So Many Holes

I remember the book and movie about a young teenager who gets sent to a prison/ work camp that all they do is dig holes. Yeah, there’s a much deeper story line there and that isn’t the point of this blog. The point is, that movie is all I thought of when I encountered this customer’s nozzle solution. Their ejector nozzle on a recycling conveyor was using too much air and was too noisy.

Upon receiving the nozzle to do a free EXAIR Efficiency Lab, we were absolutely amazed at the level of care taken to make something like this. The nozzle was purpose built and definitely got the job done, it also drained their compressed air system at times and made a lot of noise while it did the work. So what did this nozzle look like, now keep in mind, this was not the customer’s design, it was a solution from the machine manufacturer.

For an idea, the customer nozzle was a 3″ overall length, and had a total of 162 holes in it. There were two inlets for 3/8″ push to connect tubing. The holes were very cleanly drilled and we used a discharge through orifice chart to estimate the consumption before testing. Operating pressure were tested at 80 psig inlet pressure.

Discharge through an orifice table.

Our estimations were taken from the table above. We used a pin gauge to determine the hole size and it came close to a 1/32″ diameter. With the table below we selected the 1.34 CFM per hole and used a 0.61 multiplier as the holes appeared to have crisp edges.

Estimation Calculation

Then, we went to our lab and tested. The volumetric flow came out to be measured at 130.71 SCFM. This reassured us that our level of estimation is correct. We then measured the noise level at 95.3 dBA from 3′ away. Lastly, we tested what could replace the nozzle and came up with a 3″ Super Air Knife with a .004″ thick shim installed. To reach this solution we actually tested in a similar setup to the customer’s for functionality as they sent us some of their material.

Now for the savings, since this customer was focused on air savings, that’s what we focused on. The 3″ Super Air Knife w/ .004″ thick shim installed utilizes 5.8 SCFM per inch of knife length when operated at 80 psig inlet pressure. So the consumption looks like below

That’s an astounding amount of air saved for each nozzle that is replaced on this line. The line has 4 nozzles that they want to immediately change out. For a single nozzle, the savings and simple ROI looks like the table below.

Air Savings / Simple ROI

That’s right, they will save 115.02 SCFM per minute of operation. These units operate for seconds at a time so the amount of actual savings is still to be determined after a time study. In videos shared, there was not many seconds out of a minute where one of the four nozzles was not activated. Once the final operation per minute is received we can rework our calculations and see how many hours of line operation it will take to pay back each knife purchase.

If you have any point of use blowoff or part ejection and even have a “nice looking” blowoff in place, don’t hesitate to reach out. These are still very different from our Engineered Solutions. We will help you as much as we can and provide test data, pictures, and even video of testing when possible.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Quick Disconnects and Push In Fittings are not Ideal for Peak Performance

In order to achieve the best performance of your EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® product, a steady flow of compressed air must be supplied at the optimal pressure. Compressor output pressure, air flow rate, piping ID (inner diameter), the smoothness of the inside of the pipe and connector type all contribute to the performance.

Especially for manufacturing uses, it is important to consider both the air pressure and air flow being produced by the air compressor providing the supply for all tooling. It is possible for an air compressor to produce sufficient supply pressure for an EXAIR product while not having adequate air flow to use the product for very long.

The optimal air pressure for most EXAIR products is 80 PSIG, with the exception of Vortex Tube based products, which are rated at 100 PSIG. Operating EXAIR products at air pressures less than 80 PSIG may lead to lower performance, but EXAIR encourages operating any blow-off product at as low a pressure as possible to achieve your desired result. A simple pressure regulator can lower your pressure and save energy. As a general rule near the 100 PSIG level, lowering air pressure by 2 PSIG will save 1% of energy used by an air compressor. Operating the product at pressures greater than 80 PSIG may produce slightly higher performance, but will require more energy to produce only a small gain.

Make sure that connectors and fittings do not restrict compressed air flow in any manner. Quick connectors can be especially problematic in this area. Because of their construction, quick connections that are rated at the same size as the incoming pipe or hose may actually have a much smaller inner diameter than that associated pipe or hose. This will significantly restrict the amount of air that is being supplied to the tool, starving it of the air flow it needs for best performance. In some cases, if the fitting is too small, the tool may not work at all!

EXAIR products are designed to improve the overall efficiency of your operations. If you need help and have questions please contact any of the Application Engineers. There is no risk to trying our products as we have a 5 year warranty and also a 30 Day Guarantee to all of our US and Canadian customers.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

EXAIR Super Air Knives Improve Efficiency For Beer Bottling Application

As summer begins to wind down, we’re seeing some “slight” reprieve (at least this week) from the intensely hot summer we’ve had thus far in 2022. Fall will be here before we know it, which for me means a return to weekends on the couch watching football! What goes better with football than an ice cold beer?

In a recent application, I worked alongside a beverage manufacturer to help improve on the efficiency of their beer bottling process. You know the saying, “you get what you pay for”. For this customer it was made quite evident as we replaced some rather inefficient nozzles they were using in the facility with our Super Air Knives.

In the process, the customer had (4) sets of inefficient nozzles to dry the bottles off. (2) sets were located just after their wash/rinse cycle, with another two placed just prior to labeling. After washing, the bottles are taken to the fill station where they perform a cold fill process. Their location is hot and humid year-round, so immediately after filling condensation would form on the outside of the bottle.

Once filled, they need to apply a label to the outside of the bottle. If there’s any condensation present, this leads to many of the labels not adhering properly. The issue they were having was that when all of the nozzles were running simultaneously, they were experiencing a pressure drop that led to insufficient drying of the bottles in both stages of the process. Their solution was a rather expensive one: (8) operators were staged at the end of the line to inspect, dry, and fix any of the labels that didn’t adhere well while boxing them up.

Since we knew compressed air consumption was a critical aspect of this application, we offered (2) of our Model 110006-.001 6” Super Air Knives with a .001” thick shim installed. Super Air Knives are shipped directly from stock with a .002” shim, so this thinner shim helped to further reduce the air consumption from the knife. The knives produce a laminar curtain of air that’s far more effective at drying than the turbulent airflow from these flat nozzles. Rather than having (4) sets of knives, they were able to use just (2) effectively eliminating two of the blowoff stations they were using with the cheap nozzles.

With the knives in place the pressure in their system was no longer dropping and the laminar airflow from the Super Air Knives was much more effective at drying the bottles. Now, at the end of the conveyor they only needed (2) operators to unload the bottles and begin to box them. This dramatically reduced their labor costs for this operation as they were able to utilize those employees for other tasks instead of tying them up standing around, drying bottles, and fixing labels.

If you’re tired of experiencing issues with an inefficient blowoff device, EXAIR has a solution that can ship out today from stock. Contact an Application Engineer today and we’ll be happy to help you to determine the best solution based on your application.

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

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

beer image courtesy of RawPixel Ltd via Flickr Creative Commons License

3-1/2 EXAIR Pro Tips for Compressed Air Use

EXAIR offers industry leading Intelligent Compresses Air Products. Our products are engineered to comply with all relevant OSHA standards and are CE certified. When you purchase an EXAIR product, be it a Super Air Knife or a brass bulkhead fitting, you are expecting to receive a high quality and high performing product, and you will. If the product is not performing there is a very high probability that the problem is not the product.

So whatever could it be? And how can we fix the issue? Air supply going to the product is a common issue, so first we need to insure that there is a steady flow of the appropriate pressure and volume of air. Even though you may have a 100HP compressor, the distance form the product, the size of the pipes delivering the air, the smoothness of the inside of the pipes (is there internal rust and buildup), leaks and other restrictions of air flow rate all contribute to the overall performance.

A large majority of the product performance issues that are brought to us are caused by insufficient air supply in one form or another. Sometimes this is due to the overall size of the system, but many times it is at the point of use. Let’s assume that you have the right sized compressor to power all features in the shop. These next items are where we would want to focus and correct.

EXAIR Digital Flowmeter

Pro tip #1 – Use EXAIR Digital Flowmeters to monitor your air consumption. You should have a log of how much each compressed air tool / machine uses, and compare that to how much air is traveling down that leg of your facility. Leaks, corrosion, rust, and accidents happen. By monitoring and logging your SCFM in each major leg of your system, you will easily be able to narrow down root problems, and track leaks. You will also have solid answer when asked – “Do you have enough air for this?”.

Pressure Regulators “dial in” performance to get the job done without using more air than necessary.

Pro Tip #2 – Use a Tee Fitting and install a Pressure Regulator with Gauge at the point of use. This allows you to see, and control the pressure for each product. This removes all questions of air pressure at the point of use. Although your system seems large enough, many times the pressure is less at the point of use, due to restrictions, unknown leaks etc… Having the information from tip #1 and #2, you will easily be able to identify if your issue is the system, or the tool.

Pro Tip #2.5 – Turn it down (the pressure) if you can… Operate each compressed air application at a pressure just high enough for your desired result – not necessarily full line pressure. We have discussed in many other blogs how compressed air is your 3rd or 4th highest utility. If you optimize the pressure per application, you can save dollars. As a rule of thumb, if your system is operating at the 100 psig level, lowering the pressure by 2 psig will save 1% of energy used by the air compressor. A great example of this would be our Super Air Knives. Optimal use is at 80 psig, and “X” SCFM (based upon length of the Super Air Knife). At 80 psig and the proper SCFM, this flow will feel like having your hand out the window of your car when you are driving about 50 MPH. Your application may not need that much air flow, to get the job done. Turn it down and test it. Start at 80 psig and using the tools from tip #2, turn it up or down until your needs are met. Many of our products do not need to be used at full pressure to effectively solve your process problem.

Pro tip #3 – Use the proper sized lines, connectors and fittings. Pipe restriction can kill performance. Quick connects can be very problematic. Most quick connects are rated at the same size as the incoming pipe, tube or hose, but may actually have a much smaller inner diameter. As you can imagine, this oversight can cause significant performance issues, and end up costing more lack of production or defective product. Be it a quick connect, or any other connector or fitting, it is imperative not to restrict the air. This will result in problems, and lack of performance.

Please do not hesitate to reach to discuss any performance issues, or find out how we can help.

Thank you for stopping by,

Brian Wages

Application Engineer

EXAIR Corporation
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