Pressure Regulators

At EXAIR, a large part of my job is to discuss your applications and make recommendations based upon which of our products would best help your application. In doing so, we always review your air supply to ensure that you have enough air to run our products. For instance you may need an Air Nozzle. This seems simple enough right? Surely you have enough air for this? Well, if you are buying our Atto Super Air Nozzle (left) you probably do, as this is a small nozzle that consumes 2.5 SCFM. However, you may need our large Super Air Nozzle Cluster (right) that will consume 168 SCFM. So as you can see it’s important that we discuss the amount of air you have at the point of use.

Another part of my job is to help customers trouble shoot issues once they have installed our products. I can proudly say that rarely is it an issue with the product itself. The most common cause of malfunction is with the air supply at the point of use. I have seen companies with massive air compressors not be able to supply 30 SCFM. Why? Well just because you have a lot of air coming out of the compressor, doesn’t mean you have a lot of air at the point of use. Other machines and tools down the line, as well as leaks and turns may have depleted the air supply long before it reaches your station for this application. This is the reason why we always recommend our Pressure Regulators with Gauge as seen here:

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

It’s pretty obvious why we would want you to have a gauge at the point of use, but the importance of the pressure regulator is many times overlooked. Many of our products need to have a certain pressure of air along with the proper SCFM to function efficiently. Some of these are products include some of our Industrial Housekeeping Products and Cabinet coolers. But, many of our products will function perfectly, and even be more efficient for your application with less airflow and psi. To find the best pressure and flow, we use a rule of thumb of starting at 80 psig and dial it back (or up) 5 psig at a time, until the best fit is found.

Most facilities have airlines running throughout, and they are all pushing the same psi and airflow. It is easy to just tap in and drop a line to the new point of use for the new tool. But, if there are 10 machines in line before this one, the air supply at machine 1, is much more than at machine 10. There are also leaks, turns, buildup in the line, and other air flow restrictions that are most likely in the way… This is why you will need a gauge and a pressure regulator at each point of use…

Also, when you drop a line to run a Super Air Knife (or any other EXAIR product) it may be coming off of a 100 psig line. You may only need 40 psi to run this 12″ Super Air knife. At 40 psig you will be pushing 21 SCFM. If this can clean, dry, or move your material as needed, then why use the 100 psig coming from the shop line? At 100 psig, that same 12″ Super Air Knife will use 42 SCFM. That additional SCFM has a rough cost of about $10 per day (running 24 hrs day with cost per kWh at $0.10). As you can see from this simple example, the pressure regulator is a no brainer to save costs and increase efficiency in the product itself.

There are many blogs written about your compressed air being the 3rd to 4th highest utility expense for many companies. In todays economic climate, it is important to use every efficiency possible. Using a regulator is imperative to control any type of flow, be it water, gas, electricity and even – air. Please give us a call to discuss any questions with your next application.

Thank you for stopping by,

Brian Wages

Application Engineer

EXAIR Corporation
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Turn the Pressure Down, Save Operation Costs

I recently recommended to a customer to turn their air pressure down on their system as low as their process would allow. Meaning regulate the pressure so you have enough to complete the operations needed but find that happy medium where your compressor isn’t working as hard to build those high pressures for no reason!

Compressed air is an amazing tool to have, and when used properly it can be more efficient that other non compressed air tools that run off electricity. How ever its pretty common to see compressed air systems running at their max just because.

Lowering the air system pressure reduces the compressor power consumption by about 1% for every two psi of lower pressure. Lowering the pressure also makes any unregulated operations reduce consumption by almost 1% for every one psi of pressure reduction. Not to mention the extra savings if your compressor system can turn down the compressor power because of the reduced flow and possibly shut off compressors that are no longer needed!

The best pressure at which to set your system is the level where your production can operate efficiently and effectively without waste: There is no right pressure—it depends on your operations and tools. You may have 90 to 100 psig at the compressor, but at the production machine, where the actual work is being done, you could have only 65 to 70 psig. In some cases, it may be even lower due to pressure drops in undersized piping, filters, regulators. The goal is to lower compressor discharge pressure without affecting the the operations at the end of the line.

Having artificially high plant-pressure can help you deal with surges in compressed air demand that might occasionally cause low-pressure and affect production. The higher pressure acts to store reserve air in the various volumes made up of receivers, pipes and such in your system. However, the higher pressure costs more to produce and makes unregulated end uses consume more air, which is an expensive trade-off. Another option is to make sure you have line pressure regulators at each point of use. This will allow you to regulate the operation to the pressure needed being sure to save compressed air and keep the over all system running more efficient.

You can regulate those point of use lines with a number of EXAIRs Pressure Regulators!

EXAIR offers a range of Pressure Regulators capable of handling air flow of up to 700 SCFM.

If we can help size a regulator, or have any other questions on how EXAIR can help you save compressed air in your system please reach out to me or one of our other Application Engineers!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Issues and Problems with Pressure Drop

 

Super Air Knife Install Sheet

Pressure drop comes in different forms, and it causes inefficiencies within your pneumatic system.  EXAIR writes statements in the installation manuals to help find the correct pipe sizes to supply the different products.  (Reference Super Air Knife Installation Manual above).   But there are other areas that can affect the performance.  These can be fittings, tubing, valves, and accessories.  In this blog, I will cover some pitfalls that can minimize the potential of your EXAIR products.

Pressure drop by definition is a difference or loss in pressure.  A properly sized Filter Separator will typically have a pressure drop of 5 PSID (0.3 bar) at the rated conditions.  So, if you start with 100 PSIG (6.9 bar), the air pressure after the filter separator will be 95 PSIG (6.6 bar).  But what happens when a filter separator is undersized or too small?  The pressure drop will be much higher.  So, if the pressure drop is 30 PSID (2 bar), then the downstream air pressure will only be 70 PSIG (4.8 bar).  At that pressure, you may not be able to get the performance that is required to do the job.

The first thing in determining these potential issues is what I like to call forensics.  If you can install a pressure gage at the inlet of any EXAIR product, then you can deduce if a potential problem is within your setup.   For example, if the Pressure Regulator is at 100 PSIG (6.9 bar), and the pressure gauge at the inlet is reading only 60 PSIG (4.1 bar), then there is a pressure drop of 40 PSID (2.8 bar) between these two points.  You can look in this area for the problem or problems.  If the gauge on the Pressure Regulator goes down as well when you are operating, then the problem area is upstream of the Pressure Regulator.  This can be from the pipe size or the air compressor.

The most common issues are fittings and tubing.  With fittings, small openings may not allow enough air to pass through.  Above is a photo of some typical fittings.  You notice that the right side of the chart has large enough openings to decrease pressure drop.  In some instances, quick connect fittings are commonly used to easily connect or disconnect pneumatic devices; but if you use too small or too many of these fittings, they can cause a large pressure drop.

The other problem is with the inner diameter of tubing, hoses, or pipes that are not properly sized.  Russ Bowman, a colleague, created a video showing the issues with improperly sized plumbing.  It is a very interesting video that shows the effect on a Super Air Knife.

If you want to get the most from your EXAIR products, you will need to reduce the amount of pressure drop in your system.  Pressure drop is wasted energy and can affect your pneumatic system.  You can follow my recommendations above.  Or if you would like to discuss your setup with an Application Engineer, we will be happy to assist.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Video Blog: Filter/Separator and Pressure Regulator Mounting and Coupling Kit Installation

Using EXAIR mounting and coupling kits you can assemble EXAIR Filters and Regulators into one plug and play assembly. Follow along with the video posted below to complete this task!

If you need a deeper understanding about how EXAIR’s products can be applied and help your process or product, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to give you a clear understanding of the benefits when using our engineered compressed air products. We can also explain proper implementation of accessory items such as compressed air filters and regulators.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_JS