6 Important Factors when Choosing a Safety Air Gun

If you look at operating costs alone, compressed air can be just about the most inefficient method there is for cleaning parts. If you just look at the risks, it’s potentially very dangerous too. Don’t even get me started on the insufferable noise it can make.

For cleaning parts, most folks are familiar with the use of an air gun. You can find the simplest of these in many industrial settings: a valve (often in the form of a handheld trigger device) fitted with a nozzle of some sort (often in the form of an open ended tube, pipe, or fitting to focus or direct the air flow). These have all three of the “downsides” I opened this blog with. Of course, these concerns can be mitigated to a high degree by using the right tool for the job. That’s where engineered products like EXAIR Safety Air Guns come in. Let’s look at how we can address these three “downsides”:

Efficiency: This is all about compressed air consumption. In the simplest of air guns mentioned above, consumption is only limited by the passages in the valve (or trigger) and the discharge fitting…and those limits are usually negligible. Modifying the ends (see examples below) to focus the air flow usually has minimal effect, because you’re not appreciably changing the total cross sectional area of the discharge opening:

Here are a few modified thumb trigger air guns that were sent in for Efficiency Lab testing. Left to right, compressed air consumption at 80psig supply pressure was 34.2 SCFM, 30.9 SCFM, and 28.2 SCFM. For comparison (more on this later,) EXAIR Model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun uses only 14 SCFM and generates a very similar flow pattern.

Safety: Remember learning about kinetic and potential energy in grade school? Well, when you compress air to 100psig, fitting all that air into a much smaller space creates a TREMENDOUS amount of potential energy:

The block on the left represents a cubic foot of air at atmospheric pressure. The one on the right represents how much space the first one takes up when compressed to 100psig. The energy imparted by this process HAS to be handled with care.

One problem with the thumb guns above is, if you were to jam into the palm of your hand and pull the trigger, a large component of that potential energy (pressure) turns into kinetic energy (force)…more than enough to break the skin and cause a potentially fatal condition known as an air embolism. In the United States, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulates compressed air devices used for cleaning purposes. All EXAIR Safety Air Guns comply with Standard 1910.242(b) by providing a relief path to ensure that it cannot be dead ended, and thus never create over 30psi measurable at the outlet)

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles cannot be dead ended, ensuring the outlet pressure won’t reach OSHA limits, regardless of supply pressure.

Noise: Another problem is, another component is turned into sound pressure…discharging air from a direct opening is quite loud. OSHA standards address these with limitations on outlet pressure and sound level. All EXAIR Safety Air Guns comply with Standard 1910.242(b), which limits the outlet pressure (by providing a relief path to ensure that it cannot be dead ended, and thus never create over 30psi measurable at the outlet) and all but our largest Super Blast Safety Air Guns comply with Standard 1910.95(a) limits for continuous 8 hour sound level exposure.

Which brings us to the topic of this blog: How exactly did THEY (our customer who used to use the thumb guns above) select the right Safety Air Gun, and how can we apply that to getting the right Safety Air Gun for YOU?

These steps aren’t all-inclusive, and they don’t necessarily need to be followed in order, but if you call an EXAIR Application Engineer about selecting a Safety Air Gun, here’s what we’re gonna talk about:

Ergonomics: We offer five distinctive styles of Safety Air Guns:

From small part cleaning by hand, to wide area blowoff, and all points in between, EXAIR has a Safety Air Gun for most any application.

Our thumb gun user (as I alluded to above) chose the Model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Guns (top right). They had a number of typical industrial applications where the operators had the parts or surfaces to be blown off right in front of them. They liked the integral storage hook and rubberized hand grip, but the VariBlast Compact (top middle) or Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns (bottom left) were also considered. The VariBlast Precision (top left) and Super Blast Safety Air Guns (bottom right) were too focused or more powerful, respectively, than needed.

Airflow pattern: Honestly, I could make a good case for this being the first consideration. Selection of any blowoff product – be it an Air Nozzle, Air Amplifier, Air Knife, Air Wipe, etc., will largely depend on the size and shape of the airflow.

variety of airflow patterns…and effective distances…are available from EXAIR’s comprehensive line of Super Air Nozzle products.

Application specific concerns: Everything we’ve discussed so far has involved aiming the blow off stream away from the operator, in the direction the device is aimed. In addition to wide variety of engineered Air Nozzles, EXAIR offers a number of options for these products:

Atto Back Blow Nozzles can blow out recesses or holes as small as 1/4″ in diameter.
Scrape off, and blow away, stubborn debris with the Model 1244-48 Soft Grip Super Air Scraper.

If you’re looking for a portable, hand-held compressed air blow off product that’s quiet, safe, and efficient, look no further than EXAIR Corporation’s extensive line of Safety Air Guns. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Back Blow Air Nozzles Clean Inside Aluminum Extrusions

A manufacturing plant was using extruded aluminum structural framing for making benches.  After the aluminum parts were cut, they had coolant and chips inside the tube.  They tried to run a rag through the center to remove the material, but it wasn’t able to get into all the crevices and before long the rag was saturated.  Also, they noticed that the chips would scratch the internal surfaces.  For this company, quality was very important to represent their brand.  So, they were needing a non-contact way to clean the inside of these parts after sawing.   They contacted EXAIR as we share the same business facets of first-class customer service and great quality.

Back Blow Air Nozzle Family

At EXAIR, we design and manufacture nozzles for just this type of operation; the Back Blow Air Nozzles.  We offer three different sizes to fit inside a wide variety of diameters from ¼” (6.3mm) to 16” (406mm).  They are designed to clean tubing, pipes, hoses, channels, and extruded “odd” shapes.  The 360o rear airflow pattern can “wipe” without touching the internal surface to remove coolant and chips.  For the application above, I recommended the model 1006SS Back Blow Air Nozzle to fit inside the 1 ½” (38mm) opening.  The range for this Back Blow Air Nozzle is from 7/8” (22mm) to 4” (102mm) diameters.  This 316SS robust nozzle would last a long time without having to change or replace cloth rags.

After installing the model 1006SS onto an extension pipe, the cleaning operation became very easy and efficient.  After each cut, they would run the Back Blow Nozzle through the center with only one pass to clean.  The non-contact wiping removed the coolant and chips without marring the internal surface.  In addition, they were able to speed up their operation by 20%.  Cleaner tubes, less time, cost savings; they were happy that they contacted EXAIR for our expertise.

Model 1204SS-6-CS and 1206SS-6-CS

If you need to clean the inside of tubes, hoses, pipes, etc., EXAIR has the perfect nozzle for you, the Back Blow Air Nozzles.  EXAIR can also offer these nozzles on our VariBlast, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty Air Guns for manual operations.  They come with Chip Shields and extensions that can reach as far as 72” (1829mm).  Or like the customer above, automate the system to get a great non-contact cleaning.  If you require any more details, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to help you.

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

Air Nozzles and Air Jets: An Overview

One of the simplest solutions to lower your air consumption and noise level when it comes to compressed air is to switch your open tubes or pipes and liquid nozzles which are being used for air applications to an engineered compressed air nozzle. EXAIR’s Engineered Air Nozzles and Jets provide a simple solution for a wide variety blow off and compressed air applications and can solve a multitude of process problems efficiently. These applications can include simple blow offs, cooling, part ejection, and much more.

Super Air Nozzles:
Super Air Nozzles are one of the more versatile of all of EXAIR’s Engineered Air Nozzles. They come in many different sizes from a tiny size of M4 threads and 13 millimeters long to the largest with  1-1/4 NPT threads which has a 2″ hex and is almost 5″ long. These are usually used for standard blow off applications that replace open pipes to reduce your air consumption and noise. The force values vary from 2 ounces to 23 pounds of force. 

Another variation of the Super Air Nozzles is the Flat Super Air Nozzles; these nozzles create a small flat curtain of air at a high force to provide a wider blow off area for smaller NPT sized nozzles. The 1” and 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle also have replaceable shims that allow you to adjust the force coming out of the nozzle by increasing the amount of air that is used.   

EXAIR Air Nozzles

Back Blow Air Nozzles:
Back Blow Air Nozzles are designed in a way that blows that makes it easy to blow out the inside of pipes. The Back Blow Air Nozzles have holes around the outside diameter pointed back that creates a cone of air around the air inlet port. This makes it easy to dislodge clogs in pipes that you don’t want going back into the machine and for blowing out liquid and debris from the inside. They are also commonly used with EXAIR’s Chip Shield as to prevent any particles from flying back and hitting the user. Back Blow Air Nozzles come in three sizes: M4, ¼”, and 1” and can be used on inside diameters ranging from ¼” to 16”. 

EXAIR Back Blow Air Nozzles

Super Air Nozzle Clusters:
Super Air Nozzle Clusters use a number of the ¼” Super Air Nozzles to create one nozzle that has a wider cone and larger force. Clusters are usually used in wide area blow off but can also be used for part cooling and part reject as they do supply a wider area of force. Super Air Nozzle Clusters are sized by the number of nozzles in the cluster; the three sizes that we offer are 4-nozzle cluster (3/8” NPT inlet), 7-nozzle cluster (1/2” NPT inlet), and the 12-nozzle cluster (1” NPT inlet). 

EXAIR Super Air Nozzle Cluster

Air Jets:
Air Jets amplify the total volume of air into a high velocity stream of air. This makes it very useful for blowing off/drying applications and cooling applications due to the higher volume of air flowing through the unit. Air Jets come in two variations which are the High Velocity Air Jet and the Adjustable Air Jets. The High Velocity Air Jet uses a 0.015” shim that allows the air to escape the unit at a high velocity laminar flow to entrain the surrounding ambient air; this can be adjusted down using the shim kit which includes a 0.006” and 0.009” shims. The Adjustable Air Jet allows the user to easily adjust the air gap using the micrometer gap indicator. 

EXAIR Air Jets

If you have any questions about compressed air systems or want more information on any of EXAIR’s products, give us a call, we have a team of Application Engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Nozzles for Cleaning Inside Hose, Tube, Pipe and More

Some applications such as blowing chips or debris out of a pipe or blind hole, it may not be possible to blow forward. The pipe may be too long, making it impossible to push the debris all the way down the pipe or the other end of the pipe may not be open. In either of these scenarios, the Back Blow Nozzle is the right tool for the job. An array of holes around the diameter of the Back Blow Nozzles provides a powerful 360° airflow pattern that will clear out any leftover coolant or chips from the machining process.

EXAIR has three different size Back Blow Nozzles; the 1004SS (M4 x .5), the 1006SS (1/4 NPT), and the 1008SS (1” NPT). The 1004SS is recommended for use on pipes as small as ¼” and up to 1”. The 1006SS can be used for a wide range of pipe sizes, from 7/8” up to 4”. The 1008SS nozzle offers the greatest overall force for stubborn or sticky materials stuck to the inside diameter of the pipe. This nozzle is suitable for use in pipes ranging from 2”-16”. As the Back Blow Nozzle will be blowing chips and debris back out of the pipe towards the operator, it is always recommended that a Chip Shield is used. The strong polycarbonate Chip Shield will keep them safe from flying debris and keep you in compliance with OSHA directive 1910.242(b).

Various Views of the Model 1006SS Back Blow Nozzle

All of EXAIR’s Back Blow Nozzles are available with extensions. For the 1004SS we have extensions from 6”-36”, and from 12”-72” for the 1006SS and 1008SS. The Back Blow Nozzle can also be installed on our VariBlast, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty, and Super Blast Safety Air Guns. With such a wide range of available sizes and configurations, we can tackle just about any internal pipe cleaning application. If you have a process in your facility that may benefit from the use of one of these nozzles, give us a call and get one on order today!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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