On October 24, 2023, I presented a live webinar covering the methods and advantages of turning the compressed air off when it’s not in use or unneeded.
Compressed air is often referred to as one of the major utilities in most manufacturing facilities due to the cost to generate it. A major benefit to utilizing compressed air is the speed at which it can be shut off and re-energized for use – in fact, this can be done instantaneously. Shutting down the supply of compressed air to an application while it is not needed can drastically reduce the compressed air consumption of the process over time. This is an easy tactic that can produce significant savings for your process and your facility, even if you have high efficiency pneumatic equipment installed, this can still garner notable savings.
Here is the playback for that webinar!
If you would like to discuss any of EXAIR’s safe, quiet & efficient compressed air products, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call or shoot me an email!
At EXAIR ,our Application Engineering team strive to give our customers, the best advise possible. Very often we are going to have a product that is going to help in your application, but sometimes it’s. “Hey we don’t have what you’re looking for, but here is a resource I think will help!” We want to be a subject-matter expert to you, the person using the products on your compressed air system. And that is why most of our team here are Certified Compressed Air System Specialists (CCASS) through CAGI.
Since air compressors use a lot of electricity to make compressed air, it is important to use the compressed air as efficiently as possible. EXAIR has six simple steps to optimize your compressed air system. Following these steps will help you to cut electrical costs, reduce overhead, and improve your bottom line. In this blog, I will cover the first step – Measure the air consumption to find sources that use a lot of compressed air.
****But if you are interested in the other steps here are some blogs written by some of my colleagues! Step 2 , Step 3, Step 4, Step 5, Step 6. (Teaser, the Fall 2023 Webinar may be about Step 4!)
Real time Data is important to diagnose wasteful and problematic areas within your compressed air system. To measure air consumption, flow meters are used to find the volume or mass of compressed air per unit of time. Flow rates are very useful data points to find problems like leaks, over-use in blow-offs, waste calculations, and comparison analysis.There are many different types of flow meters. Many of them entail a breakdown of your current compressed air lines by cutting, welding, or dismantling for installation. This will add cost in downtime and maintenance staff. But, not with the EXAIR Digital Flowmeters. In this blog, I will share the features and benefits of the Digital Flowmeters including options for you to start measuring and optimizing your compressed air system in Step 1.
Overall, it only takes a few minutes to install and start measuring. The installation kit comes with a drill bit and a drill guide to properly locate the two holes on the pipe. The Digital Flowmeter uses a clamp to mount to the pipe and to seal the area around the probes. Once it is powered, the unit is ready to measure the air flow inside the pipe with a large LED display. The display can be customized to show flow readings in three different units; SCFM, M3/hr or M3/min; and, it can display the Daily Usage and Cumulative Usage.
To get started, the EXAIR Digital Flowmeter is a thermal dispersion device that can accurately measure compressed air flows. They use two sensing probes for comparative analysis. One probe is a temperature sensing probe, and the other is a flow-sensing probe. By comparing these, the Digital Flowmeter can measure precisely the mass air flow without needing to be recalibrated. They are a cost-effective, accurate, and simple way to measure compressed air flow. EXAIR stocks Digital Flowmeters to ship same day for U.S. and Canadian customers.
We also offer a 30-day unconditional guarantee to try them out. We stock meters for pipe diameters from ½” NPT to 4″ NPT Schedule 40 black pipe. EXAIR can also offer flow meters up to 8″ NPT black pipe; copper pipes with diameters from 3/4″ to 4″, and aluminum pipes with diameters ranging from 40mm to 101mm. If you have another type of piping for your compressed air system, you can give us the material, O.D. or I.D., and wall thickness. We may still be able to offer a Digital Flowmeter calibrated for you.
When you need to analyze your pneumatic components, flow is an important point in diagnosing the overall “health” of your compressed air system. EXAIR Digital Flowmeter can give you that important data point. With optimization, you can cut your energy consumption, find additional capacity, improve pneumatic efficiencies, and save yourself money. This blog is an overview of Step 1 of six steps. You may have more questions; and, that is great! You can find them in other EXAIR blogs, (linked above) or you can contact me or any of our Application Engineers here at EXAIR.
In any manufacturing environment, compressed air is critical to the operation of many processes. You will often hear compressed air referred to as a “4th utility” in a manufacturing environment. The makeup of a compressed air system is usually divided into two primary parts: the supply side and the demand side. The supply side consists of components before and including the pressure/flow controller. The demand side then consists of all the components after the pressure/flow controller.
The first primary component in the system is the air compressor itself. There are two main categories of air compressors: positive-displacement and dynamic. In a positive-displacement type, a given quantity of air is trapped in a compression chamber. The volume of which it occupies is mechanically reduced (squished), causing a corresponding rise in pressure. In a dynamic compressor, velocity energy is imparted to continuously flowing air by a means of impellers rotating at a very high speed. The velocity energy is then converted into pressure energy.
Still on the supply side, but installed after the compressor, are after coolers, and compressed air dryers. An after cooler is designed to cool the air down upon exiting from the compressor. During the compression, heat is generated that carries into the air supply. An after cooler uses a fan to blow ambient air across coils to lower the compressed air temperature.
When air leaves the after cooler, it is typically saturated since atmospheric air contains moisture. In higher temperatures, the air is capable of holding even more moisture. When this air is then cooled, it can no longer contain all of that moisture and is lost as condensation. The temperature at which the moisture can no longer be held is referred to as the dewpoint. Dryers are installed in the system to remove unwanted moisture from the air supply. Types of dryers available include: refrigerant dryers, desiccant dryers, and membrane dryers.
Also downstream of the compressor are filters used to remove particulate, condensate, and lubricant. Desiccant and deliquescent-type dryers require a pre-filter to protect the drying media from contamination that can quickly render it useless. A refrigerant-type dryer may not require a filter before/after, but any processes or components downstream can be impacted by contaminants in the compressed air system.
Moving on to the demand side, we have the distribution system made up of a network of compressed air piping, receiver tanks when necessary, and point of use filters/regulators. Compressed air piping is commonly available as schedule 40 steel pipe, copper pipe, and aluminum pipe. Some composite plastics are available as well, however PVC should NEVER be used for compressed air as some lubricants present in the air can act as a solvent and degrade the pipe over time.
Receiver tanks are installed in the distribution system to provide a source of compressed air close to the point of use, rather than relying on the output of the compressor. The receiver tank acts as a “battery” for the system, storing compressed air energy to be used in periods of peak demand. This helps to maintain a stable compressed air pressure. It improves the overall performance of the system and helps to prevent pressure drop.
Finally, we move on to the point-of-use. While particulate and oil removal filters may be installed at the compressor output, it is still often required to install secondary filtration immediately at the point-of-use to remove any residual debris, particulate, and oil. Receiver tanks and old piping are both notorious for delivering contaminants downstream, after the initial filters.
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. 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 manufactures a wide variety of products utilizing this compressed air to help you with your process problems. If you’d like to discuss your compressed air system, or have an application that necessitates an Intelligent Compressed Air Product, give us a call.
The EXAIR Super Air Knives as well as most of EXAIR products have no moving parts! What does that mean, well with no moving parts that means there are no parts to wear out! Other than changing a compressed air filter element here and there (somewhere around $30-$50 bucks) and opening the knife to clean it. That is it!
Blowers on the other hand are a whole different story, there are LOADS of moving parts resulting in downtime and numerous replacement parts. I’m just going to cover the main ones!
Belts and Tensioners
Just like you car your blower motor and blower heads are connected by a rubber belt and tensioner to keep it tight and clean. Over time since there is so much vibration and movement these belts can start to wear down or tear, leading to a 1-2 Hour downtime to find and repair the issue. The same thing will happen with the bearing in the Tensioners.
Blower Heads and Motors
All high speed rotating equipment will eventually fail, due to normal wear of seals and bearings. So you either need a spare which can be a pricey investment or your operation will be down until you get it repaired or swapped out by the manufacturer.
Blowers have an inlet filter installed. However, rather than filtering the compressed air like a compressed air knife (within the enclosed compressed air line) blowers filter the ambient air around the blower (within the application space). So if your facility is dirty and dusty these filters are going to succumb to the various, environmental contaminations rather quickly.
To break that down a little better!
Blower System – The intake filter has to be changed periodically as well as the motor and belt has to be checked as a preventive maintenance. Being that the blower motor is a mechanical device, the bearings and belts will wear and have to be replaced. Without proper maintenance, things can break prematurely. Loss of production will cost your facility revenue on the bottom line.
Super Air Knife – They do not have any moving parts to wear out. Only compressed air is needed to operate. The maintenance requirement is to change the compressed air filter once a year.
When you bring the whole picture into view the total cost of ownership is quite clear when you look at loss of output, loss of product, and breakdown of equipment. Yes the power generated in some cases by the compressor can be more than a blower. But when you look at purchase price, installation cost, and maintenance, the compressed air operated, Air Knife is the clear winner.
Compressed air can be expensive, but if you useEXAIR products, you can use the compressed air very efficiently. You do not have to sacrifice other areas within the total cost of ownership. If you have a similar application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to discuss the benefits of using the EXAIR Super Air Knives over a blower-type air knife.