Dust Suppression with an EXAIR Atomizing Nozzle

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An EXAIR Atomizing Nozzle used to minimize dust in the feed bowl of a cement mixer.

One of the most difficult aspects of handling and working with dusty materials is suppression of airborne contaminants.  Small particles can easily become a dust cloud, minimizing visibility and decreasing the quality of working conditions.  This then leads to lower productivity, low morale, and a missed opportunity to maximize the potential of personnel and equipment.

Our distributor in New Zealand recently assisted one of their customers facing this set of problems when working with cement and microsilica as it was poured into a mixer.  An exhaust fan was in place, but failed to extract the dust sufficiently, so a new approach was needed to minimize the dust.

 

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An AN2010SS No Drip Atomizing Nozzle provides the needed dust suppression in this application.

 

The solution was to use an EXAIR AN2010SS No Drip Internal Mix Atomizing Nozzle, shown above in the red box, to produce an atomized water mist.  The dust produced during pouring is captured by the small droplets of atomized water produced with this nozzle, reducing the dust and allowing proper use of the mixer.

 

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The 9218 Stay Set Hose positions the atomizing nozzle where it needs to be.

 

In order to position the nozzle exactly where it needs to be, an 18” Stay Set Hose, shown above with the red arrow, was used to position the nozzle.  This hose is built specifically to have “memory” of the desired position, allowing for quick, easy, and repeatable position of the nozzle attached to the hose.

This simple setup is controlled through a timer to ensure water and compressed air use realize maximum efficiency.  It’s an easy solution to a painful problem for this customer.

If you’d like to explore how an EXAIR solution can solve problems in your facility or application, please contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

 

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Taming The Dust Cloud With EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles

Have you ever dropped one of your nice dinner plates on a tiled kitchen floor? And noticed how they seem to go in slow motion as they hurtle to their doom? I never cease to be impressed at how far some of the smaller pieces can go. I recently had to replace our oven, and I found broken dishware shards (and an impressive amount of trash scraps, pet toys, and ‘dust bunnies’) all the way against the back wall.

Curiously, as small as the pieces can be when a dinner plate meets its end, it started its life in even smaller pieces…as a fine ceramic powder, pressed into a mold and heated to a temperature that is WAY hotter than when the server at your favorite restaurant warns you that plate “might be hot.”

I’m writing about this because recently, I had the pleasure of assisting a maker of ceramic dishware with a messy little problem…this fine ceramic powder is moved from where it’s produced, to the various mold stations (dinner plates, salad plates, saucers, etc.) on a vibratory belt conveyor. The vibration keeps the powder loose and homogenous, both of which are extremely important to the molding & firing process. It also causes a cloud of dust to rise along the entire length of travel, and they wanted to minimize this. Their chemists had told the engineer who called me that they could live with a small amount of moisture, as long as it wasn’t enough to make the powder clump up – this would evaporate out at a point closer to the molds anyway.

This was an ideal application for the EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles…they produce a fine mist of liquid that is precisely controllable…one Model AW1010SS Internal Mix, Wide Angle Round Pattern Nozzle was installed near the beginning of the line, and once they find out how long it takes the dust-suppression supplied by the misted water to evaporate away, they will install more nozzles accordingly.

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles are a perfect solution for dust suppression.

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles are a perfect solution for dust suppression.

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles are ideal for situations where you need a fine liquid mist and fine adjustment of the flow & pattern. With ninety models to choose from, we’ve got the one you’re looking for. Call me if you want to find out more.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Will an EXAIR Vacuum Work with This Material?

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Activated carbon pellets in need of vacuuming

At the heart of EXAIR’s dry vacuum systems are a modified design to our Line Vac air operated conveyors.  These units convert a compressed air supply into a powerful vacuum source with no moving parts and thus no components to wear out.  This, in turn, translates to an instantaneous vacuum supply that is both durable and maintenance free.

These aspects of our vacuum systems led a pharmaceutical research company in Macau to contact us about using a Heavy Duty Dry Vac in one of their applications.  The complete details of the application were proprietary, but information about the specific use was made available.

What this customer needed to do, was to vacuum activated carbon chips in batches of ~300kg (660 pounds) into a contained drum or bag.  The ultimate question in the application was whether an EXAIR Heavy Duty Dry Vac system can vacuum 300kg of activated carbon.  And, if it can, how long will it take?  To answer these questions we turned to a bit of data about the activated carbon, and the potential vacuuming rate of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac System.

Activated carbon has a bulk density of ~0.52 g/cm³ (~32.5 pounds/ft³), and the Heavy Duty Dry Vac can vacuum this type of material at a rate of ~30kg/min. or more (~66 pounds/min. or more).  This means that we’ll be able to vacuum the full 300kg of activated carbon in ~10 minutes!

But, where will it all go?

If we were to use a 55 gallon Heavy Duty Dry Vac, we could vacuum ~105 kg. (232 pounds) of this material before filling the drum.  But, if we use a 110 gallon system, we will double this capacity while keeping the performance and compressed air demand of the system exactly the same.

The multiple sizes of EXAIR vacuum systems provided a wide array of solution options in this application.  After discussing these options and receiving a request for distributor contact in China, we passed this customer over to our Chinese distributor.

Providing solutions for industrial applications is the forte of EXAIR Application Engineers.  It doesn’t matter if the application is here in the States, or overseas, we’re available for any questions our customers have.

If you’d like to discuss your application with an EXAIR Application Engineer we’re available by phone, email, or online chat.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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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Can Counting Carbs Help in Your Compressed Air System?

Breakfast Cereal

Breakfast Cereal

Have you ever counted the amount of carbs that you eat?  People typically do this to lose weight, to become healthier, or for medical reasons like diabetes.  Personally, I like to eat cereal in the morning.  I will pull a box of cereal down from the cupboard and look at the Total Carbs field.  One morning, I looked at a box of gluten-free rice flakes and compared it to a peanut butter nugget cereal.  I noticed that the carbs were very similar.  The rice cereal had 23 grams of total carbs while the peanut butter nuggets had only 22 grams of total carbs.  Then I looked at the serving size.  The rice cereal had a serving size of 1 cup while the nuggets only had a serving size of ¾ cups.  So, in comparison, for one cup of nugget cereal, the total amount of carbs was 27.5 grams.  Initially, I thought that they were similar, but the peanut butter nugget was actually 20% higher in carbs.  This same “misdirection” occurs in your compressed air system.

Here is what I mean. Some manufacturers like to use a lower pressure to rate their products.  This lower pressure makes it seem like their products will use less compressed air in your system.  But, like with the serving sizes, it can be deceiving.  It is not a lie that they are telling, but it is a bit of misconception.  To do an actual comparisons, we have to compare the flow rates at the same pressure (like comparing the carbohydrates at the same serving size).  For example, MfgA likes to rate their nozzles at a pressure of 72.5 PSIG.  EXAIR rates their nozzles at 80 PSIG as this is the most common pressure for point-of-use equipment.  You can see where I am going with this.

To compare nozzles of the same size, MfgA nozzle has a flow rate of 34 SCFM at 72.5 PSIG, and EXAIR model 1104 Super Air Nozzle has a rating of 35 SCFM at 80 psig. From an initial observation, it looks like MfgA has a lower flow rating.  To do the correct comparison, we have to adjust the flow rate to the same pressure.  This is done by multiplying the flow of MfgA nozzle by the ratio of absolute pressures.  (Absolute pressure is gage pressure plus 14.7 PSI).  The ratio of absolute pressures is:  (80PSIG + 14.7) / (72.5PSIG + 14.7) = 1.09.  Therefore; the flow rate at 80 PSIG for MfgA nozzle is now 34 SCFM * 1.09 = 37 SCFM.  Now we can compare the flow rates for each compressed air nozzle.  Like adjusting the serving size to 1 cup of cereal, the MfgA will use 9% more compressed air in your system than the EXAIR model 1104 Super Air Nozzle.  This may not seem like much, but over time it will add up.  And, there is no need to waste additional compressed air.

Family of Nozzles

Family of Nozzles

The EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are designed to entrain more ambient air than compressed air needed. This will save you on your pneumatic system, which in turn will save you money.  The other design features gives the EXAIR Super Air Nozzle more force, less noise, and still meet the OSHA compliance.

If you want to run a healthier compressed air system, it is important to evaluate the amount of compressed air that you are using. To do this correctly, you always want to compare the information at the same pressure.  By using the EXAIR Super Air Nozzles in your compressed air system, you will only have to worry about your own weight, not your pneumatic system.

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

 

Picture: Breakfast Cereal by Mike Mozart Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Finding The Right Solution Through Dedicated Engineering Support

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Plastic crate in need of blow off after washing

An OEM of crate washing equipment in Lebanon recently contacted me about an application on one of their conveyors.  The conveyor carries a plastic crate out of a washer and excess water on the crate was presenting a problem in the application.  In order for the crate to move on to the next step in the machine, a blow off solution was needed, but the exit rate from the washer was inconsistent.  In a given minute there could be 5 crates exit the washer, or there could be 20.  So, the ideal solution needed to have intermittent control options with instantaneous on/off functionality.

We immediately began discussing Super Air Knives, not only because we show plastic crate blow off in one of our many videos, but also because these units are instant on/off with full compatibility with a flow control device.  Utilizing a flow controller, such as the EXAIR Electronic Flow Controller or PLC device, will allow for precise control of the blow off solution, limiting compressed air use to a minimum.

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The first blow off system design

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This layout utilizes Air Knives on each side of the blow off as well as the top

After discussing application details we came to the design shown above, using one 24” Air Knife on the top of the crate and two 9” Air Knives on the sides.  However, this OEM had purchased numerous 2” Flat Stainless Steel Super Air Nozzles in the past (model 1122SS) and had a number available on site.  Modifying the system to utilize the nozzles already on-site, we came to this design:

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The finalized layout for this blow off system. Click for a larger view.

This layout utilizes (1) 24” Stainless Steel Super Air Knife on the top of the crate and (2) sets of (3) 2” Flat Stainless Steel Super Air Nozzles on the sides, held in place with EXAIR Stay Set HosesNotice the independent pressure regulators for the nozzles and the knife.  This is to allow the customer to balance the air flows, because the 2” flat nozzles will create a higher force than the Air Knife when operating at the same pressure.

In this application we were able to help a returning OEM solve their problem with the right mix of needed products.  Exploring the problem and discussing numerous viable solutions led to the best fit for the application and customer.  That’s precisely why EXAIR Application Engineers are available for any application call or question.  If you’d like to explore an EXAIR solution we’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

 

Six Years At EXAIR: What I’ve Learned

Yesterday, I went “over 6” as an Application Engineer at EXAIR Corporation, and I’m still loving every minute of it! I came here with a fair degree of mechanical engineering & technology know-how, but, in reflection, I’ve learned an even fairer degree…some of which I’d like to share with you, dear reader, on the occasion of this ‘work-iversary:’

*Time spent doing something doesn’t always equal “experience.” If you work at something for, say, 20 years, and never learn anything new after your initial training, you don’t really have 20 years’ experience…you have one year of experience, 20 times. Big difference.

*Teamwork is critical to success.  The Patrol Method works.  The value of a “lesson learned” multiplies exponentially when it’s shared with others.  Design Engineers have a universal law of CAD that says “don’t ever draw anything twice.”  Application Engineers “don’t ever test anything twice.”

*Sometimes, there’s one way to find out.  That’s why we devote the resources we do to the Efficiency Lab.  If you want to know more about the performance of your current compressed air products, and how they might compare to one of our quiet, efficient solutions, so do we.

*A picture is worth a thousand words.  We prove this every day, whether it’s a photo (or short video even) of an application, a photo of a product or system for troubleshooting, or a photo of a nameplate or device for product comparison.  I’m old enough to remember doing business before email & digital photos, but I swear I don’t know how we ever got anything done.

*There’s always a ‘better mousetrap’ – and that’s the unofficial motto of EXAIR’s Engineering department.  That’s why we have so many more Atomizing Spray Nozzles than the did six years ago.  And Heavy Duty HEPA Vacs, long Super Air Knives and more product accessories.

*Relationships are vital.  At least a couple of days a week, I spend more time with my co-workers than my wife & kids.  We’re all in this together, and the more we help each other, the better off we are ourselves.

Next week, I’ll be back to blogging about a super cool compressed air product application. If you come up with one in the meantime, I’ll be happy to talk about it with you.  The conversation might just make it into next week’s blog, because one more thing I’ve learned is, when you’ve written 300 or so weekly blogs, “writer’s block” is a very real & present danger!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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