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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Unique Nozzle Application Eliminates Procedure for Tobacco Processing Facility

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I recently worked on a unique application for EXAIR’s Back Blow Nozzle. Generally, these products are used to clean out chips, debris, and coolant from the ID of pipes or tubes. With (3) different sizes available to clean out IDs ranging from ¼”-16” it’s the ideal solution for cleaning out pipes where blowing forward into the pipe won’t work. They’re also available on the end of a Safety Air Gun with extensions up to 72” long, allowing you to get to hard to reach areas.

This particular application, however, was slightly different. The customer has a large machine that rotates a large drum to dry the tobacco, much like a standard clothes dryer. Inside of this drum is a “spray boom” with an angled top designed to prevent the tobacco from settling and sticking in large quantities. At the end of this “spray boom” are Atomizing Nozzles used to apply a cleaning solution after each drying process is completed at the end of the shift.  Unfortunately, the angled design didn’t work quite as well as they’d intended.

The customer needed a solution that could periodically clean off the boom while the drying was in operation. It wasn’t reasonable to do this at the end of the drying process once the majority of material had passed through. The accumulated tobacco on the boom was perfectly usable product and anything stuck after the cleaning operation would have to be thrown out as waste. In order to clean the boom and allow the stuck tobacco to remain as usable product, we needed an automated solution.

The customer installed (4) of the 1006SS Back Blow Nozzles situated around the boom to remove any stuck-on product during the drying process. The results spoke for themselves, at 90 PSIG it removed a 14” wide radius of material from the surface. By implementing the Back Blow Nozzle they were able to reduce waste and eliminate a daily 1-hour long cleaning process to remove stuck on material from the boom.

Just because it’s an outside-the-box application for one of our products, doesn’t mean it won’t work!! With EXAIR’s Unconditional 30-Day Guarantee, you can test any of our stock products out before committing to keep them. Reach out to an Application Engineer today if you have a unique application you’d like to discuss!

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

The Only Constant Around Here Is Growth

But if there’s a second constant around here, it’s excellence. And if there was a third, it was this guy…right up until the day he retired:

Joe Panfalone, Application Engineer extraordinaire, holding our bounty of product awards from 2013. He's retired since, but he's not...EVER...forgotten.
Joe Panfalone, Application Engineer extraordinaire, holding our bounty of product awards from 2013. He’s retired since, but he’s not…EVER…forgotten.

Another thing we don’t want to forget – in fact, I’m writing this as a reminder to YOU, dear reader, is that EXAIR products are up for ANOTHER four Plant Engineering Product of the Year Awards this year.  If you haven’t familiarized yourself with this year’s entries yet, there are some VERY cool products to choose from, and I highly encourage you to check them out(Disclaimer: I was an engineer BEFORE I came to EXAIR, and as such, I fully recognize the value that our esteemed colleagues bring to the table with THEIR entries, but I remain convinced that OURS are the clear winners here, as I’m sure you will too.)

Voting ends this Friday, January 8th 2016, so please hurry.  We’re honored to have gotten the nod in four categories this year:

ETC Dual CC SystemsAutomation and Controls: The competition is pretty stiff in this category…I’m sure you’ll recognize the names of some major players.  But, considering the wide range of applications, the potential cost savings by regulating the use of compressed air, and the convenience afforded by the ETC Dual Cabinet Cooler Systems, it’s a real contender.

HLRDVEnvironmental Health: With the ability to vacuum heavier tramp oils, thicker sludge, more viscous fluids, and “in the floor” cisterns, the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac makes fluid transfer and spill cleanup quick & easy.  They’re in stock for 30, 55, or 110 gallon drums. If you want a drum dolly, additional vacuum tools, or even the drum itself, check out our Deluxe and Premium Kits.  With all due respect to the other entries, it’s the clear winner in this category.

Compressed Air1006ss: This has been a long-awaited addition to our already broad selection of engineered air nozzles: the Back Blow Air Nozzles, available in two sizes, can handle blowing out pipe, tube, etc. with inside diameters from 7/8″ to 16″.  You can get one installed on one of our Safety Air Guns, and they’re available with Chip Shields, and extension pipes up to 6 feet in length.  This is the most innovative product being introduced in this category this year, for sure.

Fluid HandlingNo Drip Atomizing Nozzle: The patented design of the EXAIR No-Drip Atomizing Spray Nozzle offers a stand-alone nozzle capable of controlling liquid flow without requiring a liquid control solenoid.  When the air supply pressure is shut off, so is the liquid flow…just like that.

This feature is available on any of our Atomizing Spray Nozzles.  For safety, efficiency, cleanliness, it can’t be beat.

Remember, voting ends this Friday.  I know there are some great products to choose from, but all of us at EXAIR would genuinely appreciate your vote for our products.  Of course, if you ever have any questions about how these – or any of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products – can make life easier, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Bad News, Good News, Better News

Recently, I had the pleasure of solving an application for a steel pipe manufacturer. To clean the inside diameters of their freshly-washed pipes, they were using open end blow offs: the ever-popular and easy-to-make, but loud and inefficient crushed-end tubing. I got excited, because this was my first chance to discuss our brand-new Back Blow Nozzle, which is aimed (pun intended) at cleaning inside diameter surfaces. That’s where my story develops a “bad news/good news/better news” pattern…

The bad news: The pipes that need cleaning are up to 20” in diameter…a little too large for our Model 1006SS ¼” NPT Back Blow Nozzle to be completely effective.

EXAIR's brand-new Model 1006 Back Blow Nozzle.
EXAIR’s brand-new Model 1006SS Back Blow Nozzle.

The good news: The user already had a system set up, using the aforementioned “homemade” blow offs, which looked something like this:

Easy to make, hard on your ears...and your air compressor load.
Easy to make, hard on your ears…and your air compressor load.

The better news: They were able to easily adapt their system to install our Model 1120 High Force Super Air Nozzles, which lowered their compressed air consumption as well as the noise level of the operation.

That's the Model 1120 on the far right.
That’s the Model 1120 on the far right.

The moral to this story is, the solution may not be the first one that comes to mind. At EXAIR, that happens all the time. Line Vac questions turn into Air Amplifier answers, and vice versa. Cold Gun calls turn to discussions of Adjustable Spot Coolers. We’ve got three styles of Air Knives to choose from…they’re all perfectly suitable for a wide range of general industrial applications, but they each have their own particular advantages in certain situations. If you have a compressed air product application that you’d like to discuss, EXAIR is your best bet for the most efficient, quietest, quickest solution. It’s like I always say:

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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