Safety, Efficiency, and Production Improvements

Last week, I received an email from a satisfied customer, after he had already purchased our product.  Come to find out this customer had not spoken to an application engineer during the planning stage to make their purchase. With our excellent resources listed at EXAIR.com, the customer was able to fulfill his application without even speaking to us. After his initial email of thanks, he also shared with me some details of his application that I want to share with you today.

The customer works as a machinist at a large aircraft part manufacturer. The parts require a very tight tolerance. A sample of each part needed to be gauged and measured in an automatic thread gauging machine or a coordinate-measuring machine (CMM). Their machining process required a water based flood coolant, so each part would be coated in water based coolant and chips, which needed to be remove before gauging. Before visiting EXAIR’s site, the company used a variety of homemade and commercial blow offs, as safety air gun tips. Here is a photo of (20) of the (25) nozzles the customer was using.

Aircraft manufacturer's obsolete nozzles

As you can see, the nozzles vary in design purpose, flow and safety. Most of the nozzles feature a cross drilled hole or a secondary escape path, but not all of the nozzles do. Any nozzle without a secondary relief port violates OSHA standard CFR 1910.242(b), so replacing some of the nozzles increased the safety in the plant. Secondly, these nozzles are wasteful in their use of compressed air because some were designed as liquid nozzles and have large exit holes. A hole that is 1/8″ in diameter at the nozzle outlet can consume up to 21.4 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG. For comparison, the model 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzle with a 1/8″ NPT inlet will flow 10 SCFM at 80 PSIG, which would be a 53% compressed air savings. In 24 running hours, the 1103 nozzle will save 16,416 Standard Cubic Feet, which the plant spent $4.10 for a standard industrial compressor to produce (The standard for compressed air cost is $0.25 per 1,000 SCF). Replacing just one 1/8″ drilled hole with 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzle saves the aircraft company $1,026 over 250 working days running 24 hours a day.

Neither of these were the real reason that the customer emailed to thank us though. He was actually an office employee just entering the work force.  Starting in June until after the company finally acquiesced to his request to buy a better, quieter nozzle near the end of July, he had left work needing an aspirin to relieve the headache he acquired due to the noise from these other nozzles. The nozzles the machining center had been using would create noise levels between 88-100 dBA at 80 PSIG of inlet pressure. For reference OSHA mandates that employees are required to wear hearing protection, if they are exposed to noise levels over 90 dBA over an 8 hour work day.  The employees doing the machining wear hearing protection, but the employees in the office were still exposed and affected by the noise level.  This is just one anecdotal example, but everyday more and more research shows that noise exposure has a negative effect on our health and productivity in the workplace.  If you are interested in more information here are some links to a number of studies/research – please read this, here or this.

Anyway, that’s enough of my soapbox. The company purchased 25 of EXAIR’s 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzles and utilizing the same guns they were currently using saw between a 10-15 dBA decrease in noise levels near the work stations. Here is a photo of one of their setups with the model 1103 installed on one of their current air guns.

Nozzle Replacement
The 1103 Super Air Nozzle is an engineered solution to replace a plethora of commercial nozzles. It was a simple and cost effective retrofit which increased the comfort of employees.

 

We know that every time they squeeze that air gun trigger they will be using less compressed air than before, and we know they are now in compliance with OSHA. But the best benefit for EXAIR is we know that the engineer took the time to email us to thank us for taking away his headache everyday.  That’s enough for me.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

 

 

EXAIR Super Air Knife: Reduce Cost, Reduce Noise, Increase Safety

This question from end user’s comes up again and again:

“I know EXAIR makes Air Knives. Do you have one for this application?”

We can answer, almost unequivocally, with a resounding “YES!” Whether we can meet the needs of the application with a stock product, or through manufacturing a specially made unit, we make every effort to provide the needed solution.

Super Air Knife Replaces Drilled Pipe Blow Off

Case in point, in the application above, a specific length Air Knife was desired to remove debris from material as it goes into a processing chamber. The current setup (outlined in red)  uses drilled holes in a section of pipe which are costly, loud, and unsafe.

How costly, you ask? Our customer stated this knife was 100″ long with 3/32″ holes on 2″ centers (50 holes). EXAIR test results on 3/32″ drilled holes confirm 15 SCFM per hole at 80 PSIG inlet pressure. The customer also estimates this drilled pipe operates for a total of 1 hour every day, 250 days per year. Using $0.25 per 1000 SCFM we can calculate the following:

  • 50 holes x 15 SCFM = 750 SCFM at 80 PSIG
  • 750 SCFM x 60 minutes per day = 45,000 SCF per day
  • 45,000 SCF x 250 days = 11,250,000 SCF per year
  • 11,250,000/1000 x $0.25 = $2812.50 cost per year

How loud, you ask? Our customer confirmed all personnel near the application were require to wear ear protection at all times. Though they were unable to provide a decibel (dBA) level, the need for hearing protection would indicate this pipe was operating in excess of 100 dBA.

How unsafe, you ask? Air can be dangerous when the outlet pressure of a hole is greater than 30 PSIG. In the event any of the holes were blocked by a hand or other body part, air may enter the bloodstream through the skin, resulting in serious injury. All of the Air Knives manufactured by EXAIR have been engineered for safety. They are all safe to be supplied with higher pressure compressed air and meet OSHA standard CFR 1910.242(b). Drilled holes in a pipe DO NOT MEET this OSHA standard.

Initially, discussions with this end user focused on a custom length, custom built Super Air Knife. Given the dimensions of the processing environment, we determined the desired length and the end user was thrilled we could not only make to their specifications, but offer 3 day delivery as well.

As the discussion carried on, we realized that the special length Super Air Knife, while applicable, was not a critical requirement for the application. With this new consideration, a stock length knife was chosen, and just like any stock EXAIR product, we had it on the shelf, ready to ship the same day.

This application highlights several benefits of the EXAIR Super Air Knife solution – compressed air savings, noise reduction, providing safety, and quick delivery. EXAIR Super Air Knives solve multiple problems for end users and OEM’s in a variety of applications.

Compressed Air Savings: 

  • 96″ knife with 2.9 SCFM per inch consumption at 80 PSIG = 278.4 SCFM at 80 PSIG
  • 278.4 x 60 minutes per day = 16,704 SCF per day
  • 16,704 SCF x 250 days = 4,176,000 SCF per year
  • 4,176,000/1000 x $0.25 = $1044 cost per year
  • $2812.50 (drilled pipe annual air cost) – $1044 (EXAIR 96″ Super Air Knife air cost) = $1768.50 SAVINGS the first year!

Noise levels reduced to under 80 dBA. 

SAFETY: EXAIR Super Air Knives meet the OSHA standard CFR 1910.242(b).

Switching this customer over to an engineered solution provided a win in these three important areas of any operation. If assistance is needed determining which Super Air Knife best suits your application, contact an Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Can Fish Hear & Other Noise Exposure Facts?

When I was visiting a supplier in Japan, our host was extremely proud of their koi pond and wanted to demonstrate something. He took us to the pond’s edge and clapped his hands. From the murky depths of the pond emerged huge koi breaking the surface with open mouths. As their reward, he tossed them a handful of fish food.

While everyone else was enamored with his ability to have trained the fish, I was awestruck with the fact that they could hear the sound of clapping deep down into the pond. No wonder dad kept telling me to be quiet or you will scare the fish away.

According to the National Wildlife Federation fish don’t have ears that we can see, but they do have ear parts inside their heads. They pick up sounds in the water through the lateral lines that runs down each side of its body and transmitted to their internal ear.

While human auditory abilities may not be as sensitive as the rest of the animal kingdom, the inner workings of our ears are very sensitive easily damaged. Listening to loud noise for long periods of time can damage the hair cells in the inner ear. Noise-induced hearing loss usually develops gradually and painlessly. We live in a noisy world and hearing loss among Americans is significant. According to the Center for Hearing and Communications, approximately 12% of the U.S. population or 38 million Americans have a significant hearing loss.

For 30 years EXAIR has been designing and manufacturing compressed Super Air Nozzles, jets, knives, and amplifiers that significantly reduce sound levels and compressed air costs. Protect your hearing as well as your employee’s and save money by contacting our application engineers and they will show you how.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax   (513) 671-3363
Web: www.exair.com
Twitter: EXAIR_JP

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Preventing Hearing Loss with Engineered Nozzles

My latest hearing test shows that I have had some hearing loss. Some would say that it could be contributed to 43 years of marriage. Others would say it was too many rock concerts. Its more likely from my exposure to loud machinery.

Every year, approximately 30 million people in the United States are  exposed to hazardous noise in the workplace. Noise-related hearing loss has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States for more than 25 years. Thousands of workers every year suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. Since 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly 125,000 workers have suffered significant, permanent hearing loss. In 2009 alone, BLS reported more than 21,000 hearing loss cases.

Exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Neither surgery nor a hearing aid can help correct this type of hearing loss. Short term exposure to loud noise can also cause a temporary change in hearing (your ears may feel stuffed up) or a ringing in your ears (tinnitus). These short-term problems may go away within a few minutes or hours after leaving the noisy area. However, repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss. (ref. dept. of labor)

In previous posts I talked about the compressed air savings EXAIR’s engineered nozzles produced. But, they not only save air, they also provide a significant noise reduction. An open 1/4″ copper tube will exceed 100 dBA.  EXAIR engineered nozzles will operate at a quiet 71 dBA.Capture

I did an application for an automotive plant with transfer machines milling and drilling engine blocks. The noise was intense; hearing protection was required the moment you walked into the facility.  We retrofitted their entire plant blow offs with super nozzles and air knives. The sound levels of the environment were reduced so much, that hearing protection was no longer required.

A month after the nozzles were installed, I got a call from the corporate facilities manager. He asked me what is was I did in that plant because he was able to take a 100 horsepower air compressor offline; sound reduction AND air savings!

This is just one story of many where EXAIR has been able to conserve compressed air and provide a safer working environment.

We would like to help you with your compressed air projects. Call our engineers at 1-800-903-9247

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax (513) 671-3363
Web: http://www.exair.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/exair_jp
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Common Sense…Of Hearing

When I was eight years old, on one very special Saturday morning every month, my Dad would take me and my brother to downtown Cincinnati, where we’d have breakfast and visit the Carew Tower, which, until earlier this year, was the tallest building in the city. We always went to the observation deck, regardless of the weather. Those trips were among the greatest father/sons moments in history, I’m convinced. I got to see my Dad, a simple country man who was completely out of his element in this urban setting, approach a beggar and slip him some change. With that, I learned about discreet charity and unpretentious humility. One particularly unforgettable morning, over pancakes at our usual diner stop, my Dad noticed that Johnny Bench was sitting two booths down, and encouraged my brother and me to go say hi. Now, this was 1975, when the Big Red Machine was invincible, and Mr. Bench was the Most Important Man In The World. He made me feel like the Most Important Kid In The World that morning, so I thank him…and my Dad…for that.

My Dad was a master of finding, and exploiting, the proverbial silver lining…see, the reason he was making these exciting monthly treks to the Big City was because he was losing his hearing, and was getting his new hearing aids “tuned in” at his doctor’s office, which was located in the Carew Tower. He never let the dark cloud of going deaf get in the way of providing a few hours of excitement and adventure for his sons.

His hearing worsened to a point past the usefulness of hearing aids, and it became a genuine quality-of-life issue in his last few years. I’m serious about preserving my hearing, and being a self-appointed advocate for hearing protection, because of this. OSHA has published a table of Permissible Noise Exposures, which anyone who is regularly exposed to above-conversation-levels of noise should be familiar with. If you wear hearing protection religiously in these environments, good for you. If you don’t, it’s never too late to start.

Compressed air is a notorious source of noise in commercial and industrial environments. Joe Panfalone wrote about the harmful effects of noise pollution in a recent post, and he detailed typical noise levels associated with sources that most of us are familiar with. Contrasting these with OSHA’s limits can put a lot into perspective.

If you know the noise levels you’re subjected to, that’s great. Use that to determine when/where you need to use hearing protection. If you don’t know your environmental sound levels, EXAIR can help. Our Digital Sound Level Meter is easy to use, and allows you to measure and monitor the sound level in your environment. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Additionally, the sound levels of many of our products are published in our catalog. Products like our Air Knives and Super Air Nozzles are specifically designed with sound level reduction in mind. They’re also engineered to maximize efficiency, so, in a lot of cases, you can turn down the supply pressure, decreasing the sound level further.

Our sense of hearing is a good thing. Too good to ignore the simple steps it takes to preserve it. If you want to discuss how EXAIR products can help reduce your noise levels, you’ve got my undivided attention. Call me.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.exair.com
Blog: http://blog.exair.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair