Intelligent Compressed Air Products: Pulling In Free Air

Home of Intelligent Compressed Air Products
EXAIR is the home of Intelligent Compressed Air Products.

What is an Intelligent Compressed Air product? What makes it intelligent? Compressed air is typically a manufacturing facility’s most expensive utility. A standard cost is $0.25 per 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet (SCF) produced. Any pipe, manifold, or fitting can be modified to blow compressed air, but these homemade blow offs will be very noisy, waste a tremendous amount of compressed air and create an OSHA violation. In contrast EXAIR’s intelligent compressed air are engineered solution are quiet, use a minimal amount of compressed air and comply with OSHA safety standards.

Let’s take EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle as an example. Connecting it to a 1/4 NPT fitting, will produce 13 ounces of force on a target when mounted twelve inches away, and use 14 SCFM of compressed air. To produce so much force using that little air, the Super Air Nozzle must be precisely designed and manufactured to maximize the entrainment of ambient air.

With the air nozzle we use compressed air to induce a primary air flow. This primary air flow is a high velocity jet of air that create low pressure area around the primary airflow entraining the ambient or free air. These air streams combine past the tip of the nozzle creating a powerful blast of air. The Super Air Nozzle can entrain air up to a ratio of 25 parts of ambient air moved for every 1 part of compressed air.  All of our Super Air Nozzle create this level of air entrainment.

AirflowAnimation
EXAIR Super Air Nozzle entrains ambient air up to a 25:1 ratio

In addition to entraining a significant amount of air, the Super Air Nozzle also reduces the noise level. Most homemade nozzles are not well constructed so, the hole(s) that allow the air to escape may have sharp jagged edge which will induce noise or turbulence. Even commercial nozzles with cross drill holes create a tremendous amount of wind shear which leads to an ear splitting compressed air squeal. The smooth design of the Super Air Nozzle creates a laminar flow of air that reduces the noise of the nozzle to 74 dBA. For reference a 1/4″ open tube can easily create noise levels over 100 dBA. Using a compressed air nozzle, can greatly reduce the amount of noise in and around your shop.

Finally, EXAIR Super Air Nozzle complies with OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.242, which requires that all nozzles that use compressed air over 30 PSIG must provide a point of relief in case the nozzle is dead ended. EXAIR Super Air Nozzle uses multiple orifices that are recessed, so that the air always has a path of escape. Many homemade nozzles do not have any provision to protect from dead ending, which means they do not comply with the OSHA standard.

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are an important upgrade from a homemade nozzle and many times an upgrade for a commercial nozzle, because they entrain ambient air, reduce noise level, and comply with OSHA regulation.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems Stabilize Relative Humidity

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are able to cool your electrical panels using only clean, dry compressed air. Other systems such as cooling fans or heat exchangers use ambient air full of dust and humidity. The temperature of ambient air also fluctuates with the seasons and will be very warm in the summer months, which degrades their ability to cool as the temperature rises. One of the myths about compressed air cooling is that humidity from the compressed air source will enter the cabinet. A water/dirt filter separator will prevent condensate from entering the cabinet and since relative humidity is carried away with the hot air exhaust, relative humidity will stabilize to 45%. This video shows how quickly EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler Systems will have an effect on relative humidity.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

Reliability – EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems Have It

Today, I’m working on a informal video for you our lovely readers, and the video editing software can be quite cumbersome on the old CPU. I’m reminded of the old joke about Bill Gates and GM. Bill Gates says, “If Microsoft built a car it would cost $25 and get 1,000 miles to a gallon.” The executive of GM reads this in the paper and issues the following Press statement. “If GM developed technology like Microsoft, the car would crash twice a day.” All I have to say to either company is now I drive to work with a bad tire sensor in my car and every time I try and edit a video, I see a blue screen and need to reboot.

*Fine Print: I drive a car made in Korea and edit video with a software company other than Microsoft. The joke is just a joke not a reflection on either Microsoft or GM.

Today I wish I had a product that worked great everyday that I needed it. A product that require very little maintenance and I could count on to work right the first time every time. Something time tested, easy to install and innovative. I know of a product with these criteria – A Cabinet Cooler System – which is used to keep the internal temperature of your electrical cabinets at an optimal working temperature when dealing with components which heat the inside or when seasonal temperature increases cause additional internal heat buildup.

Cabinet Cooler Family
Cabinet Cooler Family (From Left To Right Small NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler, Large NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler, or Large NEMA 4X Cabinet Cooler)

A Cabinet Cooler is Vortex Tube based cooling product that runs on compressed air. The Cabinet Cooler Systems can cool up to 5,600 BTU/Hr. It has no moving parts to wear out. It will lower your compressed air temperature by 50 degrees F. The cabinet cooler also creates a positive pressure on the cabinet to prevent dust from entering the cabinet. We have varieties of NEMA 12 units to resist dust and oil intrusion and NEMA 4 units that resist, water, dust and oil intrusion. NEMA 4X units combat corrosion, water, dust and oil. The Cabinet Cooler Systems are versatile compressed air coolers that will work in harsh conditions.

The alternative to cabinet coolers have a variety of problems. During the heat of the summer fans are only able to pull in hot, humid, and dirty air. The hot plant air does not have the same cooling ability as cool winter air. In a dirty environment the fans must be filtered to prevent dust and dirt building up inside the cabinet preventing heat transfer. The motors on fans will need to be replaced. Air Conditioners have don’t rely on the ambient air temperature, but dust and dirt are pulled into their filters which can clog and lead to costly maintenance or replacement. Cabinet Coolers have no moving parts and don’t really on ambient temperature, so they are a much better system for hot, industrial environments.

EXAIR offers an online sizing guide for your convenience. Fill one out today, so you can avoid costly repairs on your electronic equipment.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

Beat the Heat: Cold Gun Air Coolant Systems Extend Tool Life with No Messy Coolant

In most drilling, machining, and cutting operations a flood of coolant is used to remove heat from the work piece and the tool. This coolant is sprayed, and after it impacts the tool or part it sprays everywhere. In some case there is no way around using coolant due to required cutting speed, specific heat of the part, or the need for lubrication. In other applications coolant is prohibited from touching the work piece due to application requirement. This means that the tool and the work piece operate at a higher temperature and could damage the tool or work piece.

Cold Gun
Cold Gun, Model Number 5315, In Use

EXAIR Cold Gun Air Coolant System drop the temperature of compressed air by 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This air is then blown on a tool and work piece to take way most of the heat generated during machining. Used in combination with a tool that can handle a higher temperature like a high performance carbide the Cold Gun can deliver reliable machining without the mess of coolant.

Normally in dry machining you also loss coolant’s ability to clear chips from the work area. These chips can trap heat and further increase the temperature of the work area. The chips will also work harden with repeated cutting causing more wear on the tool and a bad surface finish on the part. With a flood of coolant the chips are washed away, but with dry machining air must be used to clear the work area. EXAIR 5315 Standard Cold Gun features (2) 1″ wide nozzle that can be used to cool and the produce enough air flow to prevent chip build up. If you are looking for more information on dry machining, Brian Boswell wrote a thesis on the topic.

Dry machining doesn’t just replicate the machining with a flood coolant it can improve the process. Extended exposure to airborne lubrication mists present potential health risks to machinists. Coolant is becoming more expensive to dispose of after it has been used this is only going to increase over time as environmental regulation become greater. Removing the coolant from your process can ease your environmental impact while still maintaining the quality machining your customers require.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

What Size Pipe Should I Use?

Yesterday, I had a customer with a tough application for a Standard Air Knife. The customer was quenching individual 11″ x 11″ steel plates in oil after they had been heated to over 1,200° Celsius. Following quenching, the plate is pulled out of the oil with a fair amount of excess oil still attached. This excess oil is relatively hot and could be dangerous, if it drips from the plates as they are conveyed to the next process. The oil removed from the tank is also lost, so the tank needed to be refilled regularly. This oil added up to quite a large expense every year for this company. The customer installed (2) 12″ Standard Air Knives above the oil quenching tank to blow the oil off of the plate back into the oil quenching tank as the plate is raised out of the tank and in between the two air knives.

How the Standard Air Knife Works
How the Standard Air Knife Works

The customer called to express some disappointment about the air knife performance, I asked him a few questions about his application.

Q:What pressure is supplied to the air knife?
A: 100 PSI
Q: Where are you measuring this pressure?
A: That is our shop pressure and the pressure I’m measuring at the regulator.
Q: How are you connecting the regulator to the air knife?
A: We are using 10 feet of 3/8″ ID tubing.

At this point I suspected that the problem was in the compressed air supply line. To confirm this, I asked the customer to install a pressure gauge in the unused air inlet of the air knife. This pressure gauge read only 52 PSIG. The customer had a pressure drop of 48 PSI through the 10 foot of 3/8″ tubing, fittings, and valves that connected the regulator to the air knife.  The 12 inch Standard Air Knife utilizes 41 SCFM of compressed air when fed with 80 PSIG. In order to determine what to expect for a reasonable pressure drop, you could use EXAIR’s Air Data charts. According to EXAIR’s air data chart, for 1/8″ schedule 40 iron pipe, which has around 1/4″ ID (Which is very similar to the Inside Diameter of the 3/8″ tube) at 8 SCFM of flow the line will create a 18.6 PSIG pressure drop. When you try and shove more than 8 SCFM through the 3/8″ OD (1/4″ ID) tubing, you create a higher pressure drop. In this customer’s case it created a 48 PSI drop across the air line. This 48 PSI pressure drop was caused by the supply line as well as the fittings or valves used to connect valve to the regulator. This pressure drop limited the air knife to only 52% of its performance. In an application with a viscous fluid like oil , this drop in pressure led to lower force upon the steel plate and disappointing performance.

After getting the proper plumbing in place, the pressure drop was eliminated and the the Air Knives were operating at peak performance to remove the oil from the plates.

During the course of our troubleshooting, the customer also discovered Russ Bowman’s excellent video Proper Supply Plumbing for Compressed Air Products. In the video, our customer discovered the impact both the cross sectional area and overall length of compressed air piping can have on the performance of an air operated device.

The customer wanted to use a 12″ Air Knife to blow off the oil from the plates, which is a great application for the air knife. By properly plumbing the supply of an Air Knife, the customer contained hot oil, reclaimed quenching oil for future use, and maintained a clean shop floor. This installation was well worth the time and effort of installing the air knife properly. If the customer would like, we also have a Super Air Knife which will only use 35 SCFM and could help to save more compressed air. This savings of 7 SCFM may not seem like much, but it will have a significant impact on the energy cost of running his air compressor.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com