Inexpensive air guns can be picked up just about anywhere, and you generally get what you pay for. Most will be very noisy and waste lots of compressed air. And many will be unsafe, violating two of OSHA’s standards put in place to protect worker safety. The first is Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) which sets limits to the maximum noise exposure, and the second is Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) which says that the nozzle cannot be dead-ended, or exceed a 30 PSIG pressure limit.
These guns may seem like a perfect fit for a handheld blowoff application. The truth is, the cost saved up front will easily be paid throughout the cost of ownership. This is due to the lack of an engineered nozzle which meets and exceeds the OSHA standards mentioned above. The “cheap” guns often have a cross drilled hole to meet or exceed the OSHA standard for dead-end pressure. While this may be true, it causes a large wind sheer which escalates noise levels to well over the allowable noise level exposure set by OSHA. These tips sometimes offer large force outputs because they are equivalent to an open pipe. We have publicized numerous times about how an open pipe blow off does not permit pressure to be utilized all the way to the point of blowoff, and is also a waste of energy.
In order to determine how much compressed air your current blow guns utilize, the level of noise they product, and the sound level they produce, consider taking advantage of the EXAIR Efficiency Lab. The Efficiency Lab is a free service that you can read more about here.
An EXAIR Safety Air Gun is engineered and designed to comply both of the OSHA standards mentioned above, ensuring safe operation for company personnel. On top of the safety designed into the guns, we also ensure all of our guns are efficient by offering only engineered nozzles on them.
EXAIR offers (4) types of Safety Air Guns – the VariBlast, the Soft Grip, the Heavy Duty, and the Super Blast. Each type of Safety Air Gun is offered with a plethora of nozzles, as well as varying length extensions, with or without the Chip Shield.
We invite you to try out an EXAIR Safety Air Gun, and get the free 1″ Wide Flat Super Air Nozzle as a bonus. Click here for more details about this special promotional offer.
From August 1st to September 30th, 2018, EXAIR will be giving away a 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle with the purchase of any promotional VariBlast, Soft Grip, or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun. EXAIR is stressing the importance of safety in the workplace with the EXAIR Safety Air Guns as well as the versatility of the different types of EXAIR Super Air Nozzles.
This promotional item, the model 1126 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle, has a patented shim to blow a 1” wide stream of air to clean surfaces quickly and efficiently and is a $45.00 USD value. For more details on the Promotion, click on the photo/link above. For more information about the Flat Super Air Nozzles, click HERE.
Inexpensive air guns can be purchased just about anywhere- online, via catalogs, and through industrial supply companies. Typical quality is less than ideal – broken triggers, leaky valves – a short lifespan in an industrial setting are merely a few of the issues observed. Most are loud and inefficient – they just blow large amounts of compressed air, and at noise levels that violate OSHA requirements. Some may even generate dangerous dead end pressure situations that that can result in serious or fatal injuries if blocked.
EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns have been engineered and designed to eliminate these issues. They are durable for use in industrial situations and comfortable to use for extended periods of time. With an EXAIR engineered air nozzle, each model provides top performance by entraining large volumes of surrounding air into the air-stream. Operation is assured to be safe along with low compressed air consumption and noise levels. Due to the design, the airflow that exits the nozzle cannot be blocked, as required by OSHA Standard 29 CPR 1910.242(b).
The VariBlast style of safety air gun offers variable force based on the range of trigger pull. Force can be varies, form a light breeze, to full force maximum output. This cast aluminum air gun can be fitted with any of the EXAIR 1/8 NPT engineered air nozzles.
The Soft Grip style of safety air gun has a durable cats aluminum body suited for rugged, industrial use. The ergonomic design has a soft vinyl cover, a large trigger for easy operation, and a hanger hook for easy storage.
The Heavy Duty style of safety air gun is powerful with a durable aluminum cast body and ergonomic composite rubber grip, best suited for rugged industrial environments. Hours of fatigue free operation are possible.
With all of the Safety Air Guns styles, Chip Shields and Extension Pipes are available, from 6″ to 72″ in length.
With many nozzle options, from a whisper quiet 58 dBA and 2.5 SCFM of flow up to 60 SCFM and 87 dBA (still below the OSHA 8 hour noise level threshold) there is a model that will fit practically any application. Application Engineers are available by phone, email, and chat to review your specific blow off needs, and help to select the best possible solution available.
We invite to you to try out an EXAIR Safety Air Gun, and get the free 1″ Wide Flat Super Air Nozzle as a bonus.
Keeping noise levels in check and at safe levels is very important to ensure employee safety and well being. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) through standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a) has studied the situation and set Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure limits in Hours per Day based on the Sound Level, in dBA, of exposure.
For existing processes, a Digital Sound Meter is a valuable tool to measure the sound level to ensure that the source of loud noises can be quickly identified and isolated for immediate corrective action.
For new processes, or changes to an existing process, it is important to estimate the sound level prior to installation and start-up, so that precautions can be taken as needed.
For example, let’s say we are going to add a blow off station to clean off a part on a conveyor to improve the process and increase the throughput. A typical set-up might be a 12″ Super Air Knife (model 110012) blowing off the top and a pair of Super Air Nozzles (model 1100) to blow off the sides.
If we look at the performance data for the (2) different blow off devices, we find that the Super Air Knife is rated at 69 dBA and the nozzles at 74 dBA, when operated at 80 PSIG of compressed air supply.
When asked, “what is the sound level for (1) of the knives, and (2) of the nozzles” a little Acoustic Engineering is in order. The decibel scale is logarithmic, and determining the total sound level when all (3) devices are in operation is not as easy as adding up the three sound level values (which would equal 218 dBA, way off the charts!). Thankfully, both the actual sound level and the numerical value are determined another way. I’ll spare you a lot of the math but the equation is as below.
… where SL1, SL2, SL3, … are the sound levels in dBA of the each sound makers, for as many that are being combined (in our example SL1 = 69, SL2 = 74 and SL3 = 74)
Plugging in the numbers into the equation, the combined sound level works out to be a quiet 77.65 dBA — well within the OSHA limit for exposure for a full 8 hour period.
Early one morning I was on a flight to the West coast to start up a system that I had designed and built for a large food producer. After the flight attendants had passed out our first beverage and snack I struck up a conversation with the passenger next to me. We engaged in the typical banter about how hilarious it is to watch some passengers try to stuff an oversized bag into the overhead compartment and ultimately have to check it.
I then asked the reason for her trip and she explained that she worked for OSHA and had conducted a study on flight crew safety and was in route to give her report on the findings. I was naturally intrigued and asked her what the risks were for a flight crew other than the obvious perils of being 35,000 Ft. above the ground for long periods of time.
Her reply was radiation exposure from the sun! I had never considered that flight crews spend long periods of time above the thickest layer of our atmosphere. Flight crews are exposed to significantly greater amounts of radiation compared to us folks who are on the ground more and consequently develop certain health conditions at a higher rate than the general population.
This standard is concerned with the level of noise that personnel are exposed to over a given period of time. Often times in plants compressed air noise exceeds the OSHA noise level requirements which unfortunately results in hearing loss. Noisy air blow-offs can produce noise in excess of 100 dBA. Studies have proven that noise levels that are sustained for varying periods of time can ultimately result in permanent hearing loss. Similar to the way flight crews are exposed to the radiation, some employess may not realize they are being exposed to a harmful level of noise from compressed air usage. This is why OSHA generated the standard that has allowable limits for sustained noise levels in order to mitigate the risks for personnel in the area. Utilizing EXAIR Super Air Nozzles the noise can be reduced to only 74 dBA. EXAIREngineered Air Nozzles reduce the noise without losing the hard hitting force.
EXAIR also meets OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) for “Dead End Pressure”. This standard addresses how dangerous compressed air can be when the outlet pressure of a hole, hose or open pipe is higher than 30 PSIG (2 Bar). If the opening is blocked (dead-ended) into any part of the body, air could enter the bloodstream through the skin. This may result in serious injury. All EXAIR Nozzles and Jets are designed for safety and can’t be dead-ended into the skin therefore can be safely operated above the 30 PSIG (2 Bar) limit.
If you would like to discuss noise levels, dead end pressure or any of EXAIR’s engineered solutions, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.
For many blowoff applications, stronger isn’t necessarily better. For applications and processes where a light, but effective blast of air is needed for cleaning and drying, the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun with the Atto, Pico, or Nano nozzle fits the bill. The smallest of the EXAIR engineered Super Air Nozzle family, the Atto, Pico, and Nano have been designed to provide the smallest, most precise blowoff possible. The focused airflow pattern allows for very accurate control and placement of the air stream. The nozzles are available in both Type 316 Stainless Steel and PEEK plastic (useful for harsh environments, and is non-marring)
The new VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun is a great choice for putting the power and performance of the nozzle into a small and lightweight air gun. Designed with a variable flow trigger, the airflow can be throttled from a whisper to full force, simply by varying the trigger pull distance.
The Atto, Pico, and Nano nozzles use very little compressed air and are extremely quiet, easily meeting OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) for Noise Exposure. The design incorporates engineered solutions for safety and can be supplied with higher pressure compressed air and meet OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b), relating to dead end pressure requirements.
The table below provides performance data, including the compressed air consumption, force, and sound level for the various configurations.
Note that the VariBlast air guns can be had with extensions from 6″ to 72″ and chip shields to meet the performance and safety needs of any application.
The Atto, Pico and Nano Nozzles can also be configured to work with the Soft Grip style of Safety Air Gun. Consult an Application Engineer for assistance in choosing.
If you have any questions about the Atto, Pico, or Nano nozzles, the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun, or any EXAIR compressed air product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
A few weeks ago, we posted a blog discussing how artificial demand and leaks can lead to poor performance and expensive waste. Today, I’d like to review how following a few simple steps can help optimize your current compressed air system and reduce compressed air usage.
The first step you want to consider is measuring the air usage in the system. To do this, you want to start at the compressor and check individual leads to each drop point to a blowoff device, record your findings to track the demand. By measuring your compressed air usage, you can locate the source of high usage areas and monitor the usage on each leg of the system. If the demand exceeds the supply, there is potential for problems to arise, such as lowered pressure and force from compressed air operated devices leading to irregular performance.
EXAIR’s Digital Flowmeters are designed to measure flow continuously and accurately to give you real-time flow measurements of your compressed air system to help identify problems areas.
Step 2 is to locate the source of waste. Again, compressed air leaks can result in a waste of up to 30% of a facility’s compressor output. A compressed air leak detection and repair program can save a facility this wasted air. Implementing such a program can be used as a way for a facility to “find” additional air compressor capacity for new projects. Whenever a leak occurs, it will generate an ultrasonic noise.
Our Ultrasonic Leak Detector is designed to locate the source of ultrasonic sound emissions up to 20’ away. These ultrasonic sound emissions are converted to a range that can be heard by humans. The sound is 32 times lower in frequency than the sound being received, making the inaudible leaks, audible through the included headphones and the LED display gives a visual representation of the leak.
The 3rd step involves finding the source of noisy and wasteful blowoffs, like open pipes or homemade blowoffs, and replacing them with an energy efficient, engineered solution. By replacing these devices, you are not only reducing the amount of waste but also improving operator safety by complying with OSHA safety requirements.
EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter is an easy to use instrument that measures and monitors the sound level pressure in a wide variety of industrial environments. The source of loud noises can be quickly identified so that corrective measures can be taken to keep sound levels at or below OSHA maximum allowable exposure limits.
The easiest way to reduce compressed air usage and save on operating expense is to turn off the compressed air to a device when it isn’t needed, step 4 in the process. Not only will this save money, in many cases, it can also simplify a process for the operator.
A simple manual ball valve and a responsible operator can provide savings at every opportunity to shut down the air flow.
For automated solutions, a solenoid valve can be operated from a machine’s control. For example, if the machine is off, or a conveyor has stopped – close the solenoid valve and save the air.
A foot pedal valve offers a hands free solution to activate an air operated device only when needed, such as being implemented in an operator’s work station.
For even more control, you can use a device like our EFC or Electronic Flow Control. This helps minimize compressed air usage by incorporating a programmable timing controlled (0.10 seconds to 120 hours) photoelectric sensor to turn off the compressed air supply when there are no parts present. It is suited for NEMA 4 environments and can be easily wired for 100-240VAC.
Step 5, intermediate storage. Some applications require an intermittent demand for a high volume of compressed air. By installing a receiver tank near the point of high demand, there is an additional supply of compressed air available for a short duration. This will help eliminate fluctuations in pressure and volume.
EXAIR offers a 60 gallon, ASME approved vertical steel tank with mounting feet for easy installation near high demand processes.
Many pneumatic product manufacturers have a certain set of specifications regarding performance at stated input pressures. In many applications, or in the case of using a homemade blowoff device like open pipe, these wouldn’t necessarily require the full rated performance of the device or full line pressure. Controlling the air pressure at the point-of-use device will help to minimize air consumption and waste, step 6.
By simply installing a pressure regulator on the supply side, you can start off at a low pressure setting and increase the pressure until the desired result is achieved. Not only will this help to conserve energy by only using the amount of air required for the application, it also allows you to fine tune the performance of the point-of-use device to match the application requirements.
If you have any questions, please contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247.
I recently worked with a customer who was looking to improve the cleaning process on the inside of one of their screw augers. They were currently using a couple of 1/4″ pipes as air wands to clean the left over powder on the auger blades and direct it toward a chute at the bottom which fed into another auger used for recovery. While the setup worked somewhat, they were concerned with the amount of air they were using as well as the OSHA safety concerns associated to using open ended pipes and excessive noise levels.
The customer was able to send a sketch of their current setup and after some further conversations, I recommended our Model # 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle and our Model # 9053 1/4″ NPT Swivel Fitting. The 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle produces a 2″ wide, high velocity laminar airflow and uses only 21.8 SCFM (80 PSIG) while maintaining a low sound level of only 77 dBA. The Swivel Fitting allows for 50 degrees of movement, so they can achieve the best angle to direct the air to the critical areas.
All of our Air Nozzles are engineered to meet or exceed OSHA Standard 1910.24(b) for 30 PSIG dead end pressure, they cannot be dead-ended, there is always a path for the air to safely exit so the outlet pressure will never reach 30 PSIG. In addition, our products are going to meet the OSHA Standard CFR 29 – 1910.95(a) for allowable noise exposure levels as well.
If you are looking to reduce air consumption and noise while improving operator safety, give us a call at 800-903-9247 for assistance.