Airborne particles surround us everywhere. In a general work environment, nearly four million particles per cubic foot is floating around us at any given time. When a compressor compresses this air, the concentration increases substantially. So, compressed air is not only expensive to make, but very dirty. As the air exits your air compressor and travels into your pneumatic system, there is so much contamination that the International Standard Organization, ISO, created an Air Quality chart with Purity Classes.
This chart is easy to follow and can be found in the ISO8573-1 standard for Air Quality. It is used to select a cleanliness level for your compressed air system. The contamination is categorized into three areas; Particles, Water, and Oil (reference above). A Class is associated with a number for each category ranging from 0 (most stringent) to 9 (most relaxed). As an example, an Air Quality value of ISO8573-1:2010 [1.2.4] has a Class 1 for Particles, Class 2 for Water, and Class 4 for Oil. These Class values will show the maximum value in each category.
To define the categories in more detail, I will separate the three to discuss the origins and solutions.
Particles: For solid particles, this part comes from many different areas. The surrounding ambient air that is being drawn into the air compressor is filtered; but the intake filter will only remove large diameter particles. The smaller diameter particles will go through the filter and into the compressed air system. Another part is rust particles that occur from steel air pipes and receiver tanks. Over time, rust will flake off and create particles that can affect pneumatic equipment. Other particles can come from components inside the air compressor, valves, etc., that wear and breakdown. In the ISO column for Particles, it is separated into three different micron ranges and concentrations. The removal of particles from the compressed air is done by traps and compressed air filters. EXAIR offers two types; Filter Separators with 5-micron filtration and Oil Removal Filters with 0.03-micron filtration. There are other types of filtration systems depending on your ISO requirement.
Water: Humidity is a natural occurrence as water vapor in the surrounding air. It can be measured as a dew point temperature. This is the temperature at which water will condense and make rain. Inside an air compressor, the air is ‘squeezed”, and the amount of space for water vapor is reduced. So, it will condense into liquid form as “rain” inside the pipes. Air that comes out from an air compressor will always be saturated with water. To remove liquid water, a mechanical device can be used. Inside a Filter Separator, a centrifugal separator will spin the air and remove the liquid water. To remove water vapor, a compressed air dryer is required like a refrigerant, desiccant, deliquescent, or membrane type. Each type will have a dew point range that they can reach. As an example, a refrigerant type will reduce the dew point near 37 oF (3 oC). That means that water will not condense until the temperature reaches below 37 oF (3 oC).
Oil: This category can be found as a liquid, aerosol or vapor, and it includes more than just oil. It contains small hydrocarbons, CO, CO2, SO2, and NOX. Oil mainly comes from inside an oil-flooded air compressor. As the air passes through the compressor, it will pick up remnants of oil aerosols and carry it downstream. With high temperatures inside the air compressor, some of the oil will vaporize. Even with oil-less type air compressors, carbon vapor can still be an issue. Small hydrocarbons can come through the air intake and condense inside the system like water vapor above. To remove the liquid and aerosol type of oil, Oil Removal Filters can be used. They are designed to “coalesce” the small particles into larger particles for gravity to remove. Oil vapor requires an activated carbon to remove. These types of filter units will adsorb the vapor. This helps to remove odors as well as dangerous chemical vapors that may be in the compressed air line.
There are a variety of pneumatic systems that use the ISO8573-1 standard. This will include breathing air operations, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and the electronic industries. If you need stringent requirement for your compressed air system, the Air Quality standard should be used by referring to the Class numbers above. This helps to dictate the types of filtration and air dryers that should be used within your pneumatic system. If you have any questions about your compressed air system, an Application Engineer at EXAIR can help.
I recently worked on a unique application for EXAIR’sBack Blow Nozzle. Generally, these products are used to clean out chips, debris, and coolant from the ID of pipes or tubes. With (3) different sizes available to clean out IDs ranging from ¼”-16” it’s the ideal solution for cleaning out pipes where blowing forward into the pipe won’t work. They’re also available on the end of a Safety Air Gun with extensions up to 72” long, allowing you to get to hard to reach areas.
This particular application, however, was slightly different. The customer has a large machine that rotates a large drum to dry the tobacco, much like a standard clothes dryer. Inside of this drum is a “spray boom” with an angled top designed to prevent the tobacco from settling and sticking in large quantities. At the end of this “spray boom” are Atomizing Nozzles used to apply a cleaning solution after each drying process is completed at the end of the shift. Unfortunately, the angled design didn’t work quite as well as they’d intended.
The customer needed a solution that could periodically clean off the boom while the drying was in operation. It wasn’t reasonable to do this at the end of the drying process once the majority of material had passed through. The accumulated tobacco on the boom was perfectly usable product and anything stuck after the cleaning operation would have to be thrown out as waste. In order to clean the boom and allow the stuck tobacco to remain as usable product, we needed an automated solution.
The customer installed (4) of the 1006SS Back Blow Nozzles situated around the boom to remove any stuck-on product during the drying process. The results spoke for themselves, at 90 PSIG it removed a 14” wide radius of material from the surface. By implementing the Back Blow Nozzle they were able to reduce waste and eliminate a daily 1-hour long cleaning process to remove stuck on material from the boom.
Just because it’s an outside-the-box application for one of our products, doesn’t mean it won’t work!! With EXAIR’s Unconditional 30-Day Guarantee, you can test any of our stock products out before committing to keep them. Reach out to an Application Engineer today if you have a unique application you’d like to discuss!
I recently had the pleasure of talking with a caller from a consulting firm that specializes in improved ergonomics. They work with clients on everything from preventing carpal tunnel syndrome through the use of things like gel-filled mouse pads for office personnel, to preventing injuries in the workplace due to repetitive strain, heavy lifting, and other physically demanding tasks. They called about an operation where workers used buckets to move 150 pounds of dense pellets from a large container into a smaller vessel for weight load testing. After the test, they move the pellets back into the container, where they stay until the next test is to be run. Then they do it again.
This, of course, was a great fit for a 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac and a 10ft length of Conveyance Hose. They simply move the suction & discharge hoses from, and to, the storage container & test vessel. Risk of injury is greatly reduced, as the whole Line Vac conveyance system is less than half the weight of one bucket of the material.
This is just the latest success story in the long history of EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors. They’re on the shelf in a range of sizes and materials of construction to meet most any need. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, though, call me and we can discuss your needs.
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Recently I was working with a company who grows plants using a method I’ve never heard of before, aeroponics. See I grew up on a farm, so I’m used to the old fashion way to grow crops! Dirt, water and sunlight, or as my grandpa would call them “The three pillars of life as we know it”.
So I had to do some research into aeroponics so I could understand if we could help him. It turns out aeroponics does not use a dirt medium, they relay on a very fine mist to provide the nutrients the plant needs to grow. But its very important that the mist have droplet sizes of less than 50 microns, or the roots will not be able to absorb it.
We ended up going with the AW8010SS Internal mix wide angle round pattern. And after playing with them the customer ran the nozzles at 5 PSIG air pressure and 10 PSI of liquid pressure. running the nozzle every 10-15 mins kept the room at the perfect humidity for the plants they are growing.
They are planning to install up to 20 of the AW8010SS Internal mix wide angle round pattern in each section of their facility once they build their building!
To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process and save you money, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Not much in life is free anymore. So, make sure and take advantage of EXAIR’s upcoming FREE webinar at 2:00 PM ET on 10/17/2019. Not only are we providing it for free, but in this webinar we’ll be discussing how you can save money by reducing your compressed air consumption. Something for free, that will help save you money? Almost unheard of these days!!! Hosted by one of our highly-trained Application Engineers, Jordan Shouse, you’ll learn about four common ways that you can easily save air in your facility.
Compressed air is often referred to as the fourth utility in industry. When used improperly, compressed air is extremely expensive. Homemade devices such as open-ended and drilled pipes, inefficient air nozzles, leaks, etc. all contribute to increased energy costs. In addition to being wasteful, these devices are not safe and compliant with OSHA standards and regulations. By using an Intelligent Compressed Air Product, you’ll be both saving money and creating a safer environment for your operators.
In this webinar, you’ll gain an understanding of the places in your facility that are wasting the most compressed air. We’ll educate you on the various engineered solutions available from EXAIR to help eliminate unnecessary compressed air usage. You’ll gain the knowledge necessary to determine the best solution based on the application, sound level, compressed air usage, and compliance with OSHA safety requirements. You’ll also learn about the various solutions available to help understand and optimize your compressed air system. You can’t begin implementing a plan to reduce air consumption until you fully understand the usage in your own facility and processes. EXAIR’s line of Optimization products are ideal to help you gain a baseline measurement and begin implementing new products and processes that’ll only help add to your bottom line.
After the conclusion of the webinar will be a brief Q&A session where you can ask any questions you have about any of the topics covered. Unable to attend the webinar live? Don’t let that stop you from registering! Afterwards, each registrant will receive a link via e-mail where they’ll be able to access the full webinar at any time. Make sure and take advantage of this opportunity to gain some knowledge about the usage of your compressed air. You’ll be glad you did!
With 119 distinct Models, EXAIR Line Vacs are used to convey everything from down feather to steel shot. They’re versatile, reliable, durable, and incredibly easy to install and operate. Consider this list of uses, starting with our smallest Line Vac, and going to our largest:
Model 6058 3/8″ Stainless Steel Line Vacs pull mica from a bulk container and spray it into a mold for making decorative stones, to apply a glittery surface. They used to do it by hand, but the Line Vacs spread it more consistently.
Model 130075 3/4″ Light Duty Line Vacs perform a similar function in a plastic cutting machine, conveying away cut chips and eliminating the need for periodically stopping the machine to clean up.
A medical device manufacturer saw a 50% increase in productivity when they went from removing flash by hand from molded silicon parts to using a Model 6061 1″ Stainless Steel Line Vac to suction it away automatically.
A mining equipment manufacturer reclaims sand from a secondary operation on their green sand molds with a Model 6062 1-1/4″ Stainless Steel Line Vac. This keeps their mold area clean, and has eliminated waste in production.
Model 151150 1-1/2 MNPT Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vacs, fitted into black iron pipe systems, reclaim hot metal chips from a deep channel milling machine, automating the transfer to the recycling hopper. This eliminated the risk of lifting AND burn injuries from the manual handling of the hot chips.
Model 6084 2″ Aluminum Line Vacs vacuum trim scrap from custom label making machines to a central scrap bin, keeping the floor clean, and keeping operators from having to empty individual bins at each machine.
A Model 6065 2-1/2″ Stainless Steel Line Vac conveys rejected peanuts (identified and segregated by a vision sorting machine) from the catch pan to a large collection hopper. This is hauled away at the end of each shift, instead of an operator paying constant attention to the catch pan.
Model 161300-316 3″ Sanitary Flange Line Vacs replaced mechanical conveyors in a grain mill, incorporating a totally enclosed Clean In Place (CIP) system. This greatly reduced contamination controls when the product was openly conveyed, and actually increased their conveyance rates of their bulk grains.
A Model 6087 4″ Aluminum Line Vac conveys an additive (in pellet form) into an asphalt mixer, replacing an auger conveyor that left product in the hopper and would clog regularly, resulting in messy spills.
A company that recycles spent ammo from gun ranges uses a Model 6088 5″ Aluminum Line Vac to convey the granulated rubber backstop material into their truck. After the ammo is separated, they use the Line Vac to replenish the granulated rubber into the backstop.
A Model 130600 6″ Light Duty Line Vac conveys linen squares (mostly 12″ and 24″ square) through the main header of a sorting operation in a commercial laundry facility. The system also incorporates several Model 120024 4″ Super Air Amplifiers in individual “pickup” branches.
No matter what kind of bulk material you need to move, EXAIR has a Line Vac product for it. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.
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In positive-displacement type compressors, a given quantity of air or gas is trapped in a compression chamber. The volume of this air is then mechanically reduced, causing an increase in pressure. A sliding-vane compressor will consist of a circular stator that is housed in a cylindrical rotor. The rotor then has radially positioned slots where the vanes reside. While the rotor turns on its axis, the vanes will slide out and contact the bore of the stator wall. This creates compression in these “cells”.
An inlet port is positioned to allow the air flow into each cell, allowing the cells to reach their maximum volume before reaching the discharge port. After passing by the inlet port, the size of the cell is reduced as rotation continues and each vane is then pushed back into its original slot in the rotor. Compression will continue until the cell reaches the discharge port. The most common form of sliding-vane compressor is the lubricant injected variety. In these compressors, a lubricant is injected into the compression chamber to act as a lubricant between the vanes and the stator wall, remove the heat of compression, as well as to provide a seal. Lubricant injected sliding-vane compressors are generally sold in the range of 10-200 HP, with capacities ranging from 40-800 acfm.
Advantages of a lubricant injected sliding-vane compressor include:
Relatively low purchase cost
Vibration-free operation does not require special foundations
Routine maintenance includes lubricant and filter changes
Some of the disadvantages that come with this type of compressor:
Less efficient than the rotary screw type
Lubricant carryover into the delivered air will require proper maintenance of an oil-removal filtration system
Will require periodic lubricant changes
With the host of different options in compressor types available on the market, EXAIR recommends talking to a reputable air compressor dealer in your area to help determine the most suitable setup based on your requirements. Once your system is up and running, be sure to contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to make sure you’re using that compressed air efficiently and intelligently!