Slick Application for a Super Air Knife

A few weeks back I worked with a customer on an unusual application for one of our Air Knives. The company runs a camp, located in the North-Central part of the United States, complete with their own ski hill for skiing, snowboarding or tubing. They use a conveyor belt ski lift where the skier or snowboarder will stand on the belt and be transported back to the top of the hill for another run. They were starting to see some safety issues arise when the mat would get wet and freeze, causing the skiers to slip and fall back.

Photo of the ski belt conveyor

In an effort to remedy the situation, the installed a brush to try and help remove some of the snow and ice from the belt and while this helped a little, there was still moisture on the belt that would re-freeze. To aid in the drying process, they tried to use a floor blower aimed at the belt but the turbulent airflow seemed to “push” the water around rather than wipe it clean and dry. Out of ideas, they found EXAIR while doing an internet search and decided to give us call for assistance.

Further reviewing the details of the application, I recommended our 30″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knife for the application. The Super Air Knife provides an high velocity, laminar sheet of air across the length of the knife. The laminar flow from the air knife, would assure an even drying effect across the belt, rather than the turbulent flow from the blower. The stainless steel construction of the knife would hold up to the potentially harsh environmental conditions as well.

Super Air Knife available in aluminum, 303ss, or 316ss construction in lengths from 3″ up to 108″.

After some correspondence back and forth regarding air requirements and installation recommendations, the customer was able to source a rental compressor and ordered the 30″ Super Air Knife to test under our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. After a few weeks of testing, they were able to effectively dry the belt to an acceptable level, increasing the overall safety for their guests.

30″ SS Super Air Knife mounted under the belt on the “return” side.

 

Clever installation allowed for easy angle adjustment to ensure the airflow contacted the belt for optimal blowoff/drying.

EXAIR offers the quietest (69 dBA at 80 PSIG) and longest (up to 108″) Air Knives on the market today and we stock them in the most materials (aluminum, 303SS, 316Ss and PVDF) to best suit your application. To see how you might be able to utilize an Air Knife in your unique application, give us a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

Explanation of OSHA Standard 1910.242(b)

Open air lines and homemade blow offs violate OSHA standard 1910.242(b) because of harmful dead end pressures. In 1972, OSHA established Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) requiring that the outlet pressure of an open pipe, nozzle, air gun, etc., when used for cleaning purposes, must remain below 30 PSI with the intent to protect workers from serious injury. They determined that when dead-ended against the skin, if the outlet pressure reached 30 PSI 0r higher,  it posed a risk of entering the bloodstream through the skin. This is commonly referred to as an air embolism – a serious condition which can be life threatening. Once air has entered the bloodstream, it can restrict the free movement of blood throughout the body, disrupting normal heart function, leading to abnormal heart rhythm, possible lung or brain damage, cardiac arrest, stroke or possible death.

OSHA explains that you can use compressed air for cleaning purposes, as long as the outlet or source is fitted with some type of relief device that drops the outlet pressure to below 30 PSI if dead ended. There are basically two ways to go about gaining compliance. The first is to regulate the operating supply pressure to less than 30 PSI, assuring that the outlet pressure doesn’t exceed the threshold. While this does comply with the Standard, it can negatively affect the performance by reducing the strength of the outlet flow, limiting the usefulness of the blowoff device.

The other method is to use some type of nozzle which includes a pressure reducer or a relief device which will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 PSI if the nozzle is dead ended.

For example, EXAIR engineered air nozzles are designed so the outlet holes cannot be blocked directly. Any potential obstruction of the outlet air holes results in the air having an alternative exit path to avoid injury to operators and personnel.

sag-osha-compliant

With our Super Air Nozzles, the air exits through a series of jets, recessed behind an array fins so the exhausting airflow can never be blocked.

With the design of our Super Air Knife, the cap overlaps the body, leaving a gap on both sides of the knife, allowing the exhausting air to safely vent.

osha-sak

Picture of the Super Air Knife, showing how the cap overlaps the body and cannot be blocked, providing a safe exit path.

ALL of EXAIR‘s engineered products incorporate these principles, providing some type of relief, allowing for the air to safely vent well below the 30 PSI requirement, meeting and in many cases, exceeding the OSHA Standard.

To discuss how EXAIR can help you gain OSHA compliance to improve operator safety, avoid costly fines and improve overall efficiency, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

EXAIR Air Guns Increase Safety And Reduce Air Use

Many times we receive calls from customers that fall right in line with our focus here at EXAIR  – providing Intelligent Compressed Air Products that improve overall safety for operators and plant personnel in industrial operations as well as reduce compressed air usage, ultimately lowering energy costs. Such was the case last week when I received an inquiry from a customer who was looking for a handheld device that could easily attach to their existing air hose to replace the loud and inefficient homemade air nozzles they are currently using to blow off steel chips and coolant from their saws and drills. Their current set up includes a combination of smashed air guns, similar to the one shown below, some small open tubes and cheap plastic nozzles. The blowoffs were working but their operators were starting to complain about excessive noise during operation and notice the compressor in the area was running continuously during the cleaning cycle. Their first proposed solution was to lower the supply pressure which did lower the sound level and air usage somewhat, but now the exiting airflow wasn’t powerful enough to clear the debris. After doing an internet search they decided to reach out to EXAIR for assistance.

crushed-gun

Crushed guns create high pitch wind shear and provide no relief path for the air to exit safely

All of the Safety Air Guns we offer utilize our Air Nozzles which are engineered to meet or exceed OSHA Standard CFR 29 – 1910.95(a) for allowable noise exposure levels. As the Standard reads, when employees are subjected to sounds in excess of 90 dBA, some type of engineered controls should be used to lower the sound to a permissible level. Prolonged exposure to excessive noise can result in serious health issues, like tinnitus or a constant ringing of the ears, as well as stress and reduced productivity. In addition, our engineered Air Nozzles cannot be dead ended, meeting OSHA Standard 1910.242(b). With the design of our Air Nozzles, there is always a safe path for the air to exit so the outlet pressure will not reach 30 PSIG if the nozzle exhaust were to be blocked or pressed against the skin.  Due to this design, our units are safe to operate at higher pressure, resulting in a high velocity, forceful airflow.

1210

Model 1210 – Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

For this application, I recommended the customer use our Model # 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. This particular unit incorporates our Model # 1100 Super Air Nozzle which produces a low sound level of 74 dBA, well within the OSHA guidelines, and consumes only 14 SCFM @ 80 PSIG while having the necessary power to solve their application.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Excessive Noise Levels Cost You Health and Money

OSHA and the CDC make these statements about noise exposure. Did you know almost 30 million American workers are exposed to dangerous noise levels almost daily, with over 72% of those reported incidents happening in manufacturing environments? Noise induced hearing loss is the second most self-reported occupational injury and since 2004, over 125,00 workers have experienced some level of permanent hearing loss. Excessive noise levels can also reduce productivity, contribute to increased stress levels, communication errors and an irreversible condition called tinnitus or a constant ringing in the ears. In fact, disability claims associated to occupational hearing loss has risen to over $ 242 million per year.

30mill

Noise Induced Hearing Loss Is One Of The Most Common Occupational Diseases.

In effort to reduce worker exposure and increase safety, OSHA introduced Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a). As the standard reads, employees that are subjected to sounds levels in excess of 90 dBA, some type of engineered controls should be implemented by either using some form of PPE – Personal Protective Equipment, i.e. – earplugs, earmuffs, etc. or replacing the loud device altogether with an engineered solution that is designed to reduce the sound level. When a company is found to be in violation of the Standard, OSHA hands down costly fines, in some cases nearing almost $5,000. While providing PPE may seem like the inexpensive, “quick” fix, it actually could lead to more overall cost in the form of fines or claims, as now it is the responsibility of the operator to utilize the equipment provided. The better choice of the 2 options mentioned above, would be to replace with an engineered solution that is designed to lower the sound level.

OSHA Noise Level

Noise Level Chart per OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a)

Take for example, a section of pipe with drilled holes across the length to cover wide area applications or an open end pipe or tube for more focused blowoff, both of which typically produce sound levels in excess of 100 dBA which would limit work exposure to only a couple hours per the above chart.

EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products are designed to meet or exceed this standard. Our products entrain large volumes of surrounding air across the profile of the device which helps to reduce wind shear, ultimately lowering the sound level. When considering replacing drilled pipe, take a look at our Super Air Knife. The Super Air Knife produces a much lower sound level at only 69 dBA which is well under the allowable exposure times set forth by OSHA. Depending on the pipe or tube size, these can quickly and easily be replaced with one of our Super Air Nozzles by just adding a fitting to the existing line. For instance, our Model # 1100 Super Air Nozzle, with a sound level of 74 dBA, again falls well within the OSHA Standard.

sound-level-comparison

Sound Level Comparison

In addition, we offer our Digital Sound Level Meter to measure sound levels ranging from 35 to 130 dBA. The unit features a backlit LCD display, fast and slow response times, Max hold and includes NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) certification.

SoundMeter_new_nist225

Model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter

For assistance in gaining OSHA compliance relating to your compressed air needs, please give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

Another “Bucket And Ladder” Operation, Foiled By The Line Vac

Let me start by saying that EXAIR Corporation has nothing against buckets. Or ladders. We use them both here for a variety of tasks, and are very satisfied with them. But when they’re used together…that’s where we’re going to take exception. And we’re not the only ones.

I had the pleasure of speaking to an expert technician with a company that provides world class water recycling equipment & services. They use our Model 140200 2″ NPT Threaded Aluminum Line Vacs to move bentonite clay (an amazingly versatile purification & absorption media) from 50 lb bags into a hopper. It is then dispersed into a holding tank of oily water, where it removes the pollutants and impurities, allowing for clean recycling.  And, since they no longer have to carry it up a ladder and pour it in, it’s also safer and more efficient.

Model 140200 2" NPT Aluminum Threaded Line Vac moves bentonite clay into water recycling tank.

Model 140200 2″ NPT Aluminum Threaded Line Vac moves bentonite clay into water recycling tank.

EXAIR Corporation is committed to being proactive about the way we impact the environment. Our Sustainability Plan details the way we do this in regards to our responsible consumption of resources, our conscientious waste recycling measures, and the comprehensive impact of our products…everything from materials & design, to their efficient usage, to packaging. So, when our products are used in  application geared toward like-minded goals, it’s a win-win-win. For EXAIR, our customers, and the environment.

This is one of many ways that EXAIR’s diverse line of compressed air products are not only making processes more efficient, but making the world a better place through dedication to being “clean and green.” If you’d like to know more, please give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Has Solutions For Skin Problems (Really)

The EXAIR Chip Trapper filters solid debris from your coolant that can not only clog the supply lines to the tooling, but also provide a LOT of surface area for the growth of bacteria. This can really foul the air in a machine shop, and sometimes, it can mess with your skin, causing a rash or infection. Honestly, this isn’t a HUGE problem…I’ve fielded a handful of calls about it over the years, though, so when I got the call from a machinist last week who wanted to talk about a possible solution for a skin problem, I immediately thought of the Chip Trapper.

Well, immediately after I thought about this old commercial (I’ve written before about how I watched way too much television growing up. Don’t judge.)

Turns out, though, his problem wasn’t bacterial – it was an allergic reaction he was having with a specific additive in the coolant used on a particular machine tool. He mentioned that it was a mist coolant application, so I immediately thought of the Cold Gun Aircoolant System.

Of, course, right after I thought about this commercial (seriously; stop judging.)

To my knowledge, it’s the first time we’ve ever applied a Cold Gun to solve a skin problem – we’re almost always looking at them to avoid the mess of coolant spray, or to increase tool life in situations where traditional machine tool coolant is impractical (or impossible) to use.

With four distinct models to choose from, we've got a Cold Gun System to meet your needs.

With four distinct models to choose from, we’ve got a Cold Gun System to meet your needs.

If you’d like to find out how EXAIR products can save you from:

*Excessive compressed air consumption
*High sound levels
*Static charge problems
*Heat damage to your electronics
*Labor intensive “bucket and ladder” bulk conveyance operations
*Trips to the dermatologist (no, really)

Then give me a call.  We can even talk about vintage TV commercials (I won’t judge either.)

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Keeping the Confusion Out of NPT Pipe Thread Dimensions

I recently had the pleasure of helping a caller solve a problem with a Super Air Nozzle.  He had measured the opening on the outlet of his air gun, and ordered accordingly…unfortunately, he didn’t know that 3/8 NPT did NOT correspond to a 3/8″ diameter of a threaded fitting.  I explained the reason for this, a while back, in a blog entitled “When Is A Half Inch Not A Half Inch? When It’s Half Inch Pipe, Of Course!

The ID of a 1/8 NPT threaded fitting is actually pretty close to 3/8". Here's a dimensions table that I reference often.

The ID of a 1/8 NPT threaded fitting is actually pretty close to 3/8″ (left.) Here’s a link to a dimensions table that I reference often to keep this (on right, a 3/8 NPT nozzle with an 1/8 NPT air gun) from happening.

 

As you can see, the Model 1105 3/8 NPT Super Air Nozzle will not fit the 0.405″ (not far at all from 3/8″ if measured with a ruler) ID of a 1/8 NPT threaded connection.  No matter; these are all catalog parts that we have plenty of stock on, so, after a brief discussion of pipe thread sizes, he got a Model 1103 1/8 NPT Super Air Nozzle, and it fits just fine:

IMG_5789

Model 1103 1/8 NPT (male) Super Air Nozzle installed in a 1/8″ NPT air gun.

Sometimes, an adapter is required for air guns that have straight threads.  Two common sizes for these are 5/8″-28 and 3/4″-32 – and we have adapters for both of these (call for details.) Other adapters are readily commercially available…you may find them in the plumbing aisle of your hardware store, or from a local pipe & pipe fitting supplier.  We’ve seen some air guns, though, that have a proprietary thread that doesn’t match up to anything else…in these cases, we have four types of Safety Air Guns on the shelf, ready to ship.

If you’d like to find out more about using quiet and efficient engineered Super Air Nozzles for your air gun applications, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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