PPE has been a hot topic and new buzzword for a lot of people and throughout many industries over the past 6 months, and rightfully so. When you look at manufacturing though, PPE has been a buzzword for decades. We continue to evolve processes, equipment, and wearables to ensure the safety of operators. It all boils down to the fact that PPE and the equipment have to be used, and used appropriately in order to be effective.
When reviewing the CDC’s guides for Hierarchy of Controls the least effective method to protect workers is PPE that they must implement and wear/use properly. The fact is, PPE is one of the cheaper entry levels to get to safe working conditions upfront. However, the cost of ownership can quickly surpass more effective methods of providing safe conditions for operators, such as installation of engineered controls or even substituting the hazard w/ engineered solutions.
So what exactly does that mean to the people on the shop floor? Rather than having to grab a set of pinch and roll earplugs every day on the way through the breezeway to get to the production line, permanently installing quiet products like Super Air Nozzles or Super Air Knives in place of open-ended pipes and drilled pipe blowoffs could eliminate the need for these uncomfortable nuisances. And reliance on personnel to use them correctly, or use them at all is a gamble.
How else can EXAIR help in this pursuit of operator safety and happiness? We offer a free service, the EXAIR Efficiency Lab, which will test your current blow-off products for force, flow, air consumption and noise level. We then recommend an engineered solution if we can improve upon those parameters (spoiler alert, we can) that will meet or exceed OSHA standards for dead-end pressure and allowable noise level exposure.
For this example, installing a quiet product to aid in lowering noise levels can create an environment that no longer needs PPE for protecting personnel. The fix is permanent and eliminates forgotten, lost or broken PPE and the expensive associated with them.
If you would like to discuss any of these options further, please let me know.
A large manufacturing company called looking for a better solution to control the thickness of a curing agent being applied to the outside of tubing used in the automotive industry. The tubing is formed in an extruder and travels through a liquid cooling chamber and then air dried. After the tubing is dried, it is sent to a spray chamber where the curing agent is applied to the exterior. On the exit side of the spray chamber, the customer had installed several flexible air lines placed around the perimeter of the tubing to blow air across the surface to help control the coating thickness. This worked somewhat but they were seeing an increase in the amount of rejected material as the air pattern was sporadic and uneven, which caused streaking and dry spots in certain areas of the tubing. They reviewed our web site and familiarized themselves with our Air Wipes but were unsure of the best design and size to fit their need so they reached out for assistance.
After further discussing the process, their tube O.D. sizes range from 3/8″ – 1/2″, making our 1″ Air Wipe the ideal solution. As far as the design, the Standard or Super Air Wipe, I recommended they use our Model # 2451 Super Air Wipe kit due to the aluminum construction and stainless steel wired braided hoses being able to withstand the potential temperature in the area of 200°F. The kit includes a filter separator to remove any water or contaminants in the supply and a pressure regulator which would allow them to control the flow and force of the exiting air, to help “dial” it in to fit the demand of the application.
EXAIR Air Wipes features a split design, which can easily be clamped around the material, to provide a 360° uniform airflow, perfect for treating the surface of round shapes, like extruded tubing. If you have an application where you are needing to dry, cool or clean the outside of a pipe, hose or cable, contact an application engineer for help making the best product selection.
As the weather in the Northern Hemisphere changes over from winter to spring and temperatures start to climb, it is slowly becoming necessary for customers to utilize the Cabinet Cooler Systems to keep control panels cool.
One such situation involved a customer who was building a panel for his client in Malaysia. Malaysia is about 3 degrees north of the Equator, so it is what I would call a semi-tropical if not tropical environment. And such places are quite high in humidity levels. This customer had a client who was in the palm oil processing industry which is quite big in Malaysia. He needed a Cabinet Cooler System to generate about 1000 Btu/hr. of cooling power in a NEMA 12 type system. So I recommended he go with a 1700 Btu/hr. Cabinet Cooler System so he had plenty of capacity. I also recommended he go with 24 VDC thermostat control so he could easily pull the power out from within his panel and not have to run any new circuits.
As the customer duly noted, the fact that the Cabinet Cooler System purges the cabinet with clean, cool and dry compressed air allows for the humidity levels to hang down at a much lower level around 40 – 50% RH instead of up around 80 – 90%. This is attributed to the processing and drying of the compressed air at the production point before it is sent out to the facility and again at the point of use with the included, 5 micron, compressed air filter/separator that comes with each system.
Previously, the customer was using only the small, DC type fans to pull that hot, humid air through the panel which led to many corrosion issues and did not relieve the heat issue at all. With this new improvement, the end user no longer has to worry about such issues. Also, there is virtually no maintenance for this system which produces much longer up-times for the customer as there are no moving parts to wear out. Overall, it was a good recommendation in this case as the Cabinet Cooler System was handling multiple, previously negative issues. Now the pain has been taken away and the end user can move on to solving other, more pressing problems.
This past weekend I cleaned out some storage tubs that have been in my basement since I moved in. Within these tubs and boxes were all of my notes from college, along with all of my text books. Being any form of an engineering major means you keep all notes and books from college (I think). Among them was the manual for my graphing calculator. Even though I don’t graph anything on my calculator from college anymore, it still sits on my desk here and I use it to tell me how much money I am saving customers when they install our products. Along with calculating which Cabinet Cooler System they need.
The truth is, I don’t even need the calculator on my desk when I am looking at how much money an EXAIR Electronic Flow Control can save a customer. That’s because there is a free easy to use calculator right on our website. This calculator is going to allow you to put in how much air you are using, the percent of time the unit is on, how much you paid for the EFC and the compressed air, then it gives you how much air and money you save. The EFC Calculator will even tell you how many days it will take to recoup the price of the EFC.
Let’s look at an example of a 60″ Super Ion Air Knife that was installed to clean off bumper covers before a paint line. Not only did the customer save money by using the Super Ion Air Knife rather than the drilled pipes, they saved additional air and money by turning the compressed air off when a bumper wasn’t present. The following figures show the amount of money and air saved by implementing the EFC.
The Super Ion Air Knife was operated at 40 psig inlet pressure, this utilizes 102 SCFM of compressed air.
The process ran for 24 hours a day which equates to 1,440 minutes. There is a six second gap between each bumper, this means that you can reduce the on time by 37.5% just by turning the air off between bumpers.
The average cost to produce 1,000 SCF of compressed air is $0.25. The calculator shows the results below which include the pay back time for the EFC purchase. (CLICK it for a larger image)
As you can see, it will take a mere 84 days to reach a return on the investment of the EFC. The chart below (CLICK to enlarge) shows the math and cost savings when you also account for the amount of air saved by using the Super Ion Air Knife.
So if you have an intermittent compressed air application, by all means give us a call. We’ll help you figure out how much you’ll save by installing the EFC.