Look at the picture below of a band saw cutting a piece of tubing. The amount of debris and coolant that is coating the pipe on the inside diameter and outer diameter is substantial. Cleaning off the outside of a pipe is fairly easy and straight forward. Cleaning the ID can be difficult. This is a single instance where one of the EXAIR Back Blow Air Nozzles can turn a cumbersome job into a quick and easy step in the process.
The tubing in the photo appears to be around a 3 or 4″ ID tubing which makes it ideal to be cleaned out internally by the model 1006SS – 1/4″ Back Blow Air Nozzle. This nozzle is ideal for passage ways ranging from a 7/8″ diameter up to a 4″ diameter.
While cleaning out the short section may be able to be obtained with a forward blowing Safety Air Gun, if this was being cut from a 20′ length of tube it would be difficult to remove the debris from the remnant section of tubing. The advantage being the debris from the saw cut no longer has to be blown out or left in the longer lengths of the tube. The Back Blow Air Nozzle can easily be inserted and remove debris back from the saw cutting end. Lee Evans demonstrates this in a video below.
If you would like to discuss any compressed air application, please feel free to contact an Application Engineer. We will gladly help you determine which EXAIR product may be right for your application.
EXAIR manufactures a variety of nozzles that are OSHA safe, high quality, and very efficient. They are engineered to entrain the “free” ambient air into the air stream to create a powerful force while reducing compressed air usage. Thus, saving you money. With a multitude of blow-off applications like clearing small holes to quickly cleaning gantry CNC tables, EXAIR has the nozzles for you. In this blog, I will discuss the features and benefits of the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles.
The EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles are manufactured to blow a wide forceful stream of air. Their patented design creates a high velocity, laminar air stream with minimal air consumption and low noise. They come in two widths; 1” (25mm) and 2” (51mm). EXAIR offers a standard Flat Super Air Nozzle and a High Force Flat Super Air Nozzle in two different materials, zinc-aluminum alloy and 316 stainless steel. And with a metal construction, breakage is not a concern and performance are not sacrificed even in the harshest of environments. The unique patented shims inside the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles will give you three improvements to the design and function. First, they come in different thickness to create a wide range of forces. In conjunction with a regulator, you can “dial” in the correct amount of force from a breeze to a blast without overusing your air compressor. The patented design also allows an even flow across the entire width of the air nozzle. Lastly, they help to entrain the free ambient air; so that less compressed air is required. The high efficiency design will save you money. The EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles are effective in uniform blowing with safety and efficiency in mind.
To expand more on force adjustments with the Flat Super Air Nozzles, EXAIR has an easy way to change the shim to better suit your application. You can increase or decrease the force of the nozzle by just removing two screws and changing the thickness of the shim inside. EXAIR offers a variety pack called a Shim Set to give you a wide range of forces with the nozzles. For the standard Flat Super Air Nozzle, they come stock with a 0.015” (0.38mm) shim for both the 1” and 2” sizes. The corresponding Shim Sets will include a 0.005” (0.13mm), 0.010” (0.25mm), and 0.020” (0.51mm) shim. The High Force Flat Super Air Nozzles will come standard with a 0.025” (0.64mm) shim; and the Shim Set will include a 0.020” (0.51mm) and 0.030” (0.76mm) thick shim. This is a unique feature as most competitive flat nozzles do not allow you to do this. The chart below corresponds the appropriate Shim Set to the Flat Super Air Nozzle.
What can make the Flat Super Air Nozzles even better? Flexibility. The Stay Set Hoses can add this for positioning the Flat Super Air Nozzles. They are designed to manually move the Flat Super Air Nozzle to accurately target the air stream. They allow the maneuverability to locate the nozzle at different heights or angles; and once positioned, the Stay Set Hose will hold the nozzle in place. They come in different lengths from 6” (152mm) to 36” (914mm). We carry two different styles of connections to adapt to any of the Flat Super Air Nozzles. You can select the different lengths of Stay Set Hoses to the Flat Super Air Nozzle by the model number make-up sheet below.
EXAIR also can offer a Magnetic Base to your Stay Set Hoses and Flat Super Air Nozzles. The Magnetic Base has a powerful magnet on the bottom to securely attach the blow-off nozzles vertically or horizontally. This feature is great if you need to move the nozzles to different locations in your application. EXAIR manufactures a one-outlet and a two-outlet design. Each outlet has a ¼ turn valve to manually turn on or off the nozzle. To add this product to the Flat Super Air Nozzle and the Stay Set Hose, you can use the model number make-up sheet below.
With the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles, you can take advantage of the durability, safety, and efficiency for your blow-off devices. In addition, you can build a system that will best suit your requirements by adding different lengths of Stay Set Hoses and/or Magnetic Bases. With these combinations grouped in one model number and in stock for quick shipments, it makes it simple to purchase from EXAIR. And just to let you know, if you are within the U.S. or Canada, they come with a 30-day unconditional guarantee to try them out. If you need any help with our Flat Super Air Nozzles or how to build an optimum blow-off system, you can speak to an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to assist you.
Over the years, EXAIR has come across a variety of different types of blow-off devices. We have seen copper tubes, pipes with a crushed end, fittings with holes drilled into them, and modular flex lines. For compressed air use, these are very dangerous and very inefficient. In many instances, companies will go through a mixed bag of items to make a blow-off device for their application. It is inexpensive to do. But what they do not realized is that these items are very unsafe and will waste your compressed air, costing you much money in the long run.
When EXAIR started to manufacture compressed air products in 1983, we created a culture in making high quality products that are safe, effective, and efficient. Since we stand by our products, we created a program called the Efficiency Lab. We test blow-off devices against EXAIR products in noise levels, flow usage, and force measurements. With calibrated test equipment, we compare the data in a detailed report for the customer to review. If we are less effective, we will state that in the report, but this is very rare. With this quantified information, we can then determine the total amount of air savings and safety improvements that EXAIR products can offer.
With our Efficiency Lab, it is quite simple to do. For starters, you can go to our Product Efficiency Survey on our website to give the conditions for testing. If you wish for a side by side analysis, you can place your pneumatic device in a box and send it to EXAIR. We will run the tests at the specified conditions or in a range of settings. We will then return your pneumatic device back to you with a report of the comparison. This report can be used to show managers, executives, HSE, etc. on the improvements that EXAIR can provide in cost savings and safety.
In a recent Efficiency Lab, a customer sent us a water jet nozzle that he was using to blow off product passing on a conveyor (reference photo above). The customer supplied us with the required information to test. They had three water jet nozzles on a manifold that had ¼” NPT male connections. The air pressure was set at 75 PSIG (5.2 bar), and the air pattern was round. Their annual usage for this blow-off device was 7000 hours continuous, and their electric rate for their facility was $0.10/KWh. The reason that they sent their nozzle to EXAIR was because the operation was very loud, and they believed that they were wasting compressed air. They asked me for a recommendation and what the payback period might be with my selection.
I recommended the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle as our standard round pattern with a ¼” NPT male connection. With our engineered design, the Super Air Nozzle can entrain the “free” ambient air into the air stream to generate a hard-hitting force; using less compressed air. Also, with this suggestion, they will not have to redesign their blow-off station; just remove the water jet nozzles and replace them with the Super Air Nozzles. We tested the water jet nozzle, and we found that it used 17.5 SCFM (496 SLPM) at 75 PSIG (5.2 bar). The noise level was measured at 91.2 dBA for a single nozzle. As a comparison, the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle will only use 13.3 SCFM (376 SLPM) of compressed air at 75 PSIG (5.2 bar); and, the noise level was reduced to 73 dBA for each nozzle.
The first thing that is important to me is safety. High noise levels will cause hearing damage. OSHA generated a standard 29CFR-1910.95a with a chart for Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure. To calculate the noise level for three nozzles, I will reference a previous blog that I wrote: “Measuring and Adding Sounds”. With three water jet nozzles, the total sound is 96 dBA. From the OSHA table above, the usage without hearing protection is less than 4 hours a day. With the Super Air Nozzles, the noise level will be 78 dBA for all three nozzles; well below the requirement for 8 hours of exposure. It is difficult to put a monetary value on safety, but using PPE should never be the first step as a solution.
For the annual savings and the payback period, I will only 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 as well).
The air savings is calculated from the comparison; 17.5 SCFM – 13.3 SCFM = 4.2 SCFM per nozzle. With three nozzles, the total compressed air savings will be 12.6 SCFM for the blow-off station. 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; 7000 hours/year * 12.6 SCFM * $0.10/KWh * 1KW/5.36 SCFM = $1,645.52/year. For the payback period, the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle has a catalog price of $44.00 each, or $132.00 for three. The customer above did not disclose the cost of the water jet nozzles, but even at a zero value, the payback period will be just under 1 month. Wow!
Not all blow off devices are the same. With the customer above, they were able to reduce their noise levels and compressed air consumption. 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 have a blow off application and would like to compare it against an EXAIR product, you can discuss the details with an Application Engineer. What do you have to lose?
EXAIR manufactures three different sizes of Back Blow Air Nozzles to clean inside tubing, pipes, hoses, and channels. The 360o rear airflow pattern can “wipe” the entire internal surface clean from coolant, chips, and debris. They are constructed of 316SS, making these nozzles robust and durable.
Our smallest Back Blow Nozzle is the Model 1004SS. It has a M4 X 0.5 male thread and can clean diameters ranging from ¼” (6.3mm) to 1” (25.4mm). Model 1006SS has a ¼” NPT air connection for cleaning inner diameters ranging from 7/8” (22mm) up to 4” (102mm). Our largest Back Blow Air Nozzle is the model 1008SS. It has a 1” NPT connection, and it can be used inside diameters ranging from 2” (51mm) to 16” (406mm).
Now, what can make these unique types of air nozzles even more useful? Attaching them to an EXAIR Safety Air Gun. In this blog, I will go through each of our Back Blow Safety Air Guns that EXAIR can offer from stock.
The unique feature that sets the VariBlast apart from other small air guns is the force variability. The valve is designed to control the opening to allow for a variable force with the same nozzle. The VariBlast is made from a durable cast aluminum construction for tough industrial use. It has a rugged ergonomic grip with a user-friendly trigger. The compressed air inlets are located in two different positions to select the best fit for your application.
With the model 1004SS Back Blow nozzle, the VariBlast Compact Back Blow Safety Air Gun is a small but powerful tool that can clean inside smaller pipes, tubes, and hoses. They come standard with extension tubes and a Chip Shield. The extension tubes range from 6” (152mm) to 36” (914mm) to extend deep inside cavities and openings. The Chip Shield is made from a durable polycarbonate material that will protect your operators during use.
The next air gun in this series is the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. With an ergonomic soft handle and full-grip trigger, the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun can be used for hours without fatigue. EXAIR offers two types of Back Blow Nozzles with the Soft Grip; model 1004SS and model 1006SS.
As a “bigger cousin” to the VariBlast above, the Soft Grip Back Blow Safety Air Gun with the model 1004SS has extensions ranging from 6” (152mm) to 36” (914mm) as well as a Chip Shield. The Soft Grip with the model 1006SS Back Blow Nozzle has extensions that range from 6” (152mm) to 72” (1,829mm) in length with a Chip Shield. Both of these types of Soft Grip Back Blow Safety Air Guns are great products in allowing you to clean inside a greater variety of diameters and lengths.
For rough industrial environments, EXAIR offers the Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns. They come with a composite rubber grip and a wide curved trigger. It has a 3/8” NPT inlet for increased compressed air flow for those “tough” cleanings.
The Heavy Duty Back Blow Safety Air Gun comes standard with the model 1006SS Back Blow Nozzle, an extension pipe, and a Chip Shield. The extensions lengths can range from 6” (152mm) to 72” (1,829mm). If you need a tough air gun for rugged areas to clean inside pipes and tubes, the Heavy Duty Back Blow Safety Air Gun could be the best candidate for your application.
As our largest model, the Super Blast Back Blow Safety Air Gun has the strongest blowing force. They can clean large areas inside pipes, channels, and tubes ranging from 2” (51mm) to 16” (406mm) in diameter. It has a soft foam grip for easy handling and a spring-loaded manual valve that will turn off if dropped. The model 1008SS Back Blow Nozzle is mounted to an extension that is either 1 foot (0.3m), 3 feet (0.9m), or 6 feet (1.8m) in length. With a 1” NPT inlet, the Super Blast Back Blow Safety Air Gun will generate a strong blast of air for cleaning and removing troublesome material.
If you need to clean inside tubes, hoses, channels, pipes, etc., EXAIR has the perfect product, the Back Blow Air Nozzles. They can remove the dirty coolant, chips, and debris in a non-contact way. EXAIR offers these nozzles with our VariBlast, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty, and Super Blast Safety Air Guns for manual cleaning operations. EXAIR stocks these Safety Air Guns for fast delivery. And if you are located in the U.S.A or Canada, we offer a 30-day unconditional guarantee. You can try them out and see how effective, safe, and powerful they are in improving your internal cleaning processes. If you need more details, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to help you.
A few weeks ago I was on vacation with my family. My wife and I had taken our three daughters to Columbus, OH for three days after camping in a tent for a few days. One of the focal points to the trip was COSI, the Center of Science and Industry. In case you live anywhere near Columbus, OH and have not heard of how amazing this interactive museum is, you should definitely check it out. This isn’t your normal museum.
While the Mythic Creatures exhibit and the Jim Henson exhibit were both absolutely amazing for my 9, 6 and 4 year old daughters, it was also entertaining for my wife and myself. Now you may be asking what does this interactive science place and trip with kids have to do with EXAIR.
Well, while my daughters and I were watching this enormous pendulum that knocks ball bearings off boxes every few minutes I could hear that all too familiar, gentle sound of compressed air blowing every now and then. I couldn’t however see where the noise was coming from.
As we wandered through the different sections I saw several examples of compressed air use but none were the exact sound or display I had heard. When we were walking through the Space exhibit just above where the pendulum was located and that gentle sound was getting closer. All of a sudden I saw it. Next thing I know I look up and my 6 year old was using a joystick to control a scaled down Lunar Lander propelling it in circles. This was where the sound was coming from.
While I was amazed by this interactive piece I could tell they were using compressed air and I was curious as to how it was working. That’s when I noticed the distinct design of our Nano Super Air Nozzle on the bottom of the Lander. Here’s a close up picture, well as close as the handrail would allow me to get without over reaching.
The interesting part to this is how this setup gives an idea of the amount of thrust given off by a nozzle that only consumes 8.3 SCFM of compressed air when powered at 80 psig inlet pressure. These nozzles can easily be fitted to blast debris or moisture out of small pockets or hard to reach areas. They also can be used to help direct product that may be getting diverted to a new conveyor. And, obviously, they can be used to propel scale models of lunar landers.
If you would like to discuss any application for point of use compressed air, and I do mean ANY, give us a call. If I can’t help with the application we will at the very least do our best to send you in the right direction.
Return on Investment, or ROI, is the ratio of profit over total investment. Many people use it to check stocks, financial markets, capital equipment, etc. It is a quantitative way in determining the validity for an investment or project. You can use the ROI value to give a measurable rate in looking at your investment.
For a positive ROI value, the project will pay for itself in less than one year. Any negative values would represent a high-risk investment. In this blog, I will compare the ROI when replacing a ¼” NPT open pipe with a model 1122 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle. Let’s start by looking at Equation 1 to calculate the Return on Investment:
Equation 1: ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Total Project Cost * 100
The second part of the equation, Total Project Cost, is the cost of the nozzles plus the labor to install them onto the machine. The model 1122, 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle, has a price of $70.00 each. The cost of a ¼” NPT Pipe that is roughly 2” long is around $1.50 each. What a difference! How could EXAIR been in business for over 35 years? Let’s continue on with the Return on Investment…
The amount of time required to install the nozzles to the end of a pipe is 1/2 hour (generously). The labor rate that I will use in this example is $75.00 per hour (you can change this to your current labor rate). The labor cost to install a nozzle is $35.00. The Total Project Cost can be calculated as follows: ($70 – $1.50) + $35.00 = $103.50. The next part of the equation, Total annual savings, has more complexity in the calculation, as shown below.
As a reference, EXAIR Super Air Nozzles for compressed air would be considered like LED light bulbs for electricity. The open pipes and tubes would represent the incandescent light bulbs. The reason for this parity is because of the amount of energy that the EXAIR Super Air Nozzles can save. While LED light bulbs are a bit more expensive than the incandescent light bulbs, the Return on Investment has a high percentage, or in other words, a short payback period. On the other hand, the open pipe is less expensive to purchase, but the overall cost to use in your compressed air system is much much higher. I will explain why.
To calculate the Total Annual Savings, we need to generate a blow-off scenario (You can use your actual values to calculate the ROI for your project). In this example, I will compare the ¼” NPT open pipe to the 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle. (The reason behind this comparison is that the model 1122 can screw directly onto the end of the 1/4” NPT pipe.) The amount of compressed air used by a 1/4” NPT open pipe is around 140 SCFM (3,962 SLPM) at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar). The model 1122 has an air consumption of 21.8 SCFM (622 SLPM) at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar). At an electrical rate of $0.08 per Kilowatt-hour, we see that the cost to make compressed air is $0.25 per 1000 standard cubic feet, or $0.25/1000SCF. (Based on 4 SCFM per horsepower of air compressor).
To calculate an annual savings, let’s use a blow-off operation of 8 hours/day for 250 days a year. Replacing the ¼” NPT open pipe with a model 1122, it will save you (140 SCFM – 21.8 SCFM) = 118.2 SCFM of compressed air. To put this into a monetary value, the annual savings will be 118.2 SCFM *$0.25/1000SCF * 60 Min/hr * 8hr/day * 250 day/yr = $3,546/year. Now if you have more than one blow-off spot in your facility like this, imagine the total amount of money that you would save.
With the Total Annual Cost and the Project Cost known, we can insert these values into Equation 1 to calculate the ROI:
ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Project Cost * 100
ROI = ($3,546 – $103.50) / $103.50 * 100
ROI = 3326%
With a percentage value that high, we are looking at a payback period of only 9 days. You may look at the initial cost and be discouraged. But in a little over a week, the model 1122 will have paid for itself. And after using it for just 1 year, it will save your company $3,546.00. Like with any great idea, the LED light bulb clicked on in my mind. What could be the total savings if you looked at all the blow-off applications in your facility?
In my experience, a loud blowing noise from your equipment is generally coming from an open pipe or tube. With these “cheap” ways to blow compressed air, it will cost your company a lot of money to use as shown in the example above. If you would like to team up with EXAIR to set up ways to increase savings, improve productivity, and increase safety, you can contact an Application Engineer to get started. It can be as simple as screwing on a Super Air Nozzle.
Throughout my years here at EXAIR as well as my years in the metal cutting industry, one of the most common quick fixes I see in production environments for compressed air blowoffs in a process is an open copper pipe that is contorted into a position, pinched at the end, and more often than not kinked from repositioning. I call this a quick fix because it does blow air, more often than not it will get production up and running, but it does not meet or exceed OSHA standards for safety and is an inefficient use of compressed air. [OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b) and 29 CFR 1910.95(a)]
The first engineered solution I could offer to prevent any costly OSHA fines and to lower the ambient noise level caused by these blowoffs is to implement an EXAIR Engineered Air Nozzle. We offer a wide variety of nozzles ranging from a 4mm thread up to a 1-1/4″ NPT thread. With this wide range comes a wide variety of forces and flows as well.
Today, I would like to focus on the common sizes of copper blowoffs which are 1/8″ and 1/4″. To simply adapt a nozzle to copper line a compression fitting can be easily sourced, often from EXAIR, and convert the copper tubing in place to an NPT threaded outlet for easy installation of an EXAIR nozzle. More often than not a compression fitting is how the copper tubing is tied into the machine’s compressed air system.
We have a total of 37 engineered air nozzles from stock that will easily fit a compression fitting which goes to a 1/8″ NPT or 1/4″ NPT thread. Several of these are also adjustable through a gap adjustment or a patented shim adjustment to vary the force and flow out of the nozzle from a forceful blast to a gentle breeze in order to me your application needs. What if you want to eliminate the copper line and compressions fittings?
EXAIR offers a replacement option for the ever-common copper tube that is more robust and does not require a tool to be properly repositioned. We currently offer twenty-four different models of our Stay Set Hoses that can be easily connected to any of the nozzles mentioned above. The lengths that are available are 6″ (152mm), 12″ (305mm), 18″ (457mm), 24″ (610mm), 30″ (762mm) and 36″ (914mm).
These lengths are available with two separate connection options. 1/4″ MNPT x 1/4″ MNPT or 1/4″ MNPT x 1/8″ FNPT. The Stay Set Hoses can easily be bent by hand into position for a precise placement of the air pattern from the engineered nozzle attached to it. This permits operators a tool free adjustment for fast and reliable location to keep production up and running. They can also be paired with Magnetic Bases.
EXAIR Magnetic Bases are available in single outlet or dual outlet configurations. Both include a 100 lb. pull magnet that will hold tight to any ferrous metal surface for secure mounting, as well as a quick 1/4 turn miniature valve on each outlet. This permits independent customization of the force our of each output for the dual outlet mag base. Each magnetic base offers a 1/4″ FNPT inlet port and outlet port. We offer these with any of combination of the Stay Set Hoses mentioned above as well as any of the Super Air Nozzles mentioned above.
The Super Air Nozzles, Stay Set Hoses, and Magnetic Bases can be easily combined before they ship to your facility to make a complete blowoff station that is easily installed and adjusted to fit any of the needs your process may have for a point of use blowoff. If you want help determining how much compressed air you would save by replacing the open pipe blowoffs with an engineered solution like a Stay Set Magnetic Base Blowoff System please contact myself or any Application Engineer here at EXAIR.