Video Blog: New VariBlast Precision Safety Air Gun

EXAIR has a wide variety of Safety Air Guns for safe and comfortable use in all industrial environments. Each Style uses an engineered Air Nozzle that provides superior performance by entraining large volumes of surrounding air. Safe operation is assured along with low air consumption and noise levels.

The newest addition to EXAIR’s Safety Air Gun selection is the VariBlast® Precision Safety Air Guns! They are extremely lightweight and have a focused blast of air that provides remarkable cleaning capability. Designed with a variable flow trigger, the air flow is easily adjustable and able to produce a range of different force values. It comes equipped with a small diameter nozzle and a stock extension that easily fits into tight spaces and delivers a pinpoint, but powerful blast. Two other extension lengths are available at 12” and 20”!

Check out this Product Video for more Information!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Two Important Safety Factors When Choosing Air Nozzles

At EXAIR, we have a statement, “Safety is everyone’s responsibility”.  And we also manufacture safe compressed air products.  In the United States, we have an organization called Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, that enforces directives for safe and healthy working environments.  They do training, outreach programs, and educational assistance for manufacturing plants.  They will also enforce these directives with heavy fines for violations.  The two most common violations with compressed air are air guns and blow-off devices are described in 29CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure/chip shielding and 29CFR 1910.65(a) for maximum allowable noise exposure.

Here is an example of a nozzle that is dangerous.  As you can see, there is only one opening where the air can come out from the nozzle.  Other types of nozzles that would fall into this same group would include copper tube, extensions, and open pipes.

Unsafe Nozzle

They are dangerous as the compressed air cannot escape if it is blocked with your body or skin.  If operated above 30 PSIG (2 bar), these nozzles could create an air embolism within the body which can cause bodily harm or death.  This is a hazard which can be avoided by using EXAIR Super Air Nozzles and Safety Air Guns.  The nozzles are designed with fins which allows the air to escape and not be blocked by your skin.  So, you can use the EXAIR Super Air Nozzles safely even above 30 PSIG (2 bar).

Unsafe Air Gun

To counteract the dead-end pressure violation, some nozzle manufacturers create a hole through the side of the nozzle (Reference photo above).  This will allow for the compressed air to escape, but, now the issue is noise level.  With an “open” hole in the nozzle, the compressed air is very turbulent and very loud.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, states that 70% to 80% of all hearing loss within a manufacturing plant is caused by compressed air.  OSHA created a chart to show the maximum allowable noise exposure.  This chart shows the time and noise limits before requiring hearing protection.  The EXAIR Super Air Nozzles, Super Air Knives, Super Air Amplifiers are designed to have laminar flow which is very quiet.  As an example, the model 1210 Safety Air Gun has a sound level of only 74 dBA; well under the noise exposure limit for 8 hours.

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.

NIOSH created an overview of how to handle hazards in the workplace.  They call it the Hierarchy of Controls to best protect workers from dangers.  The most effective way is by eliminating the hazard or substituting the hazard.  The least effective way is with Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.  For unsafe compressed air nozzles and guns, the proper way to reduce this hazard is to substitute it with an engineered solution.

One of the last things that companies think about when purchasing compressed air products is safety.  Loud noises and dead-end pressure can be missed or forgotten.  To stop any future fines or additional personal protective equipment (PPE), it will be much cheaper to purchase an EXAIR product.  And with the Hazard Hierarchy of Controls, the first method is to remove any hazards.  The last method for control is to use PPE.  In the middle of the hierarchy is for an engineered solution.  EXAIR products are that engineered solution.  If you would like to improve the safety in your facility with your current blow-off devices, an Application Engineer can help you.

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

Picture:  Safety First by SuccoPixabay License

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