Return On Investment: Does It Matter, And How Much?

I have a friend who participates in a process known as “extreme couponing.” She has multiple subscriptions to the Sunday edition of our major newspaper, and a couple of local papers that also have coupon inserts. When I see her at the grocery store, she’s got two 4″ binders full of baseball card holders, all stuffed with multiples of clipped coupons, organized by store aisle. The insane amount of money saved is a big factor in her being able to be a stay-at-home mother, which is something else she’s pretty good at.

If you get stuck at step one…or even two…extreme couponing may not be for you!

Now, extreme couponing isn’t for everyone. Even beginners to the process can buy a year’s worth of paper towels for next to nothing. However, that may take up so much room in their house that they need to rent a storage facility for other belongings that folks like you and me simply keep in the garage or basement. It also takes a LOT of time and effort to do it right – as well as discipline. Saving half (or more) on a truckload of stuff you don’t need (or will never use) is a waste of money, time, and space. In fact, I know people who have abandoned extreme couponing for those very reasons…the “return on investment” just isn’t there.

That’s the deal in industry too.  Anyone tasked with finding and exploiting efficiencies – or finding and eliminating inefficiencies – is going to be looking at return on investment.  Like extreme couponing, though, it has to make sense in all aspects of the operation.  For example:

*An OEM taking advantage of a quantity discount for components or subassemblies has to not only have the storage space available, but also has to consider the turnover rate…it costs money to keep product on the shelf.

*A machine shop considering a tooling upgrade has to compare the cost difference with the increased performance and/or lifespan of the “new and improved” product.  A tool that costs 10% more but lasts twice as long is probably a good deal.  A tool that costs twice as much but lasts 10% longer might not provide the “bang for the buck.”

*Any facility, before switching a service or utility provider, will “run the numbers” on promotional rates, contract terms, etc. before making a commitment.

Unlike extreme couponing, EXAIR makes it easy – and beneficial – to evaluate the return on investment:

*Our catalog (if you don’t have the latest, get it here) has complete performance & operational data on all of our products.  This is great if you know what you want it to do.

*If you’re not quite sure, our catalog also has a good number of actual application write-ups for most of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products.  You may be able to find something that’s similar to what you want to do, and further inform your selection from there.

*Once you’ve chosen a product, you can use the Calculator Library on our website to determine actual dollar cost savings associated with replacing a current compressed air powered device with an EXAIR product.

*Application Engineers are available to discuss your application and/or product selection via phone, email, or Live Chat.

*No matter how detailed the discussion, and how confident a plan we may make, the age-old saying about how it “looked good on paper” proves itself every now and again.  When this happens, all catalog products are covered by our 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee.  If you’re not satisfied for any reason within 30 days of purchase, we’ll arrange return for full credit.

*Let’s assume that we’re pretty good at this (because we are) and it actually DOES work out (because it usually does) – we can calculate your new (and improved) operating costs and compare them with the cost of your previous devices.  If you don’t have the instrumentation (flow meters, sound level meters, etc.,) this is a free service we provide in our Efficiency Lab.  Send it in, and we’ll do a full performance test & issue a comprehensive report, all at no charge.  And if you qualify for a Case Study, we can even save you some money on your next order.  Contact me for more details if you’re interested.

Free testing. Verifiable data. EXAIR Efficiency Lab.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

 

 

Coupon Pile Stock Photos courtesy of Carol Pyles  Creative Common License

Better Understand Your Blowoff Process with EXAIR’s FREE Efficiency Lab

panoramic view
The EXAIR Efficiency Lab

Many customers may not have the means to test the air consumption of their blowoff solutions. With compressed air being the most expensive utility in a manufacturing facility, it’s important to identify places where you can save money on your overall operating costs. EXAIR manufacturers a wide variety of products intended to help you reduce your compressed air usage. If you’re not able to accurately measure the consumption in your own shop, we invite you to send the products into EXAIR for testing. With EXAIR’s Award Winning Efficiency Lab, just simply contact an Application Engineer, box them up and send them to our warehouse in Cincinnati, Ohio.

EXAIR Efficiency Lab

Once we receive it, our engineers will complete some in-depth testing to determine the compressed air consumption, sound level, and force that your current solution provides. With this information, we’ll be able to compare it to an EXAIR Engineered Solution. This way we ensure that you receive the best, safest solution possible also capable of saving money through reduced air consumption and improved efficiency.  We’ll send you back a comprehensive report that’ll help you to make the best decision for your company.

I’ve been recently working with a customer that sent in one of the nozzles they’re using across all their CNC machines. They wanted us to test it out and see if we’re able to offer them something that could reduce their overall compressed air usage. The nozzle was one of the cheap plastic varieties and was attached to a commonly used modular hose. This type of modular hose is not designed for operating under high pressures. These hoses are more suitable for liquid coolant or air that is at or below atmospheric pressure.

IMG_7486
Inefficient and unsafe plastic nozzle

After testing, we found that at 80 psig the nozzle consumed 3.85 SCFM and produced a force of 1.92 oz. We also noticed that after 60 psig, the nozzle began to leak due to a poor seal where the nozzle met the brass hex. The EXAIR nozzle most suitable to replace this was the 1108SS. At just 2.5 SCFM at 80 psig, replacing the plastic nozzle with an engineered solution saves them 35% of their overall consumption for this blowoff. With close to 1000 of these nozzles in operation, that adds up quickly!!

In addition to increasing efficiency, replacing these nozzles also greatly increases overall worker safety. The sound level is reduced from 73 dBA to just 58 dBA and EXAIR’s nozzles also adhere to OSHA 1910.242(b). The plastic nozzles could be dead-ended, posing a hazard that can result in costly fines. These fines are assessed per infraction, so having multiple non-compliant nozzles can easily get very expensive if you’re subject to an unannounced visit by an OSHA inspector.

If you think you may have an opportunity to improve upon your existing blowoff methods, give us a call. We’ll be happy to take a closer look and have you send the product back to EXAIR for a quick trial in our Efficiency Lab. You’ll be glad you did!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mal: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Super Air Nozzles; Rebates, Environmental Protection, and Energy Savings.

Family of Nozzles

Recently, I wrote a blog, “Flat Super Air Nozzles: Build Your Own System Overview”.  It described how the Flat Super Air Nozzles could be used singly or joined together with accessories for flexibility in your application.  In addition, it demonstrated the amount of compressed air savings and reduction in energy consumption to save you money.  Tyler Daniel, a colleague, wrote a similar blog on “ROI – Is it Worth the Investment?”  He explains the quick payback or ROI (Return on Investment) by using EXAIR Super Air Knives.  In both posts, the word “Super” is intertwined with the product name.  To expand a bit further, the word, “Super” is more than just a word.  It is about cost savings, efficiency, and energy conservation.   In this post, I will dive a bit more into the reasons why EXAIR uses the word, “Super”, and how it can help you.

When EXAIR started to manufacture compressed air products, we created a culture in making high quality products that are safe, effective, and efficient.  Being leaders in this industry, we created a program, the Efficiency Lab, to compare blow-off devices with EXAIR products in noise levels, flow requirements, and force measurements.  With calibrated test equipment, we compare the data in a qualified report to share with our customers.  This information can be helpful to determine the total amount of air savings and safety improvements that EXAIR products can offer.

With the total amount of energy savings that the EXAIR products can provide, EXAIR was able to partner with Energy Star and the Environmental Protection Agency.  This commitment by EXAIR for reducing energy to protect the environment for future generations is a cornerstone for our business model.  Compressors use electricity to produce compressed air.  In most industries, they consider compressed air as a fourth utility.  If you have pneumatics in your facility wouldn’t it be best to use it, and the electricity it requires, as efficiently as you can?

In conjunction with the Efficiency Lab, we created a Cost Savings Calculator.  It is a quick way to view payback periods and annual savings when using EXAIR products.  As an example, I used a 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle, model 1126, and compared it to a 1/8” open pipe.  (The reason behind the comparison is that the model 1126 can screw onto the end of the 1/8” NPT pipe.)  With an operation of 24 hours/day for 250 days a year, the amount of air used by an 1/8” open pipe is near 70 SCFM (1,981 SLPM) at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar).  The model 1126 has an air consumption of 10.5 SCFM (297 SLPM) at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar).  By putting the information in the Cost Savings Calculator, it determined that the ROI was in 2.1 days.  The annual savings was $5,355 per year.  Imagine if you replaced ten blow-off spots in your facility, the amount of money that could be saved.  Here is the worksheet below:

Why did I bring this up?  Besides showing the “hidden” extra cost that is wasted when using sub-standard blow-off devices, it also shows the amount of compressed air that was saved.  By using the model 1126, we were able to save 21,420,000 cubic feet of air per year (596,043 cubic meters of air per year).  With this amount of energy savings, people take notice.

The people that did take notice were the utility companies that make electricity.  Depending on your location, electrical suppliers initiated a rebate program to use engineered nozzles in your facility.  Similar to other energy saving rebates, like LED lightbulbs and high efficiency furnaces, the electrical providers notice a big savings when using EXAIR products.  If you qualify, the total cost to purchase and implement the EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are reduced.  (Even if a rebate program has not been implemented in your area, the idea of saving energy and compressed air makes it very profitable and environmentally sound in changing over to EXAIR products).  The website is DSIRE.  “DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.”  Check it out to see if your area has instituted a rebate program.

When EXAIR uses the word “Super”, it is much more than just an adjective.  It shows the quality and precision that EXAIR uses in manufacturing our products, and the amount of cost and energy savings that can be generated.  Being backed by Energy Star, EPA, and rebate programs, EXAIR can help companies to upgrade their pneumatic systems.  Together, we can save energy, improve the environment, and reduce compressed air.  If you would like to discuss how EXAIR can work for you, you can contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to see if we can put the word, “Super”, into your compressed air program.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Video Blog: EXAIR Efficiency Lab

The video below is a brief introduction to the EXAIR Efficiency Lab, a free service provided by EXAIR for customers within the USA and Canada.

If you have a single point blowoff that does not have an engineered nozzle, or if you have a wider format blowoff, manifold or home-made drilled pipe, contact an Application Engineer with EXAIR and let us help you to reduce your energy waste. Following are some examples of product where we have helped to save some serious air and reduced noise levels which heightens employee comfort.

Non-engineered blowoffs
Drilled and soldered copper pipe.
Custom manufactured inefficient pipe blowoff

 

The EXAIR Efficiency Lab

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Six Years At EXAIR: What I’ve Learned

Yesterday, I went “over 6” as an Application Engineer at EXAIR Corporation, and I’m still loving every minute of it! I came here with a fair degree of mechanical engineering & technology know-how, but, in reflection, I’ve learned an even fairer degree…some of which I’d like to share with you, dear reader, on the occasion of this ‘work-iversary:’

*Time spent doing something doesn’t always equal “experience.” If you work at something for, say, 20 years, and never learn anything new after your initial training, you don’t really have 20 years’ experience…you have one year of experience, 20 times. Big difference.

*Teamwork is critical to success.  The Patrol Method works.  The value of a “lesson learned” multiplies exponentially when it’s shared with others.  Design Engineers have a universal law of CAD that says “don’t ever draw anything twice.”  Application Engineers “don’t ever test anything twice.”

*Sometimes, there’s one way to find out.  That’s why we devote the resources we do to the Efficiency Lab.  If you want to know more about the performance of your current compressed air products, and how they might compare to one of our quiet, efficient solutions, so do we.

*A picture is worth a thousand words.  We prove this every day, whether it’s a photo (or short video even) of an application, a photo of a product or system for troubleshooting, or a photo of a nameplate or device for product comparison.  I’m old enough to remember doing business before email & digital photos, but I swear I don’t know how we ever got anything done.

*There’s always a ‘better mousetrap’ – and that’s the unofficial motto of EXAIR’s Engineering department.  That’s why we have so many more Atomizing Spray Nozzles than the did six years ago.  And Heavy Duty HEPA Vacs, long Super Air Knives and more product accessories.

*Relationships are vital.  At least a couple of days a week, I spend more time with my co-workers than my wife & kids.  We’re all in this together, and the more we help each other, the better off we are ourselves.

Next week, I’ll be back to blogging about a super cool compressed air product application. If you come up with one in the meantime, I’ll be happy to talk about it with you.  The conversation might just make it into next week’s blog, because one more thing I’ve learned is, when you’ve written 300 or so weekly blogs, “writer’s block” is a very real & present danger!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

How To Solve A Problem with Compressed Air

In my (almost) six years as an EXAIR Application Engineer, I’ve learned a great many things about the capabilities of our products.  The way we do business sure does make it easy:

  • We readily share application information, as a team.  If you ask me a question, you’re asking all of us.  It does neither of us any good if I tell you something MIGHT work if one of my team knows it WON’T – or if someone knows what else DOES work.  If we can offer a solution, we will.
  • We’ll test your product, free of charge.  This is a popular way of finding out which Line Vac is best for conveying a particular product, for example.
  • If you’re considering a quiet, safe, and efficient EXAIR product as an upgrade, we’ll test your current product in our award winning Efficiency Lab, so you can compare accurate performance data and analyze the expected benefits…which can be dramatic.  Try us on that.
exair-testin
Line Vac conveyance rate testing (left;) Efficiency Lab testing (right.)

 

  • We’ll let YOU test our product, risk-free.  All catalog products come with a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee.  We invite you to put it through its paces for up to a month.  If it’s not working out, we’ll arrange return for full credit.
  • We’ll do the math.  But first, a disclaimer: strictly comparing the force or flow of an engineered product to an open-end blow off won’t always tell the tale.  Our Intelligent Compressed Air Products are creating a laminar flow which won’t generate as high of a force/thrust as open-end blowing (which is turbulent by nature,) but is MUCH more conducive to efficiency and noise reduction, as well as similar (if not improved) performance.  But back to the math: if you know the metrics you need to meet for spot cooling (like a Vortex Tube, Adjustable Spot Cooler, Cold Gun, etc.) or for liquid spraying (the liquid flow rate and/or pattern size & shape from an Atomizing Spray Nozzle, for instance,) or the heat load that a Cabinet Cooler System can handle, we’ll do the calculations and specify the appropriate product.

Regardless of the application, if it can be solved with compressed air, it’s very likely that we have a great solution.  Call me to find out how we can help.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Stop Trying To Squeeze More Out Of That Air Gun!

At EXAIR, we LOVE to talk about efficient use of compressed air. That’s why I was thrilled to get a call from an engineer that works for a non-profit firm that promotes energy efficiency to enable businesses in their area improve sustainability, improve the environment, and save money.

They were working with a local company to, among other things, optimize their use of compressed air and wanted to take advantage of our free Efficiency Lab service to get the “before” data on the current blow off devices.

Don't let this happen to your air gun...use an EXAIR Precision Safety Air Gun with a quiet, efficient Super Air Nozzle instead.
Don’t let this happen to your air gun…
Squeeze the trigger on a Model 1410SS Precision Safety Air Gun with Nano Super Air Nozzle instead!
Squeeze the trigger on a Model 1410SS Precision Safety Air Gun with Nano Super Air Nozzle instead!

As you can see, they were trying to “squeeze” a little more performance out by, literally, squeezing the tip down.  Thing is, it’s STILL loud and non-compliant with OSHA’s regulations about dead end pressure.  And as far as performance goes, this results in only a slight change in the air flow pattern, with a minimal reduction in compressed air consumption…they’ve changed the geometry of the discharge opening, but not the cross sectional area.  Our Efficiency Lab Test results provide the final answer:

cry for help lab

Efficiency. Saving money. Safety. Sustainability. “Going Green.”   If you’d like to talk about how EXAIR can help you with any…or all…of these things, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook