The Basics of a Compressed Air Leak Detection Program

It is no surprise that compressed air can be a costly utility for industrial facilities. It can easily chip away at the bottom line finances if used carelessly and without planning. This is one of the leading reasons we have educated continuously on how to ensure this vital utility is used with safety and conservation in mind. If we have installed all engineered solutions at the point of use throughout a facility, there is still more to be saved. One of the easiest things to do with a utility system inside of a facility is to leave it unchecked and undocumented until something goes wrong. This does not have to be the scenario and in fact, starting a leak detection program in a facility can help to save up to 30% of the compressed air generated.

Leaks cost money!

That’s right, up to 30% of the compressed air being generated in an industrial facility can be exhausting out to ambient through leaks that run rampant throughout the facility. When the point of use production is still working fine, then these sorts of leaks go unnoticed. Another common occurrence goes something like this example: Maybe there is a leak bad enough to drop the packaging line pressure slightly, this may get fixed by bumping up a pressure regulator, production is back up and it is never thought of again. In all actuality this is affecting the production more and more with each leak.

The leaks add additional load onto the supply side. The compressor has to generate more air, the dryer needs to process more air, the auto drains dump more moisture, it all ads up to additional wear and tear also known as false load. All of this additional load on the system can add more maintenance which if left undone can result in system shut downs. One way to begin to eliminate this false load is to deploy a leak detection program. The steps are fairly easy.

Similar to our 6 Steps to Compressed Air Optimization, you start with a baseline of how much air the system is seeing and operating pressures. This begins the documentation process which is critical to the success of the program. Next, acquire an ultrasonic leak detector (ULD) and a layout of your compressed air system piping. Utilizing the ULD, test all compressed air piping along with equipment, and tag each leak that is detected. Next, begin to repair all of the tagged leaks and document the amount of compressed air savings with each repair. This again, is more documentation which leads to giving a quantitative value to the return on investment of the program. Lastly, schedule a follow up scan that recurs on a pre-determined basis to prevent the system from returning to it’s original leaky state.

EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector

If you would like to discuss starting a leak detection program in your facility or have questions about the ULD or any point of use compressed air product, please reach out to an Application Engineer today.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

EXAIR Siphon Fed Air Atomizing Liquid Spray Nozzles

Amongst EXAIR’s continuously growing product offering, some of the newest are a family of Air Atomizing Liquid Spray Nozzles that does not require a pressurized liquid source. These are known as the Siphon Fed Air Atomizing Nozzles. These nozzles can be easily implemented where a tank can be installed and lower the cost of the installation by not requiring a liquid pump, just point of use compressed air.

Siphon Fed model

This action is done by the unique design of the air cap.  As the velocity of the air passes through the air cap, low pressure is created by a venturi.  The Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzles can draw liquid from a suction height of 36” (91 cm), or gravity fed. They are manufactured from 303 stainless steel for durability and corrosion resistance. The Siphon Fed models can spray viscous fluids up to 200 centipoises and are used in many applications like rinsing, coating, cooling, quenching, humidification, or dust control. The images below showcases how simple the setup can be for the siphon and gravity fed installations.

EXAIR Siphon Fed Nozzles work with non-pressurized liquids, either siphoned (left) or gravity fed (right.)

EXAIR carries three different body sizes, 1/8” NPT, ¼” NPT, and ½” NPT ports; so, you can create a light mist or a heavy spray of liquid.  The maximum liquid flow rate is controlled by the air cap and liquid cap combination.  A unique feature of the EXAIR Atomizing Nozzle is that the caps are easily interchangeable for each body size to modify the spray patterns, control the amount of fluid, and reduce any downtime if cleaning is required.  The video below shows just how easily the changeover is done.

In addition to the three different inlet/body sizes, we also offer the Siphon Fed in both a round spray pattern or a flat fan spray pattern. These are also controlled by the air and liquid cap combination. This means it is easy to convert a round pattern that may be needed for a job, over to a flat fan pattern for the next setup. Each pattern is also available in several flow rates of liquid and air to dial in the performance required by the application.

Siphon Fed Air Atomizing Spray Nozzles

Additionally, if you would like to positively shut the liquid flow off from the nozzle in order to prevent drips, over use of liquid, or to shut off the gravity fed liquid when not needed, the No-Drip versions of these nozzles is also available. This is easily controlled by simply reducing the compressed air operating pressure to below the designated cracking pressure of the patented No-Drip valve.

No Drip Siphon Fed Round Pattern Atomizing Nozzle

If you would like to discuss which spray nozzle is best suited for your application, please reach out to an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Hazardous Location AND Overheating Electronics? We Have You Covered!

Here in Ohio, we like to think we know a lot about the weather. Did you know there are more than 4 seasons? Heck, we have at least two Winters, and then a Pre-Summer, Spring, Summer, Heat is still coming – make it stop season, and Fall. Don’t forget the construction season where the lovely orange cones and barrels bloom on every major roadway, and then we also like to throw in brood weeks for the cicadas every now and then. Yeah, we get a full gambit of weather and the past week has brought out some heat. I know this isn’t just Ohio, we get calls from around the globe of atmospheric conditions that have caused issues within control panels. Some of these panels are in areas where the No Smoking sign is more than just a suggestion to better your health.

1 – Dust Explosion

That’s right, there are areas in manufacturing facilities that are governed by the standard due to a variety of conditions resulting in what is known as Hazardous Locations. NFPA and UL have a list of standards breaking these down into separate Classes, Divisions, and Temperature Classes. If you want all the details, the NFPA code is around 908 pages, cover to cover. The Classified UL mark shown below is one way of knowing that a product has been tested to these stringent standards and is okay to use in clearly marked environments.

UL Classified Markings

EXAIR offers Cabinet Cooler Systems that will meet these stringent standards and keep your enclosures cool in order to keep your production up and running. The top three tiers that we meet are:

  • Class I Div 1, Groups A, B, C and D
  • Class II Div 1, Groups E, F and G
  • Class III

The HazLoc Cabinet Cooler Systems are available in 8 different cooling capacities from 1,000 Btu/hr to 5,600 Btu/hr. and are manufactured to work in conjunction with a purged and pressurized control system. As well as with or without thermostatic control.

EXAIR’s Hazarous Location Cabinet Cooler Systems maintain Type NEMA 4/4X Integrity and are CE Compliant.

If you would like help sizing the correct system for your electrical panels, feel free to use the link, or contact an Application Engineer to discuss the applications and get one sized while on the phone with us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – Dust explosion 05.jpg, Hans-Peter Scholz, October 7, 2009, retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dust_explosion_05.jpg

Round and Round They Go…. Rotary Compressors: How They Work

Positive-displacement and dynamic displacement compressors are the two high level principles for the generation of compressed air or gas. Positive displacement types are the most common found in industrial facilities. These units draw ambient air into a chamber which it seals off and then works to compress and squeeze it down into a smaller volume. The air is then discharged into the outlet system of the compressor. Out of the many types of positive displacement compressors, today we are going to discuss the rotary style positive displacement air compressors.

1 – Simplified Rotary Vane Compressor



These are available in both lubricant-free as well as lubricant-injected versions. The main function of the compressor is the same, both have two inter-meshing rotors what pull air into the inlet port and then after the rotational processing of the compressor the air is discharged through a discharge port. The in between of the ports is where the important information lies. The air after being sucked into the inlet gets pulled in between two lobes and the stator. As the air is being trapped the space between the lobes becomes increasingly smaller, thus increasing the pressure of the air transferring it to the discharge port.

The lubricated versions will often help to dissipate the heat that is created as the air is being compressed. This lubricant is then possible to transfer into the compressed air stream and must be removed before a point of use product if lubricant-free air is needed for the process. These compressors rank amongst the lower efficiencies in the positive displacement air compressors.

If you are visual learner, feel free to take a few minutes for the video below.

2 – Rotary Compressor Operation


If you would like to discuss the way to get the most out of your compressor, no matter the type, contact an Application Engineer and let us help you determine the most efficient way to use the air effectively.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – Rotary vane.png – R. Castelnuovo, 10/20/2005 – retrieve from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rotary_vane.png

2 – Rotary compressor operation – HVACRinfo.com – 8/1/2016 – retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxDEK3Ymx30