EXAIR Super Air Wipe Greatly Increases Productivity & Saves Money!

Late last year I received a call from a customer that was using EXAIR Super Air Knives to create an air curtain that protected the lens on their Robotic Welders from weld spatter.  The EXAIR Super Air Knife accomplished this by virtue of its design to deliver a uniform sheet of laminar air flow across its entire length.  While this greatly improved the life of the welder lens and reduced maintenance time, further improvements were needed.

The event that triggered this was the challenge they received from their customer (one of the big 3 automobile manufacturers) to increase their output of welded seat frames by 50%.  While the EXAIR Super Air Knives greatly reduced lens maintenance the consensus was further improvements would facilitate the goal of increasing output 50% .

Super Air Knife laser application
Using the Super Air Knife to protect the welding lens

 

This started the discussion on the possibility of using the EXAIR Super Air Wipe, even though it is primarily used for drying/cleaning of long continuous flow products its airflow pattern (see illustration below) was able to direct the weld splatter down and away from the lens.  This ultimately proved to be more effective at protecting the lens than the laminar air curtain provided by the EXAIR Super Air Knife.

Air Wipe - how it works
Air Wipe – How it work

The installation of the EXAIR Super Air Wipes started on 12/16/2017 and was completed on 12/23/2017. The original production rate was 480 pair of SUV rear seat frames per day running 3 shifts 24/6.

Laser Above SAW Front
Robotic Welder fitted with EXAIR Super Air Wipe

After the Installation of the EXAIR Super Air Wipes, they had improved the production rate to 750 pair/day running 3 shifts 24/5 days per week.  That equates to a productivity increase of 156%, far exceeding the goal of 50%!

Before using the EXAIR Super Air Wipe their maintenance department would clean the Cover Slide on the Laser Welding Head – 3 times per day at approximately 20 min x 3x daily x 6 days / week 6 hours / week.  “With the EXAIR Super Air Wipe we found that we can weld for 10 days before cleaning the Cover Slide” says the customer.

Each Cover Slide costs $195 and those were being replaced weekly, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that only a small amount of dust collects on the Cover Slide now, which is cleaned off in less than a minute

In 10 weeks of Operation they have not replaced a single  Slide since the EXAIR Super Air Wipe has nearly eliminated pitting from the weld spatter.

Also, Cleaning of the Slides is now performed on Saturday’s at the leisure of the maintenance team and not under the strain of production time. The Labor Rate for Maintenance is $75/hour x 6 hours/week = $450 X 50 weeks/year $22,500 plus the cost of the replacement windows at $195 each x 25 weeks = $4,875 savings per year.  Total savings after implementing the EXAIR Super Air Wipe = $27,375 per welding machine!

With the maintenance & replacement cost savings alone it is an easy calculation to make on the purchase of the EXAIR Super Air Wipe’s. That figure is not counting the productivity increase of 156% which allowed them to meet their customers delivery schedule and reduce overtime!

If you would like to discuss increasing the efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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Turn The Pressure Down & Save Money

In the past your typical industrial air compressor was rated to run at 100 psi and it was not often that this pressure was exceeded.  Lately with modern advances pressures have slowly crept up and have surpassed this threshold.  Unfortunately this has proven costly to the industrial user of compressed air.

To clarify this point, if a compressed air system is set to maintain 102 psi it will cost the plant 1% more in electric costs than if the system ran at 100 psi.  Also noteworthy is that unregulated air demands consume about 1% more flow for every psi of additional pressure.

So why is the air pressure getting so high and what can you do about it?  Here are some possible causes and solutions:

Devices that do require more than 100 psi:  It may not be the pneumatic device at all. If these devices are connected with restrictive fittings or there are excessive leaks in the system this can cause up to a 30 psi increase in line pressure just to make up for the poor piping. If this can be corrected it is possible that the pressure can be reduced.

EXAIR offers the Ultrasonic Leak Detector to facilitate tracking down hard to find system leaks and a wide variety of Air KnivesAir Amplifiers, Super Air Wipes, Air Nozzles, Line Vacs, Vacuum Generators and all of them are engineered to provide peak performance at 80 psi and make efficient use of compressed air. Though it is not uncommon for these products to provide a solution at much less pressure.

9061
EXAIR 9061, Ultrasonic Leak Detector

Applications that are believed to be high pressure:  Plant workers sometimes think that a higher air pressure is required than actually necessary.  This can be caused by a lack of training or perhaps the trainers are simply repeating what they have been taught in error.  It is good practice to review all locations that are using a higher pressure to determine if it is really necessary.

Loss due to undersize pipes:  If your plants compressed air supply lines are undersized for the volume demand, this can cause a significant restriction and raise the line pressure.  The EXAIR Digital Flow Meter can assist in recording how much demand is for a given point in time which will clarify usage.

9093
EXAIR Digital Flow Meter

 

Filter/Dryer restrictions:  If the Dryer or Filter/Separators are dirty and/or undersized the compressor operating pressure is typically raised to overcome these restrictions.  EXAIR has six sizes of Filter/Separators to ensure they are properly sized for the SCFM required by the devices that are connected to them.  Five of the models feature an automatic drain system and of course we carry the replacement filter elements and rebuild kits to keep them in top operating condition.

Temporary demands: There may be occasional peak compressed air demands in the plant that may be caused by a different or special compressed air process or machine. If the demand is greater than the supply, the pressure may be pulled down to unacceptably low levels.  In an attempt to make up for the increased demand a plant may raise the operating pressures.  The best way to cope with temporary demands is to install a receiver tank that stores compressed air that can be released when the demand calls for it.

receiver_tank
EXAIR 9500-60, 60 Gallon Receiver Tank

Factory default settings:  It is common for compressor manufacturers to set the air pressure at or very near the maximum pressure rating for that compressor.  There is no reason for this other than to verify that the air compressor will perform at its rated maximum pressure.  To save on air and maintenance costs the compressor should be set only as high as the maximum pressure for approved uses in the facility.

In the compressed air industry, EXAIR provides tools and products with quick payback times.

If you would like to discuss increasing the efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Vortex Tubes are for a Variety of Cooling Applications

Vortex tube
Cooling or Heating with the Vortex Tube

EXAIR Vortex Tubes are a low cost, reliable and maintenance free solution to a wide variety of industrial spot cooling problems.  They only requirement is a supply of compressed air as the power source.  Vortex Tubes have no moving parts and can produce temperatures that range from -50°F to +260°F (-46°C to +127°C).

Vortex Tubes produce two air streams one cold and one hot, the percentage of cold air flow from the inlet flow is referred to as the cold fraction.  The cold fraction is adjustable by the hot valve on the hot discharge side of the vortex tube.  Adjusting the hot valve results in both air temperature and air volume changes. The colder the air becomes, the volume of that cold air declines. So for very cold temperatures, a smaller volume of air is produced compared to a warmer air temperature.

For the vast majority of industrial cooling applications a larger volume of cool air will provide more efficient cooling than a lesser amount of very cold air.  Generally speaking the highest Btu/Hr values are in the 70-80% cold fraction range.

The exception to this would be in labs or special cases where the coldest temperatures are desired.  Adjusting a Vortex Tube is easy, simply insert a thermometer/thermocouple in the cold air exhaust and set the temperature by adjusting the valve on the hot end of the Vortex Tube.  You will know when you reach max refrigeration (80% cold fraction) as the cold air temperature will be 50°F (28°C) lower than the compressed air supply temperature.

EXAIR Vortex Tubes are constructed from stainless steel.  This ensures excellent wear resistance, corrosion resistance and assures years of reliable operation.  They are offered in 3 different size ranges (small, medium & large).  There are generators located inside the tube (user serviceable) that will change the volumetric flow.  The generators are available in a plastic construction or brass construction for high temperature applications.  The ranges 2 SCFM – 8 SCFM are designated as small Vortex Tubes, 10 SCFM – 40 SCFM are medium and 50 SCFM – 150 SCFM are large.  This feature allows you to customize or change your Vortex Tube for greater flexibility in a wide range of applications.

vortex_generator
Vortex generator

Large Vortex Tubes are specified when a high flow of cold air is needed. There are 16 models to choose from in total.  Capable of providing 3,400 BTU/HR up to 10,200 BTU/HR of cooling power.  These have been used to cool high heat loads that are centrally located or to help cool samples of gases for testing.

Medium Vortex Tubes are the most popular – there are twenty to choose from, depending on the cold air flow rate and temperature you’re looking for. These can produce temperatures as cold as -40°F (-40°C) when set to a 20% Cold Fraction (which is the percentage of total supply air that’s directed to the cold end) and cold air flows as high as 32 SCFM when set to an 80% Cold Fraction, which will produce a cold air temperature of about 20°F (-7°C). Some common uses are cooling ultrasonic welds and brazed joints.

The Medium Vortex Tubes are so popular, in fact, that they’re incorporated into our Adjustable Spot Cooler and Cold Gun Systems. They come ready-to-go with mufflers, cold air hose kits, and magnetic bases, so they couldn’t be easier to use.

Adjustable Spot Cooler

Cold Gun Lineup

Small Vortex Tubes are great when low flows (less cooling power) will succeed, or if compressed air supply is limited.  There are 12 models in total to choose from. These are specified for much smaller applications, like cooling the needle of a sewing machine, small drill bits, etc. You can also get one with a cold air hose & magnetic base…that’s the Mini Cooler System.

Mini Cooler

If you would like to discuss Vortex Tubes, Spot Cooling, efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Industrial Vacuums: Dry Vacuums

Our Industrial Housekeeping vacuums utilize compressed air energy to create a powerful and effective vacuum capable of with standing the harshest of environments. These vacuums have no moving parts to wear out or replace, run quietly and are built to be placed upon your own drum or may be purchased with a drum.

EXAIR has three dry/solid vacuum systems available they are the Chip Vac, Heavy Duty Dry Vac and the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac.

The EXAIR Chip Vac picks up wet or dry chips and delivers them directly into an ordinary open-top drum.  The Chip Vac is used to clean chips from fixtures, floors and work surfaces of machining centers, lathes, saws, mills and other industrial equipment.  The Chip Vac is the ideal choice for quick and efficient cleaning.  The Chip Vac can also be used to vacuum wood or plastic chips and can be used occasionally for dusty materials since it incorporates a filter bag to keep the surrounding air clean.

The 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Chip Vac’s consume 40 SCFM @ 80 PSI while the 5 Gallon size consumes 33 SCFM @ 80 PSI.  All 4 models are rated at a super quiet 77 dBA!

chipvac_family
5, 30, 55, and 110 Gallon Chip Vacs

The Heavy Duty Dry Vac like the Chip Vac can attach to ordinary open-top drums.  Designed to withstand tough industrial environments the proprietary hardened alloy pump deliver powerful performance with superior abrasion resistance.  They are used for a wide variety of applications that include abrasive materials such as steel shot, garnet, metal chips and sand!  Please know that while very powerful it is still suitable for general applications such as vacuuming floors, machines, work stations and industrial equipment.

The 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Heavy Duty Dry Vac’s consume 68 SCFM @ 80 PSI and have a sound level of 82 dBA.

6397
Available in 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Sizes

Finally the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac 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.

6399
Available in 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Sizes

When you look at the EXAIR vacuum producing units, you will notice there is not an electrical cord.  That is because the EXAIR Industrial Housekeeping Products utilize compressed air for operation, therefore they do not have the same issues with wear, breakdown and failures as electrical type vacuums. Quite simply there are no moving parts in the vacuum units to wear out or break.  They are maintenance free, just make sure the air supply is clean & dry, and they will operate for a long time due to the fact that there are no motors and bearings to wear out and no impellers to clog.

If you would like to discuss Industrial Housekeeping or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Industrial Vacuums: Heavy Duty Dry Vacs for Heavy and/or Abrasive Materials

A milling company contacted me for help to improve their scrapping operations.  They had 8 machining stations that were used to machine cast iron.  The chips were removed from the machines by a conveying system and dumped into a wheelbarrow next to each machine.  Throughout the day, the CNC operator would have to remove the wheelbarrow to the scrap recycling area.  The operator would then shovel the chips from the wheelbarrow into 55 gallon drums for storage.  The company had concerns with safety ergonomics, and they wanted to improve the efficiency of the operation.

I suggested the Heavy Duty Dry Vac.  The vacuum generator, which allows your material to flow through itself, is made from a hardened steel construction which is very resistant to wear and abrasion.  Since it is a Heavy Duty vacuum, it has a higher vacuum level to pick up heavier material at a faster rate (as compared to our standard duty Chip Vac).  With the cast iron chips having a bulk density between 130 – 200 lb/ft^3 (2082 – 3204 Kg/m^3), this was the right tool for the right application.

He purchased the model 6297, the Deluxe Heavy Duty Dry Vac System.  It included the 55 gallon lid vacuum system, heavy duty aluminum tools, drum dolly, 10 foot (3 meter) anti-static vacuum hose, and 20 foot (6.1 meter) compressed air hose.  Now, with their new product and new procedure, the CNC operator was able to place the Heavy Duty Dry Vac system onto a 55 gallon open drum, turn the unit on, and vacuum the cast iron chips from the wheelbarrow directly into a drum.  Once the drum was full, a simple switch of the lid assembly on to an empty drum keeps the process moving along with negligible downtime.

Heavy Duty Dry Vac in operation
Heavy Duty Dry Vac in operation

EXAIR was able to address both concerns.  It was faster, saving them down time and improving operation efficiency; and, it was safer, eliminating the need to shovel and improving health ergonomics.  Because of the wide range of products that EXAIR offers, we can help you with saving money and overall safety.  If you would like to discuss any of your issues with our Application Engineers, you can contact us at your convenience.

If you would like to discuss increasing the efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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What Is Entrainment?

Entrainment is defined in the simplest of terms as: to draw in and transport (something, such as solid particles or gas) by the flow of a fluid.

EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air® products use the principle of entrainment to give you more volume than the compressed air being introduced from your air compressor.  This is very important considering that the standard cost for compressed air is $0.25 per 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet (SCF) and is commonly called the 4th utility. Any pipe, manifold, or fitting can be modified to blow compressed air, however, these homemade blow offs will be very noisy and waste a tremendous amount of compressed air.  In contrast EXAIR’s intelligent compressed air solutions are engineered to be very quiet and use conservative amount’s of compressed while multiplying the output volume through entrainment.  They also comply with OSHA safety standards.

Let’s consider the EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle as an example. It comes with either a 1/4 MNPT or 1/4 FNPT threads and will produce 13 ounces of force at a distance of 12″ from the nozzle. All while consuming a relatively modest 14 SCFM of compressed air. To produce that much force using that small amount of air, the Super Air Nozzle is intelligently designed and manufactured to exacting standards to maximize the entrainment of the surrounding ambient air.

To explain how this works compressed air is used to induce the primary air flow. This primary air flow is a high velocity jet of air that creates a low pressure area around nozzle which entrains the ambient or free air. The air streams combine past the tip of the nozzle creating a powerful blast of air. The Super Air Nozzle can entrain air up to 25 times more than the primary compressed air feed.  All EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzle’s create this level of air entrainment.

AirflowAnimation
EXAIR Super Air Nozzle entrains ambient air up to a 25:1 ratio

In addition to entraining a significant amount of air, the Super Air Nozzle also reduces the noise level. Most homemade nozzles are not well constructed so, the hole(s) that allow the air to escape may have sharp jagged edges which will induce noise or turbulence. Even commercial nozzles with cross drill holes create a tremendous amount of wind shear which leads to an ear splitting compressed air squeal. The smooth design of the Super Air Nozzle creates a laminar flow of air that reduces the noise of the nozzle to 74 dBA at a distance of 3′ from the nozzle. For reference a 1/4″ open tube can easily create noise levels over 100 dBA. Using EXAIR compressed air nozzles can greatly reduce the amount of noise in and around your shop.

Last but certainly not least the EXAIR Super Air Nozzle complies with OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.242, which requires that all nozzles that use compressed air over 30 PSIG must provide a point of relief in case the nozzle is dead ended and OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.92 (a) for maximum allowable noise exposure. EXAIR Super Air Nozzle uses multiple orifices that are recessed, so that the air always has a path of escape. Many homemade nozzles do not have any provision to protect from dead ending and are very loud which does not comply with the OSHA noise standards.

If you would like to discuss increasing the efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Super Air Wipe Helps Welding Process

Several years prior we had a customer that was using a block-type Air Wipe from a competitor to remove water from an extrusion.  These air wipes were built using materials similar to UHMW and the 2 halves were hinged with air holes drilled into it.  They were using these block air wipes on several lines and decided to try an EXAIR Super Air Wipe after contacting our Application Engineers. The interesting point was that it required 5 block type air wipes to equal the efficiency of 1 EXAIR Super Air Wipe.

Since one EXAIR Super Air Wipe equaled the performance of 5 of the competitor’s products it consumed less air, was less expensive and produced less noise.  Also in space sensitive applications the EXAIR Super Air Wipe is much thinner than the block type.  To highlight this the Super Air Wipe is 1.13″ thick on all 11 models that range from 3/8″ to 11″ throat diameter.

Another clear advantage is performance. The block air wipe performance can only be changed by altering the inlet air pressure while the EXAIR Super Air Wipe can also be changed by adjusting the inlet air pressure or changing the air gap of the Air Wipe. Simply by changing out an internal shim, the air gap will allow more or less volume of compressed air at a given pressure. By changing shims and adjusting pressure, EXAIR Super Air Wipes provide the flexibility which leads to a successful application across industry.

EXAIR’s Super Air Wipes are engineered to use compressed air efficiently and maximize force upon the target.

sawworksani

Compressed air flows through an inlet (1) of the Air Wipe into an annular chamber (2). It is then throttled through a small ring nozzle (3) at high velocity. This primary airstream adheres to the Coanda profile (4), which directs it down the angled surface of the Air Wipe. A low pressure area is created at the center (5) inducing a high volume flow of surrounding air into the primary airstream. As the airflow leaves the Air Wipe, it creates a conical 360° ring of air that attaches itself to the surface of the material running through it (6), uniformly wiping the entire surface with the high velocity airflow.

If you are interested in discussing EXAIR’s Super Air Wipes, I would enjoy hearing from you.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer

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