FREE EXAIR Webinar – November 2nd, 2017 @ 2:00 PM EDT

On November 2, 2017 at 2 PM EDT, EXAIR Corporation will be hosting a FREE webinar titled “Optimizing Your Compressed Air System In 6 Simple Steps”.

During this short presentation, we will explain the average cost of compressed air and why it’s important to evaluate the current system. Compressed air can be expensive to produce and in many cases the compressor is the largest energy user in a plant, accounting for up to 1/3 of the total energy operating costs. In industrial settings, compressed air is often referred to as a “fourth utility” next to water, gas and electric.

Next we will show how artificial demand, through operating pressure and leaks, can account for roughly 30% of the air being lost in a system, negatively affecting a company’s bottom line. We will provide examples on how to estimate the amount of leakage in a system and ways to track the demand from point-of-use devices, to help identify areas where improvements can be made.

To close, we will demonstrate how following six simple steps can save you money by reducing compressed air use, increasing safety and making your process more efficient.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

The Importance Of Air Compressor System Maintenance

 

It should go without saying, but proper operation of anything that has moving parts will depend on how well it’s maintained.  Compressed air systems are certainly no exception; in fact; they’re a critical example of the importance of proper maintenance, for two big reasons:

*Cost: compressed air, “the fourth utility,” is expensive to generate.  And it’s more expensive if it’s generated by a system that’s not operating as efficiently as it could.

*Reliability: Many industrial processes rely on clean or clean & dry air, at the right pressure, being readily available:

  • When a CNC machine trips offline in the middle of making a part because it loses air pressure, it has to be reset.  That means time that tight schedules may not afford, and maybe a wasted part.
  • The speed of pneumatic cylinders and tools are proportional to supply pressure.  Lower pressure means processes take longer.  Loss of pressure means they stop.
  • Dirt & debris in the supply lines will clog tight passages in air operated products.  It’ll foul and scratch cylinder bores.  And if you’re blowing off products to clean them, anything in your air flow is going to get on your products too.

Good news is, the preventive maintenance necessary to ensure optimal performance isn’t all that hard to perform.  If you drive a car, you’re already familiar with most of the basics:

*Filtration: air compressors don’t “make” compressed air, they compress air that already exists…this is called the atmosphere, and, technically, your air compressor is drawing from the very bottom of the “ocean” of air that blankets the planet.  Scientifically speaking, it’s filthy down here.  That’s why your compressor has an inlet/intake filter, and this is your first line of defense. If it’s dirty, your compressor is running harder, and costs you more to operate it.  If it’s damaged, you’re not only letting dirt into your system; you’re letting it foul & damage your compressor.  Just like a car’s intake air filter (which I replace every other time I change the oil,) you need to clean or replace your compressor’s intake air filter on a regular basis as well.

*Moisture removal: another common “impurity” here on the floor of the atmospheric “ocean” is water vapor, or humidity.  This causes rust in iron pipe supply lines (which is why we preach the importance of point-of-use filtration) and will also impact the operation of your compressed air tools & products.

  • Most industrial compressed air systems have a dryer to address this…refrigerated and desiccant are the two most popular types.  Refrigerant systems have coils & filters that need to be kept clean, and leaks are bad news not only for the dryer’s operation, but for the environment.  Desiccant systems almost always have some sort of regeneration cycle, but it’ll have to be replaced sooner or later.  Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on these.
  • Drain traps in your system collect trace amounts of moisture that even the best dryer systems miss.  These are typically float-operated, and work just fine until one sticks open (which…good news…you can usually hear quite well) or sticks closed (which…bad news…won’t make a sound.)  Check these regularly and, in conjunction with your dryers, will keep your air supply dry.

*Lubrication: the number one cause of rotating equipment failure is loss of lubrication.  Don’t let this happen to you:

  • A lot of today’s electric motors have sealed bearings.  If yours has grease fittings, though, use them per the manufacturer’s directions.  Either way, the first symptom of impending bearing failure is heat.  This is a GREAT way to use an infrared heat gun.  You’re still going to have to fix it, but if you know it’s coming, you at least get to say when.
  • Oil-free compressors have been around for years, and are very popular in industries where oil contamination is an unacceptable risk (paint makers, I’m looking at you.)  In oiled compressors, though, the oil not only lubricates the moving parts; it also serves as a seal, and heat removal medium for the compression cycle.  Change the oil as directed, with the exact type of oil the manufacturer calls out.  This is not only key to proper operation, but the validity of your warranty as well.

*Cooling:  the larger the system, the more likely there’s a cooler installed.  For systems with water-cooled heat exchangers, the water quality…and chemistry…is critical.  pH and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) should be checked regularly to determine if chemical additives, or flushing, are necessary.

*Belts & couplings: these transmit the power of the motor to the compressor, and you will not have compressed air without them, period.  Check their alignment, condition, and tension (belts only) as specified by the manufacturer.  Keeping spares on hand isn’t a bad idea either.

Optimal performance of your compressed air products literally starts with your compressor system.  Proper preventive maintenance is key to maximizing it.  Sooner or later, you’re going to have to shut down any system to replace a moving (or wear) part.  With a sound preventive maintenance plan in place, you have a good chance of getting to say when.

If you’d like to talk about other ways to optimize the performance of your compressed air system,  give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Image courtesy of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet, Creative Commons License 

Video Blog: Which EXAIR Air Knife Is Right For You?

The following short video explains the differences between the 3 styles of Air Knives offered by EXAIR – The Super, Standard and Full-Flow. All of these Models are IN STOCK, ready to ship, with orders received by 3:00 PM Eastern.

If you need additional assistance choosing your EXAIR Air Knife, please contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

Standard Air Knife – 24 Years in an Application and Counting

“I’ve  been using your Model # 2018SS 18″ Stainless Steel Standard Air Knife since 1992 and it’s STILL working great!”. This was the first thing a customer told me last week when we began our conversation. Of course we really appreciate hearing about success stories like this as it just further demonstrates our commitment to provide top quality, energy efficient, compressed air operated products.

Std Air Knife
Standard Air Knife – available in lengths from 3″ up to 48″ in aluminum and 303ss construction.

 

The next part of the conversation was a subject we don’t necessarily like hearing, as the customer was thinking of replacing our unit with a blower driven air knife due to the concern of the amount of compressed air usage and resulting energy costs.  They initially inquired about using the blower to supply our unit but all of our products require high pressure, compressed air to operate and wouldn’t run on a blower type system. They are using the Standard Air Knives on their extrusion operation where they have a unit mounted above and below the part as it exits the machine, to remove the remaining moisture from the part.

I explained that blower systems may seem like a more economical choice due to the lower energy demand compared to a compressor, but in actuality, they require a lot of maintenance hours in the form of replacing bearings, belts, filters, etc. Some of these repairs can’t be performed at the site and require the unit to be taken offline and sent back to the manufacturer for refurbishment, resulting in costly downtime. In addition, these type of systems require a large footprint for installation and large duct for the airflow.

EXAIR actually performed a comparison test putting our 24″ Super Air Knife up against common blowoffs in the form of drilled pipe, a manifold of inefficient flat nozzles and a blower driven air knife. Please note, the Super Air Knife is more efficient than the Standard Air Knife that the customer is using, but as you will see in the chart below, the minimal increase in compressed air requirement for the Standard Air Knife would be quickly offset by the overall bottom line.

Air Knife Blowoff Comparison

While the annual electrical/energy cost was higher for the Super Air Knife, the initial purchase price and annual maintenance costs were significantly lower, making the 1st year of ownership over 3.5 times less than that of the blower driven unit. Also, with the design of our Air Knives entraining large volumes of surrounding air, wind shear is reduced, which decreases the noise level generated. As a result, our units are going to produce sound levels well below the allowable noise exposure levels set forth by OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a) when compared to other devices.

After explaining this information to the customer, they are going to re-evaluate their requirements. As the customer put it, “it is kind of hard to argue against 24 years of successful operation with your product”. I would tend to agree!

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Video Blog: Super Air Knife with Plumbing Kit Installed

 

This short video features our new Stainless Steel Plumbing kits. Ordering a Super Air Knife with the Plumbing Kit installed, provides the best performance and makes for an easy installation.

 

 

Please contact an application engineer for assistance @ 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Total Cost of Ownership

CFL

When you think about energy savings in general, there probably isn’t any product that has a higher degree of association with this mindset than the compact fluorescent light bulb. In terms of performance, the CFL lasts about 7 times longer than incandescent and uses about ¼ the energy input for an equivalent amount of light output as measured in lumens. CFL’s cost about 4 times more than an incandescent light bulb, but the overall cost of ownership is much lower due to the lower energy consumption. The major point here is that it is not the purchase price that determines the total cost of ownership. It is the energy use that determines it. Including cost of operation, an incandescent bulb costs more than 4 times to acquire and operate than a CFL bulb. BUT THE CFL IS MORE EXPENSIVE TO BUY!!!!

What does this discussion have to do with EXAIR and Super Air Knives, Super Air Nozzles or even Super Air Amplifiers?

These products represent EXAIR’s version of the compact fluorescent light bulb. We were the first in the industry to manufacture a Super Air Knife and still the only ones to have the Super Air Amplifier, both of which continue to provide significant energy savings to our customers for their precision blowing needs.

In recent past, there have been a few imitators on the market who try to “do one better” than EXAIR by publishing performance data that appears to be as good, or slightly better than EXAIR. Our testing has revealed that these imitators actually consume as much as 46% more compressed air than equivalent EXAIR products. Admittedly, there can be some slight variation in performance from one unit to another. But when the actual data is this far out from what is published, that is a serious performance problem which results in much higher total cost of ownership for the customer. And since the customer is generally not going to have the necessary equipment to verify these things, they are pretty much buying on faith that the seller is producing a product that is true to their word in terms of performance listed for it in their literature.

My message is simple. Don’t allow yourself to be lured into a situation where the purchase price is all that you consider when buying compressed air blowing equipment. The performance of the product is going to be a much larger portion of that total cost of ownership. Just make sure you are comfortable with that aspect of your purchase before making the commitment to buy.

At EXAIR we always strive to truly understand the needs of the customer and make proper recommendations based on those needs. We always have the total cost of ownership in mind and want to produce the best result for our customers. If the customer isn’t happy with the product for any reason, we will gladly take it back on our 30 Day Guarantee and they can move on to another solution of their choice.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

CFL image courtesy of Mulad. Creative Commons License 

EXAIR Receives Honorable Mention in Green Manufacturer Product Innovation Award

EXAIR’s model 1126, 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle received an honorable mention from Green Manufacturer magazine for the 2013 Product Innovation Awards. This competition was open to technology developers and manufacturers who have introduced new products designed to ensure environmental sustainability between January 1, 2012 and April 1, 2013. Green Manufacturer magazine includes a diverse range of products from biological building materials to welding tools, each with a unique set of qualifications and applications.

The competition focuses on the greenness of the product and how sustainably it is manufactured, as well as the ecopractices of the company. The claims were verified through judging which relied on third party testing and certification, reports to published databases, provision of specific metrics/quantitative information, and customer testimonials with quantitative data.

IMG_3206
The award with the 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzles and shims

Our engineered air nozzles, when compared to open blow off or traditional commercial nozzle designs, reduce compressed air consumption and the associated costs of producing compressed air. The lower compressed air volume required from EXAIR’s engineered air nozzles results in less electricity to generate the compressed air. Engineered air nozzles also reduce noise pollution better than traditional solutions and reduce noise exposure levels for personnel.

The model #1126, 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle is available in a zinc/aluminum alloy suitable for most environments or 316 stainless steel when a higher level of corrosion resistance is necessary. The zinc/aluminum alloy used for this nozzle generally requires less energy
than similar materials to transform into finished products, release no pollutants and no toxic residues during the work cycle, and are fully recyclable at the end of their useful lives.

EXAIR’s whole line of Flat Super Air Nozzles also utilize an internal shim which restricts large amounts of compressed use. The design entrains additional surrounding air in order to provide added volume and force for each application.

EXAIR also takes responsibility for our own processes and manufacturing facility by adhering to our own sustainability plan. This plan helps us reduce waste, recycle more material, reduce energy consumption, reduce water consumption, and keep our employees informed and responsible.

Thanks to Green Manufacturer magazine for recognizing our efforts to keep energy consumption low and sustainability high.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com