How to Save Money on Compressed Air

Compressed air can be one of the more expensive utilities to use in a facility, but a compressed air system is full of simple opportunities to increase efficiency and minimize the cost. Much like how you can take multiple steps to save electricity at your house there a few simple steps you can take to save your compressed air. These steps include finding and repairing leaks, compressor maintenance, minimizing pressure at the point of use, and turning the compressed air off when not in use. Implementing these steps and using the right tools to achieve them can lead to significant dollar savings – in fact our website case studies, other blog articles and catalog are filled with example after example of air (and dollar) savings success! And let’s be honest here, who doesn’t like saving money.

First off is finding your leaks. Leaks are one of the major wastes of compressed air in a system that could happen. Leaks in a compressed air system can account for wasting 20-30% of a compressors output. These leaks can commonly be found in pipe joints, devices that use the compressed air, quick connect fittings, and storage tanks. All of this compounds to wasting air much like a leaky faucet wastes water – little by little it grows until it simply needs to be addressed. One of the ways to help find leaks in your system is EXAIR’s affordable Ultrasonic Leak Detector. This leak detector uses ultrasonic waves to detect where costly leaks can be found so that they can be patched or fixed.

EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector

Choose efficient end-use products. Engineered air knives, air amplifiers, air nozzles and safety air guns can dramatically outperform (use less air) than commercial air nozzles and in-house solutions such as drilled pipes, open air lines and other creative “fixes”. We have seen some very nice in-house solutions from customers who have put in some significant time and effort, but they all have one thing in common – they use more air than any of EXAIR’s engineered solutions.

Minimizing your pressure can also save you money by limiting the amount of compressed air that is being used. Pressure and volume go hand and hand, the higher the pressure the higher the volume of air and vice versa. By minimizing the pressure that you are using you are also minimizing the amount of air that is being used which means savings. Each CFM used can be associated with a certain price value so the less you use the more you save. You also cut down on the amount of work the compressor has to do and how often the compressor has to cycle. Pressure can be minimized using one of EXAIR’s Pressure Regulators to cut down on the amount of air being used.

EXAIR’s Pressure Regulators come in 4 different sizes

Turn off the compressed air when it is not in use. Just like how you wouldn’t leave the faucet running or lights on in a room that is not being used, don’t leave your compressed air running (insert bad dad joke). Constantly using compressed air even when not in use will cause the compressor to cycle more often wasting money. Each CFM has a price to it so don’t waste CFM’s blowing it back into the air and doing nothing. This can simply be done by adding one of EXAIR’s ball valve or solenoid valves to turn off when you are done using it. Also, if you want to take it another step farther you can look at using one of EXAIR’s Electronic Flow Controllers (EFC). The EFC uses a photo eye attached to a timer that will open a solenoid valve for a set amount of time when it detects an object within 3’ of the photo eye. This will turn the air on only when your product is in the air path and turn it off during any spaces in between.

EXAIR’s EFC in use

Compressor maintenance is another important step to minimizing the cost of compressed air. Neglected air compressors can cause a lot of issues ranging from expensive repairs to a decreases in efficiency. Wear and tear placed on the motor of an air compressor can cause the compressor to produce less compressed air (SCFM) at the same power consumption. This means you are paying the same amount of money and getting less out of it. Making sure that your compressor or any machine is always running at its optimal performance and should always be a priority for any facility.

There are many different ways to save on compressed air, these are just a few of them. Reducing air use will save money and reduce the demand on your compressor which in turn can prolong the life of your air compressor. If you have questions about how to save on compressed air or any of our engineered Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR or any Application Engineer.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Let Solenoid Valves and Ball Valves save you Money!

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.
Top Left: Solenoid Valve , Bottom: Manual Foot Valve , Right: Manual ball valve

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. 

EXAIR’s Ball Valves sizes 1/4″ NPT to 1-1/4″ NPT

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!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Flat Super Air Nozzle vs. Open Pipe ROI

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.

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

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.

1/4″ Copper tube

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.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Save Compressed Air with the EXAIR Electronic Flow Control

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.

efcapp
EXAIR EFC

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

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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