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.
So making sure you are in compliance with 1910.242(b) is truly a life and death situation. Most people believe that lowering the pressure to the blow off device is the only method to keep their operators safe from an air embolism. However this can become a problem when you really need the force of greater than 30 PSIG to complete your operation. We at EXAIR want to give you the flexibility to run at any pressure with out the risk of building that 30 PSI of dead-end pressure! We do this with our line of Intelligent Compressed Air® nozzles! All of EXAIR’s Air Nozzles 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.
Another great example of this is our 2″ Flat super air nozzle. The design not only allows the nozzle to amplify the air flow in the blast of air, the over hang will not let the dead end pressure build as it can escape around the edges and bottom!
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!
Throughout my years I have been in many manufacturing facilities. Oddly enough, I have seen nearly every part of a passenger car manufactured and then fully assembled. The amount of compressed air applications in automotive supplier and manufacturing facilities are tremendous. Here are some stories from just a few we have encountered over the years, and all of them can be found in our Application Database.
A component manufacturer, specifically a steering and transmission component manufacturer was having issues with machined parts coming out of a CNC machine with too much oil based cutting fluid on them and not passing inspection process because the oil would throw off the automated measuring system. The part was a splined shaft that the high surface tension oil stayed in the splines. The part was removed from the machine via robotic loader and set onto a fixture. The path to the fixture was outfitted with a Super Air Wipe so the robotic loader could move the part into and out of the air wipes’s airflow and remove the oil. The converging airflow of the Super Air Wipe was ideal to keep the peaks and valleys of the shaft clean of oil and they were able to direct oil back into the cutting machine so no separate collection system was needed.
2. A seat bracket manufacturer had issues protecting the lenses on their vision systems from welding spatter. They were again able to reduce the replacement / repair downtime by installing a 9″ Super Air Wipe in front of the robotic mounted lens and keep the spatter / fumes from ever making it to the lens, resulting in expanded run times between repair / downtime.
3. A forging company manufacturing the pistons was having issues reducing the temperature of the pistons as they were assembled to the connecting rods. The solution for them was to install a series of Super Air Amplifiers over the fixtured, indexing line and at each dwell station a Super Air Amplifier would activate and cool down the assembly by moving large volumes of ambient air mixed with small amounts of compressed air onto the surfaces.
4. An automotive manufacturer had issues with stamping shavings and welding debris staying on the surface of parts and fixtures resulting in rework and defective parts. Implementing a series of Super Air Nozzles, and Super Air Knives resulted in debris removal that saved tooling rework as well as production reject parts.
5. Another automotive / recreational vehicle manufacturer needed help with their torture test machine for suspension components. They were utilizing fans to try and keep shock sensors cool and replicate air movement. electric fans were not able to provide a focused airflow and so enter the Super Air Amplifiers. These have also been utilized on engine torture test machines.
These are just a select few of the actual applications that I have actually help with over the course of the years. As a whole, we have helped endless number of automotive industry applications. It doesn’t matter if you are in the automotive industry or just a garage tinkerer, contact and Application Engineer and let us help you with your point of use compressed air application today.
On the submarine I served on, many of us used math, specific to our jobs. Torpedo (and missile) fire control, navigation, reactor operations…even meal cooking…involved certain formulas to accomplish particular tasks. One formula we all knew and kept near & dear to our hearts, though, was:
Number of surfaces = Number of dives
And those who fly aircraft and spacecraft, in – and out of – the atmosphere, have a similar formula:
Number of landings = Number of takeoffs
While this certainly requires a great deal of skill of the operators (as does diving and surfacing a submarine), it also takes a great deal of technical acumen in the engineering and construction of those aircraft & spacecraft (and warships). Terms like “aircraft grade” inspire a high degree of confidence in the integrity of materials, and rightly so – the quality standards that manufacturers and suppliers are held accountable to are stringent and inviolate. That’s why aerospace professionals need reliable, durable, and effective equipment to do their jobs.
EXAIR Corporation has been providing this kind of equipment to the aerospace industry (and others) since 1983. Here are some examples of the applications we’ve worked with “steely eyed missile men” to solve:
A jet engine manufacturer makes a titanium assembly consisting of a honeycomb shaped extrusion bonded to a rigid sheet. The cells of the honeycomb are only 1/8” wide, and 3/8” deep. After fabrication, they’re washed & rinsed, and the tiny cells tend to hold water. They would invert & tap the assembly to try to get the water out, but that wasn’t always effective and occasionally led to damaging the assembly. To reduce the chance of damage (and loss) of an assembly, they built a cleaning station, using EXAIR Model HP1125 2” High Power Super Air Nozzles and Model 9040 Foot Pedals, for hands-free control of the high force blow out of the honeycomb cells. The results were increased production, decreased defects, and lower labor costs.
A machine shop makes composite material parts for the aerospace industry. Static charge would build up, causing the shavings to cling to most of the surfaces inside the machine. The vacuum system was unable to overcome the force of the static charge to remove it, so they called EXAIR. Our expertise in static elimination led to the specification of a Model 8494 Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet System to direct ionized air onto the tool during cutting. This eliminated the static as it was generated on the shavings, allowing the vacuum system to perform as advertised. Not only did it make for a cleaner work station, the air flow provided cooling for the cutting tool, improving performance & extending life.
If a company works with metal parts, there’s a decent chance they operate a welding machine, and those things make smoke & fumes that, at best, are a nuisance, and at worst, are toxic. An airplane repair shop that has to weld in tight spaces needed a convenient, portable, compact way to evacuate the welding smoke and fumes. They chose a Model 120024 4” Super Air Amplifier. They’re capable of pulling in over 700 SCFM, and with a sound level of only 73dBA and lightweight aluminum construction, they’re an ideal fit for this application.
Certain satellites have components whose batteries must be fully charged to ensure that everything works just right. Because of the heat that charging generates, they couldn’t be charged with the spacecraft on the launch pad without cooling. Conventional methods of providing cold air (refrigerant based or cold water chillers) are too bulky, so they instead use a Model 3230 Medium Vortex Tube, capable of providing 2,000 Btu/hr worth of cooling air flow. This enables them to charge the battery until just prior to launch, making sure the batteries are as fully charged as possible, prior to deployment.
While the lion’s share of Vortex Tube applications involve the use of their cold flow, a number of folks do use the hot air flow, with great success. A major material supplier to the aircraft & aerospace industry makes a flexible, porous strand of material that, after fabrication, passes through a wash tank prior to cutting to size. They wanted to speed up the drying time, but it was impractical to use electrically powered hot air blowers or heat guns. By using an EXAIR Model 3275 Large Vortex Tube set to a 70% Cold Fraction, they’re able to blow a little over 22 SCFM of 220°F air onto the strand, which effectively dries it to their specification, quickly & safely.
Exacting jobs call for safe, efficient, and reliable tools. Even if your job “isn’t rocket science”, the value of the right tool cannot be stressed enough. If you use – or want to use – compressed air for such a task, give me a call.
Russ Bowman, CCASS
Application Engineer EXAIR Corporation Visit us on the Web Follow me on Twitter Like us on Facebook
The management and effective control to reducing or eliminating workplace hazards can be frustrating. Controlling the exposure(s) to occupational hazards is the fundamental method of protecting employees. The CDC published a useful guide called “Hierarchy of Controls” detailing 5 types of control methods as a means to implement effective control solutions.
The idea behind this hierarchy is that the control methods at the top of graphic are potentially more effective and protective than those at the bottom. Following this hierarchy normally leads to the implementation of inherently safer systems, where the risk of illness or injury has been substantially reduced.
Elimination and substitution, while most effective at reducing workplace hazards, also tend to be the most difficult to implement in an existing process. If the process is still in a development stage, elimination and substitution of hazards may be inexpensive and simple to implement. For an existing process, major changes in equipment and procedures may be required to eliminate a hazard.