Engineered Air Nozzles Reduce Noise Levels and Outlet Pressure, Meeting OSHA Requirements

“My operators are complaining that our air guns are too loud, how can you help me?” – is a very common inquiry we receive here at EXAIR on almost a daily basis. Many open end blowoffs or air guns fitted with nozzles that have cross drilled relief holes create high pitch wind shear, resulting in excessive noise levels, sometimes exceeding 100+ dBA. This not only is a safety concern but also an OSHA violation.

Variety of Air Nozzles that produce dangerously loud noise levels

Loud noises and the length of exposure time can lead to significant health concerns such as long term hearing loss, increased stress levels and potential injury due to lack of concentration. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) as a way to protect workers from job related injuries associated to potentially dangerous sound levels. Per the Standard, at 90 dBA an operator is limited to a maximum of 8 hours of constant exposure. As noise levels increase, the allowable exposure time decreases, in some cases slowing production, costing a company on their bottom line.

 

EXAIR’s Air Nozzles are engineered so they entrain surrounding air across the profile of the nozzle, which produces a smoother airflow, ultimately reducing wind shear, resulting in much lower sound levels, meeting the OSHA Standard.

Illustration showing the air travel of our Super Air Nozzles

 

In addition, our Air Nozzles also meet the OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) for 30 PSI dead end pressure. All of our engineered Air Nozzles provide a relief or a safe path for the air to exit if the nozzle were to be blocked or pressed against an operator’s body so the exiting air pressure will never reach 30 PSIG.

All of EXAIR’s Air Nozzles are available with standard NPT threads to easily adapt to existing air guns. We also off our full line of Safety Air Guns which are fitted with our engineered nozzles, providing an “off-the-shelf” OSHA compliant solution. For help selecting the best product to replace your existing device or if you have a new application you would like to discuss, give us a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

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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EXAIR 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles – Little Things That Make a Big Difference

EXAIR 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle vs. other nozzles

I recently purchased a dart board to hang on the wall in my basement.  The dart board had a nice wood case with doors.  It also had some beautiful woodwork engraved along the outside edges.  When it arrived, I was so excited I decided to put it on the wall right then.  The wood case had four predefined holes that were 16” apart (to fit onto studs).  I got my tape measure, determined the correct height, and marked the points onto the studs.  As I ran the screw into the wall, I was about halfway into the stud, and the head of the screw broke.  That is correct!!!  It twisted right off the shank.  I was not happy.  I spent good money on a very nice dart board, and the screws were low quality and not tempered correctly.  The screws are only a fraction of the cost of the dart board, but they created a huge headache.  Now, I had to get the screw out and find new better quality screws to continue the process.

As an International Application Engineer for EXAIR, I have been to many facilities throughout the world with large automation systems inside their manufacturing plants.  I always wondered how much money was needed for the capital purchase to get a system created, assembled, and operational.  On many occasions when the customers brought me to their problem areas, I would see the flat plastic “duck-foot” nozzles.  They would be broken, ineffective, and loud.  They were looking for a recommendation to replace these plastic nozzles.  I know that their automation system cost much more than my dart board; but, I can relate to their headaches.

When you have an automated system that costs thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, the last thing you want is for nozzles that cost pennies compared to the full system to cause you headaches and problems.  EXAIR has effectively addressed this issue with the model 1122/1122SS 2” Flat Super Air Nozzles.  They are made either from zinc aluminum or stainless steel, not plastic.  This makes them very strong and durable.  With its unique design, they utilize shims which can be easily changed for different force requirements.  For stronger blowing applications, EXAIR also offers this same design in a high power version, model HP1125/HP1125SS.

This makes the 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle very versatile as you can purchase shim sets with different thickness in your kit.  Now you have more flexibility to “dial” in the correct performance for your application.  Another feature is the ability to draw in large amounts of ambient air to make them very quiet and efficient.  So, it will actually save you money by using less compressed air.  The sound level is only 77 dBA for the model 1122/1122SS, so it is not a noise nuisance.  They are OSHA compliant with noise level, 29CFR1910.95a, and  for dead-end pressure, 20CFR1910.242b.

Since the plastic nozzles break easily, they become very loud and unsafe for workers as they will not meet the OSHA standard.  If you need a durable, versatile, efficient, OSHA safe type of nozzle that will last a long time, the 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle is an easy choice over the plastic types of nozzles.  If you need help with mounting or positioning the nozzles, we have a line of accessories that can help.  We offer the Stay Set Hose, Magnetic Base, and Swivel Fittings to make it easy to mount and direct the nozzle for optimum performance.

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

If you have an automated system that is being contracted or if you are a machine builder, you will want to consider the EXAIR brand for your blow-off, cooling, and coating applications. With the overall cost of the system, you would not want to use poor quality plastic nozzles to save a couple of dollars.  In the long run, it will actually cost you more with loss of production, very loud noises, and an unsafe work environment.  I may have only broken one screw in hanging a dart board due to poor quality, but I can also relate to the unhappy feeling you get when your system is not performing because of low quality nozzles.   If you would like to try out the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles against a plastic nozzle, you can request an Application Engineer to help.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Replacing Unsafe Open Pipes with High Pressure Air Nozzles

Open pipes present unsafe working conditions and continuous pressure drops in compressed air systems

Let’s talk for a minute about pressure drops. Normally when the topic of pressure drops is raised, it comes in a context related to proper plumbing and volume supply.  (If there are significant pressure drops within a compressed air system, especially those which reduce volume flow, problems will arise with compressed air driven devices.)

But, there is another important aspect of pressure drops which relates to open pipe blow-off, a common homemade remedy for blow-off applications. This aspect has to do with the available compressed air pressure at the exhausting point from the pipe or nozzle.  In the case of an open pipe, it requires so much compressed air volume that, there can be a continuous pressure drop from the compressor to the open pipe.  However, when a nozzle is installed onto a compressed air pipe, there is a restriction to the flow and the entire pressure drop takes place across the nozzle.

What this means for the blow-off solution is a higher velocity blow-off and a more powerful force from the airflow, with less compressed air consumption.

To think of it another way, imagine the flow of water from your garden hose. If the hose is open-ended and the water is fully on, the flow will be high and the force will be low.  But, when you install a nozzle onto the end of the hose the flow reduces and the force increases.  This is because the pressure drop in the system is taking place across the nozzle rather than the entire system.

This type of a scenario was taking place in the image shown at the top of this blog. The plastic lines connected to the aluminum manifold were fully open on the end, providing a continuous pressure drop and poor blow-off performance.  This, coupled with the maximum operating pressure of similar types of hose being 35 PSI, led to a poor performance in this application.

The solution for this customer was to replace these open pipe blow-offs with EXAIR model 1126 Flat Super Air Nozzles and 12″ Stay Set Hoses, model 9262. The flat airflow of the 1126 Super Air Nozzles provide a highly efficient and forceful blow-off, and the Stay Set Hoses allow for articulation of the nozzles into any position needed.

By replacing these open pipes this customer saved compressed air, added safety (open pipes present an operating hazard per OSHA Standard CFR 1910.242(b)), and improved the performance of their operation.

If you have a similar application or would like to speak with someone about increasing the efficiency of your compressed air applications, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Drying and Cleaning Tubes Using The Standard Air Wipe

A tubing manufacturer called looking for a better way to dry their 3″ (O.D.) tubes after a rinse application. In their current setup, the tubes are being cut by a band saw, which uses flood coolant to keep the blade cool and evacuate chips. After the tubes are cut, they are then bundled together and dipped into a rinse tank to remove the cutting fluid and any machining debris on the surfaces. The tubes are then fed, one by one, through a series of blower driven air knives placed around the outside  of the tubing to dry and clean them before a painting and bar code process. The air knives were working somewhat, but they were seeing some residual streaking on the surface of the tubes that needed to be manually cleaned by hand, slowing down the process.

Example of a typical band saw used for cutting metals and other rigid material.

I recommended the customer use our 4″ Standard Air Wipe in their application. EXAIR Air Wipes provide a 360° uniform, high velocity airflow that adheres to the outside surface, as it passes through the throat of the device. Here is a short video we made showing the cleaning power of our Standard Air Wipes.

The Standard Air Wipe is available in stock sizes from 1/2″ up to 11″. The aluminum construction and PVC hose (included on sizes up to 4″) is suitable for most “general” industrial environments with ambient temperatures reaching as high as 150°F. We also offer Stainless Steel Super Air Wipes, which have the same performance as the Standard, for processes requiring superior corrosion resistance and/or where higher temperatures are possible, up to 800°F.

Super (left) and Standard (right) Air Wipes – ideal for drying, cleaning or cooling round shapes like tubing, hose, pipes, etc.

For help selecting the best product to fit your particular need, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

FMB FMB Titan Bandsaw Gravity Feed image courtesy of Kitmondo Marketplace via Creative Commons license.

Proper Plumbing Means Proper Performance

36″ Aluminum Super Air Knife being used in a monofilament extrusion line

An EXAIR customer recently contacted me about the application shown above, using an aluminum Super Air Knife model 110036 as a component to a blow off application in a monofilament extrusion line.  The extrusions from this line are used in one of the end user’s main product lines, a personal health device used by over a billion people around the world.

The original problem of drying the extrusions can certainly be solved with the setup shown, but the output force from the knife was less than what the customer expected, and below the EXAIR published data.  We take great care in the collection and verification of our performance data, so this prompted a deeper dive into the application to determine what could be the cause.

Immediately upon seeing the application photos, there were two things which stood out.  The first was the angle of attack of the knife, and the second was the compressed air plumbing.  The angle of attack in the original setup was ~90°, nearly perpendicular to the extrusions passing through the airstream from the knife.  EXAIR always recommends an angle of attack of ~45° to increase time in contact between the airstream from the knife and the materials passing through the airstream.  Although a small adjustment, this angle significantly contributes to overall blow off performance.

5mm ID x 8mm OD tubing used to supply compressed air to the knife

But, the real issue with this application was in the compressed air supply.  The tubing for this knife was shown as having a 5mm ID and an 8mm OD, which will allow a compressed air flow of ~40 SCFM at 80 PSIG, maximum, without consideration to pipe length from the compressor.  The 36” aluminum Super Air Knife will require 104.4 SCFM at 80 PSIG operating pressure.  So, it was clear that there was a significant plumbing problem, leading to the reduced performance from the knife.

In order to prove this out, we first had to take a pressure reading directly at the knife.  When this was done, the operating pressure dropped from ~85 PSIG at the main header to less than 20 PSIG at the knife.  By taking this pressure reading directly at the knife we were able to gain valuable information as to the true operating pressure of the knife, which was far below what the customer expected, but which made perfect sense given the performance output.

The remedy in this case was to increase the size of the supply line to at least 15mm ID (approximately equivalent to a ½” schedule 40 line), and preferably to something in the range of 19-20mm (~a ¾” schedule 40 line).  Once this was done the knife operated flawlessly, and after adjusting the angle of attack this application was optimized for the best possible results.

Being able to find the source of the problem for this application was a great service to the customer.  Our engineers are well-versed in compressed air system requirements, and we’re available for help in your application if needed.  If you’d like to contact an EXAIR Application Engineer we can be reached by email, phone (1-800-903-9247), or Twitter.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Getting A Little More Vacuum and Flow

Last week, a customer called and indicated that he was a long time user of the model 6013 High Velocity Air Jet.

6013

Model 6013 High Velocity Air Jet

The customer was using the Air Jet to remove light trim scrap from a manufacturing process. The Air Jets utilize the Coanda effect (wall attachment of a high velocity fluid) to produce air motion in their surroundings.  A small amount of compressed air to the Air Jet is throttled through an internal ring nozzle at speeds above sonic velocity.  In the above image, this produces a vacuum at the left side, pulling in large volumes of surrounding air. By utilizing this vacuum pull and ducting the right side exhaust, air and scrap stream to a collection area. The customer assembled a small, efficient, and inexpensive scrap removal system.

The reason the customer had called in was there were some recent changes to the manufacturing process and needed a bit more vacuum force and flow to handle larger scrap and longer travel. We explored using a larger shim, but they were already using the largest size (0.015″.) We talked about the other products that EXAIR offers (Air Amplifiers, Line Vacs) that are used for scrap removal and conveyance.  But with any change, there are usually other modifications and approvals that must be dealt with in order to proceed. So we hit upon the Adjustable Air Jet, which is an adjustable version of the model 6013.

6019

Model 6019 Adjustable Air Jet

The model 6019 Adjustable Air Jet utilizes an adjustable air gap in place of the fixed shim thickness.  This allows for greater air flow, which results in greater vacuum and conveyance distances. As is the case for many customers, we gathered some additional data to help this customer make a decision. We set up each of the units and tested them at maximum capabilities, and the model 6019 was shown to deliver upwards of 50% greater flow.  The customer felt certain this level of performance would handle what the changed process would require, and best of all, no modifications to any part of the set-up would be required, simply install the 6019 where the 6013 was currently placed.

The High Velocity Air Jet is also part of the model 1909 Blowoff Kit, and is also used in the model 8193 Ion Air Gun and model 8194 Ion Air Jet, for Static Elimination applications. Of course, each can be purchased as an individual item.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can make your process better, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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