A Lot Can Happen In Five Years

Five years ago, I wrote a blog about my (then) 11 year old son’s first-ever week away from home at Boy Scout Summer Camp. He’s departing again this weekend, but his troop has decided to venture “out of Council” this year, to Camp Howard W. Wall…it’s on the south coast of the island of St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands.

They met last week to cover the final (and finer) details of international travel, flight schedules, logistics, etc., and activities…Camp Friedlander has a “blob:”

But Camp Wall has an OCEAN:

Just to put the distance into perspective...
Just to put the distance into perspective…

I’ve been thinking a LOT about the changes I’ve seen in the wide-eyed kid I dropped off at a camp that I drive past twice a day, and the smirking teenager that I’m driving to the airport on Sunday morning. And those changes are providing perspective on not only how fast those five years have passed, but how much can happen in that span.

In 2011, I was a wide-eyed “Dread Newbie” at EXAIR.  One of my very first meetings with the rest of the gang was to be trained on our brand new Atomizing Spray Nozzles…we only had three styles to choose from, but two of them came in four distinct models, and one came in FIVE. They were ALL Internal Mix, because hey, who doesn’t like the maximum range of adjustability that comes with being able to vary your flow rate and spray pattern size by adjusting liquid AND air supply pressures?

OK; it turns out that was just the beginning…within the year, our Engineering Department had developed:

External Mix – three styles, thirteen distinct models, to allow for independent adjustment of flow rate (by liquid pressure) and spray pattern (by air pressure.)

Siphon Fed – two styles, seven distinct models, that could be siphon OR gravity fed, for situations where it’s not practical to pressurize the liquid supply.

And, four years after that, looking back, it seems like THAT was just the beginning…we now have:

*Two sizes – the original 1/4 NPT and the new(er) 1/2 NPT.
*Sixteen styles – each available with our No-Drip option (so technically I guess we have thirty-two)
*Forty-five distinct models – we’ve got a flow rate/spray pattern combination for just about any application

And, like the rest of our catalog products, they’re all in stock, ready to ship today, on time, like we do 99.97% of the time…that’s actually one thing that HASN’T changed in the 17 years that we’ve been keeping track.

If you’d like to talk about Spray Nozzles…or any EXAIR products (old or new,) give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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A Dull Knife Is A Dangerous Knife

Anyone who’s ever cooked, hunted, crafted, fished, whittled, opened a well sealed package, or sharpened a stick for roasting marshmallows knows what I mean. A dull knife requires more force to cut your material, which means that you’re using less of your muscle strength to control the blade. If you’re not sure of where the blade is going, that’s a heck of a thing to leave to chance, especially if you’re holding what you’re cutting in your other hand.

Even if (I might even say “especially if”) you don’t use a knife for cutting every day, the conventional wisdom dictates that you should keep its blade sharp. Not only is this imperative for safety reasons (see above,) but you’re going to make a MUCH higher quality cut as well.

Sharp blades result from high quality material that is professionally crafted, and expertly maintained. The cheaper the material, the easier the blade will dull. High carbon stainless steel blades cost a little more, but they’re also easier to sharpen, and they stay sharp longer. A decent stamping machine can turn out hundreds of blades an hour, but forging a single piece of metal results in a level of hardness that is much more conducive to maintaining a sharp edge. Speaking of maintaining a sharp edge, that’s going to be left up to the user. A lot of hardware stores provide sharpening services, but it’s not all that hard. Expert results can be obtained by following what the experts do, and the Boy Scouts of America have taken pride in doing stuff like this for over a hundred years now. Full disclosure: I’ve been a Scout Leader for over nine years now, so I may be biased, but I am unapologetically so. I use these tips, and my pocketknife is VERY sharp.

High quality material, professionally crafted and expertly maintained, is, of course, a successful recipe for a great many products other than knife blades. EXAIR applies these principles to every single item in our 168-page catalog of Intelligent Compressed Air® Products. Here are just a couple of examples:

*The Super Air Knife (no relation to the cutting tools discussed above) is available in a range of materials: aircraft grade aluminum, types 303 or 316 stainless steel, or PVDF. They’re engineered for maximum efficiency, minimum noise level, and manufactured to exacting quality standards.

Capture
*The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac System turns your open top drum into a powerful, high capacity, dust free, industrial vacuum. It’s made of a hardened alloy for superior abrasion resistance, and, with no moving parts, it’s virtually maintenance free.

Exair-heavy-duty-HEPA-vacuum

I could go on, but these are the two products, and the benefits they provide, that I’ve actually discussed with potential users just today. If you’d like to know more about how EXAIR products can keep the use of your compressed air sharp, effective, and safe, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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The Patrol Method Still Works

Something doesn’t feel quite right about this past weekend. A few hundred Boy Scouts gathered along the bank of the East Fork of the Little Miami River from Friday to Sunday for our District’s Spring Camp-O-Ree…and it didn’t rain once. It totally went the wisdom of great American author, philosopher, and truth-teller Dave Barry:

Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds, for the opportunity to rain on a tent.

The beautiful weather, though, was just the icing on the cake of a glorious weekend. We set up a series of team-building/problem-solving exercises for the Scouts to perform. One of these was known as “The Hot Chocolate River” which consists of:

(2) lengths of rope, staked to the ground about 15 feet apart…these are the “banks” of the river.
(5) 2-foot wooden squares…these are the “marshmallows” that the team uses to cross the river.

Here’s the deal: each 8-Scout Patrol attempts to reach the opposite bank by placing the marshmallows in the river. At least one Scout has to be in physical contact with each marshmallow in the river, or the unattended marshmallow is removed from play, and they’re left to cross the river with just four marshmallows. Or three, when they find another way to leave one unattended. And some of them did, with alarming quickness. One Patrol (the one my youngest son belongs to) successfully crossed the river in 1:14 (min:sec). The next fastest was 1:44. Another Patrol lost three marshmallows almost immediately, but were able to get all eight members across in under seven minutes, using only two marshmallows. A couple of Patrols “timed out,” being left with only one or two marshmallows after ten minutes, with members still on the starting bank.

One thing I noticed…from the quickest (did I mention that was my son’s Patrol?) to the slowest, was that their success (or lack thereof) was tied to their teamwork and communication (or lack thereof.) These are key components of “The Patrol Method,” which I wrote about once. Well, twice.

That was a couple of years ago, and the Application Engineering team at EXAIR STILL practices The Patrol Method. It’s indispensable, whether we’re looking for a solution to a challenging application, training a new member of the team, or just getting everyone one the same page…no sense in just one of us learning something if we can ALL learn, right?

How are teamwork and communication contributing to your team’s success?  Something to think about.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.exair.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Tell Me More About The Weather

Last week, all the weather reports indicated that a large snow storm was imminent, and bearing down on us over the weekend. We were told to expect up to a foot of snow and ice over the course of the day on Sunday. When the snow started to fall mid-morning, my son’s Youth League team’s basketball game (scheduled for noon) was cancelled, as were a great many recreational events around town. Not everyone decided to cancel scheduled events, and, as a result, a fine young man’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor that I was invited to was not as well-attended as it should have been. I feel especially bad about that, because I was among the invited guests who erred on the side of caution and decided not to brave the elements. In my defense, there are some hills and curves along the route I’d have taken that are particularly troublesome when wet (or frozen) and it was sleeting at a pretty good clip at the time I’d have had to leave the house.  Still, by the time it was over, the conditions hadn’t panned out nearly as bad as we had been led to believe.

Some could argue that the meteorologists, like me, were erring on the side of safety. Others were more cynical: They took a lot of ribbing on social media and local talk radio about being in cahoots with the grocery stores, who, according to some of the more colorful theories, they had partnered with in order to move an enormous amount of bread, milk, and canned goods off the shelves in a short amount of time.

I want to think that they honestly did the best they could, with the data available to them. I don’t know much at all about meteorology, but it seems to be much too imprecise of a science for my taste…I’m much more comfortable using our test data – some of which I’ve collected myself – to determine the most suitable compressed air product for a particular application. In cases where we can’t quantify an answer using air flow, velocity, force, heat transfer, etc. data, EXAIR has an extensive Application Database (registration required) with over 1,000 published success stories to draw from. If it’s not in there (yet…we add to this a few times a week), EXAIR offers a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee: we invite you to put any catalog product through its paces for up to a month. We’ll work with you as much as you want in order to make it a successful application (and our track record is pretty impressive, just so you know.) In the end, though, if you’re not completely satisfied, we’ll arrange return for full credit, just like that.

guarantee

I won’t say I’ve never been disappointed when we just couldn’t find a solution, but I’ve always been glad to have tried. If you’ve got an application involving compressed air that you’re willing to give us a shot at, we’d love to hear from you. We can’t tell you anything about the weather, though…

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.EXAIR.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

A Tale Of Two Engineering Projects

At our Boy Scout Troop meeting last night, we had adult volunteers in two rooms, putting their “day job” skills to use. Two of our troop parents are dental professionals, so they were working with the Scouts, as a group, to complete the requirements for their Dentistry Merit Badge. In the other room, a couple of other parents and I were making last-minute equipment preparations for the Troop’s annual Lenten Fish Fry.

Anyway, one of our projects this year is to fix or replace the fryer tank. Nobody knows how old it is or where it came from…one of our Assistant Scoutmasters has been around for almost 20 years, and it was here when he came. Now, it’s just a big metal box that sits on the stove and holds the oil that we fry the fish in, but with three engineers looking it over and coming up with ideas, it’s got the potential to be the most complex big metal box in the county. The current problem is only a ¼” crack near the top of a corner, but also on our “wish list” are items like:

*Handles: this tank is about 4 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 18 inches deep. It’s not heavy at all, but handles sure would make it easier to move around, wash, dry, etc.
*Drain: Currently, we use a small battery operated pump to empty about 10 gallons of oil out of it every Friday night. A strategically placed petcock valve will cut our clean up time to a fraction of what it currently is.
*Temperature control: these ideas ranged from a port for a permanently mounted thermometer to a thermocouple that we could tie in to a regulator in the gas line. We’re all scared of tapping into the gas line, so the thermometer is looking better and better. It’s always fun to see yourself on the news, but not when it’s because you were involved with a fire that burned a church building down.
*Material of construction: Stainless Steel is awesome, but we’re probably on more of an aluminum budget.

Last week, we had the pleasure of conducting an Efficiency Lab Test of a customer’s drilled pipe compressed air blowing device. It was doing the job, but it used a lot of air, it was loud, and it had been in place for as long as anyone could remember. As it turns out, our 12″ Aluminum Super Air Knife looks to be a viable solution to the items on their “wish list”: reduced air consumption, and lower noise levels…it’s going to cut both to a fraction of what they are currently. This is a significant improvement, because not only are they going to save $500-$1,000 per year on compressed air for each of two units, but the operators no longer have to wear hearing protection, since the maximum sound levels are going from 108 to 67 decibels…well below OSHA’s published 8-hour limit of 90 dBA.

These are two examples of what can happen when you get a couple of engineers involved in a project. If you’d like to find out how much you can save your wallet…and ears…by switching to EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products, give me a call. If you find yourself hungry and on the east side of Cincinnati on a Friday night in the coming weeks, I can also tell you where to get a great meal in support of a great organization.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
russbowman@EXAIR.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Summer…Here For A Limited Time…

All good things must come to an end, they say, and this summer is no exception.  My sons returned to school this week, both attending the same school, on the same schedule, until my eldest enters high school next year.  This coming Monday is Labor Day, the Official© End of Summer.  And that means that our Boy Scout Troop will start wearing their “Class A” uniforms, instead of the “Class B” t-shirts that are authorized for June-August meetings.

In most of the Midwest, this is also the weekend that most pool owners will “winterize” and put their covers on.  I have a good friend who purposely has a party on the 2nd or 3rd Saturday of September, to blatantly flaunt this convention, but he’s just delaying the inevitable.  I’m going anyway.

At EXAIR, we also know summer as “Cabinet Cooler Season.”  It’s no secret, or surprise, that inquiries – and sales – for Cabinet Cooler Systems will pick up when the ambient temperatures rise…that’s the “external heat load” part of the equation in action!  Of course, some places have elevated ambient temperatures even in the months that end with an “R”…places like boiler rooms, blast furnaces, bakeries, etc.  And I’ve had the pleasure to talk to callers who want to protect electrical panels in two out of three of those places, just today.

One other thing that’s coming to an end this week is our seasonal Cabinet Cooler Systems Promotion.  That’s right; you’ve got just a few more days to get a free AC Sensor with a qualifying Cabinet Cooler purchase.  So, if you’re considering a Cabinet Cooler System, now’s the time.  We can quickly and easily calculate your enclosure’s total heat load with just a few key pieces of data.  Use our online Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide to get it to us, or email it in.  For immediate service, call us with the data…we’ll do it while you wait. These products are in STOCK and we can ship same day on orders we receive before 3:00 pm Eastern.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.exair.com
Blog: https://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Free + Free = Free

I saw school buses on the road this morning…a stark reminder that the summer season is coming to an end. My sons have mixed emotions about it. My youngest is excited about playing in the band (I’m picking up his trumpet tomorrow) and my eldest is biting at the bit for the start of his second season of football. Neither, however, is looking forward to setting their alarm clocks to a time that will allow them to catch that 6:30am bus!

In the office this week, we’ve been recapping our summer vacations. Some went low-key, with long weekends at lakes and/or campgrounds; others spent time at some of the more serious Tourist Destinations. Our family was in the “low-key” group this year, but I blame the kids: one took a school trip to Space Camp, the other enjoyed a week and a half at the Boy Scouts’ National Jamboree, and they both spent a week each at Boy Scout Summer Camp and church camp. They had a ball, though, and I wouldn’t have changed those plans for all the beaches and theme parks and cruise ships in the world.  Of course, Space Camp and National Jamboree were one-time events, so we ARE looking towards beaches, theme parks, or maybe even cruise ships, next year.

I’m not real big on taking a lot of pictures on vacation – since photography isn’t a bona fide hobby, I find it to be a distraction from enjoying the activity. Plus, a lot of the Tourist Destinations have a camera staff who are more than happy to provide you photos (for an additional fee), so you don’t have to worry about it. In fact, one of my co-workers encountered a theme park that “doubled down” on that: they charged you to take the photo, AND they charged you for the actual photo (or the “discount package” – the more you buy, the more you save…) as well!

Now, I AM real big on those photo cut-out boards: the ones where you stick your head through and take pictures of each other hang gliding, space walking, bodybuilding, surfing, etc. I subject my family to every single one that we encounter, no matter where we are. They appeal to both my frugal nature, and cheesy personality, I guess.

If you’re still reading this because of the title, it’s time to make good: this week only, EXAIR is offering a double freebie: request a copy of our Blow Off Guide (which is always free), and get a FREE Super Air Nozzle (we actually sell those most of the time…it’s a business thing; you understand.) If you’re a current user of our products, consider it an expression of gratitude for your business. If you don’t yet know how efficient and quiet our engineered compressed air products are, now’s your time to find out. You’ve only got until Friday to take advantage, though…this offer, like our summer, is drawing to an end soon.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: http://www.exair.com
Blog: https://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair