Basics of the Compressor Room

EXAIR Corporation has staked our reputation on a keen ability to help you get the most out of your compressed air system since 1983.  Now, the bulk of our expertise lies in the implementation and proper use of engineered products on the demand side, but we fully recognize that there are critical elements for optimization on the supply side too.  And that, quite literally, starts in the compressor room.  This is not an exhaustive, specifically detailed list, but here are some you might consider to get the most from the (again, quite literally) beginning:

  • Location.  If you’re building a new facility, or doing a major rehab of your existing one, having the compressor room as close as practical to the point(s) of use is best, IF all other things are equal.  You’ll use less pipe if you don’t have to run it so far.  You’ll also be able to use smaller diameter lines because you won’t have to worry about line loss (pressure drop due to friction as the air flows through the total length) as much.
  • Location part 2.  If all other things are NOT equal, having the compressor room close to the point of use may not be best for you.
    • Your air compressor pulls in air from the immediate environment.  It’s better to go with longer and bigger pipe in your distribution system than it is to put your compressor in a location where it’ll pull in dust & particulate from grinding operations, humidity from a boiler plant, fumes from chemical production, etc.
    • There are some pretty darn quiet air compressors out there, but there are some pretty loud ones too.  Especially in small to mid size facilities, putting the compressor in an area that upsizes the required piping is still likely a better idea, due to the downsizing of the noise levels that personnel will be exposed to.
  • Environment.  No matter where your compressor is located, the machine itself should be protected from heat and other harsh environmental elements.  That means if it’s inside the plant, the compressor room should be adequately ventilated.  In some situations, the compressor may be best installed outside the plant, in its own building or protective structure.  This should be designed to protect against solar load…in addition to the high temperature associated with a hot summer day, the sun’s rays beating down on your air compressor will radiate a tremendous amount of heat into it.
  • Filtration.  Whatever is in the air in your compressor room is going to get into your compressed air.  This is doubly problematic: particulate debris can damage the air compressor’s moving parts, and it can likewise damage your pneumatic cylinders, actuators, tools, motors, etc. as well.  Make sure the intake of your compressor is adequately filtered.
  • Maintenance.  Air compressors, like any machinery with moving parts, require periodic preventive maintenance, and corrective maintenance when something inevitably breaks down.  There should be adequate space factored in to your compressor room’s layout for this.  The only thing worse than having to fix something is not having the room to fix it without taking other stuff apart.
Patrick Duff, a production equipment mechanic with the 76th Maintenance Group, takes meter readings of the oil pressure and temperature, cooling water temperature and the output temperature on one of two 1,750 horsepower compressors. Each compressor is capable of producing 4,500 cubic feet of air at 300 psi. The shop also has a 3,000 horsepower compressor that produces 9,000 cubic feet of air at 300 psi. By matching output to the load required, the shop is able to shut down compressors as needed, resulting in energy savings to the base. (Air Force photo by Ron Mullan)

These are a few things to consider on the supply end.  If you’d like to talk about how to get the most out of your compressed air system, EXAIR is keen on that.  Give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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The Perseverance to Help Out

A couple of years ago I got to spend some time with my dad rock climbing in the North Cascades in Washington. My eyes were set on a very easy 5.9 big wall multi-pitch route called Prime Rib of Goat on the Goat Wall in Mazama. The route that we climbed was 1300ft of vertical cliff and one of the most popular beginner routes for getting into large climbs. Both my dad and I are knowledgeable when comes to climbing and were looking for a nice relaxing day on the wall. This is how that relaxing day turned into a crazy rescue…

The trip started out as any normal climbing trip would, an early 6 am flight as we had to get all of our climbing gear through airport security. Once the plane landed, we picked up our rental car and the gorgeous 3.5 hr drive up I-5 along the bay and straight on through the North Cascade National Park. Mazama is a small town with a population of only 158 people located on the East side the Cascades. Once we reached our destination and set up camp, we decided to do a little warm up on the wall to try and beat the stiffness and fatigue from a full day of travel.

Pitch 7 of the Prime Rib of Goat on the Goat Wall

The next morning, we woke up a little on the late side (around 7:30 am) got a light breakfast and set out for our goal the Goat Wall. The wall was a short 3 miles outside of town with a not so easy 1-mile hike in 95°F temperatures up a Scree field (basically hill of loose rock at the base of a mountain). Once we reached the base, we loaded up our gear onto our harnesses and started climbing to the first set of anchors (this is what is known as a pitch in climbing terms). Pitches 1 – 6 were fairly straight forward and easy going, water was rationed to ensure that we wouldn’t get dehydrated but at the same time wouldn’t run out of water.

By around 4:00 pm we had reached the halfway point at the top of pitch 6; this is where we ran into two people who were also climbing the same route as us but moving at a much slower pace. Luckily the were two trees that were growing on the cliff so we decided to take a small lunch break in the shade. Around a half hour later I shouted up the cliff to see if the two people had moved on yet; when I heard nothing we started climbing pitch 7. To my surprise the group ahead of us were still sitting at the top of pitch 7.

Pitch 7 of the Prime Rib of Goat on the Goat Wall

Turns out that the group had a 40 pound pack with them which was unusual for the single day climb on an easy route that could be easily terminated if needed. After another 10 mins of waiting we decided help them haul this pack of theirs up the wall. It was slow moving up to Pitch 8 and they had run out of water and our water was running low. By the time we had finally reached pitch 9 with all the people things had started to get worse for the group that we were assisting; fatigue and dehydration had brought them to the point of a mental break down.

At this point my dad and I decided to share the last bit of water we had with them and to turn around and bail on the last 3 pitches. It was a slow process moving back down the way we had come and try to keep the group calm; the sun and heat was really starting to take a toll on our bodies. Our lips were cracked and blistered and our mouths had quit producing saliva but we kept trudging on. A relief from the heat came around the time when the sun had set around the top of pitch 4 and from that time onward, we were descending down the cliff face into what seemed like a black abyss.

Finally, we were able to set foot on the ground and low and behold the friends of the group we helped had hiked to the base looking for their friends and they brought water we could all drink. We didn’t get back to the campsite until 1:00 am. The next day my dad and I decided to pack up and head to the coast because we were done climbing.

Here at EXAIR we like to bring that same kind of enthusiasm and perseverance to help you solve your compressed air issues. We will walk you step by step in getting you either the right part or solving any of your technical issues and won’t leave you high and dry.

If you want to talk about any of the 16 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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When To Use The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac vs. The Reversible Drum Vac

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Home Improvement with Tim Allen. One of the most memorable parts of the show was when Tim’s character would always state that when doing a job you need … MORE POWER!!!

In real life and within a production environment this is not always true. More often than not more power equals waste and inefficient use of the resources at hand. I know, I sound a lot like Tim Allen’s counterpart in the show, Al Borland. Well, the truth is, Al was usually right.  Here at EXAIR, we offer two different types of Reversible Drum Vac, the standard unit and the High Lift RDV.

The Reversible Drum Vac System converts a drum and dolly into a mobile pumping system.

The standard RDV will pull up to 96″ of water column when in suction mode. This is ideal for water-soluble coolants or other water-based rinses. The unit is paired with a 10′ vacuum/discharge hose to ensure optimal performance. The RDV will fill a 55-gallon drum with water in 90 seconds or less when operated at 80 psig inlet pressure. It will then empty the same drum even faster by discharging liquid at up to 166″ of water column displacement. To do both of these operations, fill or empty the drum the RDV will utilize 19 SCFM of compressed air. This is easily supplied within most industrial applications where that amount of compressed air usage can be overlooked.

EXAIR’s High Lift RDV makes cleaning out pits up to 15′ deep easy and fast.

If Binford manufactured a compressed air liquid vacuum, it would be the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac. This is the, “More Power” version of the RDV and can pull up to 180″ of water column when in vacuum mode. This can pull water-soluble coolants up to 15 feet below grade for those large machining centers that sit over the top of a coolant pit or those large footprint machines where a 20′ hose is needed to reach into and around the parts of the machine to where the coolant or liquid is housed. Another application would be for oil-based coolants or other petroleum-based oils/higher viscosity fluids. This will still discharge liquids at 166″ of water column when in positive displacement. The unit will outperform its predecessor and that comes with higher utilization of compressed air. While operating at 80 psig inlet pressure the unit will consume 43 SCFM of compressed air. This volume of air is still easily located within most industrial environments and is still less than the amount demanded by competitive units that do not offer the reversible feature of the High Lift Reversible Drum Vacs.

When it boils down to it, the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac will perform every task of the standard Reversible Drum Vac and will perform the vacuum portion of those tasks all faster due to the higher level of vacuum. When this higher level of vacuum isn’t needed, when the sump is at ground level and the coolant or liquid is around the viscosity of 50 weight motor oil or thinner then the standard RDV will work ideal for the application and would be the most efficient method to get the job done. When the liquid is higher viscosity or below ground level trying to pull it up out of a pit then the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac is the ideal tool to get the job done. Again, Al Borland had it right, more power is not always needed, sometimes it is better to keep it efficient.

If you would like to discuss your liquid vacuum application or any point of use compressed air application, please contact us. (Heck, I’ll even talk about Home Improvement if you are a fan too.)

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Best of Home Improvement so 1 eo01 More Power – @shary h – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts9UONUMlCg

Super Ion Air Wipes – Eliminate Static on Wire, Cable, Extrusions

Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe

As the colder dryer months are upon us, static electricity will be more frequent and will become a real nuisance.  Machines will start jamming, alignments will be difficult, dirt will collect to surfaces, and hazardous sparks can shock personnel.  EXAIR manufactures a line of Gen4 Static Eliminators to remove this nuisance.

EXAIR manufactures eight different product lines in two different styles within our Gen4 Static Eliminators.  In this blog, I will be covering the Super Ion Air Wipe.  This product blows ionized air in a 360-degree pattern.  They are engineered to remove static and debris from the outside of hoses, plastic pipe, extrusions, and coated wires.  With a split design, the Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe can easily mount around the product without having to re-thread.  EXAIR stocks two different sizes with a 2” (51mm) and 4” (102mm) inside diameter. The Super Ion Air Wipes give a fast static-decay, a shockless and non-radioactive design, variable flow and force, low air consumption and no moving parts.

8462 Super Ion Air Wipe Kit

The Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe can be purchased as a kit which will include the power supply (required for ionization), a filter separator (to clean contamination from the compressed air), and a pressure regulator (to control the blowing force).  The filter and regulator are properly sized to avoid any air flow restrictions or loss of performance which can occur when using components which are not suited for the application.

Static

Generally speaking, static is generated from non-conductive surfaces being “rubbed”.  This could be from going over rollers on a conveyor, stacking product onto each other, sheet feeding, and even peeling away a backing material.  When non-conductive surfaces, or insulators, are moved or separated, electrons are “stripped” and redistribute on to different areas of the surface.  Static charges are typically measured in kilovolts (kV), or 1,000 volts, and they can be either positive or negative.  The higher the charge, the stronger the static force.  In reference, at 10 kilovolts, a spark can jump one inch (25 mm) from the surface.   EXAIR offers a Digital Static Meter, model 7905, to measure the amount of static voltage on a surface.  It is a great tool for finding problem areas in your process as well as determining the effectiveness of the treatment.

All EXAIR Gen4 Static Eliminators use one of two Power Supplies – your choice of the 2-port Model 7960, or the 4-port Model 7961.

These ionizers are powered by a 5,000V AC power supply.  The alternating current, AC, will create both negative ions and positive ions.  So, no matter the polarity of charge on the surface, the Gen4 Static Eliminators will be able to remove it.  The power supplies come in either a 2 port or 4 port design so you can power multiple Gen4 Static Eliminators with one power supply.  The input power is selectable from either 115VAC or 230VAC in both 50/60 Hz.   Two armored and electromagnetic shielded cables connect the Super Ion Air Wipe to the power supply. This will help to protect the cable from abrasions, cuts and splits which can be common in rugged industrial areas.

Static can be a real nuisance with shocking operators, “sticking” debris, and jamming processes.  If you run into these issues in your application, no matter the shape, EXAIR has a Gen4 Static Eliminator for you.  Even if you have cylindrical objects like tubes, pipes, hoses and extrusions; EXAIR can provide the Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipes in stock.  For more information, you can contact one of our Application Engineers at EXAIR.

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

Static Electricity: What Is It And The Products To Solve Industrial Process Problems

The lower relative humidity associated with the cold, dry air of winter results in a significant increase in customers  with problems related to static. Luckily, EXAIR has a wide-range of Static Eliminators that are designed specifically to address static issues in a wide variety of industries. So, what exactly is static and how is it generated? Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to elementary school science class….

An atom consists of three basic particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. The protons (positively charged) and neutrons (neutral charge) form the nucleus. Outside of the nucleus, electrons (negatively charged) are quickly zipping around in orbits at specific distances from the nucleus. These electrons are bound to the nucleus due to electromagnetic force. Opposite charges attract. Since the protons in the nucleus carry a positive charge this acts on the negative charge of the electrons and keeps them in orbit. The closer the electron to the nucleus, the stronger the bond and the more energy required to break that electron from its original orbit.

When an atom gains or loses an electron, it affects the balance that occurs within an atom. If an atom gains an electron, it now has more electrons than protons. This results in a negatively charged atom. The opposite can be said if an atom loses an electron, it now carries a positive charge. This charge imbalance is where static electricity comes from. Both positive and negative charges will remain static until contacted by or in close proximity to a conductive or grounded surface. Materials such as paper, plastic, or textiles will normally contain an equal number of both positive and negative ions. When subjected to friction, this balance can be disturbed if the atoms gain or lose an electron.

The static charge will then exert a force on nearby charged objects or grounded conductors (including personnel). These issues can also manifest in the form of dust clinging to product, product clinging to itself, rollers, machine beds or frames, materials jamming, and sheet feeding problems.

To eliminate these charges, EXAIR’s Static Eliminators produce an equal amount of both positive and negatively charged ions. This allows us to neutralize either charge quickly and effectively.

For applications that allow you to install close (generally within 2”) to the surface of the material, we offer our Ionizing Bar in lengths ranging from 3”-108”. If a wide area of coverage is necessary, but you can’t get close to it, the same Ionizing Bar is installed on the Super Ion Air Knife to help deliver those ions over a greater distance.

gen4 super ion air knife
Gen4 SIAK

The Ionizing Point is another product that can be used without the need for compressed air. A compact, single point ionizer, this product is ideal for winding, rewinding or slitting operations. It can also be mounted through a duct to neutralize static charges due to moving air or materials.

ionpointCUTCARDS_350x
Gen4 Ionizing Point

The Ion Air Gun combines incredibly fast static decay rates with low compressed air consumption. With a 10’ flexible armored cable and ergonomic handle, the Ion Air Gun is best for applications where an operator will perform the blowoff process.

72G4Iagions_800x

If the airflow pattern from the Ion Air Gun is conducive to your application, but you’d prefer to automate the blowoff or maintain a continuous usage, both the Ion Air Jet and the Stay Set Ion Air Jet provide an identical airflow pattern. The Stay Set Ion Air Jet comes with a magnetic base and Stay Set Hose, allowing you to precisely position the static eliminating ions in your process.

staysetiaj_559x

The Ion Air Cannon delivers a quit, efficient, and concentrated flow of ionized air. It is ideal for hard to reach spaces or confined areas that necessitate a solution to static problems. Designed with a sturdy stand, the pre-drilled holes can be wall, bench, or machine mounted. It incorporates a swivel adjustment for directing the airflow.

Our Gen4 Static Eliminators have all undergone independent laboratory tests to certify that they meet the rigorous safety, health, and environmental standards of the USA, European Union and Canada that are required to attain the CE and UL marks. If there’s a process in your facility that could benefit from a solution to static problems, please give us a call. Any of our Application Engineers will be happy to help select the best option for your process.

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

Super Air Knives Are Ideal For Super Aggressive Environments

Hydrochloric Acid. Sodium Hydroxide. Nitric Acid. Hydrogen Peroxide. Whether you know it or not, these are all commonly used around the house as tile/grout cleaners, drain openers, lawn fertilizers, and disinfectant for cut & scrapes, respectively.

They’re also used in a variety of industrial applications, such as the making of plastics, glass, pharmaceuticals, and wastewater treatment, respectively…all of which also have applications for which EXAIR Corporation’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products provide safe, efficient, and quiet solutions for.

Stainless Steel Super Air Knife Kits include the Air Knife itself, a Shim Set, an Automatic Drain Filter Separator, and a Pressure Regulator. The Air Knife & Shim Set are all Stainless Steel (grade 303 or 316, depending on which is specified) construction.

Consider the Super Air Knife: If you need one that’ll stand up to contact with hydrochloric acid, you’re looking for PVDF construction. Nitric acid is a different story – our 303SS, 316SS construction Super Air Knives are well suited for those applications.

On the other end of the (pH) spectrum, any of those materials are suitable for exposure to Sodium Hydroxide. PVDF is still the best choice, as the Stainless Steels will be subject to discoloration or slight corrosion, depending on the concentration.

PVDF Super Air Knife Kits include the Air Knife itself (PVDF body, Hastelloy C-276 hardware, and PTFE Shims,) a PTFE Shim Set, an Automatic Drain Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator.

Acids and bases aside, oxidizers are also very corrosive, especially in higher concentrations.  Hydrogen peroxide is a commonly used oxidizer in industries as diverse as pulp & paper, soap & detergent, and water sterilization.  Like other chemicals, compatibility depends on the concentration, but like nitric acid & sodium hydroxide, our PVDF Super Air Knives are still the best, but the Stainless Steel models are still acceptable.

These are just a few, very basic, examples of chemical compatibility.  If you have an application that calls for installing one of our compressed air products in an area where you’re concerned about corrosion, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Max Refrigeration vs. Max Cold Temp Vortex Tubes

Here at EXAIR, our vortex tubes are offered in two separate series. The reason for this is to optimize the performance of the cold air temperature drop when operating with opposite ends of the cold fraction chart. The maximum refrigeration vortex tubes, 32xx series, perform optimally when they are set to a greater than 50% cold fraction.  The maximum cold temp vortex tubes, 34xx series, perform optimally when they are set to a less than or equal to 50% cold fraction. The cold fraction is discussed more in-depth within this link from Russ Bowman, Vortex Tube Cold Fractions Explained. This blog is going to explain a little further why one series of vortex tubes would be chosen for an application over another.

Cold Fraction
EXAIR Vortex Tube Performance Chart

Maximum refrigeration (32xx) vortex tubes are the most commonly discussed of the two types when discussing the optimal selection of the vortex tube for an application. The 32xx series vortex tubes achieve a maximum refrigeration output when operated at 100 psig inlet pressure with around  80% cold fraction. This would give a temperature drop from incoming compressed air temperature of 54°F (30°C). The volumetric flow rate of cold air will be 80% of the input flow which means only 20% is being exhausted as warm exhaust air. By keeping the flow rate higher the air is able to cool a higher heat load and is the reason the vortex tube is given a BTU/hr cooling capacity.

Vortex Tube Hot Valve Adjustment

Maximum cold temperature (34xx) tubes are less common as their applications are a little more niche and require a very pinpoint application. Rather than changing the temperature inside of a cooling tunnel or cooling an ultrasonic welding horn, the max cold temp vortex tube is going to have a minimum cold flow rate, less than 50% of input volumetric flow.  This minimal flow will be at temperature drops up to 129°F (71.1°C) from the incoming compressed air temperature.  This air is very cold and at a low flow. A 20% cold fraction exhausts 80% of the input volume as hot air. This type of volume would be ideal for sensor cooling, pinpoint cooling of a slow-moving operation, or thermal testing of small parts.

In the end, EXAIR vortex tubes perform their task of providing cold or hot air without using any refrigerants or moving parts. To learn more about how they work, check out this blog from Russ Bowman. If you want to see how to change the cold fraction, check out the video below. If you would like to discuss anything compressed air related, contact an application engineer, we are always here to help.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF