Not much in life is free anymore. So, make sure and take advantage of EXAIR’s upcoming FREE webinar at 2:00 PM ET on 10/17/2019. Not only are we providing it for free, but in this webinar we’ll be discussing how you can save money by reducing your compressed air consumption. Something for free, that will help save you money? Almost unheard of these days!!! Hosted by one of our highly-trained Application Engineers, Jordan Shouse, you’ll learn about four common ways that you can easily save air in your facility.
Compressed air is often referred to as the fourth utility in industry. When used improperly, compressed air is extremely expensive. Homemade devices such as open-ended and drilled pipes, inefficient air nozzles, leaks, etc. all contribute to increased energy costs. In addition to being wasteful, these devices are not safe and compliant with OSHA standards and regulations. By using an Intelligent Compressed Air Product, you’ll be both saving money and creating a safer environment for your operators.
In this webinar, you’ll gain an understanding of the places in your facility that are wasting the most compressed air. We’ll educate you on the various engineered solutions available from EXAIR to help eliminate unnecessary compressed air usage. You’ll gain the knowledge necessary to determine the best solution based on the application, sound level, compressed air usage, and compliance with OSHA safety requirements. You’ll also learn about the various solutions available to help understand and optimize your compressed air system. You can’t begin implementing a plan to reduce air consumption until you fully understand the usage in your own facility and processes. EXAIR’s line of Optimization products are ideal to help you gain a baseline measurement and begin implementing new products and processes that’ll only help add to your bottom line.
After the conclusion of the webinar will be a brief Q&A session where you can ask any questions you have about any of the topics covered. Unable to attend the webinar live? Don’t let that stop you from registering! Afterwards, each registrant will receive a link via e-mail where they’ll be able to access the full webinar at any time. Make sure and take advantage of this opportunity to gain some knowledge about the usage of your compressed air. You’ll be glad you did!
A food manufacturing company was looking for a more efficient way to dry polypropylene trays that were filled with food product. With their current operation, they would send already packed and sealed food trays through a washing system that used sterilized water. The trays would then have to be dried prior to bulk packaging. The operators would place the trays side by side on a 24” wide open-mesh stainless steel metal conveyor with two or three trays at a time (depending on the tray dimensions). They contacted EXAIR because they wanted to replace their “old and inefficient system” with something better.
In my discussions, they gave some additional details of the operation and the problems that they were seeing. The dimensions of the trays ranged from 150 to 200mm long by 100 to 150mm wide by 35 to 50mm in height. They were cleaning at a rate of 30 trays per minute through the washing and drying system. The washer was designed to recycle the water to improve “green” operations. But the trays were carrying much of the water outside the machine. Thus, they would have to stop and refill the wash system with fresh water.
After the washing cycle, the drying section began. It consisted of two parts; a sponge roller and a heated chamber that would blow hot air. First the trays would run under the sponge roller to absorb the water from the top of the trays. A feature that they did not like was the continuous adjustment to the sponge roller for the different tray heights. They had to make sure that they had good contact without stopping the movement.
Also, with bulk of the water being on top of the trays, the sponge surface would get saturated. They would have to stop the process to change with a dry foam pad or replace due to wear. After the sponge roller, it would move into a heated chamber to remove the remaining portion of the water from the trays. They used a 11 KW heating system to blow hot air. This part of their system required a lot of electricity to run. They wondered if EXAIR could help streamline their process and reduce energy costs.
They sent a photo of their system, reference above. As described, the trays were moving intermittently through the wash cycle and then into the drying operation. When gaps are present in a process, the Electronic Flow Control, or EFC, becomes a great product for energy efficiency. It is designed to use a photoelectric sensor to detect a part and initiate a timing sequence. Using a solenoid valve, it will turn on the compressed air only when needed. With the drying operation, I suggested that they could remove the sponge roller and heated chamber, and replace them with two Super Air Knives. In conjunction with the EFC, we can decrease energy usage, reduce downtime, and increase savings. Profit margins can be critical in the food industry, and EXAIR has many ways to help.
To expand a bit more about revitalizing the “old and inefficient system” with EXAIR products, I made some suggestions. I recommended two Stainless Steel Super Air Knife Kits, model 110224SS, to be placed near the end of the conveyor. One Super Air Knife would be positioned above the tray to blow across the top; and one would be positioned below the tray under the mesh conveyor to blow across the bottom.
At a slight blowing angle in a counter-flow direction, the air streams would remove the water from the top and bottom of the tray at the same time. This would create a non-contact “wiping” solution. Now they do not have to worry about parts wearing out due to contact. Another unique feature of the Super Air Knife is the strength of the laminar air stream. It is consistent from 3” (76mm) to 12” (305mm) away from the target. Thus, they can easily set the height of the Super Air Knives to dry all the different trays without adjusting it.
And as an added benefit, the water that was being blown off the trays by the Super Air Knives remained within the washing system. The sterilized water was not being wasted and could be recycled. With the Electronic Flow Control, I recommended the model 9056. It is a user-friendly device with eight different timing sequences. They were able to position the photoelectric sensor near the outlet of the washing system. As soon as the trays were detected, the Super Air Knives would turn on to blow two or three trays at the same time. With the EXAIR products installed, the system went from using 11 KW down to 4 KW, a 63% savings.
EXAIR has helped many customers like this one above. When it comes to energy savings, EXAIR leads the way. With two Super Air Knives and an EFC, we were able to modernized their system; save on water, improve productivity, reduce the overall footprint, and save on their energy usage. If you have a similar application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to update your system.
Recently I worked with a customer on an application to remove contaminants from the inside of glass bottles. During production, dust from the ambient environment was collecting inside of the bottles. They needed a way to remove it prior to filling. The solution was to briefly pause the conveyor, pulsing air into the bottles to free any dust that had accumulated. Their problem was that while the dust was blowing out of the bottle without an issue, some of it was settling back down into the bottles.
The customer needed a way to mitigate the risk of dust particles resettling into the bottles after it was removed. The solution was to install a Model 2012 12” Standard Air Knife to provide a curtain of air across the top of the bottles, catching any freed dust particles and blowing them away from the conveyor.
After noticing positive results, we wanted to take things one step further and help to reduce overall air consumption in the process. The blowoff was achieved with (8) ¼” open tubes operating at a pressure of 80 PSIG. Although they were only operating for a fraction of a second, they still consume a whopping 33 SCFM! Replacing them with Model 1101 ¼” NPT Super Air Nozzles (14 SCFM at 80 PSIG) resulted in compressed air savings of 58%!!
In addition to saving compressed air, the noise level was also dramatically reduced. At just 74 dBA, we’re below the threshold for an 8-hour exposure time for operators according to OSHA. Where earplugs were necessary before, they’re now able to operate safely without the need for PPE to protect their hearing. The second most effective fundamental method of protecting workers, according to NIOSH, is to substitute or replace the hazard with an engineered solution. It’s not possible to eliminate the hazard as a compressed air blowoff was necessary, but the next best step is to replace it with something safer.
In addition to complying with OSHA 1910.95(a), the Super Air Nozzle also cannot be dead-ended. In applications for compressed air blowoff with unsafe nozzles, pipes, or tubes, the pressure must be regulated down to below 30 PSIG according to OSHA 1910.242(b). The installation of an engineered compressed air nozzle by EXAIR allows you to operate safely at much higher pressures.
If you have inefficient blowoff processes in your facility, give one of our Application Engineers a call. We’ll be happy to take a closer look at your application and recommend a safe, reliable, engineered solution!
Have you ever stood at a dealership wondering what car to buy? You have a variety of things to consider like safety, gas mileage, quality and price. But what if the dealership had a professional race car driver to test each car for you and give you a detailed report about each one? That would definitely help you to make a better choice. At EXAIR, we are that professional driver when it comes to compressed air products.
EXAIR has been manufacturing compressed air products since 1983, and we created a culture of making high quality products that are safe, effective, and very efficient. Since we stand by our products, we created a program called the Efficiency Lab. This program is to compare your current pneumatic blow-off device with an EXAIR engineered product. We generate a detailed report to send to you for review. It is a free service that EXAIR provides for U.S. and Canadian companies to “test drive” your current pneumatic blow-off items.
Why do we offer this? Air Compressors use a lot of electrical power and are considered to be a fourth utility within plants and industries. Many people do not realize the cost and safety concerns when using improper blow-off devices. As an example, if you look at a single 1/8” open pipe for blowing compressed air, it can cost you over $2,000 a year to operate. This will add to your overhead and cut profits. Another reason to consider your blow-off device is that compressed air can be dangerous. With that same 1/8” open pipe, it can violate OSHA standards in noise exposure and dead-end pressure. In deciding your “vehicle” for blowing compressed air, cheap is not the best option. In reference to my analogy above, it would be like buying a car that gets 3 MPG with faulty brakes.
With our Efficiency Lab, it is quite simple to do. For starters, you can go to our Product Efficiency Survey on our website to give the conditions for testing. If you wish for a side by side analysis, you can place your pneumatic device in a box and send it to EXAIR. We will run the tests at the specified conditions or in a range of settings. We will then return your pneumatic device back to you at our cost with a detailed report of the comparison. Your information will be confidential, and we will not share it without your permission. Many customers like to use this report to show managers, executives, HSE, etc. on the improvements that EXAIR can provide in cost savings and safety.
How do we do the Efficiency Lab? We use calibrated equipment and standardized procedures to test for noise levels, flow usage, and force measurements. We will recommend an EXAIR engineered solution as a replacement to your current device to do the comparison. With the analytical information, we can also figure the total amount of air savings, return on investment, payback period and safety improvements.
Don’t be fooled; not all blow off devices are the same. You do not want to sacrifice safety, time, and money with a sub-standard product. Let EXAIR solve this dilemma with our free service; the Efficiency Lab. As the expert in this industry, you can get a detailed report with a comparison analysis to make a great choice. “Vroom Vroom!”
It is estimated that typically plants can waste up to 30 percent of their generated compressed air and that cost is substantial. Considering the average cost to generate compressed air here in the Midwest is .25 cents per 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet, that translates into .075 cents for every .25 cents spent! Compounded with the fact that energy costs have doubled in the last five years, it couldn’t be a better time to make your air compressor system more efficient.
The following steps will help you save air and in turn save money.
Measure the air consumption to find sources that use a lot of compressed air.
Knowing where you stand with your compressed air demand is important to be able to quantify the savings once you begin to implement a compressed air optimization program. Placing a value upon your compressed air consumption will also allow you to place a value on its costs and the savings you will reap once you start to reduce your consumption. (EXAIR’s Digital Flow Meter)
Find and fix the leaks in your compressed air system.
Not fixing your compressed air system leaks can cause your system pressure to fluctuate and affect your equipment negatively. It may cause you to run a larger compressor than necessary for your compressed air needs and raise your total costs. Or it could cause your cycle and run times to increase which leads to increased maintenance to the entire system. (EXAIR’s Ultrasonic Leak Detector)
Upgrade your blow off, cooling and drying operations using engineered compressed air products.
Your ordinary nozzle with a through hole and a cross drilled hole can be an easy choice based upon price, but if you do not consider the operating cost you do not really know how much it is costing you. An Engineered Air Nozzle will pay for itself and lower operating costs quickly. Engineered Air Nozzles are the future of compressed air efficiency and are made to replace ordinary nozzles, homemade nozzles and open line blow offs. Engineered Nozzles reduce air consumption and noise levels; ordinary nozzles cannot compete. Engineered Nozzles maintain safety features and can qualify for an energy savings rebate from a local utility; ordinary nozzles fall short. Open blow off or homemade blow off applications typically violate OSHA safety standards; Engineered Nozzles do not. (EXAIR’s Air Nozzles)
Turn off the compressed air when it is not in use.
Automated solutions add solenoid valves and run them from your machine controls. If the machine is off, or the conveyor has stopped – close the solenoid valve and save the air. And blow off applications can benefit from any space in between parts by turning the air off during the gaps with the aid of a sensor and solenoid. (EXAIR’s automated Electronic Flow Control)
Use intermediate storage of compressed air near the point of use.
Also known as secondary receivers, intermediate air storage is especially effective when a system has shifting demands or large volume use in a specific area. Intermediate storage is the buffer between a large demand event and the output of your compressor. The buffer created by intermediate storage (secondary receiver) prevents pressure fluctuations which may impact other end use operations and affect your end product quality. (EXAIR’s Receiver Tanks)
Control the air pressure at the point of use to minimize air consumption.
This is a very simple and easy process, all it requires is a pressure regulator. Installing a pressure regulator at all of your point of use applications will allow you to lower the pressure of these applications to the lowest pressure possible for success. Lowering the pressure of the application also lowers the air consumption. And it naturally follows that lower air consumption equals energy savings. (EXAIR’s Pressure Regulators)
By increasing your awareness of the health of your air compressor system and implementing a PM program you can significantly reduce your costs from wasted energy and avoid costly down time from an out of service air compressor.
If you would like to discuss improving your compressed air efficiency or any of EXAIR’s engineered solutions, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.
As margins get tighter and cost of manufacturing climbs, industries are looking into different areas to be more efficient. A big focus nowadays is in their compressed air system. Why is this? Manufacturers are starting to realize that it takes an abundant amount of electricity to make compressed air. That is why EXAIR manufactures compressed air products for optimization to get the best efficiency. But what many manufacturers don’t realize is that quiet little hissing sound from there compressed air lines is costing them much money. That is why EXAIR has the Ultrasonic Leak Detector.
Energy Star, a federal voluntary program ran by the Environmental Protection Agency, offers energy-efficient solutions. EXAIR has partnered with Energy Star because it underscores our commitment to improve energy savings. They even wrote an excerpt about compressed air leaks here: Energy Tips: Minimize Compressed Air Leaks. With compressed air leaks, it can be as much as 30% of your compressed air usage.
When a leak occurs, it emits an ultrasonic noise. The EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector can pick this up. It has a frequency range from 20 KHz to 100 KHz, above human hearing, so it can make the inaudible leaks, audible. With three sensitivity ranges and LED display, you can find very minute leaks. It comes with headphones and two attachments; the parabola attachment to find leaks up to 20 feet (6 meters) away, and the tube attachment for local proximity to define the exact location of the leak.
In the Energy Tips from Energy Star, they reference estimated leak rates and costs associated with these leaks. They also recommend a leak prevention program with reference materials to help improve energy savings. As part of that program, an Ultrasonic Leak Detector is the best way to begin.
To tell a common success story about the Ultrasonic Leak Detector, an EXAIR customer had a 50-horsepower air compressor. It started to overwork, overheat, and occasionally shut down. He thought that he would need to buy a larger air compressor to keep his plant running. In discussing his problems and requirements, he decided to purchase an Ultrasonic Leak Detector from EXAIR to check for leaks as a possible cause. He checked every fitting and connection in his facility. When he finished checking the compressed air system, he found 91 leaks. (You will be surprised with your system if it is not well maintained).
If we look at a very small 1/16” (1.6mm) diameter hole at 80 PSIG (5.5 bar), it will cost you $360 a year per leak (based on 6000 working hours per year). Thus, 91 leaks at $360/year will equal $32,760 per year. After the fittings were reworked with piping compound, the compressor was back operating in a normal range. There was no need to buy a larger air compressor with capital funds, and he was able to save $32,760 a year by finding and fixing the leaks.
As a little secret with the Ultrasonic Leak Detector, it can do more than find compressed air leaks. Any issue that creates an ultrasonic noise, the Ultrasonic Leak Detector can find it. This will include air damper seals, circuit breakers, cracked rubber belts, gas burner leaks, refrigerant leaks, worn bearings, and air brake systems on trucks. It is a handy tool to find potential issues or problems in other areas other than compressed air systems.
For optimization of your compressed air system, it is very important to find and correct leaks in your piping system. The Ultrasonic Leak Detector can help you do that. It is an inexpensive way to solve an expensive problem, compressed air leaks. If you would like to discuss the features and benefits in more detail, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be glad to help you.
Since air compressors use a lot of electricity to make compressed air, it is important to use the compressed air as efficiently as possible. EXAIR has six simple steps to optimize your compressed air system. Following these steps will help you to cut your production costs and improve your bottom line. In this blog, I will cover the sixth step; controlling the air pressure at the point of use.
One of the most common pressure control devices is called the Regulator. It is designed to reduce the downstream pressure that is supplying your system. Regulators are commonly used in many types of applications. You see them attached to propane tanks, gas cylinders, and of course, compressed air lines. Properly sized, regulators can flow the required amount of gas at a regulated pressure for safety and cost savings.
EXAIR designs and manufactures compressed air products to be safe, effective, and efficient. By replacing your “old types” of blowing devices with EXAIR products, it will save you much compressed air, which in turn saves you money. But, why stop there? You can optimize your compressed air system even more by assessing the air pressure at the point-of-use. For optimization, using the least amount of air pressure to “do the job” can be very beneficial.
Why are regulators important for compressed air systems? Because it gives you the control to set the operating pressure. For many blow-off applications, people tend to overuse their compressed air. This can create excessive waste, stress on your air compressor, and steal from other pneumatic processes. By simply turning down the air pressure, less compressed air is used. As an example, a model 1100 Super Air Nozzle uses 14 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG (5.5 bar). If you only need 50 PSIG (3.4 bar) to satisfy the blow-off requirement, then the air flow for the model 1100 drops to 9.5 SCFM. You are now able to add that 4.5 SCFM back into the compressed air system. And, if you have many blow-off devices, you can see how this can really add up.
In following the Six Steps to optimize your compressed air system, you can reduce your energy consumption, improve pneumatic efficiencies, and save yourself money. I explained one of the six steps in this blog by controlling the air pressure at the point of use. Just as a note, reducing the pressure from 100 PSIG (7 bar) to 80 PSIG (5.5 bar) will cut your energy usage by almost 20%. If you would like to review the details of any of the six steps, you can find them in our EXAIR blogs or contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.