Something Old, Something New, be OSHA Compliant or They’ll Fine You!

I recently took on the task of getting a pair of 50 year old vintage bicycles up to snuff for riding once more.  They hadn’t moved in about 30 years, so I knew it was a tall order.  After replacing the tires, tubes and disassembling, cleaning and lubricating a 3 speed transmission (a mechanical wonder!), I decided to strip off some of the rusted old accessories.  One of these was a battery operated headlight.

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Aside from being damaged beyond repair, the headlight was outdated to say the least.  For comparison, a modern LED bicycle light is shown on the left.  These two lights have little to nothing in common.  The one of the left is powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery.  The one on the right uses disposable alkaline batteries.  The one on the left is made of weather resistant materials like aluminum and rubber.  The one on the right is made of steel (very pitted and rusty steel at this point…).  The one on the left is easy to mount on just about any tube of a bike frame and lightweight.  The one on the right has a special bracket that has to be mounted on the gooseneck and has enough mass to anchor a 60 foot yacht.

The point is that the old light wasn’t just rusted beyond repair, it wasn’t worth repairing even if it could have been.  Ever see that in your manufacturing environment? A blowgun that has a stuck trigger for instance.  Maybe it could be repaired, but what about that non-OSHA compliant nozzle it has attached to it?  Whatever meager savings you might get from trying to repair the old gun and continuing using an unsafe blowoff could quickly be offset by and OSHA fine.  Time to upgrade to an EXAIR Precision Safety Air Gun , Soft Grip Safety Air Gun or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun!

Don’t get me wrong – I ABHOR the throw away society I see around me in the world today.  Why else would I bother to fix up two 50 year old bikes?  But sometimes it’s best to replace the old thing with something new that is safer and more efficient – like an LED bike light, or an OSHA compliant EXAIR Safety Air Gun.  Need help figuring out which Safety Air Gun to use? Our experienced Application Engineers are just a phone call away!

Dan Preston
Engineer-at-large
DanPreston@exair.com
@EXAIR_DP

Chain-Chain-Change, Change Out That Drilled Pipe…

Life is full of change.  It might sound trite, but truer words were never spoken.  I used to get up around 6:30 on work days.  Now, thanks to my son’s middle school schedule, I’m usually seeing him out the door at that time.  Getting up earlier was certainly a difficult change at first, but it’s had its benefits.  Not the least of which is spending a little extra time with the boy in the morning.

One of our favorite things to do while eating breakfast is to watch the ‘How things are made’ types of shows. Of course, watching these types of shows with an engineer has its downside.  While we can usually explain exactly what’s happening in the process of whatever is being made, the problem is that we often do.  Meaning we wind up talking over the program, which, ironically, is one of my greatest pet peeves.  Speaking of change, guess that’s something I need to work on…

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At any rate, this morning we saw a show on making saltines.  At the sight of the copper pipe positioned near where the cracker dough comes off the die-cut wheel, I knew exactly what was up. ‘They’re using drilled pipe! That’s not safe and a HUGE waste of compressed air!  That’s the perfect application for a Super Air Knife!”  Guess watching these programs with an EXAIR engineer has an additional risk: We can get a little over-excited when we see OSHA violations and wastes of compressed air! I think I about made my son jump out of his gym shorts, but he’s watched these sorts of shows with me before.  He knew the risks…

Life is full of change, and while perhaps I can get better at not talking while the TV show is on, I doubt I’ll ever stop cringing at safety violations and wasting compressed air.  Do you have drilled pipe in your plant?  If so, you could be in violation of multiple safety standards and are definitely wasting money on compressed air.  EXAIR can help you minimize harmful noise levels and keep you in compliance with OSHA’s dead-end pressure standard. Please give EXAIR a call to begin saving air and increasing safety!

Dan Preston
Engineer-at-large
DanPreston@exair.com
1-800-903-9247

 

 

How EXAIR is Helping Restore a Vintage Mustang

Last year, I took on a new project – restoring a 1973 Mustang Mach 1.  Ain’t she beautiful? Well, she will be some day anyway…

My Mach 1

It’s been a busy year (arent’ they all?!?), so when I got a few free hours to work on it the other night, I jumped at the chance.  As anyone who’s ever worked on an old car knows, getting all the dirt, rust, grime, opossum residue, etc. off the car so you can see what you’re working on is one of the first things you do.  Imagine my surprise when I grabbed my trusty Model 1210 Soft Grip Super Air Gun to start blowing off some of the aforementioned debris, only to discover a paltry breeze was all it had to offer.  A quick check of my compressed air system (including making sure it was turned on – I speak from experience…) revealed I should have close to 90 PSIG at the gun. I decided to take the Model 1210 in to work the next day for evaluation (We can do this for YOU too, our Efficiency Lab service will test  your product for air consumption, noise and force to determine what engineered solution EXAIR can provide to help you save air, increase safety and lower noise levels).

Making sure I had 80 psig at the inlet, I checked the flow and force.  As I suspected, something was seriously wrong.  I was still only getting a week breeze from the gun, as bourne out by the fact the blowing force was down to 1.3 oz, or 1/10th of the 13 oz it should have had.  Flow was similarly low – 3.6 SCFM as opposed to the 14 SCFM we stand behind as the published figure.  Something was amiss in the gun itself.  Fortunately, it didn’t take long to figure out.  I took off the nozzle to discover this:

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On the left was the Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle that was installed in the gun.  On the right is a new Model 1100 off the shelf.  Dirty air much?

Using my favorite nozzle cleaning tool, I was able to quickly remove the dirt, rust and miscellaneous garbage that had been clogging up the nozzle.

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Back to the flowbench for a quick check and it was good as new!  Even the engineers here at EXAIR are not immune to the effects of dirty air.  Now, back home to check my air lines and replace the filter element on my compressed air system!

As engineers, we often find ourselves asking why something doesn’t work the way it used to.  The first question I’ve learned to ask over the years is simple – ‘What changed?’  In this case, it was a dirty compressed air supply.  If you have one of our products that doesn’t work the way you think it should, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE to call me or any of our Application Engineers to talk about it.  We can discuss your symptoms and get them resolved so your system is operating efficiently. A good cleaning, replacing a filter element, installing properly sized air supply lines or fittings could be the key to getting top performance from your EXAIR product.

Dan Preston
Engineering Manager
EXAIR Corporation

The Professor Splits…The Oreo

Professor Penurious locked down the Efficiency Lab for a few days to conduct some tests of paramount importance. You’ll have to watch the video to find out his results…and more importantly, his preference, but we want to know…what’s yours:

Cookie? Or creme filling?

Got milk?
Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: http://www.exair.com
Blog: https://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

What’s in a Name?

Do you ever wonder where certain names come from?  Here’s a for instance: Peaches en Regalia.  Well, I know what peaches are.  I’m pretty sure en=in.  But what is regalia?  I have to admit I had to look that one up.  From www.thefreedictionary.com

re·ga·lia

pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)

1. The emblems and symbols of royalty, such as the crown and scepter.

2. The rights and privileges of royalty.

3. The distinguishing symbols of a rank, office, order, or society.

4. Magnificent attire; finery.

… and now we know!  Don’t we feel so much smarter now?!?  Strangely, no, because I still couldn’t identify a Peach en Regalia if I saw it on the street.  The only thing I do know for sure is that it’s a catchy little jazz number by Frank Zappa that our @ProfPenurious and @EXAIR_KE can occasionally be found rocking out to.

How about your world?  Are there names, titles or units that you have questions about?  One that we often get at EXAIR is ‘What’s a SCFM?’ The short answer is: Standard Cubic Feet per Minute.  Like Peaches en Regalia, let’s break it down word by word:

Standard – Believe it or not, this is the most complicated word of the whole bunch.  The short answer is that this unit (SCFM) has been standardized or normalized to be able to make a fair comparison of air flow rates of various products at various pressures.  For a more thorough explanation, check out this blog that @EXAIR_JP wrote awhile back.

Cubic – Not flat, not round, but….you guessed it! Cube shaped!  That is to say, a measurement of volume.

Feet –  More than an inch, less than a kilometer.  You know, a foot?  The units we’re using to measure volume.

Minute – Those things that drag on and turn into hours waiting for 5 o’clock.  This tells us that the measurement we are taking occurs over time, or is a rate.  In our case, the volume of feet in one minute’s time.

So there you have it!  SCFM isn’t so scary after all.  Just a unit to make an apples to apples comparison of how much compressed air a product uses. Coincidentally enough…

…if you’d like to learn about reducing the amount of compressed air you use, we just happen to have a LOT of stuff that can help you do that!  Please feel free to give me or any of the Application Engineers here at EXAIR a call, e-mail or tweet!

In the mean time, please enjoy some Peaches en Regalia, whatever it/he/she/they might be…

Dan Preston
Engineer
EXAIR Corporation

BACK!!!…to the woodpile?

I have been called many things in my life.  I’ll spare you the playground names I had as a kid, but let’s just say in my adult life, it’s mostly been centered around my ‘thrifty’ nature.  Okay, so I’m cheap.  At least when it comes to things around the house.  For example, if my boys were to say “Hey dad, we’re cold!” my most likely response would be “Oh yeah? I’ll bet carrying in some more firewood will warm you up” (a wood burning stove is just one of my miserly habits).

But it’s funny what the mind can justify.  For a guy who’s unwilling to turn up his thermostat 2 degrees, I’ll all too quickly reason why it is I need to spend $2400 on a new laptop with the latest processor, 8 GB of DDR Ram and a 750 GB hard drive (mmm….Gigabytes…).  How can I do so?  Easy – I’m an engineer and that’s a tool I could use to do my job more efficiently.  Okay, so I don’t really need all that processing power in laptop form, but hey, it’s like Doc Brown said, if you’re going to build a time machine (or whatever tools you need in your trade), might as well do it with some style…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLRk4xG-JCI&list=PL96478722DF7FF45E&index=1&feature=plpp_video

You’ll be glad to know that’s how we feel when we design our products as well.  Okay, maybe they’re not exactly what you call works of art (although I personally feel our new atomizing nozzles are quite beautiful), but certainly in terms of sparing no expense to make sure our products help you do your job more efficiently.  And we back up our compressed air saving products, by providing the tools you need to measure your process.

And it doesn’t stop at efficiency.  If you find yourself in need of an air knife, but find out your current supplier will need 3 weeks to get it to you, that’s not a very efficient process, is it?  That’s why we carry our Super Air Knife in 4 different materials in lengths from 3 to 54” ON THE SHELF.  Now, I’m not one to brag, but I certainly take pride in knowing that 99.9% of all our shipments go out the door on time.  And it doesn’t take an engineer to tell you that’s pretty hard to beat.  Oh, and by the way, we take our product quality very seriously too.  That’s why every single one of those knives has gone through inspection and testing before it’s placed in stock.

So, if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to get back work on some beautiful new designs (if I do say so myself) and dreaming of my new laptop.  Until then, keep those home fires burning.

Dan Preston
Engineer
DanPreston@exair.com

A Nice Hot Cup of Innovation

Perhaps I am just easily amazed.  But I spent a quite a few minutes marveling over a coffee cup this morning.  It wasn’t one of those novelty ‘1/2 a cup of coffee cups’ or a brushed stainless steel travel mug we all seem to have too many of.  Or even my really awesome Boba Fett mug.  In fact, it was a disposable one from a popular sandwich shop.

The first thing that really made it stand out to me was the fact that it didn’t stand out.  In fact, the woman behind the counter had to point it out to me as a coffee cup because at first glance I thought it was just a regular paper soft drink cup.  But as I picked it up, its slight heft told me there was something different.  On closer inspection, I found that it actually had a second layer of heavy bond paper wrapped around the cup, separated from the base cup by about a 1/32” air gap (with the help of some corrugate in between).  Perfect for insulating my hand from that hot, caffeinated goodness!

After I filled the cup, I noticed that the black plastic ‘sippy cup’ lid was a bit different too.  It wasn’t that annoying kind where you have to break loose the little cover over the sipping slot and then try to snap it in place on a different part of the lid (usually dislodging the whole lid or worse, poking your finger through it and into hot coffee).  It had a fully functional sliding valve, just like a travel mug!  Needless to say, I have been thoroughly impressed with this little throw away cup.

So, perhaps I am just easily amazed.  Or maybe I am just blessed to have a career in the wonder field of manufacturing, where you tend to notice every little detail that can add up to an improved customer experience.  Whether that be in a disposable coffee cup or in a Plant Engineering nominated Product of the Year.

Innovation.  Very simply stated, that is what impressed me about this humble little cup.  And that’s what drives EXAIR’s to continuously bring you more energy efficient, noise reducing, compressed air products.

Dan Preston
Engineer
DanPreston@exair.com