Compressed Air – The Fourth Utility

We all know the value of electric, water and gas but what about compressed air? Your compressed air system has an annual cost and deserves to be treated as a cost center. In my previous career, I was guilty of not having a budget for compressed air in my business plan and wish I knew now what I needed then . Compressed air carries a significant value and deserves to be a cost center with aggressive annual efficiency planning.

Unfortunately, several misconceptions about how to reduce energy costs through increased compressed air efficiencies have prevented many industrial operations from taking control of their compressed air energy costs. There are 2 main focuses about compressed air systems that can begin to reduce expenditures, improve the reliability of your systems and generate savings for future equipment improvements. You can look at energy savings in the compressor motors but generally speaking this is not an area where savings can make a difference. A focus on the demand side of the compressed air system is where many efficiencies can be gained. A focus on leaks, storage, pressure and inefficient use are generally simple and inexpensive to address.

Increasing the pressure isn’t always the answer. In fact, frequently it is not. An efficient compressed air system is characterized by stable pressure levels. Steady pressure levels are achieved by addressing two things: air demand patterns and the minimum acceptable pressure level required for reliable production. Unfortunately, many operators who fail to properly diagnose the causes of system problems simply increase pressure to improve performance. Arbitrary increases to the pressure without understanding the root causes of performance issues can lead to increased energy costs. An audit completed by your compressed air specialist will reveal which aspects of your compressed system can be fine-tuned in order to reduce energy costs and increase reliability. Use of the “Six Steps to Optimizing Your Compressed Air System” will help achieve your goals for cost savings and efficiencies.

Begin with establishing a baseline for your system and learn what your typical air use looks like. This can be done with a flow meter installed at the compressor outlet. A flow meter is also useful at each machine or process demanding compressed air because they can indicate if a machine or process is operating atypically and consuming more air than usual.

An estimated 30% of compressed air produced by industrial air compressors is wasted in inefficient compressed air systems. Approximately 30% of the air produced for industrial applications ends up being lost through leaks, inappropriate use and pressure loss. The use of EXAIRs’ model 9061 Ultrasonic Leak Detector will enhance your efforts in finding leaks.

Choose engineered products to apply compressed air, these product have a focus on efficiency and outperform commercial products which do not concern themselves with air reduction.

When moving around your facility, look for applications of compressed air which can be turned off when personnel are on break or can be turned off in between parts. This step is very simple and can reap big savings.

Be sure to store compressed air close to high demand applications, this will prevent peaks and valleys in your compressed air demand which contributes toward less maintenance for your compressor.

Also lower your pressure at compressed air points of use. Keeping the pressure to a minimum pressure for a successful application can also help keep system wide pressure to a minimum, which will increase lifetime of your compressor.

The good news is that, in most cases, lower energy costs are completely attainable for industrial operations that have not optimized their compressed air systems. To begin saving please contact EXAIR about compressed air products that can lower your compressed air costs today.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

NEMA Ratings: Environmental Considerations for Electrical Cabinets

NEMA 4 Cabinet Cooler

The first step to solving your overheating problem is to identify the NEMA integrity your enclosure will require. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) uses a standard rating system defining the types of environments that electrical enclosures should be rated. EXAIR has 3 NEMA Ratings to consider before selecting the proper Cabinet Cooler.

NEMA 12 (IP54) Cabinet Coolers rated for dust tight and oil tight. NEMA 12 cabinet coolers are ideal for general industrial environments where no liquids or corrosives are present.

NEMA 4 (IP66) Cabinet Coolers rated for dust tight, oil tight, splash resistant and indoor/outdoor service. These cabinet coolers incorporate a low pressure relief valve for both the vortex tube and cabinet exhaust. This valve closes and seals when the cooler is not operating to maintain the integrity of a NEMA 4 enclosure.

NEMA 4X (IP66) Cabinet Coolers offer the same protection as the NEMA 4 but are constructed of stainless steel for food service and corrosive environments.

For additional reference, you will notice that each NEMA rating has an “IP” rating as well. Ingress Protection (IP) ratings are an international standard comparable to NEMA ratings. They are used to define levels of sealing effectiveness for electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies and moisture. The first digit after “IP”, which ranges from 1 – 6, specifies the protection rating from solids and the second digit, which ranges from 1 – 8, specifies the protection rating from water. The table below shows the ratings:

EXAIR has Cabinet Coolers from stock with a variety of cooling capacities in NEMA 12 (IP54), NEMA 4 (IP66) and NEMA 4X (IP66) ratings. Once you know the NEMA/IP rating of the cabinet cooler you need please utilize our Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide or give any one of our Application Engineers a call as we are ready to help.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

Optimizing Your Compressed Air System: Find and Fix Leaks

Looking to “go green?” We can help.

There are six steps in optimizing your compressed air system. This entry will focus on Step 2 “Find and Fix leaks in your compressed air system”. Each of the six steps make an impact toward optimizing your compressed air system but finding and repairing your leaks will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars every year. Major leaks can be felt or heard as you walk around and are somewhat easy to identify. The smaller leaks, which can not be heard or felt, can be found using EXAIR’s Ultrasonic Leak Detector (ULD).

Model 9061

EXAIR Model 9061 will help you find all the smaller leaks that go unnoticed yet add up to become a significant portion of air loss within any air savings program. This Ultrasonic Leak Detector (ULD) is a hand held, high quality instrument that can locate costly leaks in your compressed air system. The person using the ULD need only aim it in the direction of a suspected leak. When a leak is present, an audible tone can be heard with the use of headphones, and the LED display will light. Testing the various unions, pipes, valves and fittings of a complete installation can be done quickly and effectively at distances up 20 feet ( 6.1 m) from a leak.

Compressed air systems that are not maintained can easily waste up to 30% of the compressor output through leaks that go undetected. Compressing air is an expensive operation. Saving the wasted compressed air reduces overall operating costs. Smaller insignificant air leaks may not be a problem but when you add up and repair the multiple smaller leaks it will lead to significant annual savings.

If you have a compressed air system and want to find and repair your leaks EXAIR Model 9061 is a must have for finding all your leaks. If you have questions or need help please contact any one of our Application Engineers for assistance.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

Looking for a Reliable Compressed Air Products Supplier?

It starts with EXAIR’s Application Engineers, gains momentum with our Customer Service Team and finishes with our high quality products that ship same day. EXAIR’s Application Engineers are the most experienced and accredited in this industry. We are the product experts across all of our 15 product lines. I have been with EXAIR going on 2 years now but have many years of experience in other industries and manufacturing processes prior to being with EXAIR. I have held positions in cost estimating, sales engineering, project engineering, purchasing, program engineering and management/manufacturing positions. I love the challenges that customers bring our way and the satisfaction that comes with providing them solutions to their process and efficiency problems while improving safety in many cases.

To be a successful application engineer at EXAIR you need to be a great communicator and listen intently to every customer. You must have a solid understanding of the customer needs and how EXAIR products can fit into their process. Having experience in injection molding, metal stampings, custom fabricating, metallurgy, castings, welding, assembly and paint lines certainly brings the knowledge to helping a customer choose the right product. The biggest challenge I had is learning all the products and performance values for each product at EXAIR. This is an ongoing process as we also customize products and add new products regularly.

I enjoy talking to each customer as no conversation is the same. We serve just about every industry and support customers around the world. Having a diverse background helps me to understand the many processes that each of our products can assist in cleaning, coating, drying, ventilating, transport, cool, etc… and gives me a great deal of satisfaction when a customer makes the purchase and has a successful experience. I hope to have a conversation with you for your next project and to help identify one of EXAIR’s products. If you have any questions or projects please contact me or any of the many Application Engineers at 800.903.9247 or by visiting us at http://www.EXAIR.com. Any of us will be sure to provide the best experience possible.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK