Putting In The Work: No Matter Where

Last week I was on vacation with my wife’s family.  We had the good fortune of going to Lake Norman, NC and renting a house for everyone to stay in.   While vacation was on a lake and we all had a boat load of fun (mainly because we had a pontoon boat for a week).  Work still needed to get done.   This wasn’t work from the Application Engineering position here at EXAIR.  This work was physically more difficult.

This was training for an event I will be doing hopefully within the next year.  I’ve been attending a Tuesday morning workout for the past six months or so with two other men, who are both Marine veterans and I thank them for their service.  This work we put in on Tuesday morning and a few other random times throughout the week is all for the same events.   The events are put on by a company called GORUCK.  (Yes, just like EXAIR, it is all CAPS all the time, one word.)  These events are classified as endurance events and are lead by either an active or retired Special Forces cadre.  There are different versions but they are all heald to the same standard for participants.  Put in the work, rely on your team, and everyone will get through it together.

At most of the events very few people know each other that well.  This makes forming a team within the few hours you are together very difficult.  That is until you are under a time hack when everyone has their weighted ruck on their back, you have a few hundred extra pounds of sand bags to carry and because it is fun to watch the Cadre gives you a casualty that now has to be buddy carried.  The main focus is to get people of all walks of life, all abilities, all physical aptitudes to come together, build into one another, and make sure everyone is at the end getting a patch to wear on their ruck.

This is why, on every Tuesday I try to put in some hard work mixed in with a lot of stairs.   While I was on vacation and could have easily let that weekly training go, I didn’t.  Instead I got out a deck of cards for the number of reps to each exercise, grabbed a 60 lbs and 40 lb sandbag and went to the tallest section of stairs we had close by, the dock stairs.

While going through the exercises, panting and glistening (for those that don’t know that’s the fancy word for seriously sweating), my youngest daughter came down to “help” me workout.  The look on her face was at first confusion, then after a brief talk and explaining I am trying to better myself by doing this, she switched to full on support.

Burpees have never felt so good until you have a 4 year old cheering you on.  Once I was done with all of my reps and had made over 6 trips up and down the steps with the 60 lb. sandbag I carried my sandbags and followed her in to the house for some well deserved breakfast.

This work could have been easily pushed to the side and not completed.  Instead, I embraced it and did it.  I was going to do the work even if anyone wasn’t watching because I want to better myself so that I may better any team that I am part of.

This same level of dedication is put in to everything we do here at EXAIR.  Customer service, production, assembly, product design, order entry, accounting, and marketing all dedicate to ensure that we fill the needs of our customers because we want to become a strong part of their team.   Whether it means digging deeper on testing a product in order to get some data at different operating pressure, or creating a 100% custom product that we have never manufactured before, we dedicate to the customer and ensure that all possibilities are exhausted so that the customer and EXAIR can both succeed.

If you have any questions about how EXAIR can help your team to reduce compressed air consumption, increase plant efficiency, and save energy through compressed air usage, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Supply Side Review: Heat of Compression-Type Dryers

The supply side of a compressed air system has many critical parts that factor in to how well the system operates and how easily it can be maintained.   Dryers for the compressed air play a key role within the supply side are available in many form factors and fitments.  Today we will discuss heat of compression-type dryers.

Heat of compression-type dryer- Twin Tower Version

Heat of compression-type dryers are a regenerative desiccant dryer that take the heat from the act of compression to regenerate the desiccant.  By using this cycle they are grouped as a heat reactivated dryer rather than membrane technology, deliquescent type, or refrigerant type dryers.   They are also manufactured into two separate types.

The single vessel-type heat of compression-type dryer offers a no cycling action in order to provide continuous drying of throughput air.  The drying process is performed within a single pressure vessel with a rotating desiccant drum.  The vessel is divided into two air streams, one is a portion of air taken straight off the hot air exhaust from the air compressor which is used to provide the heat to dry the desiccant. The second air stream is the remainder of the air compressor output after it has been processed through the after-cooler. This same air stream passes through the drying section within the rotating desiccant drum where the air is then dried.  The hot air stream that was used for regeneration passes through a cooler just before it gets reintroduced to the main air stream all before entering the desiccant bed.  The air exits from the desiccant bed and is passed on to the next point in the supply side before distribution to the demand side of the system.

The  twin tower heat of compression-type dryer operates on the same theory and has a slightly different process.  This system divides the air process into two separate towers.  There is a saturated tower (vessel) that holds all of the desiccant.  This desiccant is regenerated by all of the hot air leaving the compressor discharge.  The total flow of compressed air then flows through an after-cooler before entering the second tower (vessel) which dries the air and then passes the air flow to the next stage within the supply side to then be distributed to the demand side of the system.

The heat of compression-type dryers do require a large amount of heat and escalated temperatures in order to successfully perform the regeneration of the desiccant.  Due to this they are mainly observed being used on systems which are based on a lubricant-free rotary screw compressor or a centrifugal compressor.

No matter the type of dryer your system has in place, EXAIR still recommends to place a redundant point of use filter on the demand side of the system.  This helps to reduce contamination from piping, collection during dryer down time, and acts as a fail safe to protect your process.  If you would like to discuss supply side or demand side factors of your compressed air system please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Heat of compression image: Compressed Air Challenge: Drive down your energy costs with heat of compression recovery: https://www.plantservices.com/articles/2013/03-heat-of-compression-recovery/

 

Limiting Noise Exposure with Mufflers for Compressed Air

Mufflers come in many shapes and sizes. Each with their own benefits.

If you have ever walked into a manufacturing facility and heard the hiss or even worse the banshee scream of compressed air being exhausted to ambient, whether it be from a cylinder discharge, a timed drain going off, or a bypass valve being activated, they all could be hushed with a muffler. A muffler for compressed air comes in several shapes and sizes. EXAIR offers four separate types from stock to help attenuate the noise disruption within your facility.

The OSHA standard for allowable noise exposure is 29 CFR-1910.95(a) and outlines the number of hours per day any individual can be exposed to a particular noise level. These noise levels are expressed in decibels (dbA).

Hearing loss is the best known, but not the only, ill effect of harmful noise exposure. It can also cause physical and psychological stress, impair concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents or injuries.
Reclassifying Mufflers attenuating the exhaust of a pneumatic cylinder.

The first type I would like to showcase are the Reclassifying Mufflers. These are ideal for cylinder exhausts or valves which commonly contain an oil mist within the air stream which can easily contaminate the surrounding area. The patented design of the removable element separates oil from the exhausted air so virtually no atomized oil is released into the environment. They also attenuate the exhaust noise level up to 35 decibels. The filter element helps the exhaust to meet the OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.1000, a worker’s cumulative exposure to oil mist must not exceed 5 mg/m³ by volume in any eight hour shift of a forty hour work week.

The chart below helps to properly size the Reclassifying Muffler for a pneumatic cylinder. One key to proper installation of these mufflers is they must be installed vertically in order to properly trap and drain the oil.

Reclassifying Muffler Quick Pick Chart
Sintered Bronze mufflers are excellent choices for tight installation locations and are easily sized.

The next type of muffler to discuss are the Sintered Bronze Mufflers that are offered in ten different sizes. These are an excellent low cost solution which easily install into new or existing ports. Each size is designed to provide minimal back pressure and restriction for the individual port size. The quick pick chart below helps to easily select the correct size for attenuating the exhaust of a pneumatic cylinder. One key difference between these and the Reclassifying Mufflers is, these do not have to be oriented vertically as they do not collect the oil out of the exhaust air.

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The model 3913 – 3/4″ NPT Straight Through Muffler

If the process air needs to be directed or plumbed away from the operator then the Straight Through Mufflers are the ideal selection as they offer an NPT threaded inlet and exhaust. They are available in three standard NPT sizes from stock. These mufflers can be installed in any orientation and work well with our Vortex Tubes to help pass the cold air through while lowering the operating sound level of the tube. The average noise reduction of the Straight-Through Mufflers is 20 dB. This can easily reduce the noise level of an operation to below the OSHA standard requiring hearing protection for operators in the area.

The model 3903 Heavy Duty Muffler

The final option for mufflers from EXAIR are the Heavy Duty Mufflers. These are available in two sizes from stock and are constructed of corrosion-resistant aluminum with a stainless steel internal screen. These can be installed in any orientation and are ideal for protecting exhaust ports from contaminants that may clog or damage the device they are attached to. The typical noise reduction from installation is 14 dB with these mufflers.

These are available in two sizes from stock and are constructed of corrosion-resistant aluminum with a stainless steel internal screen. These can be installed in any orientation and are ideal for protecting exhaust ports from contaminants that may clog or damage the device they are attached to. The typical noise reduction from installation is 14 dB with these mufflers.

To summarize, EXAIR offers a multitude of options when it comes to lowering sound levels in operation areas that are caused by exhausted compressed air. Each of the mufflers discussed above are shipped same day from stock to meet your immediate need. If you are unsure of which muffler to use for your application, feel free to contact an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
Ph. 1-513-671-3322
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Coandă Profiles

Here at EXAIR, Coandă is a household name that can be heard on any given day multiple times throughout the day. The Coandă effect is fairly easy to visualize with a ligthweight ball and some high velocity airflow. Take the video below for example. This 2″ Super Air Amplifier on a stand powered at 40 psig at the inlet easily lifts this hollow plastic ball and then suspends the ball due to the Coandă effect.

If you were able to see the airflow, you would see it impacting the surface of the sphere at all different points then following the profile of the sphere until it colides with itself and is forced to separate off the surface. The turbulent flow on the top is creating a downward pressure as well. The science behind this was all found and showcased by Henri Coandă. He showcased this with a propulsion device which used a domed hood with airflow to follow the curvature of the dome then exit off the sharp edge or where the separate air streams began to recombine causing a turbulent / low pressure area depending on the angle.

This stream of air following a surface begins to pull in all surrounding and impacted air molecules from around the stream which is called entrainment. This is a key factor for EXAIR products and one reason the Coandă profiles are a key characteristic to obtaining the peak performance and efficiency out of a compressed air product.

As the high velocity air stream exits the EXAIR model 1100 Super Air Nozzle the ambient air is entrained around the fins and angled surfaces of the nozzle.

Many EXAIR products utilize the Coandă principle to improve their efficiencies and performance. Below you can see the EXAIR product families containing Coandă profiles within their design which increases the ambient air entrainment resulting in an amplified air blowoff.

Super Air Wipes, Super Air Knives, Super Air Nozzles and Super Air Amplifiers use the Coanda principle to become some of the most efficient compressed air blowoff products available.

If you would like to discuss how the Coandă profile and EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products® can help your process, please give us a call.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Is PVC Pipe Alright to Use with Compressed Air?

A question arises every now and then on whether or not PVC pipe, yes the stuff from your local hardware store that says it is rated for 200 psi, is safe to use as compressed air supply line.   The answer is always the same,  NO! OSHA agrees – see their statement here.

Schedule 40 PVC pipe is not designed nor rated for use with compressed air or other gases.  PVC pipe will explode under pressure, it is impacted significantly by temperature and can be difficult to get airtight.

PVC pipe was originally designed and tested for conveyance of liquids or products that cannot be compressed, rather they can be pressurized.   The largest concern is the failure method of the piping itself.   When being used with a liquid that cannot be compressed, if there is a failure (crack or hole) then the piping will spring a leak and not shatter.   When introducing a compressed gas, such as compressed air, if there is a failure the method ends up being shrapnel.  This YouTube video does a good job of illustrating how the pipe shatters.

While it may seem that it takes a good amount of pressure to cause a failure in the pipe, that is often not the case.  I have chatted with some local shop owners who decided to run PVC as a quick and cheap alternative to get their machines up and running.

They each experienced the same failures at different points in time as well.  The worst one was a section of PVC pipe installed over a workbench failed where an operator would normally be standing. Luckily the failure happened at night when no one was there.  Even though no one got injured this still caused a considerable expense to the company because the compressor ran overnight trying to pressurize a ruptured line.

Temperature will impact the PVC as well. Schedule 40 PVC is generally rated for use between 70°F and 140°F (21°-60°C). Pipes that are installed outside or in non temperature controlled buildings can freeze the pipes and make them brittle.

If you haven’t worked with PVC before or do not let the sealant set, it can be hard to get a good seal, leading to leaks and a weak spot in the system.

The point of this is the cheapest, quick, and easy solutions are more often , the ones that will cost the most in the long run.

If you would like to discuss proper compressed air piping and how to save compressed air on your systems, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Image courtesy of: Dennis Hill, Creative Commons License

Video Blog: EXAIR Efficiency Lab

The video below is a brief introduction to the EXAIR Efficiency Lab, a free service provided by EXAIR for customers within the USA and Canada.

If you have a single point blowoff that does not have an engineered nozzle, or if you have a wider format blowoff, manifold or home-made drilled pipe, contact an Application Engineer with EXAIR and let us help you to reduce your energy waste. Following are some examples of product where we have helped to save some serious air and reduced noise levels which heightens employee comfort.

Non-engineered blowoffs

Drilled and soldered copper pipe.

Custom manufactured inefficient pipe blowoff

 

The EXAIR Efficiency Lab

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

EXAIR Won’t Keep You Waiting For Anything

Have you ever sent an email, or left a voice mail message for someone without knowing they were out of the office? It can be pretty frustrating to not hear back from someone, especially if your needs are urgent.

At EXAIR, we make sure this doesn’t happen:

*For starters, we don’t have an automated attendant…if you call EXAIR during normal business hours, you’re going to talk to a real live human being.

*What’s more, that real live human being is going to be one of our Customer Service Representatives, and they can answer any questions you might have about price and availability of any of our Engineered Compressed Air Products.

*If you need detailed technical information, they’ll transfer you to an Application Engineer…and they are always keenly aware of who’s available & who’s not.  You won’t get anyone’s voice mail unless you specifically ask for it, and if one of us is on vacation (and won’t be able to return your call for a number of days,) you’ll know that before you’re transferred to leave that message.

*Not only that, but we’ve got a system in place to monitor each other’s emails.  Which brings me to the success story that inspired this blog:

It’s vacation season, and another of us took off for some well deserved R&R with the family.  According to The System, I get to check those incoming emails while this co-worker is out.  And he (like the rest of us) gets a LOT of emails.  Some are new requests for application/performance data, and some are continuing conversations of the details of (sometimes) complex applications.  Like the project he was working on with a customer who wanted to use Air Knives to blow off a continuous strip of material exiting a wash/rinse vessel.  After a discussion of the details of the application, they had decided to try (2) Model 110003 3″ Aluminum Super Air Knives, one mounted on either side, to “strip the strip.”  And it worked perfectly.  They just wanted to run the details of this first installation by us before doing the other seven.  Part of my process was to go back through the chain of emails…while this looked pretty straight forward, the devil is indeed in the details, and I hate that guy.  But, try as I might (sorry; I’m an engineer,) I could not find fault, or room to improve, with the setup they designed…it was most pleasantly devil-free.

Compact, efficient and quiet, the EXAIR 3″ Super Air Knife is an ideal blow off solution for a variety of applications.

Anyway, with my agreement that their installation was indeed optimal (it’s exactly what I would have done too, for the record,) they placed an order for the (14) Super Air Knives to outfit the other (7) wash/rinse operations.

If we were keeping score, it would be coworker-2, Russ-14.  But we’re not.  Lest my record suffer when I “break for the Lake” in June.  By then, it’ll be Cabinet Cooler Season, and I almost hate to miss a week of that.  Almost.

Man, I don’t even take long pants with me to the Lake.

If you have questions about compressed air products or applications, we’ve got answers.  Live and in real time, every day.  Call us; let’s talk.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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