When operating any of your Intelligent Compressed Air Products, something that often gets overlooked is the importance of delivering clean, dry air to those point-of-use products. Many of our products have very tight orifices to help reduce the volume of compressed air they consume. In addition, most have no moving parts to wear out and require no maintenance. That is, unless you’re using unfiltered compressed air.
Rust and scale are commonly found within the distribution system inside your facility. Old iron pipe and receiver tanks are the common culprits. A common misconception is that the air is already filtered as it exits the compressor. While this may be true, there’s still places in the distribution system that can cause issues downstream.
To eliminate the hassle of taking things apart to periodically clean, EXAIR recommends installing a point-of-use filter for all of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products. Kits are available for purchase that come with a properly sized filter to ensure your air is sufficiently clean. To see how quickly debris can clog your products, check out my video below demonstrating the difference between dirty and clean air with a Model 110006 6″ Super Air Knife.
If you’ve already purchased and installed products without filters, it’s never to late to go back and install one. Contact an EXAIR Application Engineer today and we’ll be happy to help you determine the proper size for the volume of air you’re products need.
Recently I took a call from an existing customer that is questioning their Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit setup. They are experiencing around a 38 psig pressure drop from before the filter in the system to the inlet of the Line Vac. At first glance, they assumed this was due to the filter restricting the flow. They then posed the question, “Do I have to run this filter or can I take it out? I mean I already have a filter at my compressor.” The answer is yes, install the filter. It will keep dirt, scale and condensate from entering the Line Vac or other components downstream. In the case of a Line Vac, a filter will also prevent this unwanted debris from getting into the material being conveyed.
However, this is a great question, especially when assuming the filter is causing the pressure drop – but that was not the case for this application. So more questions were asked to our customer to determine what the root cause of the pressure drop could be. Seeing a pressure drop across a filter can be caused by several factors.
One would be an inappropriately sized filter. This can restrict the volumetric flow of air through to the point of use causing a pressure drop. All of the filters supplied with our product kits are auto-drain, have 5 micron filter elements and appropriately sized to operate the product at 80 psig inlet pressure so this was not the problem.
The next issue could be that the filter is clogged, this brought on another question. If you see more than a 5 psig pressure drop across a filter from EXAIR then we suggest changing out the filter element as it could be clogged and not permitting the full volumetric flow through. This installation was fairly new and a quick test without a filter element installed proved it was not the filter element that was clogged.
That brought us to the last variable, the length, size, and number/type of fittings between the filter and the Heavy Duty Line Vac. This length of pipe was more than 30′ in length and was only appropriately sized for a 10′ length or shorter run. The customer was using a 1/2″ Schedule 40 black iron pipe to feed a 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac at 80 psig inlet pressure. The 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit will utilize 75 SCFM at 80 psig inlet pressure. That will need a 1/2″ Sched. 40 pipe that is 10′ long or less in order to not have friction loss within the feed pipe. Armed with this information the customer is researching whether or not the line needs to stay that long. If it does, they will have to re-plumb the system with a minimum of a 3/4″ Sched. 40 black iron pipe.
Luckily this was all able to be discussed within a few hours of time and the customer is on their way to an optimal supply system for their in-line conveyor. One brief phone call took this customer from lackluster performance and thinking a product was not going to work for what they need, to performing beyond their expectations, and being able to keep up with their production needs.
If you have a product or any part of your compressed air system that you question why it may be performing or not performing a certain way, please do not hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable team of Application Engineers. We are always interested in finding a solution to your needs.
I went to the auto parts store to replace my brakes on my vehicle. They asked me if I needed some Anti-squeak grease for my brake hardware. It made me think about the accessories that EXAIR sells. I could have used my own kind of grease which may not be able to hold up to the heat, but for a few dollars more, I wanted to go with the item that the experts would suggest.
In this blog, I would like to turn your attention to the accessories that support our Intelligent Compressed Air® Products. EXAIR products use compressed air to coat, conserve, cool, convey and clean. To maximize the performance and/or ease installation it is important to have the controls and options, and EXAIR offers these items as Accessories.
Pneumatic applications come in many variations and forms, and Accessories can help you to adapt to your application and to remove “guess work”. They can make installation easier, add flexibility, and give you peace of mind.
Here are the different categories and explanations for each item that EXAIR recommends for our products with their defined functions. They can help you in different areas to enhance your EXAIR product experience.
Filter Separators remove bulk liquid and contamination from the compressed air stream. EXAIR stocks a range of sizes from ¼” NPT ports to 1 ¼” NPT ports. They use a 5-micron filter and a mechanical baffle to remove slugs of liquid from your compressed air system. Most Filter Separators have an auto-drain to automatically remove the buildup of liquid inside the bowl. I would consider the Filter Separator as a minimum level of protection required to protect your EXAIR product installations.
Oil Removal Filters remove very small particles of dirt and oil from the compressed air; making it even cleaner. The 0.03-micron media of the Oil Removal Filter will “coalesce” the fine liquid particles into large droplets. Thus, allowing gravity to remove oil vapor from the compressed air stream. EXAIR offers different sizes ranging from ¼” NPT to 1 ½” NPT ports. As a note, Oil Removal Filters are great for removing very fine particles, but if you have a system with lots of water, I would recommend a Filter Separator upstream of the Oil Removal Filter for optimal filtration.
Regulators control the amount of air pressure being supplied to your EXAIR product. This is important if you are trying to save compressed air, control the force produced by an Air Knife, or convey material slowly. EXAIR, being a leader in compressed air savings, recommends to use the minimum amount of air pressure to do the job. This will save compressed air and save you money. Regulators have a characteristic called “droop”. Droop is the amount of air pressure that it drops downstream when you start flowing compressed air. If the regulator is not sized properly, you can “starve” your pneumatic components, causing loss of function. EXAIR properly sizes our regulators in our kits to make sure that you won’t “starve” your application.
Mounting Brackets for the regulators and the filters to help support them to a wall or structure are available. To connect filters and regulators together without a pipe nipple, we also have Coupling Kits for sizes up to ¾” NPT. And for combination kits which includes a filter and a regulator, we offer the Mounting Bracket and Coupling Kit together for a set.
Reclassifying Mufflers are designed to have two functions. They can cut noise levels by 35 dB and remove oil mist from the exhaust air. Cylinders and valves that exhaust pressurized air may have oil in the line to keep the seals from sticking. When exhausted, it can create a fine mist which is dangerous for operators. The Reclassifying Mufflers can reduce the loud noise as well as collect any contamination from the exhaust air.
Sintered Bronze Mufflers are simple in design, cost effective, and easy to install. They have a minimal back pressure to not restrict operations of the pneumatic device. They come in sizes from #10-32 thread to 1-1/2 NPT. For a quick and simple way to reduce noise, the Sintered Bronze Mufflers are in stock for fast delivery.
Straight-Through Mufflers offer a way to reduce noise levels without worrying about clogging. They have an aluminum shell lined with sound absorbing foam, and they can reduce the noise level by 20 dB. EXAIR offers them with two ports from ¼” NPT to ¾” NPT. This can allow you to connect other items like blowing hose kits while reducing noise.
Heavy Duty Mufflers have an outer aluminum shell with an internal stainless steel screen that can protect the components from environmental contamination, and can also keep contaminant like rust from being ejected at high speed into the work area. They have a typical noise reduction of 14 dB.
Manual Valves allow for operators to turn on and off their system by hand. The full-flow ball valves range from ¼” NPT to 1 1/4” NPT in size and will not restrict flow. EXAIR also offers a manual foot pedal valve for hands-free operations. This ¼” NPT foot valve has a 3-way operation and works great if the operator has to use both hands in their process.
Solenoid Valves are a way to turn on and off the supply of compressed air electrically for automated systems. We offer solenoids in three different voltages; 110Vac, 240Vac, and 24Vdc. EXAIR has a large range of flows with ports ranging from ¼” NPT to 1” NPT. All models are UL listed and are CE and RoHS compliant.
Swivel Fittings are a great way to securely install and aim EXAIR nozzles. They are dynamic as they can be adjusted and set to a flow direction with 50-degrees of movement. They are made from 303SS or 316SS for corrosion resistance with ports ranging from 4mm to 1” NPT.
Compressed Air Fittings are a nice arrangement to connect different compressed air items together. We offer a range of hex and close nipples, couplings, reducers, tees, elbows, crosses and bulk head fittings. If you need a quick way to connect directly to your pneumatic system, we may have it on the shelf.
Magnetic Bases are designed for a solid mount to steel surfaces and for easy portability of your blow-off system to different locations. It has a 100 lb. (45.5Kg) pulling force to keep the blowing device attached firmly until you want to move it. They can be mounted in a vertical or horizontal position. EXAIR offers a single outlet Magnetic Base (for one blow-off device); a dual outlet Magnetic Base (for multiple blowing products); and a single outlet Swivel Magnetic Base (to offer more flexibility to orientation). The bases come with a ¼ turn shut-off valve to easily turn on and off the compressed air to the EXAIR products.
Receiver Tanks are used to store compressed air. They can be used at the air compressor or as secondary reservoirs for intermittent demand. They help your compressed air system with pressure variations and high demand loads. EXAIR offers a model 9500-60 Receiver Tank that has a 60 gallon capacity and is rated to 200 PSIG. It meets the ASME pressure vessel code.
Universal Air Knife Mounting System gives you a way to mount the EXAIR Super Air Knife, Full-Flow Air Knife, and Standard Air Knife. This kit is used to position your air knife securely and precisely. It comes with a bracket and an articulated arm that can reach up to 30” (762mm). You can orientate the air knives in any position to maximize the effectiveness.
Plumbing Kit, or PKI, is a great tool for longer Super Air Knives to help attach your compressed air system. They are designed to help lessen the time for install as well as to properly supply compressed air equally along the entire length, specifically for 24” (610mm) and longer. We can offer the Plumbing Kit separately if you find that it could benefit your fabricators during installation.
Coupling Kits are designed to attach Aluminum and Stainless Steel Super Air Knives if you need to extend past the 108” (2,743 mm) width. Coupling Kits will mount the air knives together end to end.
Conveying Hoses are used with our Air Operated Conveyors or Line Vacs. The hoses are made from a durable PVC semi-flexible hose with six different diameters from ¾” I.D. up to 3” I.D. The conveyance hoses can slip easily to the ends of the Line Vacs or to tubes for an easy transition. EXAIR can cut-to-length Conveying Hoses up to 50 feet (15m); in increments of 10 feet (3m).
Coiled Hoses get compressed air from the piping system to the EXAIR product. They are made of a durable abrasion-resistant nylon material that is 12 feet long (3.6 meters). They have swivel fittings at the end to allow for easy uncoiling, and a spring strain relief to keep the hose from kinking. The coiled design makes it easy to reach around the work area and retract back to the substation. This will help to keep the hose off the ground where potential dangers could occur. We offer 3 different connection sizes; 1/8” NPT, ¼” NPT, and 3/8” NPT.
Compressed Air Hoses is another way to supply EXAIR products. They are useful if you need to reach from overhead sources or around equipment. They are made from a reinforced synthetic rubber in 3/8” I.D. and 1/2” I.D. diameters. We can make specific lengths up to 50 feet (15m). They are rated for 250 PSIG (17 bar) air pressure, and the hose material works well for long-lasting protection against ozone, weathering and temperatures up to 158oF (70oC). They come standard with two male ends in ¼” NPT or ½” NPT.
Stay Set Hoses give you that possibility of manually adjusting or re-adjusting Super Air Nozzles. The hose has a “memory” function; so, it will not creep or droop until you physically move it. They work well to direct air flows in unique ways at specific target areas. They can be used with Super Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns and Blow-off Kits. The Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6” (15cm) to 36” (91cm), and they are offered with ¼” NPT male on both ends or with a 1/8” NPT female and a ¼” NPT male connections. These hoses are rated for 250 PSIG (17 bar) and are made from reinforced synthetic rubber.
The ETC, or Electronic Temperature Control, is a digital temperature controller with a LED screen for precision monitoring and adjusting temperatures in a Cabinet Cooler System. The controller has easy-to-use buttons to raise or lower the desired internal cabinet temperature. Once set, the ETC will hold the temperature to +/- 1 oF (+/- 0.5 oC). The LED displays the internal temperature for continuous monitoring. The ETC comes complete with the controller and a solenoid valve in two different voltages, 120Vac and 240Vac.
The thermostat is a way to control a solenoid valve electrically to turn on/off a Cabinet Cooler System at a set temperature. It is preset at 95°F (35°C), but it can be adjusted to other desired temperatures. It has an accuracy to hold the set temperature within +/- 2 °F (1 °C). It can handle voltages from 24V to 240V, AC (50/60 Hz) or DC. They are UL Recognized and CSA certified.
In today’s fast-paced world, there is a need to get your devices operating correctly and as quickly as possible. EXAIR Accessories can do that. Not only will you have confidence, as you are using the items recommended by the EXAIR experts, but you won’t have to worry about your system “squeaking” to a halt. Like with my brakes above; I was happy to use the recommended grease to end any annoyance with my braking. If you would like to discuss the proper options with your EXAIR products, an Application Engineer will be happy to help you.
ISO 8573-1:2010 is the international standard for Air Quality Classes. It lays the ground rules for acceptable levels of pollutants, particulate, moisture, and oil in a compressed air source.
Specification Example: ISO 8573-1:2010 [2:2:1]
This indicates Class 2 for particles, Class 2 for water, and Class 1 for oil.
Though the standard has detailed standards for maximum particle size, maximum pressure dew point and maximum oil content for different industries and/or environments (see Slide show above) we can generalize a bit and express the levels of air quality like this:
Plant Air – general plant compressed air used for air tools, nozzles etc. Instrument Air – found in laboratories, paint and powder coat booths, used for climate control. Process Air – used in food and pharmaceutical applications, electronics applications. Breathing Air – used for breathing respirators, breathing tanks and hospital air systems.
Achieving the different levels of air quality can be done with 3 basic types of filtration. 1. Particulate – a filter element removes particles larger than the opening in the filter material. Typically done with particles greater than 1 micron. 2. Coalescing – use different methods to capture the particles; 1) direct interception – works like a sieve, 2) Inertial impaction – collision with filter media fibers, 3) Diffusion – particles travel in a spiral motion and are captured in the filter media. 3. Adsorption – the filter element holds the contaminants by molecular adhesion.
The higher the class your air needs to be the more of these filtration methods you will use. Adsorption will remove more and finer particles than a simple particulate filter. And many applications will use a combination of these methods.
EXAIR products, all of which need a source of “clean, dry air” will operate very well utilizing a source of plant air and only a particulate filter. Your process, dictate if you need to supply additional filtration methods for better air quality. For example, an automotive plant using compressed air to blow parts off will not need the kind of filtration a food handling facility will need while blowing a food product off. If you are using a lubricated compressor or have lubricant in your compressed air lines from another source, you will want to use a coalescing oil removal filter.
EXAIR stocks 5 micron particulate filters which are properly sized for each individual product as an option for our customers if they choose. We also stock coalescing oil removal filters for customers who may need to remove oil from the air. Replacement filter elements are also available and should be replaced at least twice a year, depending on the quality of your air.
Remember to ask about filtration if you have any concerns about your air quality. We can assist in sizing up the proper filters to get the air quality we recommend for proper operation and longevity of our products.