The Soft Grip Super Air Scraper for Cleaning Tanks

A transport company was in the business of moving food product like powdered milk, sugar, salt, gluten, etc. to different Food and Beverage industries.  The tanks ranged from 1,700 to 2,200 cubic feet (47 to 61 cubic meters) in volume.  Because of condensation that can occur, some of the powdered materials would solidify on the sides of the tanks.  They found it occurring more often with the powdered milk.  So, they created a cleaning mechanism to use compressed air and an open pipe to clean the residue after each stop (reference above).  They realized quickly that with this type of cleaning nozzle was not safe and not efficient.  They could only scrape roughly 1” (25mm) at a time.  The noise level was too loud, the compressed air usage was too high, and the time to clean the tank was too long.  They contacted EXAIR to see if we could improve on their process.

Model 1144 Super Scraper Nozzle

The answer to the problem was the EXAIR Super Air Scraper.  This product uses a nozzle that combines a scraping blade with our 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle.  It uses the mechanical force of a blade with the force of compressed air to remove stubborn sticky materials.  The 3” (76mm) wide corrosion-resistant steel scraper is robust and durable, and they can be easily sharpened or replaced when worn.  To add flexibility to the Super Air Scraper, a shim set can be used to increase the blowing force.  This combination of the nozzle and the scraper is an effective and powerful way to remove material with compressed air.

Soft Grip Super Air Scraper

To get pressurized air to this patent-pending nozzle, EXAIR attached the Super Air Scraper to our Soft Grip Air Gun.  The Soft Grip Air Gun has an ergonomic soft handle and a full-grip trigger for hours of use without fatigue.   We include different extensions for hard-to-reach applications ranging from 6” (152mm) to 72” (1,829mm) in length.  With extensions that are 36” (914mm) and longer, EXAIR installs an additional foam grip sleeve.  This gives more leverage for scraping material at a distance like at the floor level.  Chip Shields can also be added to prevent blow-back on the users.

Scrape off, and blow away, stubborn debris with the Model 1244-48 Soft Grip Super Air Scraper.

For the company above, this was the perfect tool to improve their process.  I recommended the model 1244-48 Soft Grip Super Air Scraper which had a great length to reach the tank areas and a foam grip to comfortably force the blade under the powder residue.  With the compressed air, it helped to keep the area clean during scraping and aided with the areas that were really stuck.  With the 1” (25mm) pipe as compared to the 3” (76mm) blade, the cleaning for each tank was cut in half the time.  Also, with the open pipe, they were using roughly 150 SCFM of compressed air.  The model 1244-48 was able to cut this amount down to 22 SCFM at 80 PSIG.  This was a huge cost savings.  And as a bonus, the noise level was lessened from 100 dBA to 77 dBA; a much safer way to protect any hearing damage.

To give some other areas for the Soft Grip Super Air Scraper, they can be used for removing gasket material, tape, caulk, adhesives, paint, labels, and much more.  If you have a sticky situation at your facility, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to discuss it with you.

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

Video Blog: Laminar and Turbulent Flows

I have written blogs about laminar and turbulent flows as related to the Reynold’s number.  Now, let’s demonstrate the difference between the two flows and the advantages of laminar flow from EXAIR’s engineered air nozzles; as demonstrated by our VariBlast Safety Air Gun.

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

Compressed Air Safety with EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products

Compressed air is a necessary utility in any manufacturing environment. When used improperly, this compressed air can pose very real and serious dangers to your personnel. It’s imperative that you’re aware of the potential risks associated with the use of compressed air and educate yourselves and your operators to ensure you’re operating safely.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) provides standards designed to mitigate the risks of compressed air usage. If not adhered to, fines can be administered for each infraction. Fines are given out for each individual infraction. Meaning, if you have unsafe blowguns that are used in your facility you’ll get a notice for each individual gun that is identified during an inspection. Inspections aren’t something that happen often, but they will show up unannounced and often at the worst possible times.

OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) discusses the use of compressed air for cleaning and blowoff. It states that the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes is prohibited if the dead-ended pressure exceeds 30 psig. This phrase means the downstream pressure of the air nozzle or gun, used for cleaning purposes, will remain at a pressure level below 30 psig for all static conditions. In the event that dead ending occurs, the static pressure at the main orifice shall not exceed 30 psi. If it does exceed this pressure, there is a very high potential for it to create an air embolism. An air embolism, left untreated, can quickly impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, and sometimes death.

With this in mind, there are only two options for staying within compliance of this standard. Either install an engineered solution that will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 psig if dead-ended, or regulate the pressure below 30 psig. For the vast majority of operations, regulating the input pressure below 30 psig is useless. The force and flow from the nozzle at this pressure is greatly reduced and likely not enough to be effective in most applications. All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns are designed so that the flow cannot be dead-ended. The fins on the Super Air Nozzles are not only useful in amplifying the force by drawing in ambient air, but they also prevent an operator from completely obstructing the airflow.

In addition to being concerned about dead-end pressure, OSHA 1910.242(b) also states that compressed air used for cleaning should include effective chip guarding. By this, they mean that some method or equipment must be installed that will prevent chips and particles from coming back into the eyes or skin of the operator. In addition to offering OSHA compliant nozzles and guns, EXAIR also has Chip Shields that can be installed onto any of our Safety Air Guns. The polycarbonate shields protect the operator from any flying debris while performing a drying or blowoff operation. Simply add a “-CS” to the end of any Safety Air Gun Model number to have a Chip Shield installed on the gun.

Hearing loss due to high noise levels is another common problem in many industrial facilities. Without the use of proper PPE, hearing loss can occur quickly. This is a serious concern as hearing loss is permanent and once the damage is done there’s no way to reverse it. Due to this risk, OSHA strictly enforces standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a).

Hearing loss is the best known, but not the only, ill effect of harmful noise exposure. It can also cause physical and psychological stress, impair concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents or injuries.

This directive discusses the effects of noise and limits exposure based on the dBA. The table below indicates the maximum allowable exposure time to different noise levels. Sound levels that exceed these levels should first be addressed by proper engineering controls such as isolating the source of the sound from personnel or replacing the cause of the sound with something like an engineered compressed air nozzle. When such controls aren’t feasible, proper PPE must be worn to protect the operator.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does not contain any provisions that allow for the approval or endorsement of equipment. Alteration or the misapplication of what was once a safe piece of equipment would create a dangerous scenario that is out of the control of the original manufacturer. Any nozzles or guns marketed as “OSHA approved” should immediately throw up a red flag. Identifying and implementing a safe, OSHA compliant solution rests in the hands of the manufacturer themselves. If you’ve got questions about compressed air safety or have an existing blowoff in place that does not adhere to this OSHA directive, give us a call. We’ll be sure to recommend a solution that will keep your operators and wallets safe!

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

Custom Atomizing Spray Nozzle Gun For Decontaminating Workspace Due to COVID-19

EXAIR does not shy away from an application or solution that doesn’t involve a stocked or catalog product. We often provide customized solutions for a wide variety of customers across nearly each and every industry. Sometimes the cataloged products we  stock on the shelf doesn’t quite fit the application as best as it could. If we can modify them or make something custom from scratch, we absolutely will!

Recently I worked with a customer who was looking to solve a new application related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. He owned a cleaning company that contracts with a variety of local businesses to provide cleaning and sanitation services. Typically, that would consist of a bi-weekly visit to tidy up the office spaces and provide a general cleaning. With the current risks of COVID-19 running rampant, he’s seen a dramatic increase in businesses looking to implement a daily sanitization of common surfaces throughout the office.

While this is a service that he’s offered for some time, the current crisis has led many more companies to request additional cleaning within their offices. To perform this disinfecting procedure, the droplet size of the mist is critical. The spray gun that he was previously using did not provide a fine enough mist to reliably decontaminate the area. In addition, this gun was consuming too much liquid that would puddle up on various surfaces that would have to be later wiped down and dried. He was looking for a handheld solution that provided a fine enough atomization to both effectively eliminate any pathogens as well as prevent the unnecessary step of having to come behind and dry everything off.

Our line of Atomizing Spray Nozzles is an ideal solution for applications where a fine mist of fluid is required. But, these aren’t designed to be used in a handheld operation. Fortunately, we do have a variety of Safety Air Guns, extensions, and fittings that allow us to install an Atomizing Nozzle on the end of a handheld gun. In the photo below, we used a Model SF2020SS No-Drip Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzle to produce the atomized flow of disinfectant. With standard fittings that we have in stock, we’re able to connect the nozzle to the end of a gun with a 24” extension. The operator carries a jug of disinfectant that is then drawn into the nozzle without the need for a pressurized tank or pump.

atom nozzle gun

This is just one example of a custom product designed specifically for a particular application. A quick search here on the EXAIR Blog will show a variety of various special products we’ve created over the years. Even though we regularly roll out new products and have been in business for nearly 37 years, there are still cases that we encounter for something we haven’t done before. If you have an application that you believe may be better served by something a bit customized, give us a call. An Application Engineer would be happy to discuss your application and help to determine the best solution.

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