6 Steps to Optimizing Compressed Air: Turn it Down!!!

TURN IT DOWN!!! My wife screamed at 6:00am the morning of our first NFL Sunday. As a lifelong Cincinnati Bengals fan, it’s been a tradition in our house for me to wake everyone up while blaring Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” first thing in the morning each and every week 1. After 13 years together you’d think she would be prepared for this by now, but I still get her every time.

You may also hear your maintenance manager screaming to turn it down while out in the shop. They’re not talking about music volume. They’re more concerned about the compressed air pressure you’re using.

In any application necessitating the use of compressed air, pressure should be controlled to minimize the air consumption at the point of use. Pressure regulators are available to control the air pressure within the system and throttle the appropriate supply of air to any pneumatic device. As the last of the six steps to optimizing your compressed air system, controlling air at the point of use can often be overlooked.

Pressure Regulators “dial in” performance to get the job done without using more air than necessary.

Pressure regulators utilize a control knob that is turned to either increase/decrease tension on a spring. The spring puts a load on the diaphragm which separates internal air pressure from the ambient pressure. Typically made of a flexible rubber material, these diaphragms react very quickly to changes in the air supply. By either increasing or decreasing the flow of air based on the load on the diaphragm, downstream pressure remains fairly constant.

While one advantage of a pressure regulator is certainly maintaining consistent pressure to your compressed air devices, using them to minimize your pressure can result in dramatic savings to your costs of compressed air. As pressure and flow are directly related, lowering the pressure supplied results in less compressed air usage. EXAIR recommends operating your Intelligent Compressed Air Products at the minimum pressure necessary to achieve a successful application. If you notice a desirable result at a pressure of 60 PSIG, or even less, there’s no need to run full line pressure. In-line point of use pressure regulators are the simplest and most reliable way to allow you to dial down to the pressure to any compressed air operated product.

When selecting a pressure regulator for your application, it’s critical that it is appropriately sized to supply adequate volume to the point of use devices downstream. Doing so, minimizes the risk of experiencing “droop”. Droop is a decrease in outlet pressure from the specified setting due to an increase in flow rate.  Droop occurs when the demand at the point of use exceeds the volume of air that the regulator can supply. By ensuring the pressure regulator is rated to deliver sufficient volume of air, you’ll reduce the chances of experiencing droop. EXAIR offers pressure regulators in kits along with many of our products, we’ve done the hard part for you and made sure they’re properly sized!

If you’re looking for ways to help lessen the demand on your compressor, EXAIR’s team of Application Engineers will be happy to help. Reach out to us via phone, chat, or e-mail and see for yourself just how easy it can be to start saving compressed air!

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com

Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

YouTube. (2009). YouTube. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1tj2zJ2Wvg.

EXAIR Case Studies Share Succe$$

EXAIR provides many informative tools to help you decide which of our products will work best for you. We have a qualified staff of Application Engineers, a comprehensive catalog, Installation Sheets, Blogs, and a library of Case Studies, to name a few. Following is more about our Case Studies and how they can be helpful.

EXAIR keeps a library of Case Studies for your reference. The Library s is also organized by product so you can easily find the information and product you have interest. These case studies summarize how our customers have purchased, used, and benefited from our products and their purchase. These studies focus on our products and your project, we do not use our customer names and only use photos and verbiage that you approve and share with us.

The process to develop a Case Study is as easy as talking to one of our Application Engineers. We will discuss your project and work with you to decide the wording and photos that you approve for the study. Once the study has been completed and approved we can discuss a credit on your purchase or percentage discount on your next purchase. This becomes a “win, win” for both you and EXAIR.

EXAIR appreciates a good success story, and we want to encourage you to share your success from using one or more of our products. This is why EXAIR incentivizes Case Studies. We will offer a discount to any company who will provide enough information to produce a case study. If you have interest to create a Case Study (and save money) on your next project please contact one of our Application Engineers so we can discuss your application and goals.

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

Laminar and Turbulent Air Flow

I have a manufacturing background primarily with automotive and plastic injection molding. I used compressed air but I will admit that I did not know the difference between Laminar and Turbulent air flow. You’ll often hear EXAIR refer to laminar vs turbulent flow when discussing our blow off of products. I will briefly describe the difference between the two and hopefully we all learn something new. In any blow off process or application, laminar airflow is going to be much more effective at eliminating pressure drops, blowing product and reducing noise levels than the turbulent air flow. To read more about the math behind it, check out my colleague John Ball’s previous post here.

A good example of an EXAIR product that delivers a laminar air flow are our Super Air Knives. The super air knife offers a more efficient way to clean, dry or cool parts, webs or conveyors. They deliver a uniform sheet of “Laminar” airflow across the entire hard-hitting force. The Super Air Knives deliver a uniform sheet of air that has the same force across the entire length.

The efficiency of EXAIR’s Super Air Knife delivering the laminar air flow becomes more valuable when comparing the effectiveness to a blower operated knife or fans. A fan “slaps” the air, resulting in a turbulent airflow where the airflow particles are irregular and will interfere with each other. A laminar airflow, by contrast, will maintain smooth paths that will never interfere with one another, which allows for maximum velocity and can produce higher force levels.

EXAIR had a customer needing help applying icing on snack cakes. As baked sponge cakes moved down a conveyor, a continuous ribbon of icing was applied to the individual cakes. Trying to make a clean break in the icing was next to impossible. Mechanical blades needed constant cleaning. Compressed air through a series of holes in drilled pipe used too much air, was noisy and did not make a clean break.

The solution was using an EXAIR Stainless Steel Super Air Knife. A photo eye detected space between cakes turning the compressed air on at the precise moment to apply a uniform airflow and velocity against the ribbon of icing, creating a nice clean break. The stainless steel Air Knife was the best choice for this application. Since there was no contact with the icing, no additional cleaning was required. The Laminar flow of the Super Air Knife had uniform velocity across the entire length and broke the ribbon of icing evenly. This successful result would never have been possible with turbulent air from drilled pipe, nozzles or a blower.

The Super Air knives are just one of many of EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air products. When planning your next project that requires compressed air please contact one of our many Application Engineers for assistance. EXAIR takes pride in our products and customer service.

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

Decibel Levels in Manufacturing

The Decibel (dB) is a unit used to measure the intensity of sound. Decibel levels are a little tricky as human ears are incredibly sensitive. Our ears can hear everything from a gnat flying by your ear to to very loud jet engines. The range of sound level is very vast. Manufacturing environments can be loud and expose employees to harmful noise levels. You can see some interesting manufacturing noise exposure data from the CDC, here.

On the decibel scale, the smallest audible sound (near total silence) is 0 dB. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dB. Here are some common sounds and their decibel ratings:

Experience tells us that many things distance affects the intensity of sound. Noise levels can be due to product design, proximity to the noise, frequency of processes, quantity of noise producing machines or processes. Exposure to high noise levels can be harmful. Extended length of exposure to sound levels above above 80 dB can begin hearing loss. If you feel you have to raise the level of your voice to be heard then you can assume that you are in an environment of 85 or greater dB. OSHA Standard 29 CFR-1910.95 (a) shows the Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure.

EXAIR engineers our products with safety and exposure in mind and we manufacture most every product to be under any threshold where hearing protection is required. If any product (like our largest Super Air Nozzles) is above the threshold, EXAIR is clear that hearing protection is needed. Please visit www.EXAIR.com and view how our Intelligent Compressed Air Products can help your quality of work atmosphere. If you have any questions regarding our products or for advice as to what products can improve the safety of your work environment, please contact any one of our Application Engineers.

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