Six Steps to Optimization: Step 6 – Control the Air Pressure at the Point of Use to Minimize Air Consumption

Since air compressors use a lot of electricity to make compressed air, it is important to use the compressed air as efficiently as possible.  EXAIR has six simple steps to optimize your compressed air system.  Following these steps will help you to cut your production costs and improve your bottom line.  In this blog, I will cover the sixth step; controlling the air pressure at the point of use.

Regulators

One of the most common pressure control devices is called the Regulator.  It is designed to reduce the downstream pressure that is supplying your system.  Regulators are commonly used in many types of applications.  You see them attached to propane tanks, gas cylinders, and of course, compressed air lines.  Properly sized, regulators can flow the required amount of gas at a regulated pressure for safety and cost savings.

EXAIR designs and manufactures compressed air products to be safe, effective, and efficient.  By replacing your “old types” of blowing devices with EXAIR products, it will save you much compressed air, which in turn saves you money.  But, why stop there?  You can optimize your compressed air system even more by assessing the air pressure at the point-of-use.  For optimization, using the least amount of air pressure to “do the job” can be very beneficial.

1100 Super Air Nozzles

Why are regulators important for compressed air systems?  Because it gives you the control to set the operating pressure.  For many blow-off applications, people tend to overuse their compressed air.  This can create excessive waste, stress on your air compressor, and steal from other pneumatic processes.  By simply turning down the air pressure, less compressed air is used.  As an example, a model 1100 Super Air Nozzle uses 14 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG (5.5 bar).  If you only need 50 PSIG (3.4 bar) to satisfy the blow-off requirement, then the air flow for the model 1100 drops to 9.5 SCFM.  You are now able to add that 4.5 SCFM back into the compressed air system. And, if you have many blow-off devices, you can see how this can really add up.

In following the Six Steps to optimize your compressed air system, you can reduce your energy consumption, improve pneumatic efficiencies, and save yourself money.  I explained one of the six steps in this blog by controlling the air pressure at the point of use.  Just as a note, reducing the pressure from 100 PSIG (7 bar) to 80 PSIG (5.5 bar) will cut your energy usage by almost 20%.  If you would like to review the details of any of the six steps, you can find them in our EXAIR blogs or contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Compressed Air Accessories for Clean Air, Quiet Air, and Adjustability

In this blog, I would like to turn your attention to our accessories that support our Intelligent Compressed Air® Products.  EXAIR products use compressed air to coat, conserve, cool, convey and clean.  To maximize the performance, it is important to have the controls and options to increase their “flexibility”.  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 any “guess work”.

Here are the different categories and explanations of each item that EXAIR recommends for our products.  With their defined functions, they can help you in different areas to enhance your pneumatic experience.

Filters/Regulators:

  • 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 products.
  • The 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 it 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.
  • Pressure Regulators control the amount of air pressure being supplied to your EXAIR products. This is important if you are trying to save compressed air, control the force, or convey material.  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 component, causing loss of function.  EXAIR properly sizes our regulators in our kits to make sure that you won’t “starve” our product.
  • EXAIR also offers Mounting Brackets for the regulators and the filters to help support them to a wall or structure. 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.

Silencing Mufflers:

  • Reclassifying Mufflers are designed to have two functions. They can reduce 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.

Pneumatic Valves:

  • 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.

Hardware:

  • 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 capacity of 60 gallons, is rated to 200 psig, and meets ASME pressure vessel code.

 

Hoses:

  • 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.

    Flexible and durable, EXAIR Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6″ to 36″.
  • 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.

Temperature Accessories:

  • 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 todays fast-paced world, there is a need to get your devices operating as quickly as possible.  With EXAIR Accessories, they can help you to do that.  Not only will you have confidence, as you are using the items from the manufacturer, but it will minimize downtime, setup, and malfunctions that can occur if using other types of accessories.  If you would like to discuss the proper options with your EXAIR products, an Application Engineer will be happy to help you.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Compressed Air Pressure Regulators Conserve And Protect

Imagine you’re enjoying a nice shower. A cascade of warm water is soothing your body – and spirit – then, someone starts the dishwasher. Or a load of laundry. Or flushes the toilet. Suddenly, the “soothe” turns to “scald” or “freeze,” depending on whether you’ve been robbed of hot, or cold water.  So, what happened?

What happened is, all of those “loads” on your house’s water supply that can ruin your shower experience are controlled by simple on/off valves…they open to permit a certain amount of water FLOW to pass.  When the dishwasher starts, or someone decides to wash a load of whites, the HOT water from your nice warm shower is diverted, leaving a stream of cold water.  When a toilet flushes, or it’s a load of colors, the COLD water is diverted…and that’s not just unpleasant, but downright painful.  Either way, (in my house anyway,) a teenager is getting read the riot act.

The same phenomenon can apply in a compressed air system, if simple flow control valves are used to throttle the appropriate supply of air to a pneumatic device.  If someone, for example, hooks up an air gun to blow off their tools or parts, the valves on EVERYTHING else will need to be opened up some to keep those devices working the same.  In the case of an air gun like this, it usually happens too quick to make the necessary adjustments (by hand) and you’re probably left with a machine tripped off-line, or a ruined part.

Pressure Regulators can prevent this by keeping (or regulating) their downstream pressure to a set value.  If a load elsewhere in the system is activated, the Pressure Regulator opens up, automatically, to keep its output constant.  When that load is secured, the Pressure Regulator closes back down accordingly.  Either way, no single load affects the operation of any others.

That’s only half the value of the use of Pressure Regulators, though.  The other half is, well…the value.  Just looking at a typical function of many EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products – blow off – they’ll all pretty much accomplish the task if you run them, unrestricted, straight off your header.  That’ll give you a good, strong blast of air flow…and it may be more than what’s required, and a waste of good air.  Pressure Regulators will prevent this by allowing you to “dial in” the supply pressure to whatever it takes to get the job done, and no more.

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

Compressed air isn’t free.  Heck, it isn’t even cheap.  Don’t use any more than you have to, and get the most out of what you do use.  Pressure Regulators are one important step in doing this.  If you’d like to talk about optimizing your use of your compressed air system, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Compressed Air Uses In Industry

Air Compressor

There are so many uses for compressed air in industry that it would be difficult to list every one of them as the list would be exhaustive.  Some of the uses are the tools used in production lines, assembly & robotic cells, painting, chemical processing, hospitals, construction, woodworking and aerospace.

It is considered as important as water, electricity, petroleum based fuels and often referred to as the fourth utility in industry. The great advantage of compressed air is the high ratio of power to weight or power to volume. In comparison to an electric motor compressed air powered equipment is smoother.  Also compressed air powered equipment generally requires less maintenance, is more reliable and economical than electric motor powered tools.  In addition they are considered on the whole as safer than electric powered devices.

Even amusement parks have used compressed air in some capacity in the operation of thrill rides like roller coasters or to enhance the “wow factor” of certain attractions. Compressed air can be found in your dentist’s office where it is used to operate drills and other equipment. You will find compressed air in the tires on your car, motorcycle and bicycles. Essentially, if you think about it, compressed air is being used nearly everywhere.

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 bulk 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.

Atomizing nozzle
Atomizing Nozzles Can Apply Even Coatings
Super Air Amplifier
Air Amplifiers pull in a large volume of ambient air to increase air flow volume and are great for cooling applications!
Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vac
For conveying heavy or abrasive products the Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vacs have male NPT Threads to make permanent and rigid installation into a piping system a breeze.

If you would like to discuss quiet, efficient compressed air products, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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The Value Of A Pressure Regulator At Every Point Of Use

regulator
EXAIR Pressure Regulator

To understand the value of a having a Pressure Regulator at every point of use we should start with identifying the two types of Pressure Regulators, Direct Acting & Pilot Operated.  Direct Acting are the least expensive and most common (as shown above), however they may provide less control over the outlet pressure, especially if they are not sized properly.  However when sized properly they do an outstanding job.  Pilot Operated Regulators incorporate a smaller auxiliary regulator to supply the required system pressure to a large diaphragm located on the main valve that in turn regulates the pressure.  The Pilot Operated Regulators are more accurate and more expensive making them less attractive to purchase.  The focus of this Blog will be on the Direct Acting Pressure Regulator.

The Direct Acting Pressure Regulator is designed to maintain a constant and steady air pressure downstream to ensure whatever device is attached to it is operated at the minimum pressure required to achieve efficient operation.  If the end use is operated without a regulator or at a higher pressure than required, it result’s in increased air demand and energy use. To clarify this point, if you operate your compressed air system at 102 PSI it will cost you 1% more in electric costs than if the system was set to run at 100 PSI! Also noteworthy is that unregulated air demands consume about 1% more flow for every PSI of additional pressure.  Higher pressure levels can also increase equipment wear which results in higher maintenance costs and shorter equipment life.

Sizing of the Air Regulator is crucial, if it is too small to deliver the air volume required by the point of use it can cause a pressure drop in that line which is called “droop”.  Droop is defined as “the drop in pressure at the outlet of a pressure regulator, when a demand for compressed air occurs”.  One commonly used practice is to slightly oversize the pressure regulator to minimize droop.  Fortunately we at EXAIR specify the correct sized Air Regulator required to operate our devices so you will not experience the dreaded “droop”!

Standard Air Knife Kit
EXAIR Standard Air Knife Kit Which Incudes Shims, Properly Sized Pressure Regulator & Filter Separator

Another advantage to having a Pressure Regulator at every point of use is the flexibilty of making pressure adjustments to quickly change to varying production requirements.  Not every application will require a strong blast sometimes a gentle breeze will accomplish the task.  As an example one user of the EXAIR Super Air Knife employs it as an air curtain to prevent product contamination (strong blast) and another to dry different size parts (gentle breeze) coming down their conveyor.

EXAIR products are highly engineered and are so efficient that they can be operated at lower pressures and still provide exceptional performance!  This save’s you money considering compressed air on the average cost’s .25 cents per 1000 SCFM.

Super Air Knife Performance
EXAIR Super Air Knife Performance Specifications At 5 Different Pressures.

If you would like to discuss Air Regulators or quiet and efficient compressed air devices, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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