This week’s adventures in using compressed air arrives from an unexpected source: installing handlebar grips on a bicycle. The customer used a compressed air gun with an open tube which is not OSHA safe and is LOUD! (pictured below)
The bicycle shop would slip the nozzle of the air gun under the rubber handlebar grips to expand them to slide onto the frames easily. The original nozzle of the gun did not have a relief port in the nozzle to prevent pressurization over 30 PSIG as mandated by OSHA instruction STD 01-13-0001. On top of the over-pressurization problem, the gun was incredibly noisy. This noise was the reason for their call. During the course of our phone conversation, we also discussed the safety aspect of their application. If you need more information on OSHA’s regulation regarding compressed air please see my blog “Complying with OSHA’s Compressed Air Standard”.
The bicycle repair shop was relatively quiet, so the noise from the 0.175″ opening of the original safety air gun affected a number of shop employees. Every year more and morestudies point to a link between occupational noise and health, well being, and productivity. This repair shop had a relatively low noise level in most working hours, so the noise of the air gun continuously rattling through rafters not only threatened the operators’ hearing but also may have affected them in other ways. The technician manager of the repair shop had heard complaints from operators and called one of EXAIR’s Application Engineers to find a quieter solution. Our solution was the Precision Safety Air Gun, model 1410SS, was the perfect solution. The 1/4″ Nano Super Air Nozzle is 1/4″ in diameter which was able to easily slip underneath the handlebar grips. The gun would then be triggered which allow air to fill the handlebar grip, which caused it to expand just enough to slip onto the bike frame.
Originally, the air gun produced noise levels of over 90 dB every time the gun was triggered. EXAIR’s 1410SS Precision Safety Air Gun only produced a noise level of 75 dB, which is much more manageable in their shop environment. The gun also features EXAIR Super Air Nozzle design which conserves compressed air and complies with OSHA standard 1910.242(b), which prevents the outlet pressure from exceeding 30 PSIG.
I recently took on the task of getting a pair of 50 year old vintage bicycles up to snuff for riding once more. They hadn’t moved in about 30 years, so I knew it was a tall order. After replacing the tires, tubes and disassembling, cleaning and lubricating a 3 speed transmission (a mechanical wonder!), I decided to strip off some of the rusted old accessories. One of these was a battery operated headlight.
Aside from being damaged beyond repair, the headlight was outdated to say the least. For comparison, a modern LED bicycle light is shown on the left. These two lights have little to nothing in common. The one of the left is powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery. The one on the right uses disposable alkaline batteries. The one on the left is made of weather resistant materials like aluminum and rubber. The one on the right is made of steel (very pitted and rusty steel at this point…). The one on the left is easy to mount on just about any tube of a bike frame and lightweight. The one on the right has a special bracket that has to be mounted on the gooseneck and has enough mass to anchor a 60 foot yacht.
The point is that the old light wasn’t just rusted beyond repair, it wasn’t worth repairing even if it could have been. Ever see that in your manufacturing environment? A blowgun that has a stuck trigger for instance. Maybe it could be repaired, but what about that non-OSHA compliant nozzle it has attached to it? Whatever meager savings you might get from trying to repair the old gun and continuing using an unsafe blowoff could quickly be offset by and OSHA fine. Time to upgrade to an EXAIR Precision Safety Air Gun , Soft Grip Safety Air Gun or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun!
Don’t get me wrong – I ABHOR the throw away society I see around me in the world today. Why else would I bother to fix up two 50 year old bikes? But sometimes it’s best to replace the old thing with something new that is safer and more efficient – like an LED bike light, or an OSHA compliant EXAIR Safety Air Gun. Need help figuring out which Safety Air Gun to use? Our experienced Application Engineers are just a phone call away!
Last week I went on the annual trip to Topsail Island, NC with my family and all of the in-laws. The week lends plenty of time to relax, play on the beach, see a shark 10′ away from you in the water…you know the normal stuff. I couldn’t help but think as to what my next project at home needs to be, not a “real” project at home but one I will enjoy, a hobby project if you will. I went to my favorite place in North Carolina for some much needed relaxation and input, Saigon Sam’s, a military surplus store. It’s really more than just a military surplus store, it has that museum feel as well due to all of the relics and weapons it showcases.
After seeing how a lot of military items have been re-purposed and watching a few of the old Professor videos, I have decided that my next project for home will be making a Tall Bike. What is a tall bike you ask? Absolutely awesome is what I would say. The legitimate answer would be it is essentially two to three bikes welded together to form one really tall bike that is not easy to get on or off of.
My hopes are that it will look something like the one pictured above. However, due to budget constraints and my love for things that work instead of look good it may appear like the one below.
Just like here at EXAIR, even at home I am constantly thinking of new projects. One of the newest projects that has wrapped up at EXAIR is the expansion of our Digital Flowmeter family. These meters are now available to help you monitor your compressed air use on 1/2″ through 6″ schedule 40 iron pipe OR 3/4″ through 4″ Type L copper pipe. The EXAIR Digital Flowmeters are simple to install and include a drill guide, drill and jig to make the process even easier. Also available is our USB Data Logger or Summing Remote Display to further the ease of collecting your compressed air use data. If you want to compare two different lines that are the same size you can simply use a set of block off rings to clamp off the probe area while the Digital Flowmeter is in use on the other line. This means you can easily use a single Digital Flowmeter and a few sets of block off rings to monitor all of your compressed air lines that are the same size.
These Digital Flowmeters are an essential first step toward understanding where your air is used, when it is at its highest use and where it is used. With this understanding, you can begin to work on making your air system more efficient and using your compressed air more effectively. Using flowmeters to monitor compressed air is the intelligent first step toward saving air and money for your company. Saving money on compressed air and operating an efficient system can help secure your competitive position now and into the future.
If you have any questions or want to know more about our Digital Flowmeter family, feel free to contact us.