pipes with EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles. With this application, the customer used the model 1122 Flat Super Air Nozzle. It is specifically designed to create a wide flat air stream. The tube would create a round pattern hitting a larger area than the target area. Being that the target area is just between two flat cardboard pieces, the Flat Super Air Nozzle can localized the compressed air to make it more effective. Because it was more efficient and effective, we were able to reduce the number of compressed air blowing points from four to two.
After the suggestion of the model 1122 Flat Super Air Nozzles, the maintenance manager, of course, asked “How much will it cost me”? This is an interesting question. Compared to the initial cost against a poly tube, we are higher. But, over time, the poly tube will cost him much much more. Here is an estimation:
Model 1122 Model 1122
Imperial units Metric units
Qty: 2 pcs. per machine Qty: 2 pcs. per machine
Flow: 21.8 SCFM per nozzle @ 80 psig Flow: 622 SLPM per nozzle @ 5.5 bar
Total per machine: 2 * 21.8 = 43.6 SCFM Total per machine: 2* 622 = 1,244 SLPM
¼” Poly tube 6mm Poly tube
Imperial units Metric units
Qty: 4 pcs. per machine Qty: 4 pcs. per machine
Flow: 33 SCFM per tube @ 80 psig Flow: 934 SLPM per tube @ 5.5 bar
Total per machine: 4 * 33 = 132 SCFM Total per machine: 4 * 934 = 3,736 SLPM
For each machine, the model 1122 Super Flat Air Nozzle will save the company, 132 – 43.6 = 88.4 SCFM (3,736 – 1,244 = 2,492 SLPM) of compressed air.
Perhaps you can see the savings in compressed air. But, people understand money better than SCFM or SLPM. So, let’s look at the amount of money that they will save over a year. The cost to produce compressed air is roughly $0.25/1000 cubic foot of air (This is an estimation on the average price per KWh of electricity in the U.S., $0.10/KWh). For an 8 hour operation, the yearly amount of time in minutes is 60 minutes * 8 hours * 250 days = 120,000 minutes/year. With a quick calculation, we get a savings of 88.4 SCFM * 120,000 minutes * $0.25/1000 SCF = $2,652/year per machine.
If we look at the ROI for this, the model 1122 has a price of $62.00 ea. Each machine would require 2 pcs. * $62.00 = $124.00. The ROI will be about 12 days. So, when the maintenance manager asks me “How much will it cost me?”, I believe he meant to say, “How much will it save me?”. If you ever need to save on compressed air and money, you can contact one of our application engineers to help you.