Return on Investment (ROI) is a measure of the gain (preferably) or loss generated relative to the amount of money that was invested. ROI is typically expressed as a percentage and is generally used for financial decisions, examining the profitability of a company, or comparing different investments. It can also be used to evaluate a project or process improvement to decide whether spending money on a project makes sense. The formula is shown below-
A negative ROI says the project would result in an overall loss of money
An ROI at zero is neither a loss or gain scenario
A positive ROI is a beneficial result, and the larger the value the greater the gain
Example – installing a Super Air Nozzles (14 SCFM compressed air consumption) in place of 1/4″ open pipe (33 SCFM of air consumption consumption) . Using the Cost Savings Calculator on the EXAIR website, model 1100 nozzle will save $1,710 in energy costs. The model 1100 nozzle costs $42, assuming a $5 compression fitting and $45 in labor to install, the result is a Cost of Investment of $92.00. The ROI calculation for Year one is-
ROI = 1,759% – a very large and positive value. Payback time is only 13 working days!
If you have questions regarding ROI and need help in determining the gain and cost from invest values for a project that includes an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Why should you consider a Pressure Regulator when designing your compressed air system? As many know, our products and those of other product manufacturers have a certain set of specifications regarding performance at stated input pressures. But what if your application doesn’t require that “full, rated performance”? Maybe instead of needing two pounds of force, you only need one pound? Sometimes more force does not produce the desired result for an application. By that, I mean you cause damage to the target or other surrounding items in the application. Or, perhaps blowing too hard (or vacuuming too hard in the case of a Line Vac or E-vac) might cause the vessel or the material you are picking up to collapse or deform (due to too much power).
There is also the concern about using more energy than one really needs to in order to achieve the desired effect in an application. In other words, if you can achieve your goals with only 40 PSIG, then why would you ever use 80 PSIG to accomplish the goal? By reducing your compressed air from 80 down to 40 PSIG, you can easily reduce the air consumption of the “engineered” solution by another 40% or more. Once you have installed engineered air nozzles to reduce compressed air on blow off applications, a pressure regulator can fine tune the pressure to save even more energy.
Then there is the issue of taking advantage of the pressure differential (from 80 down to 40 PSIG) that creates a little bit more air volume capacity. At 80 PSIG, your compressed air to free air volume ratio is 6.4:1. At 40 PSIG, it is only 3.7:1. The net effect is you effectively have an overall larger volume of air you can use for other applications in your facility. By reducing compressed air pressure of your demand applications, you may be able to reduce over all compressor discharge pressure. Reducing compressor discharge pressure by 2 PSIG also reduces required input power by 1 percent – so keep your pressure as low as possible!
Regulating pressure is definitely warranted given the benefits that compliment the operation of the core EXAIR products.
If you need a deeper understanding about how EXAIR’s products can help your application, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to give you a clear understanding of all the benefits that can be had by our products’ use as well as proper implementation of accessory items such as compressed air filters and regulators.
In the pneumatic industry, there are two types of Air Amplifiers. One type will amplify the inlet air pressure to a higher compression. The other type uses the inlet air pressure to amplify the air volume. EXAIR manufactures the volume type called the Super Air Amplifiers™.
This change in air volume is called the amplification ratio. So, what does this mean? The definition of a ratio is the relation between two amounts showing the number of times one value is contained within the other. For the Super Air Amplifier, it is the value that shows the amount of ambient air that is contained within the compressed air. The higher the ratio, the more efficient the blowing device is. With the EXAIR Super Air Amplifiers, we can reach amplification ratios up to 25 to 1. This means that 25 parts of ambient “free” air is introduced for every 1 part of compressed air.
Why an EXAIR Super Air Amplifier? Like a fan, they are designed to move air. But fans use motors and blades to push the air toward the target. The fan blades “slap” the air which creates turbulent air flows and loud noises. The Super Air Amplifiers do not use any blades or motors to move the air. They just use a Coanda profile and a patented shim to create a low pressure to draw in the ambient air. In physics, it is much easier to pull than it is to push. The process of pulling air through the Super Air Amplifiers make them a more efficient, uniform, and quiet way to blow air.
Most people think that compressed air is free, but it is most certainly not. Because of the amount of electricity required, compressed air is considered to be the fourth utility in manufacturing plants. To save on utility costs, it is important to use compressed air as efficiently as possible. In reference, the higher the amplification ratio, the more efficient the compressed air product. Manufacturing plants that use open fittings, copper tubes, and drilled pipes for blowing are not properly using their compressed air system. These types of products generally only have between a 2:1 to 5:1 amplification ratio. The Super Air Amplifiers can reach a 25:1 ratio.
EXAIR manufactures and stocks five different sizes ranging from ¾” (19mm) up to 8” (203mm) in diameter. Some of the benefits that the Super Air Amplifiers have is the inlet and outlet can be ducted for remote positioning. They are very compact and can fit into tight places. They do not have any moving parts to wear or need electricity to run. They only need clean compressed air to operate; so, they are maintenance-free.
Another unique feature of the EXAIR Super Air Amplifier is the patented shim which optimizes the low-pressure to draw in more ambient air. With extracting welding smoke, increasing cooling capacities, and moving material from point A to point B; the more air that can be moved, the better the performance. And with the patented shim inside the EXAIR Super Air Amplifiers, it provides that. As an added bonus, they are OSHA safe and meet the standards for noise level and dead-end pressure.
To explain things in every day terms; the amplification ratio can be represented by gas mileage. Like your car, you want to get the most distance from a gallon of gasoline. Similarly, with your compressed air system, you want to get the most for your pneumatic equipment. An EXAIR Super Air Amplifier has a 25:1 amplification ratio.; so, in other words, you can get 25 mpg. If you use drilled pipes, open fittings, copper tubes, etc. for blowing, then you are only getting 2 to 5 mpg. If you want to get the most “distance” from your compressed air system, you should check the “gas mileage” of your blow-off components. If you need assistance, an Application Engineer at EXAIR can help you to “tune up” your compressed air system.
Compressed air is the life blood of a manufacturing plant, and the air compressor would be considered the heart. To keep things “fit”, it is important to check all areas and to optimize your system to keep your plant running safely and efficiently. You do not have to be a doctor to do these “operations”. If your compressor fails, the entire facility will stop working. In this blog, I will cover some simple preventative maintenance that can really help you.
As margins get tighter and cost of manufacturing climbs, industries are looking into other areas to be more economical. A big focus today is the compressed air system. Compressed air is considered to be a “forth” utility behind gas, water, and electricity, and it is a necessary to run your pneumatic systems. But it is the least efficient of the utilities. So, it is very important to use this utility as practical as possible and to use a PM program to keep it going.
If we start at the beginning of your compressed air system, this would jump us to the air compressor. This is the machine that uses an electric or gas motor to spin a crank. It compresses the ambient air into a small volume to generate stored energy to be used by your pneumatic systems. Because the air compressor is complex and intricate, I would recommend a trained service personnel to do the maintenance. But, if your staff is familiar with air compressors, I wrote a blog to help look at certain parts periodically. You can read it here: “6 Basic Steps for Good Air Compressor Maintenance (And When to Do Them)”.
The next part after the air compressor is to look at the aftercoolers, compressed air dryers, receiver tanks, filters, and condensate drains. Some facilities may only have some of these items.
The aftercoolers are designed to cool the exit air from your air compressor. It uses a fan to blow ambient air across coils to lower the compressed air temperature. It is easy to check the fan to verify that it is spinning and to keep the coils clean from debris.
The compressed air dryers can range in size and type. For the refrigerant type air dryers, you should periodically check the freon compressor with ohm and amp readings, the condensers for cleaning, and the super heat temperature as well. For desiccant type air dryers, you will need to check the operation of the valves. Valves are used to regenerate one side of the desiccant bed. The valves can fail and stick either open or closed. In either way, if the desiccant cannot regenerate, then it will allow moisture to go down stream and eventually destroy the desiccant beads.
The receiver tanks have safety relief valves that will need to be checked to make sure that they are not leaking. If they are, they should be changed.
As for the filters, they collect contamination from the compressed air stream. This will include liquid water, oil, and dirt. A pressure drop will start to increase with the contaminants, which will reduce the potential energy. If they do not have pressure drop indicators, you should have two points of references for pressure readings. You should change the filter elements when the pressure drop reaches 10 PSID (0.7 bar) or after 1 year.
With all these items above, water is created. There should be condensate drains to discard the water. The most efficient types of condensate drains are the zero loss drains. Most condensate drains will have a test button to be pressed to verify that they open. If they do not open, they should be replaced or fixed. Do not place a valve on them and partially open for draining. For float type drains, they will have a pin inside that can be pressed to open. You can verify that all the liquid has been expelled.
The distribution system are the pipes and tubes that run compressed air from the supply side to the demand side of your pneumatic system. One of the largest problems affecting the distribution system are leaks. That quiet little hissing sound from the pipe lines is costing your company much money. A study was conducted by a university to determine the percentage of air leaks in a typical manufacturing plant. In a poorly maintained system, they found on average of 30% of the compressor capacity is lost through air leaks.
To put a dollar value on it, a leak that you cannot physically hear can cost you as much as $130/year. That is just for one inaudible leak in hundreds of feet of compressed air lines. Unlike a hydraulic system, compressed air is clean; so, leaks will not appear at the source. So, you have to find them by some other means.
Most leaks occur where you have threaded fittings, connections, hoses, and pneumatic components like valves, regulators, and drains. EXAIR has two products in our Optimization product line that are designed to help find leaks in your compressed air system.
The Ultrasonic Leak Detectors can find air leaks, and the Digital Flowmeters can monitor your system for loss of air. When an air leaks occur, it emits an ultrasonic noise caused by turbulence. These ultrasonic noises can be at a frequency above audible hearing for human. The EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector can pick up these high frequencies to make inaudible leaks audible.
With the Digital Flowmeters, you can continuously check your system for waste and record it with a USB Datalogger. Air leaks can occur at any time within any section of your pneumatic system. With a Digital Flowmeter, you can also isolate an area to watch for any flow readings; telling you that the air is leaking in that section. With both products included in your leak-preventative program, you will be able to reduce your waste and optimize your compressed air system.
At the point-of-use areas, this is the easiest target area for compressed air maintenance. If you are using open tubes or drilled pipes for blowing, they are loud, inefficient, and unsafe. They can be easily change to an engineered blow-off product from EXAIR which are very efficient and OSHA safe. EXAIR offers a range of Super Air Nozzles and Super Air Knives to simply replace the current blow-off devices that overuse compressed air. If we go back to the beginning of your system, the air compressor is a mechanical device which will have a MTBF, or Mean Time Between Failures. The hour meter on your air compressor is like a life monitor. By using less compressed air, your air compressor will extend that time in MTBF.
Keeping your compressed air system running optimally is very important for a business to run. With a simple maintenance program, it can help you with your pneumatic operations and energy savings. Like stated above, your compressed air system is the life blood of your company, and you do not need a PhD to keep it well maintained. Just follow the target areas above. If you would like to discuss further about the health of your compressed air system, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to help “diagnose” a solution.