Super Air Wipe Helps Shield a Lens

Super Air Wipe Kit

A tier 2 automotive company makes small metal boxes with a process which includes laser welding and a vision inspection system. The machine was programmed to weld different components onto the metal enclosure. During the welding operation, an optical sensor would check the quality of the welds. The vision system used a lens to protect the sensor from welding slag and debris. After a few operations, they started seeing false positives in the welding areas, and the metal enclosure would be flagged for rejection. In investigating the issue, they found that the lens was getting dirty from the welding operation. Because of the sensitivity of the sensor, it would detect the debris and marks on the lens and signal for poor weld. The lens was doing its part in protecting the sensor from damage; but, they needed a way to shield the lens from dirt and slag during the welding operation and visual inspection.

With this process, the machine would weld metal fasteners onto an enclosure by laser. The optical sensor would move along the welded areas to check the quality. In a lead/lag operation, the vision system would check the welds after a few seconds of cooling. So, both operations were occurring at the same time but at different intervals. When they started to see the rejection rate increase, they would have to stop the operation, clean the lens, and verify the integrity of the welds. In some cases, they would have to replace the 1 ¼” diameter lens especially if a piece of welding slag marred the surface. With incorrect rejections and lens cleaning, downtime was hurting their production rates and cost.

This customer wanted to use compressed air because it is a powerful and invisible way to create a shield. Since EXAIR is a leader in efficient and effective ways to use compressed air, they contacted us for help. Initially, I suggested a Super Air Knife to deflect any slag and debris from the lens surface. I showed a prior solution to a very similar issue; “Air Shielding a Laser Lens” (Reference below). But, because of the proximity to the part and the limitation in space, the Super Air Knife  configuration in the solution below would make it impossible to use. They were looking for a product that could be mounted either flush or behind the surface of the lens and still protect it.

Air Shielding a Laser Lens

To accommodate for this request, we had to direct the compressed air stream at an angle. EXAIR manufacturers a product that can do just that, the Super Air Wipe. The design of the Super Air Wipe blows compressed air at a 30-degree angle toward the center in a 360-degree air pattern, just like a cone. It can be placed around the lens and still be able to create a “wall” of air to block any slag or debris from hitting the lens.

I recommended the model 2452SS, 2” Super Air Wipe Kit. This Super Air Wipe has the body, braided hose, hardware, and shims that is made from stainless steel. It can handle the high heat loads from the welding process as well as to allow for easy cleanup after a day of operating. The kit includes a filter, to keep the compressed air clean; a regulator, to finely tune the force requirement; and a shim set. The shim set includes two additional sets of shims that can be added to increase the force of protection if needed. With the kit, the customer can “dial” in the correct amount of force needed to keep the lens clean without using excessive amount of compressed air.

As an added benefit of saving compressed air, the Super Air Wipe uses the Coanda effect to maximize the entrainment of ambient air into the compressed air stream. This makes the unit very efficient and very powerful. The Super Air Wipe was mounted just behind the lens like the customer required (Reference mock picture below), and the sensor could examine the welds without any interference with the metal enclosure.

Laser Lens mock drawing

Visual inspections systems are highly accurate pieces of equipment, and a dirty lens will affect the performance. EXAIR has many ways to keep the lens clean with a non-contact invisible barrier to protect sensors, cameras, and lasers. If you have a similar application, you can contact an Application Engineer to determine the best way to keep the lens clean and your equipment functional. After mounting the Super Air Wipe, the customer above eliminated any false rejections, and dramatically decreased any downtime for cleaning or replacing the lens in his welding machine.

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

The Old One-Two: Super Air Knives And Super Air Nozzles

The EXAIR Super Air Knife is THE ideal, efficient, and quiet solution for most any blow off application. We know this for a fact; we’ve been making them for years, folks all around the world have been buying them for years, and they keep coming back for more. They’re popular enough that over the years, we’ve introduced Mounting Systems and Plumbing Kits for ease of installation, and when Coupling Kits (to join multiple Super Air Knives together for greater lengths) became big sellers, we “upped our game” and started making Super Air Knives up to nine feet (108″) long. And certain applications (I’m looking at YOU, lumber and paper industries) order multiples of THOSE, and our Coupling Kits. Quite literally, there’s no job too big for EXAIR Super Air Knives.

EXAIR Super Air Knifes come in a wide variety of lengths to suit a wide range of applications.

No matter how long they are, though, the laminar, high velocity curtain of air they generate only moves in one direction. So, if there are significant geometric features (holes, bosses, recesses, “nooks & crannies,” etc.) to be blown off, we’ll have to look at something supplemental.

Enter the EXAIR Blowoff Systems…it doesn’t get any easier than this: an EXAIR engineered Super Air Nozzle, attached to a flexible, repositionable Stay Set Hose, mounted to a Magnetic Base.  Put a hard hitting, high velocity, pointed flow of air right where you want it.  If the next piece is different, that’s no problem – just bend the hose to re-aim the air flow.

Mag Bases come with one or two outlets. Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6″ to 36″.

No matter what the requirements of your blow off application are, we have an efficient, quiet, and safe solution.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Engineered Nozzles Replace Segmented Coolant Hose for Ink Drying Application

flat nozzle loc line comparison
Segmented Hose on the left and an HP1126 1″ Flat Nozzle on the right

A common item that can be found in a majority of machine shops is the blue or gray knuckle-jointed hose used to dispense coolant on lathes and CNC machines. EXAIR also uses this same hose with our Cold Guns and Adjustable Spot Coolers for applications that cannot or do not wish to use liquid coolant as a means of keeping the heat down on their tooling. Since the cold air discharges at atmospheric pressure, this is an acceptable application. Another application is using this style of hose as a compressed air blowoff. This is NOT a proper use of the hose and is not only a considerable waste of compressed air but can also pose a safety hazard. Using this method for compressed air blowoff is not compliant with OSHA 1910.242(b) (a directive we blog about).

I was recently contacted by a customer in Indonesia that was using an array of (6) of these knuckle-jointed hoses with a ¼” round nozzle attachment for a blowoff operation. The customer had a series of rubber pads used in the construction of a toy castle. The pads were brought along by an overhead conveyor and a design was printed on the head of the pad. The nozzles were used to dry the ink before the pad made it to the next part of the process. This was a new product line and the processes involved were being evaluated for potential places to save on compressed air rather than adding overall capacity to their system. After using a variety of EXAIR products for other blowoff applications, they came back for another engineered solution.

After testing both a 1009-9280 (Adjustable Air Nozzle w/ 30” Stay Set Hose) and an HP1126-9280 (1” High Power Flat Nozzle w/ 30” Stay Set Hose), the customer determined that the airflow pattern from the 1” Flat Nozzle was more conducive to drying the rubber pad and purchased the remaining units to replace their original method. The compressed air savings was noticed immediately!!

For the old operation, they had to regulate the pressure down on the hose to 25 psig so that the hose wouldn’t break apart. (1) This hose , with a ¼” round nozzle, will consume 52 scfm at 25 psig of supply pressure. With (6) of these they were consuming a whopping 312 scfm!! Since the HP1126 is compliant with OSHA directive 1910.242(b) and will not break apart at higher pressures, they were able to operate at 80 psig while only consuming 17.5 scfm. They saved more than enough air for their new process and are evaluating whether or not they can turn off one of their smaller 25 HP compressors.

The new setup with the EXAIR engineered solution was able to save them 207 scfm of compressed air. Assuming a cost of $.25/1000 scfm and a 40 hr work week, this translates to an overall savings of $6,458.40 per year off of their utility bill.

207 scfm x 60 minutes x 8 hrs/day x 5 shifts/week x 52 weeks/year =25,833,600 scf

25,833,600 scf x ($.25/1000 scf) = $6,458.40

If you’re using an inefficient compressed air blowoff in your facility, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to evaluate your process and determine the safest and most efficient solution. With same day shipment for stock items on orders placed by 3:00 pm EDT, we can get a solution out to you by the following day!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Video Blog: The Monetary Benefits of an Engineered Solution

This video highlights the value and benefits of an engineered blow off solution.  We take a homemade open pipe blowoff and replace it with an EXAIR model 1100 Super Air Nozzle.  This air nozzle is then controlled through our Electronic Flow Controller, allowing for intermittent On/Off of the compressed air flow.  And, these solutions are wirelessly monitored via Zigbee network using our Wireless Digital Flowmeter.  Implementing these solutions results in a compressed air reduction of over 90%!!!

 

Full calculations along with supporting flow values (pulled from the same data shown in the video above) are shown below.

Screengrab of the flow values shown in the video above. Click for larger image.

The open pipe:

The first compressed air flow values to show up on the EXAIR Logger are for the open pipe blow off.  At 1 BAR operating pressure, this “solution” consumes 22.3 SCFM of compressed air.  At a cost of $0.25 for every 1,000 cubic feet of compressed air, this nozzle will cost $695.76 to operate 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, 52 weeks per year.

The engineered EXAIR Super Air Nozzle

Model 1100 EXAIR Super Air Nozzles consumes 4.7 SCFM at an operating pressure of 1 BAR – a reduction of 79% compared to the open pipe.  These savings prove out in terms of operating cost as well – $146.64 per year, compared to $695.76.

The engineered EXAIR Super Air Nozzle with Electronic Flow Control (EFC)

By controlling the “ON” time for this application with an EFC, we are only blowing for 32% of the time for each minute of operation which changes the required compressed air flow from 4.7 SCFM to a peak value of 1.5 SCFM. This control saves an additional 68% of compressed air flow.  And, these savings are compounded by eliminating the need for constant compressed air flow.  Total annual operating cost for the EXAIR 1100 Super Air Nozzle with Electronic Flow Control is just $46.80.

Implementing an engineered solution can have a TREMENDOUS impact on energy costs and operating costs in your facility.  Compressed air is the most expensive utility to produce and consume, making the impact of proper solutions of high value to any business.  Let us help you utilize engineered compressed air solutions in your facility by contacting an EXAIR Application Engineer today.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles: 38 Day ROI Saves Money

Blow off station

I received an email from an engineer that was looking at our Super Air Nozzles.  They currently were using four blow-off lines that were made from 6mm ID copper tubes.  (Reference picture)  The system was designed to blow out holes after machining.  The engineer was in charge of the task of optimizing 25 machining stations similar to this one.  He was familiar with EXAIR products from his previous employment, and he recognized the waste of compressed air by using open pipe.  He purchased four Nano Super Air Nozzle, model 1110SS, for a trial.  He was impressed with the performance, the low sound level, and the engineered design in safety.  But, for upper management in his company, he had to show a cost savings in order to change all the stations in the facility.  He asked me to help him in calculating the compressed air savings.

He gave me some additional details about their application.  He was using the compressed air about 30% of the time throughout an 8 hour day at a pressure of 80 PISG.  He wanted to present the savings per day, week, and year as well as the payback period in his evaluation.  I have performed many of these calculations for other customers and was happy to help.  It is sometimes easier to speak in terms of savings, as everyone can relate to money, especially management.  (The numbers below can be adjusted to match your application and blow-off devices).

Knowns:

Cost of compressed air: $0.25/1000 cubic feet of air (this is based on $0.08/Kwh of electrical cost)

Flow: 1110SS Nano Super Air Nozzle – 8.3 SCFM at 80 PSIG

Flow:  6mm ID copper tube – 42 SCFM at 80 PSIG

 

The difference in compressed air flows from a 6mm tube to the Nano Super Air Nozzle is (42 SCFM – 8.3 SCFM) = 33.7 SCFM.  At a 30% duty cycle, we get 33.7 SCFM * 0.3 = 10.2 SCFM (cubic feet/minute) of additional compressed air being used.

Per day, the additional amount of compressed air wasted is:

10.2 cubic feet/minute * 60 min/hr * 8 hr/day (one shift) = 4,896 cubic feet per day.

Per week, the additional amount of compressed air wasted is:

4,896 cubic feet/day * 5 days/week = 24,480 cubic feet per week.

Per year, the additional amount of compressed air wasted is:

4,896 cubic feet/day * 250 days/year = 1,224,000 cubic feet per year.

 

With the cost to make compressed air at $0.25/1000 cubic feet, we have the following:

4,896 cubic feet/day * $0.25/1000 cubic feet = $1.22 per day

24,480 cubic feet/week * $0.25/1000 cubic feet = $6.12 per week

1,224,000 cubic feet/year * $0.25/1000 cubic feet = $306.00 per year.

From these values, the payback for a model 1110SS Super Air Nozzle is just under 38 days.  Because the EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are so efficient, some utility companies will offer a rebate program to use them.  This will improve your ROI even more.  (We can check to see if your local electric company participates in these programs).  Just think, the remaining life of the Super Air Nozzle will be using less compressed air and saving much money for the company.

The calculations above are only for one nozzle.  As discussed above with the engineer, they had 4 tubes/station and 25 stations in their plant.  So, if you multiply each figure by 100, you can see the large amount of money that can be saved.   The engineer presented these figures to upper management, and it was an easy decision to replace all the copper tubes with EXAIR nozzles.

Nano Super Air Nozzle

Don’t be fooled by the initial cost of a tube, pipe, drilled holes, or a substandard nozzle.  You can see by the facts above, if you use any additional compressed air in your blow-off application, it will cost you a lot of money in the long run.  If you need any help in calculating how much money EXAIR products can save you, you can use our Air Savings Calculator from our website, or you contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to help you.

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

EXAIR Back Blow Nozzle: An Overview

In certain applications such as blowing chips or debris out of a pipe or blind hole, it may not be possible to blow forward. The pipe may be too long, making it impossible to push the debris all the way down the pipe or the other end of the pipe may not be open. In either of these scenarios, the Back Blow Nozzle is the right tool for the job. An array of holes around the diameter of the Back Blow Nozzles provides a powerful 360° airflow pattern that will clear out any leftover coolant or chips from the machining process.

m4BB2017_1670x574
Small 1004SS easily clears debris

EXAIR has three different size Back Blow Nozzles; the 1004SS (M4 x .5), the 1006SS (1/4 NPT), and the 1008SS (1” NPT). The 1004SS is recommended for use on pipes as small as ¼” and up to 1”. The 1006SS can be used for a wide range of pipe sizes, from 7/8” up to 4”. The 1008SS nozzle offers the greatest overall force for stubborn or sticky materials stuck to the inside diameter of the pipe. This nozzle is suitable for use in pipes ranging from 2”-16”. As the Back Blow Nozzle will be blowing chips and debris back out of the pipe towards the operator, it is always recommended that a Chip Shield is used. The strong polycarbonate Chip Shield will keep them safe from flying debris and keep you in compliance with OSHA directive 1910.242(b). For visual representation of the performance of the Back Blow Nozzle, take a look at this short video clip that demonstrates its use.

All of EXAIR’s Back Blow Nozzles are available with extensions. For the 1004SS we have extensions from 6”-36”, and from 12”-72” for the 1006SS and 1008SS. The Back Blow Nozzle can also be installed on our VariBlast, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty, and Super Blast Safety Air Guns. With such a wide range of available sizes and configurations, we can tackle just about any internal pipe cleaning application. If you have a process in your facility that may benefit from the use of one of these nozzles, give us a call and get one on order today!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) – Dead-End Pressure and Chip Guarding Explained

OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) discusses the use of compressed air for cleaning and blowoff. It states that the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes is prohibited if the dead-ended pressure exceeds 30 psig. This phrase means the downstream pressure of the air nozzle or gun, used for cleaning purposes, will remain at a pressure level below 30 psig for all static conditions. In the event that dead ending occurs, the static pressure at the main orifice shall not exceed 30 psi. If it does exceed this pressure, there is a very high potential for it to create an air embolism. An air embolism, left untreated, can quickly impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, and sometimes death. Take a look at the animation below to see how an air embolism can affect the body.

With this in mind, there are only two options for staying within compliance of this standard. Either install an engineered solution that will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 psig if dead-ended, or regulate the pressure below 30 psig. For the vast majority of operations, regulating the input pressure below 30 psig is useless. The force and flow from the nozzle at this pressure is greatly reduced and likely not enough to be effective in most applications. All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns are designed so that the flow cannot be dead-ended. The fins on the Super Air Nozzles are not only useful in amplifying the force by drawing in ambient air, but they also prevent an operator from completely obstructing the airflow.

sag-osha-compliant
The fins of the Super Air Nozzle allow air to escape and prevent dead-end pressure from exceeding 30 psig.

In addition to being concerned about dead-end pressure, OSHA 1910.242(b) also states that compressed air used for cleaning should include effective chip guarding. By this, they mean that some method or equipment must be installed that will prevent chips and particles from coming back into the eyes or skin of the operator. In addition to offering OSHA compliant nozzles and guns, EXAIR also has Chip Shields that can be installed onto any of our Safety Air Guns. The polycarbonate shields protect the operator from any flying debris while performing a drying or blowoff operation. Simply add a “-CS” to the end of any Safety Air Gun Model number to have a Chip Shield installed on the gun.

1210peek-cs
EXAIR’s Model 1210-PEEK-CS with Chip Shield

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does not contain any provisions that allow for the approval or endorsement of equipment. Alteration or the misapplication of what was once a safe piece of equipment would create a dangerous scenario that is out of the control of the original manufacturer. Any nozzles or guns marketed as “OSHA approved” should immediately throw up a red flag. Identifying and implementing a safe, OSHA compliant solution rests in the hands of the manufacturer themselves. If you’ve got questions about compressed air safety or have an existing blowoff in place that does not adhere to this OSHA directive, give us a call. We’ll be sure to recommend a solution that will keep your operators and wallets safe!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD