Benefits of Air Nozzles Replacing Coolant Lines used for Air

Over the years, EXAIR has come across many different types of blow-off devices.  We have seen copper tubes, pipes with crushed ends, fittings with holes drilled into them, and modular flex lines.  For compressed air use, these are very dangerous and very inefficient.

A plastic machining center was looking for a better way to blow compressed air.  They were using modular flex lines, similar to Loc-line, which are mainly designed for spraying coolant.  They had 14 blow-off lines in their plant that were about 18” (457mm) long and operated 8 hours a day at 40 PSIG (2.8 bar).  They liked the positioning feature of the flex line, but they could tell by the loud noises that they were wasting compressed air.  So, they contacted EXAIR.

When EXAIR started to manufacture compressed air products in 1983, we created a culture in making high quality products that are safe, effective, and very efficient.  With our Super Air Nozzles, we engineered a way to entrain the ambient air to add mass to the air stream to use less compressed air with a strong force.  This is done by the Venturi method.  We create a high velocity which will make a low pressure at the exit.  The surrounding air is drawn into the compressed air stream increasing efficiency.  We also engineered fins to support OSHA compliance in noise levels and dead-end pressure.  So, if your skin comes in contact with an EXAIR nozzle, the end will not be able to be blocked and allow air to penetrate the skin membrane; even above 30 PSIG (2 bar).  I went over the cost savings and safety solutions that EXAIR’s products could give.

EXAIR Super Air Nozzle entrainment

Since the modular flex lines had a ¼” (6mm) opening, I recommended the model 1100 Super Air Nozzle with a Stay Set Hose.  This recommendation is from experience with these types of blow-off devices.  The Stay Set Hoses will give them that possibility of manually adjusting and re-adjusting the Super Air Nozzles.  The hoses have a “memory” function and will not creep or droop until you physically move it.  They work well to direct air flows at specific target areas like the flex lines above.  For the company above, I recommended the model 1100-9218 which is a model 1100 Super Air Nozzle with an 18” (457mm) long Stay Set Hose.  It was easy to remove the flex line and replace it with a safer and more efficient product

Model 1100-9218

Now, let’s look at the savings.  The Super Air Nozzle with the 18” Stay Set Hose cost $92.00 each.  The flex line is generally around $10.00 each.  But this is not the total cost of ownership.  As an efficiency comparison, the model 1100 Super Air Nozzle will only use 8 SCFM (227 SLPM) of compressed air at 40 PSIG (2.8 bar); and, the noise level is reduced to 70 dBA for each nozzle.  At 40 PSIG (2.8 bar), the flex line had a noise level of 97 dBA and an air usage of 19 SCFM (538 SLPM).

For the annual savings and the payback period, I will look at the electrical cost.  (Since the Super Air Nozzle is using less compressed air, the maintenance and wear on your air compressor is reduced.)

  • The air savings is calculated from the difference in air usage; 19 SCFM for flex line – 8 SCFM for Super Air Nozzle = 11 SCFM savings per blow-off device.
  • With 14 flex lines, the total compressed air savings will be 11 SCFM * 14 = 154 SCFM.
  • To get into the cost, an air compressor can produce 5.36 SCFM/KW of electricity at a cost of $0.10/KWh.  For an annual savings, we have the figures from the information above; 8 hours/day * 250 days * 154 SCFM * $0.10/KWh * 1KW/5.36 SCFM = $5,746.27/year.
  • For a payback period, the model 1100-9218 has a price of $92.00 each, or $1,288.00 for 14 systems.  The flex lines were $10.00 each, or $140.00 total.  The payback period will be ($1,288 – $140) / ($5,746.27/year) * (12 months/year) = 2.4 months.  Wow, what a savings!

Not all blow off devices are the same.  With the customer above, they were able to cut their noise levels, remove the dead-end pressure concerns, and save $5,746.27 a year in compressed air.  If your company decides to select an unconventional way to blow off parts without contacting EXAIR, there can be many hidden pitfalls; especially with safety.  Besides, if you can save your company thousands of dollars per year as well, why go with a non-standard nozzle?  If you are using compressed air for blowing, cooling, cleaning or moving material; you should contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  What do you have to lose?

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Protecting Employees With PPE vs. Engineered Controls and Substitution

PPE has been a hot topic and new buzzword for a lot of people and throughout many industries over the past 6 months, and rightfully so. When you look at manufacturing though, PPE has been a buzzword for decades. We continue to evolve processes, equipment, and wearables to ensure the safety of operators.  It all boils down to the fact that PPE and the equipment have to be used, and used appropriately in order to be effective.

When reviewing the CDC’s guides for Hierarchy of Controls the least effective method to protect workers is PPE that they must implement and wear/use properly. The fact is, PPE is one of the cheaper entry levels to get to safe working conditions upfront. However, the cost of ownership can quickly surpass more effective methods of providing safe conditions for operators, such as installation of engineered controls or even substituting the hazard w/ engineered solutions.

CDC’s Hierarchy of Controls

 

So what exactly does that mean to the people on the shop floor? Rather than having to grab a set of pinch and roll earplugs every day on the way through the breezeway to get to the production line, permanently installing quiet products like Super Air Nozzles or Super Air Knives in place of open-ended pipes and drilled pipe blowoffs could eliminate the need for these uncomfortable nuisances. And reliance on personnel to use them correctly, or use them at all is a gamble.

How else can EXAIR help in this pursuit of operator safety and happiness? We offer a free service, the EXAIR Efficiency Lab, which will test your current blow-off products for force, flow, air consumption and noise level. We then recommend an engineered solution if we can improve upon those parameters (spoiler alert, we can) that will meet or exceed OSHA standards for dead-end pressure and allowable noise level exposure.

EXAIR’s Free Efficiency Lab

For this example, installing a quiet product to aid in lowering noise levels can create an environment that no longer needs PPE for protecting personnel. The fix is permanent and eliminates forgotten, lost or broken PPE and the expensive associated with them.

If you would like to discuss any of these options further, please let me know.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

EXAIR Flat Air Nozzles: Powerful, Quiet, Safe and Adjustable

Are you tired of your current compressed air being so loud? Well then, we have a solution for you; EXAIR’s Flat Super Air Nozzles. The patented design of the 1” and 2” Flat Super Air Nozzles makes it great for applications that require a powerful but precise flat stream of air. The Flat Super Air Nozzles work much like our Super Air Knives, the main difference being that the Flat Super Air Nozzles provides a more forceful stream of air. The design of the Flat Super Air Nozzles also provides a greatly reduced sound level.

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

EXAIR’s Flat Super Air Nozzles are safe, reliable, and efficient. The nozzles are specifically designed in a way to prevent dead head pressure as stated in OSHA Standard 1910.242(b). The directive stats that compressed air used for cleaning purposes can not exceed a dead-end pressure of 30 psig. If a dead-end pressure were to exceed that pressure then there is potential for an air embolism to form. EXAIR has designed our Flat Super Air Nozzles so that they cannot be dead-ended; this allows you to run at a typical 80-100 psig from your compressed air system.

Various Applications of Flat Super Air Nozzles

EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles are designed to also be quiet while operating at those higher pressures. When operating at 80 psig the 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle is going to have a sound level of 77 dBA were as the 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle when operated at 80 psig is going to have a sound level of 75 dBA. The higher the pressure the more air is going to flow through the nozzle; the more air flowing though the nozzle the louder it is going to be.

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

EXAIR’s High Power Flat Super Air Nozzles are designed for those tougher applications where you need more force, and will operate at slightly louder levels. The HP series Flat Super Air Nozzles have a thicker shim in them that allows for more air to escape out the end delivering a high force. The High powered 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle when operated at 80 psig has a sound level of 83 dBA where the 1” is only 82 dBA.

All of EXAIR’s flat Super Air Nozzles are designed with an internal patented shim which allows for adjusting the total volume of airflow and force that the nozzle produces. These shims are available in different thicknesses and aid in keeping noise levels down, provide gross adjustment of airflow and the flexibility for achieving a successful application. 

If you have any questions or want more information on EXAIR’s Flat Super Air Nozzles or any of our products, give us a call, we have a team of application engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Chip Shields, OSHA, And You

Safety is a key part of our culture at EXAIR Corporation.  We have regularly scheduled, all-hands required, safety training on a number of topics.  Our Order Entry team can likely tell you as much about our lockout/tagout procedures as our Machinists can.  Nobody even thinks about entering The Shop without safety glasses, and it’s not just because of the signs.

We pay attention to these…

…so we don’t ever have to use this.

OSHA 1910.242(b) states that “Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes except where reduced to less than 30 p.s.i. and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment. (emphasis mine)  All EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products are engineered to meet the requirements of the first part (30psi outlet pressure to prevent dead ending…we’ve written about that numerous times, including here, here, and here) and we can also provide pre-installed devices to satisfy the second part:  the EXAIR Chip Shield.

Any EXAIR VariBlast or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun can come fitted with a Chip Shield, and any Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, except for those with Stay Set Hoses, can as well.  Safety Air Guns with Back Blow Nozzles automatically come with a Chip Shield. The principle is simple: a clear polycarbonate (so you can still see what you’re doing) round disc slips over a short (or long if you want) pipe extension between the gun & the nozzle.  It’s fitted with a rubber grommet so you can position it to where it’s most effective – sometimes that might be closer to the part being blown off; sometimes it may be back a little closer to the operator.

EXAIR Safety Air Guns are available, from stock, with Chip Shields.

If you already have an air gun that’s doing the job, you can easily add an EXAIR Chip Shield to it.  They’re made to fit a wide range of extension diameters, and can even come with the extension if you need it.  We also stock a number of adapter fittings; if you know what threads your air gun has (or if you can send us some photos) we can quickly & easily spec those out for you.

Convenient and inexpensive “thumb guns” with cross drilled nozzles (left) are compliant with the first part of OSHA 1910.242(b). Fitting one with an EXAIR Chip Shield (center) makes it compliant with the second part. A Model 1102 Mini Super Air Nozzle (right) makes it quiet & efficient.

We can provide a Chip Shield for most any device with a threaded fitting. I couldn’t find a way to re-use the non-OSHA-compliant nozzle that came with this gun (thank goodness.)

Another example of a larger air gun fitted with a more powerful cross drill nozzle (left) that can be made totally OSHA compliant with an EXAIR Chip Shield (center.) An EXAIR High Force Super Air Nozzle (right) keeps the power, while reducing noise level and compressed air consumption (right.)

Since 1983, EXAIR Corporation has been manufacturing quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products for industry (emphasis mine.)  If you have concerns or questions about safety in regard to your compressed air use, call me.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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