Compressed Air Uses In Industry

From pneumatic hand tools like impact wrenches or nail guns to larger scale industrial applications like stamping presses, the use of compressed air can be found in almost any industry. In fact, it is often referred to as a “fourth utility” next to water, gas and electric.

Compressed air is used in virtually every industry!

 

Take for example in construction, workers will use a pneumatic riveter to join steel framing because of the power generated by the tool over an electrically powered device, not to mention it provides for a safer operation by removing an electrical hazard. Many companies use compressed air operated diaphragm pumps or air motor driven pumps to move expensive or viscous liquid from one location to another. These types of pumps are self priming drawing the liquid in and provide positive displacement meaning they fill and empty the liquid chamber with the same amount of liquid through a common inlet and outlet.

Amusement parks have used compressed air in some capacity in the operation of thrill rides like roller coasters or to enhance the effect of certain attractions. Compressed air can be found in hospitals where it is used for specialized breathing treatments or to power surgical instruments in an operating room. Educational facilities use compressed air for laboratory testing. You can even find compressed air in the tires on your car. Basically, when you think about it, compressed air is being used just about anywhere.

Here at EXAIR, we manufacture Intelligent Compressed Air Products to help improve the efficiency in a wide variety of industrial operations. Whether you are looking to coat a surface with an atomized mist of liquid, conserve compressed air use and energy, cool an electrical enclosure, convey parts or dry material from one location to another or clean a conveyor belt or web, chances are we have a product that will fit your specific need.

EXAIR has been providing engineered solutions since 1983.

 

To discuss your particular application or for help selecting the best product, contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Compressed Air Valves image courtesy of Shane Gorski via creative commons license.

Compressed Air Filtration – Particulate, Coalescing, and Adsorption Types

Compressed air systems will contain contaminants that can lead to issues and increased costs through contamination of product, damage to the air operated devices, and air line clogging and restriction. Proper air preparation is critical to optimizing performance throughout the plant operations.

Because there are different types of contaminants, including solid particles, liquid water, and vapors of water and oil, there are different methods of filtration, each best suited for maximum efficiency in contaminant removal.

Particulate Filters – The compressed air flows from outside to inside of the filter element. The compressed air first passes through a baffle arrangement which causes centrifugal separation of the largest particles and liquid drops (but not liquid vapors), and then the air passes through the filter element.  The filter element is usually a sintered material such as bronze.  The filter elements are inexpensive and easy to replace. Filtration down to 40-5 micron is possible.

9001

Particulate Type Filter with Sintered Bronze Element

Coalescing Filters – This type operates differently from the particulate type.  The compressed air flows from inside to outside through a coalescing media. The very fine water and oil aerosols come into contact with fibers in the filter media, and as they collect, they coalesce (combine) to form larger droplets towards the outside of the filter element. When the droplet size is enough the drops fall off and collect at the bottom of the filter housing.  The filter element is typically made up of some type glass fibers.  The coalescing filter elements are also relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. Filtration down to 0.01 micron at 99.999% efficiency is possible.

9005

Coalescing Type Filter with Borosilicate Glass Fiber Element

Adsorption Filters – In this type of filtration, activated carbon is typically used, and the finest oil vapors, hydrocarbon residues, and odors can be be removed.  The mechanism of filtration is that the molecules of the gas or liquid adhere to the surface of the activated carbon.  This is usually the final stage of filtration, and is only required for certain applications where the product would be affected such as blow molding or food processing.

When you work with us in selecting an EXAIR product, such as a Super Air Knife, Super Air Amplifier, or Vortex Tube, your application engineer can recommend the appropriate type of filtration needed to keep the EXAIR product operating at maximum efficiency with minimal disruption due to contaminant build up and unnecessary cleaning.

If you have questions regarding compressed air filtration 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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Video Blog: Which EXAIR Air Knife Is Right For You?

The following short video explains the differences between the 3 styles of Air Knives offered by EXAIR – The Super, Standard and Full-Flow. All of these Models are IN STOCK, ready to ship, with orders received by 3:00 PM Eastern.

If you need additional assistance choosing your EXAIR Air Knife, please contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

Survey Says…Many Customers Have Similar Concerns

Family Feud

After the busy and enjoyable long weekend I have found myself looking back through some logs and have compiled a brief list of the most common issues we receive from Consultants on their customers’ compressed air systems.  The list is also what we commonly see and hear as issues from direct customers also.  The list is below.

  • Pressure drops in the compressed air system
  • Lack of measurement for flow / pressure within the system
  • Contaminants / moisture within the air
  • Leaks
  • Lack of engineered point of use solutions

That is a pretty short list that can cover a large amount of issues within a compressed air system.  So let’s see if we can shine a little more light on these issues.

Pressure drops in the compressed air system are more often than not a piping system issue.   The pressure drop could possibly occur when the point of use device is consuming  more air than the supply pipe or system can give it, or when you have a piping system that is undersized for the length of pipe that is installed – For instance, 50′ of 1/4″  schedule 40 pipe can only flow approximately 11 SCFM.  The best solution I can recommend is to ensure you are always utilizing  an Intelligent Compressed Air® Product at all applicable points of use. EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products are engineered to reduce air volume at the point of use and conserve as much compressed air as possible.  So keep your compressed air supply lines properly sized and rely on engineered solutions at the point of use to keep your end use product running as efficiently as possible. Pressure regulators can also be added to fine tune the incoming pressure to a lower pressure or just enough pressure for a successful application.

The lack of measurement devices for flow and pressure within the system can be easily solved by installing flow meters and pressure regulators with gauges.   EXAIR Digital Flowmeters, pressure regulators, and even just pressure gauges are readily available and  in stock ready to ship direct to your facility.  The Digital Flowmeters are available for 1/2″ iron pipe through 4″ iron pipe (copper also available) to fit nearly any of the hard piping you may have within your system. These flow meters require only 2 small holes into the compressed air pipe and provide a readout or data logging capabilities to monitor your compressed air. Pressure regulators with gauges can keep your end use pressure to minimum in order to conserve compressed air and the gauge provides the valuable measurement so you can remain aware of legs/areas you may be able to lower overall pressure. Knowing how much air is flowing through the system along with what pressure your point of use devices are at can make optimization of the system a lot easier.

Contaminants and moisture in the air can easily be remedied by utilizing one of the EXAIR auto drain filter separators as well as an oil removal filter.  By using the auto drain filter separators the units will only dump the waste material once they have reached a certain level within the filter bowl.  This means no need for a timer based drain system which can become costly if there is no moisture to dump at that time. Keeping the supply air clean and contaminant free will also prevent wear of the end use products and keep them operating at peak performance.

Leaks are always hard to find.   This is why EXAIR offers the Ultrasonic Leak Detector, this device will help you pin point the compressed air leaks in your piping system.   The easy to read LED indicator as well as the adjustable sensitivity scale make the handheld device very easy to use.   Remember, just because you can’t personally hear the leak doesn’t mean that a leak is not there.   An Ultrasonic Leak detector can identify leaks we are unable to hear so you may locate and repair them which will further optimize your system.

The lack of engineered point of use solutions is even easier to troubleshoot.   Simply contact an Application Engineer here at EXAIR and we will help you determine which product from our selection is right for your situation.  Engineered products are designed with maximum efficiency and safety in mind. Whether you are coating, conserving, cooling, conveying, or cleaning with compressed air, chances are we have a solution for you.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

A Tale Of Two Engineering Projects

At our Boy Scout Troop meeting last night, we had adult volunteers in two rooms, putting their “day job” skills to use. Two of our troop parents are dental professionals, so they were working with the Scouts, as a group, to complete the requirements for their Dentistry Merit Badge. In the other room, a couple of other parents and I were making last-minute equipment preparations for the Troop’s annual Lenten Fish Fry.

Anyway, one of our projects this year is to fix or replace the fryer tank. Nobody knows how old it is or where it came from…one of our Assistant Scoutmasters has been around for almost 20 years, and it was here when he came. Now, it’s just a big metal box that sits on the stove and holds the oil that we fry the fish in, but with three engineers looking it over and coming up with ideas, it’s got the potential to be the most complex big metal box in the county. The current problem is only a ¼” crack near the top of a corner, but also on our “wish list” are items like:

*Handles: this tank is about 4 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 18 inches deep. It’s not heavy at all, but handles sure would make it easier to move around, wash, dry, etc.
*Drain: Currently, we use a small battery operated pump to empty about 10 gallons of oil out of it every Friday night. A strategically placed petcock valve will cut our clean up time to a fraction of what it currently is.
*Temperature control: these ideas ranged from a port for a permanently mounted thermometer to a thermocouple that we could tie in to a regulator in the gas line. We’re all scared of tapping into the gas line, so the thermometer is looking better and better. It’s always fun to see yourself on the news, but not when it’s because you were involved with a fire that burned a church building down.
*Material of construction: Stainless Steel is awesome, but we’re probably on more of an aluminum budget.

Last week, we had the pleasure of conducting an Efficiency Lab Test of a customer’s drilled pipe compressed air blowing device. It was doing the job, but it used a lot of air, it was loud, and it had been in place for as long as anyone could remember. As it turns out, our 12″ Aluminum Super Air Knife looks to be a viable solution to the items on their “wish list”: reduced air consumption, and lower noise levels…it’s going to cut both to a fraction of what they are currently. This is a significant improvement, because not only are they going to save $500-$1,000 per year on compressed air for each of two units, but the operators no longer have to wear hearing protection, since the maximum sound levels are going from 108 to 67 decibels…well below OSHA’s published 8-hour limit of 90 dBA.

These are two examples of what can happen when you get a couple of engineers involved in a project. If you’d like to find out how much you can save your wallet…and ears…by switching to EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products, give me a call. If you find yourself hungry and on the east side of Cincinnati on a Friday night in the coming weeks, I can also tell you where to get a great meal in support of a great organization.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
russbowman@EXAIR.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

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