Turn the Pressure Down, Save Operation Costs

I recently recommended to a customer to turn their air pressure down on their system as low as their process would allow. Meaning regulate the pressure so you have enough to complete the operations needed but find that happy medium where your compressor isn’t working as hard to build those high pressures for no reason!

Compressed air is an amazing tool to have, and when used properly it can be more efficient that other non compressed air tools that run off electricity. How ever its pretty common to see compressed air systems running at their max just because.

Lowering the air system pressure reduces the compressor power consumption by about 1% for every two psi of lower pressure. Lowering the pressure also makes any unregulated operations reduce consumption by almost 1% for every one psi of pressure reduction. Not to mention the extra savings if your compressor system can turn down the compressor power because of the reduced flow and possibly shut off compressors that are no longer needed!

The best pressure at which to set your system is the level where your production can operate efficiently and effectively without waste: There is no right pressure—it depends on your operations and tools. You may have 90 to 100 psig at the compressor, but at the production machine, where the actual work is being done, you could have only 65 to 70 psig. In some cases, it may be even lower due to pressure drops in undersized piping, filters, regulators. The goal is to lower compressor discharge pressure without affecting the the operations at the end of the line.

Having artificially high plant-pressure can help you deal with surges in compressed air demand that might occasionally cause low-pressure and affect production. The higher pressure acts to store reserve air in the various volumes made up of receivers, pipes and such in your system. However, the higher pressure costs more to produce and makes unregulated end uses consume more air, which is an expensive trade-off. Another option is to make sure you have line pressure regulators at each point of use. This will allow you to regulate the operation to the pressure needed being sure to save compressed air and keep the over all system running more efficient.

You can regulate those point of use lines with a number of EXAIRs Pressure Regulators!

EXAIR offers a range of Pressure Regulators capable of handling air flow of up to 700 SCFM.

If we can help size a regulator, or have any other questions on how EXAIR can help you save compressed air in your system please reach out to me or one of our other Application Engineers!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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What’s So Great About The Gen4 Ion Air Cannon Static Eliminator?

It’s bitter cold this week in southwest Ohio, and one of the consequences of that is dry air in heated indoor areas.  If you’ve walked across a carpeted floor and pet your cat (like I did the other day), you (and your cat) may have experienced a phenomenon known as dissipation of static electricity.

In my defense, Elle The Cat often looks down on me just like she does on Rocky The Dog. Neither of us care.

The relatively low static charge you pick up by shuffling your socks across the rug is pretty small, compared to the charge generated by:

  • High speed rolling & unrolling of plastic film on a shrink wrapper.
  • Plastic pellets traveling through a conveyor system to an injection molding machine.
  • Slitting or trimming of paper, laminates, sheets, etc.
  • Removing protective layers between sheets of delicate materials.

And these can cause issues year-round.  The problems associated with static charge in these situations include:

  • Nuisance shocks to operators.
  • Dust and debris clinging to product finishes and surfaces
  • Product clumping or clinging while in transit.
  • Thin sheets tearing, jamming, folding, or misfeeding.
  • Disruption of sensitive electronic sensors, switches, etc.

EXAIR Corporation has a variety of Static Eliminator Product solutions, depending on the specific needs of a particular application.  To answer the question in the title of this blog, though, the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon is quite versatile, and is often considered alongside our other products.  For example:

  • Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives come in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet.  If you have a wide web, sheet, or plate to remove static charge from, they’re the best choice, hands down.  For narrower widths, or situations where you have to blow in from the side or at a certain angle due to physical interference, the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon’s small footprint and adjustable mounting bracket provide a great workaround.
  • Gen4 Ion Air Jets generate a focused, concentrated flow of ionized air, for spot cleaning of smaller parts.  Its compact design is ideal for installations in close quarters.  If you have some room, the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon actually uses less compressed air to generate a higher ionized air flow…and it’s quieter, to boot.
  • Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipes are made to blow off and remove static from pipe, cable, extruded shapes, etc.  They come in 2″ or 4″ diameters.  If your product is larger than that, an array of Gen4 Ion Air Cannons can accommodate that.
  • Gen4 Ionizing Points are often installed in ducts to ionize existing air flow.  Arrays of two, three, or four are suitable for ducts up to about 6″ in diameter, depending on the air flow rate.  For larger ducts (or very high flow rates,) Gen4 Ion Air Cannons can be installed to blow into a ‘Y’ connection in duct walls.

Regardless of the nature of the application, if you’ve got a static problem, EXAIR has a solution!

These are just a few of the myriad Static Eliminator applications that EXAIR Corporation has successfully solved over the years.  Many times, the details of the application make one particular product the clear choice.  When there ends up being more than one worth consideration, one of the others is usually the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon.

Again…that’s based on the details of the application, and we’re here to help with that.  If you’ve got a static problem, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Compressed Air Supply Side: What Is A Deliquescent Dryer, And When Would You Use One?

As we head in to the colder months here in Ohio, I will soon be getting my humidifier out of the basement and set up in my bedroom. The dry air that accompanies the onset of winter chaps my lips, cracks the skin on my knuckles, affects my nasal passages, and oftentimes makes me wake up with a sore throat…something I definitely don’t want to happen in the middle of a pandemic! So I put some water vapor in my home’s air, on purpose, to take care of all of that.

Moisture in an industrial compressed air system, however, isn’t good for anything.  It’ll corrode your pipes, get rust in your pneumatic tools, motors, and cylinders, and spit out of your blow off devices, all over whatever you’re using your air to blow off.  Depending on the type of compressor, where, and how, it’s used, there are different types of dryers.  Today, dear reader, we’re taking a look at one of the most basic moisture removal systems: the deliquescent dryer.  The principle of operation is as follows:

  • Deliquescent dryer: how it works (1)
    Incoming compressed air enters near the base, where a form of mechanical separation occurs…the air flows back & forth, around trays of desiccant.  The simple act of changing direction causes a certain amount of free liquid to just fall out and collect in the bottom.
  • The air then flows upwards through the desiccant bed. The desiccant in a deliquescent dryer absorbs moisture (as opposed to the adsorption that occurs in a regenerative desiccant dryer) until they get so wet, they dissolve.
  • The desiccant level has to be monitored (commonly via a sight glass) so it can be replaced as it’s consumed.
  • After the desiccant does its job, moisture free air flows out the top, and gets on with it’s work.

Deliquescent dryers, owing to their simplicity, are the least expensive air dryers.  They have no moving parts and no electricity, so the only maintenance involved is replacing the desiccant media as it’s consumed.  This makes them especially popular in mobile/on-site applications involving portable or tow-behind, engine driven compressors, since they don’t need power to run.

There are several disadvantages, also owing to their simplicity:

  • The deliquescent media has to be periodically replenished.  If you don’t stay on top of it, you can find yourself shut down while you go back to the shop to get a big bag of salt.  That’s time your boss can’t charge your customer for.  Also, the cost of the new media is a continual operating cost of the dryer…something you don’t have to account for with the regenerative desiccant models.
  • Disposal of the waste media can be a concern…you definitely want to check your local environmental regulations before dumping it in the garbage.  Your boss won’t like talking to the EPA about THAT either.
  • They have to be equipped with a particulate filter on the discharge to keep the deliquescent media (which, being a salt, is corrosive in nature) from entering your system.  That would be even worse than water moisture…which this is there to prevent in the first place.
  • They don’t get near as low of a dewpoint as other dryers – the best you can hope for is 20°F to 30°F.  Which is fine, given the above mentioned nature of applications where these are commonly used.  You just wouldn’t want to use them to supply a product like an EXAIR Vortex Tube…which can turn that in to -40°F cold air, causing the water vapor to turn to liquid, and then to ice.  In a hurry.

EXAIR Corporation is in the business of helping you get the most out of your compressed air.  If you want to learn more, please follow our blog.  If you have specific questions, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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(1) – Deliquescent Dryer Image: VMAC Air Innovated: The Deliquescent Dryer – https://www.vmacair.com/blog/the-deliquescent-dryer/

Six Steps to Compressed Air Optimization: Step 3 – Use Efficient and Quiet Engineered Products

Compressed air is expensive, and you should treat it that way.  Frequent readers of the EXAIR Blog are familiar with our Six Steps to Compressed Air Optimization, and you may have seen these recent installments on Steps 1 and 2:

Six Steps to Optimization: Step 1 – Measure the Air Consumption

Six Steps to Compressed Air Optimization: Step 2 – Find and Fix Leaks

Now, there isn’t a strict order in which you MUST perform these steps, and they’re not all applicable in every air system (looking at you, Step 5: Use Intermediate Storage,) but these are likely the steps that a certified auditor will take, and the order in which they’ll take them.  If you’re looking for immediate, quantifiable results, though, Step 3 is a great place to start.  Consider:

  • A 1/4″ copper tube blow off can consume as much as 33 SCFM when supplied with compressed air at 80psig.  It’ll give you a good, strong blow off, for sure.  You can crimp the end and get that down to, say, 20 SCFM or so.  Or, you can install a Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle with a compression fitting, and drop that to just 14 SCFM.
    • If you’re tracking your compressed air usage, you’ll see that replacing just one of them saves you 45,600 Standard Cubic Feet worth of compressed in one 5 day (8 hour a day) work week.  That’s $11.40 in air generation cost savings, for a $42 (2020 List Price) investment.
    • If you spend time in the space where it’s installed, you’ll notice a dramatic improvement in the noise situation.  That sound level from the copper tube is likely over 100 dBA; the Super Air Nozzle’s is only 74 dBA.

This user was only a handful of compression fittings & nozzles away from over $800 in annual compressed air savings.

  • Drilled pipes are another common method to create a blow off.  They’re easy & cheap, but loud & expensive to operate.
    • A pipe drilled with 1/8″ holes and supplied @80psig will consume 13 SCFM per hole, and the holes are typically drilled on 1/2″ centers.
    • An EXAIR Super Air Knife consumes only 2.9 SCFM per inch of length, and because it’s an engineered product, it’s a LOT quieter as well.  Drilled pipes are, essentially, open ended blow offs just like the copper tube mentioned above.  When you let compressed air out of a hole like that, all the potential energy of the pressure is converted to force…and noise.
    • Drilled pipes are among the worst offenders; almost always well in excess of 100 dBA.  Super Air Knives generate a sound level of only 69 dBA with 80psig compressed air supply.  They are, in fact, the quietest compressed air blowing product on the market today.

This Model 110048 48″ Aluminum Super Air Knife replaced a drilled pipe for over $5,000 annual compressed air savings.

These aren’t just theoretical “for instances” either – the data, and the photos above, come from actual Case Studies we’ve performed with real live users of our products.  You can find them here, and here (registration required.)

These are two examples of EXAIR product users who only used Step 3 of our Six Steps, although BOTH of them were already practicing Step 4 (Turn off the compressed air when it isn’t in use)…they had their blow offs supplied through solenoid valves that were wired into the respective machine controls, and the Air Knife user HAD to do Step 6 (Control the air pressure at the point of use) to keep their product from being blown clear off the conveyor..

But we’ll be happy to help you with optimizing your compressed air system using any or all of the Six Steps. Give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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