Keep Your Pneumatics “Healthy” and “Running Like a Brand New Car”

Compressed air systems are used in facilities to operate pneumatic systems, and these systems are vital for industries.  So, it is important to keep them running.  The system can be segregated into three different sections; the supply side, the demand side, and the distribution system.  I like to represent these sections as parts of a car.  The supply side will be the engine; the distribution system will be the transmission; and, the demand side will be the tires.  I will go through each section to help give tips on how to improve the “health” of your pneumatic system.

From the supply side, it will include the air compressor, after-cooler, dryer, and receiver tank that produce and treat the compressed air.  They are generally found in a compressor room somewhere in the corner of the plant.  The air compressor, like the engine of your car, produces the pneumatic power for your plant, and needs to have maintenance to keep it working optimally.  The oil needs to be changed, the filters have to be replaced, and maintenance checks have to be performed.  I wrote a blog that covers most of these items, “Compressed Air System Maintenance”.

To connect the supply side to the demand side, a distribution system is required.  Distribution systems are pipes which carry compressed air from the air compressor to the pneumatic devices.  Just like the transmission on the car, the power is transferred from the air compressor to your pneumatic products.

Maintenance is generally overlooked in this area.  Transmissions have oil which can be detected if it is leaking, but since air is a gas, it is hard to tell if you have leaks.  Energy is lost from your pneumatic “engine” for every leak that you have.  So, it is important to find and fix them.  A study was conducted within manufacturing plants about compressed air leaks.  They found that for plants without a leak detection program, up to 30% of their compressed air is lost due to leaks.  This will be equivalent to running on only 6 cylinders in a V-8 engine.

EXAIR offers the Ultrasonic Leak Detector to find those pesky leaks.  It makes the inaudible “hiss”; audible.  It can detect leaks as far as 20 feet (6m) away with the parabola attachment, and can find the exact location of the leak to be fixed with the tube attachment.

Another area for discussion with the distribution system is contamination like rust, oil, water, and debris.  Compressed air filters should be used to clean the compressed air that supplies your pneumatic products. They can remove the debris for your pneumatic products to have a long life.  You can read about the EXAIR compressed air filters here, “Preventative Maintenance for EXAIR Filters”.

The third section is the demand side.  So, you have an engine that makes the power, the transmission to transfer that power, and the tires to use that power safely and efficiently.  Many managers miss the importance of the demand side within their pneumatic system.  If you are using blow-off devices like open pipes, coolant lines, copper tubes, or drilled pipe; it will be like running your car on flat tires.  It is very unsafe as well as reducing gas mileage.  To improve safety and efficiency, EXAIR has a line of Super Air Nozzles and Super Air Knives.  Not only will it increase your “gas mileage” to save you money, but they also will keep your operators safe.

In this analogy, you can have a high-performance engine and a durable transmission, but if your tires are bald, flat, or cracked; you cannot use your car safely and efficiently.  The same thing with your compressed air system.  You have to optimize your blow-off devices to get the most from your pneumatic system.  EXAIR is a leader in engineered blow-off devices for efficiency and safety.  So, if you want to improve the “health” of your pneumatic system, you should begin at how you are using your compressed air on the demand side.  EXAIR has Application Engineers that will be happy to help you in trying to keep your pneumatic system running like a “brand new car”.

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

 

Photo: Ford Mustang Roadster by openclipart-VectorsPixabay License

EXAIR’s Efficiency Lab: A Service Providing ROI

EXAIR’s Free Efficiency Lab

Have you ever stood at a dealership wondering what car to buy?  You have a variety of things to consider like safety, gas mileage, quality and price.  But what if the dealership had a professional race car driver to test each car for you and give you a detailed report about each one?  That would definitely help you to make a better choice.  At EXAIR, we are that professional driver when it comes to compressed air products.

EXAIR has been manufacturing compressed air products since 1983, and we created a culture of making high quality products that are safe, effective, and very efficient.  Since we stand by our products, we created a program called the Efficiency Lab.  This program is to compare your current pneumatic blow-off device with an EXAIR engineered product.  We generate a detailed report to send to you for review.  It is a free service that EXAIR provides for U.S. and Canadian companies to “test drive” your current pneumatic blow-off items.

Why do we offer this?  Air Compressors use a lot of electrical power and are considered to be a fourth utility within plants and industries.  Many people do not realize the cost and safety concerns when using improper blow-off devices.  As an example, if you look at a single 1/8” open pipe for blowing compressed air, it can cost you over $2,000 a year to operate.  This will add to your overhead and cut profits.  Another reason to consider your blow-off device is that compressed air can be dangerous.  With that same 1/8” open pipe, it can violate OSHA standards in noise exposure and dead-end pressure.  In deciding your “vehicle” for blowing compressed air, cheap is not the best option.  In reference to my analogy above, it would be like buying a car that gets 3 MPG with faulty brakes.

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 at our cost with a detailed report of the comparison.  Your information will be confidential, and we will not share it without your permission.  Many customers like to use this report to show managers, executives, HSE, etc. on the improvements that EXAIR can provide in cost savings and safety.

How do we do the Efficiency Lab?  We use calibrated equipment and standardized procedures to test for noise levels, flow usage, and force measurements.  We will recommend an EXAIR engineered solution as a replacement to your current device to do the comparison.  With the analytical information, we can also figure the total amount of air savings, return on investment, payback period and safety improvements.

Don’t be fooled; not all blow off devices are the same.  You do not want to sacrifice safety, time, and money with a sub-standard product.  Let EXAIR solve this dilemma with our free service; the Efficiency Lab.  As the expert in this industry, you can get a detailed report with a comparison analysis to make a great choice.  “Vroom Vroom!”

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Picture: Checkered Flag by OpenClipart-VectorsPixabay License

Standard Air Knife – 24 Years in an Application and Counting

“I’ve  been using your Model # 2018SS 18″ Stainless Steel Standard Air Knife since 1992 and it’s STILL working great!”. This was the first thing a customer told me last week when we began our conversation. Of course we really appreciate hearing about success stories like this as it just further demonstrates our commitment to provide top quality, energy efficient, compressed air operated products.

Std Air Knife
Standard Air Knife – available in lengths from 3″ up to 48″ in aluminum and 303ss construction.

 

The next part of the conversation was a subject we don’t necessarily like hearing, as the customer was thinking of replacing our unit with a blower driven air knife due to the concern of the amount of compressed air usage and resulting energy costs.  They initially inquired about using the blower to supply our unit but all of our products require high pressure, compressed air to operate and wouldn’t run on a blower type system. They are using the Standard Air Knives on their extrusion operation where they have a unit mounted above and below the part as it exits the machine, to remove the remaining moisture from the part.

I explained that blower systems may seem like a more economical choice due to the lower energy demand compared to a compressor, but in actuality, they require a lot of maintenance hours in the form of replacing bearings, belts, filters, etc. Some of these repairs can’t be performed at the site and require the unit to be taken offline and sent back to the manufacturer for refurbishment, resulting in costly downtime. In addition, these type of systems require a large footprint for installation and large duct for the airflow.

EXAIR actually performed a comparison test putting our 24″ Super Air Knife up against common blowoffs in the form of drilled pipe, a manifold of inefficient flat nozzles and a blower driven air knife. Please note, the Super Air Knife is more efficient than the Standard Air Knife that the customer is using, but as you will see in the chart below, the minimal increase in compressed air requirement for the Standard Air Knife would be quickly offset by the overall bottom line.

Air Knife Blowoff Comparison

While the annual electrical/energy cost was higher for the Super Air Knife, the initial purchase price and annual maintenance costs were significantly lower, making the 1st year of ownership over 3.5 times less than that of the blower driven unit. Also, with the design of our Air Knives entraining large volumes of surrounding air, wind shear is reduced, which decreases the noise level generated. As a result, our units are going to produce sound levels well below the allowable noise exposure levels set forth by OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a) when compared to other devices.

After explaining this information to the customer, they are going to re-evaluate their requirements. As the customer put it, “it is kind of hard to argue against 24 years of successful operation with your product”. I would tend to agree!

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN