This is the weekend, Memorial Day weekend, my family visits one of our local cemeteries and deliver flowers to the graves of veterans including a handwritten note of thanks from the kids in our 4H club. Others at EXAIR will join parades, watch parades, run a Memorial Day 10K, and gather with friends and family.
It is easy to enjoy the extra day off work and recognize how well we grilled those steaks or use the extra day to plant the garden, seal the deck, powerwash the walkway, hang out at the pool, have a beer and relax.
It is slightly harder to pay respects and/or recognize the sacrifice of our veterans who lost their lives in order for us to choose which of the above leisures we would like to enjoy. But, let me encourage us all to take a moment to look for and attend a ceremony, parade, or event focused upon these veterans. They deserve our recognition and respect.
Whatever you choose to do this weekend, enjoy yourselves, love one another, and remember to remember our veterans who have lost their lives serving the United States of America.
When I was seventeen my grandfather took me to a used are dealership and helped me buy my first car. It wasn’t anything special, as it was a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina. It had its fair share of bumps and bruises, but the bones were solid. We took it home and he taught me how to do all the basics, we changed the oil, oil filter, air filter, brakes, pretty much every fluid we could, we changed.
You see my grandfather retired from Ford Motor Company after 50+ years of service. And he always said, “If you treat it right, it will treat you right.”; and I’ve lived by that ever since.
Just like a car, air compressors require regular maintenance to run at peak performance and minimize unscheduled downtime. Inadequate maintenance can have a significant impact on energy consumption via lower compression efficiency, air leakage, or pressure variability. It can also lead to high operating temperatures, poor moisture control, and excessive contamination.
Most problems are minor and can be corrected by simple adjustments, cleaning, part replacement, or the elimination of adverse conditions. This maintenance is very similar to the car maintenance mentioned above, replace filters, fluids, checking cooling systems, check belts and identify any leaks and address.
All equipment in the compressed air system should be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers specifications. Manufacturers provide inspection, maintenance, and service schedules that should be followed strictly. In many cases, it makes sense from efficiency and economic stand-points to maintain equipment more frequently than the intervals recommended by the manufactures, which are primarily designed to protect equipment.
One way to tell if your system is being maintained well and is operating properly is to periodically baseline the system by tracking power, pressure, flow (EXAIR Digital Flowmeter), and temperature. If power use at a given pressure and flow rate goes up, the systems efficiency is degrading.
Types Of Maintenance
Maintaining a compressed air system requires caring for the equipment, paying attention to changes and trends, and responding promptly to maintain operating reliability and efficiency. Types of maintenance include;
Poor Maintenance – Sadly, some plants still operate on the philosophy, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Due to the lack of routine preventative maintenance, this practice may result in complete replacement of an expensive air compressor as well as unscheduled and costly production interruptions.
Preventive Maintenance – This type of maintenance can be done by plant personnel or by an outside service provider. Usually, it includes regularly scheduled monitoring of operating conditions. Replacement of air and lubricant filters, lubricant sampling and replacement, minor repairs and adjustments, and an overview of compressor and accessory equipment operation.
Predictive Maintenance – Predictive maintenance involves monitoring compressor conditions and trends , including operating parameters such as power use, pressure drops, operating temperatures, and vibration levels. The Right combination of preventive and predictive maintenance generally will minimize repair and maintenance costs.
Proactive Maintenance – If a defect is detected, proactive maintenance involves looking for the cause and determining how to prevent a recurrence.
Unfortunately, even the best maintenance procedures cannot eliminate the possibility of an unexpected breakdown. Provisions should be made for standby equipment to allow maintenance with out interrupting production.
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.
Throughout my years here at EXAIR as well as my years in the metal cutting industry, one of the most common quick fixes I see in production environments for compressed air blowoffs in a process is an open copper pipe that is contorted into a position, pinched at the end, and more often than not kinked from repositioning. I call this a quick fix because it does blow air, more often than not it will get production up and running, but it does not meet or exceed OSHA standards for safety and is an inefficient use of compressed air. [OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b) and 29 CFR 1910.95(a)]
The first engineered solution I could offer to prevent any costly OSHA fines and to lower the ambient noise level caused by these blowoffs is to implement an EXAIR Engineered Air Nozzle. We offer a wide variety of nozzles ranging from a 4mm thread up to a 1-1/4″ NPT thread. With this wide range comes a wide variety of forces and flows as well.
Today, I would like to focus on the common sizes of copper blowoffs which are 1/8″ and 1/4″. To simply adapt a nozzle to copper line a compression fitting can be easily sourced, often from EXAIR, and convert the copper tubing in place to an NPT threaded outlet for easy installation of an EXAIR nozzle. More often than not a compression fitting is how the copper tubing is tied into the machine’s compressed air system.
We have a total of 37 engineered air nozzles from stock that will easily fit a compression fitting which goes to a 1/8″ NPT or 1/4″ NPT thread. Several of these are also adjustable through a gap adjustment or a patented shim adjustment to vary the force and flow out of the nozzle from a forceful blast to a gentle breeze in order to me your application needs. What if you want to eliminate the copper line and compressions fittings?
EXAIR offers a replacement option for the ever-common copper tube that is more robust and does not require a tool to be properly repositioned. We currently offer twenty-four different models of our Stay Set Hoses that can be easily connected to any of the nozzles mentioned above. The lengths that are available are 6″ (152mm), 12″ (305mm), 18″ (457mm), 24″ (610mm), 30″ (762mm) and 36″ (914mm).
These lengths are available with two separate connection options. 1/4″ MNPT x 1/4″ MNPT or 1/4″ MNPT x 1/8″ FNPT. The Stay Set Hoses can easily be bent by hand into position for a precise placement of the air pattern from the engineered nozzle attached to it. This permits operators a tool free adjustment for fast and reliable location to keep production up and running. They can also be paired with Magnetic Bases.
EXAIR Magnetic Bases are available in single outlet or dual outlet configurations. Both include a 100 lb. pull magnet that will hold tight to any ferrous metal surface for secure mounting, as well as a quick 1/4 turn miniature valve on each outlet. This permits independent customization of the force our of each output for the dual outlet mag base. Each magnetic base offers a 1/4″ FNPT inlet port and outlet port. We offer these with any of combination of the Stay Set Hoses mentioned above as well as any of the Super Air Nozzles mentioned above.
The Super Air Nozzles, Stay Set Hoses, and Magnetic Bases can be easily combined before they ship to your facility to make a complete blowoff station that is easily installed and adjusted to fit any of the needs your process may have for a point of use blowoff. If you want help determining how much compressed air you would save by replacing the open pipe blowoffs with an engineered solution like a Stay Set Magnetic Base Blowoff System please contact myself or any Application Engineer here at EXAIR.
EXAIR uses many different methods to connect with our customers. We have our website, social media, blogs, publications etc. We like to share solutions for some of the most common pneumatic problems in the industry. EXAIR generated a large collection of application information where EXAIR products have solved problems and improved processes. We organized them by Application and by Industry. In this blog, I will show you how to use the Application database; specifically, for the Construction Industry.
Compressed Air Systems are considered to be a fourth utility within industries because they use a large amount of energy. Whether it is an air compressor using fuel for portable units or electricity, it is important to use the compressed air as efficiently as possible. This would apply to the construction industry. From blowing off sheets of lumber to cleaning sites with an EXAIR Industrial Vacuum to cooling hot melt on window frames, EXAIR has a library of different processes in which we already accomplished these improvements. We like to use the expression, “Why re-invent the wheel” at EXAIR. If you are in the construction industry, it would benefit you to take a peek at the implementations where we already improved, made safe, and saved money.
Here is how you can find this library. First, you will have to sign into EXAIR. Click here: Log In. Once you fill in the proper information, you can then retrieve a great amount of resources about EXAIR products that we manufacture. The Application Database is under the Knowledge Base tab. (Reference photo below).
At the Application Search Library, we have over one thousand applications that we reference. In the left selection pane, we organized then in alphabetical order under two categories, Applications and Industry. (Reference photo below).
Scroll down in the selection pane until you come to the sub-category: Industry. Under this Sub-category, you will find three selections that are related to this blog: Construction; Construction and Mining Equipment; and Construction, Lumber. You will find many applications that EXAIR has already improved and documented.
Why is this important? If you are a plant manager or owner, the value of the Application Database can improve your current processes with pre-qualified results. Within the construction industry, simple solutions can be found to address those “nagging” issues that you encounter every day. For crisis situations and shutdowns, EXAIR categorized these applications in a way to reference quickly and easily. And since EXAIR has a high volume of stocked items, we can get the product to you very fast; minimizing downtime.
In today’s market, companies are always looking for ways to cut cost, increase productivity, and improve safety. EXAIR can offer engineered products to do exactly that. With the “been there and done that” solutions already described in the Application Database; you can have confidence in finding a way in solving pneumatic issues. If you do not sign up at www.EXAIR.com and take advantage of these offerings, you will be missing out on a great tool in optimizing your compressed air system.
EXAIR’s Flat Super Air Nozzles provide a 1” or 2” wide airstream with hard-hitting force. All of EXAIR’s Flat Super Nozzles adhere to OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure, providing a safe and efficient method of delivering a strong blast of air.
The flow and force from the Flat Super Air Nozzle is adjustable by regulating the pressure supplied to it as well as by installing different thicknesses of shims. Thicker shims provide more force and flow, while a thinner shim will reduce the force and flow as well as the overall air consumption. This makes the Flat Super Air Nozzle and ideal solution for applications that may require variable force for different applications.
The nozzles are also available in your very own Blowoff System that can be customized to fit the exact application. You have the ability to put together the best combination of nozzle, Stay Set Hose, and Magnetic Base to suit your needs. Available with either a single or dual Magnetic Base and any of our Stay Set Hoses, there’s many different possibilities. To begin:
Select the Air Nozzle you’ll need.
EXAMPLE: HP1125SS 2” High Power Stainless Steel Super Air Nozzle
Then select the length of Stay Set Hose. They’re available in lengths ranging from 6”-36”.
EXAMPLE: An HP1125SS with a 24” Stay Set Hose would be an HP1125SS-9224.
Finally, you have the option to also select a Magnetic Base if necessary. These are available with either a one outlet Magnetic Base, or Two Outlet which would include (2) separate nozzles. For a single outlet, change the second digit of the “added on” dash number to a “3”. For a two outlet, change that number to a “4”.
EXAMPLE: An HP1125SS with 24” Stay Set Hose and Dual Magnetic Base is a Model HP1125SS-9424.
This allows you to customize the solution using ANY nozzle and ANY length Stay Set Hose, creating a custom solution for your application. If you’d like to talk about any of our Super Air Nozzles and which would be best for your application, feel free to give us a call.
No matter what your use of compressed air entails, moisture is very likely an issue. Air compressors pressurize air that they pull in straight from the environment and most of the time, there’s at least a little humidity involved. Now, if you have an industrial air compressor, it’s also very likely that it was supplied with a dryer, for this very reason.
For practical purposes, “dryness” of compressed air is really its dew point. That’s the temperature at which water vapor in the air will condense into liquid water…which is when it becomes the aforementioned issue in your compressed air applications. This can cause rust in air cylinders, motors, tools, etc. It can be detrimental to blow offs – anything in your compressed air flow is going to get on the surface of whatever you’re blowing onto. It can lead to freezing in Vortex Tube applications when a low enough cold air temperature is produced.
Some very stringent applications (food & pharma folks, I’m looking at you) call for VERY low dew points…ISO 8673.1 (food and pharma folks, you know what I’m talking about) calls for a dew point of -40°F (-40°C) as well as very fine particulate filtration specs. As a consumer who likes high levels of sanitary practice for the foods and medicines I put in my body, I’m EXTREMELY appreciative of this. The dryer systems that are capable of low dew points like this operate as physical filtration (membrane types) or effect a chemical reaction to absorb or adsorb water (desiccant or deliquescent types.) These are all on the higher ends of purchase price, operating costs, and maintenance levels.
For many industrial and commercial applications, though, you really just need a dew point that’s below the lowest expected ambient temperature in which you’ll be operating your compressed air products & devices. Refrigerant type air dryers are ideal for this. They tend to be on the less expensive side for purchase, operating, and maintenance costs. They typically produce air with a dew point of 35-40°F (~2-5°C) but if that’s all you need, they let you avoid the expense of the ones that produce those much lower dew points. Here’s how they work:
Red-to-orange arrows: hot air straight from the compressor gets cooled by some really cold air (more on that in a moment.)
Orange-to-blue arrows: the air is now cooled further by refrigerant…this causes a good amount of the water vapor in it to condense, where it leaves the system through the trap & drain (black arrow.)
Blue-to-purple arrows: Remember when the hot air straight from the compressor got cooled by really cold air? This is it. Now it flows into the compressed air header, with a sufficiently low dew point, for use in the plant.
Non-cycling refrigerant dryers are good for systems that operate with a continuous air demand. They have minimal dew point swings, but, because they run all the time, they’re not always ideal when your compressed air is not in continuous use. For those situations, cycling refrigerant dryers will conserve energy…also called mass thermal dryers, they use the refrigerant to cool a solution (usually glycol) to cool the incoming air. Once the glycol reaches a certain temperature, the system turns on and runs until the solution (thermal mass) is cooled, then it turns off. Because of this, a cycling system’s operating time (and cost) closely follows the compressor’s load – so if your compressor runs 70% of the time, a cycling dryer will cost 30% less to operate than a non-cycling one.
EXAIR Corporation wants you to get the most out of your compressed air system. If you have questions, I’d love to hear from you.
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Last year was a big year for EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooling product line, in November we launched our first Hazardous Location Cabinet Coolers! EXAIR has always been a leading supplier in compressed air-based Cabinet Coolers, now we have expanded on that to work in the most high-risk conditions.
When a Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooleris used in conjunction with a purge system, they will keep electrical equipment at the desired operating temperature to protect and lengthen the lifetime of pricey controls and power supplies.
Electrical equipment can cause explosions in certain atmospheres. Equipment used in areas where explosive concentrations of dusts or vapors may exist must be equipped with special wiring and other electrical components for safety purposes. Hazardous (classified) locations such as these might exist in aircraft hangars, gasoline stations, paint-finishing locations or grain bins. EXAIR’sHazardous Location Cabinet Coolers have been approved and tested by UL for use in the following areas:
Class I Div 1&2 – Groups A, B, C, and D
Class I Areas refer to the presence of flammable gases or vapors in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or ignitable mixtures. Class I Div 1 will have ignitable concentrations of flammable gases present during the course of normal operations. This is level of approval is one that differentiates the EXAIRHazardous Location Cabinet Coolers from much of the competition. Class 1 Div 2 areas will have flammable gasses or vapors present only in the event of an accident or during unusual operating conditions.
Class II Div 1&2 – Groups E, F, and G
Class II areas are locations in which combustible dust may exist. The end user shall avoid installation of the device in a Class II environment where dust may be readily disturbed from the exhausts of the Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler. Any dust formed in the vicinity of the cooler must be cleaned regularly.
Class III areas are locations that will have ignitable fibers or flyings present. This is common within the textile industry.
The Cabinet Cooler also carries a temperature rating of T3C, meaning it cannot be installed near any materials that could auto-ignite at temperatures in excess of 320°F.
The Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler is available in (8) different cooling capacities ranging from 1,000 Btu/hr – 5,600 Btu/hr. The Cabinet Cooler is the best solution for protecting your sensitive electronics from heat, dirt, and moisture. With Nema 4/4X systems available, the Hazardous Location Cabinet Coolers will keep the cabinet cool without compromising the integrity of the enclosure.