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

Cooling Copper Welds with an Adjustable Spot Cooler

In the video above, two strands of braided copper wire are welded together in an automated process.  As the wire travels through the machine, it is heated to 600-800°C (~1100-1500°F) to fuse together, cooled, then cut into strips.  The original setup (shown in the video), was to use water to cool the copper after welding, but this proved to be undesired because residual water was left in the copper braid, leading to quality control problems.  But without proper cooling, the heat created during welding would stress the copper and reduce the quality of the product.

In an effort to remove the liquid cooling from the application, the customer was considering whether a Vortex Tube solution would be able to remove enough heat from the copper in the required timeframe of 10-15 seconds.  The end goal was to maintain the production level of the process, but to remove liquid from the application, and cool the welded copper to 200°C (~400°F).  In order to allow for on-the-fly adjustment, an Adjustable Spot Cooler was chosen for testing purposes.

This setup surrounded the welded copper with freezing cold air

To configure this setup, the cold outlet of the Adjustable Spot Cooler was fed into a tube surrounding the copper braids (shown above).  This tube surrounded the welded copper with below freezing air to remove the heat and cool the copper.

Results of installing the Adjustable Spot Cooler

The results of this setup are shown above.  On the left is the output of the process without cooling from the Adjustable Spot Cooler (copper of this quality fails quality control checks), and on the right is the output from the same process, but with cooling from the Adjustable Spot Cooler.  The copper on the right is welded, cooled, and will pass quality control checks – all without the use of liquid cooling.

Removing liquid cooling from this application increases the quality of this production process, all while maintaining the same production levels.  And, this customer is now considering the use of a “stronger” Vortex Tube solution which may provide for increases in the throughput of the production process.

To discuss a similar application, or any application in need of a compressed-air based solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer