Chip Shields, OSHA, And You

Safety is a key part of our culture at EXAIR Corporation.  We have regularly scheduled, all-hands required, safety training on a number of topics.  Our Order Entry team can likely tell you as much about our lockout/tagout procedures as our Machinists can.  Nobody even thinks about entering The Shop without safety glasses, and it’s not just because of the signs.

We pay attention to these…
…so we don’t ever have to use this.

OSHA 1910.242(b) states that “Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes except where reduced to less than 30 p.s.i. and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment. (emphasis mine)  All EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products are engineered to meet the requirements of the first part (30psi outlet pressure to prevent dead ending…we’ve written about that numerous times, including here, here, and here) and we can also provide pre-installed devices to satisfy the second part:  the EXAIR Chip Shield.

Any EXAIR VariBlast or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun can come fitted with a Chip Shield, and any Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, except for those with Stay Set Hoses, can as well.  Safety Air Guns with Back Blow Nozzles automatically come with a Chip Shield. The principle is simple: a clear polycarbonate (so you can still see what you’re doing) round disc slips over a short (or long if you want) pipe extension between the gun & the nozzle.  It’s fitted with a rubber grommet so you can position it to where it’s most effective – sometimes that might be closer to the part being blown off; sometimes it may be back a little closer to the operator.

EXAIR Safety Air Guns are available, from stock, with Chip Shields.

If you already have an air gun that’s doing the job, you can easily add an EXAIR Chip Shield to it.  They’re made to fit a wide range of extension diameters, and can even come with the extension if you need it.  We also stock a number of adapter fittings; if you know what threads your air gun has (or if you can send us some photos) we can quickly & easily spec those out for you.

Convenient and inexpensive “thumb guns” with cross drilled nozzles (left) are compliant with the first part of OSHA 1910.242(b). Fitting one with an EXAIR Chip Shield (center) makes it compliant with the second part. A Model 1102 Mini Super Air Nozzle (right) makes it quiet & efficient.
We can provide a Chip Shield for most any device with a threaded fitting. I couldn’t find a way to re-use the non-OSHA-compliant nozzle that came with this gun (thank goodness.)
Another example of a larger air gun fitted with a more powerful cross drill nozzle (left) that can be made totally OSHA compliant with an EXAIR Chip Shield (center.) An EXAIR High Force Super Air Nozzle (right) keeps the power, while reducing noise level and compressed air consumption (right.)

Since 1983, EXAIR Corporation has been manufacturing quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products for industry (emphasis mine.)  If you have concerns or questions about safety in regard to your compressed air use, call me.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

EXAIR Standard Air Knife Keeps Bottles Free From Contaminants

Recently I worked with a customer on an application to remove contaminants from the inside of glass bottles. During production, dust from the ambient environment was collecting inside of the bottles. They needed a way to remove it prior to filling. The solution was to briefly pause the conveyor, pulsing air into the bottles to free any dust that had accumulated. Their problem was that while the dust was blowing out of the bottle without an issue, some of it was settling back down into the bottles.

P_20190502_123926_vHDR_On

The customer needed a way to mitigate the risk of dust particles resettling into the bottles after it was removed. The solution was to install a Model 2012 12” Standard Air Knife to provide a curtain of air across the top of the bottles, catching any freed dust particles and blowing them away from the conveyor.

After noticing positive results, we wanted to take things one step further and help to reduce overall air consumption in the process. The blowoff was achieved with (8) ¼” open tubes operating at a pressure of 80 PSIG. Although they were only operating for a fraction of a second, they still consume a whopping 33 SCFM! Replacing them with Model 1101 ¼” NPT Super Air Nozzles (14 SCFM at 80 PSIG) resulted in compressed air savings of 58%!!

In addition to saving compressed air, the noise level was also dramatically reduced. At just 74 dBA, we’re below the threshold for an 8-hour exposure time for operators according to OSHA. Where earplugs were necessary before, they’re now able to operate safely without the need for PPE to protect their hearing. The second most effective fundamental method of protecting workers, according to NIOSH, is to substitute or replace the hazard with an engineered solution. It’s not possible to eliminate the hazard as a compressed air blowoff was necessary, but the next best step is to replace it with something safer.

HierarchyControls

In addition to complying with OSHA 1910.95(a), the Super Air Nozzle also cannot be dead-ended. In applications for compressed air blowoff with unsafe nozzles, pipes, or tubes, the pressure must be regulated down to below 30 PSIG according to OSHA 1910.242(b). The installation of an engineered compressed air nozzle by EXAIR allows you to operate safely at much higher pressures.

If you have inefficient blowoff processes in your facility, give one of our Application Engineers a call. We’ll be happy to take a closer look at your application and recommend a safe, reliable, engineered solution!

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

What’s So Great About The VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun?

Well, for one thing, it’s won ANOTHER award…in addition to the 2018 Plant Engineering Product of the Year (Silver Award, Compressed Air Category) for 2018, it’s now won the 2019 Industrial Safety & Hygiene Reader’s Choice Award.

But we didn’t need awards to tell us how great they are.  EXAIR Corporation has 35 years of continuously improving experience in the design, engineering, and manufacture of quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products for industry.  The VariBlast Compact Safety Air Guns are just another innovation that’s come to fruition, courtesy of the knowledge, experience, and dedication to quality from our R&D Engineering & Production departments.

Whatever your needs are, EXAIR has a Safety Air Gun for you.

But you don’t have to take OUR word for it: a satisfied customer base has proven the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun‘s success:  We offer a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee on any catalog product.  That means you can put it through its paces for up to a month…if it’s not going to work out, for any reason, we’ll arrange return for full credit.  Of the dozens of VariBlast Safety Air Guns we’ve sold every month for the last two years or so, we have not had one returned.  Not. One.  To which I say: no wonder…check it out:

If you’re looking for an economical, efficient, quiet, variable flow, handheld blow off solution, look no further than the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun…just another award winning Intelligent Compressed Air Product, brought to you by EXAIR.  To the readers of Industrial Safety & Hygiene Magazine…thanks for noticing!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Many Air Knife Materials and Shim Options to Suit Your Application

The EXAIR Super Air Knives are used in many applications ranging from part drying, to web cleaning, to conveyor blowoff, and many other uses. For most processes, the aluminum models provide the performance required and withstand the environmental conditions present.

Ambient temperature limits for the aluminum models is 180°F (82°C). EXAIR also offers the air knives in types 303 and 316 Stainless Steel, which increase the temperature limit to 800°F (427°C) and provides a great degree of corrosion resistance. For the harshest, most corrosive environments, an air knife constructed of Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) with a temperature limit to 275°F (135°C) is available.

Super Air Knives
Aluminum, Stainless Steel and PVDF Super Air Knives

But what can we do about those applications where the increased corrosion resistance isn’t needed and the temperatures do not approach anywhere near to 800°F (427°C)?

The solution to this situation is an aluminum air knife with a custom stainless steel shim. The aluminum material is rated to 400°F (204°C) and the shim is good to 800°F (427°C) so this knife can be used in those hotter environments up to 400°F (204°C). This option helps to keep the cost of the knife low, by utilizing the lower cost aluminum for the body and cap.

The table below details the materials of construction options for the Super Air Knife – a wide array of material offerings to suit even the hottest, harshest conditions.

Air Knife Temperature Table

We recommend consulting with an Application Engineer to review the application, process, and environmental conditions, and we can present best options.

And don’t forget, the shims can be further customized for special blowoff requirements. See the blog that my colleague, Russ Bowman, posted here.

If you have questions about Super Air Knives or any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

When to use Compressed Air Receiver Tanks (and More)

I was recently working with a process Engineer at a food packaging plant on installing a Super Air Knife to blow excess water off a food product. This product was moving single file on a conveyor belt with about 6 feet between each product. The belt was moving pretty slow so we wanted to turn the air knife on only when the product was in front of the knife, which saves compressed air and energy. To do this we used the ELECTRONIC FLOW CONTROL (EFC). If the knife ran the entire time it would be wasting any air blowing during one of the 6′ long gaps. This would also put an unnecessary strain on their already taxed compressed air system. The EFC let him only supply air to the Knife when it saw a product on the belt. To read more about the EFC click here!

efcapp
EXAIR Electronic Flow Control

This application worked perfectly, but they had one other issue. Throughout the day it seemed as if they were losing compressed air pressure at the knife. What they found was during peak compressed air usage in the plant the compressor couldn’t keep up with the demand. Fear not, the Super Air Knife was only running for 7 seconds and was off for 20 seconds. This was a perfect application for EXAIR’s Receiver Tank.

Receiver Tanks are great for applications that require an intermittent demand for a volume of compressed air. This can cause fluctuations in pressure and volume throughout the compressed air system with some points being “starved” for compressed air. EXAIR’s Model 9500-60 60 Gallon Receiver Tank can be installed near the point of high demand so there is an additional supply of compressed air available for a short duration. The time between the high volume demand occurrences should be long enough so the compressor has enough time to replenish the receiver tank.

Receiver Tank
Receiver Tank

If you have a process that is intermittent, and the times for and between blow-off, drying, or cooling allows, a Receiver Tank can be used to allow you to get the most of your available compressed air system. If you need any assistance calculating the need for a receiver, please let us help.

Note – Lee Evans wrote an easy to follow blog that details the principle and calculations of Receiver Tanks, and it is worth your time to read here.

If you would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Types of Air Amplifiers: Amplify Volume or Amplify Pressure

EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.

As Application Engineers, we help many customers with finding solutions with effective, safe, and efficient EXAIR products.  But, in some instances, we get a request for an air amplifier to increase line pressures.  EXAIR does not manufacture this type of Air Amplifier.  In doing some research on the internet, I was able to find two different types of air amplifiers.  In this blog, I will describe the difference between the pressure-type and volume-type.

The EXAIR Super Air Amplifiers are defined as a volume-type of an amplifier.  They use compressed air to generate a large volume of air flow.  The amplification ratio is the comparison between the inlet air flow and the outlet air flow.  With the EXAIR Super Air Amplifiers, we can reach an amplification ratio of 25 to 1.  They use a Coanda profile with a patented shim to create a low pressure to draw in a large volume of the surrounding air.  EXAIR manufactures a variety of different sizes, materials, and types.  But they all do the same thing, amplify the volume of air.  To give an example, model 120024 Super Air Amplifier has a 25:1 amplification ratio.  It uses 29.2 SCFM (826 SLPM) of compressed air at 80 PSIG (5.5 bar).  So, the outlet air flow is amplified from 29.2 SCFM to 730 SCFM (20,659 SLPM) of air.  This large volume of air works great for cooling, exhausting, and transferring.  But, with any type of amplification, you have to lose something.  With the volume type Air Amplifiers, the outlet pressure is reduced dramatically.

The pressure-type air amplifiers are different from the Super Air Amplifiers as this device will amplify the outlet air pressure, not the volume.  It is an air pump that has a direct dual piston that uses two different diameters.  The larger diameter uses the drive inlet pressure while the smaller diameter is used for the boost pressure.  The amplification ratio is determined by the difference in volume from the drive piston to the boost piston.  They also come in a variety of ranges and sizes.  As an example, an amplification ratio of 15:1 will increase an inlet pressure from 100 PSI (7 bar) to an outlet pressure of 1,500 PSI (103 bar).  Since the pressure-type air amplifier is an air pump, the system has to cycle.  To do this, they use pilot valves to either add the inlet compressed air to the drive piston or to relieve the air pressure from the drive piston.  This cycling portion of the operation does reduce the efficiency of the air amplifier.  The pressure-type air amplifiers are used to generate high pressure for a specific application or area and eliminate the purchase of a high-pressure air compressor.  The applications include air clamps and presses, pressure testing, air brakes, and also blow molding.  Like stated above about losing something with amplifications, the volume of air is reduced dramatically.  Generally, a reservoir tank and over-sizing will be needed for a good system.

The Application Engineers at EXAIR enjoy talking to customers about compressed air applications.  If you need more information about Air Amplifiers, you can contact us directly.  We can explain the volume-type that we manufacture or refer you to a company that makes the pressure-type.  Either way, we will be happy to hear from you.

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

Super Air Nozzles and Stay Set Hoses to Replace Open Tubes

I recently worked with an company that performs energy audits and they were working with a food company to review and propose ways to reduce the energy consumption throughout the plant. One area where we were able to help was on an onion peeling machine, shown below:

Vegetable Peeler Wide
Onion Peeler With Screw Conveyor and Blow off Tubes

The area of machine in question used a screw conveyor and friction source to help loosen the peels and fifteen (15) 1/4″ O.D. open ended tubes, which were noisy and unsafe, to blow the peels completely off and away form the onion. The auditor was able to install an air flow meter on the system and found that the machine was consuming 220 SCFM of compressed air for this operation.

Vegetable Peeler Detail
(15) Total, 1/4″ Tubes Used to Blow Air and Help Remove the Peels

We proposed to replace the tubes with a 6″ Stay Set Hose and the model 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzle.  Each model 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzle will consume just 10 SCFM of 80 PSIG compressed air. Attached to the 6″ Stay Set Hose, the nozzle can be placed exactly where needed and aimed appropriately. A strong blast of air rated at 0.56 lbs (9 ozs.), and ultra quiet at 71 dBA, the Mini Super Air Nozzle delivers the results needed.

1103-e1543953915424.jpg
Model 1103 – Mini Super Air Nozzle

1103 Performance

1103 Pattern

9256
Model 9256 6″ Stay Set Hose

The Stay Set Hose has “memory” and will not creep or bend, simply install the 1/4 NPT fitting into the compressed air supply side, an thread the 1/8 NPT Mini Super Air Nozzle into the other end and position as needed!

Fifteen (15) of the Mini Super Air Nozzles will pass 150 SCFM of compressed air compared to the current usage of 220 SCFM, resulting in a 70 SCFM drop, or a 31.8 % reduction.  At a typical cost of $0.25 per 1000 Cubic Feet of Compressed Air, the nozzles would save $1.05 per hour of operation. Rate of Return yields a full pay-off in just 43 days of operation (24 hours per day operation)!

If you are looking for ways to save on compressed air usage in your facility that is safe to operate and quiet to use, we will have a solution for you.

If you have questions about any of the 16 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB