The first step to optimizing compressed air systems within an industrial facility is to get a known baseline. To do so, utilizing a digital flowmeter is an ideal solution that will easily install onto a hard pipe that will give live readouts of the compressed air usage for the line it is installed on. There is also an additional feature that we offer on the Digital Flowmeters that can help further the understanding of the compressed air demands within a facility.
The Pressure Sensing Digital Flowmeters are available from 2″ Sched. 40 Iron Pipe up to 8″ Sched. 40 Iron Pipe. As well as 2″ to 4″ Copper pipe. These will read out and with the additional Data Logger or Wireless Capability options record the information. When coupled with the wireless capability an alarm can be set for pressure drops that give live updates on the system as well as permits data review to see trends throughout the day of the system.
Generating a pressure and consumption profile of a system can help to pinpoint energy wasters such as timer-based drains that are dumping every hour versus level based drains that only open when needed. A scenario similar to this was the cause of an entire production line shut down nearly every day of the week for a local facility until they installed flowmeters and were able to narrow the demand location down to a filter baghouse with a faulty control for the cleaning cycle.
If you would like to discuss the best digital flowmeter for your system and to better understand the benefits of pressure sensing, please contact us.
There is hardly a day I work that I am not talking about the importance of properly installed pressure gauges. These small devices can often get overlooked or thought of as not necessary on an installation. When troubleshooting or evaluating the compressed air consumption of an application, this is one of the first items I look for in the installation.
As Russ Bowman shows in the above video discussing proper piping sizes, you can see the importance of properly placed pressure gauges. This shows the worst-case scenario where the pressure drop due to improper line sizes gives the false sense to the operator that they are achieving full line pressure when in fact they are not. In order to accurately measure consumption rates, pressure AT THE INLET (within a few feet) to any compressed air product is necessary, rather than upstream at a point where there may be restrictions or pressure drops between the inlet and the gauge. So how exactly do these analog gauges measure the pressure of the compressed air at the installed locations?
The video below shows a great example of pressure increasing and decreasing moving the Bourdon tube that is connected to the indicating needle. The description that follows goes more in-depth with how these internals function.
Most mechanical gauges utilize a Bourdon-tube. The Bourdon-tube was invented in 1849 by a French watchmaker, Eugéne Bourdon. The movable end of the Bourdon-tube is connected via a pivot pin/link to the lever. The lever is an extension of the sector gear and movement of the lever results in rotation of the sector gear. The sector gear meshes with spur gear (not visible) on the indicator needle axle which passes through the gauge face and holds the indicator needle. Lastly, there is a small hairspring in place to put tension on the gear system to eliminate gear lash and hysteresis.
When the pressure inside the Bourdon-tube increases, the Bourdon-tube will straighten. The amount of straightening that occurs is proportional to the pressure inside the tube. As the tube straightens, the movement engages the link, lever, and gear system that results in the indicator needle sweeping across the gauge.
If you would like to discuss pressure gauges, the best locations to install them, or how much compressed air an application is using at a given pressure, give us a call, email, or chat.
PPE has been a hot topic and new buzzword for a lot of people and throughout many industries over the past 6 months, and rightfully so. When you look at manufacturing though, PPE has been a buzzword for decades. We continue to evolve processes, equipment, and wearables to ensure the safety of operators. It all boils down to the fact that PPE and the equipment have to be used, and used appropriately in order to be effective.
When reviewing the CDC’s guides for Hierarchy of Controls the least effective method to protect workers is PPE that they must implement and wear/use properly. The fact is, PPE is one of the cheaper entry levels to get to safe working conditions upfront. However, the cost of ownership can quickly surpass more effective methods of providing safe conditions for operators, such as installation of engineered controls or even substituting the hazard w/ engineered solutions.
So what exactly does that mean to the people on the shop floor? Rather than having to grab a set of pinch and roll earplugs every day on the way through the breezeway to get to the production line, permanently installing quiet products like Super Air Nozzles or Super Air Knives in place of open-ended pipes and drilled pipe blowoffs could eliminate the need for these uncomfortable nuisances. And reliance on personnel to use them correctly, or use them at all is a gamble.
How else can EXAIR help in this pursuit of operator safety and happiness? We offer a free service, the EXAIR Efficiency Lab, which will test your current blow-off products for force, flow, air consumption and noise level. We then recommend an engineered solution if we can improve upon those parameters (spoiler alert, we can) that will meet or exceed OSHA standards for dead-end pressure and allowable noise level exposure.
For this example, installing a quiet product to aid in lowering noise levels can create an environment that no longer needs PPE for protecting personnel. The fix is permanent and eliminates forgotten, lost or broken PPE and the expensive associated with them.
If you would like to discuss any of these options further, please let me know.
Electrical enclosures and control cabinets come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They all have the same job, to protect and house critical electronics in order to ensure a machine or piece of equipment can safely operate. These electronics and enclosures are also located in a variety of environments that differ just as much as the panels themselves. With that, different requirements and needs to protect the internal components of the cabinet are needed. A systematic approach to designate the requirements for these panels to meet the needs of different environments was designated by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Thus, the NEMA rating was created.
Currently, there are nearly 20 different NEMA classifications that enclosures can be designed for and operate within. EXAIR offers three main NEMA types which are the most commonly found within industrial facilities as well as an additional two that are designated strictly for Hazardous Locations and are separately certified by UL to meet those standards.
NEMA Type 12 enclosures are constructed mainly to be used indoors and to protect personnel in the area from any hazardous equipment such as electrical contacts or transformers. This also helps to protect those electronics from things like foreign matter in the air around the panel and keep any kind of drips of moisture from getting into the electronics. These are found in most general light assembly or industrial environments.
NEMA Type 4 enclosures are a few steps up from NEMA Type 12 in the level of protection they give the internal electronics. These are suitable for indoor or outdoor use to protect both personnel and the internal cabinet components from the environment. They are dust and airtight as well as protect from the ingress of water and ice. These can be found in washdown environments, hot environments, or extremely dirty environments throughout industry.
NEMA Type 4X enclosures are similar to NEMA Type 4 as far as that they protect for and the environments they are suited for, the standard also adds a level of corrosion resistance to the panels which permit them for use around certain chemicals and/or outdoors in certain facility environments.
The last type to be discussed is the Hazardous Locations that are offered in both NEMA Type 4 and NEMA Type 4X ratings. These environments are under strict classifications and EXAIR follows the UL Classified certifications for these restricted areas.
If the panel or environment within a given facility is in a different NEMA type than the ones mentioned above it can often be remedied by going to the next highest level. For instance, NEMA Type 5 rated enclosures could be protected by a NEMA Type 4 and still maintain their integrity.
If you would like to discuss NEMA ratings or what type of panel may be within your facility, please contact us.