In this blog, I would like to turn your attention to our accessories that support our Intelligent Compressed Air® Products; the Filter Separator and the Oil Removing Filter. EXAIR products use compressed air to coat,… More
First off, I want to dispel any notion that there might be something that’s NOT great about EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems. Are there other methods to provide effective cooling to an electrical panel? Of course there are, and frankly, if one particular method was clearly superior in any & every situation, the makers of that one would have put all the others out of business by now. But for now, let’s consider:
1. Simplicity: Cabinet Cooler Systems need compressed air to work. That’s it. Supply them with clean, moisture free air, and they’ll run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free. What could be easier?
2. Control: Continuous Operation systems have their place (more on that in a minute,) but in most cases, Thermostat Control is preferred, for a couple of reasons:
- Most electrical and electronic components have a rated maximum operating temperature of 104°F (40°C). Maintaining the air temperature at a reasonable level less than that is all you need…any lower, and you’re just wasting energy, no matter what method of cooling you use. Our Thermostats are preset at 95°F (35°C) to ensure heat protection, while limiting operating costs.
- There is such as thing as “too cold.” Particularly sensitive instrumentation & controls may exhibit varied behavior at different temperatures.
- Our bimetallic probe-type thermostats are ideal for controlling air temperature. They have much faster response time than other mechanical styles, meaning the system won’t keep running once it’s cool enough, and it starts running as soon as it starts getting too hot. They’re also easy to reset, if the preset of 95°F (35°C) is not suitable for particular specific needs.
- If constant monitoring, or frequent changes in control temperature are desired, the ETC Electronic Temperature Control offers these benefits, via a quick response thermocouple and pushbutton operation.
3. Environmental concerns: No matter where a panel is located in your plant, and what it might be exposed to, EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems will keep the environment out of that panel:
- NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler Systems are oil tight, dust tight, and rated for indoor duty.
- NEMA 4 systems provide the same protection as NEMA 12, and are additionally splash resistant, and are rated for indoor/outdoor duty.
- NEMA 4x systems offer NEMA 4 protection, and are made of stainless steel for corrosion resistance.
HazLoc Cabinet Cooler Systems also maintain NEMA 4 or 4X integrity, and are for use with classified enclosure purge & pressurization systems in hazardous locations:
- Class I Div 1, Groups A, B, C and D
- Class II Div 1, Grouds E, F and G
- Class III
4. Dependable protection: In most cases, the less moving parts something has, the more reliable it is. With NO moving parts, EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems absolutely prove this out:
- Unlike refrigerant-based systems, there are no filters to clean, no coils to foul or corrode, and no electric motors to burn out.
- No potential contaminants from outside air ever enter the enclosure…all the cold air comes from your compressed air supply, through an Automatic Drain Filter Separator fitted with a 5 micron particulate element and a centrifugal separator for moisture removal.
5. Selection: Cooling capacities range from 275 Btu/hr to 5,600 Btu/hr, and they’re all in stock, ready for immediate shipment.
6. Special considerations: “Customized” usually means high prices and long lead times. Not so for a number of EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System options:
High Temperature systems are available from stock, for installation in areas where the ambient temperature can exceed 125°F (52°C,) all the way up to 200°F (93°C.)
- Continuous Operation Systems aren’t the only way to constantly keep environmental contaminants out…Non-Hazardous Purge (NHP) systems combine the efficiency of Thermostat Control by always passing a small amount of air flow, to provide a slight positive pressure, even when the temperature is lower than the Thermostat set point. This way, the Cabinet Cooler System only operates to maintain appropriate cooling, but the panel is still protected all the time.
- When additional protection from harsh and corrosive environments is needed, or when specified by strict facility requirements (I’m looking at you, Food, Pharma, and Nuclear Plants,) our NEMA 4X Cabinet Cooler Systems can be provided in Type 316 Stainless Steel construction, from stock.
6.5 Simplicity, part 2: Not only are they simple to operate…
- They install, in minutes, through a standard knockout in the top of your enclosure.
- If there’s no room on top, or if it’s just more practical, you can put them on the side of the panel using a Side Mount Kit.
- Don’t know which one to pick, or need help determining your heat load? Then use our Cabinet Cooler System Sizing Guide. There’s one in the catalog that you can fill out and fax or email to us, or you can find it on our website under the “Features” tab on any Cabinet Cooler product page…just fill in the blanks and click “Submit.” Or, you can always simply call in the data to an Application Engineer. We can calculate your heat load in just a minute or so, and we do it over the phone all the time.
If you’d like to find out more about heat protection for your electrical or electronic panels, give me a call.
It seems we have broken out of this deep freeze here in Cincinnati and spring has taken hold. Spring cleaning is also taking hold. That means it’s time to start looking for ways to make that chore as easy and hassle-free as possible! If you’re like me and enjoy spring cleaning the EXAIR dry vac products are right for you!
EXAIR has three dry vacuum systems, and they each have a application that fits their performance and abilities.
The first is our Chip Vac System!
The Chip Vac is designed specifically for vacuuming chips. It creates a powerful direct flow that is ideal for metal, wood, and plastic chips. Because it has a filter bag, in can also handle the occasional dusty material, and keep the surrounding air clean.
If the operation machines different materials, the lid can be removed from one drum and moved to another, to keep the materials separate for easy recycling.
The 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Chip Vac’s consume 40 SCFM @ 80 PSI while the 5 Gallon size consumes 33 SCFM @ 80 psig. All 4 models are rated at a super quiet 77 dBA!
The second is our Heavy Duty Dry Vac!
The Heavy Duty Dry Vac was engineered to vacuum more dry material in less time with less wear. The hardened alloy construction resists premature wear and the increased power makes difficult jobs and harsh environments more easily handled.
The Heavy Duty Dry Vac is ideal for abrasive materials such as steel shot, garnet, metal chips and sand, and is also useful for general purpose applications such as vacuuming floors, machines, work stations and machinery/equipment.
The 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Heavy Duty Dry Vac’s consume 68 SCFM @ 80 PSI and have a sound level of 82 dBA.
Last but not least is our Heavy Duty HEPA Vac!
The HEPA Vac (High Efficiency Particulate Air) has the added benefit of the HEPA quality filter system. Filtration per IEST-RP-CC-007 to 99.97% minimum filtration at the 0.3 micron level ensures performance meets the needed criteria. Like the Chip Vac and the Heavy Duty Dry Vac it will attach to ordinary open top drums as well.
The 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Heavy Duty HEPA Vac’s consume 68 SCFM @ 80 PSI and have a sound level of 82 dBA.
For a limited time, order an EXAIR Industrial Vacuum, and we will include a complimentary Vac-u-Gun (valued at $112)!Offer ends April 30, 2019.
To discuss your application and for help deciding which dry vac would work best, feel free to contact EXAIR and one our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) published a useful guide called “Hierarchy of Controls” that details (5) different types of control methods for exposure to occupational hazards while showing the relative effectiveness of each method.
The least effective methods are Administrative Controls and PPE. Administrative Controls involve making changes to the way people perform the work and promoting safe practices through training. The training could be related to correct operating procedures, keeping the workplace clean, emergency response to incidents, and personal hygiene practices, such as proper hand washing after handling hazardous materials. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is the least effective method because the equipment (ear plugs, gloves, respirators, etc.) can become damaged, may be uncomfortable and not used, or used incorrectly.
In the middle range of effectiveness is Engineering Controls. These controls are implemented by design changes to the equipment or process to reduce or eliminate the hazard. Good engineering controls can be very effective in protecting people regardless of the the actions and behaviors of the workers. While higher in initial cost than Administrative controls or PPE, typically operating costs are lower, and a cost saving may be realized in the long run.
The final two, Elimination and Substitution are the most effective but can be the most difficult to integrate into an existing process. If the process is still in the design phase, it may be easier and less expensive to eliminate or substitute the hazard. Elimination of the hazard would be the ultimate and most effective method, either by removing the hazard altogether, or changing the work process to the hazardous task is no longer performed.
EXAIR can help your company follow the Hierarchy of Controls, and eliminate, or reduce the hazards of compressed air usage.
Engineers can eliminate loud and unsafe pressure nozzles with designs that utilize quiet and pressure safe engineered air products such as Air Nozzles, Air Knives and Air Amplifiers. Also, unsafe existing products such as air guns, can be substituted with EXAIR engineered solutions that meet the OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b) and 29 CFR 1910.95(a).
In summary, Elimination and Substitution are the most effective methods and should be used whenever possible to reduce or eliminate the hazard and keep people safe in the workplace.
If you have questions about the Hierarchy of Controls and safe compressed air usage from any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
In one of my previous jobs, I was responsible for the operation of the facility. One of my biggest responsibilities was the air compressor because it supplied pressurized air though out the facility to feed the pneumatic systems. Like with many industries, the compressor system is the life blood of the company. If the compressor fails, the whole facility will stop. In this blog, I will share some preventative maintenance items and schedules for your air compressors.
Because the cost to make compressed air is so expensive, compressed air systems are considered to be a fourth utility. And with any important investment, you would like to keep it operating as long and efficiently as possible. To do this, it is recommended to get your air compressor a “checkup” every so often. I will cover some important items to check as well as a recommended schedule for checking. Depending on the size of your air compressors, some items may or may not apply.
1. Intake filter: The intake filter is used to clean the air that is being drawn into the air compressor. Particles can damage the air pump mechanisms, so it is important to have the proper filtration level. But, as the intake filter builds up with debris, the pressure drop will increase. If they are not properly monitored and cleaned, the air flow will be restricted. This can cause the motors to operate harder and hotter as well as reduce the efficiency of the air compressor.
2. Compressor Oil: This would be for flooded screws and reciprocating compressors that use oil to operate the air pump. Most systems will have an oil sight gauge to verify proper levels. In larger systems, the oil can be checked for acidity which will tell you the level at which the oil is breaking down. The oil, like in your car, has to be changed after so many hours of operation. This is critical to keep the air pump running smoothly without service interruptions.
3. Belts and Couplings: These items transmit the power from the motor to the air pump. Check their alignment, condition, and tension (belts only) as specified by the manufacturer. You should have spares on hand in case of any failures.
4. Air/Oil Separators: This filter removes as much oil from the compressed air before it travels downstream. It returns the oil back to the sump of the air compressor. If the Air/Oil Separator builds too much pressure drop or gets damaged, excess oil will travel downstream. Not only will the air pump lose the required oil level, but it will also affect the performance of downstream parts like your air dryer and after cooler.
5. Internal filters: Some air compressors will come with an attached refrigerated air dryer. With these types of air compressors, they will place coalescing filters to remove any residual oil. These filters should be checked for pressure drop. If the pressure drop gets too high, then it will rob your compressed air system of air pressure. Some filters come with a pressure drop indicator which can help you to determine the life of the internal filter element.
6. Unloader valve: When an air compressor unloads, this valve will help to remove any compressed air that is trapped in the cavity of the air pump. So, when the air compressor restarts, it does not have to “work” against this “trapped” air pressure. If they do not fully unload, the air compressor will have to work much harder to restart, wasting energy.
Preventative maintenance is very important, and checks need to be performed periodically. As for a schedule, I created a rough sequence to verify, change, or clean certain items that are important to your air compressor. You can also check with your local compressor representative for a more detailed maintenance schedule.
- After stopping, remove any condensate from the receiver tank.
- Check oil level.
- Inspect cooling fins on air pump. Clean if necessary
- Inspect oil cooler. Clean if necessary
- Inspect the inlet air filter. Clean or replace if necessary.
- Check the belt for tension and cracks. Tighten or replace.
- Check differential pressure indicators on outlet compressed air filters.
- Replace Air Inlet Filter
- Replace the air-oil separator
- Test safety valves and unloader valve
- Replace compressed air filters
- Change oil
- Grease bearings if required
Keeping your air compressor running optimally is very important for pneumatic operations and energy savings. I shared some important information above to assist. Another area to check would be your pneumatic system downstream of the air compressor. EXAIR manufactures engineered products that can reduce air consumption rates. You can contact an Application Engineer to discuss further on how we can save you energy, money, and your air compressor.
Checking the sound level in your processes is an important aspect of ensuring a safe working environment for your employees. Loud noises and the exposure time can lead to significant health concerns. Permanent hearing loss, increased stress levels due to the uncomfortable work environment, and potential injury due to lack of concentration or inability to hear the surroundings are all examples of some risks associated with a noisy environment.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known by most simply as OSHA, introduced Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) as a means of protecting operators from injury associated with high noise levels. The chart below indicates maximum allowable exposure time based on different noise levels. At just 90 dBA, an operator can operate safely for 8 hours. Open end pipe blowoffs and some air guns fitted with cross drilled relief holes will often result in noise levels in excess of 100 dBA. At 110 dBA, permanent hearing loss can be experienced in just 30 minutes!
The first step to lowering your sound level is to take a baseline reading of your various processes and devices that are causing the noise. EXAIR’s Sound Level Meter, Model 9104, is an easy to use instrument that provides a digital readout of the sound level. They come with an NIST traceable calibration certificate and will allow you to determine what processes and areas are causing the most trouble.
From there, EXAIR has a wide range of Intelligent Compressed Air Products® that are designed to reduce compressed air consumption as well as sound levels. For noisy blowoffs where you’re currently using an open-ended pipe or a loud cross-drilled nozzle, EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles are the ideal solution. Not only will they pay for themselves over time due to compressed air savings, but your operators will thank you when they’re able to hear later on in life!!
Drilled pipe is another common culprit of high noise levels. Rather than purchasing an engineered solution, the idea is that a simple drilled pipe is just as effective right? Not at all!! Not only does a drilled pipe produce exceptionally high sound levels, but the amount of compressed air used is also very inefficient. EXAIR’s Super Air Knife is available in lengths ranging from 3”-108” and has a sound level of just 69 dBA at 80 PSIG. At this sound level, operators won’t even require hearing protection at all!
With all of these products available in stock, EXAIR has the tools you need to reduce sound level in your processes. If you’d like to talk to an Application Engineer about any applications that you feel could benefit from a sound reduction, give us a call.
Most people are familiar with desiccant from the small packets we find enclosed with a new pair of shoes, in a bag of beef jerky, or in some medication bottles. These packets almost always say “Do Not Eat,” and I get that for the ones in the beef jerky or the pill bottles, but I just don’t understand why they put it on the desiccant packets bound for a shoe box…
Anyway, desiccant (in MUCH larger volumes than the household examples above) are also used to get water vapor out of compressed air. Desiccant dryers are popular because they’re effective and reliable. The most common design consists of two vertical tanks, or towers, filled with desiccant media – usually activated alumina or silica gel.
These materials are prone to adsorption (similar to absorption, only it’s a physical process instead of a chemical one) which means they’re good at trapping, and holding, water. In operation, one of these towers has air coming in it straight from the compressor (after it’s become pressurized, remember, it still has just as much water vapor in it as it did when it was drawn in…up to 5% of the total gas volume.)
When that tower’s desiccant has adsorbed water vapor for long enough (it’s usually controlled by a timer,) the dryer controls will port the air through the other tower, and commence a restoration cycle on the first tower. So, one is always working, and the other is always getting ready for work.
There are three methods by which the desiccant media can be restored:
- Regenerative Desiccant Dryers send a purge flow of dry air (fresh from the operating tower’s discharge) through the off-line tower’s desiccant bed. This dry air flow reverses the adsorption process, and carries the water away as it’s exhausted from the dryer. This is simple and effective, but it DOES use a certain amount of your compressed air.
- Heat Of Compression Desiccant Dryers use the heat from pressurized air straight from the compressor(s). This hot air is directed through one tower, where it removes moisture from the desiccant. It then flows through a heat exchanger where it’s cooled, condensing the moisture, before it flows through the other tower to remove any remaining moisture. This method doesn’t add to your compressed air usage, but it only works with oil-free compressors.
- The third method uses a hot air blower to flow heated air through the off-line desiccant bed. It’s similar to the Regenerative type, but it doesn’t use compressed air. However, they DO require a certain amount of wattage for the heater…remember, electricity isn’t cheap either.
As an EXAIR Application Engineer, it’s my job to help you get the most out of our products, and your compressed air system. If you have questions about compressed air, call me.
Take a second and think about where the air compressor is located within your facility. It is more than likely not a major focal point displayed prominently in the floor layout. There is a better chance it is tucked away in a corner of the facility where operators seldom travel. No matter the type of air compressor, it still has an intake where it pulls in the ambient air from around the compressor then sends it through some process and on the demand side of your compressed air system. These intakes can easily be placed out of sight and out of mind especially in older facilities that were designed when compressors were loud and the piping layout kept them away from operators due to sound level restrictions.
That’s why your compressor manufacturer supplies a specific grade of air inlet/intake filter, and this is your first line of defense. If it’s dirty, your compressor is running harder, and costs you more to operate it. If it’s damaged, you’re not only letting dirt into your system; you’re letting it foul & damage your compressor. It’s just like changing the air filter on your car, your car needs clean air to run correctly, so does your compressor and the entire demand side of your compressed air system.
According to the Compressed Air Challenge, as a compressor inlet filter becomes dirty, the pressure drop across the inlet increases, this is very similar to the point of use compressed air filters. The inlet filter on the compressor is the only path the compressor has to pull in the air, when restricted the compressor can begin to starve for air very similar to if you only had a small straw to breath through and told to run a marathon. A clogged inlet filter can give false symptoms to compressor technicians as well.
The effects can mimic inlet valve modulation which result in increased compression ratios. If we were to form an example based on a compressor with a positive displacement, if the filter pressure drop increases by 20″ H2O, a 5% reduction of the mass flow of air will be present without a reduction in the power being drawn by the compressor. This all leads to inefficiency which easily amounts to more than the cost to replace the depleted inlet air filter.
Where you place the filter is just as important as how often you replace it. There are some tips to be used when mounting the inlet filter.
- The filter can be placed on the compressor, but the inlet pipe should be coming from an external area to the compressor room or even the building if possible. The inlet should be free from any contaminants as well. Some examples that are easy to overlook are nearby condensate discharges, other system exhausts and precipitation.
- Depending on the type of compressor being used, a lower intake air temperature can increase the mass flow of air due to the air density. A compressor that is lubricant injected is not susceptible to this due to the air mixing with the warmer lubricant before being compressed.