Don’t Forget About Operating Cost: How To Calculate Return On Investment

If you have a stock portfolio, or even a retirement account, you’ve likely heard the term “return on investment.” It basically tells you how hard your money is working for you, and, the higher, the better.

The term is also used to determine the financial benefits associated with the use of more efficient products than you’re using right now:

  • The cost of operating industrial pumps, air compressors, and a variety of industrial rotating equipment, can be greatly reduced by using variable frequency drive systems that sense the demand and change the motor’s speed (and hence power consumption) accordingly.  These systems are not cheap, but the reduction in operating costs is often quite noticeable.
  • At home, installing energy efficient windows (spoiler alert: your builder probably used the cheapest ones he could find…mine sure did) or upgrading appliances & HVAC can cost a pretty penny, but you’ll also see your electric bill go down.

EXAIR Corporation has a worldwide reputation for providing highly efficient compressed air products for industry.  Our Engineering Department has a company-wide reputation for being data fanatics…which is key to allowing us to provide our customers with ample information to make the best choices to optimize your use of your compressed air.

It’s not hard at all to calculate your potential savings from the use of an engineered compressed air product, assuming you know how much air your current device is using.  If not, we can tell you if you can send it in for Efficiency Lab testing (free and fast; call me to find out more.)  Here’s an example for a VERY typical situation: replacing an open copper tube blow off with an EXAIR Super Air Nozzle:

  • A 1/4″ copper tube uses 33 SCFM @80psig
  • A Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle uses 14 SCFM @80psig

33 SCFM X 60 min/hour X 8 hours/day X 5 days/week X 52 weeks/year = 4,118,400 SCF

14 SCFM X 60 min/hour X 8 hours/day X 5 days/week X 52 weeks/year = 1,747,200 SCF

4,118,400 – 1,747,200 = 2,371,200 Standard Cubic Feet of compressed air savings

If you know your facility’s cost of compressed air generation, you can calculate the monetary savings.  If not, we can get a good estimate via a thumbrule used by the U.S. Department of Energy that says it typically costs $0.25 to generate 1,000 SCF of compressed air:

2,371,200 SCF X $0.25 ÷ 1,000 SCF = $592.80 annual monetary savings

In 2019, the cost of a Model 1100 Zinc Aluminum Super Air Nozzle is $41.00.  Daily savings (not counting weekends) is:

$592.80 ÷ 260 days (5 days/week X 52 weeks/year) = $2.28 daily savings

Meaning the payoff time for the $41.00 investment in the Model 1100 is:

$41.00 ÷ $2.28 = 17.9 days

Or…just over three weeks.  Now that I’ve shown you the math, I’d like to introduce you to the EXAIR Cost Savings Calculator.  Just enter the data, and it’ll check your math (because I know you’re going to do the math anyway, just like I would.)  It even does the ROI for you too.

Engineered solutions (like EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products) are the efficient, quiet, and safe choice. Does the one on the right look familiar?  It’s literally the example I used for the above calculations.

If you’d like to find out more about how – and how fast – EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can pay off for you, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Cleaning Out Pipes, Extrusions and Blind Holes

Look at the picture below of a band saw cutting a piece of tubing.  The amount of debris and coolant that is coating the pipe on the inside diameter and outer diameter is substantial.  Cleaning off the outside of a pipe is fairly easy and straight forward.  Cleaning the ID can be difficult.  This is a single instance where one of the EXAIR Back Blow Air Nozzles can turn a cumbersome job into a quick and easy step in the process.

1 – Metal Cutting Bandsaw

The tubing in the photo appears to be around a 3 or 4″ ID tubing which makes it ideal to be cleaned out internally by the model 1006SS – 1/4″ Back Blow Air Nozzle.  This nozzle is ideal for passage ways ranging from a 7/8″ diameter up to a 4″ diameter.

1006SS – 1/4″ Back Blow Air Nozzle

While cleaning out the short section may be able to be obtained with a forward blowing Safety Air Gun, if this was being cut from a 20′ length of tube it would be difficult to remove the debris from the remnant section of tubing.  The advantage being the debris from the saw cut no longer has to be blown out or left in the longer lengths of the tube.   The Back Blow Air Nozzle can easily be inserted and remove debris back from the saw cutting end.  Lee Evans demonstrates this in a video below.

If you would like to discuss any compressed air application, please feel free to contact an Application Engineer.  We will gladly help you determine which EXAIR product may be right for your application.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – Metal Cutting Bandsaw image – S.J. de Waard, Creative Commons License [CC BY 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Metal_cutting_bandsaw_(02).JPG

 

Flat Super Air Nozzles: Overview

EXAIR’s Flat Super Air Nozzles have been blowing away the competition since 2003.

EXAIR manufactures a variety of nozzles that are OSHA safe, high quality, and very efficient.  They are engineered to entrain the “free” ambient air into the air stream to create a powerful force while reducing compressed air usage.  Thus, saving you money.  With a multitude of blow-off applications like clearing small holes to quickly cleaning gantry CNC tables, EXAIR has the nozzles for you.  In this blog, I will discuss the features and benefits of the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles.

The EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles are manufactured to blow a wide forceful stream of air.  Their patented design creates a high velocity, laminar air stream with minimal air consumption and low noise.  They come in two widths; 1” (25mm) and 2” (51mm).  EXAIR offers a standard Flat Super Air Nozzle and a High Force Flat Super Air Nozzle in two different materials, zinc-aluminum alloy and 316 stainless steel.  And with a metal construction, breakage is not a concern and performance are not sacrificed even in the harshest of environments.  The unique patented shims inside the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles will give you three improvements to the design and function.  First, they come in different thickness to create a wide range of forces.  In conjunction with a regulator, you can “dial” in the correct amount of force from a breeze to a blast without overusing your air compressor.  The patented design also allows an even flow across the entire width of the air nozzle.  Lastly, they help to entrain the free ambient air; so that less compressed air is required.  The high efficiency design will save you money.  The EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles are effective in uniform blowing with safety and efficiency in mind.

To expand more on force adjustments with the Flat Super Air Nozzles, EXAIR has an easy way to change the shim to better suit your application.  You can increase or decrease the force of the nozzle by just removing two screws and changing the thickness of the shim inside.  EXAIR offers a variety pack called a Shim Set to give you a wide range of forces with the nozzles.  For the standard Flat Super Air Nozzle, they come stock with a 0.015” (0.38mm) shim for both the 1” and 2” sizes.  The corresponding Shim Sets will include a 0.005” (0.13mm), 0.010” (0.25mm), and 0.020” (0.51mm) shim.  The High Force Flat Super Air Nozzles will come standard with a 0.025” (0.64mm) shim; and the Shim Set will include a 0.020” (0.51mm) and 0.030” (0.76mm) thick shim.  This is a unique feature as most competitive flat nozzles do not allow you to do this.  The chart below corresponds the appropriate Shim Set to the Flat Super Air Nozzle.

Flat Super Air Nozzle to Shim Set Chart

What can make the Flat Super Air Nozzles even better?  Flexibility.  The Stay Set Hoses can add this for positioning the Flat Super Air Nozzles.  They are designed to manually move the Flat Super Air Nozzle to accurately target the air stream.  They allow the maneuverability to locate the nozzle at different heights or angles; and once positioned, the Stay Set Hose will hold the nozzle in place.  They come in different lengths from 6” (152mm) to 36” (914mm).  We carry two different styles of connections to adapt to any of the Flat Super Air Nozzles.  You can select the different lengths of Stay Set Hoses to the Flat Super Air Nozzle by the model number make-up sheet below.

EXAIR also can offer a Magnetic Base to your Stay Set Hoses and Flat Super Air Nozzles.  The Magnetic Base has a powerful magnet on the bottom to securely attach the blow-off nozzles vertically or horizontally.  This feature is great if you need to move the nozzles to different locations in your application.  EXAIR manufactures a one-outlet and a two-outlet design.  Each outlet has a ¼ turn valve to manually turn on or off the nozzle.  To add this product to the Flat Super Air Nozzle and the Stay Set Hose, you can use the model number make-up sheet below.

With the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles, you can take advantage of the durability, safety, and efficiency for your blow-off devices.  In addition, you can build a system that will best suit your requirements by adding different lengths of Stay Set Hoses and/or Magnetic Bases.  With these combinations grouped in one model number and in stock for quick shipments, it makes it simple to purchase from EXAIR.  And just to let you know, if you are within the U.S. or Canada, they come with a 30-day unconditional guarantee to try them out.  If you need any help with our Flat Super Air Nozzles or how to build an optimum blow-off system, you can speak to an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to assist you.

 

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Video Demonstration of Compounding Sound Levels

In industrial settings, having a single air nozzle or other blowoff product is often not the scenario that is seen.  Many applications require multiple points of blowoff, even if not in the same direction or for the same position within the machine.  In the scenario where multiple nozzles are used, sound levels can get tricky to calculate and is often thought of as a mystery.  If you follow our blog then you may have seen this excellent blog that shows all the math behind calculating the total decibels when multiple sources of noise will be present. The video below gives a demonstration of utilizing two of the EXAIR model 1100 – 1/4″ FNPT Super Air Nozzle.

In the video you see a model 1100 being operated and producing a sound level of 74 dBA from 3′ away from the nozzle point.  When the second nozzle is turned on (also producing 74 dBA individually), the pressure is adjusted back up to the same input pressure and the sound level meter registers 78 dBA from 3′ away.  Following the math laid out in the “excellent blog” link above, the sound level calculated comes out to be the same 78 dBA that is shown in the video using EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter.

If you would like help determining the sound levels within your facility, check out the EXAIR Digital Sound Level Meter as well as reach out to an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Image of Ear auricle Listen by geraitCC0 Create Commons.

Customize Your Blowoff with Accessories for EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns

EXAIR offers a wide variety of different Safety Air Guns to allow you the flexibility to build the perfect air gun for any application. Installed with EXAIR’s engineered Air Nozzles at the tip, you can rest easy knowing that your operators are safe from the risks associated with excessive noise and dead-end pressure while also keeping air consumption to a minimum. With sizes as small as 4mm and up to 1-1/4” and everything in-between, the possibilities are nearly endless.

In addition to offering three styles of Safety Air Guns (VariBlast, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty), we also have a variety of accessories available that can customize them even further. Chip Shields are a durable polycarbonate shield used to protect the operator from any chips, savings, or coolant that could be blown back towards them while performing any blowoff process. They’re available installed on any of our VariBlast, Soft Grip, or Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns. If you purchased a Safety Air Gun, but didn’t get a Chip Shield, don’t worry! Retrofit kits are available as well to allow you to install them after the fact.

Chip Shields

For applications that don’t permit the operator to come close, rigid pipe extensions are available in lengths ranging from 6” (152mm) – 72” (1829mm). To add any extension onto a Safety Air Gun model number, simply add the length required as a suffix to the standard model number. For example, a Model 1210-48 would be a Soft Grip Safety Air Gun with a 48” extension installed.

extensions

Have a hard to reach area that requires a slight bend or angle to reach? Not only is the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun available with rigid extensions, but also can be used with one of our Stay Set Hoses. Stay Set Hoses are used for applications where frequent re-positioning is required. The hose has “memory” and will not creep or bend. If you need to get around a tight corner or into a difficult space, the Stay Set Hose can be installed on the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun with lengths ranging from 6”-36”.

1210-30SSH

In addition to accessories for the Safety Air Guns themselves, 12’ coiled hoses are also available with 1/8 NPT, ¼ NPT, and 3/8 NPT swivel connections. These are great for preventing tangled air lines and keeping the area neat and tidy!

Coiled Hose

With all of these options available for same day shipment from stock and backed by our unconditional 30 day guarantee, there’s no excuse not to try them out! Order now through September and receive a FREE Model 1126 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle!

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

Engineered Super Air Nozzles Improve Efficiency and Safety vs. Commercial and Homemade Nozzles

They may be inefficient, but they sure are loud…

Over the years, EXAIR has come across a variety of different types of blow-off devices.  We have seen copper tubes, pipes with a crushed end, fittings with holes drilled into them, and modular flex lines.  For compressed air use, these are very dangerous and very inefficient.  In many instances, companies will go through a mixed bag of items to make a blow-off device for their application.  It is inexpensive to do.  But what they do not realized is that these items are very unsafe and will waste your compressed air, costing you much money in the long run.

When EXAIR started to manufacture compressed air products in 1983, we created a culture in making high quality products that are safe, effective, and efficient.  Since we stand by our products, we created a program called the Efficiency Lab.  We test blow-off devices against EXAIR products in noise levels, flow usage, and force measurements.  With calibrated test equipment, we compare the data in a detailed report for the customer to review.  If we are less effective, we will state that in the report, but this is very rare.  With this quantified information, we can then determine the total amount of air savings and safety improvements that EXAIR products can offer.

With our Efficiency Lab, it is quite simple to do.  For starters, you can go to our Product Efficiency Survey on our website to give the conditions for testing.  If you wish for a side by side analysis, you can place your pneumatic device in a box and send it to EXAIR.  We will run the tests at the specified conditions or in a range of settings.  We will then return your pneumatic device back to you with a report of the comparison.  This report can be used to show managers, executives, HSE, etc. on the improvements that EXAIR can provide in cost savings and safety.

In a recent Efficiency Lab, a customer sent us a water jet nozzle that he was using to blow off product passing on a conveyor (reference photo above).  The customer supplied us with the required information to test.  They had three water jet nozzles on a manifold that had ¼” NPT male connections.  The air pressure was set at 75 PSIG (5.2 bar), and the air pattern was round.  Their annual usage for this blow-off device was 7000 hours continuous, and their electric rate for their facility was $0.10/KWh.  The reason that they sent their nozzle to EXAIR was because the operation was very loud, and they believed that they were wasting compressed air.  They asked me for a recommendation and what the payback period might be with my selection.

Model 1101

I recommended the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle as our standard round pattern with a ¼” NPT male connection.  With our engineered design, the Super Air Nozzle can entrain the “free” ambient air into the air stream to generate a hard-hitting force; using less compressed air.  Also, with this suggestion, they will not have to redesign their blow-off station; just remove the water jet nozzles and replace them with the Super Air Nozzles.  We tested the water jet nozzle, and we found that it used 17.5 SCFM (496 SLPM) at 75 PSIG (5.2 bar).  The noise level was measured at 91.2 dBA for a single nozzle.  As a comparison, the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle will only use 13.3 SCFM (376 SLPM) of compressed air at 75 PSIG (5.2 bar); and, the noise level was reduced to 73 dBA for each nozzle.

The first thing that is important to me is safety.  High noise levels will cause hearing damage.  OSHA generated a standard 29CFR-1910.95a with a chart for Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure.  To calculate the noise level for three nozzles, I will reference a previous blog that I wrote: “Measuring and Adding Sounds”.  With three water jet nozzles, the total sound is 96 dBA.  From the OSHA table above, the usage without hearing protection is less than 4 hours a day.  With the Super Air Nozzles, the noise level will be 78 dBA for all three nozzles; well below the requirement for 8 hours of exposure.  It is difficult to put a monetary value on safety, but using PPE should never be the first step as a solution.

For the annual savings and the payback period, I will only look at the electrical cost.  (Since the Super Air Nozzle is using less compressed air, the maintenance and wear on your air compressor is reduced as well).

The air savings is calculated from the comparison; 17.5 SCFM – 13.3 SCFM = 4.2 SCFM per nozzle.  With three nozzles, the total compressed air savings will be 12.6 SCFM for the blow-off station.  An air compressor can produce 5.36 SCFM/KW of electricity at a cost of $0.10/KWh.  For an annual savings, we have the figures from the information above; 7000 hours/year * 12.6 SCFM * $0.10/KWh * 1KW/5.36 SCFM = $1,645.52/year.  For the payback period, the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle has a catalog price of $44.00 each, or $132.00 for three.  The customer above did not disclose the cost of the water jet nozzles, but even at a zero value, the payback period will be just under 1 month.  Wow!

Not all blow off devices are the same.  With the customer above, they were able to reduce their noise levels and compressed air consumption.  If your company decides to select an unconventional way to blow off parts without contacting EXAIR, there can be many hidden pitfalls; especially with safety.  Besides, if you can save your company thousands of dollars per year as well, why go with a non-standard nozzle?  If you have a blow off application and would like to compare it against an EXAIR product, you can discuss the details with an Application Engineer.  What do you have to lose?

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Safety Air Gun Promotion: Now Through September 30th!

August 1st through September 30th EXAIR is running a promotion that’ll get you a free 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle with the purchase of any promotional VariBlast, Soft Grip, or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun. Inexpensive air guns are commonly seen through a variety of industrial supply companies. Most consist of poorly made parts or materials that will wear out and break quickly. In addition, their performance is commonly akin to that of an open-ended pipe and can necessitate an extremely high compressed air consumption.

In addition to wasting unnecessary air, they’re also VERY loud. Many of these guns do not adhere to the sound level restrictions set forth by OSHA in 29 CFR 1910.95. All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns are available with Chip Shields to protect operators from debris and adhere to dead-end pressure requirements as outlined by OSHA 29 CFR 1910.242(b). It’s much easier to implement safe products upfront than after you’ve had a random inspection by OSHA. As anyone who’s experienced one can attest to, they don’t just fine you once. You’ll get fined for each individual location in your facility where operators are using air guns that don’t adhere to the proper standards.

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EXAIR offers (4) different styles of Safety Air Guns with a wide range of different force levels, flows, and accessories. The VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun is a powerful gun that allows you to adjust the force delivered from the gun depending on the trigger valve pressure. Pull the trigger just a little for a light force, or all the way for maximum force without having to adjust your air pressure. It’s small and compact, but powerful while still light and ergonomic. blog_SGSAG_500x

The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun has a durable cast aluminum body suitable for rugged industrial use. The large trigger makes for easy operation and a convenient hook at the top allows the gun to be easily stored. Chip Shields for worker safety and extensions for hard to reach areas are available up to 72” long.

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The Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun also comes with a durable cast aluminum body and incorporates a rugged composite rubber grip. Also with a wide trigger, these guns can be used for hours without fatigue. The Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun is available with Chip Shields and extensions up to 72”.

As part of the promotion, you’ll receive one free Model 1126 1” Flat Super Air Nozzles. Delivering a 1” wide, high velocity airflow, these nozzles utilize EXAIR’s patented shim design to maximize entrained airflow while reducing noise levels. They also offer a great deal of adjustability, shim sets in varying thicknesses are available to allow you to either reduce force and flow, or increase it depending on the application. Don’t wait until after the promotion ends, get your Safety Air Guns on order now so you can take advantage of this great promotion!

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