Friction Loss – Pressure Drops – Fitting Restrictions – Why Compressed Air Plumbing Matters

Over the weekend I was working on a car in my driveway and I needed a large volume of air at the far end of the car to try and unplug a clogged sunroof drain line.  Rather than trying to move the car while it was mostly taken apart, I just hooked up another air line extension and started to go to the drain.   Even knowing what I know as an EXAIR Application Engineer about lengths of tubing, air restriction, and fitting restrictions, I went ahead with the quick and easy “fix”.

An example of pressure drop from a compressed air quick disconnect.

I grabbed another 30′ – 3/8″ i.d. air line with 1/4″ quick disconnects (see why this is wrong with this blog) on both end, rather than getting out the 50′ long 1/2″ i.d. air line that I have with proper fittings that then reduce down to a 1/4″NPT at the end to tie into most of my air tools. By doing so I ended up hooking up a Safety Air Gun which then gave a very light puff of air into the tube and the clog in the line went nowhere.  As a matter of fact, it was almost like it laughed because the tubing vibrated as if the clog said, “Pfft I am going nowhere.”

I then, stepped back and evaluated what I had done in a rush to try and get a job done rather than taking the extra five minutes to get the proper air line to do the job.   I then spent 10 minutes putting that hose up and getting out the correct hose.  Then, with a whoosh and a thud the clog was launched into my yard from the clogged drain port and I finished the repairs.

If only I had watched Russ Bowman’s spectacular video on Proper Compressed Air Supply Plumbing the day before. Rather than wasting time with the quick “fix” that cost me more time and didn’t fix anything I should have taken a little more time up front to verify I had properly sized my lines for the job at hand.

If you would like to discuss compressed air plumbing, appropriate line sizes, or insufficient flow on your compressed air system, please contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

My Secret Box – FAIL?

The Secret Box – everybody should have one, if you don’t have one – find out if you can make one. Mine holds some prototypes, failed ideas, and failed wacky solutions I have attempted over my years here at EXAIR. There are also a couple of successes.

The box represents, in some way, the flexibility of EXAIR to allow new ideas and their willingness to take risks on a crazy (read creative) idea now and then. Many of these trials and failures also kept a project going, they were just a momentary stop along the way to a solution.

It also gives me a chance, when having conversations with newer Application Engineers, to say something like “let me look in my secret box” and then have a discussion about something we have tried in the past. This has been helpful in providing information to prevent ending up at the same failure twice, but perhaps developing a new failure and or solution.

If you have an application which may benefit from some creativity let us know, EXAIR has been encouraging it for 28 years now. And don’t knock the Secret Box – and don’t be afraid to fail.

Remember these words of Thomas Edison:

“I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer