To understand the value of a having a Pressure Regulator at every point of use we should start with identifying the two types of Pressure Regulators, Direct Acting & Pilot Operated. Direct Acting are the least expensive and most common (as shown above), however they may provide less control over the outlet pressure, especially if they are not sized properly. However when sized properly they do an outstanding job. Pilot Operated Regulators incorporate a smaller auxiliary regulator to supply the required system pressure to a large diaphragm located on the main valve that in turn regulates the pressure. The Pilot Operated Regulators are more accurate and more expensive making them less attractive to purchase. The focus of this Blog will be on the Direct Acting Pressure Regulator.
The Direct Acting Pressure Regulator is designed to maintain a constant and steady air pressure downstream to ensure whatever device is attached to it is operated at the minimum pressure required to achieve efficient operation. If the end use is operated without a regulator or at a higher pressure than required, it result’s in increased air demand and energy use. To clarify this point, if you operate your compressed air system at 102 PSI it will cost you 1% more in electric costs than if the system was set to run at 100 PSI! Also noteworthy is that unregulated air demands consume about 1% more flow for every PSI of additional pressure. Higher pressure levels can also increase equipment wear which results in higher maintenance costs and shorter equipment life.
Sizing of the Air Regulator is crucial, if it is too small to deliver the air volume required by the point of use it can cause a pressure drop in that line which is called “droop”. Droop is defined as “the drop in pressure at the outlet of a pressure regulator, when a demand for compressed air occurs”. One commonly used practice is to slightly oversize the pressure regulator to minimize droop. Fortunately we at EXAIR specify the correct sized Air Regulator required to operate our devices so you will not experience the dreaded “droop”!
Another advantage to having a Pressure Regulator at every point of use is the flexibilty of making pressure adjustments to quickly change to varying production requirements. Not every application will require a strong blast sometimes a gentle breeze will accomplish the task. As an example one user of the EXAIR Super Air Knife employs it as an air curtain to prevent product contamination (strong blast) and another to dry different size parts (gentle breeze) coming down their conveyor.
EXAIR products are highly engineered and are so efficient that they can be operated at lower pressures and still provide exceptional performance! This save’s you money considering compressed air on the average cost’s .25 cents per 1000 SCFM.
The word “accessory” can come with some baggage… it’s become synonymous with “add-on” and “up-sell,” and cost-mindful consumers may see them as just another way for a slick salesperson to make an extra buck. And frankly, they wouldn’t have that reputation if there wasn’t some truth to it. The server at your favorite restaurant will offer appetizers, or recommend side dishes to go with your entree. If you go to buy a new car, you’ll get a pitch for a variety of aftermarket add-ons. The paint counter folks at the hardware store always tell me what specific brush and/or rollers I should use with the paint I’m buying…and it’s never the 10-pack of economy brushes that costs less than the single, premium quality brush they recommend. In all of these cases, these employees are trained, constantly encouraged, and hopefully rewarded on the success of these “up-sell” strategies.
Of course, my boys and I can devour even the largest plate of chili cheese nachos long before the rest of meal comes out. My wife absolutely loves the remote starter function that the dealership installed on the new car she bought last year. And, if you’ve ever painted a well-lit room, you know the difference between a $1 paint brush and a $10 paint brush. So if my server gets a little bigger tip, my car dealer salesperson gets a little more commission, or the paint counter folks get a bonus, then it’s a win-win, as far as I’m concerned.
EXAIR carries a variety of accessories for our Intelligent Compressed Air Products. Some aid in mounting & installation:
Others make it easy to ensure adequate supply conditions:
The performance of many EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can be altered by replacing the shim:
In addition to these product-specific accessories, EXAIR carries a complete line of:
*Filter Separators to remove water, dirt, and rust from your compressed air system. Our Automatic Drain Filter Separators have a 5 micron particulate element, and a centrifugal vane to remove moisture.
*Oil Removal Filters with coalescing elements that remove any trace of oil, and also provide additional particulate filtration to 0.03 microns.
*Pressure Regulators, so you can “dial in” the performance you need, so you don’t overpower the application, or waste compressed air. They come in sizes from 1/4 NPT to 1-1/4 NPT, and are rated for flows up to 700 SCFM. A pressure gauge provides accurate indication of outlet pressure, and the adjustment cap can be removed to prevent tampering.
*Silencing Mufflers to reduce work area noise from compressed air exhausting from pneumatic cylinders, valves, etc. There are several styles to choose from, depending on your needs:
Sintered Bronze Mufflers are simple in design, with minimal back pressure restriction, and come in sizes from #10-32 thread to 1-1/2 NPT.
Straight-Through Mufflers offer noise reduction up to 20 dB, and come in sizes from 1/4 NPT (up to 22 SCFM) to 3/4 NPT (up to 73 SCFM.)
Heavy Duty Mufflers have an internal stainless steel screen that not only protects the exhausting components from environmental contamination, but also keeps air system contaminants from being ejected at high speed into the work area.
Reclassifying Mufflers are an upgrade to the Sintered Bronze Mufflers and provide the highest level of noise reduction – up to 35 dB. They also trap oil mist, eliminating breathing hazards to personnel.
*12 ft Coiled Hoses (1/4″ or 3/8″ ID) and Compressed Air Hose (3/8″ or 1/2″ ID; up to 50ft lengths) can be provided with any Intelligent Compressed Air Product. We also have a full supply of fittings (tees, elbows, nipples, couplers, reducers, etc.) and adapters to fit our Super Air Nozzles to your existing air guns or blow off devices.
*Receiver Tanks are used to store a ready supply of compressed air. If you have an intermittent demand of sufficient size, it can cause a pressure transient in your system, which can drag down the ability to supply other points of use. Installed near the point of intermittent demand, they prevent pressure & volume fluctuations, keeping the operators at all points of use happy. Model 9500-60 Receiver Tank has a capacity of 60 gallons, is rated to 200psig, and meets ASME pressure vessel code.
In closing, let me offer the following advice that’s served me well over the years:
*Be mindful of the valued added by the accessories & add-ons you’re presented during a purchase of capital equipment…or anything else, really. Don’t buy something you don’t need, but if you need it…well…it’s OK to buy it.
*Don’t skimp on quality. Odds are, if an accessory is offered by the manufacturer of the product, it’s going to work well for you. They should be able to tell you if it will or won’t if you discuss your needs with them. I know I will if you call me to discuss a compressed air product application.
*Get the big plate of nachos, especially if you’re dining with teenagers.
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I was recently contacted by a manufacturer of specialty food products that was looking to increase productivity on one of their packaging lines. In order to do so, they needed a longer Super Air Knife.
They manufacture a variety of different products, but this application was involving small snack-size blocks of cheese. They’re placed into individual plastic containers and before they seal the packaging any residual particles must be blown off or it will affect the seal. Any residual particles of cheese around the container would allow air to come into contact with the product and affect shelf-life.
In the current setup, they were using EXAIR’s Model 110012SS-316 a 12” 316 grade Stainless Steel Super Air Knife and the Model 9060 Universal Mounting System. They wanted to add in an additional two rows of cheese to help increase throughput. To do so, he needed an overall width of 18”. We do have an 18” available from stock, but rather than having a spare 12” model lying around he wanted to try and utilize what he had without having to purchase an entirely new knife.
Fortunately, EXAIR’s Super Air Knives can be coupled together to create a wide variety of different lengths. From stock, the Super Air Knife is available from 3”-108”. With the help of a Super Air Knife Coupling kit, we can achieve much longer lengths. In this case, although we did have an 18” knife available, we could also couple the existing 110012SS-316 (12”) with our Model 110006SS-316 (6”). This option was a bit cheaper than going with a new knife, and still allowed them to utilize the 12” that they already had.
While this isn’t the typical place we’d recommend a coupling kit, it was an option that allowed the customer to save a bit of money but still get the same effect that they’d achieve with the 18” single piece knife. We also manufacture a wide variety of custom knives per customer specifications. If you’ve got an odd application that you don’t think is best served by a stock offering, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to take a look at your application and help recommend the most suitable product.
Compressed air isn’t called manufacturing’s “Fourth Utility” (the first three being electricity, water, and natural gas) for nothing. Pneumatic tools are popular because they’re often so much lighter than their electric counterparts. Compressed air can be stored in receiver tanks for use when other power supplies are unavailable or not feasible. Many compressed air operated products can be made to withstand environmental factors (high/low temperature, corrosive elements, atmospheric dust, oil, other contaminants, etc.,) that would make electric devices very expensive, unwieldy, or impractical.
One of the most valuable considerations, though, is that your compressed air system is, by and large, under your control. The type and capacity of your air compressor can be determined by your specific operational needs. The header pressure in your supply lines is based on the applications that your air-operated devices are used for. And the performance & lifespan of every single component in your compressed air system is determined by the care you take in maintaining it.
Debris: solid particulates can enter your air system through the compressor intake, during maintenance, or if lines are undone and remade. If you have moisture in your air (more on that in a minute,) that can promote corrosion inside your pipes, and rust can flake off in there. Almost all of your air operated products have moving parts, tight passages, or both…debris is just plain bad for them. And if you use air for blow off (cleaning, drying, etc.,) keep in mind that anything in your compressed air system will almost certainly get on your product.
Your compressed air system may be equipped with a main filter at the compressor discharge. This is fine, but since there is indeed potential for downstream ingress (as mentioned above,) point-of-use filtration is good engineering practice. EXAIR recommends particulate filtration to 5 microns for most of our products.
Water: moisture is almost always a product of condensation, but it can also be introduced through faulty maintenance, or by failure of the compressor’s drying or cooling systems. Any way it happens, it’s also easy to combat with point-of-use filtration.
EXAIR includes an Automatic Drain Filter Separator in our product kits to address both of these concerns. A particulate filter element traps solids, and a centrifugal element “spins” any moisture out, collecting it in the bowl, which is periodically drained (automatically, as the name implies) by a float.
Oil: many pneumatic tools require oil for proper operation, so, instead of removing it, there’s going to be a dedicated lubricator, putting oil in the air on purpose. Optimally, this will be as close to the tool as possible, because not all of your compressed air loads need oil…especially your blow offs. If, however, a blow off device is installed downstream of a lubricator (perhaps due to convenience or necessity,) you’ll want to do something about that oil. Remember, anything in your system will get blown onto your product.
If this is the case, or you just want to have the cleanest air possible (keep in mind there is no downside to that,) consider an EXAIR Oil Removal Filter. They come in a range of capacities, up to 310 SCFM (8,773 SLPM,) and the coalescing element also offers additional particulate filtration to 0.03 microns.
In closing, here’s a video that shows you, up close and personal, the difference that proper filtration can make:
If you’d like to discuss or debate (spoiler alert: I’ll win) the importance of clean air, and how EXAIR can help, give me a call.
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Once you’ve selected an engineered compressed air nozzle for your blowoff application, you’ll likely need a solution to mount and position it as well. In some applications you may be able to simply replace the old solution with a similar thread, but if the installation is a bit more complex, or if it is a new installation entirely, you’ll need a means to do so. Here’s where EXAIR’s Stay Set Hoses and Magnetic Bases come into play.
EXAIR’s Stay Set Hoses are available from 6”-36” in length with ¼ NPT male threads on each end, or a ¼ NPT male on one end and 1/8 NPT female on the other. The Stay Set Hoses are rigid and allow you to maintain precise positioning of the blow off nozzle. The hoses have “memory” and will not creep or bend. They’re easily repositioned as well, making them an ideal solution for applications that may require moving them around due to varying parts.
Stay Set Hoses can also be installed on any Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. Simply adding a suffix to the end of the any of the Soft Grip Air Gun model numbers will come with the Stay Set Hose installed. For example, the gun below is a Model 1230-36SSH. A Model 1230 Safety Air Gun, with a 36” Stay Set Hose installed. Having a Stay Set Hose on your air gun can allow you to reach into tight or awkward places that a traditional air gun won’t permit.
In addition to the Stay Set Hoses, EXAIR also has Magnetic Bases available as well. The powerful magnet permits both horizontal and vertical mounting. A manual valve is also included that will allow you to vary the force and flow. Magnetic bases are available with one or two outlets and can be combined with any of our nozzles and Stay Set Hoses to create your own customized blowoff system.
No matter the application, EXAIR has a solution for your blowoff. Give an Application Engineer a call today and we’ll help you determine EXACTLY what you’ll need with all parts available from stock!
EXAIR’s Engineered Air Nozzles and Air Jets provide a superior solution to minimize compressed air usage and reduce noise levels for compressed air blow-off operations.
Air Nozzles and Jets – when compared to commonly used open copper tubes or pipes the compressed air savings can be as high as 80%. With less compressed air, sound levels are greatly reduced. A 10 dBA noise level reduction is typical. All EXAIRAir Nozzles and Jets meet OSHA guidelines for dead end pressure and sound level exposure requirements.
EXAIR Nozzles are designed and manufactured to take advantage of the Coanda (wall attachment of a high velocity fluid) effect which can amplify the airflow up to 25 times. The compressed air exits through the small holes on the nozzle which entrains the surrounding air. The effect from this is a high volume, high velocity blast using less compressed air. EXAIR manufactures many sizes and styles of air nozzles from the smallest, but quite powerful Atto Super Air Nozzles to our largest 1-1/4 NPT Super Air Nozzle. We also offer Flat Super Air Nozzles, and the Back Blow style nozzle for cleaning out tubes, pipes, channels or holes from 1/4″ to 16″ in diameter.
All of our Air Nozzles are engineered to meet or exceed OSHA Standard 1910.24(b) for 30 PSIG dead end pressure, they cannot be dead-ended as there is always a route for the air to escape so the outlet pressure will never reach 30 PSIG. In addition, our products are going to meet the OSHA Standard CFR 29 – 1910.95(a) for allowable noise exposure levels.
EXAIR Air Jets also utilize the Coanda effect to produce air motion in their surroundings. A small amount of compressed air (1) is throttled through an internal ring nozzle above sonic velocity. A vacuum is produced, pulling in large volumes of surrounding, or ‘free’ air, through an around the jet (2). The exit flow is the combination of the two air sources (3).
EXAIR manufactures Air Jets in two types, High Velocity, and Adjustable with materials of construction of brass and Type 303 Stainless Steel. The High Velocity Air Jet uses a changeable shim to set the gap, controlling the force and flow of the air. The Adjustable does not use a shim, and has a micrometer gap indicator and locking ring to allow for varying force and flow performance.
EXAIR’sSwivel Fittings make it easy to adjust the position of the Air Nozzles and Air Jets. The fittings allow for movement of 25° form the center axis for a total movement of 50°. There are nine different models available and all of them are made from stainless steel
If you would like to discuss blow off, noise levels, dead end pressure or any of EXAIR’s intelligent compressed air usage solutions, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.
Recently, I worked with a production engineer at a Tier 1 supplier for the auto industry. An upcoming project was in the works to install a new line to produce headlight lenses. As a part of the process, there was to be a “De-static / Blow-off” station, where a shuttle system would bring a pair of the parts to a station where they would be blown off and any static removed prior to being transferred to a painting fixture and sent off for painting. For best results, the lenses were to be dust and lint free and have no static charge, ensuring a perfect paint result.
The customer was limited in compressed air supply volume in the area of the plant where this process was to occur. 50 SCFM of 80 PSIG was the expected air availability at peak use times, which posed a problem – the Super Ion Air Knives would need up to 105 SCFM if operated at 80 PSIG. A further review of the design parameters for the process revealed that the system needed to blow air for only 4 seconds and would be off for 25 seconds to meet the target throughput.
This scenario lends itself perfectly to the use of a Receiver Tank. Running all of the design numbers into the calculations, showed that the 60 Gallon Receiver Tank we offer, would allow for a 20 second run-time, and require 13.1 seconds to refill. These figures were well within the requires times, and would allow for the system to work as needed, without having to do anything to the compressed air supply system.
The moral of the story is – if you have a process that is intermittent, and the times for and between blow-off, drying, or cooling allows, a Receiver Tank can be used to allow you to get the most of your available compressed air system.
Note – Lee Evans wrote an easy to follow blog that details the principle and calculations of Receiver Tanks, and it is worth your time to read here.
If you would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.