Two Vacuums For The Price Of One

I recently noticed on my mortgage statement that I own more of my house than the bank does now. That made me feel good, and it also gave me pause for a moment of reflection on all the adventures I’ve had as a suburban American homeowner.  Good times…then, another adventure happened:

I’m in the middle of a major (to me) construction project in our house. Now, if you’ve ever worked with drywall, you know that anything you do to it creates dust….sometimes in great volume. No worries, though – I’ve got a real nice portable wet/dry vacuum that makes light work of drywall dust & scrap. So, when I’m done for the day, I leave the area as dust-free and tidy as it was before (“tidy” is relative…there are two teenagers and a dog in my house.)

For the record, the dog was more interested in the new hole in the wall than the teenagers.
For the record, the dog was more interested in the new hole in the wall than the teenagers.

Anyway, the adventure happened last Saturday morning, when the basement sump high level alarm went off. I had to get the water out of the sump, and fast, so I could find out what was wrong with my sump pump. No problem…I’ve got that real nice portable wet/dry vacuum, right? That was full of drywall debris. So, I hastily dumped it into the garage trash can (making another mess I had to clean up later) and removed the particulate filter so I could drain the sump. Which it did, like a champ. It was a stuck float on the sump pump, which I remedied quickly, and all was well with the world again. At least in my (and my bank’s) almost 1/4 acre of it.

Speaking of the different things you can use vacuums for, I had the pleasure of talking with a caller the other day about industrial vacuum applications. When they wash down a particular area of their facility, they end up with puddles of water, mixed with lots of solid debris, all over the floor. They were using electric wet/dry vacuums (like mine) but had a recent scare involving a damaged power cord on a wet floor. Luckily, someone saw it before anything bad happened, but it made them think about other options…like compressed air operated Industrial Vacuums.

They looked at some dual Venturi systems, which would indeed replicate the function of their electric vacs, but at a considerable rate of compressed air consumption…over 100 SCFM (over 25HP worth of typical industrial air compressor load.) Their compressed air system simply didn’t have the capacity for this. They already had an EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac, and had plenty of capacity to run it since it only requires 19 SCFM @80psig (about 5HP worth of compressor load,) but it wasn’t greatly effective at picking up the solid debris. That’s where the EXAIR Chip Vac comes in to our story…it uses only 40 SCFM @80psig (about 10HP worth of compressor load) to clean up the solid debris that doesn’t get sucked up with the puddles of water & sludge that the Reversible Drum Vac takes care of.

Reversible Drum Vac (left) and Chip Vac (right) – two EXAIR Industrial Vacuums for lower cost (purchase AND operation) than wet-dry combo air operated vacuums.

And…(back to the title of this blog)…a Reversible Drum Vac AND a Chip Vac STILL cost less to purchase than the dual Venturi system they were looking at. Lower purchase cost. Lower operating cost. Two independent systems. That’s a win-win-win.  If you have wet…dry…or wet & dry…messes to clean up, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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How to Meet the OSHA Compressed Air Standard

Every day we talk to customers who need to comply with OSHA regulations for using compressed air to clean up their shop or product. Back in 1972 on Valentine’s Day, OSHA published Directive Number STD01-13-001 standard 1910.242(b), which strives to provide guidance on how manufacturers can safely use compressed air for cleaning purposes to comply with the Walsh-Healey Act of 1936.  This directive laid out acceptable methods for complying with 41CFR 50-204.8 and 29 CFR 1910.242(b)

The two methods are very simple, but still many people have questions.  The first method (pictured below) is to regulate the line pressure from the compressor to below 30 PSIG.

Regulator Method

Figure 1 Regulator method Photo Courtesy of osha.gov

The second method is to install a nozzle engineered to reduce the static pressure of the nozzle to less than 30 PSIG.

OSHA Nozzle Method

Figure 2 Nozzle method Photo Courtesy of osha.gov

The first method reduces the danger by limiting the energy in the system to less than an amount which can injure a person.  OSHA determined that 30 PSIG was the safe limit for the amount of pressure the human body could withstand without causing severe injury. The problem with this method is that cleaning with compressed air at 30 psig is virtually impossible.  Which means at such a low pressure the operator must pass the nozzle so close to the chips and debris, he might as well use a broom or pick each piece of debris up with his fingers. This first method I will label the regulator method. The second method introduces a relief valve at the nozzle, so that an operator cannot block off all of the openings of the nozzle, and build up any static pressure on their skin. I will call this the nozzle method.

Commonly and cheaply, the nozzle method is done by cross drilling a hole in an open pipe.  This is a sometimes effective method for protecting employees from static pressure, but it also is great at producing a tremendous amount of noise and wasting a lot of compressed air every year. The noise produced by even a ¼ pipe with a cross drilled hole fed with 80 PSIG can easily exceed 90 dBA and consume up to 140 SCFM. The noise can be even louder, if there are burrs or rough edges from drilling out the pipe.  This is also a violation of OSHA standard 29 CFR – 1910.95 (a), if the employee is not using hearing protection.

Air Nozzle work

To meet this OSHA standard, EXAIR’s solution is to engineer features which cannot be dead-ended into a wide variety of compressed air products. We do this a variety of ways depending on the product.  For the Super Air Nozzles, we utilize multiple small orifices which are protected by raised fins.  The multiple orifices offer an escape path for the air in case a single orifice is plugged. The fins protect the orifices so that no one person can block more than one orifice at a time.

So if you are worried about an OSHA inspector knocking on your door, or maybe you aren’t sure if you should be worried, contact us.  The Application Engineering team here will help you determine what engineered solution you need to keep those pesky fines away.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

Spring Cleaning All Around

Now that Spring is officially here, my “honey-do” list has grown quite substantially as of late. Besides all the work we’ve done inside the house, moving our first son to his new room and putting the nursery back together for our second’s arrival, we now need to focus on the outside of the house (of course this is what my wife thinks is the #1 priority and hey, she is 9 months pregnant so I am going to agree!).

Spring Cleaning
They way I felt over the weekend!

First on the list is pressure washing the siding and since we were expecting temperatures near 65° this past Saturday, I wasn’t going to mind being outside. One problem though, the pressure washer was buried in the garage behind plastic tubs of old baby clothes (thank goodness we held on to these), bicycles, bags of old toys/clothes for donation and every other thing we’ve “needed to hang on to”, which meant that I was going to need to clean the garage before I could clean the house. Adding another item to the already lengthy, spring-cleaning list.

Are you looking to do some clean up around your facility? If so, EXAIR has you covered with our Industrial Housekeeping Products. ALL of these units are compressed air operated and require no electricity to operate so there are no motors to wear out or moving parts, making them virtually maintenance free!

For liquid only clean up, we offer 3 different products:

Reversible Drum Vac – attaches to any standard 30, 55 or 110 gallon closed head drum. Capable of empty or filling a 55 gallon drum in less than 2 minutes.

High Lift Reversible Drum Vac – Up to 15’ of vacuum lift and able to empty or fill the same 55 gallon drum in 85 seconds

Chip Trapper – incorporates the Reversible Drum Vac to filter solids from liquid and traps them in a reusable filter bag. The unit can they be turned into a pump to empty the filtered, clean liquid back to a tank or reservoir.

For dry materials, we offer 3 different products as well:

Chip Vac – Used for vacuuming wet or dry chips and deposits them into a steel drum.

Heavy Duty Dry Vac – Similar to the Chip Vac but made of hardened alloy construction for abrasion resistance and a higher vacuum rate.

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac – Used in dusty environments to filter contaminants to HEPA standards while providing the same high vacuum rate.

For help selecting the right product for your application, give us a call at 1-800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Comet Cleaner image courtesy of garlandcannon. Creative Commons License 

Don’t Waste Money On Your Waste Removal

Lately, we have been receiving calls from customers that are looking for a wet/dry vac that they are accustomed to seeing in the form of an electrical vacuum for their home work shop.  They call us wanting a general clean up vacuum for their shop.  The items they are looking to clean up are coolant, dust and chips.  Our solution for this is to run two vacuums, and most people are asking why can’t it do both.  The answer – cost.

Generally, people seeking EXAIR’s pneumatic vacuums already see the value in the durability of a vacuum with no moving parts to maintain or replace when comparing to electric vacuums. It is the simplest of dollar savings,  the longer the product lasts and is maintenance free, the more money you will save from the absence of repair parts or new vacuums. And electric vacuums are notorious for burning up motors and not lasting within tough industrial environments. You can read about additional features/benefits within EXAIR’s pneumatic vacuum line here and here, but I will talk about our products specifications in detail.

EXAIR has two categories of vacuum, wet vacs and dry vacs.  The original wet vac for vacuuming coolant, swarf, or oil is the Reversible Drum Vac (RDV), used to easily empty and fill coolant sumps quickly. The Chip Trapper features a filtration system which removes chips and debris that is within the coolant, keeping the coolant clean, extending the coolant life and minimizing surfaces for bacteria to grow.  The Reversible Drum Vac and the Chip Trapper Systems use 19 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG of and can fill a drum with 55 gallons of water in 90 seconds. These workhorse vacuums will last many years and withstand the rugged treatment found in hardworking manufacturing facilities.

Drum Vac

In the other category of  our industrial vacuums are the “dry” vacuums.  This term “dry” is a little ambiguous, because the vacuums will be able to move some liquid.  For instance, the liquid coating a chip or spills on the shop floor can easily be picked up with the dry vacuums.  We have a number of dry vacuums available:  The Chip Vac is a continuous duty vacuum used for general cleanup around machinery. The Chip Vac drum lid assembly can be used from drum to drum to aid in separating and recycling materials. Our Heavy Duty Dry Vac is best for applications vacuuming heavy materials, abrasive medias or longer distance (20′). And the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac is designed to provide protection from airborne particulate and is suited for dusty environments.

Exair-heavy-duty-HEPA-vacuum

To compare EXAIR products with other pneumatic vacuums, let’s look at the Chip Vac (40 SCFM at 80 PSIG) and the RDV above (19 SCFM at 80 PSIG). Combining the two vacuums you would require (59 SCFM at 80 PSIG. If you search long enough, you could find a pneumatic vacuum that is advertised as wet/dry, but this ability comes at a cost.  The most obvious cost is the upfront purchase price, which is consistently much higher than the combined cost of the (2) EXAIR units.  Also the units range in air use from 68 SCFM to 110 SCFM.  That is up to 86% more air required!

Let’s assume that you did run both constantly.  The wet/dry vac will cost you $0.14 extra an hour to run, assuming that your compressed air cost is $0.25 per 1,000 SCF.  That is really an unfair comparison to our products though, because we could have (2) vacuums operating at different locations in the plant accomplishing twice as much work.  Even still the (2) EXAIR units will save $810 per year with 250 working days in a year and 24 working hours in a day.

$810 per year may not sound like to much to you.  What if we change the scenario? How much air can you save? Let’s say you run a large wet/dry vacuum, which consumes 110 SCFM, everyday for 8 hours over 250 working days. The wet/dry vacuum will use 52,800 SCF per day or 13,200,000 SCF per year.  This compress air will cost you $3,300 just to compress that air. By comparison, the Chip Vac will only cost you $1,200 per year to run in compressed air.  Using the Chip Vac instead of the wet/dry vac, will save you $2,100 per year. in compressed air operating costs.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

Award Winning HEPA Vac

Continuing my series of EXAIR award winning products for 2014.  Plant Engineering’s readers voted the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac a silver award for Environmental Health. The HD HEPA Vac differs greatly from most of the EXAIR products.  We often improve a work environment by reducing noise level from compressed air blow offs or limiting the energy usage of a facility by conserving compressed air, but when EXAIR introduced the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac, we entered a new area of environmental health.

hepafam_collection

High Efficiency Particulate Air standards are set by the US Department of Energy. Originally, the standards were created to protect workers, the public and the environment from particulate that may be found in DOE’s nuclear facilities. (For more information on HEPA filtration consult DOE-STD-3020-2005.) The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac filter meets the HEPA standards to filter a minimum 99.97% at 0.3 micron level.  Each filter is tested in strict accordance with IEST-RP-CC-007. After testing the filtration, vacuum and ventilation companies discovered the added benefit of using HEPA filtration is to remove particulate that may inflame allergies or asthmatic symptoms. Pollen, pet dander, and dust are physically too large to pass through the HEPA filter. For instance, most pet dander is 5 microns and will become trapped inside the circuitous air passage route inside the HEPA filter. Also, HEPA filters will even filter airborne pathogens.  Engineering Toolbox list several nominal particle sizes to give you the idea of scope. By meeting these strict standards, EXAIR’s Heavy Duty HEPA Vac can be used in a whole new industry where HEPA filtration is required.

Tries to imitate the late Billy Mays

But wait there’s more!

We haven’t even talked about the HEAVY DUTY DRY VAC component of the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac.  The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac features the same hardened alloy construction of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac.  This alloy holds up to abrasive materials such as garnet, crushed glass, sand or hard materials like stainless steel chips, pipe plugs, or brass piping caps.  We tested the conveying power of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac, it moved 32 pounds per minute of steel shot blasting media, 146% percent more than a standard Chip Vac.  With all this vacuuming power, it still maintains a surprisingly quiet 82 dBA of sound level.

The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac would be the perfect item to clean out that clogged filtration system, or to clean up that spilled kitty litter that will clog up a standard electrical vacuum. It will not blow tiny particulate all over your shop and it can help protect your personnel from airborne particulate.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

EXAIR Products Help Clean a Sandblasting Room

I’m sure there are any number of things that you could do incorrectly running a blasting room, but I became familiar with one failure mode this week: Clean Up.

I don’t know much about blasting rooms, but I know folks usually say this when it’s over –  clean up! That is a phrase I have heard once or twice in my life. We had a customer call in this week, who ran large pieces, one at a time through his sand blasting room, and needed to clean up after each operation. He had used electrically powered industrial vacuum cleaners in the past, but they did not hold up. He had a cyclonic separator in place, but enough dust and debris passed through the separator and into the impellers to create a maintenance nightmare. The problem had gotten so bad that before calling us he was using a broom and scoop method. The clean up was taking longer than the process, which made him unable to meet their production schedule, when the vacuum was down.

EXAIR’s solution the Heavy Duty Dry Vac (HDDV), model 6397. The HD Dry Vac fits onto a 55 gallon drum and uses compressed air to create a powerful vacuum, capable of moving over 50 pounds of ceramic tumbling media per minute.  The 6397 comes with a drum, drum dolly, 20 feet of compressed air hose, heavy duty accessory kit, and 10 feet of static eliminating vacuum hose, which allows the HDDV to clean easily in a 25 foot radius. Large enough to reach every corner of the customer’s 25′ X 25′ room.

2HDDV_pr_jpg

I thought this would be great solution to the customer’s problem, but of course, the customer had one more wrinkle in his process.  His hopper for the blasting media was on the roof of his sand blasting room 12 feet in the air, and he needed to recycle the blasting media he collected. I can understand not wanting a new process to lift a 55 gallon drum up to the roof of his sand blasting booth after every part. Unfortunately, the HDDV, model 6397 would not be the best solution to vacuum and convey the blast media back into the hopper – but we do manufacture a solution, the EXAIR Line Vac.

The Heavy Duty Line Vac, model 150200, can easily transfer product up 12 feet in the air. After cleaning the floor of the facility, the customer setup a conveyance station with a 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac to move the material to the hopper in the top of the roof. We were able to reuse the cyclonic separator he had from his electric vacuum to contain the material and release the air that is moved through the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac.

After using the EXAIR product, his cleaning time greatly decreased  Also, the Spill Recovery kit that comes with every 6397 Premium Heavy Duty Drum Vac greatly reduced the wear and tear on the employees backs and knees.  Finally, he effectively recycled his blast material with the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac air operated conveyor system.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW