The Basics of a Compressed Air Leak Detection Program

It is no surprise that compressed air can be a costly utility for industrial facilities. It can easily chip away at the bottom line finances if used carelessly and without planning. This is one of the leading reasons we have educated continuously on how to ensure this vital utility is used with safety and conservation in mind. If we have installed all engineered solutions at the point of use throughout a facility, there is still more to be saved. One of the easiest things to do with a utility system inside of a facility is to leave it unchecked and undocumented until something goes wrong. This does not have to be the scenario and in fact, starting a leak detection program in a facility can help to save up to 30% of the compressed air generated.

Leaks cost money!

That’s right, up to 30% of the compressed air being generated in an industrial facility can be exhausting out to ambient through leaks that run rampant throughout the facility. When the point of use production is still working fine, then these sorts of leaks go unnoticed. Another common occurrence goes something like this example: Maybe there is a leak bad enough to drop the packaging line pressure slightly, this may get fixed by bumping up a pressure regulator, production is back up and it is never thought of again. In all actuality this is affecting the production more and more with each leak.

The leaks add additional load onto the supply side. The compressor has to generate more air, the dryer needs to process more air, the auto drains dump more moisture, it all ads up to additional wear and tear also known as false load. All of this additional load on the system can add more maintenance which if left undone can result in system shut downs. One way to begin to eliminate this false load is to deploy a leak detection program. The steps are fairly easy.

Similar to our 6 Steps to Compressed Air Optimization, you start with a baseline of how much air the system is seeing and operating pressures. This begins the documentation process which is critical to the success of the program. Next, acquire an ultrasonic leak detector (ULD) and a layout of your compressed air system piping. Utilizing the ULD, test all compressed air piping along with equipment, and tag each leak that is detected. Next, begin to repair all of the tagged leaks and document the amount of compressed air savings with each repair. This again, is more documentation which leads to giving a quantitative value to the return on investment of the program. Lastly, schedule a follow up scan that recurs on a pre-determined basis to prevent the system from returning to it’s original leaky state.

EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector

If you would like to discuss starting a leak detection program in your facility or have questions about the ULD or any point of use compressed air product, please reach out to an Application Engineer today.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Air Guns to Meet & Exceed OSHA Standards

The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is a blow gun which is in stock for immediate shipping and has a durable cast aluminum body that is suited for rugged industrial use.  The ergonomic design has a large trigger and a soft, comfortable grip for easy operation and keeps the hand in a comfortable position for extended periods of use. A convenient hook hanger allows for easy storage when not in use.  Aluminum Extensions (up to 72″ long) and Stay Set Hoses (up to 36″ long ) can be fitted, providing access to hard-to-reach places. Chip Shields are available for most models, protecting operators from flying debris, helping to meet an important part of OSHA’s requirements for the safe use of compressed air, OSHA Standard 1910.242(b).

blog_SGSAG_500x

The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun can be configured with dozens of nozzle options, air consumption as low as 2.5 SCFM @ 80 PSIG of supply pressure and up to 60 SCFM if needed.  Nozzle materials include Zinc Aluminum alloy, Stainless Steel, and PEEK thermoplastic as well as forward blowing or back blow nozzle options.

Using any of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns with an Engineered Air Nozzle will provide safe and efficient use of compressed air, reduce energy costs, and eliminate harmful dead-end pressures (again, helping to comply with the OSHA standard for safe use of compressed air) when compared to standard commercial air blow guns, open pipes, and other homemade attempts to use compressed air efficiently and effectively.

When outfitted with EXAIR’s engineered air nozzles, the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is a powerful ally to reduce personnel noise exposure and protect them from noise-induced hearing loss. This is another important safety feature complying with OSHA’s standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a). Lowering the ambient noise level also helps to improve operator satisfaction of their working environment.

The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun can be configured to meet applications from delicate blowoff of electronic circuit boards to large chip removal in metal cutting operations, and everything in between.

If you have questions regarding the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact an Application Engineer who can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

EXAIR Siphon Fed Air Atomizing Liquid Spray Nozzles

Amongst EXAIR’s continuously growing product offering, some of the newest are a family of Air Atomizing Liquid Spray Nozzles that does not require a pressurized liquid source. These are known as the Siphon Fed Air Atomizing Nozzles. These nozzles can be easily implemented where a tank can be installed and lower the cost of the installation by not requiring a liquid pump, just point of use compressed air.

Siphon Fed model

This action is done by the unique design of the air cap.  As the velocity of the air passes through the air cap, low pressure is created by a venturi.  The Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzles can draw liquid from a suction height of 36” (91 cm), or gravity fed. They are manufactured from 303 stainless steel for durability and corrosion resistance. The Siphon Fed models can spray viscous fluids up to 200 centipoises and are used in many applications like rinsing, coating, cooling, quenching, humidification, or dust control. The images below showcases how simple the setup can be for the siphon and gravity fed installations.

EXAIR Siphon Fed Nozzles work with non-pressurized liquids, either siphoned (left) or gravity fed (right.)

EXAIR carries three different body sizes, 1/8” NPT, ¼” NPT, and ½” NPT ports; so, you can create a light mist or a heavy spray of liquid.  The maximum liquid flow rate is controlled by the air cap and liquid cap combination.  A unique feature of the EXAIR Atomizing Nozzle is that the caps are easily interchangeable for each body size to modify the spray patterns, control the amount of fluid, and reduce any downtime if cleaning is required.  The video below shows just how easily the changeover is done.

In addition to the three different inlet/body sizes, we also offer the Siphon Fed in both a round spray pattern or a flat fan spray pattern. These are also controlled by the air and liquid cap combination. This means it is easy to convert a round pattern that may be needed for a job, over to a flat fan pattern for the next setup. Each pattern is also available in several flow rates of liquid and air to dial in the performance required by the application.

Siphon Fed Air Atomizing Spray Nozzles

Additionally, if you would like to positively shut the liquid flow off from the nozzle in order to prevent drips, over use of liquid, or to shut off the gravity fed liquid when not needed, the No-Drip versions of these nozzles is also available. This is easily controlled by simply reducing the compressed air operating pressure to below the designated cracking pressure of the patented No-Drip valve.

No Drip Siphon Fed Round Pattern Atomizing Nozzle

If you would like to discuss which spray nozzle is best suited for your application, please reach out to an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Thinking Outside of the Box

Over the years of working at EXAIR, I have spoken to thousands of customers. The applications we discuss can run the full range that is showcased in the Solutions section of our website. It is always fun to approach applications when we have to think outside of the box for a solution. Throughout the Application Engineering department, our level of experience here combined with the customer’s knowledge of their setup, sometimes results in a solution that is not straightforward. Sometimes, we have to think outside of the box.

What kind of application may we have encountered where the obvious solution wasn’t the one that worked? One of the best applications that came to mind for me is when a customer was attempting to lift/pick up a very porous piece of filter media like the pre-filter from a Heavy Duty HEPA Vac. This material is extremely lightweight and porous. When hearing from a customer, I want to pick this material up, my mind quickly goes to the E-Vac Vacuum generators which are used to generate vacuum to operate suction cups.

In-Line E Vac picking up a block of cut extrusion.

With this material however, the vacuum flow needed is quite extensive and there is another product which is going to be a more efficient use of compressed air. That product, the Super Air Amplifier. As you can see in the photo below, a 2″ Super Air Amplifier easily lifts the porous material and because the suction side is a nominal hose size a hose can easily be attached if needed. The image shows a single amplifier lifting a larger sheet from a bench, these could be organized in an array like suction cups to pick materials up.

Model 120022 – 2″ Super Air Amplifier picking up a porous pre-filter material.

The moral of the story is to keep an open mind for solutions, while one path will always work other paths may become a more efficient manner. These solutions don’t always fit inside a box nice and neat. The Super Air Amplifier fit this because the amount of air entrained is tremendous and can easily be utilized to pull low vacuum force/high flow applications. This is very similar to fume evacuation which would be a “normal” application for the Super Air Amplifier.

If you want to discuss any point of use compressed air application with us, contact an Application Engineer and let us help you determine the solution your job needs.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF