EXAIR Efficiency Lab at Your Service

I couldn’t count the number of times we have written a blog about the EXAIR Efficiency Lab because its that cool, unlike the number of wins the Cincinnati Reds have right now. I can count that on two hand 10………10-26 as of writing this blog and I could go on and on about the pain but I will spare you the tears and write about how amazing the Efficiency lab is for any company that utilizes compressed air!

Is the Mascot signing something? Or hanging his head? We will never Know!

First – what is the EXAIR Efficiency Lab? Well several years ago EXAIR created a free program called the Efficiency Lab.  This program is to compare your current pneumatic blow-off device with an EXAIR engineered product.  The values we compare are air consumption, noise level and force. We generate a detailed report to send to you for review.  It is a free service that EXAIR provides for U.S. and Canadian companies to know more details about solutions you are currently using in your processes.

The EXAIR Efficiency Lab

Why do we offer this?  Air Compressors demand significant electrical power and compressed air is considered to be a fourth utility within plants and industries.  Many people do not realize the cost and safety concerns when using improper blow-off devices.  As an example, if you look at a single 1/8” open pipe for blowing compressed air, it can cost you over $2,000 a year to operate.  This will add to your overhead and cut profits.  Another reason to consider your blow-off device is that compressed air can be dangerous.  With that same 1/8” open pipe, it can violate OSHA standards for noise exposure and dead-end pressure.  In deciding your “vehicle” for blowing compressed air, cheap is not typically best option.  To put it in other terms, a cheap nozzle is like a cheap old car, it’s cheap because it gets 3 MPG with faulty brakes.

With our Efficiency Lab, a comparison it is quite simple to do.  An easy way is to call us and explain the details. These details can be data such as the inside diameter and length of a an open tube you are using, or the actual performance data of a cheap air nozzle you have chosen to use. Perhaps the easiest way to make the comparison is to let EXAIR do it – send in your blowoff product or a sample of the tube, nozzle, modified fitting, etc. We will then put them through our testing process. You can also fill out our Product Efficiency Survey on our website to give the conditions for testing. 

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 at our cost with a detailed report of the comparison.  Your information will be confidential, and we will not share it without your permission.  We will also provide a simple ROI – many customers like to use this report to show managers, executives, HSE, etc. on the improvements that EXAIR can provide including cost savings and safety.

How do we do the Efficiency Lab?  We use calibrated equipment and standardized procedures to test for noise levels, flow usage, and force measurements.  We will recommend an EXAIR engineered solution as a replacement to your current device to do the comparison.  With the analytical information, we can also figure the total amount of air savings, return on investment, payback period and safety improvements.

Don’t Swing and miss…. (Like the Reds)  You do not want to sacrifice safety, time, and money with a sub-standard product.  Let EXAIR solve this dilemma with our free service; the Efficiency Lab.  Take advantage of our expertise by using the Efficiency Lab service, we will provide you a detailed report with a comparison analysis to make a great choice. 

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

Send me an Email
Find us on the Web 
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Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Reds Image Provided by IndyDina with Mr. Wonderful via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

EXAIR’s Efficiency Lab Shows How Much Compressed Air You Can Save

The EXAIR Efficiency Lab

EXAIR has been manufacturing compressed air products since 1983, and we created a culture of making high quality products that are safe, effective, and very efficient.  Since we stand by our products, we created a program called the Efficiency Lab.  This program is to compare your current pneumatic blow-off device with an EXAIR engineered product.  The values we compare are air consumption, noise level and force. We generate a detailed report to send to you for review.  It is a free service that EXAIR provides for U.S. and Canadian companies to know more details about solutions you are currently using in your processes.

Why do we offer this?  Air Compressors demand significant electrical power and compressed air is considered to be a fourth utility within plants and industries.  Many people do not realize the cost and safety concerns when using improper blow-off devices.  As an example, if you look at a single 1/8” open pipe for blowing compressed air, it can cost you over $2,000 a year to operate.  This will add to your overhead and cut profits.  Another reason to consider your blow-off device is that compressed air can be dangerous.  With that same 1/8” open pipe, it can violate OSHA standards for noise exposure and dead-end pressure.  In deciding your “vehicle” for blowing compressed air, cheap is not typically best option.  To put it in other terms, a cheap nozzle is like a cheap old car, it’s cheap because it gets 3 MPG with faulty brakes.

With our Efficiency Lab, a comparison 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 (nozzle, open tube, modified fitting, etc.) 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 at our cost with a detailed report of the comparison.  Your information will be confidential, and we will not share it without your permission.  We will also provide a simple ROI – many customers like to use this report to show managers, executives, HSE, etc. on the improvements that EXAIR can provide in cost savings and safety.

How do we do the Efficiency Lab?  We use calibrated equipment and standardized procedures to test for noise levels, flow usage, and force measurements.  We will recommend an EXAIR engineered solution as a replacement to your current device to do the comparison.  With the analytical information, we can also figure the total amount of air savings, return on investment, payback period and safety improvements.

Don’t be fooled; not all blow off devices are the same.  You do not want to sacrifice safety, time, and money with a sub-standard product.  Let EXAIR solve this dilemma with our free service; the Efficiency Lab.  Take advantage of our expertise by using the Efficiency Lab service, we will provide you a detailed report with a comparison analysis to make a great choice. 

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

Send me an Email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Air Compressor Motors and Controls, Working Together.

One of the most important aspect of an efficient compressed air delivery system is effective utilization of compressor controls. The proper use of compressor controls is critical to any efficient compressor system operation. In order to reduce operating costs, compressor controls strategies need to be developed starting with minimizing the discharge pressure. This should be set as low as possible to keep energy costs to a minimum.

The compressor system is designed with maximum air demand in mind. During periods of lower demand compressor controls are used to coordinate a reduction in output that matches the demand. There are six primary types of individual compressor controls:

  1. Start/Stop – This is the most basic control. The start/stop function will turn off the motor in response to a pressure signal.
  2. Load/Unload – The motor will run continuously, but the compressor unloads when a set pressure is reached. The compressor will then reload at a specified minimum pressure setting.
  3. Modulating – Restricts the air coming into the compressor to reduce compressor output to a specified minimum. This is also known as throttling or capacity control.
  4. Dual/Auto Dual – On small reciprocating compressors, this control allows the selection of either Start/Stop or Load/Unload.
  5. Variable Displacement – Gradually reduces the compressor displacement without reducing inlet pressure.
  6. Variable Speed – Controls the compressor capacity by adjusting the speed of the electric motor.

All of these controls then control the compressor motors and they have several different starting methods.

There are several types of modern motor starters:

Full Voltage Starters: The original, and simplest method.  These are similar in theory to the old knife switches, but the operator’s hands aren’t right on the connecting switch.  Full line voltage comes in, and amperage can peak at up to 8 times full load (normal operating) amperage during startup.  This can result in voltage dips…not only in the facility itself, but in the neighborhood.  Remember how the lights always dim in those movies when they throw the switch on the electric chair?  It’s kind of like that.

Reduced Voltage Starters: These are electro-mechanical starters.  Full line voltage is reduced, commonly to 50% initially, and steps up, usually in three increments, back to full.  This keeps the current from jumping so drastically during startup, and reduces the stress on mechanical components…like the motor shaft, bearings, and coupling to the compressor.

Solid State (or “Soft”) Starters: Like the Reduced Voltage types, these reduce the full line voltage coming in as well, but instead of increasing incrementally, they gradually and evenly increase the power to bring the motor to full speed over a set period of time.  They also are beneficial because of the reduced stress on mechanical components.

The Application Engineering team at EXAIR Corporation prides ourselves on our expertise of not only point-of-use compressed air application & products, but a good deal of overall system knowledge as well.  If you have questions about your compressed air system, give us a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

Send me an Email
Find us on the Web 
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Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Compressor Photo Credits to Bryan Lee, Creative Commons License

Compressed Air Membrane Dryers: What are They? How do They Work?

A critical component on the supply side of your compressor system is the dryer. Atmospheric air contained within a compressed air system contains water vapor. The higher the temperature of the air, the more volume of moisture that air is capable of holding. As air is cooled, this water vapor can no longer be contained and this water falls out in the form of condensation. The temperature where this water will drop out is referred to as the dew point.

At a temperature of 75°F and 75% relative humidity, approximately 20 gallons of water will enter a 25HP compressor during a 24-hour period. As air is compressed, this water becomes concentrated. Since it’s heated during the compression process, this water stays in a vapor form. When this air cools further downstream, this vapor condenses into droplet form.

Moisture within the compressed air system can result in rust forming on the inside of the distribution piping, process failure due to clogged frozen lines in colder weather, false readings from instruments and controls, as well as issues with the point of use products installed within the system.

The solution to this problem is to install a dryer system. We’ve spent some time here on the EXAIR blog reviewing refrigerant dryers , desiccant dryersdeliquescent dryers, and heat of compression dryers. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to focus on one of the newer styles on the market today: the membrane dryer.

Membrane Dryer

In a membrane dryer, compressed air is forced through a specially designed membrane that permits water vapor to pass through faster than the air. The water vapor is then purged along with a small amount of air while the rest of the compressed air passes through downstream. Generally, the dew point after the membrane dryer is reduced to about 40°F with even lower dew points also possible down to as low as -40°F!

With such low dew points possible, it makes a membrane dryer an optimal choice in outdoor applications that are susceptible to frost in colder climates. Membrane dryers also are able to be used in medical and dental applications where consistent reliability is critical.

A membrane dryer does not require a source of electricity in order to operate. The compact size makes it simple to install without requiring a lot of downtime and floor space. Since they have no moving parts, maintenance needed is minimal. Most often, this maintenance takes the form of checking/replacing filter elements just upstream of the membrane dryer. The membrane itself does need to be periodically replaced, an indicator on the membrane dryer will display when it needs to be changed. If particular instruments or processes in your facility are sensitive to moisture, a membrane dryer might be the best option.

However, there are some drawbacks to these types of dryers. They’re limited to low capacity installations, with models ranging from less than 1 SCFM up to 200 SCFM. This makes them more applicable for point-of-use installations than for an entire compressed air system. The nature in which the membrane dryer works necessitates some of the air to be purged out of the system along with the moisture. To achieve dew points as low as -40°F, this can equate to as much as 20% of the total airflow. When proper filtration isn’t installed upstream, oils and lubricants can ruin the dryer membrane and require premature replacement.

Make sure and ask plenty of questions of your compressor supplier during installation and maintenance of your system so you’re aware of the options out there. You’ll of course want to make sure that you’re using this air efficiently. For that, EXAIR’s wide range of engineered Intelligent Compressed Air Products fit the bill. With a variety of products available for same-day shipment from stock, we’ve got you covered.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD