Step 4 of the Six Steps to Optimizing your compressed air is to turn off your compressed air when it is not in use. This step can be done using two simple methods either by using manual controls such as ball valves or automated controllers such as solenoid valves. Manual controls are designed for long use and when switching on and off are infrequent. Ball Valves are one of the most commonly used manual shut offs for compressed air and other fluids.
Manual Valves allow for operators to turn on and off their system by hand. The full-flow ball valves range from ¼” NPT to 1 1/4” NPT in size and will not restrict flow. EXAIR also offers a manual foot pedal valve for hands-free operations. This ¼” NPT foot valve has a 3-way operation and works great if the operator has to use both hands in their process.
Solenoid Valves are a way to turn on and off the supply of compressed air electrically for automated systems. We offer solenoids in three different voltages; 110Vac, 240Vac, and 24Vdc. EXAIR has a large range of flows with ports ranging from ¼” NPT to 1” NPT. All models are UL listed and are CE and RoHS compliant.
By turning off your compressed air, whether it be with manual or automated controllers, a company can minimize wasted compressed air and extend the longevity of the air compressor that is used to supply the plants air. The longevity of the air compressor is increased due to reduced run time since it does not need to keep up with the constant use of compressed air. Other benefits include less use of compressed air and recouped cost of compressed air.
If you have any questions on how these easy to install accessories can help save you money give us a call! One of our application engineers will be happy to assist!
The EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles are manufactured to blow a wide forceful stream of air. Their patented design creates a high velocity, laminar air stream with minimal air consumption and low noise. They come in two widths; 1” (25mm) and 2” (51mm). EXAIR offers a standard Flat Super Air Nozzle and a High Force Flat Super Air Nozzle in two different materials, zinc-aluminum alloy and 316 stainless steel. And with a metal construction, breakage is not a concern and performance are not sacrificed even in the harshest of environments.
The unique patented shims inside the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles will give you three improvements to the design and function. First, they come in different thickness to create a wide range of forces. In conjunction with a regulator, you can “dial” in the correct amount of force from a breeze to a blast without overusing your air compressor. The patented design also allows an even flow across the entire width of the air nozzle. Lastly, they help to entrain the free ambient air; so that less compressed air is required. The high efficiency design will save you money. The EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles are effective in uniform blowing with safety and efficiency in mind.
To expand more on force adjustments with the Flat Super Air Nozzles, EXAIR has an easy way to change the shim to better suit your application. You can increase or decrease the force of the nozzle by just removing two screws and changing the thickness of the shim inside. EXAIR offers a variety pack called a Shim Set to give you a wide range of forces with the nozzles. For the standard Flat Super Air Nozzle, they come stock with a 0.015” (0.38mm) shim for both the 1” and 2” sizes. The corresponding Shim Sets will include a 0.005” (0.13mm), 0.010” (0.25mm), and 0.020” (0.51mm) shim. The High Force Flat Super Air Nozzles will come standard with a 0.025” (0.64mm) shim; and the Shim Set will include a 0.020” (0.51mm) and 0.030” (0.76mm) thick shim. This is a unique feature as most competitive flat nozzles do not allow you to do this. The chart below corresponds the appropriate Shim Set to the Flat Super Air Nozzle.
Not only are they safe, and easily adjustable they can help save compressed air vs using a open ended pipe!
For example, let’s look at the average operating costs for a single 1/4″ open copper tube. (If you don’t know you current energy costs, a reasonable average to use is $ 0.25 per every 1,000 SCF used, based on $ 0.08/kWh.
A single 1/4″ open copper tube consumes 33 SCFM @ 80 PSIG and costs roughly $ 0.50 per hour to operate. (33 SCF x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1,000 = $ 0.50). For an 8 hour shift, the total cost would be $ 4.00 ($ 0.50 x 8 hours = $ 4.00).
If we were to replace the 1/4″ open copper tube with our Model # 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with 1/4″ FNPT inlet, the air consumption would be reduced to 21.8 SCFM @ 80 PSIG. This may not seem like much of an air usage reduction, but when you look at the monetary, total cost of ownership for purchasing and operating the nozzle, the savings can quickly add up.
The operating cost for a 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with 1/4″ FNPT inlet is $ 0.33 per hour (21.8 SCF x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1,000 = $ .033) or $ 2.64 per 8 hour shift ($ 0.33 x 8 hours = $ 2.64).
We can now compare the operational cost between the 2 devices:
1/4″ open copper tube operating costs: $ 0.50 per hour $ 4.00 per day (8 hours)
2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle operating costs: $ 0.33 per hour $ 2.64 per day (8 hours)
Cost Savings: $ 4.00 / day (open copper tube) – $ 2.64 / day (2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle) = $ 1.36 savings per day
The Model # 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle has a list price $ 67.00 USD.
ROI or Return On Investment calculation: $ 67.00 (Cost) / $ 1.36 (savings per day) = 49.26 days.
The 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle would pay for itself in just over 49 days in operation. This is the savings for replacing just ONE 1/4″ open copper tube with an engineered solution! In most industrial plants, there could be several of these which presents even more opportunities to reduce the overall operational costs.
Our focus here at EXAIR is to improve the overall efficiency of industrial compressed air operating processes and point of use compressed air operated products. If you are looking to reduce compressed air usage in your facility, contact an application engineer and let us help you optimize your current system.
The best way to save compressed air is to simply turn it off when it’s not being used. This might seem pretty simple, but there may be processes in your facility where this couldn’t be achieved by just turning a valve. In applications where product is traveling along a conveyor, and must be dried, cooled, or blown off, there is likely some spacing in between the parts. It isn’t necessary to keep the blowoff running constantly if there’s periods of intermittent spacing. To help reduce the overall load on the air compressor, implementing a solution to shut the air off in between each part can have a dramatic impact. EXAIR’s Electronic Flow Control, or EFC, is designed to improve efficiency by reducing overall compressed air usage. It utilizes a photoelectric sensor that detects when the part is present. When it’s not, it triggers a solenoid valve to close and shut off the compressed air supply.
One way to use the Electronic Flow Control would be for Turning a Atomizing Spray nozzle on to coat your product. For example see the photo below where you could use the EFC to sense the pants coming down the line. Then turn the air supply on to spray a bleach solution to get the weathered look you are after. Once the pants pass the EFC will turn the nozzle off, replacing a manual operation awhile saving compressed air and your liquid solution!
Another use would be to tell when a hopper that is being filled by a Line Vac is empty or over filled. You can adjust the sensor and the control module to sense that the hopper is empty and it will turn the compressed air on to the Line Vac to then feed the hopper. Then set the timer module so it will run for the length of time it takes to fill the hopper. The other way would be to place the sensor at the top of the hopper and have it sense when the pile of media has reached the full level.
The EFC models available from stock can accommodate flows up to 350 SCFM. For applications requiring more compressed air, EFCs with dual solenoids are also available. If you have an application in one or more of your processes where intermittent compressed air use could help save you money, give us a call. We’d be happy to take a look at the application and help determine just how quickly the EFC could start paying YOU
When discussing ROI, return on investment, for an industrial compressed air system it is necessary to understand what it costs to produce compressed air. Generally we calculate that it costs .25 cents to produce 1,000 SCF (Standard Cubic Feet) of compressed air here in the Midwest of the United States. For our example let’s consider a typical 250 HP industrial compressor running 24 hours per day/5 days per week for 52 weeks. This compressor can generate 374,400,000 SCF per year, using the industry standard utility cost for the Midwest of .25 cents per 1,000 SCF it will cost $93,600 to produce that volume of compressed air.
To avoid wasting money on compressed air generation it is extremely important to eliminate unintended or wasteful compressed air use in your plant. The two main offenders are leaks and open tube blow-offs. While soapy water is a good method for discovering leaks, EXAIR offers the Ultrasonic Leak Detector. This handy device allows leaks to be detected at distances of up to 20′ away! Also consider how safe and convenient it is to find leaks in overhead pipes while standing on the ground instead of on a ladder. Using a tool like this to do an entire system leak audit can easily result in many small leaks being identified and when fixed result in a large savings.
Now let’s look at what an open pipe or tube may consume. A single 1/4″ OD copper tube can use 33 SCFM @ 80 PSIG inlet pressure. Using the manifold pictured above as our example with 13 open tubes, each tube can consume 33 SCFM @ 80 PSI inlet pressure. With 13 open tubes running 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks per year equates to a total consumption of 160,617,600 SCF annually. If we installed the EXAIR model 1100 Super Air Nozzle using a simple compression fitting we would reduce the air consumption dramatically. The EXAIR 1100 Super Air Nozzle consumes 14 SCFM @ 80 PSIG inlet pressure, running 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks per year equates to a total consumption of 68,140,800 SCF annually. That change will save you 92,476,800 SCF annually which is equal to $23,119.20 and 24.7% of air compressor capacity! These calculations are all based on continuous running applications, if intermittent operation is possible consider the EXAIR Electronic Flow Control for even greater savings. The EXAIR Electronic Flow Control combines a photoelectric sensor with timing control that limits compressed air use by turning it off when no part is present
Open pipe blow offs also violate OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) requirement for using compressed air for cleaning when pressurized above 30 PSIG. Not to mention they generally are louder than 90 dBA, which is the maximum allowable noise exposure without hearing protection under OSHA standard 29 CFR – 1910.95 (a). The EXAIR engineered Super Air Nozzle is a great way to avoid a OSHA fine.
A great product that will help you keep your fingers on the pulse of compressed air consumption and demand is by incorporating the EXAIR Digital Flow Meter. This handy item mounts directly to the pipe. The digital display shows the amount of compressed air being used in any leg of your distribution system. The Digital Flow Meter is offered in sizes for 1/2″ – 4″ Schedule 40 Iron Pipe and 3/4″ – 4″ Copper Pipe. It also is available with the Summing Remote Display that is prewired with a 50′ cable, it is powered by the Digital Flow Meter and with a push of the button will display either the current compressed air consumption, consumption for the previous 24 hours or the total cumulative usage.
The Digital Flowmeters are also available with wireless capability using the ZigBee mesh network protocol, data can be passed from meter to meter to extend the distance over which the wireless system can operate. Each meter has a range of up to 100′ (30 meters). Or you can opt for the USB Data Logger option. The USB Data Logger can store approximately 9 hours of readings if set to sample once every second or up to 2 years if sampled every 12 hours.
If you would like to talk about any of the quiet EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® products or our line of Optimization Products, feel free to contact me or any EXAIR Application Engineer.
Russ Bowman, CCASS
Application Engineer EXAIR Corporation Visit us on the Web Follow me on Twitter Like us on Facebook