A Perfect Fit for Primary Metal Manufacturing

Primary metal manufacturing and processing plants tend to have a variety of applications using compressed air, some of which can be quite large.  Our Finnish distributor found just such an application, using a high volume of compressed air under unsafe conditions.

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Homemade air gun at a metal manufacturing plant in Finland

In the photo above you can see a homemade air gun used to provide a high force blow off.  This unit has a welded cone on the end of a metal pipe using a ¼ turn ball valve to control the compressed air.  When the ball valve is turned the airflow remains constant until the operator returns the valve to the closed position.  This means that if the operator were to let go of the unit for any reason, the air gun would continue to blow, creating a safety hazard.

In addition to this concern, the welded cone at the end of the pipe provides no protection for high dead end pressures, creating a potential source of an air embolism if contacting human skin.  This can lead to difficulty breathing, chest pain, low blood pressure, or even a stroke (Source: MedScape; Venous Air Embolism; Updated December 8th, 2015).

The end user had accepted the risks associated with this homemade device because they were unaware of anything in the market capable of meeting the volume and force necessary to meet their application needs.  That is, until they were shown the EXAIR Super Blast Safety Air Gun model 1218.

Feeding the compressed air through an automatically closing ball valve, the 1218 removed the threat of unwanted flow from such a high force air gun.  The model 1218 also provides more than enough force and flow – the existing setup uses a 1-1/4” diameter orifice with a flow rate of 1986 SCFM (56,233 SLPM) with an unknown entrainment ratio; the 1218 has a flow rate of 460 SCFM (13,026 SLPM) with an entrainment ratio of 25:1, making the total directed flow equal to 11,500 SCFM (325,650 SLPM)!  This means the application can produce better or equal performance at a fraction of the compressed air consumption, thanks to the engineered design of EXAIR nozzles.  (See below for operational cost comparison.)

By converting to an EXAIR Super Blast Safety Air Gun this customer was able to add safety, increase performance, and lower operating costs.  If you have an application you think could benefit from better safety, performance, or operating cost, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

 

Compressed air costs are calculated as follows:

Previous setup:

1,986 SCFM compressed air consumption.  At a cost of $0.25/1000 SCF this equates to:

1,986 * ($0.25/1000) = $0.4965 for every minute of use

EXAIR model 1218:

460 SCFM compressed air consumption.  At the same cost of $0.25/1000 SCF this equates to:

460 * ($0.25/1000) = $0.115 for every minute of use

When comparing the two, the EXAIR model 1218 will provide an operational cost savings of almost 77%!

And, if you’re wondering how we determined the airflow through the existing setup, we used the charts below.

air calcs

Air calcs for the flow through a 1-1/4″ orifice

Calculating Compressed Air Cost & Savings Made Easy

If you have ever looked through our catalog, website, blog, twitter feeds, or even our Facebook page, you will see that we can almost always put a dollar amount behind the amount of compressed air you saved by installing EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products.   No matter which platform we use to deliver the message, we use the same value for the cost of compressed air which is $.25 per 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet of compressed air. This value is derived from average commercial and industrial energy costs nationwide, if you are on either coast this value may increase slightly. On the positive side, if your cost for compressed air is a bit more, installing an EXAIR product will increase your savings.

So where does this number come from?   I can tell you this much, we didn’t let the marketing department or anyone in Accounting make it up.   This is a number that the Engineering department has deemed feasible and is accurate.

To calculate the amount we first look to what the cost per kilowatt hour is you pay for energy.  Then we will need to know what the compressor shaft horsepower  of the compressor is, plus the run time percentage, the percentage at full-load, and the motor efficiency.

If you don’t have all of these values, no worries.   We can get fairly close by using the industry accepted standard mentioned above, or use some other general standards if all you know is the cost of your electricity.

The way to calculate the cost of compressed air is not an intense mathematical equation like you might think.  The best part is, you don’t even have to worry about doing any of the math shown below because you can contact us and we can work through it for you.

If you prefer to have us compare your current compressed air blow off or application method to one of our engineered products, we can do that AND provide you a report which includes side by side performance comparisons (volume of flow, noise, force) and dollar savings. This refers to our free Efficiency Lab service.

EXAIR's Efficiency Lab is a free service to all US customers.

EXAIR’s Efficiency Lab is a free service to all US customers.

If you already know how much air you are using, you can use the Air Savings Calculators (USD or Euro) within our website’s knowledge base. Just plug in the numbers (EXAIR product data is found on our website or just contact us) and receive air savings per minute, hour, day and year. We also present a simple ROI payback time in days.

Now, back to the math behind our calculation.
Cost ($) =
(bhp) x (0.746) x (#of operating hours) x ($/kWh) x (% time) x ( % full load bhp)
——————————————————————————————————————————
Motor Efficiency

Where:
bhp
— Compressor shaft horsepower (generally higher than motor nameplate Hp)
0.746 – conversion between hp and KW
Percent Time — percentage of time running at this operating level
Percent full-load bhp — bhp as percentage of full load bhp at this operating level
Motor Efficiency — motor efficiency at this operating level

For an average facility here in the Midwest $0.25/1,000 SCF of compressed air is accurate.   If you would like to attempt the calculation and or share with us your findings, please reach out to us.   If you need help, we are happy to assist.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Model 1410SS-CS Blows Castings in Cleaning Application

About a month ago I was in the field with one of our distributors in India visiting one of their customers. We were there to make an audit of their applications which were suspected of being high volume compressed air users within the plant. The very first application we were taken to was the point where large, steel castings begin their journey through the plant. It is at this point that the castings must be cleaned of all chips and residue prior to being run through a large parts washer.

The application involves multiple personnel blowing onto large, steel castings to remove machining chips, oil and other debris to prepare them for washing. The existing air gun might have been in good condition at some point, but during our visit, we found the air gun’s trigger was secured in an open position with zip ties so it was “on” all the time. Also, there was no nozzle at the tip of the gun. It appeared to have been cut off with a grinding wheel. The fact that there was no engineered nozzle at the end made the unit quite un-safe, loud and a large consumer of compressed air. The fact that the handle was clamped in the open position also negated the effectiveness of being able to use the air only when needed. Finally, when these operators would blow into blind holes debris would exit with significant velocity, so that represented a danger to the personnel that we could also remedy with our recommendation.

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Old blow gun

After initial review of what was happening in the application and seeing first-hand what the issues were, we recommended EXAIR Model 1410SS-CS (Precision Safety Air Gun with Chip Shield).

new bg

Model 1410SS-CS

Following is our estimate of compressed air usage for the existing air guns and calculated air savings with projected cost savings figured for 4 people operating constantly over three daily shifts. Estimated current air use per each gun = 33 SCFM. Air consumption of model 1410SS-CS = 8.3 SCFM. Net air reduction = 33 – 8.3 = 24.7 SCFM. 75% air savings. Rough estimate for per shift air savings = 47,424 Standard Cubic Feet. At $ .25 USD / 1000 SCF, the “per shift” savings could be $11.86 USD. Total daily savings = $35.57 USD.

As many who follow compressed air savings know, compressed air is one of, if not the most expensive utility in just about any manufacturing operation. And this case demonstrates just how expensive four innocuous air guns blowing in a single application can really be and how it adds to the bottom line costs that every manufacturing decision-maker is usually concerned about.

Point being, if you want to add to your bottom line, give consideration to your air blowing applications. There is usually big savings to be had which can improve the application, help the bottom line, increase safety and conserve on that ever precious resource, energy.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR

EXAIR Blowoff Guide

blowoff guide

EXAIR Blowoff Guide

Did you know that EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are one of the most energy saving products that we sell?  They are!  To highlight this fact, we have developed a completely separate, EXAIR Blowoff Guide to educate our customers about the benefits of our Super Air Nozzles, Air Jets and Safety Air Guns. Benefits include compressed air volume reduction, compressed air noise reduction, and maintaining OSHA safety standards.

The last page in the guide discusses many of the other product groups that we offer for solving application problems. Many options are highlighted within the guide. Everything from use of Digital Flow Meters to measure savings, to use of Chip Shields, Extension Pipes and Magnetic bases and Swivels for easy installation.

The Blowoff Guide is a 26 page document with dimensions of 135 mm x 216 mm and has a weight of 50 grams. This is our third edition of the document that we use to make specialized promotions about these products. It is a handy reference that can fit into your back pocket.

Ask for your EXAIR Blowoff Guide to be sent to you. Simply click the following link to order your copy today! EXAIR Blowoff Guide

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com

That New Car Feeling

So, I got a new car this week. It replaces my 15 year old van that just went over 200,000 miles recently. It’s been solid transportation since my sons were in baby/booster seats, and they both now exceed the height/weight requirements to ride in the front seat. In fact, the state of Ohio will soon permit my oldest to sit in the driver’s seat. Whether his mother and I will allow it (or are ready for it) is still up in the air. Stay tuned…

There are no “fatal flaws” with the van…the cost to fix the problems it has, though, would exceed the amount I could reasonably sell it for, and it just rubs me the wrong way to be “upside down” on a vehicle, whether that’s owing more…or spending more…on it than it’s worth.

It’s kind of a downer having a car payment again (although we were pretty proud of ourselves for having saved up a good amount for a down payment,) but the New Car does indeed have its advantages:

Operating cost: my van got just under 17 miles per gallon; the New Car boasts 33 mpg. I know; I know; “my mileage may vary,” but if I’m anywhere close to cutting my fuel costs in half, I’ll be a happy camper.

Reliability: Again, the van wasn’t dead (not completely,) but I’d had to perform unplanned replacements of the battery and a tire recently. I also noticed, at the last oil change, that engine coolant is finding its way into the oil. That gasket (wherever it is; I have no intention of finding it) isn’t going to fix itself.

Safety: Automobile makers have come a long way over the years, as the video below shows. Now, my van is a much more modern vehicle than the 1959 model…it has air bags, frame/body engineering to absorb impact, anti-lock brakes, etc. The New Car has more air bags, and over a decade more experience in the engineering behind them, as well as the “crumple zones” and brakes.

Every day, I get the opportunity to discuss these same kinds of issues with callers who are interested in finding out how EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can make these same kinds of improvements:

Operating cost: For thirty-one years now, EXAIR has gone all out to make the most efficient compressed air products on the market. And, while we’ve succeeded, we’re not stopping there. Just as our Design Engineers have pulled out all the stops to make these products the best, our Application Engineers are eager to help you get the most out of them. That’s why we constantly update our Knowledge Database and Case Study Library. That’s why we work as a team…so that there’s never a time that only one of us learns something new. In short, we KNOW that EXAIR products can lower your operating costs. We want to help you lower them even more by optimizing their effectiveness.

Reliability: Most compressed air products, by design, have small passages for the air flow. These can be prone to clogging, which will “vary your mileage” for sure. That’s why we promote the use of Automatic Drain Filter Separators and Oil Removal Filters – if you supply our products with clean, dry air, you’re going to get a LONG time of maintenance-free operation from them.

Safety: All of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products comply with OSHA Directive 1910.242(b), which governs the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes, and 1910.95(a), which specifies maximum allowable limits for noise exposure.

If you’d like to find out how EXAIR products could possibly give you something like that “New Car” feeling in regard to your facility’s compressed air use, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Find us on the Web http://www.exair.com/28/home.htm
Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/EXAIR_RB
Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/exair

What is the USB Data Logger for Digital Flow Meters? How Can It Help Me?

USB Data Logger

The USB data logger works with all of EXAIR’s Digital Flow Meters and provides valuable feedback for optimizing your compressed air system.

EXAIR’s Model 9147 USB Data Logger has become one of the most valuable tools that we sell to help customers get a “view” of their compressed air usage over time. One of the important tenets we promote at EXAIR is energy savings by prudent use of compressed air through our engineered solutions (Air Knife, Air Nozzles, Air Amplifier, etc.). But how does a person in charge of such systems really “know” whether they are helping or hurting their compressed air system?

The first step is to have an appropriate flow meter which can give an indication of how much air volume is being used. EXAIR’s line of Digital Flow Meters are perfect for getting to that point with instant and direct readings that don’t need to be calculated any further. What you see on the meter is the flow in either SCFM or m3/hr calibrations.

The second step is to attach the USB Data Logger to the Digital Flow Meter so that readings can be kept over time. It is like setting up a security camera for your compressed air system. Nothing gets by without being recorded.

The USB Data Logger can be connected to just about any type of monitoring system that has a 4 – 20 mA output to which the 2-wire harness can be installed. A quick and easy initialization to choose the unit of measure, to select the frequency of measurement and some optional alarms is all that is necessary. The software package is included with the USB Data Logger and is convenient to run on a typical desktop or laptop computer. You simply, set it and forget it (at least until you want to do some reporting).

The reporting is how the USB Data Logger can help you as the person concerned with monitoring the compressed air use in your facility. Once the defined monitoring period of time has passed, the USB Data Logger can be removed from its socket, stopped from recording and the data is then downloaded into a suitable format that can be imported into EXCEL or other spreadsheet program for creating charts to analyze what is happening, when it is happening and how much compressed air is being used. In the analysis, you can compare the flow data and times with certain problems in a production line that might cause low pressure condition which shuts machinery down. You might also be able to determine where additional, point of use compressed air storage might be needed close to certain processes.

Ultimately, the USB Data Logger allows you to “see” your compressed air system in a way that allows you to sleuth out problems seen that might have no other explanation. It can also help you to justify your air savings when you apply the other air saving compressed air products that EXAIR produces by monitoring a base line for “before” performance and “after” performance. After all, it if is important to your organization, it should be measured. And compressed air is certainly a utility that should be measured.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com
@exair_nr

EFC Can Provide Valuable Compressed Air Savings

I recently worked with a customer who was wanting to use one of our 72” Super Ion Air Knife is his paint booth application. He would be using the Super Ion Air Knife to remove any static build up and blow dirt/debris off ABS plastic molds (truck beds) prior to the paint booth. We were both confident the Super Ion Air Knife would perform in the application but he was concerned with the amount of air he would be wasting in between paint cycles. The paint time for each mold is 5 minutes and the blowoff time is 30 seconds, he was planning to leave the knife run during this time. This is an 8 hour per day operation, Monday – Friday, so this practice was going to lead to an expensive waste of compressed air*. I recommended that he incorporate our EFC (Electronic Flow Control) into his process.

Without using the EFC

(* Using $ 0.25 per 1000 SCFM used)

  • 72” Super Ion Air Knife = 208.8 SCFM @ 80 PSIG
  • 208.8 SCFM x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1000 SCFM = $ 3.13 per hour
  • $ 3.13 per hour x 8 hours = $ 25.04 per 8-hour day
  • $ 25.04 x 5 days = $ 125.20 per work week
  • $ 125.20 per week x 52 weeks = $6,510.40 per work year without the EFC control

The EFC is an electronic flow control that minimizes compressed air usage by incorporating a timing controlled (0.10 seconds to 120 hours) photoelectric sensor. The unit will turn off the compressed air supply when there are no parts present and provides an easy way to program the device to a specific application. The EFC offers an additional eight programmable on/off modes and is suited for NEMA 4 environments. It can also be easily wired for electric, 100-240VAC, 50/60Hz.

EFCp4

With the EFC installed (turning the air off for 4.5  minutes with a 30 second cycle time = 6 minutes/hour compressed air usage)

  • 208.8 SCFM x 6 minute x $ 0.25 / 1000 SCFM = $ 0.31 per hour
  • $ 0.31 per hour x 8 hours = $ 2.48 per 8-hour day
  • $ 2.48 x 5 days = $ 12.40 per work week
  • $ 12.40 per week x 52 weeks = $644.80 per work year with the EFC control 

$ 6,510.40 per year (w/o EFC) – $ 644.80 per year (w/ EFC) = $5,865.60 projected savings per year by incorporating the EFC.

This example illustrates, clearly, why choosing the EFC is a good idea. It has the ability to keep compressed air costs to a minimum and saves compressed air for use within other processes around the plant. With this type of compressed air savings, the unit would pay for itself in less than 3 months.

If you would like to see how we might be able to improve your process or provide a solution for valuable savings, please contact one of our Application Engineers.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_JN

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