When Efficiency And Practicality Collide

Even if you’re a casual reader of our blogs, you already know that EXAIR Application Engineers LOVE to preach efficiency in the use of compressed air…it’s our “bread and butter;” the very nature of our business. This year, we’re celebrating thirty-five years of leading the way in the development of efficient, safe, and quiet compressed air products. Our track record of success as a solutions provider across a diverse range of industrial and commercial applications is well documented in our blogs, as well as Knowledge Base and Case Study Libraries.  We devote considerable resources (engineering, research & development, product testing, etc.) to making certain that EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products cost less to operate, and perform better, than whatever you’re using right now.

Strange as it may seem, though, sometimes our products are EXTREMELY popular in cases where they INCREASE a facility’s consumption of compressed air…by replacing something that DOESN’T use compressed air at all:

*I’ve written before about how our Large Maximum Cold Temperature Vortex Tubes have replaced liquid nitrogen rigs in freeze sealing operations.  Now, a Vortex Tube directs a portion of its air supply to (usually) unusable hot exhaust, in order to generate the usable flow of cold air.  When compared to the costs of liquid nitrogen and the resources involved to get it where it needs to be, though, the cost of the compressed air needed to operate the Vortex Tube is indeed the practical solution.

A 1/4 ton of refrigeration from a product that fits in the palm of your hand, and all you need is a supply or compressed air!

*Line Vacs are probably THE prime example of the value of using compressed air where it wasn’t used before…replacing a “bucket and ladder” operation:

Straight from our Catalog, a perfect example of using valuable compressed air to save even more valuable resources.

*Then there are the situations that just come down to time.  In large spaces, our Super Blast Safety Air Guns can be used to “sweep” the floor in a fraction of the time it takes an operator with a push broom.

Super Blast Safety Air Gun makes short work of large area cleanup.

To make a long story just a little bit longer…if you’re using compressed air, you can use it better with EXAIR’s engineered compressed air products.  And there are plenty of practical applications where you’re not using compressed air right now too.  If you’d like to find out more about either one, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Return on Investment: A Calculation to Support Using EXAIR Products

EXAIR Products

Return on Investment, or ROI, is the ratio of profit over total investment.  Many people use it to evaluate stocks, financial markets, capital equipment, etc.  It is a quantitative way in determining the validity of an investment or project.   Recently, there has been a big push by power companies for energy efficiency within the manufacturing sectors.  EXAIR, in partnership with Energy Star, has been manufacturing safe and efficient products since 1983.  An ROI will give a measurable value to communicate more thoroughly with your financial decision-makers.

Equation 1:  ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Project Cost * 100

In an earlier blog, I wrote about a project with a company in calculating compressed air savings; “EXAIR Super Air Nozzles: 38 Day ROI Saves Money”.  In this blog, I determined the total compressed air savings and the payback period by switching to EXAIR Super Air Nozzles.  The payback period is the amount of time it will take for the project to pay for itself; and for the above manufacturer, it was calculated at 38 days.  To associate this to a Return on Investment, I will use that information from the blog to calculate the ROI.  Equation 1 shows that for any positive ROI value means that the payback period is less than one year.  The larger the ROI value, the quicker the investment that you made will start earning money for your company.

The first part of the equation, Total Annual Savings, is calculated by amount of compressed air savings when using EXAIR Super Air Nozzles in a blow-off application.  When this customer switched from copper tubes, which uses an excessive amount of compressed air, to the model 1110SS Super Air Nozzles, the compressed air consumption dropped by 80%.  Compressed air is considered a fourth utility in manufacturing plants because the amount of electricity to make compressed air is very large.  At a rate of $0.08/KWh, each Super Air Nozzle saved this company $306.00 per year.  As described in the blog, the facility used four nozzles per machine, and they had 25 machines in their facility.  The total annual savings is calculated as follows:

Equation 2: Total Annual Savings = $306 * 4 * 25 = $30,600 per year.

The second part of the equation, Total Project Cost, is the cost of the nozzles plus the labor to install them onto the machines.  The model 1110SS Super Air Nozzle has a price of $46.00 each.  These engineered nozzles are designed to use less compressed air by entraining the “free” ambient air, making them very efficient for blow-off applications.  The amount of time required to install four nozzles to each machine was 1 hour.  This time included tapping, fixturing, and testing each setup.  The labor rate that I will use in this example is $75.00 per hour (you can modify this to your current labor rate).  The labor cost to install four nozzles is $75.00 per machine.   The Total Project Cost can be calculated as follows:

Equation 3: Total Project Cost = ($46 * 100 nozzles) + ($75 * 25 machines) = $6,475

With the Total Annual Cost and the Project Cost known, we can insert these values into Equation 1 to calculate the ROI:

ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Project Cost * 100

ROI = ($30,600 – $6,475)/$6,475 * 100

ROI = 373%

When a decision maker sees this large of a value for a Return on Investment, it makes it very easy to proceed with an energy-saving project to install EXAIR Super Air Nozzles on their machines.

Besides cost savings, there are some additional things that EXAIR products can provide.  It may be difficult to put a value on the savings, but these products can improve your process and save your company money.  First, they can reduce repair or replacement costs on maintenance items for the air compressors.  If you use less compressed air, then the running hours of the compressor is reduced.  Second, some things that can be easily overlooked is safety.  The Intelligent Compressed Air® products have a much lower sound level where expensive PPEs may not be required.  Another safety feature is dead-end pressure in which the operator could risk health in using open pipe or substandard nozzles.  Some other enhancements in using EXAIR products are improved system reliability, increased productivity, and reduced unscheduled downtimes (typically seen with broken plastic nozzles).  These added benefits plus the short ROI can validate a energy-savings project in your facility.

Power companies see the great value in using efficient engineered products in compressed air systems as they currently offer rebates.  If you need help to see if your local power company does offer rebates, EXAIR can research the programs for you.  The rebates will reduce the cost of each nozzle as well as cut the overall project cost.  EXAIR also offers an Efficiency Lab.  We will compare your current blowing device with an EXAIR product to find any compressed air savings.  It is simple to do.  Just fill out the form, Efficiency Lab, and ship your product to us.  We will test each product with calibrated equipment and report the results.  The comprehensive report will include compressed air savings which can be used for the ROI calculations above.  For the company above, they were able to save $30,600 a year with a ROI at 373%.  If you would like to team up with EXAIR to establish annual savings, project improvements, and rebates, you can contact an Application Engineer to get started.  We will be happy to work with you.

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

1″ And 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles Overview

In most “general” blowoff applications, the conical airflow pattern from a standard round shaped nozzle is ideal when trying to remove dust or light debris from the surface of a part or material. However in certain applications, a focused, laminar flow of air is required to produce the desired result, such as cleaning peanut butter from a fill nozzle or ejecting parts in a stamping operation.

EXAIR manufactures our 1″ Flat and 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles, which provide a 1″ and 2″ (respectively) wide, forceful stream of high velocity, laminar airflow while consuming only a small amount of compressed air. Both the 1″ and the 2″ are available in Zinc Aluminum alloy, rated up to 250°F (121°C), or 316 Stainless Steel construction, rated up to 1,000°F (538°C)

1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle
2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

Their unique design incorporates a specially designed, replaceable shim, to maintain a critical gap between the cap and body, resulting in the focused airflow. They are shipped from stock with a .015″ shim installed.

Using the optional shim kit, the shims can be changed out to .005”, .010” or .020”, which allow you to increase or decrease the force and flow by either opening or closing the gap, providing more or less force and flow to meet the demand of the application.

(Here’s a short video showing how easy it is to change out the shims)

We also offer our High Power versions of these nozzles which feature a thicker shim installed (0.025″) for applications requiring higher thrust and velocity.

If you have an application you would like to discuss or to see how the Flat Super Air Nozzles might improve your process, give me a call, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer


Absolute Pressure Ratio

This model 1101 Super Air Nozzle requires 14 SCFM @ 80 PSIG. How much air will it consume at 60 PSIG?

Compressed air driven devices are always given a specification for the compressed air flow at a certain pressure.  For example, an EXAIR model 1101 Super Air Nozzle has a specified flow of 14 SCFM at 80 PSIG.  This means that when this nozzle is operated at 80 PSIG, it will require 14 SCFM of compressed air flow.  But what if the force from the nozzle is too high when operated at 80 PSIG and a lower operating pressure is needed?

Thankfully, we can calculate the compressed air flow at a different pressure using the absolute pressure ratio.  The absolute pressure ratio says that for any given change in absolute operating pressure, there will be a proportional change in the air consumption of a device.  So, what is an absolute pressure?

Put simply, an absolute pressure is the value which you would measure on pressure gauge plus the atmospheric pressure (PSIA, or Pounds per Square Inch Atmospheric).  So, our 80 PSIG operating pressure mentioned above is an absolute pressure of 94.5 PSI (80PSIG + 14.5 PSIA).  Similarly, if we wanted to determine the compressed air flow at an operating pressure of 60 PSIG, our absolute pressure would be 74.5 PSI (60 PSIG + 14.5 PSIA).

The absolute pressure ratio is a ratio of the new absolute operating pressure (new PSIG + PSIA) compared to the known absolute operating pressure (known PSIG + PSIA).  For example, when comparing an operating pressure of 60 PSIG to an operating pressure of 80 PSIG, we will end up with the following ratio:

This means that our absolute pressure ratio in this case is 0.7884.  To determine the compressed air flow for the model 1101 Super Air Nozzle at 60 PSIG, we will take this ratio value and multiply it by the known flow value at 80 PSIG.  This will yield the following:

Utilizing this formula allows us to truly compare a compressed air powered device at different operating pressures.  If we did not use the absolute pressures when comparing compressed air devices at differing pressures, our values would be erroneously low, which could yield to improper compressed air system planning and performance.  And, using the absolute pressure ratio allows anyone to make a true comparison of compressed air device performance.  If specifications are given at different pressures, performance data can be misleading.  But, by using the absolute pressure ratio we can make a more exact evaluation of device operation.

If you have a question about your compressed air device and/or how a change in pressure will impact compressed air flow, contact our Application Engineers.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

No Drip Atomizing Spray Nozzles Improve Pizza Crusts

I like some better than others, but I don’t believe I’ve ever had bad pizza. That’s why I was pretty excited when I got to talk to a caller from a popular pre-packaged pizza crust maker. When these crusts leave their oven, they spray a coating of seasoned oil on them. This not only flavors, but preserves the quality from the time they make & package them to the time I celebrate life with a tasty slice, right out of my oven.

They were using inexpensive liquid-only nozzles that led to an inconsistent application of the oil…sometimes too much; other times, too little. And, it was always spraying, even in between the individual crusts as they came down the conveyor, leading to wasted oil that had to be cleaned up later.

They were already familiar with our Super Air Nozzles, as they had several Model HP1125SS 2″ High Power Flat Super Air Nozzles in use for blowing off the packages prior to labeling, so the caller asked if we might have a solution for the oil too.

We did.

After considering the size of the crust and the distance at which they needed to install the nozzle, they decided to try a Model AF2010SS Internal Mix Flat Fan Pattern No-Drip Atomizing Spray Nozzle. This applies a consistent and even coating of oil, and, by feeding a signal from the oven controls into a solenoid valve in the compressed air supply line, they’ve eliminated the excess spray, leading to savings in material cost and cleanup time.

EXAIR No Drip Atomizing Spray Nozzles…controllable, fine mist on demand, with no mess.

If you’d like to know more about how EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles can save you time, mess, and liquid, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Compressed Air Nozzles – Engineered vs. Commercial vs. Homemade

In the world of compressed air blow off solutions, there are a number of options which customers must consider.  Should the plant maintenance personnel configure something on-site?  Is there a low-cost option available from a catalog warehouse?  Or, is there an engineered solution available – and if there is, what does this even mean?

Blowoff comparison

Ultimately, the exercise in comparing these options will help select the option best for the application and best for the company.  In order to make these comparisons, we will consider each option based on the following attributes:  Force, sound level, safety, efficiency, repeatability, and cost.  These are the factors which impact the ability to perform as needed in the application, and effect the bottom line of the company


How much force do you need in your application?

Blow off applications require a certain amount of force in order to perform the desired task.  If the blow off is in a bottling line, for example, we will aim for a lesser force than if blowing off an engine block.  But, no matter the application need, we will want to consider the ability of the solution to provide a high force, high impact blow off.  Homemade and commercially mass-produced nozzles produce low-to-mid level forces, which translates to a need for more compressed air to complete a task.  Engineered nozzles produce high forces, minimizing compressed air use.

Sound level

Have you ever been to a concert and felt your hearing reduced when you left?  This can be the case for personnel in industrial environments with unregulated noise levels.  Homemade or non-engineered blow off solutions carry the risk of increased sound levels which are outside of the acceptable noise level limits.  EXAIR engineered nozzles, however, are designed to minimize sound level for quiet operation and continual use.


All EXAIR products meet or exceed OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b)

Workplace safety is a serious matter for everyone from shop floor personnel to executive management.  Whether you’re working with or near a compressed air operated device, or your making decisions for your company which have to do with the compressed air system, safety is undoubtedly a priority.  Unfortunately, homemade and commercially available nozzles normally fail to meet OSHA standards for dead-end pressure requirements (OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b)).  This means that these solutions can pose a risk of forcing compressed air through the skin, resulting in an embolism which can cause severe harm or even death.

EXAIR nozzles, however, are designed to NEVER exceed dead-end pressure limits and to provide an escape path for airflow in the even the nozzle is blocked.  This safety aspect is inherent in ALL EXAIR designs, thereby adding safety to an application when an EXAIR product is installed.


EXAIR Super Air Nozzle entrainment

Compressed air is the most expensive utility in any facility.  Energy enters as an electrical source and is converted into compressed air through a compressor where up to 2/3 of this energy is lost as heat.  The resulting 1/3 of converted energy is then piped throughout a facility as compressed air, where up to 1/3 of the air is lost to leaks.  With this in mind, maximizing the efficiency of a nozzle solution becomes imperative.  A homemade solution or commercial nozzle does not maximize the use of the compressed air.  The result is a need to increase flow or increase pressure, both of which result in higher energy costs.

EXAIR nozzles are designed for maximum force per CFM.  This means that any of our nozzles will produce the highest force at the lowest possible compressed air consumption.  This, in turn, reduces demand on the compressed air system and allows for a lower energy requirement.  Less energy demand means less energy costs, which goes straight to the bottom line of your company.


The EXAIR family of nozzles

When installing a nozzle solution, it is important to have the same force and flow from each unit.  If a solution needs to be replicated, balanced, or adjusted in any way, having various forces and flows from a homemade setup will induce difficulty and could make changes impossible.  Line speed or volume increases may not be possible due to variance in the output flow and forces from homemade setups, but an engineered solution will produce the same output every time.  This means you can adjust the nozzles as needed to achieve the perfect solution in your application.


For many customers and businesses, the most important aspect of any solution comes down to cost.  Will the solution work?  And, how much does it cost?  When it comes to a homemade or commercial blow off solution, it may or may not work, and it will have a low purchase cost.  But, the purchase price isn’t the whole story when working with compressed air.  The real cost of an item is in the operation and use.  So, while a homemade solution will be cheap to make and install, it will be EXPOENTIALLY more expensive to operate when compared to an engineered solution.  An excellent example is shown above.  An open copper tube is compared to an EXAIR model 1102 Mini Super Air Nozzle.  The copper tube cost only a few dollars to install, many times less than the EXAIR nozzle, but it costs almost two THOUSAND dollars more to operate in a year.  Translation:  Install a cheap blow off solution and pay for it in utility costs.

EXAIR nozzles and blow off solutions are engineered for maximum force, lowest possible noise level, OSHA safety compliance, maximum efficiency, and maximum repeatability.  These factors allow for options which not only solve application problems, but also do so with the lowest total cost possible.  If you have an application in need of a blow off solution, feel free to contact our Application Engineers.  We’ll be happy to help.  And, if your curious about the benefit of our products in your application, consider our Efficiency Lab.  We will test your existing setup next to our recommended EXAIR solution and provide the impact to your bottom line.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

EXAIR Air Jets: Overview

Air Jet Family

EXAIR manufactures a variety of Air Nozzles and Jets to safely, efficiently and effectively blow compressed air. There are many different styles that can best fit specific applications. In this blog, I am going to discuss the EXAIR Air Jets. They are designed to entrain a high volume of ambient air to give a moderate blowing force. Similar to the Air Amplifiers, these miniature devices use very little compressed air to achieve an effective blowing for removing debris, drying parts, or cooling hot products. EXAIR manufactures two different styles, the High Velocity Air Jet and the Adjustable Air Jet.

The Air Jets use a Coanda profile for blowing. The Coanda effect was named after a Romanian aerodynamic pioneer, Henri Coanda who discovered a fluid flow phenomenon. He stated that “a jet of fluid emerging from an orifice to follow an adjacent flat or curved surface and to entrain fluid from the surroundings so that a region of lower pressure develops” (1). Since air is a fluid, it will react in the same manner. The EXAIR Air Jets create a high velocity air stream along an engineered profile. So, as the air “hugs” the profile, a low pressure is created which will draw in ambient air. The unique design of the Air Jet utilizes a ring jet of compressed air to produce that low pressure at the entrance, entraining the surrounding ambient air. This makes the Air Jet very efficient as it utilizes more ambient air than compressed air.

Depending on the environment or application, the Air Jets come in two types of material; brass and stainless steel. The High Velocity Air Jets use a shim to set a gap. The gap can be changed by installing a different thickness of shim to increase or decrease the blowing intensity. These shims in conjunction with a regulator gives versatility for a wide range of applications. If the desired blowing force needs to be changed for different types of products or flexibility is required “on the fly”, the Adjustable Air Jet would be recommended. It has a micrometer gap indicator to set the desired result. By twisting the plug of the Adjustable Air Jet, you can get output flows from a gentle breeze to a blast. What makes both Air Jets unique is the design. They meet the OSHA standard for noise level and dead-end pressure. If you block the output of the Air Jets, the pressure will not exceed the OSHA safety requirement for dead-end pressure. Also, the inlet and/or outlet can both be ducted for remote positioning.

Model 6013 High Velocity Air Jets help dry an engine casting

Our accessories can make the Air Jets easier to use.   We have Stay Set Hoses for easy connections and maneuverability. The Stay Set Hoses come in a variety of lengths from 6” (152mm) to 36” (915mm) and once you set the position, the Stay Set Hose will keep the Air Jet stationary even during blowing. You can add a Magnetic Base with the Stay Set Hose and Air Jet to mount the blowing unit right to a metal fixture. It has a 100 lb. (45.5Kg) pulling force to keep the Air Jet from moving until you need to move it. The bases come with a ¼ turn shut-off valve and in a single or dual output configuration. In addition to the above accessories, we also offer a model 9040 Foot Pedal valve for operator control of the duration of blowing with their foot, allowing the use both of their hands.

With the cost to make the compressed air utility being so high, it is important to use it as efficiently as possible. The High Velocity Air Jet and Adjustable Air Jet have the ability to give you effective blowing for removing debris, drying parts, or cooling objects without using a large amount of compressed air. With the accessory items included, you can set up an improved blowing station that will be effective, quiet, and efficient for your operators. The Air Jets are flexible and adaptable to be used in numerous types of blowing applications. If you have any questions about the Air Jets or if you would like to discuss any applications, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.

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


(1) Note: Coanda effect by Wikipedia.org