Built to Last

The past few months many of our lives have been altered in some fashion due to COVID-19. Personally, my three daughters began staying home full time and attending school through distance learning.  I myself switched to working some alternate shifts which EXAIR changed to in order to optimize our availability to our customer base as well as protect our team members effectively. I know many in manufacturing that have been furloughed. Even worse, some have been forced to work in unsafe conditions.

All of this has made me thankful I am part of a team that cares about our employees first, and then we all work towards ensuring our customers are taken care of. Our new shift structure has also given me time to reflect on many aspects of my life.

When I was younger, like many kids, I always wanted something I received to be new. I didn’t want an older hand me down bicycle, I wanted new.  Little did I know I would reach a point in life where I prefer things to be a little older, a little more seasoned, even broken-in if you will.  The days are here where disposable is what everyone expects whenever they purchase anything. Repairable is often a thing of the past and or requires specialty tools and or software.  I’ve been recently working on lots of small engines from friends and family members yard equipment and recreational vehicles.

I’ve worked on a 1970’s era Stihl chainsaw that the only safety is the weight of the saw and an on/off toggle switch, up to an imported 4 wheeler that instead of buying a single piece or carburetor kit, most people throw them away and buy new.  Something about the older equipment makes me think I was born in the wrong era. The time of working hard for what you make and taking pride in products lasting a lifetime is often gone from consumer-grade products.  When carburetors are riveted together to make them faster and cheaper to assemble, but also not easily repairable, the chance of someone repairing it 40 years from now diminishes.

It could be that I am closer to 40 than I am to 30, however, I find that being able to source parts direct from a manufacturer as well as being able to get support direct from the manufacturer is something I desire. This could also be because this is how we do business at EXAIR. Our compressed air products all carry a 5 year Built to Last Warranty, we service them, sell replacement parts for them and take pride in their ability to last.

There are few items that I am okay with going a cheap route on, spare screwdrivers, you know the ones you use as pry bars and oil filter punches, and anything I know I am only going to use once and I am okay if it breaks as long as it is worth a laugh.  When I went to repair a weed eater for a neighbor I found the engine casing was plastic, there was barely anything to the motor and the lack of maintenance on his part as well as the ethanol in the fuel with lack of stabilizer had gummed up the entire fuel system.

This was a disposable weed eater and he admitted it wasn’t cheap but he also knew it wasn’t a big brand name. Experiencing this, made me laugh.  I went to my older weed eater that has seen many days. It was bought used at an auction. I gladly started it up for him and offered to loan it out whenever he needed. That weed eater was built to withstand its use. Parts are readily available and it is so popular there are many of the parts reproduced through third party factories pretending to be the company.

Next up on my project list may be the biggest project yet, a tiller that is far older than I am. This again has been brought on by the want for a healthy garden and the ability to also help neighbors and friends when they are ready for their gardens.  Rather than looking new, I started at the old, something I knew was built for hard work, and was ready for the task.  I doubt there is a single piece of aluminum on this thing, it has probably seen more sweat throughout its years than I have in my lifetime.  First, the research though.  Parts, service manuals, and then the negotiation of the purchase. (Both with my wife, and the seller. Separately of course.)

Here at EXAIR, we can get nostalgic over some of our products and processes as well. At the same time, we continuously flex and work with the matters a hand. If you have an old product of ours that you think may not be worthy of use, give us a call. With a few pictures and some information, our team of Application Engineers should be able to help determine if it is in good working order or not.  If we cannot determine from pictures, we can always receive the unit in and inspect it for you. In the event it is not in working condition, we more often than not can refurbish the unit and have you back up and running within a few days.  Our Super Air Knives are a product that often gets overlooked when they get covered in debris from a process. We can inspect them, clean them, and often restore them to flowing like a brand new knife.

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

 

Putting In The Work: No Matter Where

Last week I was on vacation with my wife’s family.  We had the good fortune of going to Lake Norman, NC and renting a house for everyone to stay in.   While vacation was on a lake and we all had a boat load of fun (mainly because we had a pontoon boat for a week).  Work still needed to get done.   This wasn’t work from the Application Engineering position here at EXAIR.  This work was physically more difficult.

This was training for an event I will be doing hopefully within the next year.  I’ve been attending a Tuesday morning workout for the past six months or so with two other men, who are both Marine veterans and I thank them for their service.  This work we put in on Tuesday morning and a few other random times throughout the week is all for the same events.   The events are put on by a company called GORUCK.  (Yes, just like EXAIR, it is all CAPS all the time, one word.)  These events are classified as endurance events and are lead by either an active or retired Special Forces cadre.  There are different versions but they are all heald to the same standard for participants.  Put in the work, rely on your team, and everyone will get through it together.

At most of the events very few people know each other that well.  This makes forming a team within the few hours you are together very difficult.  That is until you are under a time hack when everyone has their weighted ruck on their back, you have a few hundred extra pounds of sand bags to carry and because it is fun to watch the Cadre gives you a casualty that now has to be buddy carried.  The main focus is to get people of all walks of life, all abilities, all physical aptitudes to come together, build into one another, and make sure everyone is at the end getting a patch to wear on their ruck.

This is why, on every Tuesday I try to put in some hard work mixed in with a lot of stairs.   While I was on vacation and could have easily let that weekly training go, I didn’t.  Instead I got out a deck of cards for the number of reps to each exercise, grabbed a 60 lbs and 40 lb sandbag and went to the tallest section of stairs we had close by, the dock stairs.

While going through the exercises, panting and glistening (for those that don’t know that’s the fancy word for seriously sweating), my youngest daughter came down to “help” me workout.  The look on her face was at first confusion, then after a brief talk and explaining I am trying to better myself by doing this, she switched to full on support.

Burpees have never felt so good until you have a 4 year old cheering you on.  Once I was done with all of my reps and had made over 6 trips up and down the steps with the 60 lb. sandbag I carried my sandbags and followed her in to the house for some well deserved breakfast.

This work could have been easily pushed to the side and not completed.  Instead, I embraced it and did it.  I was going to do the work even if anyone wasn’t watching because I want to better myself so that I may better any team that I am part of.

This same level of dedication is put in to everything we do here at EXAIR.  Customer service, production, assembly, product design, order entry, accounting, and marketing all dedicate to ensure that we fill the needs of our customers because we want to become a strong part of their team.   Whether it means digging deeper on testing a product in order to get some data at different operating pressure, or creating a 100% custom product that we have never manufactured before, we dedicate to the customer and ensure that all possibilities are exhausted so that the customer and EXAIR can both succeed.

If you have any questions about how EXAIR can help your team to reduce compressed air consumption, increase plant efficiency, and save energy through compressed air usage, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Happy Labor Day!

To all of the hard working folks around the country…

Please enjoy the extra day off this Labor Day weekend. We hope you can relax, enjoy family and friends, and refresh your spirit.

EXAIR, too, will be closed on Monday to celebrate.

 

Image courtesy of Chris Hunkeler, Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Setting Goals, Achieving Results

The other day I was talking with my co-worker Russ Bowman about my oldest son’s recent string of success at school (okay I was bragging). I was telling him that the other night we were going over some of his schoolwork to get him ready for a science quiz he had the next day and how I was a little concerned because he was having some trouble retaining the information.

I spent an hour or so going over things with my son when I decided he was about as prepared as he was going to be for the test. When I picked him up the next day after work, the conversation went something like this:

Me: “So tell me dude, how’d you do on your science test today?”
Son: “I think I did OK dad, wasn’t too bad.”
Me: cringing a little… “Too bad huh? Well when do you find out your score?”
Son: “Next week sometime, BUT I did find out that I scored a 100 on my spelling test, for the TWENTIETH time in a row!”
Me: “Spelling test, you didn’t tell me about the spelling test??? You really got a 100 for the 20th consecutive time?”
Son: “Yup, so what do I get?”
Me: “What do you get? Sounds like you get an A+!!!”

Good job buddy!

 

When I was telling Russ this part of the story and sort of reliving the moment, it dawned on me (with a little help from Russ)….. you know what, getting a perfect score on a test, TWENTY times in a row is an awesome accomplishment for a 9 year old, maybe he does deserve something special for that. So I guess I’ll be heading to the sporting goods store in the very near future.

See, I don’t really have to worry about my son’s schoolwork because he takes it on himself to do well. In fact, he’s usually more upset with himself if he brings home anything less than an A. In 1st grade, he made what his school calls the “Administrator’s List” for elementary school students who maintain an A/B average and have great attendance. Last year in 2nd grade, he set a goal for himself to make the “Pastor’s List” which is the highest honor the school awards for students with a straight A average for the entire year and he made it happen! This year, he hopes to do it again and the way things are going, I think he’ll be just fine.

Here at EXAIR, our goal is to not only provide award-winning Intelligent Compressed Air Products® but also the best customer service in the industry. Whether it be by phone, email or our online chat, we make it easy for you to get in contact with a qualified representative to help provide the best solution for your needs. In addition, our cataloged products are in stock, ready to ship, and for the 22nd year in a row, we have maintained an on-time shipment record of 99.9%!

Whether you’re looking to upgrade an existing blowoff in order to lower noise or air consumption or you’d like to talk to an application engineer about solving a specific process problem, contact our team and let us get to work for you.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Big Thumbs Up image courtesy of Charles LeBlanc via creative commons