Choosing the Best Chip Vacuum for Your Application

One Christmas, a long time ago, my Mother In Law gave me a beautifully wrapped present, and a great big smile.  I opened it up…it was an extension cord.  One of those heavy duty orange, indoor/outdoor, 100 foot long models.  I returned her smile, while thinking about all the things I might be able to use it for…and not coming up with anything really solid.

As the family continued to open presents, she disappeared into the other room, and came back with a much larger package and handed it to me…still with that great big smile.  It was a convertible string trimmer; one that worked as a ‘weed eater’ or, with a twist of the handle, an edger.  And it was electrically operated…NOW I knew what the extension cord was for.  As great and useful a gift it was – eighteen years on, and I’m almost competent at edging the sidewalk – I got a valuable lesson from it: accessories make a great gift better.  Since then, I’ve always thoughtfully considered:

  • If I give someone a battery operated gift, I give them batteries too.
  • If it comes with its own rechargeable battery, I carefully open the package and charge it up, before I wrap it up.
  • If accessories are available, I think about how they might use it.  I’ve even presented them with the accessory first, in tribute to my wonderful wife’s wonderful Mom.
  • If there’s a “deluxe” or “premium” version, sometimes it’s worth it to just go all out…again, after consideration of how they might use it.

Now, this is not only the case with presents…many household, commercial, or industrial products offer Deluxe or Premium packages…like the EXAIR Chip Vac System.

At the most basic level, a Model 6193 Chip Vac System for 55 Gallon Drum is all you need to turn an existing drum into a powerful, reliable, durable industrial vacuum.  It comes with a lid & latch ring, Filter Bag, 10 foot vacuum hose, a set of plastic tools, and of course, the Chip Vac itself.  All you need for simple, on-the-spot cleanup purposes.

Model 6193-30 is also available for your existing open-top 30 Gallon Drum.

Sometimes you might have (literally) more ground to cover: the Model 6293 Deluxe Chip Vac System adds a Drum Dolly for mobility, and a Tool Holder to keep the attachments handy.

Deluxe Chip Vac Systems come with a Dolly and Tool Holder in 5 Gallon (left,) 30 Gallon (center,) and 55 Gallon (right) sizes.

Other times, you may just be looking for a complete system, ready to handle everything, right out of the box.  Enter the Model 6393 Premium 55 Gallon Chip Vac System, which adds a heavy duty steel drum, an upgrade to Heavy Duty Aluminum Tools & Static Resistant Vacuum Hose, and a 20ft Compressed Air Supply Hose with Pressure Gauge & Shutoff Valve.

Premium Chip Vac Systems are ready for any cleanup job, right out of the box, and come with 30, 55, or 110 Gallon Drums.

Or, if you’re looking for something lightweight & compact, the Model 6193-5 Mini Chip Vac System comes complete with a 5 gallon drum, and the Model 6293-5 Deluxe Mini Chip Vac System adds a Drum Dolly.

The Mini Chip Vac System comes complete with a 5 Gallon Drum, and the Deluxe System adds a Drum Dolly for mobility.

With no moving parts to wear and no electrical components to burn out, the EXAIR Chip Vac is a virtually maintenance free replacement for noisy, damage-prone electric vacuums.  If you’d like to find out just how handy they are, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Starting a Leak Prevention Program

Since all compressed air systems will have some amount of leakage, it is a good idea to set up a Leak Prevention Program.  Keeping the leakage losses to a minimum will save on compressed air generation costs,and reduce compressor operation time which can extend its life and lower maintenance costs.

SBMart_pipe_800x

There are generally two types of leak prevention programs:

  • Leak Tag type programs
  • Seek-and-Repair type programs

Of the two types, the easiest would be the Seek-and-Repair method.  It involves finding leaks and then repairing them immediately. For the Leak Tag method, a leak is identified, tagged, and then logged for repair at the next opportune time.  Instead of a log system, the tag may be a two part tag.  The leak is tagged and one part of the tag stays with the leak, and the other is removed and brought to the maintenance department. This part of the tag has space for information such as the location, size, and description of the leak.

The best approach will depend on factors such as company size and resources, type of business, and the culture and best practices already in place. It is common to utilize both types where each is most appropriate.

A successful Leak Prevention Program consists of several important components:

  • Baseline compressed air usage – knowing the initial compressed air usage will allow for comparison after the program has been followed for measured improvement.
  • Establishment of initial leak loss – See this blog for more details.
  • Determine the cost of air leaks – One of the most important components of the program. The cost of leaks can be used to track the savings as well as promote the importance of the program. Also a tool to obtain the needed resources to perform the program.
  • Identify the leaks – Leaks can be found using many methods.  Most common is the use of an Ultrasonic Leak Detector, like the EXAIR Model 9061.  See this blog for more details. An inexpensive handheld meter will locate a leak and indicate the size of the leak.

    ULD_Pr
    Using the Model 9061 Ultrasonic Leak Detector to search for leaks in a piping system
  • Document the leaks – Note the location and type, its size, and estimated cost. Leak tags can be used, but a master leak list is best.  Under Seek-and-Repair type, leaks should still be noted in order to track the number and effectiveness of the program.
  • Prioritize and plan the repairs – Typically fix the biggest leaks first, unless operations prevent access to these leaks until a suitable time.
  • Document the repairs – By putting a cost with each leak and keeping track of the total savings, it is possible to provide proof of the program effectiveness and garner additional support for keeping the program going. Also, it is possible to find trends and recurring problems that will need a more permanent solution.
  • Compare and publish results – Comparing the original baseline to the current system results will provide a measure of the effectiveness of the program and the calculate a cost savings. The results are to be shared with management to validate the program and ensure the program will continue.
  • Repeat As Needed – If the results are not satisfactory, perform the process again. Also, new leaks can develop, so a periodic review should be performed to achieve and maintain maximum system efficiency.

In summary – an effective compressed air system leak prevention and repair program is critical in sustaining the efficiency, reliability, and cost effectiveness of an compressed air system.

If you have questions about a Leak Prevention Program or any of the 16 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Adjustable Air Amplifiers Aren’t Just About Adjustability

Adjustability is a key feature for a great many devices:

  • An adjustable wrench – or as I like to call it, the trusty “all 16ths” – is my go-to for work around the house involving anything with a hex…fittings under the sink when I’m cleaning out a drain, nuts & bolts on furniture or household items needing some tightening (or loosening,) etc.  I don’t get out my combination-end wrenches for much except automobile maintenance.
  • Speaking of sinks, my kitchen faucet lets me adjust water flow (and temperature) which is important because I use different flow rates (and temperatures) if I’m getting a tablespoon of water, or if I’m rinsing my hands, or if I’m filling the sink to do dishes.
  • Speaking of tablespoons, I’ve even got an adjustable measuring spoon that lets me get a full tablespoon, a half a teaspoon, or anywhere in between, by moving a lever block back & forth in the spoon head.

Adjustability is a key feature for several EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products too…like our Adjustable Air Amplifiers.  The ‘adjustable’ part has to do with setting the air flow:

Just loosen the locking ring, and you can thread the plug out of, or in to, the body to increase, or decrease the flow and force of the developed flow.  There’s a hole in the plug (opposite the “EXAIR.com” stamp) so you can use a spanner wrench (another adjustable tool!) to thread the plug in or out.

You can get an amazing range of flow from a little twist*:

These are the performance values for a Model 6042 2″ Aluminum Adjustable Air Amplifier with a compressed air supply pressure of 80psig. Regulating the pressure can give you even lower…or higher…flows.                                              *0.002″ to 0.010″ is about 1/4 turn of the plug.

A gap of about 0.010″ is about the max for 80psig supply pressure.  Above that, the air flow overwhelms the Coanda profile, creating a turbulent ‘storm’ in the throat, hampering the efficiency and effectiveness.  The proper “adjustment” for that is to select the next larger Air Amplifier!

While the range of air flow is certainly impressive, their versatility is another major factor in their selection.  I reviewed our Application Database (registration required) for real-life details on Adjustable Air Amplifiers “in the field” and found a litany of other benefits that made them better suited to particular installations than a Super Air Amplifier:

  • A customer who builds automated equipment incorporates the Model 6031 1-1/4″ SS Adjustable Air Amplifier to blow open bags with a puff of air as they move into position on an automated filling machine. They use it because it’s available in stainless steel construction, and it’s still compact & lightweight.
  • A mattress manufacturer uses Model 6043 3″ Aluminum Adjustable Air Amplifiers to  cool mattress springs.  They’re lightweight, the perfect size to match the springs’ profile, and they can “dial them out” for high heat removal before putting springs on a rubber conveyor.
  • A tier 1 automotive supplier has Model 6234 4″ SS Adjustable Air Amplifier Kits installed on their robotic paint line to blow off moisture from parts to prevent water spotting between the wash cycle and the oven.  They use them because the stainless steel construction holds up to high heat due to the proximity to the ovens.
  • A food plant uses Model 6031 1-1/4″ SS Adjustable Air Amplifiers to improve the drying time of 3,000 liter mixers that must be washed between batches of different products.  The stainless steel construction holds up to the rigors of the frequent washdown in this area.
  • A bedding manufacturer replaced a regenerative blower with a Model 6041 1-1/4″ Aluminum Adjustable Air Amplifier for trim removal on stitched fabric at bedding manufacturer.  The blower was prone to failure from lint & dust; the Air Amplifier, with no moving parts, is not.  It’s also compact, lightweight, and virtually maintenance free.
  • A light bulb manufacturer installed Model 6030 3/4″ SS Adjustable Air Amplifiers on the ends of open pipes that were used to cool mercury lamp wicks.  This reduced noise levels significantly while providing the same cooling rate, and the stainless steel construction holds up to the heat of the operation.

Because of the simplicity of their design, Adjustable Air Amplifiers are also extremely adaptable to custom applications.  We’ve added threads or flanges to the inlets and outlets of several different sizes, to accommodate ease of mounting & installation:

Among other custom Air Amplifiers, we’ve put (left to right) threads on the outlet, ANSI flanges on the inlet/outlet, Sanitary flanges on the inlet/outlet, and Sanitary on the inlet/ANSI on the outlet. How are you installing your Air Amplifier?

Adjustable Air Amplifiers are available in both aluminum and 303SS construction, to meet most any environmental requirements…except extreme high heat.  In those cases, the Model 121021 High Temperature Air Amplifier is rated to 700°F (374°C) – significantly higher than the Aluminum – 275°F (135°C) or the Stainless Steel – 400°F (204°C).  They’re commonly used to circulate hot air inside furnaces, ovens, refractories, etc.

A Model 121021 1-1/4″ High Temp Air Amplifier directs hot air to a rotational mold cavity for uniform wall thickness of the plastic part.

Adjustability.  Versatility.  Durability.  If you’d like to know more about the Adjustable Air Amplifier, or any of EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Super Air Wipe Overview

What do you do when you need to cool, blowoff, or dry extruded objects? How will you support the products to do these tasks, and how will you get your extrusions through them? Consider using engineered compressed air products air for these applications to provide instant on/off capability, fine tuning adjustment of the air flow, low noise levels and OSHA safety. The EXAIR Super Air Wipe is designed to work well with continuous production products like extrusions, wire and cable.

Super Air Wipe extrusion save
Implementing a Super Air Wipe salvaged a $30,000 job for this customer. Read all about it in our Case Study Library (registration required)

The Super Air Wipe is a highly efficient compressed air powered device that provides a uniform 360° air stream that is ideal for blowoff, drying, cleaning and/or cooling of pipe, cable, extruded shapes, hose, wire and more.

The clam shell design of EXAIR’s Super Air Wipe offers easy clamping around the surface of the material moving through it that eliminates the need for time-consuming and cumbersome threading.  All models utilize stainless steel screws and shims and for sizes up to 4″ (102mm) a Stainless Steel wire braided connecting hose is included.  Aluminum models are rated for temperatures up to 400°F (204°C) and stainless steel models for temperatures up to 800°F (427°C).

Mounting the EXAIR Super Air Wipe is very easy, it can be accomplished by using either the 1/4 – 20 tapped holes on the downstream side or by utilizing a hard pipe compressed air supply line.  Connecting the EXAIR Super Air Wipe to your compressed air supply is straightforward, there are (2) 1/4 FNPT compressed air inlets on throat sizes up to  7″ (178mm) diameter (one on each half), while the 9″ (229mm) & 11″ (279mm) diameters have a total of (4) 1/4 FNPT compressed air inlets (two per half) to ensure proper air volume for maximum performance.

Prior to the introduction of the Super Air Wipe, one way to blow off, dry, or clean extruded objects was to use a ring of air nozzles. The high air consumption and noise levels of the nozzles along with inconsistent air velocity often delivered poor results.

 

ring nozzle blow off

The Super Air Wipe, which is similar to the construction of EXAIR Super Air Knife provides a high volume, high velocity airflow that is uniformly ejected from the entire 360° of its inner diameter. The airstream adheres to the surface of the material running through it (Coanda Effect) to effectively wipe, clean or dry surfaces.

To further explain how the EXAIR Super Air Wipes work, reference the animation below: Compressed air flows through the inlet (1) of the Air Wipe into the annular chamber (2).  It is then throttled through a small ring nozzle (3) at high velocity.  This primary airstream adheres to the Coanda profile (4), which directs down the angled surface of the Air Wipe.  A low pressure is created at the center (5) inducing a high volume flow of surrounding air into the primary airstream.  As the airflow exits the slot, it creates a conical 360° ring of air that will attach to the surface of the material running through it (6) uniformly wiping the entire surface with the high velocity airflow.

sawworksani
How The Super Air Wipe Works

The EXAIR Super Air Wipe is 1.13″ (29mm) thick on all (11) Aluminum models that range in size from 3/8″ (10mm) to 11″ (279mm) throat diameter and all (5) Stainless Steel models that range in size from 1/2″ (50mm) to 4″ (102mm).   The performance can be altered by changing the inlet air pressure or by adding an additional shim, which will nearly double the force!

Super Air Wipe Family Photo
The Aluminum Super Air Wipe is available in 11 sizes 3/8″, 1/2″, 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″, 5″, 6″, 7″, 9″ & 11″; the Stainless Steel Super Air Wipe comes in 5 sizes, 1/2″, 1″, 2″, 3″ & 4″…all from stock!

So when you need to cool, blow off or dry extruded objects or are looking for expert advice on safe, quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products, give us a call.  We would enjoy hearing from you!

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

How It’s Made: Static Charge

For me, one of the first signs that winter is here takes place at the grocery store. I’ll stop on the way home to pick up a thing or two, and proceed to the automated self-scan…not because I don’t like people, but because they’re the closest to the exit and, while I DO actually like a LOT of people, I REALLY like dinner. Anyway, the drop in humidity that comes with colder temperatures outside leads to what the buried-wire pet containment folks call a “mild correction” when I touch the self-scan terminal.

I won’t rehash my disdain of cold weather (like I did here, herehere, or here) and while those nuisance static shocks aren’t at the top of the list of reasons why, they actually can be quite severe in other cases.  For example, the minor jolt you get from touching a grounded terminal after pushing a rubber-wheeled shopping cart over the vinyl-tiled floor of the produce aisle isn’t near as bad as the shock that a plastic extrusion machine operator gets when he touches a conveyor duct carrying hundreds of pounds of plastic pellets per hour.

Why one is so much worse than the other?  To fully understand the answer to that question, we’ll need to better understand how static charge is generated.  Scientists have been studying the phenomenon since at least the 17th Century, and studies continue to this day of its creation (mainly at universities) and control (right here at EXAIR Corporation.)  Simply put, when two solid surfaces touch each other, the contact can result in electrons in the outer valences of atoms on one surface to “jump ship” and end up in the outer valences of atoms on the other surface.

It’s called the triboelectric effect.  The prefix “tribo” comes from the Greek word “to rub,” and while many common demonstrations of static charge involve rubbing…for example, rubbing a balloon on a wool sweater sleeve and ‘sticking’ it to the wall…mere contact is all it takes – and that’s where we’ll start:

Static charge from simple contact between this injection molded plastic part & the mold caused defects in a subsequent metallic coating process (left,) which were eliminated after an EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife was installed (right.)

Separation of material – lifting the top sheet from a stack, peeling off a protective layer,  or unrolling plastic film, for example – can also cause those weaker-held electrons to leave one surface for another.

Separation of contacting surfaces can generate a considerable static charge. The 16.9kV charge on this roll of film (left) shortened the life of print heads in a downstream process until EXAIR Ionizing Bars (center) dissipated the charge to an inconsequential 0.4kV (right.)

Some processes involve surface contact, and separation.  And more contact, and separation.  And oftentimes, one surface is in relative motion with the other…and that’s what REALLY puts the “tribo” (“to rub,” remember?) in “triboelectric effect.

The constant motion of these plastic jugs on the conveyor (left,) generated (and multiplied) a static charge so great, it resulted in adhesive labels folding or wrinkling while being applied. A pair of EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives (right) solved the problem.

These are just a few examples of the mechanisms behind, and the solutions for, static charge.  For more details, I encourage you to read EXAIR’s Basics Of Static whitepaper (registration required) or watch our recorded Webinar: Understanding Static Electricity.  If you have a static problem you’d like help with, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

General Good Ideas For The Compressor Room

When considering your compressor room all too often the phrase applies “out of sight and out of mind”.  Of course, we all know that is not a good approach to the compressor room or really anything in life.  Unfortunately, many of us take for granted that very system that delivers the power to keep our machines, equipment and tools operating.

Air Compressor
Compressor Room Located Outdoors

So, what can we do keep the ‘lungs” of our plants performing reliably and efficiently?  Since this Blog is about “General Good Ideas For The Compressor Room”, I have some points below for your consideration.

  • Ideally the compressor room should be centrally located to minimize the length of the pipes and allows for easier noise control. With long piping runs leaks become more likely and frictional losses are increased.
  • The compressor room should be sized to allow for easy maintenance and future expansion.
  • For efficient operation air compressors need clean intake air. Intake air that is dusty, dirty or contains gaseous contamination will reduce the efficiency and possibly the longevity of your equipment.
  • The compressor room needs adequate ventilation since air compressors generate significant heat. If excessive heat is allowed to build up it reduces the efficiency of the air compressor raising utility costs, causes compressor lubricant to break down prematurely that could possibly result in increased maintenance and compressor failure.
  • What is the velocity of the air through the main headers? If the speed is above 1200 FPM many dryers have reduced efficiency and speeds greater than this can also carry moisture past the drainage drop legs.
  • Excess friction caused by too small of a diameter piping creates pressure loss, which reduces efficiency and if the compressor is ran above its pressure rating to overcome the frictional losses increases energy consumption, maintenance costs and down time.

Now that your compressor room is shipshape in Bristol fashion, you might think that all is well.  While that may be true, chances are there are other significant additional savings to be had.  EXAIR specializes in point of use compressed air products that are highly efficient and quiet!  If you have any blow-offs that are open tube or howl as loud as the ghost of Christmas yet to come, check out EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles.  They are highly efficient and quiet, in fact they meet OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1941.95 for maximum allowable noise and OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.242 (b) for higher than 30 PSIG blow-off pressure.  All of EXAIR’s compressed air products are engineered to minimize compressed air consumption and take advantage of the Coanda effect.  Simply stated EXAIR’s highly engineered, intelligent designs entrain (combine) ambient air with the compressed air supply which saves you money!

nozzle_anim_twit800x320
EXAIR Super Air Nozzle entrainment

EXAIR also offers the Ultra Sonic Leak Detector.  Simply point the device at a suspected leak which are typically found at unions, pipes, valves and fittings from up to 20’ away.   Plants that are not maintaining their plumbing can waste up to 30% of their compressors output through undetected leaks.

ultrasonic_2
EXAIR Ultra Sonic Leak Detector

EXAIR has a complete optimization product line that the Ultra Sonic Leak Detector is in that includes the Electronic Flow Control, Digital Flowmeter’s and a Digital Sound Level Meter.  All designed to either increase the safety or efficiency of your compressed air usage.

EXAIR has 15 other product lines all designed to increase your process efficiency and save you money by using you compressed air supply efficiently.  Why not visit the EXAIR website or call and request a free catalog?

When you are looking for expert advice on safe, quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products give us a call.   We would enjoy hearing from you!

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Follow me on Twitte
Like us on Facebook

 

Image taken from the Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems Handbook, 2nd Edition

What is an Air Compressor?

Internals of an air compressor

What is an air compressor?  This may seem like a simple question, but it is the heartbeat for most industries.  So, let’s dive into the requirements, myths, and types of air compressors that are commonly used.  Like the name states, air compressors are designed to compress air.  Unlike liquid, air is compressible which means that it can be “squished” into a smaller volume by pressure.  With this stored energy, it can do work for your pneumatic system.

There are two types of air compressors, positive displacement and dynamic.  The core component for most air compressors is an electric motor that spins a shaft.  Positive displacement uses the energy from the motor and the shaft to change volume in an area, like a piston in a reciprocating air compressor or like rotors in a rotary air compressor.  The dynamic types use the energy from the motor and the shaft to create a velocity energy with an impeller.  (You can read more about types of air compressors HERE).

Compressed air is a clean utility that is used in many different ways, and it is much safer than electrical or hydraulic systems.  But most people think that compressed air is free, and it is most certainly not.  Because of the expense, compressed air is considered to be a fourth utility in manufacturing plants.  For an electrical motor to reduce a volume of air by compressing it.  It takes roughly 1 horsepower (746 watts) of power to compress 4 cubic feet (113L) of air every minute to 125 PSI (8.5 bar).  With almost every manufacturing plant in the world utilizing air compressors much larger than 1 horsepower, the amount of energy needed to compress air is extraordinary.

Let’s determine the energy cost to operate an air compressor to make compressed air by Equation 1:

Equation 1:

Cost = hp * 0.746 * hours * rate / (motor efficiency)

where:

Cost – US$

hp – horsepower of motor

0.746 – conversion KW/hp

hours – running time

rate – cost for electricity, US$/KWh

motor efficiency – average for an electric motor is 95%.

As an example, a manufacturing plant operates a 100 HP air compressor in their facility.  The cycle time for the air compressor is roughly 60%.  To calculate the hours of running time per year, I used 250 days/year at 16 hours/day for shifts.  So operating hours equal 250 * 16 * 0.60 = 2,400 hours per year.  The electrical rate at this facility is $0.10/KWh. With these factors, the annual cost to operate the air compressor can be calculated by Equation 1:

Cost = 100hp * 0.746 KW/hp * 2,400hr * $0.10/KWh / 0.95 = $18,846 per year in just electrical costs.

So, what is an air compressor?  The answer is an expensive system to compress air to operate pneumatic systems.  So, efficiency in using compressed air is very important.  EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.  If you need alternative ways to save money when you are using your air compressor, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to help you.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Compressor internals image courtesy of h080, Creative Commons License.

%d bloggers like this: