About OSHA 29 CFR 1910.242(b) for Compressed Air Safety

In February of 1972 OSHA released a standard to improve worker safety when operating handheld compressed air devices being used for cleaning purposes. This directive focuses around human skins permeability. That is, if you were to take an open ended pipe that had compressed air being discharged over 30 psig it can actually push through the skin and create an air embolism.

OSHA’s Directive 29 CFR 1910.242(b)

Air Embolisms are extremely painful, and in extreme cases, can be deadly. The risk associated with an air embolism can be mitigated by following the OSHA directive and reducing the downstream pressure of an air nozzle or nozzle pressure below 30 psi for all static conditions. Dead ending is when the passageway for the air becomes blocked and turns a dynamic flow of air into a static flow. This is in the event the pipe, nozzle, lance, etc. becomes blocked by a human’s body. This is a directive that all Intelligent Compressed Air® products from EXAIR focus on meeting or exceeding.

Our Air Nozzles and Jets video shows a great depiction of how this can be achieved with our engineered design of nozzles. The recessed holes and the fact that there are multiple passages for the air to exit are easy to see on the nozzle. Products like the Super Air Knife may not be so easy to see but the way the air knife cap overlaps prevents the Super Air Knife from being dead ended in the event an operator comes into contact with the discharge air.

Even though this directive was created in 1972 it continues to be at the forefront of industrial environments. I have even been to a custom artwork facility that was effected by this standard because they would use a handheld blowgun to remove dust and debris before matting and framing artwork with glass. They also removed dirt and dust from the frames before paint. This wasn’t your typical manufacturing environment yet they were still held to the same standards and were made safe by implementing engineered solutions such as our Super Air Nozzle.

If you would like to discuss how we can help increase your operator safety and ensure you meet or exceed OSHA 29 CFR 1910.242(b), please contact an Application Engineer today.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – OSHA Instruction STD 01-13-001 – Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/enforcement/directives/std-01-13-001

Class 2 Div 1, Groups E, F, G Cabinet Coolers

When it comes to electrical equipment, and in our case electrical cabinets, there are regulations we all must follow for safety concerns from hazardous locations. There are explosion hazards that occur when handling flammable gases, vapors and dust. Hazardous location regulations have been designated from the NEC, CEC, OSHA and the NFPA. There is also a Globally Harmonized System (GHE) that oversees labeling the hazards of products.

In the US the governing body for electrical hazards is the NEC (National Electric Code). In Canada, it is the CEC (Canadian Electric Code). These 2 agencies work very closely together in North America, and have very few differences – the main differences concern how and where signs are posted, not the hazards themselves. Both agencies utilize document NFPA 70 (National Fire Protection Agency) as the primary basis for all electrical hazard information and requirements. The NFPA 70 outlines the different Classes and Divisions.

As we look at our Class II Div 1 groups E,F, and G Cabinet Cooler Systems, where can we actually use them? First, they are to be used in conjunction with a purged and pressurized control, system. They are not a replacement of such systems but, rather, provide cooling for them. To fully understand the environments they can be used, we need to understand the class, division and group meanings so let’s dive in…

Let’s jump right into a brief overview of the Classifications. The classifications offer a precise description of the hazardous material that is (or most likely) in an area, so that the appropriate equipment can be used, and safe installations can occur. Sometimes these classifications are easily recognized, and many times they may take a detailed study of the site. There are 3 categories of hazardous materials which define the type of explosive (or flammable) that is present:

Pixabay Image licensed by Pixabay

Class I = Flammable vapors, gases or liquids – examples would be areas such as Gasoline storage, petroleum Refineries, Dry Cleaning Plants, Fuel Servicing Areas, Spray Finishing areas, etc…

Class II = Combustible dust – examples would be Grain elevators, Flour and feed mills, Metal powders manufacturers, coal plants, etc…

Class III = Ignitable Fibers and flyings – Examples would include sawdust areas, Textile mills, Cotton processing, Cotton Seed Mills, etc..

Now as we dissect this further, we will see that each of these “Classes” are divided into 2 divisions. We many times hear these expressed as Div1 and Div 2. The Divisions tells of the likelihood that a hazardous material may be present in a flammable concentration.

Division 1 = an area where the explosive or flammable vapors, gases, dust, fibers, or liquids (as mentioned in Class definitions) can exist under normal everyday operating conditions.

Division 2 = an area in which the dangerous vapors, gases, dust, fibers, or liquids are NOT likely to be present under normal operations.

After the Classes and the Divisions come the groups.

Class 1 has 4 groups, A-D. These are all gases.

Group A = Acetylene is in the air

Group B = Flammable gases with a Minimum Igniting Current (MIC) less than 0.40 such as hydrogen, butadiene, ethylene oxide, propylene oxide

Group C = Flammable gases with a Minimum Igniting Current (MIC) greater than 0.40 such as ethyl ether, ethylene, acetaldehyde, and cyclopropane

Group D = Flammable gases with a Minimum Igniting Current (MIC) greater than 0.80 such as acetone, ammonia, benzene, butane, ethanol, gasoline, methane, natural gas, naphtha, and propane.

Class II has 3 groups, E,F and G. These are all types of dust

Group E = Combustible Conductive metal dust such as aluminum and magnesium

Group F = Combustible electrically Non-Conductive dust such as coal, carbon, charcoal

Group G = Combustible dusts not included in E or F such as flour, grain, wood, plastic and chemicals.

As we come full circle here looking at our Class II, Div 1, Groups E,F, and G Cabinet Cooler systems, we now understand the following:

  • We know that these systems are perfect for areas that contain combustible dust such as coal dust, flour, grain and feed (Class II)
  • We also know that these will work well in areas where these combustible dusts are constantly present around this Cabinet Cooler (Div 1)
  • Lastly we understand that these are a great fit for all types of dusts, whether conductive or not (Groups E,F,G)

Please feel free to reach out to myself or any of the application engineers for further questions on this or any of our amazing products.

Thank you for stopping by,

Brian Wages

Application Engineer

EXAIR Corporation
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Cover photo by Clker-free-vector-images/29545, licensed by Pixabay

Compressor Intake – Air Flows 

Flow rate is the quantity of material that is moved per unit of time.  Generally, the quantity of material can be expressed as a mass or a volume.  For example, mass flow rates are in units of pounds per minute or kilograms per hour.  Volumetric flow rates are stated in cubic feet per minute, CFM, or liters per hour, LPH.  The trick begins when volumetric flow rates are used with compressible gases.  In this blog, I will go over the various acronyms and the reasons behind them.

What acronyms will be covered?

CFM – Cubic Feet per Minute

SCFM – Standard Cubic Feet per Minute

ACFM – Actual Cubic Feet per Minute

ICFM – Inlet Cubic Feet per Minute

The volumetric component of the flow rate is CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute.  This term is commonly used for rating air compressors.  From the history of air compressors, they could calculate the volume of air being drawn into the air compressor by the size of the cylinder.  With the volume of the compression chamber and the rotations per minute of the motor, RPM, they could calculate the volumetric air flows.  As conditions change like altitude, temperature, and relative humidity, the volumetric value of CFM changes.  To better clarify these conditions, compressor manufacturers have decided to add terms with a definition.  (For your information, air compressors still use CFM as a unit of air flow, but now this is defined at standard temperature and pressure).

The first letter in front of CFM above now defines the conditions in which volumetric air flow is being measured.  This is important for comparing pneumatic components or for properly sizing pneumatic systems.  Volume is measured within three areas; temperature, pressure, and relative humidity.  We can see this in the Ideal Gas Law, reference Equation 1.

Equation 1:

P * V = n * R * T

Where:

P – Absolute Pressure

V – Volume

n – Number of molecules of gas

R – Universal Gas Constant

T – Absolute Temperature

The volume of air can change in reference to pressure, temperature, and the number of molecules.  You may ask where the relative humidity is?  This would be referenced in the “n” term.  The more water vapor, or higher RH values, the less molecules of air are in a given volume.

SCFM is the most commonly used term, and it can be the most confusing.  The idea behind this volumetric air flow is to set a reference point for comparisons.  So, no matter the pressure, temperature, or relative humidity; the volumetric air flows can be compared to each other at that reference point.  There have been many debates about an appropriate standard temperature and pressure, or STP.  But as long as you use the same reference point, then you can still compare the results.  In this blog, I will be using the Compressed Air and Gas Institute, CAGI, reference where the “Standard” condition is at 14.5 PSIA, 68 o F, and 0% RH.  Since we have a reference point, we still need to know the actual conditions for comparison.  It is like having the location of a restaurant as a reference, but if you do not know your current location, you cannot move toward it.   Similarly, we are “moving” the air from its actual condition to a reference or “Standard” condition.  If we do not know the actual state where the air began, then we cannot “move” toward that reference point.  We will talk more about this later in this blog.

ACFM is the volumetric air flow under actual conditions.  This is actually the “true” flow rate.  Even though this term is hardly used, there are reasons why we will need to know this value.  We can size an air compressor that is not at “Standard” conditions, and we can use this value to calculate velocity and pressure drop in a pneumatic system.  We can correlate between SCFM and ACFM with Equation 2.

Equation 2:

ACFM = SCFM * [Pstd / (Pact – Psat * Φ)] * (Tact / Tstd)

Where:

ACFM – Actual Cubic Feet per Minute

SCFM – Standard Cubic Feet per Minute

Pstd – standard absolute air pressure (PSIA)

Pact – absolute pressure at the actual level (PSIA)

Psat – saturation pressure at the actual temperature (PSI)

Φ – Actual relative humidity (%)

Tact – Actual ambient air temperature (oR)

Tstd – Standard temperature (oR)

ICFM is one of the newest terms in the history of air compressors.  This is where devices are added to the inlet of an air compressor, affecting flow conditions.  If you have a blower on the inlet of an air compressor, the volumetric flow rate changes as the pressure and temperature rises at the “Inlet”.  If a filter is used, then the pressure drop will decrease the incoming pressure at the “Inlet”.  These devices that affect the volumetric flow rate for an air compressor should be considered.  The equation to relate ACFM to ICFM is Equation 3.

Equation 3:

ICFM = ACFM * (Pact / Pf) * (Tf / Tact)

Where:

ICFM – Inlet Cubic Feet Per Minute

ACFM – Actual Cubic Feet per Minute

Pact – absolute pressure at the actual level (PSIA)

Pf – Pressure after filter or inlet equipment (PSIA)

Tact – Actual ambient air temperature (oR)

Tf – Temperature after filter or inlet equipment (°R)

To expand on my explanation above about SCFM and ACFM, a technical question is asked often about the pressure when using SCFM.  The reference point of 14.5 PSIA is in the definition of the term for SCFM.  Remember, this is only a reference point.  The starting location is also needed as it gives us the ACFM value where the air values are true and actual.  Then we can make a comparison of actual air usage. 

As an example, let’s look at two air nozzles that are rated at the same air flow; 60 SCFM.  The EXAIR Super Air Nozzle, model 1106, is cataloged at 60 SCFM at 80 PSIG, and a competitor is cataloged at 60 SCFM at 72 PSIG.  By comparison, they look like they use the same amount of compressed air, but actually they do not.  To simplify Equation 2, we can compare the two nozzles at the same temperature and RH at 68 oF and 0% RH respectively.  This equation can be reduced to form Equation 4.

Equation 4:

ACFM = SCFM * 14.5 / (P + 14.5)

@72 PSIG Competitor:

ACFM = 60 SCFM * 14.5 PSIA/ (72 PSIG + 14.5 PSIA)

= 10.1 ACFM

@80 PSIG EXAIR Super Air Nozzle:

ACFM = 60 SCFM * 14.5 PSIA / (80 PSIG + 14.5PSIA)

= 9.2 ACFM

Even though the SCFM is the same amount, you are actually using 10% more air with the competitive nozzle that was reported at 60 PSIG.  So, when it comes to rating pneumatic products, improving efficiency, and saving money; always determine the pressure that you are at.  The more you know about volumetric flow rates, the better decision that you can make.  If you need more information, you can always contact our Application Engineers at EXAIR.  We will be happy to assist.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Photo: Compressor equipment by terimakasih0Pixabay license

Super Air Knives Provide Fast ROI when Replacing Drilled Pipe

EXAIR proves often that we’re able to work with you to create a customized solution that best serves your application. Recently I had the pleasure of working with a customer who wanted a better solution on their tissue paper converting machine. What they currently had was too loud, too inefficient, and they knew there was a better way.

The machine was an old rewinder used to convert webs of tissue paper ranging from 99-115” in width. Installed on the old machine was a 115” drilled pipe with 1/16” drilled holes spaced out every ½” along the length of the pipe. This was using a substantial amount of compressed air and was significantly louder than they would’ve liked. They purchased a new machine that had an EXAIR Super Air Knife already installed and working great, so they reached out to us for some help.

The customer conducted some time studies to determine exactly how much air this application required. The air blast ran for 500 seconds per hour, equating to 8.3min/hr of air usage. The operation runs 24/7, but with time spent doing changeovers the actual run time is closer to 20hrs.

20hrs x 8.2min = 166 min/day of air usage

166min x 365 = 60,590 min per year

A 1/16” unpolished, drilled hole will consume 2.58 SCFM at a pressure of 60 PSIG. With a total of 228 holes across the full pipe, this is quite a bit of compressed air.

2.58 SCFM x 228 = 588 SCFM of compressed air

588 x 60,590 min = 35,626,920 SCF

Considering the lightweight nature of the material, we recommended that the customer use our .001” shim to cut the flow from our stock Super Air Knives to their minimum. We recommended our Model 110054-.001 and Model 110060-.001. At 60 PSIG, a Super Air Knife with .001 shim installed will consume 1.15 SCFM/inch of knife length.

114 x 1.15 SCFM = 131 SCFM of compressed air

131 x 60,590 min = 7,937,290 SCF

Installing the Super Air Knives with .001” shim reduced their air consumption by 77% for a total air savings of 27,689,630 SCF each year. But, what does this mean in terms of money? To determine the cost of compressed air, we use the approximate value of $0.25/1000 SCF.

27,689,630 SCF x $0.25/1000 = $6,922.41

Super Air Knife Shims

In just one year, on this one single machine, this customer was able to save almost $7k per year. These knives quickly pay for themselves, then begin to contribute to your bottom line. All of this in addition to lowering the sound level and providing a safer working environment for their operators. So how quickly did this customer end up seeing the payback on their two knives?

2022 list prices:

Model 110054-.001 – $1,315.00

Model 110060-.001 – $1,411.00

Total investment: $2,726.00

Based on an operation of 166 min, the customer was saving $18.90 per day. To recoup the initial purchase costs, these would only need to be operated for 145 days. On the 145th day, they’ve already saved enough compressed air to account for their initial costs. Moving forward, that savings does not go away but continues to add to the bottom line.

If you have areas in your facility that are using air inefficiently, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer today.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD