Keep Your Pneumatics “Healthy” and “Running Like a Brand New Car”

Compressed air systems are used in facilities to operate pneumatic systems, and these systems are vital for industries.  So, it is important to keep them running.  The system can be segregated into three different sections; the supply side, the demand side, and the distribution system.  I like to represent these sections as parts of a car.  The supply side will be the engine; the distribution system will be the transmission; and, the demand side will be the tires.  I will go through each section to help give tips on how to improve the “health” of your pneumatic system.

From the supply side, it will include the air compressor, after-cooler, dryer, and receiver tank that produce and treat the compressed air.  They are generally found in a compressor room somewhere in the corner of the plant.  The air compressor, like the engine of your car, produces the pneumatic power for your plant, and needs to have maintenance to keep it working optimally.  The oil needs to be changed, the filters have to be replaced, and maintenance checks have to be performed.  I wrote a blog that covers most of these items, “Compressed Air System Maintenance”.

To connect the supply side to the demand side, a distribution system is required.  Distribution systems are pipes which carry compressed air from the air compressor to the pneumatic devices.  Just like the transmission on the car, the power is transferred from the air compressor to your pneumatic products.

Maintenance is generally overlooked in this area.  Transmissions have oil which can be detected if it is leaking, but since air is a gas, it is hard to tell if you have leaks.  Energy is lost from your pneumatic “engine” for every leak that you have.  So, it is important to find and fix them.  A study was conducted within manufacturing plants about compressed air leaks.  They found that for plants without a leak detection program, up to 30% of their compressed air is lost due to leaks.  This will be equivalent to running on only 6 cylinders in a V-8 engine.

EXAIR offers the Ultrasonic Leak Detector to find those pesky leaks.  It makes the inaudible “hiss”; audible.  It can detect leaks as far as 20 feet (6m) away with the parabola attachment, and can find the exact location of the leak to be fixed with the tube attachment.

Another area for discussion with the distribution system is contamination like rust, oil, water, and debris.  Compressed air filters should be used to clean the compressed air that supplies your pneumatic products. They can remove the debris for your pneumatic products to have a long life.  You can read about the EXAIR compressed air filters here, “Preventative Maintenance for EXAIR Filters”.

The third section is the demand side.  So, you have an engine that makes the power, the transmission to transfer that power, and the tires to use that power safely and efficiently.  Many managers miss the importance of the demand side within their pneumatic system.  If you are using blow-off devices like open pipes, coolant lines, copper tubes, or drilled pipe; it will be like running your car on flat tires.  It is very unsafe as well as reducing gas mileage.  To improve safety and efficiency, EXAIR has a line of Super Air Nozzles and Super Air Knives.  Not only will it increase your “gas mileage” to save you money, but they also will keep your operators safe.

In this analogy, you can have a high-performance engine and a durable transmission, but if your tires are bald, flat, or cracked; you cannot use your car safely and efficiently.  The same thing with your compressed air system.  You have to optimize your blow-off devices to get the most from your pneumatic system.  EXAIR is a leader in engineered blow-off devices for efficiency and safety.  So, if you want to improve the “health” of your pneumatic system, you should begin at how you are using your compressed air on the demand side.  EXAIR has Application Engineers that will be happy to help you in trying to keep your pneumatic system running like a “brand new car”.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb


Photo: Ford Mustang Roadster by openclipart-VectorsPixabay License

Replacing a 1/4″ Open Copper Tube With a 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle Leads To Quick ROI

The generation of compressed air accounts for approximately 1/3 of all energy costs in an industrial facility and up to 30% of that compressed air is wasted through inefficient operation. Open pipes or homemade blowoffs waste a ton of compressed air, resulting in high operating costs. By replacing these devices with an energy efficient, engineered solution, you can reduce this waste and dramatically cut energy costs.

For example, let’s look at the average operating costs for a single 1/4″ open copper tube. (If you don’t know you current energy costs, a reasonable average to use is $ 0.25 per every 1,000 SCF used, based on $ 0.08/kWh.

1/4″ Copper tube

A single 1/4″ open copper tube consumes 33 SCFM @ 80 PSIG and costs roughly $ 0.50 per hour to operate. (33 SCF x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1,000 = $ 0.50). For an 8 hour shift, the total cost would be $ 4.00 ($ 0.50 x 8 hours = $ 4.00).

If we were to replace the 1/4″ open copper tube with our Model # 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with 1/4″ FNPT inlet, the air consumption would be reduced to 21.8 SCFM @ 80 PSIG. This may not seem like much of an air usage reduction, but when you look at the monetary, total cost of ownership for purchasing and operating the nozzle, the savings can quickly add up.

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

The operating cost for a 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with 1/4″ FNPT inlet is $ 0.33 per hour (21.8 SCF x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1,000 = $ .033) or $ 2.64 per 8 hour shift ($ 0.33 x 8 hours = $ 2.64).

We can now compare the operational cost between the 2 devices:

1/4″ open copper tube operating costs:
$ 0.50 per hour
$ 4.00 per day (8 hours)

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle operating costs:
$ 0.33 per hour
$ 2.64 per day (8 hours)

Cost Savings:
$ 4.00 / day (open copper tube) –  $ 2.64 / day (2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle) = $ 1.36 savings per day

The Model # 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle has a list price $ 67.00 USD.

ROI or Return On Investment calculation:
$ 67.00 (Cost) / $ 1.36 (savings per day) = 49.26 days.

The 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle would pay for itself in just over 49 days in operation. This is the savings for replacing just ONE 1/4″ open copper tube with an engineered solution! In most industrial plants, there could be several of these which presents even more opportunities to reduce the overall operational costs.

Our focus here at EXAIR is to improve the overall efficiency of industrial compressed air operating processes and point of use compressed air operated products. If you are looking to reduce compressed air usage in your facility, contact an application engineer and let us help you optimize your current system.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer

Atomizing Nozzle Used in Copper Forming Applications

EXAIR Atomizing Nozzle, Narrow, Round Spray Pattern


Copper and its alloys are used in a variety of products from consumer goods like musical instruments, drawer and door pulls, wind chimes, electrical contacts and many other, similar parts that you do not see on more complicated pieces of equipment such as HVAC systems.

Comparatively speaking, copper is quite a malleable metal. That’s what makes it so useful for manufacturing processes such as expanding, reducing, flaring, beading and other similar processes that don’t necessarily involve a cutting or grinding action on the material, but rather a tool that comes into contact with the material to impart a specific shape that makes the made part beneficial to some other product or process.

And so, in the metal forming process, you generally have a hardened alloy tool that comes into contact with the soft copper (or brass) to impart one of the above mentioned effects to the material. With the metal forming process, you have friction that needs to be reduced substantially to aid in the forming process while maintaining the tool integrity and keeping heat generation to a minimum. There are a variety of oil-based lubricants that companies who specialize in this kind of processing, will use to lubricate the raw part prior to forming.

This is the point within the process where EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles can play a significant role in application of the lubrication. By atomizing the lubricant, the customer can have a controlled, even application of the lubricant to the tooling and/or material surface prior to putting the material through the forming operation. By applying a controlled layer of atomized lubricant, the customer can apply the lubricant in a sparingly manner to conserve on how much is used for each part formed. They get the benefit of the lubrication without over-doing it and wasting excess volume of lube applied. This, in turn, allows for a cleaner and safer processing area as well as measurable cost savings for the lubricant as well.

For lower viscosity lubricants (< 300 cP) that require only a light application of material, we have model AN1010SS which can provide a Narrow, Round spray pattern to coat smaller parts. If the part is larger or perhaps starts out as a sheet, we do also have model AW1030SS which can provide a Flat, Wide Angle spray pattern. If the lubricant has a viscosity that is higher than 300 cP, we also have a series of External Mix Atomizing Nozzles with similar spray flow patterns that can be selected for high precision adjustment of the liquid flow and droplet size to suit any need.

If you are in the metal forming industry and you are concerned with application of lubricants in your applications, we be glad to help you pick an Atomizing Nozzle to suit your needs. Contact us to discuss your application.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager

EXAIR’s Free Efficiency Lab – How Much Money Can It Save You?

In many of my blogs, I talk about specific products benefits or applications, but this week I want to talk about a service that EXAIR provides to our customers: Efficiency Labs. The Efficiency Lab is comprehensive study of your current blow off. You can ship your current blow off to our facility. We can test it with our calibrated equipment and record your current product characteristics. Our most popular efficiency lab is testing home made blow offs. These are blow offs made from copper tubes, thumb guns with nozzles removed, or drilled pipe. These blow offs can get the job done, but they are noisy, wasteful and dangerous. Every compressed air expert knows that these blow offs need replaced, but sometimes it may difficult to decide which nozzle to use. By sending us your current blow off product(s) we can measure the force, flow, and noise of the blow off and provide a comprehensive report. This report, in most cases, compares your current setup against what EXAIR we would recommend to save compressed air, lower noise levels and maintain performance.

 In addition to providing a blow off suggestion, EXAIR’s efficiency lab can identify your energy cost for these blow offs. The standard industrial cost for compressed air is $0.25 per 1000 standard cubic feet. At first glance that might not seem like much, but it can add up. This week I did an efficiency lab for a customer that used 1/4 ID copper tube as their home made blow off.

open copper tube
This 1/4″ Open Blow off uses 30.8 SCFM of compressed air.

This small open tube ran continuously for 10 hours per day five days a week.

To run this tube, cost a company $1,175 per year. The tube would flow 30.8 SCFM of compressed air when fed with 80 PSIG. By installing an EXAIR Super Air Nozzle,  part number 1100, the company could save 16.8 SCFM of compressed air and $650 per year. Once again $650 may not seem like much, but they used up to (40) of these open blow offs depending on what part they ran. Replacing all (40) of these blow offs saves $26,000 per year at a capital investment of $2,880 for (40) 1100-9212, Super Air Nozzle with 12 inch stay set hose. That would be a simple ROI of 72 days.

That ROI is only taking into account compressed air cost. Additionally, the 1100 Super Air Nozzle will reduce noise by 28 dBA and it complies with OSHA Standard CFR 1910.242(b) for dead end pressure.

We have found that our customers all have unique setups which greatly vary the values of their particular blow off. Even if customers have the same 1/4″ tube, the way they implement it can greatly affect its performance. Variations in inlet pressure, length, diameter tolerance and even what they used to cut it to length can have an impact on how much air it will consume. If you want to know for certain how much air and money you can save, use our free Efficiency Lab service.

EXAIR can save a lot for you!

Dave Woerner
Engineer, BSME
EXAIR Corporation