Memorial Day 2017

We’re in the home stretch now…mere hours away from Memorial Day weekend, or, as I call it, the Official Start Of Summer™.  EXAIR Corporation will be closed on Monday for this occasion. To make good use of this time off, I have three cookouts planned: one at the neighbors’, one at the in-laws’, and the third is self-inflicted.

As much as I like my neighbors and my in-laws (really,) I’m expecting that third one to be my favorite, even considering that I’m the one that has to clean up after it. Why, you may ask? Because we’re going to make s’mores. If you don’t know what s’mores are, I have two thoughts: 1) You’re killing me, and 2) Watch this RIGHT NOW (it’ll make you better understand my first thought too):

Whatever our plans, Monday culminates the celebration of this long weekend…Memorial Day. In the midst of our celebration and activities (or lack thereof – I’m all for some relaxation too,) I encourage you, dear reader, to remember the reason that this day was consecrated.

It was thirteen years ago last month that my wife called me at work to tell me the news that our neighbor’s son had been captured by hostile forces in Iraq.  By the time I got home, yellow ribbons were everywhere…trees, mailboxes, front doors, windows…all in support and hope for Matt Maupin.

Four years later was when the next Memorial Day took on an even more united meaning for our small town, when Matt’s family got the word that he had, in fact, been killed in service of his country.  I still see his father around town, and the grief has spurred determination to make something greater come from the remembrance of his son’s sacrifice.   The Yellow Ribbon Support Center:

*Sends care packages to military individuals serving in harm’s way.

*Hosts an annual “Let Us Never Forget” Scholarship dinner to honor local fallen heroes.  Over half a million dollars worth of scholarships have been awarded to date in remembrance & honor.

*Sends & supports speakers at schools, public events, gatherings, etc. to share the stories of our troops’ heroism.

The Yellow Ribbon Support Center is one of many organizations that could use your help, if you’re so inclined to find one, wherever you may be.  I still think, too, that every one of our fallen heroes, and their families, will want you to have an enjoyable holiday weekend.  It’s been paid for dearly.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Cool Job, Cool Products

I’ve got a pretty cool job. I’ve written about this before…in fact, as recently as last week, in a piece about workplace safety, and how EXAIR is all over it, all the way. Brian Farno also blogged the other day about how EXAIR recognizes, appreciates, and celebrates achievement. Like usual, actually.

So yeah; this is a pretty cool job. And, just to put that into perspective, my first “grown up” job set the bar pretty high: upon completion of Naval Nuclear Power School, I was assigned to the initial manning crew of a new construction Trident submarine. When I got there in the spring of 1987, “tha thirty-five boat,” as the future USS Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) was known, was ON the pier (not NEXT to it) and we boarded through hull cuts in Engine Room Lower Level & the Torpedo Room. For two years, we worked with shipyard personnel to install, test, & certify all ship’s systems, and then took her out in the summer of 1989 for a rigorous series of sea trials. I wish there were words capable of conveying the extent of “job satisfaction” we felt when we submerged for the first time, and the whole ocean stayed outside the boat.

I was reminded of this the other day when I saw a news account of the bow section of a submarine being transported via barge from the shipyard that fabricated this section, to the shipyard that’s assembling the boat. Here’s a video clip of one such transit, from about a year ago:

I’ve written before about how compressed air is (and isn’t) used on board a submarine at sea. Compressed air is also used, for some pretty neat stuff, in their construction & service. And EXAIR Compressed Air Products are in the mix:

*Sometimes during work on a piping system, it’s not possible to isolate a particular section with valves, so a freeze seal is applied: a collar fits around the outside of the pipe, and very cold fluid is circulated through the collar. This freezes the liquid inside the pipe, forming a “plug,” which allows you to work on the piping downstream, just the same as if you had shut a valve there. One method of doing this is with liquid nitrogen…you take a big tank of the stuff to your work site, implement all the safety precautions you need to handle pressurized liquid at -321°F (spoiler alert: it’s complicated,) make up your connections, hope they don’t leak, and activate the system. Depending on the length of the job and the size of the tank, you may need to change it out…which, again, is complicated.  And yes, I’ve done it.

It's a real shame to foul this view with a block & tackle to lower a pressurized nitrogen tank down.
It’s a real shame to foul this view with a block & tackle to lower a pressurized nitrogen tank down.

Or, like several shipyards are doing currently, you can install an EXAIR Maximum Cold Temperature Vortex Tube to the collar, run a compressed air line to it, and you can supply cold air as low as -40°F, which will freeze a plug in that pipe for as long as you keep your air compressor running.

Vortex Tube
EXAIR Vortex Tubes produce cold air, on demand, with no moving parts.

*Another application has to do not with the equipment, but the people working on it. Welding is a hot job – there’s really no way around it – and welding in tight spaces can present real issues for the folks involved. Fans and blowers can provide a good amount of ventilation, but they also take up some room, which there may not be any to spare.

Enter EXAIR Air Amplifiers – they’re compact, lightweight, and use a small amount of compressed air to blow a high flow of cooling air, right where it’s needed.

EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.
EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.

These are just a couple of examples of how a large industry – shipbuilding – is using EXAIR products to capitalize on efficiency in a challenging environment. Regardless of your situation, if you’d like to learn if EXAIR can help out, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Up Ladder courtesy of Russ Bowman  Creative Commons License

Memorial Day

It all started the year after I bought my house. My next door neighbor – a Vietnam-era veteran, Honor Flight Guardian, and the best neighbor ever – bought a bunch of American flags & poles, and asked if it would be OK to put them out along the sidewalk in front of our houses to observe the upcoming Independence Day holiday…he had enough to go all the way to the corner of our street. We all thought it was a fantastic idea. And it was just the start.

The following year, just before Memorial Day, as Monty raised the flags down our street, another row popped up around the corner. And, come Fourth of July, there were more. Now, every sidewalk in our neighborhood is decorated every Memorial Day and Independence Day, at 10- to 12-foot intervals (to be fair, nobody published a standard, so it is what it is) with the Stars and Stripes.

I DO love this neighborhood.
I DO love this neighborhood.

Memorial Day, is, of course, the day that we honor the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for the great country that my awesome little neighborhood is part & parcel of. And honor it we will. There will be parades with marching bands and floats. Veteran’s groups will perform ceremonies and vigils. Military aircraft will perform fly-overs at ballgames & special events. Monty will set the flags down our sidewalk. And most of us will enjoy a long weekend.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media, reminding us of the meaning of Memorial Day, “in case you thought it was national grill-out day, just another 3-day weekend, etc.” It’s a good reminder; that much is true. But we can honor their sacrifice in celebration too. This weekend, dear reader, I encourage you to light up the grill. Go see some fireworks. Bicycle around the neighborhood (or further) with your kids.  Go camping. Sleep in. Stay up late. Spend time with friends and family. These things are the way of life that our heroes fought and died for, right?

But in the midst of whatever you do, remember them: From the Minutemen who fell at Lexington & Concord, to those who didn’t make it home from the recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.  May God bless them all, and those they left behind.

In closing, as a former submariner, I am also reminded of the ninety-nine members of the crew of USS Scorpion (SSN-589,) which was lost 47 years ago today (presumed, based on last communications.)

Sailors, rest your oars.
Sailors, rest your oars.

Please enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.  It’s been paid for dearly.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Memorial Day 2013 image courtesy of Tony AlterCreative Commons License

Cookouts Are Awesome

Here at EXAIR we truly are a team.  When everyone bands together and gets everything done right it shows.   Yesterday we had the luxury of getting lunch cooked for us by the President and owner.  Whenever good things happen around here they treat us with a belly filling cookout. Heck, even if it’s been a while since the last cookout they will come up with a reason to serve us.  We can order our choice of different style burgers and even have a few special orders which facilitate different diets.  They have been cooking out for us for so many years that the process is down to a science and we are always sitting down to lunch exactly at our normal lunch hours. The spread is deliciously nice and it’s always good to see everyone from all departments getting together for a nice sit down lunch.

20140729_115516 20140729_115520

 

(Pictures are of what is left after everyone made their way through.)
(They also don’t show the other half which was salad bar and of course deserts!)

In many ways the cookout process resembles the way we treat customers… We never need an excuse to treat you well, we can make custom products for your unique processes – if we don’t already make what you need, our products have been shipped 99.9% on time for a ridiculously long time (ever since we started tracking it 18 years ago), and we are confident you will be pleased with the products. I guess you could say EXAIR’s company culture serves both internal and external customers.

Times like this are when I know I am a part of the right company, one that not only is the leader of Intelligent Compressed Air Products, but also a company that is based on a solid foundation that takes care of its employees.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF