An important part of operating and maintaining a compressed air system is taking accurate pressure measurements at various points in the compressed air distribution system, and establishing a baseline and monitoring with data logging. A Pressure Profile is a useful tool to understand and analyze the compressed air system and how it is functioning.
The profile is generated by taking pressure measurements at the various key locations in the system. The graph begins with the compressor and its range of operating pressures, and continues through the system down to the regulated points of use, such as Air Knives or Safety Air Guns. It is important to take the measurements simultaneously to get the most accurate data, and typically, the most valuable data is collected during peak usage periods.
By reviewing the Pressure Profile, the areas of greatest drop can be determined and the impact on any potential low pressure issues at the point of use. As the above example shows, to get a reliable 75 PSIG supply pressure for a device or tool, 105-115 PSIG must be generated, (30-40 PSIG above the required point of use pressure.) As a rule of thumb, for every 10 PSIG of compressed air generation increase the energy costs increase 5-7.5%
By developing a total understanding of the compressed air system, including the use of tools such as the Pressure Profile, steps to best maximize the performance while reducing costs can be performed.
If you have questions about getting the most from your compressed air system, or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
A common item that can be found in a majority of machine shops is the blue or gray knuckle-jointed hose used to dispense coolant on lathes and CNC machines. EXAIR also uses this same hose with our Cold Guns and Adjustable Spot Coolers for applications that cannot or do not wish to use liquid coolant as a means of keeping the heat down on their tooling. Since the cold air discharges at atmospheric pressure, this is an acceptable application. Another application is using this style of hose as a compressed air blowoff. This is NOT a proper use of the hose and is not only a considerable waste of compressed air but can also pose a safety hazard. Using this method for compressed air blowoff is not compliant with OSHA 1910.242(b) (a directive we blog about).
I was recently contacted by a customer in Indonesia that was using an array of (6) of these knuckle-jointed hoses with a ¼” round nozzle attachment for a blowoff operation. The customer had a series of rubber pads used in the construction of a toy castle. The pads were brought along by an overhead conveyor and a design was printed on the head of the pad. The nozzles were used to dry the ink before the pad made it to the next part of the process. This was a new product line and the processes involved were being evaluated for potential places to save on compressed air rather than adding overall capacity to their system. After using a variety of EXAIR products for other blowoff applications, they came back for another engineered solution.
After testing both a 1009-9280 (Adjustable Air Nozzle w/ 30” Stay Set Hose) and an HP1126-9280 (1” High Power Flat Nozzle w/ 30” Stay Set Hose), the customer determined that the airflow pattern from the 1” Flat Nozzle was more conducive to drying the rubber pad and purchased the remaining units to replace their original method. The compressed air savings was noticed immediately!!
For the old operation, they had to regulate the pressure down on the hose to 25 psig so that the hose wouldn’t break apart. (1) This hose , with a ¼” round nozzle, will consume 52 scfm at 25 psig of supply pressure. With (6) of these they were consuming a whopping 312 scfm!! Since the HP1126 is compliant with OSHA directive 1910.242(b) and will not break apart at higher pressures, they were able to operate at 80 psig while only consuming 17.5 scfm. They saved more than enough air for their new process and are evaluating whether or not they can turn off one of their smaller 25 HP compressors.
The new setup with the EXAIR engineered solution was able to save them 207 scfm of compressed air. Assuming a cost of $.25/1000 scfm and a 40 hr work week, this translates to an overall savings of $6,458.40 per year off of their utility bill.
207 scfm x 60 minutes x 8 hrs/day x 5 shifts/week x 52 weeks/year =25,833,600 scf
25,833,600 scf x ($.25/1000 scf) = $6,458.40
If you’re using an inefficient compressed air blowoff in your facility, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to evaluate your process and determine the safest and most efficient solution. With same day shipment for stock items on orders placed by 3:00 pm EDT, we can get a solution out to you by the following day!
Compressed air systems will contain contaminants that can lead to issues and increased costs through contamination of product, damage to the air operated devices, and air line clogging and restriction. Proper air preparation is critical to optimizing performance throughout the plant operations.
Because there are different types of contaminants, including solid particles, liquid water, and vapors of water and oil, there are different methods of filtration, each best suited for maximum efficiency in contaminant removal.
Particulate Filters – The compressed air flows from outside to inside of the filter element. The compressed air first passes through a baffle arrangement which causes centrifugal separation of the largest particles and liquid drops (but not liquid vapors), and then the air passes through the filter element. The filter element is usually a sintered material such as bronze. The filter elements are inexpensive and easy to replace. Filtration down to 40-5 micron is possible.
Coalescing Filters – This type operates differently from the particulate type. The compressed air flows from inside to outside through a coalescing media. The very fine water and oil aerosols come into contact with fibers in the filter media, and as they collect, they coalesce (combine) to form larger droplets towards the outside of the filter element. When the droplet size is enough the drops fall off and collect at the bottom of the filter housing. The filter element is typically made up of some type glass fibers. The coalescing filter elements are also relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. Filtration down to 0.01 micron at 99.999% efficiency is possible.
Adsorption Filters – In this type of filtration, activated carbon is typically used, and the finest oil vapors, hydrocarbon residues, and odors can be be removed. The mechanism of filtration is that the molecules of the gas or liquid adhere to the surface of the activated carbon. This is usually the final stage of filtration, and is only required for certain applications where the product would be affected such as blow molding or food processing.
When you work with us in selecting an EXAIR product, such as a Super Air Knife, Super Air Amplifier, or Vortex Tube, your application engineer can recommend the appropriate type of filtration needed to keep the EXAIR product operating at maximum efficiency with minimal disruption due to contaminant build up and unnecessary cleaning.
If you have questions regarding compressed air filtration or any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Using compressed air in the plant is common for many types of processes. Typical uses are drying, cooling, cleaning and conveying. Compressed air does have a cost to consider, and there are many ways to keep the usage and the costs as low as possible. The first step is to use an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product, which has been engineered to provide the most performance while using the least amount of compressed air. The next step is to control the use of the air, to only have it on when needed.
EXAIR offers the EFC – Electronic Flow Control. It offers the most comprehensive method to maximize the efficiency of compressed air usage. It combines a photoelectric sensor with a timing control that operates a solenoid valve to turn on and off the air as required. With 8 different program types, an on/off mode that works with any process can be programmed ensuring that the minimum amount of compressed air is used. You can use the online EFC Savings Calculator to see how quickly the savings add up!
Another method would be to use a solenoid valve with some other method of control. Depending on the process, the solenoid could be energized via a machine control output, or as simple as an electrical push button station. EXAIR offers solenoid valves in a variety of flow rates (from 40 to 350 SCFM) and voltages (24 VDC, 120 VAC and 240 VAC) to match the air flow requirements of the products we provide, while integrating into the facility and available supply voltages.
For control of the Cabinet Cooler Systems, the ETC – Electronic Temperature Control, uses a thermocouple to measure cabinet temperature and cycle the system on and off to maintain a precise cabinet temperature, and provides a digital readout of the internal temperatures and on the fly adjustment. Also available is the Thermostat Control models, which utilize an adjustable bimetallic thermostat to control the solenoid valve, also cycling the unit on and off as needed to maintain a set cabinet temperature.
There are several manual methods that can be used to control the compressed air. A simple valve can be used to turn the air off when not needed, whether at the end of the work day, at break time, or whenever the air isn’t required. We offer several options, from a foot controlled valve, to a magnetic base with on/off valve, to a simple quarter turn ball valve.
To discuss your processes and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can control the air supply and save you money, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
The versatility of social media is one of its greatest assets. If you have an interest in something you can most likely discover others with the same interests on one of the social media platforms. From Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube to Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram and Reddit – you will be hard pressed to NOT find something you are looking for.
The other day, we lost our dog, and it was a traumatic experience for us. She saw some deer in the backyard; and in her crazed state, she knocked down the pet gate. Molly went after the deer into the woods behind our place. Being that it was raining and approaching the evening hour, I mentioned that when she gets done hunting, she will come back home. We placed her bed and food onto the porch for when she returned.
The next day, Molly was not on the porch. We were disheartened. Being that I am a bit “old” school, we decided to print some flyers with Molly’s picture. After I returned from work, we started in my neighborhood and worked our way out. We drove to all the neighbors to see if they had seen her, and we stapled the flyers to telephone poles and community boards. We were going at it for hours, and it seemed to be getting hopeless. (Now, I would not have written this blog if it had a sad ending.)
As we continued to make our journey, I went up to a house and knocked on their door. A gentleman answered, and I gave him the story of how our dog got out of her pen. As I was still speaking, my significant other rolled down her window and shouted to me that she found Molly. I was a little confused as I headed back to the vehicle. She told me that a picture of Molly was on her Facebook. (Of course Molly was making herself right at home as the picture showed her laying on a couch). We were extremely happy that we had finally found her. Apparently, a lady that found Molly posted her picture, and tagged her friends. Her friends then sent it out to their friends, and before you knew it, we had her picture on Facebook. With a friend request, we were able to receive her location and start our way to pick her up. Believe it or not, Molly was over 2 miles away from our house.
Being curious, I looked at the timeline of the post. I noticed that she posted the picture at 6:44 p.m., and we were looking at Molly at 7:28 p.m. that same day. This was definitely much quicker and easier than hanging flyers and knocking on doors. I was amazed at how fast and simple that this social networking reunited us with Molly.
This got me thinking about social media. Facebook is the largest social network with almost 2 billion users throughout the world. In looking at the nature of Facebook, it is more than reuniting with friends or finding lost dogs. It also unites companies. EXAIR has a Facebook page in which we post videos, photos, and blogs of compressed air solutions. We can show you how to save money by using less compressed air with our products and how to solve every day problems with your compressed air system. We would love to have you as a friend at www.facebook.com/exair. We may not be able to find your dog, but we sure can share some stories, solve compressed air problems, and become good friends.
No one likes paying their bills at the end of the month. But, if you can save yourself some money, it helps to make it a little easier. For this customer, he received a monthly bill for his compressed air.
An industrial facility consisting of four separate manufacturing plants and a power company that supplied all of them with utilities, i.e. hot water, natural gas, electricity, and compressed air. The parent company decided to reorganize and sell the entities. At the end of it, the power company was controlled by a different organization than the manufacturing plants. The power plant was contracted to still supply the utilities to the individual plants, but now they would be charged individually on a monthly basis.
Being that compressed air is one of the most expensive utilities, the general manager of a solid-state electronic plant really noticed the charge on his bill. He did an estimate on the amount of air that his equipment was using, and he compared it to the charges. There was roughly a 20% difference in the figures. Because of the excessive amount of money, he contacted EXAIR to see what we could offer.
In discussing their system, the compressed air was supplied through one 6” schedule 40 black pipe. The pipe came into the facility in the ceiling and it branched off to supply the entire shop with compressed air. He was looking for something to measure the compressed air flow with the ability to measure a cumulative amount. He could use this amount to compare to his monthly usage. He was also concerned about cutting into his compressed air line as this could cause him much downtime and additional costs. He needed something easy to install, accurate, and versatile.
I suggested our 6” Digital Flowmeter with the Model 9150 Summing Remote Display. EXAIR Digital Flowmeters are designed to measure flow continuously and accurately. You do not need to weld, cut, or disassemble pipe lines to install. With a drill guide, the Digital Flowmeter can be easily mounted onto the 6” black pipe by drilling two small holes. After that, they just had to insert the Digital Flowmeter into the holes, and tighten the clamp around the pipe. The total procedure took less than 30 minutes, so downtime was minimal. The EXAIR Digital Flowmeter measures flow by comparative analysis with thermal dispersion; so, the accuracy is very high and recalibration is not required.
With the option of the Summing Remote Display, they could attach it to the Digital Flowmeter and display the flow remotely up to 50 feet away. They mounted it on the wall next to his office for the operational functions. With a simple press of a button, it can show the current flow rates, daily flow rates, and cumulative flow rates. So, during the billing cycle, he was able to get the cumulative measurement to compare the results, and reset the counter to zero for the next month.
Believe it or not, the power company was correct in their measurements. But, not to waste an entire blog, I did have him turn the compressed air supply off after business hours to watch the flow rate. He did find his 20% difference in compressed air leakage. The Digital Flowmeter was able to measure low flows to target other problem areas in your compressed air system. Now he had another chore in leak detecting and pipe fixing.
EXAIR Optimization line has different products that can help you to get the most out of your compressed air system. With the customer above, he was able to measure his compressed air flow with the Digital Flowmeter, as well as detecting other issues. I will now have to talk to him about our Ultrasonic Leak Detector.
EXAIR’s Efficiency Lab is now the “award-winning Efficiency Lab”. Thank you to Environmental Protection Magazine for recognizing the value and importance of this EXAIR service.
I have blogged about this many times and we continue to help customers by using our free Efficiency Lab service that EXAIR provides to customers throughout the USA. The EXAIR Efficiency Lab allows customers to send in their existing blow off device and we will test it for compressed air consumption, sound level, and force. Ideally we try to take these measurements at the same operating pressure that is being supplied in the field so that we can compare it to an EXAIR product and offer the customer the best solution, the safest solution, and an engineered solution capable of saving them money through air savings and effectiveness.
Here is a recent example of a product sent in by a customer concerned with compressed air consumption and safety of their people. The hose they sent in was actually designed to be used with liquid coolants and was a very large consumer of compressed air.
The hose shown above was being used at 40 psig inlet pressure. The device is not OSHA compliant for dead end pressure, nor does it meet or exceed the OSHA standard for allowable noise level exposure. The hose was utilizing 84.64 SCFM of compressed air and was giving off 100.1 dBA of sound.
As seen in the chart above, an employee is only permitted to work in the surrounding area for 2 hours a day when exposed to this noise level. The amount of force that the nozzle gave off was far more than what was needed to blow chips and fines off the part. The EXAIR solution was a model 1002-9230 – Safety air Nozzle w/ 30″ Stay Set Hose.
The EXAIR products were operated at line pressure of 80 psig which means they utilized 17 SCFM of compressed air and gave off a sound level of 80 dBA. On top of saving over 67 SCFM per nozzle and reducing the noise level to below OSHA standard, the EXAIR engineered solution also meets or exceeds the OSHA standard for 30 psig dead end pressure. In total this customer has replaced 8 of these inefficient lines and is saving 541 SCFM of compressed air each time they activate the part blowoff.
If you would like to find out more about the EXAIR Efficiency Lab, contact an Application Engineer.
We look forward to testing your blow off and being able to recommend a safe, efficient, engineered solution.
Application Engineer Manager