How Do I Estimate The Cost Of My Compressed Air?

Saving Money and Compressed Air

One of the best features of EXAIR products is the engineering behind the designs.  For example, our nozzles are designed to generate a maximum force possible per CFM of compressed air.  This means that the compressed air consumed by the device is at its maximum possible efficiency, which in turn reduces the compressed air demand in an application, reducing the cost of the solution.

But, how do you determine the cost of a compressed air driven product?

Step 1 – Quantify flow

The first step to determine compressed air cost is to quantify the flow rate of the product.  Most pneumatic equipment will have a spec sheet which you can reference to determine air consumption, but open pipe blowoffs and drilled holes won’t provide this type of information.  In those cases, or in any case where the compressed air flow is unknown or questionable, a compressed air flow meter can be used.  (We have Digital Flowmeters for use on compressed air piping, with or without data logging capability, and with serial or wireless communication.)

Step 2 – Calculate flow over time

Once the flow rate is known, it’s time to determine flow rates per day/week/month/year.  To do so, we will perform a bit of short and easy math.  What we will do, is use the known flow rate of the device, and multiply this by the total time in operation to determine daily, weekly, monthly, and annual usage rates.  For example:

A 1/8” open pipe blowoff will consume 70 SCFM.  In an 8 hour shift there are 480 minutes, resulting in a total consumption of 33,600 SCFM per 8 hour shift.

Step 3 – Determine cost

With a quantified flow rate, we can now determine the cost.  Many facilities will know the cost of their compressed air per CFM, but for those which don’t, a cost of ($0.25/1000 standard cubic feet) can be used.  This value is then multiplied by the total compressed air consumption from above, to give a quantified dollar amount to the compressed air driven device.

Using the flow rate from above:

If (1) shift is run per day, 5 days per week and 52 weeks per year, this open pipe blowoff will have an annual cost of $2,184.00.

Step 4 – Compare

At this point we know the real cost of the device.  The benefit to quantifying these flow rates, is when making a comparison to an alternative such as an engineered solution.  For example, if we were to replace the open pipe blowoff reference above with an EXAIR 1010SS 1/8” NPT nozzle, the compressed air demand would drop to 13 SCFM, yielding the following flow rates and costs:

If (1) shift is run per day, 5 days per week and 52 weeks per year, this open pipe blowoff will have an annual cost of $405.60.

Comparing these two solutions on an annual basis yields a difference of $1,778.40.  This means an air savings which correlates to $1,778.40 per year – just by replacing ONE open pipe blowoff with an engineered solution.  Replacing multiple open pipe blowoffs will yield repeat savings.

The 1010SS EXAIR Micro Air Nozzle

Determining the cost of a compressed air driven device can clarify the impact of a truly engineered solution.  If you have an interest in determining the cost of the compressed air devices in your facility, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help.

 

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Compressed Air Filtration – Particulate, Coalescing, and Adsorption Types

Compressed air systems will contain contaminants that can lead to issues and increased costs through contamination of product, damage to the air operated devices, and air line clogging and restriction. Proper air preparation is critical to optimizing performance throughout the plant operations.

Because there are different types of contaminants, including solid particles, liquid water, and vapors of water and oil, there are different methods of filtration, each best suited for maximum efficiency in contaminant removal.

Particulate Filters – The compressed air flows from outside to inside of the filter element. The compressed air first passes through a baffle arrangement which causes centrifugal separation of the largest particles and liquid drops (but not liquid vapors), and then the air passes through the filter element.  The filter element is usually a sintered material such as bronze.  The filter elements are inexpensive and easy to replace. Filtration down to 40-5 micron is possible.

9001

Particulate Type Filter with Sintered Bronze Element

Coalescing Filters – This type operates differently from the particulate type.  The compressed air flows from inside to outside through a coalescing media. The very fine water and oil aerosols come into contact with fibers in the filter media, and as they collect, they coalesce (combine) to form larger droplets towards the outside of the filter element. When the droplet size is enough the drops fall off and collect at the bottom of the filter housing.  The filter element is typically made up of some type glass fibers.  The coalescing filter elements are also relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. Filtration down to 0.01 micron at 99.999% efficiency is possible.

9005

Coalescing Type Filter with Borosilicate Glass Fiber Element

Adsorption Filters – In this type of filtration, activated carbon is typically used, and the finest oil vapors, hydrocarbon residues, and odors can be be removed.  The mechanism of filtration is that the molecules of the gas or liquid adhere to the surface of the activated carbon.  This is usually the final stage of filtration, and is only required for certain applications where the product would be affected such as blow molding or food processing.

When you work with us in selecting an EXAIR product, such as a Super Air Knife, Super Air Amplifier, or Vortex Tube, your application engineer can recommend the appropriate type of filtration needed to keep the EXAIR product operating at maximum efficiency with minimal disruption due to contaminant build up and unnecessary cleaning.

If you have questions regarding compressed air filtration or any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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The Power of Optimization

When you take your car into the service shop for an oil change, you notice that they will check all the fluids, air filter, the belt, tire pressure, etc.  The reason that they do this is twofold.  They want to make sure that your car will not run into any potential safety problems and to get the maximum performance from your vehicle.

EXAIR has been in the forefront of selling efficient, safe, and effective products since 1983.  In that time, we wanted to become more than a manufacturer.  We wanted to also provide a way to improve your compressed air system.  We developed this into our Optimization product line.   By design, these products are also twofold.  First, it shows the importance of saving compressed air, improving safety and refining processes.  Second, it helps to improve the performance of your compressed air system to get the most out of it.   I am going to discuss a few points of each product below:

Electronic Flow Control

Electronic Flow Control:  The EFC is designed to save compressed air.  If there are any time gaps in a blowing or cooling application, then we should turn off the compressed air.  The EFC is a miniature timing PLC that uses a photoelectric sensor to turn off the compressed air.  By using less compressed air, you will be able to save a bunch of money.  This is why the light bulb in your refrigerator goes off when the door is closed (or does it?).

Digital Sound Level Meter

Digital Sound Level Meter:  This device is used for measuring sound level.  For safety reasons, OSHA sets a decibel ratings for work environments.  The Digital Sound Level Meter is calibrated to a NIST standard to accurately measure noise level.  If you have poor nozzles on your air guns or open pipes for blow-offs, you could be violating the OSHA standard 29CFR 1910.95(a), which will result in fines.  EXAIR products are designed to meet this standard.

Ultrasonic Leak Detector

Ultrasonic Leak Detector (ULD):   Many compressed air systems have leaks.  If they go unnoticed, this will affect the overall capacity of the compressed air system as well as costing a lot of money.  Leaks can account for one-third of your compressed air output.  The ULD can find these leaks to optimize your system and to improve the “health” of your compressor.

Digital Flowmeter

Digital Flowmeter (DFM):  If you can measure flow, then you can find many ways to optimize.  The DFM is able to show and record the amount of flow that you are using in your compressed air system.  You can also use the Digital Flowmeters to find leaks, diagnose pneumatic problems, and use the recorded information for preventative maintenance.  In comparing to an open pipes or competitive products, you can easily see the air savings with EXAIR products and easily determine the payback period (which is generally in weeks).  EXAIR does offer options that are wireless, serial, or USB type of recording, so, you can continuously monitor your compressed air system 24/7.

With the Optimization products, it can “service” your compressed air system; so that, you can get the most from it.  It can save you money, make your system safe, and keep things pneumatically maintained.  If you would like discuss one or more of these products, you can contact an EXAIR Application Engineer for more details.

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

PEEK Super Air Nozzles Resist Corrosion; Won’t Scratch Sensitive Surfaces

Because they might be needed in some pretty aggressive environments, EXAIR offers many of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products in a variety of materials. One particular material of construction, however, has two distinct benefits. PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone, for those of us who ruined the grading curve in CHEM102) plastic offers not only superior chemical corrosion resistance; it’s also non-marring. Since EXAIR introduced the first PEEK Super Air Nozzle in 2005, they’ve been specified all over the world; sometimes for their corrosion resistance; other times so they won’t mar or scratch sensitive surfaces…and every once in a while, for both.

I recently had the pleasure of discussing blow off applications with the production manager of a large anodizing & plating company. The chemicals used in these processes are extremely corrosive, and the equipment used in those areas has to be made of something that’ll handle it. PEEK plastic is just such a material. Also, once they’ve treated their customers’ parts, they need to handle them with care…they’re getting paid a premium to provide nice, shiny parts with a perfect finish. When they’re blowing them off, they need to use something that won’t scratch up the surface if the operator makes incidental contact with the blow off tip. Again, PEEK plastic is just such a material.  Since their existing blow offs were fitted to 1/8 NPT connections, they chose the Model 1102-PEEK Mini Super Air Nozzle.

EXAIR’s PEEK Super Air Nozzles can be mounted in place or on a Safety Air Gun, depending on your needs.

Corrosion resistant and non-marring…EXAIR offers our PEEK Super Air Nozzles in six sizes, from the Atto (M4x0.5 threads; 2.5 SCFM; 2 oz force applied) to our High Force Model 1104-PEEK (3/8 NPT threads; 35 SCFM; 1.9 lbs force applied) for an incredibly diverse range of applications.

If you’d like to discuss what material(s) of construction your application(s) require, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Won’t Keep You Waiting For Anything

Have you ever sent an email, or left a voice mail message for someone without knowing they were out of the office? It can be pretty frustrating to not hear back from someone, especially if your needs are urgent.

At EXAIR, we make sure this doesn’t happen:

*For starters, we don’t have an automated attendant…if you call EXAIR during normal business hours, you’re going to talk to a real live human being.

*What’s more, that real live human being is going to be one of our Customer Service Representatives, and they can answer any questions you might have about price and availability of any of our Engineered Compressed Air Products.

*If you need detailed technical information, they’ll transfer you to an Application Engineer…and they are always keenly aware of who’s available & who’s not.  You won’t get anyone’s voice mail unless you specifically ask for it, and if one of us is on vacation (and won’t be able to return your call for a number of days,) you’ll know that before you’re transferred to leave that message.

*Not only that, but we’ve got a system in place to monitor each other’s emails.  Which brings me to the success story that inspired this blog:

It’s vacation season, and another of us took off for some well deserved R&R with the family.  According to The System, I get to check those incoming emails while this co-worker is out.  And he (like the rest of us) gets a LOT of emails.  Some are new requests for application/performance data, and some are continuing conversations of the details of (sometimes) complex applications.  Like the project he was working on with a customer who wanted to use Air Knives to blow off a continuous strip of material exiting a wash/rinse vessel.  After a discussion of the details of the application, they had decided to try (2) Model 110003 3″ Aluminum Super Air Knives, one mounted on either side, to “strip the strip.”  And it worked perfectly.  They just wanted to run the details of this first installation by us before doing the other seven.  Part of my process was to go back through the chain of emails…while this looked pretty straight forward, the devil is indeed in the details, and I hate that guy.  But, try as I might (sorry; I’m an engineer,) I could not find fault, or room to improve, with the setup they designed…it was most pleasantly devil-free.

Compact, efficient and quiet, the EXAIR 3″ Super Air Knife is an ideal blow off solution for a variety of applications.

Anyway, with my agreement that their installation was indeed optimal (it’s exactly what I would have done too, for the record,) they placed an order for the (14) Super Air Knives to outfit the other (7) wash/rinse operations.

If we were keeping score, it would be coworker-2, Russ-14.  But we’re not.  Lest my record suffer when I “break for the Lake” in June.  By then, it’ll be Cabinet Cooler Season, and I almost hate to miss a week of that.  Almost.

Man, I don’t even take long pants with me to the Lake.

If you have questions about compressed air products or applications, we’ve got answers.  Live and in real time, every day.  Call us; let’s talk.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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83% Cyle Time Improvement with EXAIR Super Air Amplifiers

EXAIR Super Air Amplifier – an easy way to quickly move large air volumes

 

At a shipyard in Finland, our distributor found an application using blowers which needed a more viable solution.  The application was to dry the interior of large tanks after coating, and the original solution was to use a blower mounted to a 12” opening on top of the tank.  The airflow from the blower was forced into the tank in an effort to dry the coating but often ended up without any drying effect at all.

This problem was due to vapors (non-combustible vapors) produced by the coating process which are more dense than the ambient air, causing them to collect on the bottom of the tank.  The airflow produced by the blower was not sufficient to force these vapors from the tank, causing a long drying cycle for the coating process or no drying at all.

But, these same tanks feature a 3” diameter plug in the bottom of the tank to allow for draining if needed.  And, this opening is almost perfectly sized for a 2” EXAIR Super Air Amplifier model 120022.  (Model 120022 has an outer diameter of 2.95” at the side which provides incoming ambient air.)  By removing the plug in the bottom of the tank and installing a 2” Super Air Amplifier, this tank can be fully dried in a fraction of the time required for an electric blower setup.  The end user estimated an 83% reduction in drying times (from one hour per tank to ~10 minutes), and gained confidence that the tanks would be 100% dry and free of vapor when using the EXAIR solution.

One additional benefit of this Super Air Amplifier solution was increased reliability.  The electrical supply to this shipyard is unstable, resulting in blackouts and surges which shut down electric blowers.  But because the Air Amplifiers do not rely on electricity and sufficient storage capacity was available for compressed air, these units are unaffected by electrical supply problems.

If you have a similar application or would like to discuss a problem currently present in your production facilities, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’re here to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

EXAIR Super Air Knives Increase Production of Jar Labeling Process

When a customer has a problem with a labeling process within their operation, many times they call EXAIR to provide a solution. The company in this example manufactures honey and dispenses it into jars and squeeze bottles. Due to an increase in demand, they were looking to increase their output. To do this, they simply increased the speed of their conveyor to accommodate approximately 70 jars per minute instead of their typical 50 jars per minute. This began to present a problem and they reached out to EXAIR for a solution.

honey SAKs

Honey jars traveling along conveyor and the recommended position of Super Air Knives.

After dispensing the honey, the jars and bottles travel through a washing station. The containers pass through a heated chamber that dries the excess water from the jar. At the higher speed, they were experiencing some residual water left on the containers. This began to pose an issue when they reached the labeling process. With water remaining on the jars, the labels adhesive would not adhere properly. This led to an increased amount of rejections and additional rework time to remove the rest of the label and re-run the defective containers.

They had a point in the conveyor just prior to labeling that the sides of the jar would be exposed. My recommendation was to install (2) 110009 9” Super Air Knives on each side of the conveyor to remove the water that was left after exiting the drying chamber. This worked like a charm and the customer was able to maintain an increased level of output without experiencing any further complications. Their previous rate of production without the Super Air Knives was approximately 50 jars per minute.  By installing the Super Air Knives, they were able fully realize their 70 jars per minute goal and increase their production by 40%!

The laminar flow that exits the Super Air Knife wraps itself around the outside of the jar, stripping away any leftover moisture. Supplied at 80 PSIG, each knife will consume only 26.1 SCFM of compressed air at a sound level of just 69 dBA. The flow and force from the knife are infinitely adjustable by dialing in the operating pressure with a pressure regulator or swapping out the shims with a Super Air Knife Shim Set. If you’re experiencing an issue with residual water or liquid on your product that is causing a problem during production, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to take a look and recommend the most suitable blowoff solution!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

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