Labor Day 2017

What does Labor Day mean to you? Summer’s last hurrah? An extra day to sleep in, extend a weekend trip, or (ugh) tackle a home improvement project? Something else entirely, or all of the above? I neither expect, nor want, this to change any plans or mindset, but as U.S. federal holidays go, I find the history and meaning of Labor Day to be fascinating.

Maybe not as fascinating as Mister Spock preparing to drop the bass, but still pretty fascinating.

1777 – The first unions were organized in the United States by printers, carpenters and shoemakers, seeking better wages and shorter hours.

1825 – The United Tailoresses of New York, the first all-women’s union, is formed in New York City.

1827 – The Mechanics Union of Trade Associations forms in Philadelphia to call for a standardized 10-hour workday.

1840 – President Martin Van Buren establishes a 10-hour workday for federal workers.

1868 – The first federal 8-hour labor law is passed, but only applies to a small group of federal workers.

1885-1886 – Several municipalities around the United States declare Labor Day ordinances – a day of rest to recognize the social and economic achievements of American workers.

1887 – Oregon passes the first state-wide Labor Day observance law.  Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York follow suit this same year.

1891 – Labor Day is established as a national holiday by the Congress of the United States.

I don’t have the space (or the will) to get in to a detailed discourse on the highs (and lows) of the achievements (and setbacks) of the American working class through the 20th Century.  If I did, I’d choose to focus on the positive.  Almost everyone I know who’s in the American work force – family, friends, neighbors, and especially my co-workers at EXAIR – enjoys a safe work environment, fair wages & benefits, and opportunities unavailable anywhere else in the world.  So, Monday, I’ll take the day off that our forebears fought and earned for us.

If you’d like to talk about a compressed air product application, give me a call.  On Tuesday.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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DJ Spock photo courtesy of geraldfordCreative Commons License

Crescent Hammers, Phillips Head Punches, and Other Cautionary Tales

I don’t want to sound “preachy,” but I’m a stickler for using the right tool for the job. Case in point: just the other day, I noticed (OK; my wife told me about) a loose drawer handle. I went to my toolbox in the garage to get a flat-head screwdriver, even though the drawer in question had a selection of butter knives, any one of which could have been used to tighten that screw.

I can trace this, without doubt or hesitation, to my service in the US Navy, under the direction of Senior Chief Cooper.  Proper tool selection & use was VERY important to him.  He stressed the issues of safety, quality, and performance, but if that didn’t work, he’d make his point with an offer to demonstrate the use of a specific tool (a ball peen hammer) on a sensitive part of your anatomy (it’s exactly the part you’re thinking of.)  At that point, it would have been unwise (and unsafe) to question whether that was a proper use of the tool or not.

Only one of these is a hammer………………..….only one of these is a punch………………..…..only one of these is a chisel.
Choose wisely.

Likewise, there are safety, quality, and performance issues associated with compressed air blow offs.  At EXAIR, we’re ALL sticklers about this, and we get calls all the time to discuss ways to get more out of compressed air systems by using the right products.  Here’s a “textbook” example:

A hose manufacturer contacted me to find out more about our Air Wipes, and how they might be a better fit for their various cleaning & drying applications (spoiler alert: they are.)  The blow offs they were using were made of modular hose, designed (and very successfully used) for coolant spraying in machine tools.

Only one of these is a compressed air blow off. Again…choose wisely.

The selection process was two-fold: they purchased one Model 2401 1″ Super Air Wipe to verify performance, and they sent in some of their modular hose assemblies for Efficiency Lab testing.  The first part was just as important as the second because, no matter how much air they were going to save (another spoiler alert: it was significant,) it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t get the job done.  At the station shown above, the Super Air Wipe resulted in superior performance, and a compressed air cost savings of over $400.00 annually.  For that one station.  Based on that, they outfitted TWENTY FIVE stations with engineered product sized for their different hoses, using our Model 2400 (1/2″), 2401 (1″), 2402 (2″) and 2403 (3″) Super Air Wipes.

If you’d like to find out how using the right product for the job can help your operation, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Memorial Day 2017

We’re in the home stretch now…mere hours away from Memorial Day weekend, or, as I call it, the Official Start Of Summer™.  EXAIR Corporation will be closed on Monday for this occasion. To make good use of this time off, I have three cookouts planned: one at the neighbors’, one at the in-laws’, and the third is self-inflicted.

As much as I like my neighbors and my in-laws (really,) I’m expecting that third one to be my favorite, even considering that I’m the one that has to clean up after it. Why, you may ask? Because we’re going to make s’mores. If you don’t know what s’mores are, I have two thoughts: 1) You’re killing me, and 2) Watch this RIGHT NOW (it’ll make you better understand my first thought too):

Whatever our plans, Monday culminates the celebration of this long weekend…Memorial Day. In the midst of our celebration and activities (or lack thereof – I’m all for some relaxation too,) I encourage you, dear reader, to remember the reason that this day was consecrated.

It was thirteen years ago last month that my wife called me at work to tell me the news that our neighbor’s son had been captured by hostile forces in Iraq.  By the time I got home, yellow ribbons were everywhere…trees, mailboxes, front doors, windows…all in support and hope for Matt Maupin.

Four years later was when the next Memorial Day took on an even more united meaning for our small town, when Matt’s family got the word that he had, in fact, been killed in service of his country.  I still see his father around town, and the grief has spurred determination to make something greater come from the remembrance of his son’s sacrifice.   The Yellow Ribbon Support Center:

*Sends care packages to military individuals serving in harm’s way.

*Hosts an annual “Let Us Never Forget” Scholarship dinner to honor local fallen heroes.  Over half a million dollars worth of scholarships have been awarded to date in remembrance & honor.

*Sends & supports speakers at schools, public events, gatherings, etc. to share the stories of our troops’ heroism.

The Yellow Ribbon Support Center is one of many organizations that could use your help, if you’re so inclined to find one, wherever you may be.  I still think, too, that every one of our fallen heroes, and their families, will want you to have an enjoyable holiday weekend.  It’s been paid for dearly.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Social Media Finds Lost Dogs, Helps Save Compressed Air

Lost Dog – Her name is Molly

 

The versatility of  social media is one of its greatest assets. If you have an interest in something you can most likely discover others with the same interests on one of the social media platforms. From Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube to Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram and Reddit – you will be hard pressed to NOT find something you are looking for.

The other day, we lost our dog, and it was a traumatic experience for us.  She saw some deer in the backyard; and in her crazed state, she knocked down the pet gate.  Molly went after the deer into the woods behind our place.  Being that it was raining and approaching the evening hour, I mentioned that when she gets done hunting, she will come back home.  We placed her bed and food onto the porch for when she returned.

The next day, Molly was not on the porch.  We were disheartened.  Being that I am a bit “old” school, we decided to print some flyers with Molly’s picture.  After I returned from work, we started in my neighborhood and worked our way out.  We drove to all the neighbors to see if they had seen her, and we stapled the flyers to telephone poles and community boards.  We were going at it for hours, and it seemed to be getting hopeless.  (Now, I would not have written this blog if it had a sad ending.)

As we continued to make our journey, I went up to a house and knocked on their door.  A gentleman answered, and I gave him the story of how our dog got out of her pen.  As I was still speaking, my significant other rolled down her window and shouted to me that she found Molly.  I was a little confused as I headed back to the vehicle.  She told me that a picture of Molly was on her Facebook.  (Of course Molly was making herself right at home as the picture showed her laying on a couch).  We were extremely happy that we had finally found her.  Apparently, a lady that found Molly posted her picture, and tagged her friends.  Her friends then sent it out to their friends, and before you knew it, we had her picture on Facebook.  With a friend request, we were able to receive her location and start our way to pick her up.  Believe it or not, Molly was over 2 miles away from our house.

Being curious, I looked at the timeline of the post.  I noticed that she posted the picture at 6:44 p.m., and we were looking at Molly at 7:28 p.m. that same day.  This was definitely much quicker and easier than hanging flyers and knocking on doors.  I was amazed at how fast and simple that this social networking reunited us with Molly.

This got me thinking about social media.  Facebook is the largest social network with almost 2 billion users throughout the world.  In looking at the nature of Facebook, it is more than reuniting with friends or finding lost dogs.  It also unites companies.  EXAIR has a Facebook page in which we post videos, photos, and blogs of compressed air solutions.  We can show you how to save money by using less compressed air with our products and how to solve every day problems with your compressed air system.  We would love to have you as a friend at www.facebook.com/exair.  We may not be able to find your dog, but we sure can share some stories, solve compressed air problems, and become good friends.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

 

Refocusing Life with Mud Pit Burpees

This past weekend I decided it was a great idea to sign up for another event through GoRuck.  In case you aren’t familiar with GoRuck they were founded by a retired Green Beret who wanted a way to test the gear he was making and selling.  These events have since expanded to a very extensive team building and fitness event.   The event this past weekend was located in Columbus, OH and was hosted by four Cadre, each from a different branch of military Special Ops.   It is truly amazing what each cadre brought to the table as they shared a sliver of their experiences and expertise.

The event was, so far, the hardest physical event I have done in my life.   The outcome and what I carried with me from the event was worth every bit of the pain.   While most that are on the outside looking in may think this is purely a physical exercise, it is much more than that.   These events not only help you to test yourself physically but mentally as well.  They are designed to get everyone out of their comfort zone and  teach each participant that while one person may be able to complete all the tasks, it only matters if everyone completes them together.  So they also teach an incredible amount of team building.

The event I took part in I only knew one other person there, I came away knowing roughly 32 people and having a better understanding of what it takes to make sure everyone has the same goal in their mind and that everyone knows what needs to be done to get to that goal.

The best part of all is this event was only the LIGHT version.  It was like the sampler of what their main events are.   The biggest reward of everything that happened that day is the fact that there were 72 people from all walks of life that got together in a park and everyone walked away a better person.  GoRuck prides itself in building better people and so far, I haven’t seen anything but 100% delivery on that.

Whether, you are doing a burpee in a mud pit.  (see below)

Mud Burpee

Nothing better than a mud pit Burpee – I wonder if I could convince my co-workers to join in?

Or trying to make it through a seemingly endless leg lift with a ruck on,  the only thing you have to worry about is making sure that you keep the person next to you going because they will in turn do the same.   You’ll be impressed with what you can do when you get rid of the “can’t and won’t” from your vocabulary and learn to ask for help, you can and will achieve the impossible.

ABSOC Light Columbus.jpg

I’m the guy the cadre is walking right behind.  I promise my feet are 6″ off the ground and my legs are straight.

As for me, an event like this allows me to refocus and makes me see the forest through the trees of day to day life.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager / GoRuck “Weirdo”
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Kentucky Family Racing In Mexico

This year marks the second year in a row that one of our EXAIR team members will be racing in the SCORE-International Baja 1000.   While I am extremely envious (not to mention mad at myself for not going), we all wish we could be there to support him and his family as they try to complete the torturous event.  The Longshore Racing team has made nothing but improvements over last year when they completed over 600 miles of the event but ultimately were brought down by part failures.

2014 Baja 1000 UTV 1943

2014 Baja 1000 UTV 1943

Since then, they have completely rebuilt the vehicle and learned a tremendous amount about what they need and implemented it all for this year’s event.  The team is a family affair for one of our Design Engineers, Ryan Longshore, his father, brother, and mother all play a significant role.

Longshore Racing's Favorite Taco Stand

Longshore Racing’s Favorite Taco Stand

 

The group definitely knows that when you want to achieve and excel, you have to work hard. I wish them the best of luck in this year’s race.   Here’s a picture of the team launching from the start line.

The 2015 Longshore Racing Baja 1000 Starting Launch

The 2015 Longshore Racing Baja 1000 Starting Launch

Ryan and his team managed to make it past halfway this year, before snapping frame welds that could not be overcome. He came back with another year’s worth of experience and knowledge, while still maintaining his resolve to someday conquer the course.

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

 

Efficiency Lab Provides Specific Benefits

My Ruck sack w/ 20 lb. weight and a flag for the team to carry.

My Ruck sack w/ 20 lb. weight and a flag for the team to carry.

This weekend, myself and many others are going to be participating in an event held all over the country, the Go Ruck Light event.  This test of toughness (mental and physical) is put on by former military personnel and it is based around one of the things they do a lot of at the beginning of their military training.   This is a 7 to 10 mile event that will take up to 4 hours to complete.   It is not like a race or any other obstacle event that we have ever done.   This is an event where the leader, or Cadre, will lead you through the miles and many physical exercises along the way all while carrying a 20 lb weight in a ruck sack on your back.   This not only tests individuals but it also requires the entire group to work as a team to ensure everyone finishes and everyone is together.

While I feel that I am under-prepared for this event physically, my mind is prepared to find out just how much I really can do and it will be at the end of the test that I realize the benefits.

Not many of the tasks I am responsible for at EXAIR require that kind of physical toughness and some of them require the mental toughness. But one instance I am always prepared for is the customer that calls and thinks they have the weirdest application and that there is nothing to solve it.   We actually have this experience quite a bit and it helps make what we do more interesting and fun.  With our diverse background and extensive knowledge, chances are we have experienced the application or we have seen something that is very close.  This helps us to be specific when recommending a solution.

EXAIR feels that the best solutions can also provide information on air and dollar savings as well.  The best savings information can be provided if our customers are willing to provide us details about their current application, and there is no better way to provide us the details than to take advantage of our Efficiency Lab. It is a free service letting you to send in a sample of your current blowoff product (typically homemade nozzles, open tube or pipe, snap together coolant hose, etc.), in return we will test it for you with our calibrated equipment and provide you a detailed report on air volume, force and noise. Then you will know the specific benefits of your recommended solution.

EXAIR's Efficiency Lab is a free service to all US customers.

EXAIR’s Efficiency Lab is a free service to all US customers.

The fact is, we go into every conversation with the mentality of only providing solutions.  If we can’t provide it, we will try to direct you to someone that can.

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

 

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