Why Start a Leak Prevention Program?

All compressed air systems will have some amount of leakage. It is a good idea to set up a Leak Prevention Program.  Keeping the leakage losses to a minimum will save on compressed air generation costs, and reduce compressor operation time which can extend its life and lower maintenance costs.

The Compressed Air Challenge estimates an individual compressed air leak can cost thousands of dollars per year when using $0.07/kWh.

  • 1/16″ diameter hole in excess of $700/year
  • 1/8″ hole in excess of $2900/year
  • 1/4″ hole in excess of $11,735 per year

There are generally two types of leak prevention programs:

  • Leak Tag type programs
  • Seek-and-Repair type programs

Of the two types, the easiest would be the Seek-and-Repair method.  It involves finding leaks and then repairing them immediately. For the Leak Tag method, a leak is identified, tagged, and then logged for repair at the next opportune time.

A successful Leak Prevention Program consists of several important components:

  • Document your Starting Compressed Air Use – knowing the initial compressed air usage will allow for comparison after the program has been followed for measured improvement.
  • Establishment of initial leak loss – See this blog for more details.
  • Determine the cost of air leaks – One of the most important components of the program. The cost of leaks can be used to track the savings as well as promote the importance of the program. Also a tool to obtain the needed resources to perform the program.
  • Find the leaks – Leaks can be found using many methods.  Most common is the use of an Ultrasonic Leak Detector, like the EXAIR Model 9061.  See this blog for more details. An inexpensive handheld meter will locate a leak and indicate the size of the leak.

    Model 9061
    Model 9061
  • Record the leaks – Note the location and type, its size, and estimated cost. Leak tags can be used, but a master leak list is best.  Under Seek-and-Repair type, leaks should still be noted in order to track the number and effectiveness of the program.
  • Plan to repairs leaks – Make this a priority and prioritize the leaks. Typically fix the biggest leaks first, unless operations prevent access to these leaks until a suitable time.
  • Record the repairs – By putting a cost with each leak and keeping track of the total savings, it is possible to provide proof of the program effectiveness and garner additional support for keeping the program going. Also, it is possible to find trends and recurring problems that will need a more permanent solution.
  • Compare and publish results – Comparing the original baseline to the current system results will provide a measure of the effectiveness of the program and the calculate a cost savings. The results are to be shared with management to validate the program and ensure the program will continue.
  • Repeat As Needed – If the results are not satisfactory, perform the process again. Also, new leaks can develop, so a periodic review should be performed to achieve and maintain maximum system efficiency.

An effective compressed air system leak prevention and repair program is critical in sustaining the efficiency, reliability, and cost effectiveness of an compressed air system.

If you have questions about a Leak Prevention Program or 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.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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EXAIR FAQs: A Hidden Nugget of Information

The pneumatic industry is huge. Almost every manufacturing plant around the world uses compressed air in one way or another. EXAIR has manufactured Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983, and in that time we have gathered much information. We sorted this data and placed it in our Knowledge Base section for all to see. Now, if you have a compressed air system in your plant, EXAIR probably has information about usage, optimization, and application details where we were able to solve or improve the settings with cost savings, efficiency, and safety. In this blog, I will cover one section of the Knowledge Base categories; FAQs.

FAQ Page

FAQs, or Frequently Asked Questions, is a library of inquiries that our customers have asked in the past. We compiled this collection that end-users, resellers, OEMs and distributors asked; and, we placed them in one area to be found quickly and easily. The FAQ library is located under Knowledge Base (reference photo above). We separated the FAQs by product groups to find more information like maximum temperatures, pressures, viscosities, etc. This in-depth assortment of information can help to swiftly answer some obscure questions that may be important for your application.

RDV How It Works

As an example, I recently received a call from a customer requesting information about the Reversible Drum Vac. This product is a two-way pump that uses compressed air to transfer liquid in and out of steel drums. They do not have any motors to wear or electricity to work; so, they are very reliably and long-lasting. This pneumatic pump works wonderful for transferring coolants. But this customer wanted to know if it can transfer hydraulic fluids; and if so, how fast. I was able to direct them to our FAQ library. We found that it can pump 10 gallons/minute or 38 liters/minute of hydraulic fluid. They also noticed that the Reversible Drum Vac can pump even more viscous fluids, like 15W40 motor oil. It opened their eyes on the capabilities of the Reversible Drum Vac for other applications in their facility.

Of course, Application Engineers at EXAIR are always available to answer questions about our products or about your applications. But if EXAIR is closed and you want to buy right away, the FAQ section could be a great place to find that “nugget” for a quick answer.

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

Photo: FAQ Magnifying Glass by loufre. Pixabay License – Free for commercial use

Free Money! Flat Super Air Nozzles Qualify for Energy Incentive

The patented design of EXAIR’s 1” and 2” Flat Super Air Nozzles makes them a highly efficient option when seeking a powerful, flat airflow. A precise air gap across the width of the nozzle provides a forceful stream of high velocity, laminar airflow without consuming high amounts of compressed air and also resulting in a greatly reduced sound level compared to some of the alternative flat nozzles available in the market.

Flat SAN not dumb picture
EXAIR’s Flat Super Air Nozzles have been blowing away the competition since 2003.

Did you know that upgrading to an efficient engineered air nozzle, such as the 1” or 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle, can make you eligible for an incentive from your energy provider? Similar to other energy-saving programs for upgrading to LED light bulbs or high-efficiency HVAC systems, these are made available to you as an incentive to start using more energy efficient products.

The energy costs associated with the generation of compressed air, often referred to in industry as a 4th utility, can make it expensive. These programs are offered to encourage you to use engineered products that are more energy efficient due to the reduction in compressed air consumption. Essentially, they’re offering you free money to implement a solution that will also save you money. It almost sounds too good to be true!! But these products, after implementation and receiving the incentive, will continue to save you money year after year.

The US Department of Energy, in conjunction with the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, provides a website that allows you to search the various programs available to you in your state. The DSIRE® website allows you to select your state, then select your energy provider to determine what programs are offered.

In Southwest Ohio, Duke Energy provides an incentive that offers $40 USD each per engineered air nozzle that is installed. When replacing open pipe or tube, these nozzles generally pay for themselves relatively quickly. But, when combined with a $40 USD rebate, that return on investment happens even quicker!!!

Don’t leave free money on the table. If you’re using open pipe or tube, or inefficient plastic flat nozzles, replace them with an engineered air nozzle from EXAIR. If you need help determining what rebate programs are available to you in your area, we’re also here to help. Contact an EXAIR Application Engineer today!

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

EXAIR Digital Flowmeters With Wireless Capability

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” is a well-known axiom in engineering & process improvement circles.  We talk to callers every day who are keen on conserving compressed air use in their facilities by making a few tweaks, considering a complete overhaul, or more often, some point in between.  Bottom line (literally) is, compressed air isn’t cheap, so small gains in efficiency can add up.  And large gains can be complete game-changers…following our Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compressed Air System has resulted in users being able to shut down 50 and 100 HP air compressors, saving thousands of dollar A MONTH in operating costs.

Step #1 is measurement, and that’s where the EXAIR Digital Flowmeter comes in.  They’re easy to install, highly accurate, extremely reliable, and available for just about any size pipe used for compressed air distribution.  They can output a 4-20mA signal straight from their PCB board, or serial comms (RS485) through an optional control board.  USB Data Loggers and Summing Remote Displays have proven to be value-added accessories for data management as well.

Summing Remote Display (left) for remote indication and totalizing data. USB Data Logger takes data from the Digital Flowmeter to your computer and outputs to its own software (shown above) or Microsoft Excel.

If you want to go wireless, we can do that too: using ZigBee mesh network protocol, a radio module is installed in the Digital Flowmeter with wireless gateway to transmit data to an Ethernet connected gateway.  The transmitting range is 100 ft (30 meters,) and the data can be passed from one radio module to another, allowing for multiple Digital Flowmeter installations to extend the distance over which they can communicate with the computer you’re using for central monitoring.  Advantages include:

  • Wireless monitoring of EXAIR Digital Flowmeters throughout your plant.
  • Prevents unwanted joining upon the network.
  • Monitoring software is included at no extra charge.
  • Measures & transmits both current air usage, and cumulative air usage data.
  • 128 bit encryption for wireless transmissions.
  • Comes configured & programmed, out of the box, available for installation on 1/2″ to 4″ SCH40 iron pipe, or 3/4″ to 4″ Type L copper pipe.
Digital Flowmeter w/ Wireless Capability, Gateway, and Drill Guide Kit

If you’d like to find out more about how easy it is to measure, manage, and optimize your compressed air usage, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Custom Air Amplifiers: Customization to Fit Your Needs

EXAIR’s line of Air amplifiers can be found in thousands of applications across the world from everything as simple as blowing parts off to exhausting fumes. The Air Amplifier comes in two different styles either the Super Air Amplifier or the Adjustable Air Amplifier. Super Air Amplifiers come in a stock Aluminum Body with a diameter that ranges from ¾” to 8”. This differs from the Adjustable Air Amplifier which comes in either type 303 Stainless Steel or Aluminum and are Sized from ¾” to 4”.

Super Air Amplifiers are supplied with a .003″ (0.08mm) slotted air gap which is ideal for most applications. Flow and force can be increased by replacing the shim with a thicker .006″ (0.15mm) or .009″ (0.23mm) shim. Model 120028 is supplied with a .009″ (0.23mm) air gap. A .015″ (0.39mm) shim is available for Model 120028.

Even though there is a wide variety of sizes and materials for the Stock Air Amplifiers they don’t always match a customer’s specific need or application. Over the years EXAIR has produced a slew of different custom Air Amplifiers for a customer’s specific need and the following are just a few of what we have done.

  • Depending on the environment certain specific materials may be required like the food industry which requires specific Stainless Steel for various applications. One customer had a special PTFE plug made for the Adjustable Air Amplifier to help pull a sticky material through the process. The PTFE helped prevent the material from depositing on the inside diameter of the Amplifier.
  • For applications where mounting may be an issue, special attachments have been made to assist. For instances where an Amplifier may need to be mounted to a pipe, we manufactured a custom Stainless-Steel Adjustable Air Amplifier with class a 150 raised face flange.
  • Applications that are in a hot environment may require a special high temperature version which has be developed to operate in areas up to 700°F. The High Temperature Air Amplifier was so widely sought after that we turned it into a stock item.

No matter what your application is EXAIR is capable to work with you to create custom solutions for your application. Whether you need a different material, size or shim thickness, EXAIR is able to meet your requirements. These Air Amplifiers represent only one of our many product lines that can be custom made to your specifications. 

For more information on EXAIR’s Air Amplifiers or help with customizing any of EXAIR‘s 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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Sound: What Is It … More Importantly, Weighted Scales of Frequencies

We’ve blogged about sound and what exactly it is before, see the link. Understanding that sound is vibration traveling through the air which it is utilizing as an elastic medium.  Well, rather than me continue to write this out, I found a great video to share that is written in song to better recap how sound is created.

Now that we have that recap and understand better what sound is let’s dig a little deeper to better understand why some sounds may appear louder to a person when they may not appear different on a sound scale that is shown by something like a Digital Sound Level Meter.

Loudness is how a person perceives sound and this is correlated to the sound pressure of the frequency of the sound in question.  The loudness is broken into three different weighing scales that are internationally standardized. Each of these scales, A, C, and Z apply a weight to different frequency levels.

  1. The most commonly observed scale here in the USA is the A scale. A is the OSHA selected scale for industrial environments and discriminates against low frequencies greatly.
  2. Z is the zero weighting scale to keep all frequencies equal, this scale was introduced in 2003 as the international standard.
  3. C scale does not attenuate these lower frequencies as they are carrying the ability to cause vibrations within structures or buildings and carry their own set of risks.

To further the explanation on the A-weighted scale, the range of frequencies correlates to the common human hearing spectrum which is 20 Hz to 20kHz. This is the range of frequencies that are most harmful to a person’s hearing and thus were adopted by OSHA. The OSHA standard, 29 CFR 191.95(a), that corresponds to noise level exposure permissible can be read about here on our blog as well.

When using a handy tool such as the Digital Sound Level Meter to measure sound levels you will select whether to use the dBA or dBC scale.  This is the decibel reading according to the scale selected. Again, for here in the USA you would want to focus your measurements on the dBA scale. It is suggested to use this tool at a 3′ distance or at the known distance an operator’s ears would be from the noise generation point.

Many of EXAIR’s engineered compressed air products have the ability to decrease sound levels in your plant. If you would like to discuss how to best reduce sound levels being produced within your facility, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

1 – Fun Science: Sound – @charlieissocoollike – https://youtu.be/xH8mT2IQz7Y

 

EXAIR Products in Construction Industry: Super Air Knife Helps Steel Door Drying

A manufacturer of both residential and commercial steel doors used in the construction industry recently contacted me for help with an application in their manufacturing process. They make a wide variety of exterior and interior doors as well as some custom doors that are sold to builders across the country.

foyer-902404_1920

The raw material for the doors is formed, assembled, and welded together before it is then taken to a finishing step that involves grinding down the welds and sanding any rough spots on the door down to a smooth finish. This smooth finish creates a clean look and also helps with the application of paint at the end of the process.

After finishing, the doors are hung on an overhead conveyor where they pass through a machine that cleans off all of the surfaces and remain hanging until they dry. This air drying prevented them from continuously operating as they’d have to wait at least 10 minutes until the doors dried before they could apply any paint. In the summer, humid conditions in their plant further increased the time the doors took to air dry.

110048PKI
Super Air Knife w/ Plumbing Kit Installed

Rather than waiting to dry, they wanted to blow off any remaining water from both sides of the door just after the washing operation. The solution was to install (2) Model 110048PKI Super Air Knives on either side of the door to blow off residual water as it moved along the conveyor. Since the spacing in between doors was 12’, they didn’t want to have to operate the knives continuously and waste unnecessary compressed air.

With the doors traveling slowly at about 30 ft/min and a significant space in between them, they also went with a Model 9064 Electronic Flow Controller to keep the air on only when necessary. A standard door height is just under 7′. At the speed they were traveling, it would take roughly 14 seconds for each door to pass through the flow of the knives while 24 seconds pass with no door.

With a minimum 10 minute dry time without the Super Air Knives, the overall drying time was reduced to 38 seconds. That’s a 93.6% improvement in the overall time of their drying process! By improving the drying process, they were able to increase their production to 100 doors per 8-hr shift.

(2) 48″ Super Air Knives operating continuously at 80 PSIG would require 278.4 SCFM of compressed air. The average cost of compressed air is $0.25/1000 SCF. So what did this cost when operating continuously with a 38 second blowoff time?

0.633 min x 278.4 SCFM = 176 SCF/door

176 SCF x 100 doors per shift = 17,600 SCF

17600 SCF x ($0.25/ 1000 SCF) = $4.40/ 8 hr shift

Over the course of a year that equates to $1,144 in operating costs. With the EFC implemented, the blowoff time was reduced to just 14 seconds per door.

0.233 min x 278.4 SCFM = 65 SCF/door

65 SCF x 100 doors per shift = 6500 SCF

6500 SCF x ($0.25/1000 SCF) = $1.63/ 8 hr shift

Not only were they able to increase their production rate by implementing the Super Air Knife, but by taking it one step further with the EFC they reduced the overall operating costs for a full year to just $423.80. The EFC is a

efc_heroi

If you have a similar application in the construction industry and would like to speak to an Application Engineer please give us a call!

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

 

Door photo courtesy of ErikaWittlieb via Pixabay