How Do I Estimate The Cost Of My Compressed Air?

Saving Money and Compressed Air

One of the best features of EXAIR products is the engineering behind the designs.  For example, our nozzles are designed to generate a maximum force possible per CFM of compressed air.  This means that the compressed air consumed by the device is at its maximum possible efficiency, which in turn reduces the compressed air demand in an application, reducing the cost of the solution.

But, how do you determine the cost of a compressed air driven product?

Step 1 – Quantify flow

The first step to determine compressed air cost is to quantify the flow rate of the product.  Most pneumatic equipment will have a spec sheet which you can reference to determine air consumption, but open pipe blowoffs and drilled holes won’t provide this type of information.  In those cases, or in any case where the compressed air flow is unknown or questionable, a compressed air flow meter can be used.  (We have Digital Flowmeters for use on compressed air piping, with or without data logging capability, and with serial or wireless communication.)

Step 2 – Calculate flow over time

Once the flow rate is known, it’s time to determine flow rates per day/week/month/year.  To do so, we will perform a bit of short and easy math.  What we will do, is use the known flow rate of the device, and multiply this by the total time in operation to determine daily, weekly, monthly, and annual usage rates.  For example:

A 1/8” open pipe blowoff will consume 70 SCFM.  In an 8 hour shift there are 480 minutes, resulting in a total consumption of 33,600 SCFM per 8 hour shift.

Step 3 – Determine cost

With a quantified flow rate, we can now determine the cost.  Many facilities will know the cost of their compressed air per CFM, but for those which don’t, a cost of ($0.25/1000 standard cubic feet) can be used.  This value is then multiplied by the total compressed air consumption from above, to give a quantified dollar amount to the compressed air driven device.

Using the flow rate from above:

If (1) shift is run per day, 5 days per week and 52 weeks per year, this open pipe blowoff will have an annual cost of $2,184.00.

Step 4 – Compare

At this point we know the real cost of the device.  The benefit to quantifying these flow rates, is when making a comparison to an alternative such as an engineered solution.  For example, if we were to replace the open pipe blowoff reference above with an EXAIR 1010SS 1/8” NPT nozzle, the compressed air demand would drop to 13 SCFM, yielding the following flow rates and costs:

If (1) shift is run per day, 5 days per week and 52 weeks per year, this open pipe blowoff will have an annual cost of $405.60.

Comparing these two solutions on an annual basis yields a difference of $1,778.40.  This means an air savings which correlates to $1,778.40 per year – just by replacing ONE open pipe blowoff with an engineered solution.  Replacing multiple open pipe blowoffs will yield repeat savings.

The 1010SS EXAIR Micro Air Nozzle

Determining the cost of a compressed air driven device can clarify the impact of a truly engineered solution.  If you have an interest in determining the cost of the compressed air devices in your facility, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help.

 

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Reducing Lubricant in a Blanking Operation

We recently chatted with a customer that was looking to improve the lubrication system for multiple blanking lines.  Blanking involves the cutting of sheet metal in a single step, to separate the piece form the surrounding stock. The part that is cut out is the desired product and  is called the ‘blank.’  This operation can be moderate to fast in speed, and the process creates heat, so a lubricant is used to cool and decrease the wear on the tooling.  Our customer was looking for a better way to apply the lubricant.

We proposed the model AN2010SS, a No Drip, internal mix, narrow angle, round fan Atomizing Nozzle.  The nozzle uses compressed air to create a mist of the liquid with very fine droplet size. When using for the  lubricant, a fine layer can be applied over the entire surface without areas of over coverage and waste.  This leads to lower costs for lubricant, and less mess on the blanks.

No Drip Atomizing Nozzle

No Drip Atomizing Nozzle

To simplify the process, the No Drip model was chosen. The No Drip style has the added benefit of positively stopping liquid flow when the compressed air is turned off.  There is no need to independently control the liquid flow via a control system and valve.

Finally, to control the compressed air side, we recommend the Electronic Flow Control (EFC.)  Utilizing a photoelectric sensor, the open position of the press can be detected and using 1 of many program options, the compressed air can be turned on and off to accurately control the application of the lubricant.  Due to the excessive amount of lubricant being used, the customer was applying every other cycle.  The first blank would be overly lubricated so that there would be some remaining for the next.  With the Atomizing Nozzle and EFC, the right amount of lubricant can be applied for each cycle.  The result is reduced lubricant usage, and a better operation.

EFCp4

If you have questions regarding Atomizing Nozzles or any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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PEEK Super Air Nozzles Resist Corrosion; Won’t Scratch Sensitive Surfaces

Because they might be needed in some pretty aggressive environments, EXAIR offers many of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products in a variety of materials. One particular material of construction, however, has two distinct benefits. PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone, for those of us who ruined the grading curve in CHEM102) plastic offers not only superior chemical corrosion resistance; it’s also non-marring. Since EXAIR introduced the first PEEK Super Air Nozzle in 2005, they’ve been specified all over the world; sometimes for their corrosion resistance; other times so they won’t mar or scratch sensitive surfaces…and every once in a while, for both.

I recently had the pleasure of discussing blow off applications with the production manager of a large anodizing & plating company. The chemicals used in these processes are extremely corrosive, and the equipment used in those areas has to be made of something that’ll handle it. PEEK plastic is just such a material. Also, once they’ve treated their customers’ parts, they need to handle them with care…they’re getting paid a premium to provide nice, shiny parts with a perfect finish. When they’re blowing them off, they need to use something that won’t scratch up the surface if the operator makes incidental contact with the blow off tip. Again, PEEK plastic is just such a material.  Since their existing blow offs were fitted to 1/8 NPT connections, they chose the Model 1102-PEEK Mini Super Air Nozzle.

EXAIR’s PEEK Super Air Nozzles can be mounted in place or on a Safety Air Gun, depending on your needs.

Corrosion resistant and non-marring…EXAIR offers our PEEK Super Air Nozzles in six sizes, from the Atto (M4x0.5 threads; 2.5 SCFM; 2 oz force applied) to our High Force Model 1104-PEEK (3/8 NPT threads; 35 SCFM; 1.9 lbs force applied) for an incredibly diverse range of applications.

If you’d like to discuss what material(s) of construction your application(s) require, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Engineered Air Nozzles Reduce Noise Levels and Outlet Pressure, Meeting OSHA Requirements

“My operators are complaining that our air guns are too loud, how can you help me?” – is a very common inquiry we receive here at EXAIR on almost a daily basis. Many open end blowoffs or air guns fitted with nozzles that have cross drilled relief holes create high pitch wind shear, resulting in excessive noise levels, sometimes exceeding 100+ dBA. This not only is a safety concern but also an OSHA violation.

Variety of Air Nozzles that produce dangerously loud noise levels

Loud noises and the length of exposure time can lead to significant health concerns such as long term hearing loss, increased stress levels and potential injury due to lack of concentration. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) as a way to protect workers from job related injuries associated to potentially dangerous sound levels. Per the Standard, at 90 dBA an operator is limited to a maximum of 8 hours of constant exposure. As noise levels increase, the allowable exposure time decreases, in some cases slowing production, costing a company on their bottom line.

 

EXAIR’s Air Nozzles are engineered so they entrain surrounding air across the profile of the nozzle, which produces a smoother airflow, ultimately reducing wind shear, resulting in much lower sound levels, meeting the OSHA Standard.

Illustration showing the air travel of our Super Air Nozzles

 

In addition, our Air Nozzles also meet the OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) for 30 PSI dead end pressure. All of our engineered Air Nozzles provide a relief or a safe path for the air to exit if the nozzle were to be blocked or pressed against an operator’s body so the exiting air pressure will never reach 30 PSIG.

All of EXAIR’s Air Nozzles are available with standard NPT threads to easily adapt to existing air guns. We also off our full line of Safety Air Guns which are fitted with our engineered nozzles, providing an “off-the-shelf” OSHA compliant solution. For help selecting the best product to replace your existing device or if you have a new application you would like to discuss, give us a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

EXAIR 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles – Little Things That Make a Big Difference

EXAIR 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle vs. other nozzles

I recently purchased a dart board to hang on the wall in my basement.  The dart board had a nice wood case with doors.  It also had some beautiful woodwork engraved along the outside edges.  When it arrived, I was so excited I decided to put it on the wall right then.  The wood case had four predefined holes that were 16” apart (to fit onto studs).  I got my tape measure, determined the correct height, and marked the points onto the studs.  As I ran the screw into the wall, I was about halfway into the stud, and the head of the screw broke.  That is correct!!!  It twisted right off the shank.  I was not happy.  I spent good money on a very nice dart board, and the screws were low quality and not tempered correctly.  The screws are only a fraction of the cost of the dart board, but they created a huge headache.  Now, I had to get the screw out and find new better quality screws to continue the process.

As an International Application Engineer for EXAIR, I have been to many facilities throughout the world with large automation systems inside their manufacturing plants.  I always wondered how much money was needed for the capital purchase to get a system created, assembled, and operational.  On many occasions when the customers brought me to their problem areas, I would see the flat plastic “duck-foot” nozzles.  They would be broken, ineffective, and loud.  They were looking for a recommendation to replace these plastic nozzles.  I know that their automation system cost much more than my dart board; but, I can relate to their headaches.

When you have an automated system that costs thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, the last thing you want is for nozzles that cost pennies compared to the full system to cause you headaches and problems.  EXAIR has effectively addressed this issue with the model 1122/1122SS 2” Flat Super Air Nozzles.  They are made either from zinc aluminum or stainless steel, not plastic.  This makes them very strong and durable.  With its unique design, they utilize shims which can be easily changed for different force requirements.  For stronger blowing applications, EXAIR also offers this same design in a high power version, model HP1125/HP1125SS.

This makes the 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle very versatile as you can purchase shim sets with different thickness in your kit.  Now you have more flexibility to “dial” in the correct performance for your application.  Another feature is the ability to draw in large amounts of ambient air to make them very quiet and efficient.  So, it will actually save you money by using less compressed air.  The sound level is only 77 dBA for the model 1122/1122SS, so it is not a noise nuisance.  They are OSHA compliant with noise level, 29CFR1910.95a, and  for dead-end pressure, 20CFR1910.242b.

Since the plastic nozzles break easily, they become very loud and unsafe for workers as they will not meet the OSHA standard.  If you need a durable, versatile, efficient, OSHA safe type of nozzle that will last a long time, the 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle is an easy choice over the plastic types of nozzles.  If you need help with mounting or positioning the nozzles, we have a line of accessories that can help.  We offer the Stay Set Hose, Magnetic Base, and Swivel Fittings to make it easy to mount and direct the nozzle for optimum performance.

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

If you have an automated system that is being contracted or if you are a machine builder, you will want to consider the EXAIR brand for your blow-off, cooling, and coating applications. With the overall cost of the system, you would not want to use poor quality plastic nozzles to save a couple of dollars.  In the long run, it will actually cost you more with loss of production, very loud noises, and an unsafe work environment.  I may have only broken one screw in hanging a dart board due to poor quality, but I can also relate to the unhappy feeling you get when your system is not performing because of low quality nozzles.   If you would like to try out the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles against a plastic nozzle, you can request an Application Engineer to help.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Replacing Unsafe Open Pipes with High Pressure Air Nozzles

Open pipes present unsafe working conditions and continuous pressure drops in compressed air systems

Let’s talk for a minute about pressure drops. Normally when the topic of pressure drops is raised, it comes in a context related to proper plumbing and volume supply.  (If there are significant pressure drops within a compressed air system, especially those which reduce volume flow, problems will arise with compressed air driven devices.)

But, there is another important aspect of pressure drops which relates to open pipe blow-off, a common homemade remedy for blow-off applications. This aspect has to do with the available compressed air pressure at the exhausting point from the pipe or nozzle.  In the case of an open pipe, it requires so much compressed air volume that, there can be a continuous pressure drop from the compressor to the open pipe.  However, when a nozzle is installed onto a compressed air pipe, there is a restriction to the flow and the entire pressure drop takes place across the nozzle.

What this means for the blow-off solution is a higher velocity blow-off and a more powerful force from the airflow, with less compressed air consumption.

To think of it another way, imagine the flow of water from your garden hose. If the hose is open-ended and the water is fully on, the flow will be high and the force will be low.  But, when you install a nozzle onto the end of the hose the flow reduces and the force increases.  This is because the pressure drop in the system is taking place across the nozzle rather than the entire system.

This type of a scenario was taking place in the image shown at the top of this blog. The plastic lines connected to the aluminum manifold were fully open on the end, providing a continuous pressure drop and poor blow-off performance.  This, coupled with the maximum operating pressure of similar types of hose being 35 PSI, led to a poor performance in this application.

The solution for this customer was to replace these open pipe blow-offs with EXAIR model 1126 Flat Super Air Nozzles and 12″ Stay Set Hoses, model 9262. The flat airflow of the 1126 Super Air Nozzles provide a highly efficient and forceful blow-off, and the Stay Set Hoses allow for articulation of the nozzles into any position needed.

By replacing these open pipes this customer saved compressed air, added safety (open pipes present an operating hazard per OSHA Standard CFR 1910.242(b)), and improved the performance of their operation.

If you have a similar application or would like to speak with someone about increasing the efficiency of your compressed air applications, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Getting A Little More Vacuum and Flow

Last week, a customer called and indicated that he was a long time user of the model 6013 High Velocity Air Jet.

6013

Model 6013 High Velocity Air Jet

The customer was using the Air Jet to remove light trim scrap from a manufacturing process. The Air Jets utilize the Coanda effect (wall attachment of a high velocity fluid) to produce air motion in their surroundings.  A small amount of compressed air to the Air Jet is throttled through an internal ring nozzle at speeds above sonic velocity.  In the above image, this produces a vacuum at the left side, pulling in large volumes of surrounding air. By utilizing this vacuum pull and ducting the right side exhaust, air and scrap stream to a collection area. The customer assembled a small, efficient, and inexpensive scrap removal system.

The reason the customer had called in was there were some recent changes to the manufacturing process and needed a bit more vacuum force and flow to handle larger scrap and longer travel. We explored using a larger shim, but they were already using the largest size (0.015″.) We talked about the other products that EXAIR offers (Air Amplifiers, Line Vacs) that are used for scrap removal and conveyance.  But with any change, there are usually other modifications and approvals that must be dealt with in order to proceed. So we hit upon the Adjustable Air Jet, which is an adjustable version of the model 6013.

6019

Model 6019 Adjustable Air Jet

The model 6019 Adjustable Air Jet utilizes an adjustable air gap in place of the fixed shim thickness.  This allows for greater air flow, which results in greater vacuum and conveyance distances. As is the case for many customers, we gathered some additional data to help this customer make a decision. We set up each of the units and tested them at maximum capabilities, and the model 6019 was shown to deliver upwards of 50% greater flow.  The customer felt certain this level of performance would handle what the changed process would require, and best of all, no modifications to any part of the set-up would be required, simply install the 6019 where the 6013 was currently placed.

The High Velocity Air Jet is also part of the model 1909 Blowoff Kit, and is also used in the model 8193 Ion Air Gun and model 8194 Ion Air Jet, for Static Elimination applications. Of course, each can be purchased as an individual item.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can make your process better, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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