ROI – Is it Worth the Investment?

Any time you’re planning to purchase something, the return on investment (ROI) is an important thing to consider. Whether you’re considering buying new windows to improve on your heating and cooling costs, looking at replacing outdated appliances with newer and more efficient models, or purchasing an Intelligent Compressed Air Product, how quickly that product will pay for itself can help you to make the right decision.

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Last year, my wife and I purchased our first home. In the backyard, was a nice, big in-ground pool. While it was something we did look for, it requires a bit of maintenance during the summer months to keep the water clear and things running smoothly. Who wants to swim in a pool ridden with dirt, leaves, bugs, and debris floating around? Certainly not me, which meant I needed to spend some time brushing the sides of the pool and vacuuming to keep everything clean. For our first season, we elected to tackle this task manually. Not only was this time consuming, but it was also not very effective. To brush the sides and steps, skim, and vacuum took about 2 hours each time. I was doing this 2x per week to keep everything looking good. Over the course of a 15-week pool season here in Southwest Ohio, I spent approximately 60 hours just keeping the pool clean.

We were interested in the robotic pool vacuums available at our local pool supply store, but we balked at the initial price of them. After spending all this time doing it myself, I began to think that it would pay for itself relatively quickly (depending on how much I valued my own labor 😊). Allocating the cost of the robotic vacuum over the six-year life expectancy, as well as taking into consideration how much time I had spent cleaning the previous year, made this decision much more palatable. We went ahead, bit the bullet, and purchased one for this season. I must say, just two weeks in and my pool is cleaner than it ever was last year. We’ve only run it twice!! It only takes 5 minutes to connect and drop in. I reduced my time spent from 4 hours per week to 10 minutes per week. Consider me a happy consumer.

If you follow the EXAIR Blog, you’ll know that one of our primary focuses is saving customers money by reducing their compressed air operating cost. Recently, I wrote a blog post about a customer that replaced an inefficient solution with some EXAIR Super Air Knives. Let’s take a look and see how quick these knives were able to pay for themselves:

The previous solution consisted of (3) nozzles operated at 50 psig, consuming a total of 51 SCFM. This line was run continuously for (1) 8-hour shift, (5) days per week. The average cost for compressed air is $0.25 per 1,000 SCF (based on $0.08/kWh).

51 SCFM x 60 mins x 8-hours x $0.25/1000 = $6.12 per day

Replacing the inefficient nozzles with (3) Model 110003 Super Air Knives reduced the overall consumption to 17.1 SCFM when operated at 50 psig.

17.1 SCFM x 60 mins x 8-hours x $0.25/1000 = $2.05 per day

This led to a total savings of $4.07 per day, just by swapping out the inefficient product with the EXAIR Super Air Knives. So how quickly will they pay for themselves? Each Model 110003 Super Air Knife carries a list price of $199.00. Since we were using (3) on each line, their total investment per line was $597.00 USD.

$597.00/4.07 = 146.68 (147 days)

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Inefficient blowoff

On the 147th day (less than 30 weeks, based on a 5-day workweek), the Super Air Knives have paid for themselves. Afterward, that $4.07/day/line goes straight to the bottom line. You’ll be hard pressed to find many products that will pay for themselves in less than one year, but at EXAIR we see this day in and day out. Stop throwing your money out the window with inefficient compressed air solutions. Reach out to an EXAIR Application Engineer and see how quickly your blowoffs can start paying YOU.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Little things add up image courtesy of Nic McPhee via creative commons license

The Case for the Chip Vac

EXAIR Chip Vacs come in a range of sizes, and options, to meet the needs of most any clean up job.

The season for spring cleaning – spring, that is – is upon us (here in the Northern Hemisphere anyway) so it’s time to start looking for ways to make the task as easy and hassle-free as possible. That’s my take, anyway…and if you feel the same trepidation (or maybe even dread) as me, then this blog is for you. If you are one of those people who LIKES cleaning (you know who you are,) there’s something here for you too.  Without further ado, let’s talk about the EXAIR Chip Vac Systems.

The first thing you should know is that, like all EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products, Chip Vac Systems are compressed air operated.  Why is this important?

*Safety – there’s no electric power cord or cable to trip over, damage, or get wet…all of which can be an electrocution hazard.

*Consistency – unlike a typical shop vac, which has a motor driven impeller/propeller to generate the vacuum flow, the Chip Vac creates powerful direct flow action from the compressed air supply.  With no moving parts in the way, there’s nothing to trap debris or clog the line.  If it can fit through the hose, the Chip Vac can suck it into the drum.  Every time, all the time.

*Reliability – electric motors can overheat and burn out if you run them continuously for long periods of time – or if you start and stop them frequently.  Not so with the Chip Vac…it’s pulling rated vacuum and flow as soon as you cut in air to it.  And if you supply it with clean, dry air, the Chip Vac will operate darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.

At EXAIR, our motto of being “easy to do business with” applies to not only all aspects of Customer Service and Technical Support; it’s even integral to our systems design.  What does this mean for the Chip Vac?

*Versatility – we make Chip Vac Systems for 30, 55, or 110 gallon drums.  If you don’t already have an open top drum to install one on, we can supply the drum too.

*PortabilityDeluxe Chip Vac Systems come with a dolly for your drum, so you can roll it wherever you need it.  The 30 Gallon Chip Vac Systems are compact enough to fit through just about any passageway that you can walk through.  But in tighter constraints…

*Portability, part 2Mini Chip Vac Systems come complete with a 5 gallon drum that can be easily carried or lifted to just about anywhere you need it to go.  The Deluxe System even comes with a dolly, for total portability.

*Resourcefulness – because they fit standard drums, they’re easy to move from one drum to another.  This is of particular value to machine tool operators who work with different materials: they can use the Chip Vac on one drum to vacuum up aluminum chips from one job, and then move it to another to clean up stainless steel chips from another job.  This makes recycling quick, easy, and profitable.

If you’d like to find out more about how EXAIR Chip Vac Systems – or any of our Industrial Housekeeping Products, can improve the efficiency and safety of your cleaning tasks (Spring or otherwise,) give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Finding and Fixing Leaks in Your Compressed Air System

I had to find and fix some leaks this week – in my yard. See, my underground storm sewer pipe, that carries my basement sump pump discharge and my house’s gutter drains to the street, was leaking.

The evidence was clear…swampy puddles were developing in my neighbor’s yard.

The location was clear…several patches of grass in MY yard were WAY more green and vibrant than the rest.

The cause was NOT clear…until I dug up those patches of the best looking grass my lawn has ever seen. Turns out, my maple tree’s (the showpiece of my front yard) root system found a way to penetrate one of the couplings in the sewer pipe, where it prospered into this:

That’s about 8ft worth of root growth that was clogging my drain pipe, and causing leaks upstream. My maple tree is not shown in the picture because my maple tree is a real jerk.

Two days worth of digging up and reinstalling pipe later, and all is well.  I mean, except for filling the trench, sowing some new grass seed, watching the birds eat it, sowing some more, etc.  Ah, the joys of home ownership…

I tell you all this, dear reader, so you know that I. Don’t. Like. Leaks…whether they be in my storm sewer pipe or in your compressed air system…which brings me to the (real) subject of my blog today.

Unlike the visual indications of my yard leak, compressed air system leaks don’t really draw much attention to themselves.  Unless they grow quite large, they’re typically invisible and very quiet…much too quiet to be heard in a typical industrial environment, anyway.  Good news is, they’re not all that hard to find.

One way is to use a soap-and-water solution.  You just need a spray bottle, some dish soap, and water.  Spray it on the piping joints, and all but the smallest, most minute, of leaks will create soap bubbles…instant indication of air leakage.  This method is inexpensive and simple, but it does tend to leave little puddles all over.  Plus, if your header runs along the ceiling, you’re going to have to get up there to do it.  And unless you can easily maneuver all the way around the pipe, you can miss a leak on the other side of the joint. If you have a small and relatively simple compressed air system, and all your piping is accessible though, this method is tried and true.

For many industrial compressed air systems, though, the limitations of the soap bubble method make it impractical.  But I’ve got more good news: those silent (to us) air leaks are making a real racket, ultrasonically speaking.  And we’ve got something for that:

EXAIR Model 9061 Ultrasonic Leak Detector discovers and pinpoints leaks, quickly and easily.

See, when a pressurized gas finds its way through the narrow (and usually torturous) path out of a slightly loosened fitting, worn packing on a valve, etc., it creates sound waves.  Some of those ARE in audible frequencies, but they’re often so low as to be drowned out by everything else that’s happening in a typical industrial environment.  Those leaks, however, also create sound waves in ultrasonic frequencies…and EXAIR’s Ultrasonic Leak Detector takes advantage of that ultrasonic racket to show you where those leaks are, as well as give you a qualitative indication of their magnitude.  Here’s how it works:

Find leaks and fix them.  This is Step #2 of our Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compressed Air System.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Compressor Control – A Way to Match Supply to Demand

Rarely does the compressed air demand match the supply of the compressor system. To keep the generation costs down and the system efficiency as high as possible Compressor Controls are utilized to maximize the system performance, taking into account system dynamics and storage. I will touch on several methods briefly, and leave the reader to delve deeper into any type of interest.

air compressor

  • Start/Stop – Most basic control –  to turn the compressor motor on and off, in response to a pressure signal (for reciprocating and rotary type compressors)
  • Load/Unload – Keeps the motor turning continuously, but unloads the compressor when a pressure level is achieved.  When the pressure drops to a set level, the compressor reloads (for reciprocating, rotary screw, and centrifugal type)
  • Modulating – Restricts the air coming into the compressor, as a way to reduce the compressor output to a specified minimum, at which point the compressor is unloaded (for lubricant-injected rotary screw and centrifugal)
  • Dual/Auto Dual – Dual Control has the ability to select between Start/Stop and Load /Unload control modes.  Automatic Dual Control adds the feature of an over-run timer, so that the motor is stopped after a certain period of time without a demand.
  • Variable Displacement (Slide Valve, Spiral Valve or Turn Valve) – Allows for gradual reduction of the compressor displacement while keeping the inlet pressure constant (for rotary screw)
  • Variable Displacement (Step Control Valves or Poppet Valves) – Similar effect as above, but instead of a gradual reduction, the change is step like (for lubricant injected rotary types)
  • Variable Speed – Use of a variable frequency AC drive or by switched reluctance DC drive to vary the speed of the motor turning the compressor. The speed at which the motor turns effects the output of the system.

In summary – the primary functions of the Compressor Controls are to match supply to demand, save energy, and protect the compressor (from overheating, over-pressure situations, and excessive amperage draw.) Other functions include safety (protecting the plant and personnel), and provide diagnostic information, related to maintenance and operation warnings.

If you would like to talk about compressed air or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, 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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1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle Makes Clean Sweep Of Greasy Chain

A manufacturer of lubrication equipment had a messy problem to solve with a customized system they were designing, to apply grease to a drive chain.  They wanted to clean excess grease off the chain and deposit it into a reclaiming chamber, both to keep the area clean, and to prevent waste.  And because of the corrosive nature of the environment, it had to be stainless steel.  This was a “textbook” application for our Model 1126SS 1″ 316SS Flat Super Air Nozzle.

 

EXAIR’s 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle is available in Zinc Aluminum or 316SS Construction. The replaceable shim makes it one of our most versatile products.

They also needed to lock it into position, once the exact angle of the air flow was determined, so they incorporated a Model 9052 1/8 NPT SS Swivel Fitting into their design.

When supplied with a Swivel Fitting, the 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle can be precisely aimed for the most exacting applications.

Now the chain is clean, the grease is reclaimed, and the simplicity of the operation drew a lot of positive attention from the client.

I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating…EXAIR Corporation’s plan for success is centered on being easy to do business with.  This was a situation where every facet of the project was impacted by our commitment to that goal:

*The customer and I determined the correct product to try in just a few minutes on the phone.

*The order shipped out, same day.

*The attention to detail that Engineering and Production put into the development of this product became evident in the ease of installation and operation.

From the moment you contact EXAIR, to the moment you achieve success in your application, it’s our job to make sure you get the most out of our products. If you have a job that you think one of our products might be a good fit for, give me a call.

Fluidics, Boundary Layers, And Engineered Compressed Air Products

Fluidics is an interesting discipline of physics.  Air, in particular, can be made to behave quite peculiarly by flowing it across a solid surface.  Consider the EXAIR Standard and Full Flow Air Knives:

Compressed air flows through the inlet (1) to the Full Flow (left) or Standard (right) Air Knife, into the internal plenum. It then discharges through a thin gap (2), adhering to the Coanda profile (3) which directs it down the face of the Air Knife. The precision engineered & finished surfaces serve to optimize the entrainment of air (4) from the surrounding environment.

If you’ve ever used a leaf blower, or rolled down the car window while traveling at highway speed, you’re familiar with the power of a high velocity air flow.  Now consider that the Coanda effect can cause such a drastic redirection of this kind of air flow, and that’s a prime example of just how interesting the science of fluidics can be.

EXAIR Air Amplifiers, Air Wipes, and Super Air Nozzles also employ the Coanda effect to entrain air, and the Super Air Knife employs similar precision engineered surfaces to optimize entrainment, resulting in a 40:1 amplification ratio:

EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products such as (left to right) the Air Wipe, Super Air Knife, Super Air Nozzle, and Air Amplifier are engineered to entrain enormous amounts of air from the surrounding environment.

As fascinating as all that is, the entrainment of air that these products employ contributes to another principle of fluidics: the creation of a boundary layer.  In addition to the Coanda effect causing the fluid to follow the path of the surface it’s flowing past, the flow is also affected in direct proportion to its velocity, and inversely by its viscosity, in the formation of a boundary layer.

High velocity, low viscosity fluids (like air) are prone to develop a more laminar boundary layer, as depicted on the left.

This laminar, lower velocity boundary layer travels with the primary air stream as it discharges from the EXAIR products shown above.  In addition to amplifying the total developed flow, it also serves to attenuate the sound level of the higher velocity primary air stream.  This makes EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products not only as efficient as possible in regard to their use of compressed air, but as quiet as possible as well.

If you’d like to find out more about how the science behind our products can improve your air consumption, give me a call.

The Case Is Mounting For Stay Set Hoses

So, you’ve selected a quiet, efficient, and safe EXAIR Super Air Nozzle for your blow off application – good call! – and now you’re thinking about how to install it.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as replacing whatever you’re using right now:

EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products have common NPT (or BSP) connections, making for easy replacement of most any existing threaded device.

Or maybe you’re using an open end blow off…in which case, you’re just an adapter away:

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are quick and easy to install on existing copper tube, via a simple compression fitting.

Perhaps, though, it’s a new installation, or the existing supply lines aren’t suitable for one reason or another.  In those cases, we’ve still got you covered…consider the EXAIR Stay Set Hose:

Precise aiming and location is a breeze with EXAIR Stay Set Hoses.

Available in a variety of lengths from 6″ to 36″, they’re positionable, and re-positionable with a simple bending action.  They won’t kink or easily fatigue like copper tubing.  The supply end is 1/4  MNPT, and you have your choice of 1/4 MNPT or 1/8 FNPT on the other end, depending on which Super Air Nozzle, Air Jet you need to use it with.

We also offer Blow Off Systems, which are a combination of a specific Air Nozzle (or Air Jet,) fitted to a Stay Set Hose:

Model 1126-9262, for example, is a Model 1126 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with a 9262 Stay Set Hose.

For added convenience and ease of installation, these products can also come with a Magnetic Base:

Mag Bases come with one or two outlets. Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6″ to 36″.

Stay Set Hoses are also available with a variety of our Soft Grip Safety Air Guns, and they make the GEN4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet one of our most popular Static Eliminator products.  They’ve even been successfully applied with small Air Amplifiers and Air Knives…with certain limitations (spoiler alert: trying this with a 108″ Super Air Knife is going to be a definite “no.”)

Model 110003 3″ Aluminum Super Air Knife with 6″ Stay Set Hose & Magnetic Base.

From the beginning in 1983, EXAIR’s focus has been on being easy to do business with, and that goes from our friendly customer service to our expert technical support to our 99.9% on-time shipments (22 years and running) to designing our engineered products and value-added accessories with efficiency, safety, and ease of installation in mind.  If you want to find out more, give me a call.