Is PVC Pipe Alright to Use with Compressed Air?

A question arises every now and then on whether or not PVC pipe, yes the stuff from your local hardware store that says it is rated for 200 psi, is safe to use as compressed air supply line.   The answer is always the same,  NO! OSHA agrees – see their statement here.

Schedule 40 PVC pipe is not designed nor rated for use with compressed air or other gases.  PVC pipe will explode under pressure, it is impacted significantly by temperature and can be difficult to get airtight.

PVC pipe was originally designed and tested for conveyance of liquids or products that cannot be compressed, rather they can be pressurized.   The largest concern is the failure method of the piping itself.   When being used with a liquid that cannot be compressed, if there is a failure (crack or hole) then the piping will spring a leak and not shatter.   When introducing a compressed gas, such as compressed air, if there is a failure the method ends up being shrapnel.  This YouTube video does a good job of illustrating how the pipe shatters.

While it may seem that it takes a good amount of pressure to cause a failure in the pipe, that is often not the case.  I have chatted with some local shop owners who decided to run PVC as a quick and cheap alternative to get their machines up and running.

They each experienced the same failures at different points in time as well.  The worst one was a section of PVC pipe installed over a workbench failed where an operator would normally be standing. Luckily the failure happened at night when no one was there.  Even though no one got injured this still caused a considerable expense to the company because the compressor ran overnight trying to pressurize a ruptured line.

Temperature will impact the PVC as well. Schedule 40 PVC is generally rated for use between 70°F and 140°F (21°-60°C). Pipes that are installed outside or in non temperature controlled buildings can freeze the pipes and make them brittle.

If you haven’t worked with PVC before or do not let the sealant set, it can be hard to get a good seal, leading to leaks and a weak spot in the system.

The point of this is the cheapest, quick, and easy solutions are more often , the ones that will cost the most in the long run.

If you would like to discuss proper compressed air piping and how to save compressed air on your systems, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Image courtesy of: Dennis Hill, Creative Commons License

Video Blog: EXAIR’s Soft Grip Super Air Scraper

The video below showcases a new EXAIR product, the Soft Grip Super Air Scraper. This combines the comfort of a Soft Grip Safety Air Gun with the powerful air stream of the 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle and adds the scraping ability of a handheld scraper all in one convenient package.

If you would like to discuss your application, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Helping Within Our Community

Throughout my tenure here at EXAIR I have seen the company give to many different organizations and to the team members here.   Recently we implemented a program where employees are allowed to choose a charity of their choice to go and volunteer for a day each year.  This year for my volunteer day a group of seven members from EXAIR went to help a non-profit organization that focuses on helping students and teachers in 16 local counties.

The organization, Crayons to Computers is a free store for teachers in these counties that surround Cincinnati.  The store is stocked with donations from corporate and private entities and staffed by volunteers.  Their inventory can be anywhere from classroom supplies, books, decorations, technology equipment, even stocked book bags to give to students.  The store is the largest of its kind here in the United States and has been serving the Cincinnati area for 20 years. Their belief is that a teacher should not have to spend money out of their pocket to supply students in need with school supplies and to ensure that schools in need have access to supplies that aren’t always easily available.

They have a sales floor where the teachers shop and then a large warehouse where the donations are all sorted and stocked for easy pull to the sales floor when needed.  This is where our team spent the day.  We did jobs like sorting books by reading level, organizing / packaging chair mats, unloading trucks, and finally, consolidating over 30,000 boxes of 24 count crayons so that their valuable warehouse space was being used more efficiently.  These crayons were all donated by financial institutions here locally that had challenged each other to see who could donate more.  It still isn’t the amount of crayons that they will supply to teachers within this school year, but it helps tremendously.

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By volunteering our time we were also able to give 10 teachers who’s school would not normally qualify for shopping at Crayons To Computers the ability to go and shop for a day.  This was an added bonus that we were made aware of after the fact.  This is yet another way that Crayons to Computers gives to our community.

One of the best takeaways I have from this year is that I got to give back to an organization that my amazing wife would shop at when she was teaching students in need.  It was organized by someone here on our team that had no knowledge of my personal connection. We ended up getting more done than they had ever hoped to get out of 7 volunteers.  This was all made possible by a company that doesn’t just focus on making excellent products and providing top notch customer service.  EXAIR is also focusing on making sure our team members interests are embraced by letting them choose how to give their time and the companies time to a cause they believe will give back to our local community.

If you would like to inquire about donations or how you could help Crayons to Computers, please check out their site directly.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF
1-800-903-9247

 

Video Blog: EXAIR Efficiency Lab

The video below is a brief introduction to the EXAIR Efficiency Lab, a free service provided by EXAIR for customers within the USA and Canada.

If you have a single point blowoff that does not have an engineered nozzle, or if you have a wider format blowoff, manifold or home-made drilled pipe, contact an Application Engineer with EXAIR and let us help you to reduce your energy waste. Following are some examples of product where we have helped to save some serious air and reduced noise levels which heightens employee comfort.

Non-engineered blowoffs

Drilled and soldered copper pipe.

Custom manufactured inefficient pipe blowoff

 

The EXAIR Efficiency Lab

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Glass Filled PEEK Super Air Knife w/ Brass Hardware & PTFE Shim? No Problem!

That’s right folks, we’ve gone and done it again.  When a customer calls for custom product because their environment calls for it or due to dimensional requirements, EXAIR has the ability and flexibility to meet those needs!

This time around it was a customer with specific material requirements due to their environment. I had a customer contact me recently that was using an aluminum Super Air Knife near a high voltage operation and was getting ground interference due to the aluminum air knife.  They asked if it was possible to make them a custom knife out of PEEK plastic.  After some light discussions about the form of the knife and what other materials are safe for their environment we settled on a 30% glass filled PEEK plastic for the knife, brass bolts and pipe plugs, with a PTFE shim installed.   The form factor of the knife would follow the same shape as our PVDF Super Air Knives that are available from stock.   The customer could not use PVDF due to high temperature and potential off-gassing in the process.

The results are shown below.

IMG_6590
EXAIR 6″ Super Air Knife in 30% Glass Filled PEEK Plastic w/ Brass Hardware and PTFE Shim

End View – 6″ Super Air Knife in 30% Glass Filled PEEK Plastic w/ Brass Hardware & PTFE Shim

Whether you are looking for a one off product that is tailor made to your application or want to have a simple feature like hardware material changed in a stock EXAIR product that you are incorporating into thousands of machines, we have the solution for you.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

 

 

 

Video Blog: EXAIR Swivel Fittings

A brief video showcasing the full EXAIR Swivel fittings offering. Each of the 9 Swivel Fitting models offers a 25° from center line adjustment for a total of 50° full range of adjustment. The Swivel fittings are an ideal accessory for a variety of EXAIR products.  For more product details see our product page.  For any questions or fitment suggestions contact an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

New! In Stock! Sanitary Flange 316 Stainless Steel Line Vacs

Just released, we are now stocking four different pipe sizes of Sanitary Flange 316 Stainless Steel Line Vacs. We are offering these in the following sizes, 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, and 3″ Sanitary Flange.   The performance is the same as our Stainless Steel Line Vacs,  but now it is even easier to install in sanitary flanged piping systems.  No need to get adapters or have specialty shops weld flanges on.

Model 161200-316 - 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange Line Vac
Model 161200-316 – 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange Line Vac

The new Line Vacs are available for purchase on their own or in a kit which includes the Line Vac, a mounting bracket for the Line Vac, pressure regulator and filter separator. The only parts you provide are the clamps, gaskets and compressed air supply.

With a wide range of sizes and materials of construction, we've got your solution. Call us.
With a wide range of sizes and materials of construction, we’ve got your solution. Call us.

These are the latest four additions to our already extensive line of in-line pneumatic conveyors.   If we do not offer a stock Line Vac that will fit your needs, we also offer custom Line Vacs to fit virtually any need you may have, just contact us and we will help you determine what will work!

Custom PVDF Line Vac
Custom PVDF Line Vac

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF