Practice Makes Perfect

2016 Eagles

NEW Eagles Football Jersey for 2016

Last year, I wrote a few blogs about how I was an assistant coach for my oldest son’s youth football team. We had an amazing season that ended with a 2nd round playoff loss and a 3rd place finish overall. Not too shabby for a new group of players and coaches. Now, the new season is upon us with practice beginning next Monday. Our new roster is pretty much the opposite of last season, as we now have 11 returning players from last year’s team and 4 newcomers. The coaching staff has stayed intact as well, so we are hoping to improve on last year’s successes and bring home the championship this year! But hey, we are talking about 7 and 8 year old boys here, so ANY type of success is a win in itself.

After a brief coaches meeting over the weekend, we have decided to hold practice 3 days a week this year, compared to 2 days last. We are hoping the extra practice will help us implement some more pass plays in the offense and work on extending our defensive sets, which cost us at the end of last year. For me personally, I am excited to see how my own son has grown from his first season of learning how to block and tackle the right way, to being more involved in the offense. He is one of the fastest kids on the team but got a little nervous whenever we tried to get him the ball on a rush or pass play. He and I have spent A LOT of time this spring and early summer, throwing the ball and working on his ball carrying skills. From what I’ve seen in our yard, I am pretty excited to see what unfolds on the football field. I keep telling him that he’s going to have some dropped passes and fumbled balls, but the important thing is to not get discouraged and keep trying. After all, practice makes perfect.

Here at EXAIR, we adopt the same philosophy. We are dedicated to putting in the time and effort to develop new and useful compressed air operated products. The following is a list of some new products now available:

  • New 2.5″ and 3″ Line Vac and Threaded Line Vac in 316SS and High Temperature construction

    Standard Line Vac: aluminum or SS

    Standard Line Vac in aluminum or stainless steel

  • New 2.5″ and 3″ Heavy Duty Line Vac with smooth or threaded ends. Hardened Alloy Construction for better abrasion resistance.

    Heavy Duty Line Vac: Hardened Alloy Construction and High Performance

    Heavy Duty Line Vac: Hardened Alloy Construction and High Performance

To discuss these new products or any EXAIR product, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Step on It – Improve Cycle Times by Using Your Foot

I visited a manufacturing plant that made die-cast components for an automotive company. One of the operations was to deburr an outer edge of the part with excess flashing formed.  The component is in a visible area to customers, and for cosmetic reasons, the flash had to be removed.  I listed the steps of the operation below:

  1. Grab metal part from bin and place part onto fixture.
  2. With both hands, hit dual operational buttons. (4 seconds)
  3. A cylinder would come down and pinch the edge of the flashing, removing it.
  4. Release buttons to retract the cylinder. (10 seconds)
  5. Inspect the part and place into finished bin. (3 seconds)
  6. With a compressed air gun, clean trimmed flash and debris from sharp edge of fixture (3 seconds)
  7. Repeat operation.

The complete operation took 20 seconds, and in an 8 hour shift, they could deburr 1,440 pieces a day.

1910 Blowoff Station

1910 Blowoff Station

My suggestion was to use our model 1910 Instant Blowoff Station. This Blowoff Station comes complete with a model 1100 Super Air Nozzle, a 12” Stay Set Hose, a Magnetic Base, a foot pedal valve, and two 10 feet (3 meters) compressed air lines.  EXAIR Blowoff Kits can be customized to suit your application. You may choose different nozzles, a single or dual port Magnetic Base, and different lengths of Stay Set Hoses.  It gives you the flexibility to match our products to your application.

In manufacturing, little processes like trimming, deburring, coloring, etc. for cosmetic reasons adds additional time and cost to the parts. Even though these steps can be quick, it can still add up to be significant time within the process flow.  By installing the EXAIR Blowoff Station, this manufacturer could combine two steps in the operation.  During the inspection of the part, the operator was able to press the foot pedal to blow off the sharp edge on the fixture. With the strong Magnetic Base and Stay Set Hose holding the nozzle at the correct location, it made this a hands-free operation.  They were able to save 3 seconds on each part.  It doesn’t seem like much time, but throughout a day, they were able to increase productivity by 17.6% (or it saved 17.6% on labor for a cosmetic procedure).

When it comes to removing debris, EXAIR has a great range of products. We can do it very efficiently, quietly, effectively, and even hands-free.  If you have any issues with added cost caused by visual defects, you can discuss your applications with one of our Application Engineers.

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

So, How Much Does Your Compressed Air Cost you?

Recently, I had a conversation with my German colleague regarding the cost of compressed air. He was scrutinizing what we say when we say that if you don’t know your cost, you can estimate using a value of $ .25 / 1000 Standard Cubic Feet of compressed air. When you crunch the numbers down to this kind of value, it becomes very easy to see what your new compressed air based solution might cost you or perhaps save you in terms of compressed air savings over the present method.  His opinion was that the rate that we use was a very inexpensive one and so he was looking for some verification.

The first thing I did was to go to trusty old Google and look up the average electricity cost for our state (Ohio) over the past year for a typical industrial electric consumer. The rate I found was $ .0684 / kWh. (Kilowatt hour)

If you take a 15 kW air compressor, this is equal to our rating of 20 HP (15,000 / 746 = 20.1 HP). 15 kW * $ .0684/ kWh = $ 1.02/ hour to operate a 15 kW (20 HP) compressor.

A 20 HP compressor of industrial grade will produce 80 SCFM. It takes 12.5 minutes for an 80 SCFM compressor to produce 1000 SCF of air.

12.5 minutes / 60 minutes = .208 hours to produce 1000 standard cubic feet of air.   .208 hours * $ 1.02 / hour = $ .2122 (21.2 cents) to produce 1000 Standard Cubic Feet
of air.

And so, in showing him my math, I was able to convince my friend that using $ .25 / 1000 SCF is actually a liberal figure in our area in some cases a conservative estimate. Of course our energy prices don’t compare to those in Germany / Europe. So, for him to make this kind of example to his customers would be an even more effective discussion for using our air saving Nozzles, Air Knives, Air Amplifiers and also our Optimization products such as the EFC.

Neal Raker,
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

Multiple Choice

My oldest son got his driver’s license last week.  There was a popular commercial for an insurance company, a while back, that touted how “life comes at you fast,” and that’s been the story of my week:

Friday: Son passes driver’s exam, first time, 100%. Proud Dad moment.
Saturday: Dad & Son go used car shopping. Pride has a price tag.
Sunday: Dad & Son bond while detailing new (to us) car. Son learns what to do when engine in 10 year old car stalls while backing out of driveway cold. Pride usually is followed by lesson in humility.
Monday: Mom adds Son to auto insurance policy. Insurance agent no longer concerned about funding retirement. Pride is getting expensive.
Monday part 2: Son learns valuable lesson about leaving lights on when parking at school in pre-dawn hours. Dad’s portable jumpstarter finds new home in trunk of Son’s car. Lessons in humility have caused pride to approach pre-licensing levels.
Tuesday-present: Enjoying what we can of a return to incident-free normalcy (and I hope I didn’t just jinx it by putting that in writing.)

We had quite a few choices, looking at cars in our (limited) budget range. Having these choices allowed us to choose the features that most appealed to us. They were pretty much all small-to-mid-size used cars with automatic transmissions and fuel efficient (read: small) engines. The one we settled on was the same model (and a year newer) as one I’d owned previously. It was one that had proved reliable, and safe…I was in an accident in that one where the air bag deployed, and I walked away with no injuries. Safety is a big selling point for me, especially where my family is involved.

When we speak with customers at EXAIR, many times, we too, can offer multiple choices to provide a solution.

I had the pleasure of helping a caller with a chip removal application recently. The application was to solve a problem with stringy chips wrapping around a plastic cylindrical part as it was turned on a lathe. The initial thought was to use a Super Air Nozzle to blow them away. Our Model 1100 1/4 NPT Zinc Aluminum Super Air Nozzle was discussed…inexpensive, low air consumption, easy to mount (we also talked about Stay Set Hoses and Magnetic Bases,) and super quiet.

EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle is commonly used in point-of-cutting debris removal applications.

EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle is commonly used in point-of-cutting debris removal applications.

The second thought was to use a small Line Vac to convey the debris away. Small footprint, easy to install, collection of waste in a receptacle away from the machine, still easy on air use & noise level.

Model 6080 3/4" Line Vac is also used in point-of-machining applications, removing debris from the site altogether.

Model 6080 3/4″ Line Vac is also used in point-of-machining applications, removing debris from the site altogether.

The third option came up when discussing tool life. Turns out, one of their machinists was familiar with our Cold Guns, and how they had been used to markedly improve tool life while eliminating the need for coolant at a previous job. This turned out to be all it took for them to try the Model 5215 Cold Gun Aircoolant System.

EXAIR's Cold Guns not only blow debris away, but also provide cooling for tool life improvement.

EXAIR’s Cold Guns not only blow debris away, but also provide cooling for tool life improvement.  With (4) Models to choose from, we’ve got the right one for your needs.

Any of the three options – Super Air Nozzle, Line Vac, or Cold Gun – should have solved this application successfully, with different benefits. They simply chose the one with the benefits that appealed to them the most.

If you have an application regarding compressed air product use that you’d like to discuss, give me a call. We’ll cover all the bases, and get the one that works best for you.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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How to Meet the OSHA Compressed Air Standard

Every day we talk to customers who need to comply with OSHA regulations for using compressed air to clean up their shop or product. Back in 1972 on Valentine’s Day, OSHA published Directive Number STD01-13-001 standard 1910.242(b), which strives to provide guidance on how manufacturers can safely use compressed air for cleaning purposes to comply with the Walsh-Healey Act of 1936.  This directive laid out acceptable methods for complying with 41CFR 50-204.8 and 29 CFR 1910.242(b)

The two methods are very simple, but still many people have questions.  The first method (pictured below) is to regulate the line pressure from the compressor to below 30 PSIG.

Regulator Method

Figure 1 Regulator method Photo Courtesy of osha.gov

The second method is to install a nozzle engineered to reduce the static pressure of the nozzle to less than 30 PSIG.

OSHA Nozzle Method

Figure 2 Nozzle method Photo Courtesy of osha.gov

The first method reduces the danger by limiting the energy in the system to less than an amount which can injure a person.  OSHA determined that 30 PSIG was the safe limit for the amount of pressure the human body could withstand without causing severe injury. The problem with this method is that cleaning with compressed air at 30 psig is virtually impossible.  Which means at such a low pressure the operator must pass the nozzle so close to the chips and debris, he might as well use a broom or pick each piece of debris up with his fingers. This first method I will label the regulator method. The second method introduces a relief valve at the nozzle, so that an operator cannot block off all of the openings of the nozzle, and build up any static pressure on their skin. I will call this the nozzle method.

Commonly and cheaply, the nozzle method is done by cross drilling a hole in an open pipe.  This is a sometimes effective method for protecting employees from static pressure, but it also is great at producing a tremendous amount of noise and wasting a lot of compressed air every year. The noise produced by even a ¼ pipe with a cross drilled hole fed with 80 PSIG can easily exceed 90 dBA and consume up to 140 SCFM. The noise can be even louder, if there are burrs or rough edges from drilling out the pipe.  This is also a violation of OSHA standard 29 CFR – 1910.95 (a), if the employee is not using hearing protection.

Air Nozzle work

To meet this OSHA standard, EXAIR’s solution is to engineer features which cannot be dead-ended into a wide variety of compressed air products. We do this a variety of ways depending on the product.  For the Super Air Nozzles, we utilize multiple small orifices which are protected by raised fins.  The multiple orifices offer an escape path for the air in case a single orifice is plugged. The fins protect the orifices so that no one person can block more than one orifice at a time.

So if you are worried about an OSHA inspector knocking on your door, or maybe you aren’t sure if you should be worried, contact us.  The Application Engineering team here will help you determine what engineered solution you need to keep those pesky fines away.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

Air Nozzles Blowoff Guide Available For FREE

Are you looking for an engineered Air Nozzle to replace your existing unsafe open pipe? Maybe you are wanting to reduce the sound level in your facility or decrease your energy costs? EXAIR offers a large variety of Air Nozzles that are ALL OSHA compliant to meet or exceed OSHA Standard 1910.242(b), by eliminating any potential for dead-ending the air flow out of the nozzle and keeping the outlet pressure safe. The design of our Super Air Nozzles ejects the compressed  air behind a series of fins so there is always path for the air to escape, meaning they cannot be dead ended.

OSHA Noise Level

ALL of EXAIR’s Air Nozzles meet or exceed noise exposure levels.

In addition, our air nozzles meet the OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a) for allowable noise exposure levels. Excessive noise in the workplace can cause stress, lack of concentration leading to accidents and potential long term hearing loss (More OSHA Noise Induced Hearing Loss info here). EXAIR’s air nozzles entrain surrounding ambient air up to 25 times for every 1 part of compressed air, producing much less wind shear, reducing the output sound level, while also making our units more efficient, consuming less compressed air.

 

air nozzle flow

How our Super Air Nozzles entrain surrounding air.

We offer nozzles from our smallest offering with a tiny M4 thread up to our largest 1-1/4 NPT unit, with varying force from 2 ounces up to 23 lbs., in zinc aluminum, stainless steel, brass or PEEK plastic.

With such a vast offering, we understand selection can seem difficult. To simplify the process we offer our Air Nozzles Blowoff Guide. Our FREE Blowoff Guide has all the information available in regards to force, dimensions, air flow patterns, air consumption and materials.You will also find detailed information about our full product line of Safety Air Guns as well.

blowoff guide

Order our complimentary Blowoff Guide today!

To order our complimentary blowoff guide, please click here. If you need additional information, please give us a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Where Did All The C Clamps Go?

Over the past week I visited a local company here in Cincinnati that utilized a decent number of flat plastic air nozzles on their production lines.   This style nozzle had been used for many years but were the reason their engineering department contacted EXAIR.   The nozzles they had in place were used in many different applications from ejecting bad parts, holding up box flaps, and even positioning product correctly on the production line.   Every nozzle was tied to a regulator somewhere on the machine and all of the regulators were tuned to different pressures.

The customer was experiencing, at certain points during the day, a pressure drop throughout the entire system that would cause packaging lines to shut down due to low air pressure faults. The customer called EXAIR because they determined the plastic nozzles were using too much compressed air and were also a constant maintenance problem. Primarily, they wanted to see if we had a solution to lower compressed air while still achieving the desired production results.

Being local we were able to visit the customer and after discussing the applications we set out through the manufacturing area to discover if we could offer solutions for the problematic areas. We got about 10′ away from a casing machine and I heard a loud hiss of compressed air.   This was even with my foam ear plugs in.  Once we reached the edge of the machine I was quickly able to trace the sound down to a plastic flat nozzle that had been mounted to the machine, broken and held back in place by a large C clamp like seen below.

IMG_5777.JPG

As we went through the rest of this production line and the rest of the packaging facility, it was clear the customer had settled on using flat plastic nozzles throughout the plant. Generally we see this because the nozzles are cheap – when you forget to consider operating and maintenance costs. This was not the only broken nozzle being held in place by a clamp and it is also the not the only one that was using more compressed air than necessary.

After finishing the tour and performing some tests here in our lab I recommended that they utilize our 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with a .005″ thick shim installed.   By installing the 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle they are going to be able to mount the metal nozzles with minimal modification to their existing setup as well as lower air consumption and noise level. The metal construction makes them more durable and long lasting in an industrial environment. These nozzles will not break when an operator bumps it and the maintenance department will be able to reclaim all the C clamps that are distributed throughout the facility.

Once we have final numbers on how many nozzles have been replaced and what pressures each nozzle is operated at we will provide the customer the air consumption savings as well as the noise level reduction that they are seeing throughout the plant.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

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