OSHA Safety, Efficiency, and Flexibility from Engineered Compressed Air Nozzles

Throughout my years here at EXAIR as well as my years in the metal cutting industry, one of the most common quick fixes I see in production environments for compressed air blowoffs in a process is an open copper pipe that is contorted into a position, pinched at the end, and more often than not kinked from repositioning. I call this a quick fix because it does blow air, more often than not it will get production up and running, but it does not meet or exceed OSHA standards for safety and is an inefficient use of compressed air. [OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b) and 29 CFR 1910.95(a)]

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles that are easy replacements for 1/8″ and 1/4″ Copper pipe.

The first engineered solution I could offer to prevent any costly OSHA fines and to lower the ambient noise level caused by these blowoffs is to implement an EXAIR Engineered Air Nozzle. We offer a wide variety of nozzles ranging from a 4mm thread up to a 1-1/4″ NPT thread. With this wide range comes a wide variety of forces and flows as well.

Today, I would like to focus on the common sizes of copper blowoffs which are 1/8″ and 1/4″. To simply adapt a nozzle to copper line a compression fitting can be easily sourced, often from EXAIR, and convert the copper tubing in place to an NPT threaded outlet for easy installation of an EXAIR nozzle. More often than not a compression fitting is how the copper tubing is tied into the machine’s compressed air system.

We have a total of 37 engineered air nozzles from stock that will easily fit a compression fitting which goes to a 1/8″ NPT or 1/4″ NPT thread. Several of these are also adjustable through a gap adjustment or a patented shim adjustment to vary the force and flow out of the nozzle from a forceful blast to a gentle breeze in order to me your application needs. What if you want to eliminate the copper line and compressions fittings?

EXAIR offers a replacement option for the ever-common copper tube that is more robust and does not require a tool to be properly repositioned. We currently offer twenty-four different models of our Stay Set Hoses that can be easily connected to any of the nozzles mentioned above. The lengths that are available are 6″ (152mm), 12″ (305mm), 18″ (457mm), 24″ (610mm), 30″ (762mm) and 36″ (914mm).

These lengths are available with two separate connection options. 1/4″ MNPT x 1/4″ MNPT or 1/4″ MNPT x 1/8″ FNPT. The Stay Set Hoses can easily be bent by hand into position for a precise placement of the air pattern from the engineered nozzle attached to it. This permits operators a tool free adjustment for fast and reliable location to keep production up and running. They can also be paired with Magnetic Bases.

EXAIR Magnetic Bases are available in single outlet or dual outlet configurations. Both include a 100 lb. pull magnet that will hold tight to any ferrous metal surface for secure mounting, as well as a quick 1/4 turn miniature valve on each outlet. This permits independent customization of the force our of each output for the dual outlet mag base. Each magnetic base offers a 1/4″ FNPT inlet port and outlet port. We offer these with any of combination of the Stay Set Hoses mentioned above as well as any of the Super Air Nozzles mentioned above.

Mag Bases come with one or two outlets. Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6″ to 36″.

The Super Air Nozzles, Stay Set Hoses, and Magnetic Bases can be easily combined before they ship to your facility to make a complete blowoff station that is easily installed and adjusted to fit any of the needs your process may have for a point of use blowoff. If you want help determining how much compressed air you would save by replacing the open pipe blowoffs with an engineered solution like a Stay Set Magnetic Base Blowoff System please contact myself or any Application Engineer here at EXAIR.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer


Replacing Water Cooling With Air Amplifiers

Copper tubing in need of air-powered cooling

The copper tubing shown above is heated in an annealing furnace to a temperature of 175°C (347°F).  This tubing is stacked on racks in 100kg rolls, with 4-6 rolls of copper per rack, and then fed into the oven shown below.  When the tubing exits the oven, water is used to cool the copper to a temperature of approximately 35°C (95°F) with an ambient temperature of ~20°C (68°F).  While effective, the use of water to cool the copper is something the manufacturer would like to replace due to constant maintenance, safety issues and cleanup time, preferring instead to use air to provide the required cooling.

The copper tubing travels through this oven

The racks used to stack the copper tubing

I’ve blogged before about the process of determining how much air volume is needed to remove a specific amount of heat.  (You can read previous blogs here and here.)  This application was no different, and I used the flow chart shown below to determine the volume of 20°C ambient air needed to cool this aluminum.

heat load calc process
Airflow calculation process

Using the process outlined above, I determined the application would need 1,133 CFM of air at 20°C to cool these copper coils in one minute. This application, however, has up to 20 minutes available to cool these coils, allowing for a reduced volume of air.  Extending the time available to 2 minutes, and thus reducing the volume requirement to 566.5 CFM (566.5 CFM for 2 minutes = 1,133 CFM for 1 minute), we can definitively say that a series of our model 120022 Super Air Amplifier will be able to provide ample cooling.  (See below for airflow from model 120022 at 5.5 BARG (80 PSIG) at a distance of 6” from the Air Amplifier outlet.)  And, in order to evenly cool the coils, (4) of these Air Amplifiers were recommended, distributed evenly around the coils.

Performance for model 120022 operated at 80 PSIG shown in the red circle on the right

Using a bit of calculation, we were able to provide a specific solution for this customer, eliminating the need for water in the cooling phase of this application.  If you have a similar application, or would like to discuss a compressed air solution for your application, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer