As we started this journey on improving the processes with this medical device company, I wanted to touch base on one more area that EXAIR was able to help: Saving Money. In the previous two blogs, I showed how EXAIR’s products helped the machining process by reducing scrap with the Stay Set Ion Air Jet (you can read it here: Phase 1) and by increasing production rates with the Mini Chip Vac (you can read it here: Phase 2). But now I want to show you how EXAIR was able to save them money by reducing their compressed air usage; Phase 3. Our goal at EXAIR is to use the least amount of compressed air to solve your process problems. It costs a lot of money to make compressed air. So, if you can reduce the amount being used, then your overhead costs are reduced.
A process with time delays or gaps is usually a candidate for wasting compressed air. This is a hidden profit-reducing culprit that is not well recognized. I like to correlate it to why the refrigerator light goes out when you shut the door. When it is not required, then it shouldn’t be on. With the previous discussions about the machining center, I did recognize that they did have time gaps in their process. They could turn off the compressed air during loading and unloading of the parts to save money. This may not seem like a lot of time, but during an 8 hour shift, it can really add up. My suggestion was to use the Electronic Flow Control (EFC).
The EFC is a miniature PLC that controls a solenoid valve with 8 different timing sequences. It utilizes a photo-sensing eye to trigger the timing cycle when it detects the part. The timing is selectable from milliseconds to hours to optimize the on/off time of the solenoids. I recommended the model 9055-2 which is an EFC that has two solenoids attached. The customer attached one solenoid to the Mini Chip Vac and the other to the Stay Set Ion Air Jet. They knew the timing sequence of the machining operation, so they were able to input that time into the EFC. The photo-sensing eye was attached near the door of the machine to trigger the EFC. Once the door was closed, the machining operation started as well as triggering the EFC. This would turn on both solenoid valves to operate the Stay Set Ion Jet and the Mini Chip Vac. When the operation was over, both of the EXAIR products would turn off. This cycle would repeat for each operation throughout the day. Since the EXAIR products do not have any moving parts, the instant on and off would not affect the operation of the EXAIR Stay Set Ion Air Jet and Mini Chip Vac.
With the addition of the EFC, they were able to project a savings of $6,000 a year, just by turning off the compressed air between cycles. With a pay back of only 4 months, this was a nice bonus for the medical company, as this additional money was not appropriated. Not only did they see their cost of operation reduced by less scrap and faster production rates; but, they could add this hidden gem of money right to the bottom line. If you have stop gaps in your operation, you could get that added bonus to your profits by turning your compressed air off with the EFC.