If you’d like to know how efficient (or not,) quiet (or not,) and effective (or not) your current compressed air devices are, the EXAIR Efficiency Lab can help. For more details, we hope you’ll enjoy this short video.
A drilled pipe has been used for many years to blow compressed air across a span for cleaning, cooling, and drying. They are a simple tool that was created from spare parts and many holes. The cost to make this type of product is not expensive, but to use this product in your application is very expensive. Similarly, an incandescent lightbulb is inexpensive to purchase, but it will cost you much more in electricity than a LED light bulb. Since 1983, EXAIR has been innovating safe and efficient products to be used in compressed air systems. In this blog, I will compare the drilled pipe with the Super Air Knife.
Even though you can find the components relatively easily to design your own drilled pipe, this blow-off design is very costly and stressful to your compressed air system. Typically, the holes along the pipe are in a row next to each other. As the airstream leaves from each hole, it will hit the airstream from the one next to it. This will cause turbulent air flows which has inconsistent forces and loud noises. Also, with turbulent air flows, the ability to entrain the surrounding ambient air is very small. We call this the amplification ratio. The higher the amplification ratio, the more efficient the blow-off device is. For a drilled pipe, the amplification ratio is near 3:1 (3 parts ambient air to 1 part compressed air).
A colleague, Brian Bergmann, wrote a blog about the amplification ratio of the EXAIR Super Air Knife. (Read it HERE.) This blog demonstrates how EXAIR was able to engineer an efficient way to blow air across a span. The unique design of the Super Air Knife creates an amplification ratio of 40:1 which is the highest in the market. Unlike the drilled pipe, the gap opening runs along the entire knife for precise blowing. This engineered gap allows for laminar air flow which has a low noise level, a consistent blowing force, and maximum amplification ratio. With these benefits, the Super Air Knife can reduce the amount of compressed air required, which will save you money and save your compressed air system.
In comparing the drilled pipe to the Super Air Knife, I will relate both products in a simple cooling application. Thermodynamics expresses the basics of cooling with an air temperature and an air mass. Since both products are represented in the same application, the air temperature will be the same. Thus, the comparison will be with the amount of air mass. In this example, the customer did some calculations, and they needed 450 Lbs. of air to cool the product to the desired temperature. At standard conditions, air has a density of 0.0749 lbs/ft3. To convert to a volume of air, we will divide the weight by the density:
450 lbs. / (0.0749 lbs./ft3) = 6,008 ft3 of air
To meet this requirement, reference Table 1 below. It shows the volume of air required by your compressed air system to meet this demand. As you can see, your compressor has to work 13X harder to cool the same product when using a drilled pipe. Just like the LED light bulbs, the Super Air Knife has more efficiency, more innovation, and uses less compressed air. In turn, the Super Air Knife will save you a lot of money in electrical costs. If you would like to see how much the Super Air Knife can save compared to the drilled pipe, we have that information in this blog. (Read it HERE.) For my reference, it will reduce the stress of your compressed air system.
if you would like to compare any of your current blow-off devices with an innovative EXAIR product, you can contact an Application Engineer. We can do an Efficiency Lab to shine an LED light on saving energy and money with your compressed air.
The generation of compressed air accounts for approximately 1/3 of all energy costs in an industrial facility and up to 30% of that compressed air is wasted through inefficient operation. Open pipes or homemade blowoffs waste a ton of compressed air, resulting in high operating costs. By replacing these devices with an energy efficient, engineered solution, you can reduce this waste and dramatically cut energy costs.
For example, let’s look at the average operating costs for a single 1/4″ open copper tube. (If you don’t know you current energy costs, a reasonable average to use is $ 0.25 per every 1,000 SCF used, based on $ 0.08/kWh.
A single 1/4″ open copper tube consumes 33 SCFM @ 80 PSIG and costs roughly $ 0.50 per hour to operate. (33 SCF x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1,000 = $ 0.50). For an 8 hour shift, the total cost would be $ 4.00 ($ 0.50 x 8 hours = $ 4.00).
If we were to replace the 1/4″ open copper tube with our Model # 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with 1/4″ FNPT inlet, the air consumption would be reduced to 21.8 SCFM @ 80 PSIG. This may not seem like much of an air usage reduction, but when you look at the monetary, total cost of ownership for purchasing and operating the nozzle, the savings can quickly add up.
The operating cost for a 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with 1/4″ FNPT inlet is $ 0.33 per hour (21.8 SCF x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1,000 = $ .033) or $ 2.64 per 8 hour shift ($ 0.33 x 8 hours = $ 2.64).
We can now compare the operational cost between the 2 devices:
1/4″ open copper tube operating costs: $ 0.50 per hour
$ 4.00 per day (8 hours)
2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle operating costs: $ 0.33 per hour
$ 2.64 per day (8 hours)
$ 4.00 / day (open copper tube) – $ 2.64 / day (2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle) = $ 1.36 savings per day
The Model # 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle has a list price $ 67.00 USD.
ROI or Return On Investment calculation:
$ 67.00 (Cost) / $ 1.36 (savings per day) = 49.26 days.
The 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle would pay for itself in just over 49 days in operation. This is the savings for replacing just ONE 1/4″ open copper tube with an engineered solution! In most industrial plants, there could be several of these which presents even more opportunities to reduce the overall operational costs.
Our focus here at EXAIR is to improve the overall efficiency of industrial compressed air operating processes and point of use compressed air operated products. If you are looking to reduce compressed air usage in your facility, contact an application engineer and let us help you optimize your current system.
Compressed air is the most expensive utility for most industrial facilities. The energy costs associated with the generation of compressed air can be very high. Because of this, EXAIR manufactures a wide range of products geared towards reducing your overall compressed air consumption.
The best way to save compressed air is to simply turn it off when it’s not being used. This might seem pretty simple, but there may be processes in your facility where this couldn’t be achieved by just turning a valve. In applications where product is traveling along a conveyor, and must be dried, cooled, or blown off, there is likely some spacing in between the parts. It isn’t necessary to keep the blowoff running constantly if there’s periods of intermittent spacing. To help reduce the overall load on the air compressor, implementing a solution to shut the air off in between each part can have a dramatic impact. EXAIR’s Electronic Flow Control, or EFC, is designed to improve efficiency by reducing overall compressed air usage. It utilizes a photoelectric sensor that detects when the part is present. When it’s not, it triggers a solenoid valve to close and shut off the compressed air supply.
Let’s take a look at an example that shows just how much air (and $$) an EFC can save. We had a manufacturer of car bumpers that was using a Model 112060 60” Super Ion Air Knife supplied at 40 PSIG to remove dust prior to a painting operation. The bumpers were moving at about 10’/minute and had 1’ of spacing in between each part. The bumpers are only under the blowoff for 10 seconds, while 6 seconds passed with no part present. With a (3) shift operation, this translates to 1,440 minutes of nonstop compressed air usage per day.
A 60” Super Ion Air Knife will consume 102 scfm at 40 PSIG. Their current method was using a total of 146,880 SCFM.
102 SCFM x 1,440 minutes = 146,880 SCF
With the EFC installed, the air was shut off for 6 seconds reducing the airflow by 37.5%. With the EFC installed, the compressed air consumption per day was reduced to 91,800 SCF.
146,880 SCF x .625 = 91,800 SCF
As a general rule of thumb, compressed air costs $0.25/1,000 SCF. By saving 55,080 SCF per day, this manufacturer was able to save $13.77 per day. Since this was a 24 hour/day shift running 7 day/week, total savings for the year came in at $5,012.28. This easily recoups the costs of the EFC and then begins to pay you in less than 6 months.
55,080 SCF x ($0.25/1,000 SCF) = $13.77
$13.77 x 7 days/week x 52 weeks/year = $5,012.28
The EFC models available from stock can accommodate flows up to 350 SCFM. For applications requiring more compressed air, EFCs with dual solenoids are also available. If you have an application in one or more of your processes where intermittent compressed air use could help save you money, give us a call. We’d be happy to take a look at the application and help determine just how quickly the EFC could start paying YOU!
The Digital Flowmeter is available from stock for use on Schedule 40 pipe with sizes ranging from ½”-4” I.D. Sizes up to 6” for Schedule 40 and ¾”-4” for copper pipe are also available. With a digital readout display, it’s easy to accurately monitor your compressed air usage throughout the facility. Creating a baseline of your usage will allow you to understand your compressed air demand, identify costly leaks, and replace inefficient air products.
The Digital Flowmeter installs in minutes with help from a drill guide and locating fixture to assist in mounting the Digital Flowmeter to the pipe. Two flow sensing probes are inserted into the drilled holes in the pipe. The meter then seals to the pipe once tightened. There is no need to cut, weld, or do any calibration once it is installed. With blocking rings also available, installation can be permanent or temporary.
The newest addition to this product line is the Digital Flowmeter with wireless capability. Using a ZigBee® mesh network protocol, data is transmitted to an Ethernet connected gateway. This allows you to mount the Digital Flowmeter in areas that you may not be able to easily access and wirelessly monitor and graph the usage with the EXAIR Logger software. Take a peek at this video blog for a demonstration of the use of a wireless Digital Flowmeter software to compare an open pipe to an engineered Air Nozzle.
In addition to communicating wirelessly with the gateway, the Digital Flowmeters can “piggyback” off of each other to extend their range. Each meter has a range of 100’. Using multiple Digital Flowmeters within the same ZigBee® mesh network, data can be passed from meter to meter to extend the distance over which the meters can operate. These can be installed on each major leg of your compressed air system to continuously monitor usage throughout the facility.
If you’d rather go with a hard-wired data collection method, the Digital Flowmeter is also available with a USB Data Logger. Simply remove the Data Logger from the Digital Flowmeter and connect it to the USB port of your computer. The data can then be viewed directly in the accompanying software or exported into Microsoft Excel.
If you’d like to get a clear view of your compressed air usage, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to work with you and get the proper Digital Flowmeters installed in your facility!
I received an email from an engineer that was looking at our Super Air Nozzles. They currently were using four blow-off lines that were made from 6mm ID copper tubes. (Reference picture) The system was designed to blow out holes after machining. The engineer was in charge of the task of optimizing 25 machining stations similar to this one. He was familiar with EXAIR products from his previous employment, and he recognized the waste of compressed air by using open pipe. He purchased four Nano Super Air Nozzle, model 1110SS, for a trial. He was impressed with the performance, the low sound level, and the engineered design in safety. But, for upper management in his company, he had to show a cost savings in order to change all the stations in the facility. He asked me to help him in calculating the compressed air savings.
He gave me some additional details about their application. He was using the compressed air about 30% of the time throughout an 8 hour day at a pressure of 80 PISG. He wanted to present the savings per day, week, and year as well as the payback period in his evaluation. I have performed many of these calculations for other customers and was happy to help. It is sometimes easier to speak in terms of savings, as everyone can relate to money, especially management. (The numbers below can be adjusted to match your application and blow-off devices).
Cost of compressed air: $0.25/1000 cubic feet of air (this is based on $0.08/Kwh of electrical cost)
Flow: 1110SS Nano Super Air Nozzle – 8.3 SCFM at 80 PSIG
Flow: 6mm ID copper tube – 42 SCFM at 80 PSIG
The difference in compressed air flows from a 6mm tube to the Nano Super Air Nozzle is (42 SCFM – 8.3 SCFM) = 33.7 SCFM. At a 30% duty cycle, we get 33.7 SCFM * 0.3 = 10.2 SCFM (cubic feet/minute) of additional compressed air being used.
Per day, the additional amount of compressed air wasted is:
From these values, the payback for a model 1110SS Super Air Nozzle is just under 38 days. Because the EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are so efficient, some utility companies will offer a rebate program to use them. This will improve your ROI even more. (We can check to see if your local electric company participates in these programs). Just think, the remaining life of the Super Air Nozzle will be using less compressed air and saving much money for the company.
The calculations above are only for one nozzle. As discussed above with the engineer, they had 4 tubes/station and 25 stations in their plant. So, if you multiply each figure by 100, you can see the large amount of money that can be saved. The engineer presented these figures to upper management, and it was an easy decision to replace all the copper tubes with EXAIR nozzles.
Don’t be fooled by the initial cost of a tube, pipe, drilled holes, or a substandard nozzle. You can see by the facts above, if you use any additional compressed air in your blow-off application, it will cost you a lot of money in the long run. If you need any help in calculating how much money EXAIR products can save you, you can use our Air Savings Calculator from our website, or you contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to help you.
Using compressed air in the plant is common for many types of processes. Typical uses are drying, cooling, cleaning and conveying. Compressed air does have a cost to consider, and there are many ways to keep the usage and the costs as low as possible. The first step is to use an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product, which has been engineered to provide the most performance while using the least amount of compressed air. The next step is to control the use of the air, to only have it on when needed.
EXAIR offers the EFC – Electronic Flow Control. It offers the most comprehensive method to maximize the efficiency of compressed air usage. It combines a photoelectric sensor with a timing control that operates a solenoid valve to turn on and off the air as required. With 8 different program types, an on/off mode that works with any process can be programmed ensuring that the minimum amount of compressed air is used. You can use the online EFC Savings Calculator to see how quickly the savings add up!
Another method would be to use a solenoid valve with some other method of control. Depending on the process, the solenoid could be energized via a machine control output, or as simple as an electrical push button station. EXAIR offers solenoid valves in a variety of flow rates (from 40 to 350 SCFM) and voltages (24 VDC, 120 VAC and 240 VAC) to match the air flow requirements of the products we provide, while integrating into the facility and available supply voltages.
For control of the Cabinet Cooler Systems, the ETC – Electronic Temperature Control, uses a thermocouple to measure cabinet temperature and cycle the system on and off to maintain a precise cabinet temperature, and provides a digital readout of the internal temperatures and on the fly adjustment. Also available is the Thermostat Control models, which utilize an adjustable bimetallic thermostat to control the solenoid valve, also cycling the unit on and off as needed to maintain a set cabinet temperature.
There are several manual methods that can be used to control the compressed air. A simple valve can be used to turn the air off when not needed, whether at the end of the work day, at break time, or whenever the air isn’t required. We offer several options, from a foot controlled valve, to a magnetic base with on/off valve, to a simple quarter turn ball valve.
To discuss your processes and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can control the air supply and save you money, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.