I had the pleasure, recently, of talking with a customer at a paper good manufacturing facility who needed an air gun with a LOT of force for some applications, a little less for others, and was hoping to find one device that gave the operator control over it. They were using a piece of 1/2″ pipe on the end of a ball valve. The operators were trying (and mostly failing) to get precise control by throttling that valve. When they needed a LOT of force, it was no problem – just open the valve all the way. Unfortunately, though, ball valves aren’t known for being precision throttling devices, so most of the “little less” force jobs were getting too much force (and making a bigger mess) or not enough (leaving the existing mess) around the machinery.
Nozzle Guard – there was a great potential for the tip to get banged up from incidental contact with the machinery. The rugged Nozzle Guard protects not only the Air Nozzle, but the equipment as well, as the Zinc Aluminum Super Air Nozzle could have left scratches in some of the parts that were painted.
Adjustable Gate Valve – this provides the precise control their operators need to clean up the aforementioned mess, without creating a bigger one.
Pushbutton control – the low profile button trigger actuates with just a slight squeeze. Much more ergonomic than having to grasp the ball valve’s handle tight, especially when they needed it in a partially open position.
No matter what the scope of a blow off application is, EXAIR has a wide selection of Safety Air Guns to meet your needs. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.
I recently had the pleasure of discussing Safety Air Gun performance with the Safety Director of a manufacturing facility who needed to address the high noise levels in their machine shop. They were using inexpensive thumb trigger blow offs:
It’s important to note that handheld blow off devices are RARELY operated continuously, but even in short bursts, excessively high noise levels like that (even if they’re technically within OSHA limits) aren’t a lot of fun to be around, and Safety Directors aren’t the kind of folks who are typically OK with operating right at a published limit. I know EXAIR’s Safety Director isn’t, and neither is this company’s.
After discussing the specifics of what they use these for, we determined that two specific EXAIR Safety Air Guns would meet their machinists’ needs at different machines: Model 1699-CS VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun with our Mini Super Air Nozzle & Chip Shield, and Model 1809-PEEK-CS VariBlast Precision Safety Air Gun with our Pico Super Air Nozzle (PEEK thermoplastic for non-marring performance in case of incidental contact with the parts they’re blowing off) & Chip Shield.
The sound level of the Mini Super Air Nozzle on the Model 1699-CS is only 71dBA, and Pico Super Air Nozzle on the Model 1809-PEEK-CS is only 68dBA. Those sound levels are barely discernible in a typical machine shop during normal operation…and FAR less than OSHA’s limits, in any case.
In addition to the sound level reduction, the compressed air consumption was greatly reduced as well. Their device was tested in our Efficiency Lab, and uses 22.3 SCFM @80psig. The air consumption of the Model 1699-CS is only 10 SCFM @80psig, and Model 1809-PEEK-CS uses only 4.9 SCFM @80psig.
The additional benefit of the operators being able to control the flow & force by the variable flow trigger will almost certainly reduce ALL of those values as muscle memory ‘fine tunes’ the amount of pull they apply to the trigger. I think that qualifies for a win-win-win, any day.
If you use air guns in your facility, and they’re not EXAIR Safety Air Guns, you owe it to yourself – and your electric bill & your co-workers’ hearing – to check us out.
EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun is designed to provide powerful blasts of compressed air for use in rugged, industrial environments. With a larger 3/8 NPT air inlet compared to our other Safety Air Guns, it allows for higher force and flow values. It comes with a durable cast aluminum body and ergonomic composite rubber grip. The wide curved trigger allows for continuous use for hours without operators experiencing fatigue.
All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns come with an engineered compressed air nozzle at the tip. This allows you to remain OSHA compliant while still getting the force you need to get the job done. EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles utilize the coanda effect to entrain large amounts of ambient air from the environment. This ambient air mixes with the primary airstream and is projected towards the target with more force and flow than the supplied compressed air could deliver alone.
Each of the Safety Air Guns is available with extensions fully assembled ranging from 6”-72”. You can simply add a “-“ and the required length, in inches, to the end of any Safety Air Gun Model number.
In addition, they’re also available with a Chip Shield to prevent any chips or debris from coming back toward your operators. Effective chip guarding is another component of OSHA 1910.242(b) in addition to the concerns of dead-end pressure. To add a Chip Shield onto the gun as well, a “-CS” to the standard Model number. For example, a Model 1310-12-CS would be a 1310 gun with 12” extension and a Chip Shield installed. If the application involves blowing off metal chips or shavings, your operators will certainly appreciate this Chip Shield preventing the debris from blowing back over them.
With EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, you can still achieve the high forces required for tough applications without the risk of injuries to personnel. Do yourselves and your operators a favor and get one on order today!
In 1970, the United States Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This Act created both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The goal of both organizations is to ensure that workers, in any industry or field, have adequate protection from physical injury and health risks associated with the tools & equipment they operate, and environmental hazards in the spaces in which they operate. Workplace safety was a big deal to them.
Fifty plus years on, workplace safety is still a big deal, and not just to the federal government. At EXAIR, we have a program of continuing training on any and all safety concerns relevant to what we do here. This includes everything from pedestrian safety (not getting hit by a delivery truck in the parking lot, or a fork truck in the shop) to hazard communication (understanding the labels and safety data sheets for the cleaning compounds, adhesives, etc. used in the facility) to the procedures & personal protection equipment required for the use of compressed air products. Workplace safety is, and always has been, a big deal to us.
This culture of safety carries over to the design of our products as well. It’s arguably most important when we’re talking about products that operators hold in their hands…like our Safety Air Guns. To answer the question I posed in the title above, let’s consider the features of these products:
Engineered Air Nozzles: Regardless of any other features, the energy associated with the flow & force of the compressed air exiting the device is the first concern, and rightly so. Without a method of reducing the static pressure at the point of discharge to 30psi or less, there’ll be enough energy in the air flow to potentially break the skin if the device’s tip was dead-ended, with no place for that pressure to go. You can either reduce the supply pressure to 30psig or less (which means you’re not going to get a heck of a lot done unless it’s just lightweight debris you’re blowing off, AND you can get close enough to it), or you can use products like our Super Air Nozzles, which provide a relief path for that air flow, so the static pressure at the point of discharge never reaches 30psi, no matter what the supply pressure is. The design of all of our engineered Air Nozzles provides such a relief path, which complies with OSHA Standard 1910.242(b), which regulates the use of compressed air for cleaning…which is what almost all air guns are used for.
Ergonomic design: Across the board, a key feature in the design of EXAIR Safety Air Guns is to be easy on the hands, with comfortable grips and easy to pull triggers. From the molded thermoplastic construction of the VariBlast Precision models, to the cast aluminum construction of the VariBlast Compact, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty, and TurboBlast models, they’re all lightweight, and quite durable as well.
Engineered Air Nozzles part 2: The same design features that prevent them from being dead-ended also result in remarkable attenuation of the sound level generated by the air flow. By entraining an enormous amount of air from the surrounding environment (which results in a much lower operating cost than open-end type air guns), a lower velocity boundary layer develops around the higher velocity center air flow, resulting in much quieter operation. All but our largest Super Air Nozzles are compliant with OSHA Standard 1910.95 limits for maximum allowable noise exposure.
Chip Shields:OSHA Standard 1910.242(b), in addition to limiting dead-end pressure to prevent air embolisms from breaking the skin, also calls for “effective chip guarding” to prevent airborne debris being blown off by high velocity air flow from hitting the operator. This can be accomplished by the user via glove boxes (similar to a small parts sandblasting booth), a physical barrier like a piece of shatter resistant glass, plexiglass, Lexan, etc., or personal protective equipment like aprons, long gloves, or face shields. In case any of that is impractical, EXAIR has Chip Shields that fit our VariBlast Precision, VariBlast Compact, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns. They’re clear polycarbonate discs that can be moved back & forth on a rigid aluminum extension pipe on the Safety Air Gun, so you can position them according to the needs of the application.
If workplace safety is as big a deal to you as it is to OSHA and EXAIR, I strongly recommend looking at what you’re using for handheld blow off applications right now, and how they stack up against EXAIR’s comprehensive line of Safety Air Guns. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.