A Brief History of Compressed Air

So where exactly did compressed air come from? How did it become so widely used and where will it go? Both of these are great questions and the answers lie below.

Compressed air can be traced all the way back to the classic bellows that were used to fuel blacksmith fires and forges.  These started as hand pumped bellows, they then scaled up to foot pumped, multiple person pumped, oxen or horse driven and then eventually waterwheel driven.  All of these methods came about due to the demand for more and more compressed air. These bellows did not generate near the amount of air pressure or volume needed for modern day practices yet they worked in the times.  These early bellows pumps would even supply miners with air.

With the evolution of metallurgy and industry these bellows were replaced by wheel driven fans, then steam came about and began generating more industrial sources of power.  The main issue with steam was that it would lose its power over longer runs of pipe due to condensing in the pipes.  Thus the birth of the air compressor was born. One of the largest projects that is noted to first use compressed air was in 1861 during the build of the Mont Cenis Tunnel in Switzerland in which they used compressed air machinery.  From here the constant need and evolution for on-demand compressed air expanded.  The picture below showcases two air compressors from 1896.

compressed_air_28189629_281459402261829
Air Compressors from the old days.

The compressors evolved over time from single stage, to two-stage reciprocating, on to compound, rotary-screw compressors, rotary vane, scroll, turbo, and centrifugal compressors with variable frequency drives.  The efficiency of each evolution has continued to increase.  More output for the same amount of input.  Now we see a two-stage compressor, considered old technology, and wonder how the company can get any work done.

All of the technological advances in compressor technology were driven by the demand sides of the compressed air systems.  Companies needed to power more, go further, get more from less, ultimately increase production.  With this constant increase in demand, the supply of compressed air increased and more efficient products for using compressed air began to evolve so the air was used more efficiently.

Enter EXAIR, we evolved the blowoff to meet the increasing demands of industrial companies to get the same amount of work done with less compressed air. We have continually evolved our product offering since 1983.  It all started with just a few typed pages of part numbers and has evolved to a 208 page catalog offering of Intelligent Compressed Air Products® for industry.  We will also continue to evolve our product designs for continued improvement of compressed air usage.  This is all to better help companies retain their resources.

cat32_500p
EXAIR Catalog 32

If your company uses compressed air and you aren’t sure if it is efficiently being utilized, contact an Application Engineer.  Thanks for joining us for the brief history lesson, we look forward to hearing from you and seeing what the future brings.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_BF BrianFarno@EXAIR.com

 

Compressed air (1896) (14594022618).jpg – Wikimedia Commons – Internet Archive Book Images – Link

 

You Don’t Need to Spend Thousands to Optimize Your Compressed Air System

There is no denying it, saving compressed air is a process.  This process often involves some type of energy audit or at the very least an evaluation of something going wrong with production and a way to improve it.  Many programs, consultants, and sales reps will devise a solution for the problem.

Often times the solution is to create a more efficient supply side of the compressed air system. The supply side is essentially everything within the compressor room or located in close proximity to the actual air compressor. While optimizing the supply side can amount to savings, many of these solutions and services can involve great expense, or capital expenditure processes.  These processes can often lead to delays and continued waste until the solution is in place.  What if there was a way to lower compressed air usage, save energy, solve some demand issues on the compressed air system and save some money while the capital expenditure process goes through for the larger scale project.

These solutions are a simple call, chat, email or even fax away. Our Application Engineers are fully equipped to help determine what points of your compressed air demand side can be optimized. The process generally starts with our Six Steps To Compressed Air Optimization.

6 Steps from Catalog

Once the points of use are evaluated the Application Engineer can give an engineered solution to provide some relief to the strain on your compressed air supply side.  For instance, an open copper pipe blow off that is commonly seen within production environments can easily be replaced with a Super Air Nozzle on the end of a Stay Set Hose that will still bend and hold position like the copper pipe does while also saving compressed air, reducing noise level, and putting some capacity back into the supply side of the compressed air system.

engineered nozzle blow offs
Engineered solutions (like EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products) are the efficient, quiet, and safe choice.

One of the key parts to the solutions that we offer here at EXAIR is they all ship same day on orders received by 3 PM ET that are shipping within the USA. To top that off the cost is generally hundreds, rather than thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars. Well under any level of a capital expenditure and can generally come in as a maintenance purchase or purchased quickly through the supply cribs.  Then, to take this one step further, when the EXAIR solution shows up within days and gets installed EXAIR offers for you to send in the blow off that was replaced and receive a free report on what level of compressed air savings and performance increases you will be seeing and provide a simple ROI for that blow off (though we would also encourage a comparison before a purchase just so you have additional peace of mind).

This amounts to saving compressed air and understanding how much air is being saved, adding capacity back into your supply side which will reduce strain on the air compressor, give the ability to increase production while the capital expenditure for the end solution of controls and higher efficiency on the supply side is approved to then save even more compressed air and energy.

The point is this, savings and efficiency doesn’t have to involve a capital expenditure, if that is the end game for your project that is great! Let EXAIR provide you a solution that you can have in house by the next business day to save money NOW and then put that savings towards another project. No matter the method, it all starts with a call, chat, email or fax.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Does a 38 Day Simple ROI Sound Good? Use Engineered Compressed Air Blowoff Products!

After getting a baseline measurement of the air consumption in your facility and locating and fixing leaks in your system, it’s time to begin implementing some changes. Step 3 of the 6 Steps to Optimizing Your Compressed Air System covers upgrading your blowoff, cooling, and drying operations using engineered compressed air products.

sixsteps_3

This step can have the most impact when it comes to your bottom line. The energy costs associated with the generation of compressed air make it one of the most expensive utilities for any industrial environment. Because of this, we need to ensure that the places in your facility that are using compressed air are doing so efficiently.

EXAIR manufactures a variety of products that can help to ensure you’re using your compressed air in the best way possible. What it may seem simple, easy, and cheap to use something like an open-ended pipe or tube for blowoff, the fact of the matter is that the volume of air that these homemade solutions use quickly make them more expensive. Super Air Nozzles have been designed to entrain ambient air along with the supplied compressed air, allowing you to achieve a high force from the output of the nozzle while keeping compressed air usage to a minimum. In addition to saving air, they’ll also provide a significant reduction in overall sound level.

drilled pipe
homemade drilled pipe

Another product that can be used to increase the efficiency of your blowoff processes is the Super Air Knife. Available in lengths ranging from 3”-108” and in a variety of materials, the Super Air Knife is the ideal replacement for inefficient drilled pipes. Again, it may seem cheaper to just drill a few holes in a pipe whenever you need to cover a wide area but the volume of air consumed in addition to the incredibly high sound level will quickly drain your compressor. The Super Air Knife is also designed to entrain ambient air, at a rate of 40:1! Allowing you to take advantage of the free ambient air in addition to the supplied air.

Let’s compare the costs difference between a homemade drilled pipe and EXAIR’s Super Air Knife. The Super Air Knife has a precisely set air gap across the full length of the knife, allowing for an efficient and quiet laminar airstream. When compared to a drilled pipe, the air consumption is dramatically reduced as is the sound level. For example, let’s take an 18” section of drilled pipe, with 1/16” diameter holes spaced out every ½”. At 80 PSIG, each hole consumes 3.8 SCFM. With a total of 37 holes, this equates to a total of 140.6 SCFM.

3.8 SCFM x 37 = 140.6 SCFM

A Super Air Knife, operated at 80 PSIG with .002” stock shim installed will consume a total of 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife. An 18” SAK would then consume just 52.2 SCFM.

2.9 SCFM x 18 = 52.2 SCFM

140.6 SCFM – 52.2 SCFM = 88.4 SCFM saved 

Replacing an 18” drilled pipe with a Super Air Knife represents a total reduction in compressed air consumption of 63%! How much does this equate to in $$$? A reasonable average of cost to generate compressed air is about $0.25/ 1000 SCF. Let’s assume just a 40hr workweek:

88.4 SCFM x 60 mins x $0.25/1000 SCF = $1.33/hr

$1.33 x 40hr workweek = $53.20 USD

$53.20 x 52 weeks/year = $2,766.40 USD in yearly savings

The 2019 list price on a Model 110018 Super Air Knife is $397.00. By replacing the homemade solution with an 18” Super Air Knife, the return on investment is just over 38 working days of an 8-hr shift. If your plant runs multiple shifts, or works on weekends, it pays for itself even quicker.

Not only are these homemade solutions expensive to operate, they’re not safe either. Familiarize yourself with both OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95(a) and 29 CFR 1910.242(b) and you’ll learn just how expensive it can be if you were to be found using these devices during a random OSHA inspection. Make sure you’re utilizing the most expensive utility as efficiently and safely as possible. If you need help with determining which products are best suited for your application, give us a call. Our team of Application Engineers is ready to help!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Watch EXAIR Webinars On-Demand

That’s right, just like your local cable or satellite TV provider, EXAIR offers On-Demand content that can be streamed and used for training, education, help with cost justification, or improve awareness around compressed air costs and safety.

The best part about this content is that you don’t have to pay for it, simply register on our website (where your information is not shared) and go to the Webinars section of our Knowledge Base.  Then gain access to the library of five webinars that have all been broadcast around compressed air safety, efficiency, and optimization.

EXAIR.com – Webinars On-Deman

The current On-Demand offering is listed below:

Intelligent Compressed Air Solutions for OSHA Compliance
Intelligent Solutions for Electrical Enclosure Cooling
Optimize Your Compressed Air System in 6 Simple Steps
Simple Steps for Big Savings
Understanding Static Electricity

The most recent webinar we created is currently only On-Demand for registered attendees and will soon be added to the Knowledge Base library.  If you did not get to see it live, the content was extremely helpful for anyone that works within a facility that uses compressed air.  Use This Not That – 4 Common Ways To Save Compressed Air In Your Plant, keep an eye out for the release date in our On-Demand section.

If you would like to discuss any of the webinar topics further, please feel free to reach out to an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Protect Finishes and Save Liquid with EXAIR No Drip Atomizing Nozzles

A typical “liquid-only” nozzle is capable of producing droplet sizes of 300-4,000 microns. Atomizing Nozzles’ droplet sizes are consistently under 100 microns, and can be as small as 20 microns!

In today’s market, the cost of consumable products are on the rise; especially with paints, oils, and yes, even the cost of water.  You can help ease some of that cost by being more effective in spraying.  The EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles can achieve this objective.  By using compressed air, the liquid can be sheared into small micron-sized droplets.  As a reference, if the diameter of a particle is reduced by one-half, this will multiply the number of droplets by eight.  So, smaller diameter droplets will increase the coverage area and reduce liquid requirement in your application.

EXAIR manufactures three families of Atomizing Nozzles; Internal Mix, External Mix, and Siphon Fed.  We offer a variety of spray patterns and sizes; so, you can accurately target and use the proper amount of liquid in your system.  In this blog, I will narrow my discussion to the No Drip External Mix Atomizing Nozzles.

The No Drip option is offered with all of our Atomizing Nozzles.  This patented design is used to keep the expensive liquid from dripping out of the Atomizing Nozzles during off cycles.  When the compressed air is turned off to the nozzle, a valve inside the body will create a seal on the liquid side.  This No Drip function enhances the External Mix Atomizing Nozzle for intermittent processes as the liquid remains inside the body for quick spraying. With delicate applications, the unwanted drips will not occur to ruin the finish of your product.  Unlike some manufacturers, there is no need to run a separate compressed air line to operate the no drip function.  The External Mix Atomizing Nozzles with the No Drip options can give you the best performance in efficiency, effectiveness, and flexibility without any drips.

No Drip External Mix

To expand on the External Mix Atomizing Nozzle, it atomizes the liquid outside the nozzle.  The air and liquid supply are pressurized and can be controlled independently.  This type of Atomizing Nozzle will allow for higher viscous fluids to be sprayed up to 800 CPS, similar to SAE 40W oil.  Also, with the external mixing, it helps to diminish the drying effects of solutions which will reduce shutdowns for cleaning.  EXAIR manufactures these nozzles with stainless-steel construction making them compatible with many different kinds of liquids.  They are used in many applications like washing, coating, cooling, quenching, and dust control.

Spray nozzles in action.

EXAIR stocks three different body sizes in 1/8” NPT, ¼” NPT, and ½” NPT ports; so, you can create a light mist or a monsoon.  The combination of an air cap and a liquid cap controls the spray patterns and liquid flow rates.  These caps are easily interchangeable for each body size to change the spray patterns, control the amount of fluid, and reduce any downtime for cleaning.  The amount of liquid to be applied is easily adjusted by the inlet air pressure and liquid pressure.  So, you can dial in the exact amount of fluid required for your process to stop any waste or excess.

They have a compact design to mount inside tight areas, and we also have mounting brackets for easy attachment and positioning.   If your application needs versatility, fluid savings, and precise coverage; the No Drip External Mix Atomizing Nozzles could be the nozzle for you.  If you have any questions about our Atomizing Nozzles or spraying applications, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to help you.

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

 

EXAIR Around the World

I would like to share a conversation with a company that I visited in Singapore.  They manufactured natural rubber material, and they were having issues with material sticking inside the oven.  In our conversation, they would have to stop the process in order to clean the area near the chopping blades where the rubber material would collect.  The system would have to be shut down for the entire day to clean the oven which lost profit and production yields.

I was familiar with this company because they are global.  I remembered that I helped their American counterpart with the exact same application.  I was able to make a quick recommendation for the same product; two model 110260SSPKI Stainless Steel Super Air Knives.  They purchased and installed the Super Air Knives to generate an air curtain to keep the rubber material from sticking to the wall and forcing it into the grinder below.  This helped them to save a lot of money for unscheduled shutdowns.  If the U.S.A. company was able to share this information, it would have been a great cost savings for the corporation as a whole.

Since the establishment of EXAIR in 1983, customer satisfaction has always been the cornerstone of our business model.   And with that business model, our business continues to grow each year.  Now EXAIR is recognized as a brand of excellence.  We shaped this culture by having great customer service and high-quality products that are safe, effective, and very efficient.  With thousands of products in stock, we are able to ship with over a 99.9% on-time delivery.  As a company, EXAIR offers free expert technical advice and share solutions to pneumatic issues through EXAIR Blogs, Videos, application library, and social media.

In today’s market, many companies are global and have plants and facilities throughout the world.  If details like cost savings, safety, increased productivity, problem solving, and energy efficiency would be shared; it would be very beneficial for everyone.  It can help to grow profits, protect employees, improve throughput and save energy which will help to protect the environment.  Since EXAIR is a leader in these areas with compressed air products, we can help you and your affiliates with pneumatic solutions.

EXAIR sells direct in the U.S.A and Canada, and we have over 50 distributors located throughout the rest of the world.  EXAIR has structured our world-wide presence by country in our International Map located on our website.  It is simple to use.  To find a distributor, click on this link, International.  Fill in your Name, Email, and Country.  We also ask if you would like to receive news about EXAIR products in the future.  You can select “Yes” or “No”.  If you would like to obtain information monthly from EXAIR about new products, special notices, or featured products, then click “Yes”.  And, if we do not have a distributor in your area, EXAIR has an International Department that can assist you directly.

Just like the customer above, if the U.S. manufacturer was able to share the information with their sister company in Singapore, it would have saved them a great deal of grief.  To be more effective and efficient as a global company, there should be communication between associates.  If you or your affiliates use compressed air to cool, dry, clean, convey, vacuum, or remove static electricity, EXAIR can improve your process.  And if you have locations outside of U.S. and Canada, we can still help you.  You can contact us directly or visit our International Map.  You may find someone near you that can speak your language and discuss the values that EXAIR represents.  You will be glad you did.

Welcome to EXAIR.
Bienvenido a EXAIR.
Bienvenue chez EXAIR.
Добро пожаловать на EXAIR.
Witamy w EXAIR.
欢迎来到EXAIR。
Willkommen bei EXAIR.
Tervetuloa EXAIR: iin.
EXAIRへようこそ。
Bem-vindo ao EXAIR.
EXAIR에 오신 것을 환영합니다.
مرحبًا بك في EXAIR.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Don’t Forget About Operating Cost: How To Calculate Return On Investment

If you have a stock portfolio, or even a retirement account, you’ve likely heard the term “return on investment.” It basically tells you how hard your money is working for you, and, the higher, the better.

The term is also used to determine the financial benefits associated with the use of more efficient products than you’re using right now:

  • The cost of operating industrial pumps, air compressors, and a variety of industrial rotating equipment, can be greatly reduced by using variable frequency drive systems that sense the demand and change the motor’s speed (and hence power consumption) accordingly.  These systems are not cheap, but the reduction in operating costs is often quite noticeable.
  • At home, installing energy efficient windows (spoiler alert: your builder probably used the cheapest ones he could find…mine sure did) or upgrading appliances & HVAC can cost a pretty penny, but you’ll also see your electric bill go down.

EXAIR Corporation has a worldwide reputation for providing highly efficient compressed air products for industry.  Our Engineering Department has a company-wide reputation for being data fanatics…which is key to allowing us to provide our customers with ample information to make the best choices to optimize your use of your compressed air.

It’s not hard at all to calculate your potential savings from the use of an engineered compressed air product, assuming you know how much air your current device is using.  If not, we can tell you if you can send it in for Efficiency Lab testing (free and fast; call me to find out more.)  Here’s an example for a VERY typical situation: replacing an open copper tube blow off with an EXAIR Super Air Nozzle:

  • A 1/4″ copper tube uses 33 SCFM @80psig
  • A Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle uses 14 SCFM @80psig

33 SCFM X 60 min/hour X 8 hours/day X 5 days/week X 52 weeks/year = 4,118,400 SCF

14 SCFM X 60 min/hour X 8 hours/day X 5 days/week X 52 weeks/year = 1,747,200 SCF

4,118,400 – 1,747,200 = 2,371,200 Standard Cubic Feet of compressed air savings

If you know your facility’s cost of compressed air generation, you can calculate the monetary savings.  If not, we can get a good estimate via a thumbrule used by the U.S. Department of Energy that says it typically costs $0.25 to generate 1,000 SCF of compressed air:

2,371,200 SCF X $0.25 ÷ 1,000 SCF = $592.80 annual monetary savings

In 2019, the cost of a Model 1100 Zinc Aluminum Super Air Nozzle is $41.00.  Daily savings (not counting weekends) is:

$592.80 ÷ 260 days (5 days/week X 52 weeks/year) = $2.28 daily savings

Meaning the payoff time for the $41.00 investment in the Model 1100 is:

$41.00 ÷ $2.28 = 17.9 days

Or…just over three weeks.  Now that I’ve shown you the math, I’d like to introduce you to the EXAIR Cost Savings Calculator.  Just enter the data, and it’ll check your math (because I know you’re going to do the math anyway, just like I would.)  It even does the ROI for you too.

Engineered solutions (like EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products) are the efficient, quiet, and safe choice. Does the one on the right look familiar?  It’s literally the example I used for the above calculations.

If you’d like to find out more about how – and how fast – EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can pay off for you, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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