Why Use EXAIR Super Air Knives: Return on Investment

Return on Investment, or ROI, is the ratio of profit over total investment.  Many people use it to check stocks, financial markets, capital equipment, etc.  It is a quantitative way in determining the validity for an investment or project.   You can use the ROI value to give a measurable rate in looking at your investment.  For a positive ROI value, the project will pay for itself in less than one year.  Any negative values would represent a high-risk investment.  In this blog, I will compare the ROI between an EXAIR Super Air Knife to a common drilled pipe.  Let’s start by looking at Equation 1 to calculate the Return on Investment:

Equation 1:  ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Total Project Cost * 100

The Total Project Cost is the cost of the product with the labor to install.  In our example, we will use a 24” (610mm) wide blow-off device.  One device will be an inexpensive drilled pipe and the other will be a high-efficiency EXAIR Super Air Knife.  The drilled pipe had (48) 1/16” (1.6mm) diameter holes spaced ½” (13mm) apart.  EXAIR manufactures the model 110024 Super Air Knife with a .002” (.05mm) slot along the entire length.  Both have a blowing width of 24” to cover the conveyor.  The model 110024 has a retail price of $491.00 each.  The cost of the drilled pipe was around $50.00.  What a difference in price!  But, how could EXAIR remain a leader in this industry for over 35 years?

Let’s continue on with the Return on Investment.  The amount of time required to install the Super Air Knife across the conveyor only took a maintenance staff about one hour to mount.  The labor rate that I will use in this example is $75.00 per hour (you can change this to your current labor rate).  The labor cost to install the knife is $75.00.   The Total Project Cost can be calculated as follows: ($491 – $50) + $75.00 = $516.00.  The next part of the equation, Total annual savings, is a bit more in-depth, but the calculation is shown below.

Super Air Knife

EXAIR manufactures engineered products to be efficient and safe.  The Super Air Knife has a 40:1 amplification ratio which means that 40 parts of “free” ambient air is entrained for every 1 part of compressed air.  For comparison, the Super Air Knives are to compressed air systems as LED lightbulbs are to electricity.  In that same way, the drilled pipe would represent an incandescent lightbulb.  The reason for this analogy is because of the amount of energy that the EXAIR Super Air Knives can save.  While LED lightbulbs are a bit more expensive than the incandescent lightbulbs, the value for the Return on Investment is at a higher percentage, or in other words, a short payback period.  On the other hand, the drilled pipe is less expensive to make, but the overall cost for using it in your compressed air system is much higher.  I will explain how below.

To calculate the Total Annual Savings, we will use the same blow-off scenario as above.  The amount of compressed air used by the drilled pipe is around 174 SCFM (4,924 SLPM) at 60 PSIG (4.1 Bar).  The model 110024 Super Air Knife has an air consumption of 55.2 SCFM (1,563 SLPM) at 60 PSIG (4.1 Bar).  At an electrical rate of $0.08 per Kilowatt-hour, we can figure the cost to make compressed air.   Based on 4 SCFM per horsepower of air compressor, the electrical cost is $0.25 per 1000 standard cubic feet, or $0.25/1000SCF.  To calculate an annual savings, let’s use a blow-off operation of 8 hours/day for 250 days a year.   Replacing the drilled pipe with the model 110024 Super Air Knife, it will save you (174 SCFM – 55.2 SCFM) = 121.8 SCFM of compressed air.  To put this into a monetary value, the annual savings will be 121.8 SCFM *$0.25/1000SCF * 60 Min/hr * 8hr/day * 250 day/yr = $3,654 per year.

With the Total Annual Cost and the Project Cost known, we can insert these values into Equation 1 to calculate the ROI:

ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Project Cost * 100

ROI = ($3,654 – $516.00) / $516.00 * 100

ROI = 608%

With a percentage value that high, we are looking at a payback period of only 52 days.  You may look at the initial cost and be discouraged; but in a little over a month, the model 110024 will have paid for itself.  And after using it for one year, it will save your company $3,654.00.  Some things that may be overlooked are safety issues.  With some inexpensive blow-off devices, the noise levels are over the OSHA limits.  The drilled pipe had a noise level of 91 dBA while the Super Air Knife only had a noise level of 65 dBA.

In my experience, a loud blowing noise from your equipment is generally coming from an inefficient and safety-concerned product.  With these “cheap” ways to blow compressed air, it will cost your company a lot of money to use as shown in the example above.  If you would like to team up with EXAIR to set up ways to increase savings, improve productivity, and promote safety, an Application Engineer can help you to get started.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Which Air Nozzle Is Right For Me?

Well, the obvious answer is, of course, an engineered air nozzle…you’re likely aware of this, or you wouldn’t be reading posts on the EXAIR Corporation blog.  We have no issue with narrowing that down a bit, and saying that the answer is an EXAIR air nozzle.  I bet you knew that was coming as well.  So let’s assume that, because of the cost of compressed air, the potential hazards of its unregulated discharge, and the flat-out racket it can make (unless you do something about it,) you’re looking for something efficient, safe, and quiet.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s unpack that question.  The nature of the application will let us know the airflow pattern & characteristics (mainly flow & force) that we need.

For example, if you need just a pinpoint of airflow, our Atto Super Air Nozzle blows a 1/2″ diameter pattern at a distance of 3″.  Get a little closer than that, and it’s as tight as you want it to be.  Now, it’s only generating a force of 2oz (at 12″ away) but keep in mind that’s all concentrated in a small fraction of an inch diameter.  Which is plenty for most applications that need that precise of an airflow.

Atto Super Air Nozzle

If you DO need a little more flow & force, our Pico and Nano Super Air Nozzles offer incremental increases in performance.  The pattern starts to widen out, but that’s a function of the increased flow expanding in to atmospheric pressure…it has to go somewhere, you know.  But, again, the closer you get, the more focused the flow is to the centerline of the nozzle.

On the other end of the spectrum are EXAIR’s High Force Air Nozzles.  These are particularly useful for stubborn blowoff applications – a foundry blowing slag off hot strip as it cools, for example.  Our largest of these, a 1-1/4 NPT model, generates 23 lbs of force…that’s over 25 times the power of our standard Super Air Nozzle.

 

With 23 lbs of hard hitting force, this 1-1/4 NPT Super Air Nozzle is perfect for the most extreme blow off and cleaning jobs.

Speaking of the standard Super Air Nozzle, it’s the most popular answer to the Big Question.  It’s suitable for a wide range of blowoff, drying, and cooling applications, like the kinds of jobs an awful lot of folks use open end blowoff devices on.  Open ended tubes blow out a great amount of air, but they’re wasteful and noisy, and OSHA says you can’t use them unless you regulate the pressure to 30psig…where they’re not even going to be all that effective.

Choose from (top left to bottom right) 316SS, Zinc Aluminum, or PEEK Thermoplastic…whatever you need to stand up to the rigors of your environment.

If you’ve got a 1/4″ copper tube, for example, it’ll use 33 SCFM when supplied with compressed air at 80psig.  It’ll for sure get the job done (albeit expensively, when you think of all that compressed air consumption,) but it’ll be loud (likely well over 100 dBA) and again, OSHA says you can’t use it at that pressure.  So, you can dial it down to 30psig, where it’ll be marginally effective, but it’s still going to use more air than the Model 1100 1/4 NPT Super Air Nozzle does at 80psig supply pressure.  The hard hitting force of the Model 1100, under those conditions, will make all the difference in the world.  As will its sound level of only 74 dBA.  Not to mention, it’s fully compliant with OSHA 1910.242(b).  Oh…and you can even install it directly on the end of your existing tube with a simple compression fitting.

One of our customers installed Model 1100 Super Air Nozzles on all their lathe blowoff copper tubes, and saved almost $900 a year in compressed air costs.

We’ve also got engineered Air Nozzles smaller than the 1100 (all the way down to the aforementioned Atto Super Air Nozzle) and a good selection of larger ones, including Cluster Air Nozzles that hold tighter airflow patterns than similar performing single Super Air Nozzles.  They’re available in materials ranging from Zinc-Aluminum alloy, bare aluminum, brass, 303SS, 316SS, or PEEK thermoplastic polymer to meet the requirements of most any area of installation, no matter how typical or aggressive.

If you have an loud, wasteful, and likely unsafe blowoff, you owe it to yourself and everyone else who has to put up with it to consider a better solution.  Call me; let’s talk.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Controlling Compressed Air can be Easy, and Save Thousands of Dollars

The history of automated controls can be traced back to inventors in ancient Greece & Egypt, who sought ways to keep more accurate track of time than afforded by sundials and hourglasses.  Their efforts, dating as far back as 300BC, produced devices actuated by water flow, which is actually quite reliable and repeatable: a set amount of water will flow via gravity through a fixed conduit in the exact same amount of time, every time.  These were in fairly common use until the invention of the mechanical clock in the 14th century.

The Industrial Revolution grew the need for automated processes exponentially…the need to control objects or tooling in motion, fluid flow, temperature, and pressure, just to name a few.  As time passed, the sky was literally the limit: modern aircraft & spacecraft rely on a staggering amount of automated processes from production to operation.

All throughout history, though, the benefits of automation remain the same: making processes more efficient.  That’s where the EXAIR EFC Electronic Flow Control comes in, for automating processes involving compressed air use, by turning air flow off when it’s not needed.  In fact, not only do they provide simple on/off control to blow only when a part is “seen” by the photoelectric sensor, there are eight distinct modes to incorporate delay on or off, flicker on or off, signal on/off delay, interval, or “One-Shot,” where the sensor detects the part, delays opening the valve per the timer setting, and blows for one second.

EFC Electronic Flow Control Systems are already assembled & wired for quick & easy installation.

The EXAIR EFC Electronic Flow Control is a true “plug and play” solution for automating a compressed air application.  Mount the sensor, plumb the valve, plug it in, and you’re ready to go.  There’s no complicated PLC wiring or programming, although the aforementioned mode selections do offer a great deal of flexibility other than “on when the sensor sees it; off when it doesn’t” operation, if desired.  Here are some prime examples of that flexibility, and the monetary benefits due to the compressed air consumption savings:

(Left) On/Off Delay setting used in tank refurbishment application to operate a “halo” of Super Air Knives for blow off as tanks exit oven where old paint is burnt off – $3,393 annual air savings. (Center) Interval setting actuates a Super Ion Air Knife for flat panel display dust blow off/static elimination – $2,045 annual air savings. (Right) Interval setting actuates a “halo” of Super Ion Air Knives to clean & remove static charge from plastic automotive bumper covers prior to painting – $5012 annual savings.

If you’d like to find out more about the EFC Electronic Flow Control can save you time, air, and money, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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EXAIR Products in Construction Industry: Super Air Knife Helps Steel Door Drying

A manufacturer of both residential and commercial steel doors used in the construction industry recently contacted me for help with an application in their manufacturing process. They make a wide variety of exterior and interior doors as well as some custom doors that are sold to builders across the country.

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The raw material for the doors is formed, assembled, and welded together before it is then taken to a finishing step that involves grinding down the welds and sanding any rough spots on the door down to a smooth finish. This smooth finish creates a clean look and also helps with the application of paint at the end of the process.

After finishing, the doors are hung on an overhead conveyor where they pass through a machine that cleans off all of the surfaces and remain hanging until they dry. This air drying prevented them from continuously operating as they’d have to wait at least 10 minutes until the doors dried before they could apply any paint. In the summer, humid conditions in their plant further increased the time the doors took to air dry.

110048PKI
Super Air Knife w/ Plumbing Kit Installed

Rather than waiting to dry, they wanted to blow off any remaining water from both sides of the door just after the washing operation. The solution was to install (2) Model 110048PKI Super Air Knives on either side of the door to blow off residual water as it moved along the conveyor. Since the spacing in between doors was 12’, they didn’t want to have to operate the knives continuously and waste unnecessary compressed air.

With the doors traveling slowly at about 30 ft/min and a significant space in between them, they also went with a Model 9064 Electronic Flow Controller to keep the air on only when necessary. A standard door height is just under 7′. At the speed they were traveling, it would take roughly 14 seconds for each door to pass through the flow of the knives while 24 seconds pass with no door.

With a minimum 10 minute dry time without the Super Air Knives, the overall drying time was reduced to 38 seconds. That’s a 93.6% improvement in the overall time of their drying process! By improving the drying process, they were able to increase their production to 100 doors per 8-hr shift.

(2) 48″ Super Air Knives operating continuously at 80 PSIG would require 278.4 SCFM of compressed air. The average cost of compressed air is $0.25/1000 SCF. So what did this cost when operating continuously with a 38 second blowoff time?

0.633 min x 278.4 SCFM = 176 SCF/door

176 SCF x 100 doors per shift = 17,600 SCF

17600 SCF x ($0.25/ 1000 SCF) = $4.40/ 8 hr shift

Over the course of a year that equates to $1,144 in operating costs. With the EFC implemented, the blowoff time was reduced to just 14 seconds per door.

0.233 min x 278.4 SCFM = 65 SCF/door

65 SCF x 100 doors per shift = 6500 SCF

6500 SCF x ($0.25/1000 SCF) = $1.63/ 8 hr shift

Not only were they able to increase their production rate by implementing the Super Air Knife, but by taking it one step further with the EFC they reduced the overall operating costs for a full year to just $423.80.

efc_heroi

If you have a similar application in the construction industry and would like to speak to an Application Engineer please give us a call!

Tyler Daniel
EXAIR Corporation
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Door photo courtesy of ErikaWittlieb via Pixabay

EXAIR Air Nozzles And Jets: Quiet, Efficient, and Safe Solutions For Blow Off

Compressed air, as a utility, dates back to ancient Egypt, where metal alloy production was enhanced by using bellows devices to force air into furnaces in order to generate the extremely high temperatures needed to meld iron ores.  Major industrial use began in the mid-19th century, as pneumatic drills became popular for tunneling and mining operations.  With the development and large scale production of the modern air compressor in the 20th century, many other uses for compressed air were discovered.

Among the most prevalent of these additional applications is cleaning & blow off.  Mechanical or chemical methods such as washing, scrubbing, brushing, wiping, etc. often take time and considerable effort, when a quick blast of high velocity air from a pressurized source can make quick work of debris and/or moisture removal.  Thing is, unfettered discharge of high pressure air without concern for safety or efficiency has consequences:

  • Open end blow offs without a relief path for the air in case the device is dead ended, can have enough energy to break the skin, causing a dangerous and potentially fatal condition known as an air embolism.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifically addresses this danger in 29 CFR 1910.242(b).
  • They’re also incredibly loud, usually higher than 100 decibels, which exceeds OSHA’s noise exposure limits per 29 CFR 1910.95(a).
  • As if that wasn’t enough, they can waste an awful lot of compressed air too.  The U.S. Department of Energy even goes so far as to classify it as an Inappropriate Use of Compressed Air.

Given these drawbacks, you might wonder why ANYONE would do such a thing!  Well, that’s the nature of our business at EXAIR Corporation: manufacturing quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products for industry.  Among these are the first engineered products developed by EXAIR:  Air Nozzles and Jets.  No matter what your blow off needs are, we’ve got a solution.  Consider:

  • Performance.  With 73 distinct models to choose from, EXAIR can provide blow off solutions from the pin-pointed precision of our Atto Super Air Nozzle (uses 2.5 SCFM, generates 2 oz of force) to our High Force 1-1/4 NPT Super Air Nozzle (uses 460 SCFM, generates 23 lbs of force.)

    From the Atto Super Air Nozzle’s 2.5 oz pinpoint focus of air flow to the Model 1121’s 23 pounds of force blast, EXAIR has 73 distinct models to choose from.
  • Durability.  Some environments where blow off is required are downright aggressive: high heat, exposure to corrosive chemicals, etc.  With these situations in mind, we offer Air Nozzles & Jets in a variety of materials of construction, as shown to the right:
    • Zinc Aluminum alloy
    • Types 303 and 316 Stainless Steel
    • PEEK (polyether ether ketone) thermoplastic
    • Aluminum
    • Brass
  • Range of operation.  Any blow off device’s performance can be varied by regulating the compressed air supply pressure.  EXAIR offers several products with even greater ability for change:
    • The Model 1009 (Aluminum) and 1009SS (303SS) Adjustable Air Nozzles have a micrometer-like dial that allows you to very precisely set the flow & force to exact requirements.
    • Adjustable Air Jet Models 6019 (brass) and 6019SS (303SS) feature similar operation with a micrometer-like gap adjuster/indicator.
    • Our 1″ and 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles (available in Zinc Aluminum or 316SS) have a replaceable shim.  The standard models have a 0.015″ thick shim installed, and the High Power models have 0.025″ thick shims.  We also offer individual shims, and sets, ranging from 0.005″ to 0.030″ thicknesses.
    • High Velocity Air Jets come in brass or 303SS, and also have replaceable shims.  The one that comes installed is 0.015″ thick.  The Shim Set gives you a 0.006″ and 0.009″ shim.

      Adjustable Air Nozzles & Jets (left) feature micrometer-type adjustment; Flat Super Air Nozzles and the High Velocity Air Jet (right) have replaceable shims to vary performance.
  • Function. Most of our Air Nozzles generate a high velocity air stream coming straight from its end.  We’ve also engineered some nozzles for specific applications:
    • Model 1144 2″ Super Air Scraper is our popular 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with a corrosion resistant scraper blade, making quick work of removing stubborn materials like tape, gaskets, labels, grease, paint, or sealant.  It’s particularly handy when installed on a Soft Grip Safety Air Gun with an appropriate length of pipe extension.
    • Back Blow Air Nozzles are made to clean out inside diameters or blind holes.  Three sizes are available for ID’s of 1/4″ to 16″.

If you’d like to find out more about how EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can help you get the most out of your compressed air system, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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EXAIR’s Long Super Air Knives Dry Auto Bodies

I was recently contacted by an automobile manufacturer that was looking for a quote for a system of Super Air Knives for a current process they were replicating at a new facility. The customer had an existing application where they’re using the Super Air Knife to dry the body of the car after a washing operation and before it enters into an oven. Any large water droplets remaining when the body enters the oven cause water spots that must then be cleaned off, adding an additional step in their process.

SAK car blowoff2

The solution was working well to dry the bodies, they just needed a quote so that they could implement the very same process in the new plant. As this was an installation that had been in place for many years, they had an older style of Long Super Air Knife that consisted of two shorter knives coupled together. In 2014, EXAIR began manufacturing our Long Super Air Knives in one single piece (available from stock up to 108”!!).

So, now, rather than having two individually coupled knives they could order (1) single 84” knife with a consistent flow all the way across and no dead spots. They ordered one for the top, one for each side and replicated the already successful application.

EXAIR’s industry leading Super Air Knife dramatically reduces compressed air usage and noise when compared to other blowoff methods. The Super Air Knife is available in lengths ranging from 3”-108” and in Aluminum, 303 Stainless Steel, 316 Stainless Steel, and PVDF for corrosive applications. Even at high pressures of 80 psig, the Super Air Knife is able to maintain a sound level of just 69 dBA for most applications! Air is entrained from the ambient environment at a rate of 40:1, maximizing the force and flow from the Super Air Knife. In addition, these knives meet or exceed OSHA maximum dead-end pressure and noise requirements.

Adjustability of both the force and flow from the Super Air Knife is infinitely adjustable. Right out of the box from the factory the Super Air Knife comes stock with a .002” thick shim installed. This sets the gap between the body and cap of the knife and determines how much compressed air can flow through the precise, slotted orifice.

An accessory that EXAIR has available for the Super Air Knife is the shim set. For the aluminum knives, a .001”, .003”, and .004” plastic shims come in the shim set. To reduce the flow and force, a .001” can be used. If more force is required, a thicker shim can be installed. For the stainless steel and PVDF knives, (3) .002” shims are included in the set. Stainless steel shims for the stainless knives and a PTFE shim for the PVDF. These, as well as the plastic shims, can be stacked on top of one another to create an even larger gap. One thing that is important to keep in mind however, the larger the air gap the greater the air consumption. Installing a .004” shim in a Super Air Knife will double the force, flow, and consumption of the knife when compared to the stock .002” shim.

If you have a new application (or need to replicate an existing one) for the Super Air Knife, don’t hesitate to reach out to an EXAIR Application Engineer for assistance. With a highly-trained team coming from multiple different industry backgrounds, we’re ready to help.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Steps to Find Compressed Air Leaks in your Facility

The Second Step to optimize your compressed air system is to Find and fix leaks in your compressed air system. The reason leaks are important to find and fix is because they can account for 20-30% of a compressors total output. A compressed air leak fixing process can save 10-20% of that lost volume.

6-steps-from-catalog

Unintentional leaks will result in increased maintenance issues and can be found in any part of a compressed air system. Leaks can be found at a poorly sealed fitting, quick disconnects and even right through old or poorly maintained supply piping. Good practice will be to develop an ongoing leak detection program.

The critical steps needed for an effective leak detection program are as follows:

  1. Get a foundation (baseline) for your compressed air use so you have something to compare once you begin eliminating leaks. This will allow you to quantify the savings.
  2. Estimate how much air you are currently losing to air leaks. This can be done by using one of two methods.
    • Load/Unload systems, where T= Time fully loaded and t=Time fully unloaded:
        • Leakage percent = T x 100
          ——
          (T + t)
    • Systems with other controls where V=cubic feet, P1 and P2=PSIG, and T=minutes
        • Leakage = V x (P1-P2) x 1.25
          ————–
          T x 14.7
  3. Know your cost of compressed air so you can provide effectiveness of the leak fixing process.
  4. Find, Document and Fix the leaks. Start by fixing the worst offenders, fix the largest leaks. Document both the leaks found and the leaks fixed which can help illustrate problem areas or repeat offenders, which could indicate other problems within the system.
  5. Compare the baseline to your final results.
  6. Repeat. We know you didn’t want to hear this but it will be necessary to continue an efficient compressed air system in your plant.

EXAIR has a tool to assist you in finding these leaks throughout your facility, the Ultrasonic Leak Detector. Check one of our other Blogs here, to see how it works!

Leak Detector

 

If you’d like to discuss how to get the most out of your compressed air system – or our products – give me a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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