When Efficiency And Practicality Collide

Even if you’re a casual reader of our blogs, you already know that EXAIR Application Engineers LOVE to preach efficiency in the use of compressed air…it’s our “bread and butter;” the very nature of our business. This year, we’re celebrating thirty-five years of leading the way in the development of efficient, safe, and quiet compressed air products. Our track record of success as a solutions provider across a diverse range of industrial and commercial applications is well documented in our blogs, as well as Knowledge Base and Case Study Libraries.  We devote considerable resources (engineering, research & development, product testing, etc.) to making certain that EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products cost less to operate, and perform better, than whatever you’re using right now.

Strange as it may seem, though, sometimes our products are EXTREMELY popular in cases where they INCREASE a facility’s consumption of compressed air…by replacing something that DOESN’T use compressed air at all:

*I’ve written before about how our Large Maximum Cold Temperature Vortex Tubes have replaced liquid nitrogen rigs in freeze sealing operations.  Now, a Vortex Tube directs a portion of its air supply to (usually) unusable hot exhaust, in order to generate the usable flow of cold air.  When compared to the costs of liquid nitrogen and the resources involved to get it where it needs to be, though, the cost of the compressed air needed to operate the Vortex Tube is indeed the practical solution.

A 1/4 ton of refrigeration from a product that fits in the palm of your hand, and all you need is a supply or compressed air!

*Line Vacs are probably THE prime example of the value of using compressed air where it wasn’t used before…replacing a “bucket and ladder” operation:

Straight from our Catalog, a perfect example of using valuable compressed air to save even more valuable resources.

*Then there are the situations that just come down to time.  In large spaces, our Super Blast Safety Air Guns can be used to “sweep” the floor in a fraction of the time it takes an operator with a push broom.

Super Blast Safety Air Gun makes short work of large area cleanup.

To make a long story just a little bit longer…if you’re using compressed air, you can use it better with EXAIR’s engineered compressed air products.  And there are plenty of practical applications where you’re not using compressed air right now too.  If you’d like to find out more about either one, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web 
Follow me on Twitter 
Like us on Facebook

Super Air Knife Reduces Defects and Lowers Freight Costs

The EXAIR Super Air Knife – high force with precision flow

An Argentine food manufacturer recently reached out to our distributor in Buenos Aires (AYRFUL) to discuss a potential application for EXAIR products.  The need became clear when a packaging line for soon-to-be-frozen food began experiencing problems with excessive water on the surface of the packages.  In this process, the packages are rinsed to remove any unwanted debris, and then sent into a large freezer before distribution to local groceries.

The excessive water on the packages would become ice, which would fuse the packages together when stacked in boxes for transporting to retail centers.  This fusing caused rips in the packaging when they were separated, thereby creating unsellable goods, ultimately leading to returns for this manufacturer.  And, the residual water also increased the total weight of the packed packages, enough to increase the actual weight when bulk packed.  This increase in actual weight led to an increase in freight costs from their courier.  So, this manufacturer needed a way to remove the residual water, reduce defects and returns, and simultaneously lessen the freight cost.

Model 110048 Super Air Knife (inside red box) blowing off residual water after rinsing and before freezing. See note on plumbing below.

The solution they found was a 48” EXAIR Super Air Knife, model 110048, mounted using (2) Universal Air Knife Mounting Kits.  The Super Air Knife in this application provided a precision airflow to blow off the water from the top of the packages, after rinsing and before freezing.  Removing the water at this stage, as shown above, eliminated the problem of fused packages, rejected products, returns, and increased freight.  And, the Super Air Knife was able to do this at a low operating pressure, fed from a single compressed air inlet.

(Note – EXAIR recommends plumbing multiple compressed air inlets for Air Knives longer than 18”.  For this model, 110048, we recommend compressed air be supplied to (3) compressed air inlets.  Plumbing less inlets will reduce the compressed air flow into the knife, which reduces possible operating pressure.  In this case, the lower operating pressure was acceptable, however, we still recommend to plumb (3) compressed air inlets on a 48” Super Air Knife.)

Plumbing specifics aside, this solution still brought tremendous value for the customer.  They were able to solve the root cause of a multi-faceted problem with an engineered solution.  If you have an application in need of an engineered solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com

Ion Air Jets Make Beekeeper’s Operation As Sweet As Honey

A honey producer sells their product in specialty glass jars. They pay a premium for these jars, as they enhance the appearance of their product, so the “visual” is obviously very important to them. So much so, that they’re willing to go to great lengths to make sure that the jars are sparkly clean and pristine before filling them with honey.

It’s a given that the inside needs to be clean…it’s a food product, so, of course, there’s a thorough cleaning process for that. The outsides of the jars, though, would sometimes have a little dust or debris left over in the ‘nooks and crannies’ which took away from the crystal clear appearance of the rest of the jar.

They got a Model 8494 GEN4 Ion Air Jet Kit, which they use to remove all of this dust & debris from the outside of the bottle, and then they got another Model 8194 GEN4 Ion Air Jet (which uses the same Power Supply, Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator from the 8494 Kit) to blow an “insurance” blast of ionized air inside the bottle…just in case. “You can’t be too careful” is a popular mantra for folks who make food products, it seems!

Compact, convenient, easy to use: EXAIR Model 8194 GEN4 Ion Air Jet creates a focused blast of ionized air for static dissipation and cleaning.

Ionized air is extremely effective for ensuring the cleanliness of glass surfaces. Window makers love our Super Ion Air Knives. Some big name sunglasses manufacturers use our Ion Air Jets to ensure the highest quality and consistency of their products. Ion Air Jets and Ion Air Cannons are commonly used to keep optics clean & clear in critical vision inspection systems. If you’d like to find out more about improving “visuals” with ionized air, give me a call.

How Versatile Are EXAIR Compressed Air Products?

I wish I could quantify that, but we keep finding more and more applications for them:

Vortex Tubes are used all the time for cooling applications, down to MINUS 40 degrees (Fahrenheit OR Celsius…that’s the point where they’re both the same; no math required.) They also produce a HOT air flow, which we usually call “exhaust,” but some users actually use IT for heating, and call the COLD flow the “exhaust.”

The EXAIR Vortex Tube. Cold air from one end; hot air from the other. Fully adjustable. You can use either...it's fine with us; whatever you need.
The EXAIR Vortex Tube. Cold air from one end; hot air from the other.  You can use either…it’s fine with us; whatever you need.

Our E-Vac Vacuum Generators are popular for “pick-and-place” jobs…hook one up to a Vacuum Cup and you can move parts around all day long. One time, though, I helped a

customer who needed to “pick-and-place” individual small pieces of woven fabric, a lot like a coffee filter. Even our smallest E-Vac, supplied from a Pressure Regulator cranked all the way down, was too much…it would still pick up most of the stack. We found they could use a Model 120020 3/4″ Super Air Amplifier just fine…the Pressure Regulator was still cranked all the way down, and it picked them up one at a time.

No matter what you need to pick-and-place, we've got you covered.
No matter what you need to pick-and-place, we’ve got you covered.

Our Super Air Knives are perfect for blow off, drying, and cooling applications…whether you’re trying to rid your product of dirt/debris, water, or heat, a laminar curtain of adjustable air flow is a “textbook” solution. But I recently had the pleasure of helping a customer who needed to KEEP SOMETHING IN PLACE and called to ask about an Air Knife. They had small cups running single-file down a conveyor belt, with an overhead brush roller pushing down on them at one point so they could be treated on one side. Without something holding them in place, the tooling would simply push them off the side of the conveyor. It required frequent adjustment because they run different sized cups…and they almost always lost some cups when they switched to a different size, while “dialing in” the brush tension. By installing a Model 110036 36″ Aluminum Super Air Knife in place of the brush, they can hold any size cup in place with the downward air flow “curtain.” No more lost product when they don’t get the brush adjustment just right!

Continuous, even, fully adjustable curtain of air...EXAIR Super Air Knives come in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet.
Continuous, even, fully adjustable curtain of air…EXAIR Super Air Knives come in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet, in stock.

If you have a compressed air application you’d like to discuss, give me a call.  Perhaps we’ll find the next level of versatility!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Cabinet Cooler Systems – Around The Clock (And Calendar) Heat Protection

So it was 19°F (-7°C) when I walked outside this morning. The layer of ice on my windshield was thin, but particularly stubborn, and I muttered under my breath. I have no business complaining about the cold…see, I moved to Ohio (on purpose) from Florida, in 1991. In November, to be exact. I still remember where I surrendered my “complain-about-the-cold” card:

If you’re headed north on I95, the next sign you’ll see is in Georgia. And if you’re not careful, you can end up “Up North.”

Why am I writing a blog about solutions to heat problems when, even though I do have a really nice pair of gloves, my fingers still aren’t even really thawed from ice removal duty this morning? Well, I’ve got three reasons:

1. Outside temperature doesn’t necessarily have any bearing at all on the temperature inside. Sure; there’s a reason we call July and August “Cabinet Cooler Season” – summer heat will do a number on sensitive electronic & control panels in spaces with no climate controls, but the problem goes away as winter approaches. In fact, there’s even such as thing as a cabinet HEATER, if the equipment in question is exposed to the elements.   Sometimes, though, heat is an issue year ’round…think blast furnaces, boiler rooms, foundries, chemical plants.  If your process generates heat, it’ll affect a control panel in the dead of winter just the same as on the dog days of summer.  We can quickly and easily specify the right Cabinet Cooler System for you with just a few key pieces of data…here’s a link to our Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide if you want to find out.

2. It’s not winter all over the world.  Here in the Midwest United States, I full well realize we’re just gearing up for windshield scraping, snow shoveling, slipping-on-the-ice (some people call it skating and do it intentionally) season.  But right now, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are getting ready for heat waves, sunscreen, and (hopefully) air conditioning.  So, in essence, they’re moving towards what we call “Cabinet Cooler Season.”

3. Our Cabinet Cooler Systems are so great, the 316SS Cabinet Cooler Systems with Electronic Temperature Control are actually up for Plant Engineering’s Product of the Year Award.  Because of their 316SS construction, they’re optimally suited for installation in harsh or demanding locations.  The Electronic Temperature Control offers continuous indication of internal temperature, and the ability to change the thermostat setpoint with the push of a button.  If you’re a current user, and you agree that they’re great, we’d appreciate your vote.  If not, I’m reluctant to encourage you to vote for it, but I suppose I can’t stop you from taking my word for it…

EXAIR NEMA 4X 316SS Cabinet Cooler System with Electronic Temperature Control installed on control panel in a pharmaceutical plant.

If you’d like to talk about protecting sensitive electronics from the heat, or from the environment, or both, I’d love to hear from you…give me a call.

EXAIR Provides Cooling Solutions – Even During Winter Months

An electrical enclosure in need of a reliable cooling solution.

On first glance, the enclosure shown above looks to be fairly large for use with an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler.  Our individual Cabinet Coolers have a maximum cooling capacity of 2,800 BTU/hr. (~820W), but we do provide dual Cabinet Cooler systems with capacities up to 5,600 BTU/hr. (~1642W).  So, although there are heat loads which are too large for use with an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler, we always perform heat load calculations for any potential application because until you run the numbers, you don’t really know.

Arrows identifying existing A/C unit

In this case, however, the customer already knew the required cooling capacity (~3,000 BTU/hr. or 880W) thanks to an existing refrigerant based system already installed (see arrows above).  This existing system was doing a great job of keeping the enclosure cool when it was working properly, but it was also prone to maintenance and breakdowns.  The facility maintenance technicians had replaced filters as required on their preventative maintenance programs, but the A/C unit still required replacement multiple times.  This would lead the maintenance team to open all the doors of the enclosure in an effort to remove heat, but this allowed dust and dirt to enter the cabinet and compromise the electronics inside.

Eventually, the maintenance, required repair, and exposure of sensitive electronics led this customer to search for an alternative solution, and they found the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler.  Once we determined the required cooling capacity and a suitable unit (model 4750 NEMA 4 Dual Cabinet Cooler System with 3,400 BTU/hr. (~1,000W) of cooling power), the discussion turned to installation and maintenance and we had a conversation something like this:

Customer: How much time do we need to hook up the Cabinet Cooler?

EXAIR: About five minutes.

Customer: That’s it!?

EXAIR:  That’s it!  I’ll send you a video of the installation process.

Customer:  Ok, what about PM (preventative maintenance)?

EXAIR:  There isn’t any.  Just feed it with clean, filtered compressed air and it will run for years.

Customer:  Ok, how do we turn it on and off?

EXAIR:  Well, you don’t have to.  You just install the thermostat and the system does the rest.  It’ll maintain whatever temperature setpoint you chose and comes preset to 95°F (35°C).

Customer:  What is the lead time?

EXAIR:  They’re in stock and ship same day.

After working through the application and questions from the customer, we were able to provide a sustainable, readily available solution that was a marked improvement from the maintenance prone refrigerant based system.  Our Cabinet Cooler allows for easy installation, no maintenance, and years of trouble-free operation.  If you have an overheating enclosure contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help you find a suitable solution.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Atomizing Spray Nozzles – Making The Case For Internal Mix

If you’ve ever cleaned around the house (and who hasn’t?), you’re probably familiar with atomized liquid spraying…it’s what happens when you squeeze the trigger on that bottle of cleaner that breaks down the stove top grease in the kitchen and the ring-around-the-tub in the bathroom.

There’s a variety of industrial and commercial applications that require an atomized liquid spray too…applications that are beyond the scope of an operator with a trigger-operated spray bottle. That’s where EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles come in. We have three types: Internal Mix, External Mix, and Siphon Fed. Depending on what you want to spray, and how you want to spray it, one of these is likely going to work better than the others for you. Today, we’re going to examine the Internal Mix Atomizing Spray Nozzles.

Internal Mix Atomizing Spray Nozzles are the perfect choice for fine mist and precise control.

Benefits:

Better mist: Because the liquid & air come together inside the air cap, this results in very fine atomization.

Range of adjustment: Regulating either the liquid or air pressure supply will change the flow rate AND the flow pattern, giving each individual nozzle a wide performance band.  The needle valve can “fine tune” the flow and pattern with even greater precision.

Area of coverage: With five patterns (Narrow or Wide Angle Round, Flat Fan, Deflected Flat Fan, and 360° Hollow Circular) and 72 distinct models to choose from, you can get spray patterns from 2″ (1/8 NPT Narrow Round Model AN8010SS) to 13 feet (1/2  NPT 360° Hollow Circular Model AT5010SS.)

Also, they can spray the liquid mist up to 40 feet away!

Flow rate: Again, because of the many models available, you can get from 0.6 gallons/hour (Model AN8010SS again) to 264 gallons/hour (1/2 NPT Wide Angle Round Model AW5030SS.)

Features:

No-Drip option: The standard Models have a needle valve, which, as mentioned above, gives you the ability to make minute changes to the flow rate & pattern.  If the application calls for rapid on/off control, or the chance of an errant drip after flow is not stopped might be a problem, the needle valve can be replaced with a No-Drip assembly.  This positively shuts off liquid flow, at the exit of the liquid cap, when air pressure is secured.

Instant on/off control by stopping the air flow is possible with the No Drip feature, available on any Atomizing Spray Nozzle

Easy installation: All of our Atomizing Spray Nozzles have female NPT (1/8, 1/4, or 1/2) ports.  The 1/8 and 1/4 NPT models can be adequately supported – and positioned – with a Stay Set Hose, and all models (even the 1/2 NPT) can be used with an appropriately sized Swivel Fitting.  If you want to use your own tubes or hoses, we’ve got “clip-in” style Mounting Brackets.

Mounting Brackets made for quick and easy installation.

Interchangeability: The only difference between any model of the same-size Atomizing Spray Nozzle is the Liquid and/or Air Cap.  If your application’s liquid spray requirements change, or vary, you don’t need to replace the whole nozzle; just one (or in some cases, both) of the caps.

Internal Mix Atomizing Spray Nozzles are ideal for liquid viscosity up to 300cP and in situations where the liquid is (or can be) pressure fed.  If you’d like to discuss a liquid spraying application and/or product selection, give me a call.