EXAIR’s 3″ Super Air Knife Replaces Cheap, Inefficient Plastic Nozzles on Beverage Processing Line

I recently worked with a beverage manufacturer in replacing some inefficient and cheap plastic nozzles on one of their processing lines. The customer manufactures a wide variety of various beverages for consumer use, packaging them into juice-box containers. After sealing, the boxes go through a washdown process to remove any residual that may have spilled onto the outside of the container during filling.

Upon exiting the washer, they travel along a 3” wide conveyor where they’re dried by (2) plastic flat nozzles. After drying, the boxes make their way to a printer that marks the manufacturing codes and expiration date on the top of the container. If any residual moisture is present, they do not receive a legible marking. Since the boxes were not always dead-center on the conveyor, they had to stagger two nozzles in order to ensure the top of the box was dried regardless of its orientation on the conveyor.

Their search for a more efficient solution led them to the EXAIR Super Air Knife. Not only was the knife significantly more efficient, but it was also able to dramatically reduce the sound level as well. The current nozzles consume 56.8 SCFM at a pressure of 80 PSIG. The two nozzles were replaced with (1) Model 110003 Super Air Knife and Universal Mounting System. The knife was positioned directly over top of the boxes, covering the full width of the conveyor. In comparison, the 3” Super Air Knife consumes just 8.7 SCFM of compressed air AND we only needed to use one of them. The customer runs two 8-hr shifts per day, 7 days per week. Exactly how much did they save (assuming $0.25/ 1000 SCF cost of compressed air)?

Before EXAIR: (2) nozzles consuming 56.8 SCFM

56.8 SCFM x 16hrs x 365 days/year = 331,712 SCF of compressed air per year

331,712 SCF x $0.25/1000 SCF = $82.93/ year

After EXAIR: (1) 3” Super Air Knife consuming 8.7 SCFM

8.7 SCFM x 16hrs x 365 days/year = 50,808 SCF of compressed air per year

50,808 SCF x $0.25/1000 SCF = $12.70/ year

This equates to a 75% reduction in compressed air usage per installation. The customer had a total of (4) lines running with the same setup and was able to replace each with a 3” Super Air Knife. In addition to the air savings, the sound level was reduced from 85 dBA to just 69 dBA with the Super Air Knife!

Stop wasting your time with cheap and ineffective plastic nozzles. They’re wasting you a ton of money on your bottom line, not to mention can’t stand up to the ruggedness of our Super Air Knife. Replacing any inefficient blowoff products with an engineered solution can really help during these difficult times, as well as improve the working environment for your operators.

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

Super Air Amplifiers Provide Safe Air During Mine Rescue Missions

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I have recently had the pleasure of working with a customer developing a method of delivering air to trapped miners during a multi-man mine rescue mission. The federal government mandates that in the event of an explosion, miners must have a safe place to retreat for a minimum of 96 hours. This system will provide them with a supply of air during that period of time. In the initial stages, they had tried using some old venturis left over from a previous project. While this did work, they weren’t as effective or efficient as they needed. Through a little bit of research, they found EXAIR.

Generally, the Super Air Amplifier utilizes a source of compressed air. In this case, instead of using compressed air as the source, they’re using cryogenic liquid air. That air passes through a series of cold plates and heat exchangers and gets to the Super Air Amplifier at about 70°F. This air is then carried into the chamber, giving the miners a source of clean air.

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Model 120021 in prototype

EXAIR Super Air Amplifiers utilize a patented shim design that allows the unit to entrain ambient air at a rate of up to 25:1 from the compressed air supply. This balanced outlet airflow minimizes wind shear, producing sound levels that are typically three times quieter than other air movers. The Super Air Amplifiers are supplied with a .003” slotted air gap and can be adjusted by replacing the shim with a thicker .006” or .009” shim or by regulating the air pressure supplied to it. In addition to making gross adjustments to the airflow by changing the shim thickness, flow can also be dialed in by regulating the air pressure supplied. All Super Air Amplifier Kits come complete with the a properly sized Auto-Drain Filter to keep the air clean and dry, a Pressure Regulator to “dial” in the airflow, and a shim set. When the filter is installed just upstream of the Super Air Amplifier, there is no need to perform any regular maintenance. With no moving parts to wear out, you can expect many years of reliable operation.

Do you have a cooling or drying application that could benefit from a Super Air Amplifier? Contact an Application Engineer today to find out how EXAIR can help you save compressed air in your application!

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

Compressed Air Membrane Dryers: What are They? How do They Work?

A critical component on the supply side of your compressor system is the dryer. Atmospheric air contained within a compressed air system contains water vapor. The higher the temperature of the air, the more volume of moisture that air is capable of holding. As air is cooled, this water vapor can no longer be contained and this water falls out in the form of condensation. The temperature where this water will drop out is referred to as the dew point.

At a temperature of 75°F and 75% relative humidity, approximately 20 gallons of water will enter a 25HP compressor during a 24-hour period. As air is compressed, this water becomes concentrated. Since it’s heated during the compression process, this water stays in a vapor form. When this air cools further downstream, this vapor condenses into droplet form.

Moisture within the compressed air system can result in rust forming on the inside of the distribution piping, process failure due to clogged frozen lines in colder weather, false readings from instruments and controls, as well as issues with the point of use products installed within the system.

The solution to this problem is to install a dryer system. We’ve spent some time here on the EXAIR blog reviewing refrigerant dryers , desiccant dryersdeliquescent dryers, and heat of compression dryers. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to focus on one of the newer styles on the market today: the membrane dryer.

Membrane Dryer

In a membrane dryer, compressed air is forced through a specially designed membrane that permits water vapor to pass through faster than the air. The water vapor is then purged along with a small amount of air while the rest of the compressed air passes through downstream. Generally, the dew point after the membrane dryer is reduced to about 40°F with even lower dew points also possible down to as low as -40°F!

With such low dew points possible, it makes a membrane dryer an optimal choice in outdoor applications that are susceptible to frost in colder climates. Membrane dryers also are able to be used in medical and dental applications where consistent reliability is critical.

A membrane dryer does not require a source of electricity in order to operate. The compact size makes it simple to install without requiring a lot of downtime and floor space. Since they have no moving parts, maintenance needed is minimal. Most often, this maintenance takes the form of checking/replacing filter elements just upstream of the membrane dryer. The membrane itself does need to be periodically replaced, an indicator on the membrane dryer will display when it needs to be changed. If particular instruments or processes in your facility are sensitive to moisture, a membrane dryer might be the best option.

However, there are some drawbacks to these types of dryers. They’re limited to low capacity installations, with models ranging from less than 1 SCFM up to 200 SCFM. This makes them more applicable for point-of-use installations than for an entire compressed air system. The nature in which the membrane dryer works necessitates some of the air to be purged out of the system along with the moisture. To achieve dew points as low as -40°F, this can equate to as much as 20% of the total airflow. When proper filtration isn’t installed upstream, oils and lubricants can ruin the dryer membrane and require premature replacement.

Make sure and ask plenty of questions of your compressor supplier during installation and maintenance of your system so you’re aware of the options out there. You’ll of course want to make sure that you’re using this air efficiently. For that, EXAIR’s wide range of engineered Intelligent Compressed Air Products fit the bill. With a variety of products available for same-day shipment from stock, we’ve got you covered.

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

Compressed Air Safety with EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products

Compressed air is a necessary utility in any manufacturing environment. When used improperly, this compressed air can pose very real and serious dangers to your personnel. It’s imperative that you’re aware of the potential risks associated with the use of compressed air and educate yourselves and your operators to ensure you’re operating safely.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) provides standards designed to mitigate the risks of compressed air usage. If not adhered to, fines can be administered for each infraction. Fines are given out for each individual infraction. Meaning, if you have unsafe blowguns that are used in your facility you’ll get a notice for each individual gun that is identified during an inspection. Inspections aren’t something that happen often, but they will show up unannounced and often at the worst possible times.

OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) discusses the use of compressed air for cleaning and blowoff. It states that the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes is prohibited if the dead-ended pressure exceeds 30 psig. This phrase means the downstream pressure of the air nozzle or gun, used for cleaning purposes, will remain at a pressure level below 30 psig for all static conditions. In the event that dead ending occurs, the static pressure at the main orifice shall not exceed 30 psi. If it does exceed this pressure, there is a very high potential for it to create an air embolism. An air embolism, left untreated, can quickly impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, and sometimes death.

With this in mind, there are only two options for staying within compliance of this standard. Either install an engineered solution that will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 psig if dead-ended, or regulate the pressure below 30 psig. For the vast majority of operations, regulating the input pressure below 30 psig is useless. The force and flow from the nozzle at this pressure is greatly reduced and likely not enough to be effective in most applications. All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns are designed so that the flow cannot be dead-ended. The fins on the Super Air Nozzles are not only useful in amplifying the force by drawing in ambient air, but they also prevent an operator from completely obstructing the airflow.

In addition to being concerned about dead-end pressure, OSHA 1910.242(b) also states that compressed air used for cleaning should include effective chip guarding. By this, they mean that some method or equipment must be installed that will prevent chips and particles from coming back into the eyes or skin of the operator. In addition to offering OSHA compliant nozzles and guns, EXAIR also has Chip Shields that can be installed onto any of our Safety Air Guns. The polycarbonate shields protect the operator from any flying debris while performing a drying or blowoff operation. Simply add a “-CS” to the end of any Safety Air Gun Model number to have a Chip Shield installed on the gun.

Hearing loss due to high noise levels is another common problem in many industrial facilities. Without the use of proper PPE, hearing loss can occur quickly. This is a serious concern as hearing loss is permanent and once the damage is done there’s no way to reverse it. Due to this risk, OSHA strictly enforces standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a).

Hearing loss is the best known, but not the only, ill effect of harmful noise exposure. It can also cause physical and psychological stress, impair concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents or injuries.

This directive discusses the effects of noise and limits exposure based on the dBA. The table below indicates the maximum allowable exposure time to different noise levels. Sound levels that exceed these levels should first be addressed by proper engineering controls such as isolating the source of the sound from personnel or replacing the cause of the sound with something like an engineered compressed air nozzle. When such controls aren’t feasible, proper PPE must be worn to protect the operator.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does not contain any provisions that allow for the approval or endorsement of equipment. Alteration or the misapplication of what was once a safe piece of equipment would create a dangerous scenario that is out of the control of the original manufacturer. Any nozzles or guns marketed as “OSHA approved” should immediately throw up a red flag. Identifying and implementing a safe, OSHA compliant solution rests in the hands of the manufacturer themselves. If you’ve got questions about compressed air safety or have an existing blowoff in place that does not adhere to this OSHA directive, give us a call. We’ll be sure to recommend a solution that will keep your operators and wallets safe!

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