ROI – Worth Looking at the Details

ROI or Return On Investment is a way to gauge the productivity or profit/loss from money spent on an investment. In business, companies will use this information to determine if a project or investment is worth the risk, ultimately leading to a net profit gain as the end result.

Don’t waste your money

In my own personal experience, my wife and I were considering buying into a timeshare vacation property a few years ago. To enter into the agreement, the company required a $ 22,000 “buy-in” (financed of course) and a recurring cost of approximately $60/month for the next 22 years. This would have afforded us 124 “points” for nightly stays on our planned vacation. Their timeshare rentals are tiered into different room types – Studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom or a 3 bedroom villas – with each room type costing a certain amount of points. For us to maximize the length of our stay, we would have to select the studio room which would have given 6 nights at a total of the 124 points.

We have visited this popular vacation destination several times so we know what the average cost is to spend a week on property and purchase theme park tickets for our stay. When we booked on our own, we spent on average a little less than $ 3,000 for 7 days which included our room each night and 6 day park passes per person.

The timeshare rental cost was just for the nightly stay, it didn’t include any park tickets, food or other recreations. On average, the cost for 6 days worth of park passes per adult is close to $ 450.00 and per child it was around $ 400.00. Considering there are 2 adults and 1 child (at the time) we had to pay an additional cost of $ 1,300.00.

So if we joined the timeshare and stayed for 1 week once a year, it was going to cost us approximately $ 3,020.00 ($ 1,720.00 (timeshare cost) + $ 1,300.00 in tickets). In this case, it was actually going to cost us MORE in the long run than if we booked a yearly vacation on our own (< $3,000), leading to a negative ROI. (not to mention, I really didn’t want to commit to the same vacation for the next 22 years!).

When discussing replacement compressed air blowoff solutions with a customer, many times they look at the purchase price of the device and question if it’s worth it for them to make a change. If you follow along with our blog, you will notice that over the last few months we have submitted several different entries relating to this topic, like replacing drilled pipe with our 12″ Super Air Knife resulting in a 47 day ROI or where a customer replaced 4 open copper tubes with our 1110SS Nano Super Air Nozzle and recurring their expenses in just 38 days. In these instances, we show the calculations in regards to the true cost of ownership and how quickly you can recover capital funds when considering the whole scope of the project.

At EXAIR, we are committed to providing Intelligent Compressed Air® Products that reduce compressed air consumption leading to a more efficient process, as well as increasing operator safety. If you are considering an EXAIR solution for your current process but have questions about price or performance, contact one of our application engineers for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Little things add up image courtesy of Nic McPhee via creative commons license

Adjustable Air Amplifier Keeps Sensor Cool

Our distributor in China has a customer who visited the United States, while their customer was in the US they saw an EXAIR product installed and wanted to replicate the setup in China. He saw the EXAIR label and reached out to our distributor for help in identifying the part. Taking a quick measurement of the inlet side of the Adjustable Air Amplifier led us to discern it was a Model 6041 1-1/4” Adjustable Air Amplifier.

adjustable air amplifier sensor cooling
EXAIR Model 6041

The product was installed on a baghouse monitoring system. The sensor is used to detect minor leaks within the dust collection system before the leaks create a major problem. The environment in which the sensor was installed results in temperatures that are just above the normal operating temperatures during warmer months and can result in erroneous readings. When this occurs, production is shutdown to prevent a failure of the dust collection system while the filters can be inspected. By installing the Adjustable Air Amplifier to provide a large volume of air and a low level of compressed air consumption, the temperature is able to be maintained within typical operating range for the sensor. This alleviates the need for unnecessary shutdowns (or unnecessary filter replacement), while ensuring that the working environment remains dust-free.

EXAIR’s Adjustable Air Amplifiers are available in both Stainless Steel and Aluminum from sizes ranging from ¾”-4” on the air outlet. The outlet can be ducted as seen in this application, or it can be used as-is. The air gap of the Adjustable Air Amplifier is infinitely adjustable, allowing you to regulate both the air consumption and outlet flow from a “breeze” to a “blast”. In addition to the standard Adjustable Air Amplifiers, we also have a Model 121021 High Temperature Air Amplifier available that is capable of withstanding temperatures as high as 700°F.

Air Amplifiers can be used in a variety of different applications. Not only can they be used in applications requiring cooling, but the air entrainment properties of the amplifier can be used to exhaust smoke as discussed in this application at a foundry. An Adjustable Amplifier can also be used for drying or cleaning parts as well as for conveying light materials.

Regardless of the application, EXAIR has a suitably sized Air Amplifier to fit your needs. If you need an efficient and reliable way to vent, cool, clean, or dry parts give us a call. An Application Engineer would be happy to take a look at your application and provide the best recommendation.

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

IP Codes for Electrical Enclosures – What do they Mean?

The IP Code, otherwise known as ‘Ingress Protection’, ratings are defined in the international standard EN 60529 (or European IEC 60529.) Similar to NEMA ratings by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the IP ratings are used define the level of sealing effectiveness of enclosures against penetration from foreign matter and water/moisture.  The ratings for an enclosure are determined by actual testing.

The IP number is composed of the letters ‘IP’, two numbers and possibly one or two letters.  The first number refers to the protection level against solids, and the second number to the liquid protection level. The higher the  number, the greater the protection level. The optional letter codes relate to protection of persons against access to hazards within the cabinet, and any other special notice.

Below tables show the possible protection ratings and the description-

IP Table

Example – IP54 – IP – Code Letters, 1st Numeral is 5, 2nd Numeral is 4

An enclosure with an IP rating of this designation, IP54 –

  • 5 – Equipment within enclosure is protected from ingress dust of a limited quantity, such that no interference of performance is caused
  • 4 – Equipment within enclosure should have no harmful effects due to water splashed against the enclosure from any angle

Here at EXAIR we work with IP ratings everyday.  The Cabinet Cooler System line of products are made to keep electrical enclosures cool inside, while maintaining the integrity of the enclosure IP Code rating.

If you would like to talk about IP or NEMA ratings and the Cabinet Cooler Systems or 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.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Line Loss: What It Means To Your Compressed Air Supply Pipe, Tubing, And Hose

“Leave the gun. Take the canolli.”

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

“I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!”

“This EXAIR 42 inch Super Air Knife has ¼ NPT ports, but the Installation and Operation Instructions recommend feeding it with, at a minimum, a ¾ inch pipe…”

If you’re a movie buff like me, you probably recognize 75% of those quotes from famous movies. The OTHER one, dear reader, is from a production that strikes at the heart of this blog, and we’ll watch it soon enough. But first…

It is indeed a common question, especially with our Air Knives: if they have 1/4 NPT ports, why is such a large infeed supply pipe needed?  It all comes down to friction, which slows the velocity of the fluid all by itself, and also causes turbulence, which further hampers the flow.  This means you won’t have as much pressure at the end of the line as you do at the start, and the longer the line, the greater this drop will be.

This is from the Installation & Operation Guide that ships with your Super Air Knife. It’s also available from our PDF Library (registration required.)

If you want to do the math, here’s the empirical formula.  Like all good scientific work, it’s in metric units, so you may have to use some unit conversions, which I’ve put below, in blue (you’re welcome):

dp = 7.57 q1.85 L 104 / (d5 p)

where:

dp = pressure drop (kg/cm2) 1 kg/cm2=14.22psi

q = air volume flow at atmospheric conditions (FAD, or ‘free air delivery’) (m3/min) 1 m3/min = 35.31 CFM

L = length of pipe (m) 1m = 3.28ft

d = inside diameter of pipe (mm) 1mm = 0.039”

p = initial pressure – abs (kg/cm2) 1 kg/cm2=14.22psi

Let’s solve a problem:  What’s the pressure drop going to be from a header @80psig, through 10ft of 1″ pipe, feeding a Model 110084 84″ Aluminum Super Air Knife (243.6 SCFM compressed air consumption @80psig)…so…

q = 243.6 SCFM, or 6.9 m3/min

L = 10ft, or 3.0 m

d = 1″, or 25.6 mm

p = 80psig, or 94.7psia, or 6.7 kg/cm2

1.5 psi is a perfectly acceptable drop…but what if the pipe was actually 50 feet long?

Again, 1.5 psi isn’t bad at all.  8.2 psi, however, is going to be noticeable.  That’s why we’re going to recommend a 1-1/4″ pipe for this length (d=1.25″, or 32.1 mm):

I’m feeling much better now!  Oh, I said we were going to watch a movie earlier…here it is:

If you have questions about compressed air, we’re eager to hear them.   Call us.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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EXAIR’s Super Air Amplifier Removes Scrap Label Trim

air amp italian dressing.PNG(2)
Placement of the Super Air Amplifier tucked away in the machine

Recently I worked with our distributor in Peru that had a customer who was experiencing a nuisance issue one of their production lines. The company is a graphics company that serves many different food manufacturers in the Peruvian market. In this case, they were making a label for a salad dressing company. During the converting process, scrap trim is produced. This was falling to the ground, building up over time, and eventually would need to be cleaned up. To do so, they had to stop production and have an operator manually clean up the mess before restarting the machine.

IMG_20180123_120318
EXAIR’s Model 120021

Enter EXAIR’s Model 120021 Super Air Amplifier. The customer positioned the amplifier so that it would catch the scrap trim and convey it away from the machine. They positioned a waste receptacle about 6’ away and ducted the amplifier to carry the scrap to this bin. This eliminated their need to stop production and allowed them to run continuously. Before installing the Super Air Amplifier, they had to stop the machine approximately 4x or more per day for cleanup. At 10 minutes per, this was 40 minutes of lost production time per day! After proving the concept on this machine, the customer now plans to outfit another 3 with the same setup.

Because the material was so light and was only traveling a short distance, the Super Air Amplifier was a suitable solution. We’ve blogged in the past about similar applications where scrap trim is conveyed using a Line Vac. This is also a suitable solution, the Line Vac can be sized to accommodate your material and prevent excess scrap from accumulating and causing problems in your processes.

If you have a converting application that produces scrap trim, give us a call. We can help size an appropriate solution and make sure you’re not wasting valuable production time cleaning up the mess!

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

Compressed Air and Safety

Warning

Compressed air is generally considered the fourth utility in industrial, commercial and back-yard settings.  It is used to power pneumatic equipment, cleaning surfaces, conveying materials, etc.  The compressor reduces the volume inside a chamber to increase the pressure.  The compressed air typically is contained in a reservoir tank for distribution to pneumatic equipment and devices.  Since air is a compressible fluid it has stored energy; and, if not used properly, it can be hazardous.  Most people perceive compressed air as harmless, but this is untrue.  It can be very dangerous.  Here are some potential risks when using compressed air:

  1. If the air pressure against the skin becomes greater than 30 PSI, air can penetrate through the membrane and cause an embolism which could be fatal.  The term used is Dead-End pressure, any end-use nozzle or blowoff product cannot exceed 30 PSI dead-end pressure.
  2. Hearing damage can occur from exposure to loud noises from compressed air exhausting from pneumatic equipment or devices.
  3. Proper use of Safety Air Guns and Safety Air Nozzles is a must. They should not be modified or tampered with.  For example, tying the trigger on an air gun for continuous blowing or modifying the nozzle to get a different blowing pattern.
  4. Compressed air can generate high velocities which can shoot chards of debris. The accelerated fragment can injure any part of the body even from bounce-back.
  5. If the air pressure is higher than the recommended rating for the equipment, uncontrolled eruptions can occur which can send broken pieces everywhere.
  6. When air hoses or lines are laying on the floor, near pinch points, or degrades from the environment, a break can occur causing unrestrained hose “whipping”.

Some safety precautions can be followed in your area when using compressed air products.  They may seem basic, but they are commonly overlooked.

  1. Verify that all compressed air components are rated to be used for the maximum line pressure.
  2. Use shut-off valves nearby to isolate the system from the main compressed air line.
  3. Have general inspection on your compressed air system to check for pipe degradation, leaks, faulty pneumatics, etc.
  4. When you go to repair items attached to the compressed air line, make sure to use proper lockout procedures to isolate and remove the hazardous energy.
  5. Remember that compressed air is not a toy and use proper PPE when required.
  6. If any pneumatically operated product is damaged, remove it from service and either repair it or replace it.
EXAIR Products

In 1970, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, was enacted by the Department of Labor.  This organization was created “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women”.  They created a set of laws and standards that they enforce with heavy fines and reoccurring visits if not followed.  The Department of Labor lists these laws under title 29 in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  For general industry, these safety regulations are under part 1910 of 29 CFR.  To give a few examples, 29 CFR 1910.242b gives the explanation about dead-end pressure.  Under 29 CFR 1910.95a shows the maximum allowable noise exposure.  The reason that I noted these two OSHA standards as they are commonly overlooked with Safety Air Guns, and commonly fined by OSHA for improper nozzles.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and EXAIR products can be a key.  If you would like to discuss how to improve your workplace, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.     Because hazards and fines can be detrimental to your company when it comes to compressed air safety.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Attention Warning Sign by Peter-LomasCreative Commons: CCO

 

 

Intelligent Compressed Air: Distribution Piping

air compressor

An important component of your compressed air system is the distribution piping. The piping will be the “veins” that connect your entire facility to the compressor. Before installing pipe, it is important to consider how the compressed air will be consumed at the point of use. Some end use devices must have adequate ventilation. For example, a paint booth will need to be installed near an outside wall to exhaust fumes. Depending on the layout of your facility, this may require long piping runs.  You’ll need to consider the types of fittings you’ll use, the size of the distribution piping, and whether you plan to add additional equipment in the next few years. If so, it is important that the system is designed to accommodate any potential expansion. This also helps to compensate for potential scale build-up (depending on the material of construction) that will restrict airflow through the pipe.

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine your air compressor’s maximum CFM and the necessary operating pressure for your point of use products. Keep in mind, operating at a lower pressure can dramatically reduce overall operating costs. Depending on a variety of factors (elevation, temperature, relative humidity) this can be different than what is listed on directly on the compressor. (For a discussion of how this impacts the capacity of your compressor, check out one of my previous blogs – Intelligent Compressed Air: SCFM, ACFM, ICFM, CFM – What do these terms mean?) Once you’ve determined your compressor’s maximum CFM, draw a schematic of the necessary piping and list out the length of each straight pipe run. Determine the total length of pipe needed for the system. Using a graph or chart, such as this one from Engineering Toolbox. Locate your compressor’s capacity on the y-axis and the required operating pressure along the x-axis. The point at which these values meet will be the recommended MINIMUM pipe size. If you plan on future expansion, now is a good time to move up to the next pipe size to avoid any potential headache.

Once you’ve determined the appropriate pipe size, you’ll need to consider how everything will begin to fit together. According to the “Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems” from the Compressed Air Challenge, the air should enter the compressed air header at a 45° angle, in the direction of flow and always through wide-radius elbows. A sharp angle anywhere in the piping system will result in an unnecessary pressure drop. When the air must make a sharp turn, it is forced to slow down. This causes turbulence within the pipe as the air slams into the insides of the pipe and wastes energy. A 90° bend can cause as much as 3-5 psi of pressure loss. Replacing 90° bends with 45° bends instead eliminates unnecessary pressure loss across the system.

Pressure drop through the pipe is caused by the friction of the air mass making contact with the inside walls of the pipe. This is a function of the volume of flow through the pipe. Larger diameter pipes will result in a lower pressure drop, and vice versa for smaller diameter pipes. The chart below from the “Compressed Air and Gas Institute Handbook” provides the pressure drop that can be expected at varying CFM for 2”, 3”, and 4” ID pipe.

pressure drop in pipe

You’ll then need to consider the different materials that are available. Some different materials that you’ll find are: steel piping (Schedule 40) both with or without galvanizing, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and even some plastic piping systems are available.

While some companies do make plastic piping systems, plastic piping is not recommended to be used for compressed air. Some lubricants that are present in the air can act as a solvent and degrade the pipe over time. PVC should NEVER be used as a compressed air distribution pipe. While PVC piping is inexpensive and versatile, serious risk can occur when using with compressed air. PVC can become brittle with age and will eventually rupture due to the stress. Take a look at this inspection report –  an automotive supply store received fines totaling $13,200 as a result of an injury caused by shrapnel from a PVC pipe bursting.

Steel pipe is a traditional material used in many compressed air distribution systems.  It has a relatively low price compared to other materials and due to its familiarity is easy to install. It’s strong and durable on the outside. Its strength comes at a price, steel pipe is very heavy and requires anchors to properly suspend it. Steel pipe (not galvanized) is also susceptible to corrosion. This corrosion ends up in your supply air and can wreak havoc on your point-of-use products and can even contaminate your product. While galvanized steel pipe does reduce the potential for corrosion, this galvanizing coating can flake off over time and result in the exact same potential issues. Stainless Steel pipe eliminates the corrosion and rusting concerns while still maintaining the strength and durability of steel pipe. They can be more difficult to install as stainless steel pipe threads can be difficult to work with.

Copper piping is another potential option. Copper pipe is corrosion-free, easy to cut, and lightweight making it easy to suspend. These factors come at a significant increase in costs, however, which can prevent it from being a suitable solution for longer runs or larger ID pipe installations. Soldering of the connecting joints can be time consuming and does require a skilled laborer to do so, making copper piping a mid-level solution for your compressed air system.

Another lightweight material that is becoming increasingly more common in industry is aluminum piping. Like copper, aluminum is lightweight and anti-corrosion. They’re easy to connect with push-to-lock connectors and are ideal for clean air applications. Aluminum pipe remains leak-free over time and can dramatically reduce compressed air costs. While the initial cost can be high, eliminating potential leaks can help to recoup some of the initial investment. Aluminum pipe is also coated on the inside to prevent corrosion. While an aluminum piping system may be the most expensive, its easy installation and adaptability make it an excellent choice.

It can be easy to become overwhelmed with the variety of options at your disposal. Your facility layout, overall budget, and compressed air requirements will allow you to make the best choice. Once you’ve selected and installed your distribution piping, look to the EXAIR website for all of your point-of-use compressed air needs!

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