A Digital Flowmeter can Help Improve Your Monthly Electric Bill

No one likes paying their bills at the end of the month.  But, if you can save yourself some money, it helps to make it a little easier.  For this customer, he received a monthly bill for his compressed air.

Monthly Bill

An industrial facility consisting of four separate manufacturing plants and a power company that supplied all of them with utilities, i.e. hot water, natural gas, electricity, and compressed air.  The parent company decided to reorganize and sell the entities.  At the end of it, the power company was controlled by a different organization than the manufacturing plants.  The power plant was contracted to still supply the utilities to the individual plants, but now they would be charged individually on a monthly basis.

Being that compressed air is one of the most expensive utilities, the general manager of a solid-state electronic plant really noticed the charge on his bill.  He did an estimate on the amount of air that his equipment was using, and he compared it to the charges.  There was roughly a 20% difference in the figures.  Because of the excessive amount of money, he contacted EXAIR to see what we could offer.

In discussing their system, the compressed air was supplied through one 6” schedule 40 black pipe.  The pipe came into the facility in the ceiling and it branched off to supply the entire shop with compressed air.  He was looking for something to measure the compressed air flow with the ability to measure a cumulative amount.  He could use this amount to compare to his monthly usage.  He was also concerned about cutting into his compressed air line as this could cause him much downtime and additional costs.  He needed something easy to install, accurate, and versatile.

EXAIR Digital Flowmeter

I suggested our 6” Digital Flowmeter with the Model 9150 Summing Remote Display.  EXAIR Digital Flowmeters are designed to measure flow continuously and accurately.  You do not need to weld, cut, or disassemble pipe lines to install.  With a drill guide, the Digital Flowmeter can be easily mounted onto the 6” black pipe by drilling two small holes.  After that, they just had to insert the Digital Flowmeter into the holes, and tighten the clamp around the pipe.  The total procedure took less than 30 minutes, so downtime was minimal.  The EXAIR Digital Flowmeter measures flow by comparative analysis with thermal dispersion; so, the accuracy is very high and recalibration is not required.

EXAIR Summing Remote

With the option of the Summing Remote Display, they could attach it to the Digital Flowmeter and display the flow remotely up to 50 feet away.  They mounted it on the wall next to his office for the operational functions.  With a simple press of a button, it can show the current flow rates, daily flow rates, and cumulative flow rates.  So, during the billing cycle, he was able to get the cumulative measurement to compare the results, and reset the counter to zero for the next month.

Believe it or not, the power company was correct in their measurements.  But, not to waste an entire blog, I did have him turn the compressed air supply off after business hours to watch the flow rate.  He did find his 20% difference in compressed air leakage.  The Digital Flowmeter was able to measure low flows to target other problem areas in your compressed air system.  Now he had another chore in leak detecting and pipe fixing.

EXAIR Optimization line has different products that can help you to get the most out of your compressed air system.  With the customer above, he was able to measure his compressed air flow with the Digital Flowmeter, as well as detecting other issues.  I will now have to talk to him about our Ultrasonic Leak Detector.

 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Picture: Calculator Calculation Insurance by stevepb.  Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain

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
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Big TV’s and Big Compressed Air Savings

My great big TV bit the dust recently. It was a 65” rear projection, high definition…quite an upgrade over the 32” tube set that it replaced, a decade ago. One thing I remember from the day I bought it: the seller said to me as we were loading it up, “A warning: you’ll never be able to watch anything smaller.” The other thing I remember from that day was getting it back to the house and set up before my wife got home. She walked in, looked at its huge awesomeness in our modestly sized living room and said, “That’s almost embarrassing!” To which I replied, “I KNOW!!!”  Now, it WAS a little big for the room, but we acclimated quickly.

Until last month, when the display started to malfunction. I looked it up, and it was a fatal flaw: the parts would cost almost as much as a new 65” flat screen. Which we’re saving our money for…for now, though, we’re “getting by” with a 42” plasma TV that we “repurposed” from the back room. And the seller’s warning proved mostly true, although I’ve almost adjusted to the smaller screen. First world problems; I know.

One benefit of the smaller screen and advanced technology (plasma vs. those three big light bulbs in the rear projection) was decreased operating cost. Turns out, the 42” plasma uses less than 1/3 the power of the 65” rear projection (91 Watts vs. 283 Watts, respectively.) When my next electric bill comes, I’m wondering if I’m going to be pleased with the reduction, or if it’s going to put into perspective just how much TV I really watch. Stay tuned for more on that…

I recently had the pleasure of helping a customer realize a similar “a-ha” moment, with the amount of compressed air they were using throughout their plant. They were running (40) production machines, turning out custom plastic parts. Each machine had a ¼” crimped-end copper tube, which blows off the part as it’s being machined.

Each of the crimped copper lines uses approximately 30 SCFM when supplied at 80psig. These are being replaced with our Model 1100 Super Air Nozzles. They were able to quickly and easily adapt these by simply cutting off the crimped end, and installing a compression adapter fitting:

EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle installs easily on copper lines, with a simple compression adapter.

EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle installs easily on copper lines, with a simple compression adapter.

The Super Air Nozzle consumes just 14 SCFM @80psig, so we should be looking at around a 50% reduction in their compressed air usage in the operation, across their (40) machines. While all the data is still not compiled to determine their actual savings, the noise reduction alone has made a noticeable difference in the plant, which they’re getting used to a LOT quicker (and more agreeably) than I am to the smaller TV screen. But enough about that…I’ll be all right; really.

So that’s two of us, waiting for the next electric bill to see just how happy we can be with our energy savings. I don’t know what they’re going to do with their savings, but mine’s going into the 65” (energy efficient) TV fund.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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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

 

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