Not All Compressed Air Guns Are The Same

If you work in an industrial plant or manufacturing environment, chances are you use some type of compressed air gun for cleaning parts, work areas, etc. Many air guns purchased through large industrial suppliers are a common choice due to the cost of the gun but as the saying goes – “you get what you pay for”. These types of guns may be cheap to purchase but they are also made cheap and have parts that can break easily, like the trigger or nozzle. In many cases, the nozzles on these guns are also in violation of OSHA requirements, producing dangerous discharge pressures and loud noise levels, which can lead to costly fines or potentially deadly injuries.

EXAIR offers 5 different styles of Safety Air Guns that not only eliminate these concerns, but also provide a more efficient operation, which can reduce energy costs. All of our Safety Air Guns are fitted with our engineered Air Nozzles  which meet OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) for 30 PSI dead end pressure, as they provide a relief or safe path for the air to exit if the nozzle were to be blocked or pressed against an operator’s body so the exiting air pressure will never reach 30 PSIG. They are also engineered to entrain surrounding air across the profile of the nozzle, which produces a smoother airflow, ultimately reducing wind shear, resulting in much lower sound levels, meeting OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a).

 

 

The Precision Safety Air Gun body is made of a durable high impact, glass reinforced nylon, providing for a lightweight, ergonomic operation. These guns feature a curved extension, ideal for delivering a powerful stream of air in hard to reach areas, like clearing debris from drilled holes. All of the nozzles used with these units are either 316ss construction for durable, corrosion resistance or PEEK plastic for non-marring applications. The air inlet is 1/4 FNPT and there is a convenient hanger available for safe storage.

 

 

 

Our NEW VariBlast Compact Safety Air Guns are ideal for light to medium duty processes, featuring a variable flow trigger to achieve different force levels ranging from 2.0 ounces up to 1 pound, depending on the nozzle. The body is cast aluminum and there are (2) 1/4 FNPT air inlets available, 1 on the bottom and 1 on the back of the gun, as well as a storage hanger, for easy installation. Nozzles are available in zinc aluminum alloy, 303ss, 316ss and PEEK plastic. These guns are available with aluminum extensions from 6″ up to 72″.

 

 

The Soft Grip Safety Air Guns are commonly used in long-term use applications as they feature a comfortable grip and long trigger which helps to reduce hand and finger fatigue. The cast aluminum construction is well suited for more rugged environments and again, features a hanger hook. These guns can be fitted with aluminum, stainless steel or PEEK plastic to meet the demands of a variety of applications and are available with 6″ – 72″ aluminum extensions for extra reach or Flexible Stay Set Hoses , allowing the user to aim the airflow to a specific target area. The air inlets for these guns are going to be 1/4 FNPT.

 

 

 

EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns deliver higher force and flows than other air guns, as these units feature a 3/8 FNPT air inlet, which maximizes the compressed air flow to the engineered Super Air Nozzle. Like the Soft Grip, the durable cast aluminum body is designed for use in tough industrial processes, and the ergonomic and comfortable trigger are ideal for hours of use. Aluminum extension are available, again in lengths from 6″ up to 72″, but feature a larger diameter for optimal flow and superior durability.

 

The Precision, VariBlast, Soft Grip and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns are ALL available with an optional, polycarbonate Chip Shield to protect personnel from flying chips and debris, further meeting OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) for the safe use of compressed air.

 

Lastly we offer our Super Blast Safety Air Guns. The Super Blast Safety Air Guns are ideal for wide area blowoff, cooling or drying a part, as well as long distances. They feature a comfortable foam grip and spring loaded valve that will shut off the airflow if the gun is dropped. These units use our larger Super Air Nozzles and Super Air Nozzle Clusters, providing forces levels from 3.2 lbs. up to 23 lbs. Depending on which nozzle is fitted on the assembly, air inlets will range from 3/8 FNPT up to 1-1/4 FNPT. Aluminum extensions are available in 36″ or 72″ lengths.

 

 

For help selecting the best product to fit your particular application, please contact one of our application engineers for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

EXAIR Leads the Way with Standards and Certifications

For over 34 years, EXAIR has been the industry leader in providing Intelligent Compressed Air Products to the industrial marketplace. While much of our focus is to ensure our products are engineered to provide optimal performance, we are also dedicated to manufacturing products that meet a wide range of standards and directives to promote safety in relation to plant personnel.

 

For instance, all of our compressed air operated products meet or exceed OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b), requiring that the outlet pressure of an open pipe, nozzle, air gun, etc., when used for cleaning purposes, must remain below 30 PSI when dead-ended against the skin, as well as Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) as a way to protect workers from job related injuries related to dangerous sound levels of 90 dBA and higher.

 

 


Many of our products are also CE Compliant, meeting the mandatory requirements for products intended to be sold in the European Economic Area or “EEA”. For example our Electronic Flow Control and Electronic Temperature Control (ETC) meet the EU (European Union) Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC.

 

 

EXAIR electrically powered devices, like our Static Eliminators and Digital Flowmeters for example, comply with the “Restriction of Hazardous Substances” or RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU, including the amendment outlined in the European Commission decision L 214/65.

 

 

We are also committed to providing material that supports the conflict mineral free rule to help aid in the relief of illegal trade of exotic materials, like tungsten, gold, tin and tantalum in the DRC region. Using the CMRT 4.20 template, we document our supply resources to ensure we provide conflict free products, as outlined in Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

 

Lastly, the European Union introduced the REACH program – Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, as a method to register chemical substances being imported into the EU to protect people and the environment, per Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 Title I, Article 3.  Also noted in the program, Title II, Article 7, they state that any product with a substance intended to be released under normal operating conditions, must be registered for quantities totaling more than 1 metric ton per year. Since EXAIR products do not intentionally release or contain any such substances, registration to meet the program is not required.

 

If you have any questions about any of these Standards or Directives or about which EXAIR products comply, please feel free to contact an application engineer for assistance. We’d be happy to help!

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Engineered Air Nozzles Reduce Noise Levels and Outlet Pressure, Meeting OSHA Requirements

“My operators are complaining that our air guns are too loud, how can you help me?” – is a very common inquiry we receive here at EXAIR on almost a daily basis. Many open end blowoffs or air guns fitted with nozzles that have cross drilled relief holes create high pitch wind shear, resulting in excessive noise levels, sometimes exceeding 100+ dBA. This not only is a safety concern but also an OSHA violation.

Variety of Air Nozzles that produce dangerously loud noise levels

Loud noises and the length of exposure time can lead to significant health concerns such as long term hearing loss, increased stress levels and potential injury due to lack of concentration. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) as a way to protect workers from job related injuries associated to potentially dangerous sound levels. Per the Standard, at 90 dBA an operator is limited to a maximum of 8 hours of constant exposure. As noise levels increase, the allowable exposure time decreases, in some cases slowing production, costing a company on their bottom line.

 

EXAIR’s Air Nozzles are engineered so they entrain surrounding air across the profile of the nozzle, which produces a smoother airflow, ultimately reducing wind shear, resulting in much lower sound levels, meeting the OSHA Standard.

Illustration showing the air travel of our Super Air Nozzles

 

In addition, our Air Nozzles also meet the OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) for 30 PSI dead end pressure. All of our engineered Air Nozzles provide a relief or a safe path for the air to exit if the nozzle were to be blocked or pressed against an operator’s body so the exiting air pressure will never reach 30 PSIG.

All of EXAIR’s Air Nozzles are available with standard NPT threads to easily adapt to existing air guns. We also off our full line of Safety Air Guns which are fitted with our engineered nozzles, providing an “off-the-shelf” OSHA compliant solution. For help selecting the best product to replace your existing device or if you have a new application you would like to discuss, give us a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Explanation of OSHA Standard 1910.242(b)

Open air lines and homemade blow offs violate OSHA standard 1910.242(b) because of harmful dead end pressures. In 1972, OSHA established Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) requiring that the outlet pressure of an open pipe, nozzle, air gun, etc., when used for cleaning purposes, must remain below 30 PSI with the intent to protect workers from serious injury. They determined that when dead-ended against the skin, if the outlet pressure reached 30 PSI 0r higher,  it posed a risk of entering the bloodstream through the skin. This is commonly referred to as an air embolism – a serious condition which can be life threatening. Once air has entered the bloodstream, it can restrict the free movement of blood throughout the body, disrupting normal heart function, leading to abnormal heart rhythm, possible lung or brain damage, cardiac arrest, stroke or possible death.

OSHA explains that you can use compressed air for cleaning purposes, as long as the outlet or source is fitted with some type of relief device that drops the outlet pressure to below 30 PSI if dead ended. There are basically two ways to go about gaining compliance. The first is to regulate the operating supply pressure to less than 30 PSI, assuring that the outlet pressure doesn’t exceed the threshold. While this does comply with the Standard, it can negatively affect the performance by reducing the strength of the outlet flow, limiting the usefulness of the blowoff device.

The other method is to use some type of nozzle which includes a pressure reducer or a relief device which will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 PSI if the nozzle is dead ended.

For example, EXAIR engineered air nozzles are designed so the outlet holes cannot be blocked directly. Any potential obstruction of the outlet air holes results in the air having an alternative exit path to avoid injury to operators and personnel.

sag-osha-compliant

With our Super Air Nozzles, the air exits through a series of jets, recessed behind an array fins so the exhausting airflow can never be blocked.

With the design of our Super Air Knife, the cap overlaps the body, leaving a gap on both sides of the knife, allowing the exhausting air to safely vent.

osha-sak

Picture of the Super Air Knife, showing how the cap overlaps the body and cannot be blocked, providing a safe exit path.

ALL of EXAIR‘s engineered products incorporate these principles, providing some type of relief, allowing for the air to safely vent well below the 30 PSI requirement, meeting and in many cases, exceeding the OSHA Standard.

To discuss how EXAIR can help you gain OSHA compliance to improve operator safety, avoid costly fines and improve overall efficiency, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

EXAIR Air Guns Increase Safety And Reduce Air Use

Many times we receive calls from customers that fall right in line with our focus here at EXAIR  – providing Intelligent Compressed Air Products that improve overall safety for operators and plant personnel in industrial operations as well as reduce compressed air usage, ultimately lowering energy costs. Such was the case last week when I received an inquiry from a customer who was looking for a handheld device that could easily attach to their existing air hose to replace the loud and inefficient homemade air nozzles they are currently using to blow off steel chips and coolant from their saws and drills. Their current set up includes a combination of smashed air guns, similar to the one shown below, some small open tubes and cheap plastic nozzles. The blowoffs were working but their operators were starting to complain about excessive noise during operation and notice the compressor in the area was running continuously during the cleaning cycle. Their first proposed solution was to lower the supply pressure which did lower the sound level and air usage somewhat, but now the exiting airflow wasn’t powerful enough to clear the debris. After doing an internet search they decided to reach out to EXAIR for assistance.

crushed-gun

Crushed guns create high pitch wind shear and provide no relief path for the air to exit safely

All of the Safety Air Guns we offer utilize our Air Nozzles which are engineered to meet or exceed OSHA Standard CFR 29 – 1910.95(a) for allowable noise exposure levels. As the Standard reads, when employees are subjected to sounds in excess of 90 dBA, some type of engineered controls should be used to lower the sound to a permissible level. Prolonged exposure to excessive noise can result in serious health issues, like tinnitus or a constant ringing of the ears, as well as stress and reduced productivity. In addition, our engineered Air Nozzles cannot be dead ended, meeting OSHA Standard 1910.242(b). With the design of our Air Nozzles, there is always a safe path for the air to exit so the outlet pressure will not reach 30 PSIG if the nozzle exhaust were to be blocked or pressed against the skin.  Due to this design, our units are safe to operate at higher pressure, resulting in a high velocity, forceful airflow.

1210

Model 1210 – Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

For this application, I recommended the customer use our Model # 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. This particular unit incorporates our Model # 1100 Super Air Nozzle which produces a low sound level of 74 dBA, well within the OSHA guidelines, and consumes only 14 SCFM @ 80 PSIG while having the necessary power to solve their application.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Compressed Air Gun’s Many Forms Solve Many Problems

Have you just glanced around your manufacturing plant? You usually always see either the “curly” yellow hose or a red rubber hose with an air gun attached to it.  They hang at work stations, machines, packaging areas, and even in obscure places.  The reason that I bring this up is for safety reasons.

Recently we had a medium-sized manufacturing plant that was audited by OSHA. One of the first violations that OSHA found was with their compressed air guns with the typical brass pipe with the hole going through the side (one of the most typical types of nozzle).  It violated code 29 CFR 1910.65(a) for maximum allowable noise exposure.  The company had to make a choice to either purchase hearing protection for the operators or to find an alternative product.  They contacted us because we could reduce their noise level.  I suggested a Super Air Nozzle, model 1100 for their application.  When they attached our Super Air Nozzle into their air gun, they quickly heard the difference with the low noise.  With the added benefits of quality, high force, and meeting all the safety requirements, they decided to purchase the nozzles with our Safety Air Guns.  They ordered 90 pieces of our Soft Grip Safety Air Gun with Chip Shield, model 1210-CS.  This took care of the OSHA violation, and the operators were very happy with the product.

Model 1210-CS

Model 1210-CS

Another company was using compressed air with a ¼ turn valve attached to a 36” (91 cm) copper tubing. They used this device to reach into areas to blow off chips.  The Safety Compliance Officer was familiar with OSHA 29CFR 1910.242(b).  The regulation references chip shields and using pressures below 30 psig (2 bar).  Compressed air can enter the blood stream through the skin with pressures above 30 psig (2 bar) in a dead-end occurrence.  To keep his workers safe, he mandated a maximum supply line pressure of 30 psig (2 bar) throughout the plant.  This increased the cleanup time for an operation as the force was reduced greatly.  The Safety Compliance Officer contacted us about our Safety Air Guns.  I explained that with our nozzles, they are engineered to operate at higher supply line pressures and still be below the dead-end pressure requirement of 30 psig (2 bar).  With our design, it keeps the surface of your skin from blocking the air openings, like you can do with a copper tubing.  They ordered 25 pieces of our Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun with a 36” (91 cm) extension and Chip Shield, model 1310-36-CS.  The operators were happy with the durability of the gun and with the ability to increase the air pressure for faster cleaning.  The Safety Compliance Officer was happy to meet the OSHA standard and to keep his workers safe.

Model 1310-36-CS

Model 1310-36-CS

EXAIR offers a variety of different types of nozzles and Safety Air Guns to fit the requirements of your applications. All of our nozzles are safe, quiet, and powerful.  We offer them in different materials from aluminum/zinc, stainless steel, and PEEK.  They are designed to entrain ambient air to save compressed air and money.  As a note, an air gun is only as good as the nozzle it is using.  Many air guns come with a very inexpensive brand of nozzle.  They are typically very loud and very inefficient.  I always like to use the analogy of a paint sprayer.  No matter how good the spray gun is, if you have a poor nozzle, you will end up with many flaws in your paint.  The same can be said with compressed air guns.

To keep your company compliant and safe, you can always contact an Application Engineers to help pick the correct product for you.

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

OSHA Violation?

You may have had a visit from OSHA (or other regulating authority) in the past. We have had them here and we also speak to customers daily who have had the pleasure. Typically our customers need to address a pressure or noise violation, and need help finding the right product to get them right with OSHA.

Recently, I spoke with a customer that was visited by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).   If you do not know, OSHA is a federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health.   In order to protect workers, they can enforce fines and penalties for violations.  This customer had a very common violation with their compressed air guns.  They were too loud, and they may not meet the dead-end pressure requirement.  Many companies will modify their compressed air guns to better fit their application.  The problem occurs when they modify them to the point that the products no longer meet the OSHA standards.  You have to make sure that you meet 29CFR Part 10910.95 (a), which addresses the maximum allowable noise exposure your personnel can experience, and 29CFR Part 1910.242(b) which addresses the maximum pressure allowable at the outlet of an air product.

My customer sent me a picture of the compressed air gun that they were currently using (shown below).  The problem was the noise level was too high.  With this “open pipe” design of a nozzle, the noise level was exceeding 100 dBA.  This was a major concern.  The number of hours that an operator used this noisy air gun exceeded the OSHA exposure limit.  The customer called EXAIR because he needed to replace his existing air guns with quiet safety air guns.  The main component of an air gun is the nozzle.  It is like buying a great paint gun, and if the spray nozzle is cheap, you cannot lay a nice spray pattern of paint.

Compressed Air Gun

Compressed Air Gun which produced a noise violation. 

In his application, he needed 6” (152mm) to reach into and around his product.  I suggested a model 1310-6 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun with a 6” extension.  With the model 1100 Super Air Nozzle attached, the noise level was decreased to 74 dBA, and if checked by OSHA, it will not exceed the 30 PSIG pressure standard either.  With the unique design of the nozzle, it entrains ambient air to help create a powerful force to remove the chips.  With the 1310-6 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, the customer was happy and OSHA was happy.

1310 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun

1310 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, does not produce a noise violation. 

We are all individually in charge of safety.  To help meet the OSHA standards, EXAIR has a variety of Safety Air Guns and nozzles to make your operation quiet and safe.   It can become very costly if you are in OSHA violation.  If you need help in determining which product would best fit your application, you can contact us at EXAIR at 800-903-9247 and speak to one of the Application Engineers.

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

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