Opportunities To Save On Compressed Air

If you’re a regular reader of the EXAIR blog, you’re likely familiar with our:

EXAIR Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compressed Air System

This guideline is as comprehensive as you want it to be.  It’s been applied, in small & large facilities, as the framework for a formal set of procedures, followed in order, with the goal of large scale reductions in the costs associated with the operation of compressed air systems…and it works like a charm.  Others have “stepped” in and out, knowing already where some of their larger problems were – if you can actually hear or see evidence of leaks, your first step doesn’t necessarily have to be the installation of a Digital Flowmeter.

Here are some ways you may be able to “step” in and out to realize opportunities for savings on your use of compressed air:

  • Power:  I’m not saying you need to run out & buy a new compressor, but if yours is
    Recent advances have made significant improvements in efficiency.

    aging, requires more frequent maintenance, doesn’t have any particular energy efficiency ratings, etc…you might need to run out & buy a new compressor.  Or at least consult with a reputable air compressor dealer about power consumption.  You might not need to replace the whole compressor system if it can be retrofitted with more efficient controls.

  • Pressure: Not every use of your compressed air requires full header pressure.  In fact, sometimes it’s downright detrimental for the pressure to be too high.  Depending on the layout of your compressed air supply lines, your header pressure may be set a little higher than the load with the highest required pressure, and that’s OK.  If it’s significantly higher, intermediate storage (like EXAIR’s Model 9500-60 Receiver Tank, shown on the right) may be worth looking into.  Keep in mind, every 2psi increase in your header pressure means a 1% increase (approximately) in electric cost for your compressor operation.  Higher than needed pressures also increase wear and tear on pneumatic tools, and increase the chances of leaks developing.
  • Consumption:  Much like newer technologies in compressor design contribute to higher efficiency & lower electric power consumption, engineered compressed air products will use much less air than other methods.  A 1/4″ copper tube is more than capable of blowing chips & debris away from a machine tool chuck, but it’s going to use as much as 33 SCFM.  A Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle (shown on the right) can do the same job and use only 14 SCFM.  This one was installed directly on to the end of the copper tube, quickly and easily, with a compression fitting.
  • Leaks: These are part of your consumption, whether you like it or not.  And you shouldn’t like it, because they’re not doing anything for you, AND they’re costing you money.  Fix all the leaks you can…and you can fix them all.  Our Model 9061 Ultrasonic Leak Detector (right) can be critical to your efforts in finding these leaks, wherever they may be.
  • Pressure, part 2: Not every use of your compressed air requires full header pressure (seems I’ve heard that before?)  Controlling the pressure required for individual applications, at the point of use, keeps your header pressure where it needs to be.  All EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product Kits come with a Pressure Regulator (like the one shown on the right) for this exact purpose.
  • All of our engineered Compressed Air Product Kits include a Filter Separator, like this one, for point-of-use removal of solid debris & moisture.

    Air Quality: Dirty air isn’t good for anything.  It’ll clog (and eventually foul) the inner workings of pneumatic valves, motors, and cylinders.  It’s particularly detrimental to the operation of engineered compressed air products…it can obstruct the flow of Air Knives & Air Nozzles, hamper the cooling capacity of Vortex Tubes & Spot Cooling Products, and limit the vacuum (& vacuum flow) capacity of Vacuum Generators, Line Vacs, and Air Amplifiers.

Everyone here at EXAIR Corporation wants you to get the most out of your compressed air use.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Utility Rebates for Energy Savings

Since the establishment of EXAIR in 1983, customer satisfaction has always been the cornerstone of our business model.   This may seem like a common practice, but here at EXAIR, we like to go the extra mile.  We have over a 99.9% on-time delivery with thousands of products in stock.  We offer free expert technical help from our Application Engineers, as well as within EXAIR Blog writings and application search library.  We have an Efficiency Lab to report on comparison results with safety and compressed air saving.  We also offer a 30-day unconditional guarantee on our cataloged products for you to try.   So, what more can EXAIR do for you?

Free testing. Verifiable data. EXAIR Efficiency Lab.

Compressors use large amounts of electricity to produce compressed air and are considered the fourth utility in most manufacturing plants.  EXAIR manufactures engineered products that can save compressed air and increase energy savings.  With that, EXAIR was able to partner with Energy Star.  “Energy Star is a government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping to save money and to protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.” This commitment by EXAIR for reducing energy, increase safety for workers, and protecting the environment for future generations are effective ways to sustain a business value.

When large amounts of energy can be saved, electricity producing companies take notice.  Electrical suppliers started a rebate program for using engineered nozzles in their facility.  Similar to other energy-saving rebates, like LED light bulbs and high-efficiency furnaces, EXAIR engineered nozzles now fall into that same category.  If your electrical provider supports this program, the total cost to purchase and implement the EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are greatly reduced.  Even if a rebate program has not yet been implemented in your area, the idea of saving energy makes it very practical and environmentally sound.

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center created a website to consolidate all the electrical companies that offer rebates for efficient products and programs.  The website is www.dsireusa.org.  “DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewable and energy efficiency in the United States.”  EXAIR engineered products fall into this category, so if a rebate can be applied to our products, it will be located on that site.

Back to the question above, what more can EXAIR do for you?  We all live busy lives at work and at home.  It may be difficult to find the proper programs from your local power companies.  Let EXAIR do most of the legwork for you.  Per your request, we can help find the proper forms for rebates when switching to EXAIR engineered nozzles.  With a rebate program, it makes it very cost effective to upgrade your pneumatic system to an energy efficient system.

Being backed by Energy Star, EPA, and rebate programs, together, we can save energy, improve the environment, and reduce compressed air usage.  If you would like to discuss how EXAIR can work for you, you can contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to get the most out of that extra mile.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

EXAIR’s Efficiency Lab can Help With your Energy Audit, Quantify Savings and Provide an ROI

I recently received an inquiry from a customer to test their current air guns through our Efficiency Lab service. According to the operators, the handheld blow gun they were purchasing from a commercial retailer was too loud and complaints were rolling in.  They were also hoping to save some compressed air in the process as they were performing an energy audit at the same time.

Commercial Air Gun w/ Cross Cut Hole
Commercial Air Gun w/ Cross Cut Hole
Cross Cut Hole Nozzle
Cross Cut Hole Nozzle

The gun they sent in looked fairly similar to our Precision Safety Air Gun but it did not have an engineered nozzle on the tip of it.   Instead, it was simply a cross cut hole in a piece of material.   The air inlet to the gun was a 1/4″ NPT just like our Precision Safety Air Gun, the extension on the gun was slightly longer, the only significant variance I saw was the tip.

EXAIR Model 1410SS-CS
EXAIR Model 1410SS-CS
The Model 1110SS Nao Super Air Nozzle and Chip Shield
The Model 1110SS Nao Super Air Nozzle and Chip Shield

To try and get as much information as possible I measured the O.D. and I.D. of the extension, the hole size was approximately .140″.  I measured the extension on our Precision Safety Air Gun just to see what is different, it came in at the same size.  So, I flow tested the competitive blow gun with their tip on it and came up with air consumption of 12.69 SCFM, noise level of 92 dBA at 3′ away, and a blowing force of 11.5 oz at 80 psig.   I then measured the same attributes of EXAIR’s model 1410SS-CS Precision Safety Air Gun at 80 psig inlet pressure.  The model 1410SS-CS measured 8.3 SCFM, gave 8.1 ozs of working force, and only produced a 75 dBA sound level from 3′ away.

The sound level reduction was a total of 17 dBA which is below the OSHA standard for allowable noise level exposure, as well as reduced their air consumption by 4.39 SCFM.  That is almost a 35% reduction in their compressed air usage per gun replaced.  After seeing these levels of reduction the customer had more than enough information to provide management with in order to replace the blow guns not just for noise level reduction but also because it will reduce air use and save money. A clear supportive role in their energy audit.

If you would like to discuss how EXAIR can provide some free force, flow, and noise level testing for your facility, please contact an Application Engineer or check out the Efficiency Lab page on our site.

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

Energy Savings for Blow Molding Machines

A blow molding facility contacted me about an energy audit. He had 40 machines that were operating at his facility. His compressed air system was able to produce 1200 SCFM (2,039 M^3/hr) of compressed air at 435 psig (30 Bar). He understood the cost to produce compressed air, and how it would affect the bottom line. He wanted to evaluate each blow molding line to monitor the amount of compressed air being used by each machine. Compressed air is a necessary utility, and when you use large portions in your operation, like in blow molding, you need to observe the usage because it can eat into your profits.

Costly leaks
Costly leaks

As machines get older, or modifications are made, compressed air use can increase. You can have a cylinder that is bypassing, worn out seals, a valve that does not completely close, or fittings that start leaking. Like a drip in your faucet, it adds up rather quickly. For his energy audit, he placed an EXAIR Digital Flow Meter with the USB Data Logger on each compressed air line that was feeding a machine. He had two types of blow molding machines, a single stage and a two stage. With the USB Data Logger, he was able to record the amount of compressed air being used by each machine. He downloaded the information into Excel which included time stamps. He took that information to see how much compressed air was being used to run certain products on certain machines. He then compared the information to know which machines to target for maintenance.

Digital Flow Meter
Digital Flow Meter

In the end, he was able to identify some of the problems with his machines, and he could better track the cost to produce each product. To be more competitive as a manufacturer, you have to start looking at energy costs, which includes the compressed air system. With EXAIR products, we can measure the current use, find the problems, provide efficient engineered products, and measure the savings. If you would like to go over your compressed air system with our Application Engineers, you can contact us at EXAIR.

 

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

No Such Thing As A Free…Light Bulb?

Last year, my friendly neighborhood electric company called me up and offered me a free energy audit of my house. It happened to be the day after I got my electric bill, and it had been a long, hot summer, and the bill was proving out my concerns over how much the air conditioning had been running lately. So, I made an appointment.

The auditor gave me some good advice and pointed out a few simple fixes – frankly, some basic home maintenance that I was “planning to get around to eventually.” Then, he surprised me, by going out to his vehicle and bringing in a box full of stuff to make those fixes – a couple rolls of weather-stripping, a “water miser” shower head, and a whole bunch of CFL light bulbs. And it was all free.

But that wasn’t all – while he still had my full attention (free stuff has that effect on me), we sat down and went over a list of incentives they offer to folks who replace older, less efficient equipment with new, high efficiency models – refrigerators, water heaters, and HVAC units were all on that list, as you can probably imagine.

Now, on the surface, it seems like it would negatively affect a company’s bottom line to pay you for taking steps to purchase less of their product, right? Turns out, they’re being incredibly long-sighted. See, as the population increases, so does the number of energy users. Power plants can only generate a finite amount of electricity; when they reach capacity, the only solution is to build a new one. And that costs a LOT of money – more than they can make up for by rate increases (which would be inevitable anyway.) Rather than do that, they would greatly prefer to squeeze every kilowatt they can out of their existing plants, and service every household they can, as efficiently as they can. Power companies across the country are offering similar programs, and if you like free stuff too, I encourage you to seek them out if they haven’t already sought you out.

Of course, they’re not just focusing on residential customers. Increased energy usage efficiency in their industrial customer base is key to the plan as well. If you use a bunch of electric motors, there might be incentives to upgrade to higher efficiency units, and/or install Variable Frequency Drives (if applicable.) Do you have a large shop area? Odds are, it takes a lot of candlepower to light up all that space, and a lot of BTU’s going one way or the other to heat it in the winter and cool it in the summer. Lighting and HVAC are popular incentive programs as well.

EXAIR has worked with several utility companies to provide basic information regarding the savings associated with the use of engineered compressed air products, and I’m preparing another presentation in this regard right now. If you use compressed air, you probably have a good idea of the cost associated. If not, the US Department of Energy has published “Improving Compressed Air System Performance: A Sourcebook For Industry,” which I highly recommend. Additionally, your own friendly neighborhood electric company may offer some assistance, in conjunction with an incentive program. Here is a national database for energy incentives in the U.S. http://www.dsireusa.org.

Whether your concern is for your home or your business electric bill, again, I encourage you to look in to any incentive programs your utility provider may offer. And if compressed air is a factor in your equation, I welcome the opportunity to help you optimize your usage.

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/
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