Safety Air Guns – True Cost of Ownership

There are many inexpensive, cheaply made air guns out on the market.  If evaluated solely on purchase price, the decision of what air gun to buy seems obvious.  Only when you consider all the cost of ownership and operation, does the best direction become apparent.

A popular thumb lever operated air gun, readily available online has a base purchase price of $6.11.  The List price of the EXAIR model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is $81.00. Wow- big difference you think, I am surely not going to spend that kind of money on a simple air gun.  Let’s take a look of the true cost of ownership for each of the guns.

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Thumb Operated Air Gun
1210
EXAIR Model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

We tested both the model 1210 and the other gun utilizing our Efficiency Lab service. We tested at 80 PSIG of supply pressure and measured and recorded air consumption, force and sound levels. Results of this testing is shown below.

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From the test data, the other gun is able to provide 9% more force, but at a cost of 35% greater compressed air consumption, 5.64 SCFM more, along with an 18 dBA sound level increase (a sound level where hearing protection is needed, an additional cost to be incurred.)

If we examine the compressed air consumption, we can calculate the yearly compressed air usage, considering 4 hour per day of operation, 5 days per week, for 50 weeks out of the year.

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A general rule of thumb for industry is that 1000 SCF of compressed air costs $0.25 to produce.Capture

As you can see, after 1 year of operation the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun has already paid for itself with compressed air savings, not to mention significantly reduced sound levels, well within the OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910(a) for Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure. To read more about the OSHA Standard, see this EXAIR blog. An EXAIR Safety Air Gun will continue to bring you benefits after this ROI period, and includes many other feature you do not receive with the cheap air gun.

You get the EXAIR 5 Year Built to Last Warranty which covers defects in workmanship and materials.  EXAIR’s safety air guns lead the way in standards and certification – we meet or exceed relevant OSHA standards, carry the CE mark and utilize a conflict mineral free supply chain.  We offer (5) types of Safety Air Guns, all offering ergonomic, comfortable, lightweight operation.

Safety Air Guns are also available with optional Chip Shields and Extensions (in lengths of 6″ to 6′) along with many different nozzle sizes (2.5 SCFM to 460 SCFM of air flow) and a variety of materials (Zinc Aluminum alloy, Stainless Steel, brass and PEEK plastic) to allow the configuration of the best air gun for your application.  EXAIR Safety Air Guns are great for use in applications ranging from light dust removal from delicate circuit boards to large scale, long distance, wide area blow off, cooling and drying applications and everything in between.

Be sure to check out the new VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun for variable flow with the squeeze of the trigger!

If you have questions regarding the Safety Air Guns, or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Proper Supply Line Size And Fittings Provide Peak Performance

Many times when we provide the air consumption of an EXAIR product, we get a response like…. “I’ve got plenty of pressure, we run at around 100 PSIG”. While having the correct pressure available is important, it doesn’t make up for the volume requirement or SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute) needed to maintain that pressure. We commonly reference trying to supply water to a fire hose with a garden hose, it is the same principle, in regards to compressed air.

When looking to maintain an efficient compressed air system, it’s important that you use properly sized supply lines and fittings to  support the air demand (SCFM) of the point-of-use device. The smaller the ID and the longer the length of run, it becomes more difficult for the air to travel through the system. Undersized supply lines or piping can sometimes be the biggest culprit in a compressed air system as they can lead to severe pressure drops or the loss of pressure from the compressor to the end use product.

Take for example our 18″ Super Air Knife. A 18″ Super Air Knife will consume 52.2 SCFM at 80 PSIG. We recommend using 1/2″ Schedule 40 pipe up to 10′ or 3/4″ pipe up to 50′. The reason you need to increase the pipe size after 10′ of run is that 1/2″ pipe can flow close to 100 SCFM up to 10′ but for a 50′ length it can only flow 42 SCFM. On the other hand, 3/4″ pipe is able to flow 100 SCFM up to 50′ so this will allow you to carry the volume needed to the inlet of the knife, without losing pressure through the line.

Pipe size chart for the Super Air Knife

We also explain how performance can be negatively affected by improper plumbing in the following short video:

 

Another problem area is using restrictive fittings, like quick disconnects. While this may be useful with common everyday pneumatic tools, like an impact wrench or nail gun, they can severely limit the volumetric flow to a device requiring more air , like a longer length air knife.

1/4″ Quick Connect

For example, looking at the above 1/4″ quick disconnect, the ID of the fitting is much smaller than the NPT connection size. In this case, it is measuring close to .192″. If you were using a device like our Super Air Knife that features 1/4″ FNPT inlets, even though you are providing the correct thread size, the small inside diameter of the quick disconnect causes too much of a restriction for the volume (SCFM) required to properly support the knife, resulting in a pressure drop through the line, reducing the overall performance.

If you have any questions about compressed air applications or supply lines, please contact one of our application engineers for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

EXAIR’s Soft Grip Safety Air Gun Provides Safety & Efficiency Benefits

The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is in stock for immediate shipping and has a durable cast aluminum body that is suited for rugged industrial use.  The ergonomic design has a large trigger and a soft, comfortable grip for easy operation and keeps the hand in a comfortable position for extended periods of use. A convenient hook hanger allows for easy storage when not in use.  Aluminum Extensions (up to 72″ long) and Stay Set Hoses (up to 36″ long ) can be fitted, providing access to hard to reach places. Chip Shields are available for most models, protecting operators from flying debris, helping to meet an important part of OSHA’s requirements for the safe use of compressed air, OSHA Standard 1910.242(b).

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The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun can be configured with over a dozen nozzle options, with air consumption as low as 2.5 SCFM @ 80 PSIG of supply pressure and up to 60 SCFM if needed.  Nozzle materials include Zinc Aluminum alloy, 316 Stainless Steel, and PEEK (a thermoplastic polymer.)

Use of an EXAIR Soft Grip Gun with an Engineered Air Nozzle will provide a safe and efficient use of compressed air, reduce energy costs, and eliminate harmful dead end pressures (again, helping to comply with the OSHA standard for safe use of compressed air.)

When outfitted with EXAIR’s engineered air nozzles, the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is a powerful ally to reduce personnel noise exposure and protect them from noise induced hearing loss. This is another important safety feature complying with OSHA’s standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a).

The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun can be configured to meet applications from delicate blowoff of electronic circuit boards to large chip removal in metal cutting operations, and everything in between.

If you have questions regarding the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Compressed Air Uses In Industry

From pneumatic hand tools like impact wrenches or nail guns to larger scale industrial applications like stamping presses, the use of compressed air can be found in almost any industry. In fact, it is often referred to as a “fourth utility” next to water, gas and electric.

Compressed air is used in virtually every industry!

 

Take for example in construction, workers will use a pneumatic riveter to join steel framing because of the power generated by the tool over an electrically powered device, not to mention it provides for a safer operation by removing an electrical hazard. Many companies use compressed air operated diaphragm pumps or air motor driven pumps to move expensive or viscous liquid from one location to another. These types of pumps are self priming drawing the liquid in and provide positive displacement meaning they fill and empty the liquid chamber with the same amount of liquid through a common inlet and outlet.

Amusement parks have used compressed air in some capacity in the operation of thrill rides like roller coasters or to enhance the effect of certain attractions. Compressed air can be found in hospitals where it is used for specialized breathing treatments or to power surgical instruments in an operating room. Educational facilities use compressed air for laboratory testing. You can even find compressed air in the tires on your car. Basically, when you think about it, compressed air is being used just about anywhere.

Here at EXAIR, we manufacture Intelligent Compressed Air Products to help improve the efficiency in a wide variety of industrial operations. Whether you are looking to coat a surface with an atomized mist of liquid, conserve compressed air use and energy, cool an electrical enclosure, convey parts or dry material from one location to another or clean a conveyor belt or web, chances are we have a product that will fit your specific need.

EXAIR has been providing engineered solutions since 1983.

 

To discuss your particular application or for help selecting the best product, contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Compressed Air Valves image courtesy of Shane Gorski via creative commons license.

This Is A Hold Up

To clarify, right off the bat:

  1. Nobody is getting robbed here.
  2. Nothing is being delayed, especially a shipment from EXAIR. If it’s in the catalog, it ships on time, 99.97% of the time, for 17 years & running. This has nothing to do with this blog; I just never get tired of bragging about that.

Today I wanted to write about installing EXAIR products, but hey, it’s Friday, so I thought I’d start with something that would get your attention. If you’re still reading, I guess it worked.

We talk to users…and potential users…all the time about how to install an Air Knife, Air Nozzle, Vortex Tube, etc. And the answer is…it depends. But, it’s almost always quick and easy.

Consider the EXAIR Super Air Knife. There are a few ways to hold one in place:
*There are 1/4″-20 tapped holes, every 2″ along the bottom. These can be used to bolt it to just about anything you want to bolt it to.
*The 1/4″-20 cap screws can also be replaced with fasteners of sufficient length to allow use of a bracket. In fact, this is what we use for…
*The Universal Air Knife Mounting System – it’s a quick and convenient way to support an Air Knife. It’s especially beneficial to precisely position the Super Air Knife for optimum performance.
*Last but not least, Super Air Knives 24″ and longer need to be plumbed to both ends for proper performance. If you hard pipe it in, it’ll be as well supported as the piping.

EXAIR Super Air Knives are easy to install, no matter what the length, or application.
EXAIR Super Air Knives are easy to install, no matter what the length, or application.

Then there’s our Super Air Nozzles:
*With standard, common NPT threads, these are easy to install anywhere you have an existing air line. You can get NPT adapters for darn near any threaded connection, off the shelf, from a friendly local air compressor or hydraulic/pneumatics shop.
*We’ve got Stay Set Hoses in lengths from 6″ to 36″ – these let you reposition the Air Nozzle at will. It’ll “stay set” until you bend it again.
*Our Swivel Fittings can be used with any of our Super Air Nozzles, as well as our Air Amplifiers, for sturdy, yet easily repositionable, installation.

EXAIR Swivel Fittings or Stay Set Hoses - no better way to optimize your air flow than aiming it where it needs to be!
EXAIR Swivel Fittings or Stay Set Hoses – no better way to optimize your air flow than aiming it where it needs to be!

We’re even committed to making our air preparation accessories easy to install…our Automatic Drain Filter Separators, Oil Removal Filters, and Pressure Regulators (up to 1/2 NPT) can be coupled via a modular block assembly that eliminates a threaded connection between them, and is ideal for close quarters.

EXAIR Model 9027 Oil Removal Filter, installed between Model 9004 Filter Separator and 9008 Pressure Regulator, using our Modular Coupling Kits
EXAIR Model 9027 Oil Removal Filter, installed between Model 9004 Filter Separator and 9008 Pressure Regulator, using our Modular Coupling Kits

That’s not even mentioning the products that are ready to install, right out of the box with a convenient Magnetic Base:

From left to right: EXAIR Mini Coolers, Cold Guns, and Adjustable Spot Coolers come with Magnetic Bases for instant installation.
From left to right: EXAIR Mini Coolers, Cold Guns, and Adjustable Spot Coolers come with Magnetic Bases for instant installation.

If you’d like to find out more about how easy it is to install an EXAIR Compressed Air Product, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Air Gun Extensions Provide Reach and Flexibility

My youngest son started crawling a few weeks back which quickly reminded us how the game changes at this stage. He has been motoring all around the living room building his confidence and is now ready to tackle standing with the aid of the coffee table, couch, chair, well pretty much any elevated surface that he can easily grab and pull himself up. This is my one of my favorite time of a baby’s development stage but also one of the most stressful. Gone are the days of leaving anything within arms reach because all too soon it will be “strategically relocated”, usually inside someone’s mouth. Just this past weekend I’ve had to search for the TV remote, video game controller and a picture – yes a picture! Even when we think we are smart and have put things out of reach, you’d think this kid was Stretch Armstrong because just like that, “poof”, the search is on.

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Stretch Armstrong doll

Sometimes having some extra reach can actually be quite beneficial. For example, maybe you need to blow out debris from under a machine or you’re needing to blow dust off of an area overhead, EXAIR has you covered. We offer Aluminum Extension Pipes from 6″ up to 72″ lengths for our Soft Grip and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns. Coupled with the comfortable, ergonomic design of our Safety Air Guns , extensions provide a reliable option for those hard to reach industrial areas.

Aluminum Extension
Aluminum Extension on the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

 

In addition to Aluminum Extension Pipes, we also have our Flexible Stay Set Hose Extensions. The Stay Set Hose allows for a an easy way to direct the airflow to the critical areas, while holding it position. The hose will remain in position until an operator has physically repositioned it for the next process. One of our customers manufactures toilets and they use this feature to blowout any dust or debris under the rim before the product ships. These hoses are offered in lengths from 6″ up to 36″ lengths, factory assembled on our Soft Grip Safety Air Guns.

Stay Set Hose
Flexible Stay Set Hose Extension on the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

All of EXAIR Guns are equipped with engineered, OSHA safe, nozzles to minimize air consumption and noise. If you need any help, “reach” out to one of our Application Engineers at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Stretch image courtesy of Alex Beattie via Creative Commons License

 

A Perfect Fit for Primary Metal Manufacturing

Primary metal manufacturing and processing plants tend to have a variety of applications using compressed air, some of which can be quite large.  Our Finnish distributor found just such an application, using a high volume of compressed air under unsafe conditions.

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Homemade air gun at a metal manufacturing plant in Finland

In the photo above you can see a homemade air gun used to provide a high force blow off.  This unit has a welded cone on the end of a metal pipe using a ¼ turn ball valve to control the compressed air.  When the ball valve is turned the airflow remains constant until the operator returns the valve to the closed position.  This means that if the operator were to let go of the unit for any reason, the air gun would continue to blow, creating a safety hazard.

In addition to this concern, the welded cone at the end of the pipe provides no protection for high dead end pressures, creating a potential source of an air embolism if contacting human skin.  This can lead to difficulty breathing, chest pain, low blood pressure, or even a stroke (Source: MedScape; Venous Air Embolism; Updated December 8th, 2015).

The end user had accepted the risks associated with this homemade device because they were unaware of anything in the market capable of meeting the volume and force necessary to meet their application needs.  That is, until they were shown the EXAIR Super Blast Safety Air Gun model 1218.

Feeding the compressed air through an automatically closing ball valve, the 1218 removed the threat of unwanted flow from such a high force air gun.  The model 1218 also provides more than enough force and flow – the existing setup uses a 1-1/4” diameter orifice with a flow rate of 1986 SCFM (56,233 SLPM) with an unknown entrainment ratio; the 1218 has a flow rate of 460 SCFM (13,026 SLPM) with an entrainment ratio of 25:1, making the total directed flow equal to 11,500 SCFM (325,650 SLPM)!  This means the application can produce better or equal performance at a fraction of the compressed air consumption, thanks to the engineered design of EXAIR nozzles.  (See below for operational cost comparison.)

By converting to an EXAIR Super Blast Safety Air Gun this customer was able to add safety, increase performance, and lower operating costs.  If you have an application you think could benefit from better safety, performance, or operating cost, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

 

Compressed air costs are calculated as follows:

Previous setup:

1,986 SCFM compressed air consumption.  At a cost of $0.25/1000 SCF this equates to:

1,986 * ($0.25/1000) = $0.4965 for every minute of use

EXAIR model 1218:

460 SCFM compressed air consumption.  At the same cost of $0.25/1000 SCF this equates to:

460 * ($0.25/1000) = $0.115 for every minute of use

When comparing the two, the EXAIR model 1218 will provide an operational cost savings of almost 77%!

And, if you’re wondering how we determined the airflow through the existing setup, we used the charts below.

air calcs
Air calcs for the flow through a 1-1/4″ orifice