This is a brief video showing the effects of adjusting the needle valve on an EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzle.
About a month ago I was in the field with one of our distributors in India visiting one of their customers. We were there to make an audit of their applications which were suspected of being high volume compressed air users within the plant. The very first application we were taken to was the point where large, steel castings begin their journey through the plant. It is at this point that the castings must be cleaned of all chips and residue prior to being run through a large parts washer.
The application involves multiple personnel blowing onto large, steel castings to remove machining chips, oil and other debris to prepare them for washing. The existing air gun might have been in good condition at some point, but during our visit, we found the air gun’s trigger was secured in an open position with zip ties so it was “on” all the time. Also, there was no nozzle at the tip of the gun. It appeared to have been cut off with a grinding wheel. The fact that there was no engineered nozzle at the end made the unit quite un-safe, loud and a large consumer of compressed air. The fact that the handle was clamped in the open position also negated the effectiveness of being able to use the air only when needed. Finally, when these operators would blow into blind holes debris would exit with significant velocity, so that represented a danger to the personnel that we could also remedy with our recommendation.
After initial review of what was happening in the application and seeing first-hand what the issues were, we recommended EXAIR Model 1410SS-CS (Precision Safety Air Gun with Chip Shield).
Following is our estimate of compressed air usage for the existing air guns and calculated air savings with projected cost savings figured for 4 people operating constantly over three daily shifts. Estimated current air use per each gun = 33 SCFM. Air consumption of model 1410SS-CS = 8.3 SCFM. Net air reduction = 33 – 8.3 = 24.7 SCFM. 75% air savings. Rough estimate for per shift air savings = 47,424 Standard Cubic Feet. At $ .25 USD / 1000 SCF, the “per shift” savings could be $11.86 USD. Total daily savings = $35.57 USD.
As many who follow compressed air savings know, compressed air is one of, if not the most expensive utility in just about any manufacturing operation. And this case demonstrates just how expensive four innocuous air guns blowing in a single application can really be and how it adds to the bottom line costs that every manufacturing decision-maker is usually concerned about.
Point being, if you want to add to your bottom line, give consideration to your air blowing applications. There is usually big savings to be had which can improve the application, help the bottom line, increase safety and conserve on that ever precious resource, energy.
I had a call the other day about a Cabinet Cooler System that was not working properly. In talking over the problem, the customer decided a picture might help me understand what he was trying to explain, so he sent one for to me to look at it. When opened, the picture did not show what I expected. Instead of the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System, I was looking at an EXAIR Vortex Tube mounted to the top of a cabinet. Further discussion revealed that I was talking to the maintenance manager and he had no idea who had installed this and for what reason. He only knew it was reported that 2 cabinets were having issues – one was continuously leaking (the initial call and picture) and one was not as cool as it should be. Now there were two problems!
Starting with the initial, the vortex tube was actually working as it should. It is supposed to “leak” air. Vortex tubes will push cool air out on one side and hot air out the other. Per the picture, this vortex tube was installed to allow the hot air to exhaust from the cabinet, thus it would “leak” air. In this case, the cabinet was cool, but to what standard? No one knew what temperature was to be maintained. The maintenance manager, and for that matter the workers who reported the defect, did not know what the device was or how it worked. After describing how a vortex tube functioned, I directed him to look at the EXAIR website for more information and adjustment instructions if needed. The manager was surprised, and happy, that it was actually working as it “should be” so he could take it off his To-Do list.
PLEASE NOTE: A Vortex Tube is typically recommended for cooling a small area (spot cooling) or small volumes of gas. We do not usually recommend them for cooling electronic enclosures, EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler systems are the best choice for an enclosure. Cabinet Coolers will provide quick and easy installation while maintaining the NEMA integrity of the cabinet. They are preset to provide maximum cooling and efficiency, and they are available with a thermostat and solenoid to turn themselves on and off as needed to maintain a specific internal temperature.
Now to the second unit. Again, it was determined to be a vortex tube, not a cabinet cooler system as originally thought. This unit was deemed to be working since it was not “leaking” but the cabinet was not cool. To my thinking, this unit was NOT working and explained why. I informed the customer that they may need to check their supply pressure and/or look to see if the unit had been adjusted to the point that the hot end airflow had been closed which would produce cold air. He replied he would look into it and then mentioned that he would have a word with the workers reporting the defects and investigate who and why the installations were done in the first place.
Throughout the conversation, one question kept coming up . . . were these the correct tools for the application? I was unable to answer this directly. I passed on that EXAIR would normally recommend actual cabinet cooler systems. These would provide more control for what they were apparently trying to do (cool the cabinets) and also keep them dirt and moisture-free. However, without more knowledge of what the customer was truly trying to accomplish and insufficient data available, I suggested the manager seek more information and call us back. He agreed. Although the vortex tubes in this application are usually not the choice, we know not all applications are the same. If the environment was extremely hot or space exceptionally tight, a vortex tube may be the best answer.
In my eyes, and to a degree the customer’s, the conversation was satisfactory but may not have provided the most effective and efficient solution. More data was needed, more understanding of the applications, and a better plan of action instead of putting a bandage on the problem. Based off how we left at hang-up, I believe the maintenance manager will be doing a little digging into what is going on in his plant and I foresee a call back to discuss his the best option to cool the cabinets.
A manufacturer that produces laminated signs contacted EXAIR for a blow off application. Being that we are experts in this area, I thought this would be a simple solution. The conversation started out about the signs that they manufacture. They are laminated sheets that have a thin aluminum film with a coating on the front and back sides. Their process was to cut stacks of these signs that he called books to specific dimensions. Here is how the conversation went in a shortened version:
- I need to blow off chips from the saw process.
- It has to be strong enough to remove the chips that are melted into the face of the laminate.
- When the blade gets dull, the chips become hotter. The operator has to blow on the blade as it is cutting to reduce the amount of chips that melt into the laminated face.
- After the machine finishes and the books are removed, the table lifts up and disposes of the excess chips.
- Model 1122 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle to blow a wide area off the top of the signs after sawing.
2. Model 5330 High Power Cold Gun with dual point hose to place on the saw blade. This will extend the life of the blade and help keep the chips cool. Eliminating the melting into the face.
3. Model: 110248 Super Air Knife Kit to blow the chips from the table after it is lifted.
As you can see, with a simple initial question, it became complicated rather quickly. Instead of looking at one area of the application, I was able to improve their entire process. In any manufacturing plant, scrap and downtime are the two biggest culprits in reducing profits. The scrap occurred when the faces were scratched and damaged. The downtime happened during the cleanup between book change-overs and when the saw blades were being replaced. Overall, their process improved in efficiency and speed.
Whenever you need to look at the overall process for improvement, EXAIR may have multiple solutions to offer. You can speak to an Application Engineer to see how EXAIR can increase your efficiency and reduce your scrap. You can either call 800-903-9247 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sketch above shows a 115” tall tank which needs to be filled and emptied multiple times with activated alumina desiccant. The desiccant ranges in size from 1/8” to ¼” with a median size of 5/32”, and has a bulk density of 48 pounds/ft³. The material has no fire or spill hazards, and poses a low health risk. (We evaluate these characteristics with every application to ensure the Line Vac is a viable solution.) The end user wanted to find a solution to move the alumina into the tank, and then a method to move it out of the tank. Total material transfer could be as high as 1500 pounds/hour.
Originally, the end user considered the setup shown below. This setup would empty the tank through the top, and then use the same Line Vac to refill.
What the end user and I came to realize, is that we could achieve full automation in emptying the tank by using a dedicated Line Vac with a slide gate. And, another dedicated Line Vac could be used to fill the tank, preventing any toggling of the Line Vac orientation. This was the solution, one Line Vac on the desiccant fill port and one Line Vac on the desiccant empty port.
Because of the high conveyance rate and the requirement for a material which could withstand abrasives, model 150200, our 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac made of a hardened alloy, was recommended.
If you have a material conveyance application and need a compressed air based solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.
…Don’t fix it, or so the saying goes. Sometimes, though, we have the opportunity to talk to compressed air product users who are looking to redefine the term “ain’t broke.” There are, for instance:
*People with end-use compressed air devices that came with their machines, which “ain’t broke,” but may be louder, or costing more to operate, than an engineered solution. A prime example of this is replacing an open-ended blow off with a Super Air Nozzle. We’ve got (69) distinct products in our Air Nozzles & Jets line…we’re sure to have one that’ll install quickly and easily, with immediately noticeable improvements. Improvements including a more comfortable work environment from lower noise levels and a lower air consumption which will provide your compressor relief and save air for other or future applications.
*Expansions to processes, or add-ons to systems. We’ve helped out more than a few customers in the automotive industry – from manufacturing to detailing – who are now able to move more vehicles through by enhancing their existing central vacuum systems with EXAIR Model 6292 Vac-u-Gun Transfer Systems. They use these guns at work stations to deliver scrap and debris into the central vacuum system, the Vac U Guns have shortened the time spent removing scrap and trim by boosting the vacuum flow at the work station.
*Perhaps something “ain’t broke,” but it’s also not as safe as it could be. Our E-Vac Vacuum Generators and Vacuum Cups are perfect solutions for pick-and-place applications that keep operator’s hands away from machinery, while still allowing for the safe removal of manufactured parts. Actually, though, if the particular situation is “not as safe” enough to constitute an OSHA violation, we would certainly classify that as “is broke.” Call me NOW. I can help.
*”Bucket and Ladder” material transfer methods may be described as “ain’t broke” (usually by people who aren’t carrying the buckets up the ladder) but they certainly can be time and labor intensive. EXAIR Line Vacs have been solving these applications for years. From packing peanuts to steel shot (and just about anything in between…so long as it’ll fit inside a hose from 3/8” to 6”,) we’ve got it covered. Check this out and see for yourself:
Whether or not you’d call your current situation “broke” or not, if you’re thinking about it, I bet it’s worth talking about. Give us a call.
Last week I was working with a customer who was using our 36″ Full-Flow Air Knife to dry a flat copper strip as it exited the rinse cycle of their process. The customer chose the Full-Flow design due to it’s small profile, making it easier to fit into the tight space available to mount to their machine. The customer stated that they flow tested the knife before installation and the knife “worked great” but once mounted, the flow was reduced significantly. They were thinking of returning the unit under our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee but I offered to help troubleshoot the unit to see if we couldn’t relieve their issue(s).
When they tested the unit external to the machine they were using 1″ hose (our recommendation for a 36″ Air Knife) running to a tee, which stepped down to 1/2″ ID hose going to both rear inlets on the back of the knife. But when they installed the knife, due to space limitations, they reduced the main supply to 3/8″ tubing and plumbed only 1 inlet using a quick disconnect. This explained some of the low output flow with the unit. Using undersized supply lines and quick disconnect cause significant pressure drops due to their small inside diameters. When this occurs, you aren’t able to flow enough volume of air (SCFM) to the knife, which results in reduced performance and uneven flow.
The second issue was how they had the unit mounted to the machine. Wanting to keep the air inlets easily accessible, they mounted the face of the knife (the surface the compressed air runs along) right up to the outside wall of the machine, leaving just a small gap for the output flow and built a protective shield around the unit. The Full-Flow Air Knife will entrain 30 parts of surrounding, ambient air for every 1 part (SCFM) of compressed air used. With the unit being unable to entrain any free air, the output flow is further diminished.
After increasing the supply line to both inlets, removing the quick disconnect and protective shield and moving the knife back to allow for the air entrainment, the customer called back to advise that the strip was now completely dry.