Turn Your One Bedroom Fixer-upper Compressor Room into a Pent House Suite!

First lets paint a picture, by starting with my first 400 Sq.Ft Bachelor pad in Holland Michigan. It was my first time after college living on my own and paying my own room and board! So I did what every fresh out of college 25-year-old male does, I scoured the internet for the cheapest possible living arrangements! And that was a one bedroom(ish) apartment that was one of three rentals they made from a small 1,500 Sq.ft house! It was rough, I could smell the smoke from my neighbors. I could tell what they were having for dinner by the smell and I could hear EVERYTHING! Needless to say the conditions were not the best to relax and properly live my life. (Just had a little PTSD thinking about it)

Yeah, that was a problem too……… (Longest 6 months of my Life)

I said all of that just to say the Environment Matters! For me, it was my living conditions and I learned that the hard way! But for your Air compressor it’s the compressor room in which it sits! While we don’t sell compressors, pretty much all of our products use compressed air so helping you generate and use it in the best and most efficient way is important to us!

Some of the mistakes that are commonly made in the compressor room are by design, and others are operational. Let’s cover a few;

  • Poor ventilation: Air compressors get hot. They’ve got a lot of moving parts, and many of those parts are moving under a great amount of force (pressure is literally defined as force per unit area), and at a high rate of speed. Add in the heat of compression (it takes energy to compress air, and that energy has to go somewhere, (something another colleague, John Ball, explains here). Add in all that friction, and you come up with a TREMENDOUS amount of heat. An industry rule of thumb, in fact, states that over 2500 Btu/hr of heat is generated, PER HORSEPOWER, by a typical industrial air compressor. If the compressor room isn’t big enough, you’ll need an exhaust fan capable of removing all that heat. Many compressors also have optional heat recovery systems as well.
  • Lack of filtration: Take a good, full breath in through your nose, right now. Did you smell anything unpleasant or irritating? I hope not…clean air is a “must” for your lungs (and the rest of your body), and the same is true for your air compressor (and the rest of your compressed air system). Keeping up with the maintenance on the intake filter is literally “starting where it all begins”…from the 1st paragraph.
  • Not removing moisture: Water & water vapor will have an adverse effect on many components of your compressed air system: it’ll cause rust in iron pipes, damage the seals in air cylinders, motors, tools, etc., and if you use it for blow off or conveying, it’ll contaminate your product.
  • Leaks: The compressor room is loud, so leaks are going to be pretty big before you can hear them. And to add insult to injury, the vibration of a running compressor makes the compressor room a prime location for them to occur. Even one small leak that you couldn’t hear in a quieter area will cost you over $100 over the course of the year, and maybe only take minutes to fix. Good news is, even if you can’t hear them, they ALL make an ultrasonic signature, and we’ve got something for that.
  • Ignoring maintenance. If you don’t schedule planned maintenance, your equipment will schedule “corrective” maintenance for you…oftentimes at greater expense, and with no regard to your schedule.
    • Moving metal parts that make metal-to-metal contact (or that have very tight spacing tolerances) HAVE to be lubricated properly. If you run low on oil, or let it get dirty or emulsified, severe damage will follow. Keeping an eye on the oil level, and changing it (and the filter) at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals, is critical.
    • Emulsified or otherwise contaminated oil can damage seals, gaskets, and o-rings. That’s obviously a big problem for the compressor, and when it carries over into the header, it’s a big problem for pneumatic cylinders & tools as well. Periodic sampling & analysis of your oil can provide timely notice of issues that can be corrected before they become catastrophic failures.
    • Depending on the type of compressor, and its drive system, the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations may also include:
      • Checking coupling or belt alignment of the drive.
      • Checking bolts for loosening due to vibration (a “necessary evil”, especially with reciprocating compressors).
      • Adjusting the pistons to maintain valve plate clearance.
      • Tightening or replacing the mounts & vibration pads.

Don’t put your compressor in a room that smells like a cigarette butt covered in cooking grease that is infested with cockroaches. Set it up in the pent house, and it will reward you with dependable and efficient operation for a very long time! If you’d like to find out more about how EXAIR Corporation can help you get the most out of your compressed air system, give me a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

German Cockroach image courtesy of Sarah CampCreative Commons License.

EXAIR Products Entrain FREE Ambient Air For Maximum Force and Flow

Air entrainment is a term that we bring up quite often here at EXAIR. It’s this concept that allows many of our products to dramatically reduce compressed air consumption. The energy costs associated with producing compressed air make it an expensive utility for manufacturers. Utilizing engineered compressed air products that will entrain ambient air from the environment allow you to reduce the compressed air consumption without sacrificing force or flow.

Products such as the Super Air Knife, Super Air Nozzle, Air Amplifier, and Super Air Wipe all take advantage of “free” air that is entrained into the primary supplied airstream. This air entrainment occurs due to what is known as the Coanda effect. Named after renowned Romanian physicist, Henri Coanda, the Coanda effect is used in the design of airplane wings to produce lift. As air comes across the convex surface on the top, it slows down creating a higher pressure on the underside of the wing. This creates lift and is what allows an airplane to fly.

EXAIR Super Air Nozzle entrainment

This is also the same principle which is allowing us to entrain ambient air. As the compressed air is ejected through a small orifice, a low-pressure area is created that draws in additional air. Our products are engineered to maximize this entrained air, creating greater force and flow without additional compressed air. Super Air Amplifiers and Super Air Nozzles are capable of up to a 25:1 air entrainment ratio, with just 1 part being the supplied air and up to 25 times entrained air for free!! The greatest air entrainment is achieved with the Super Air Knife at an incredible ratio of 40:1!

This air entrainment principle allows you to utilize any of these products efficiently for a wide variety of cooling, drying, cleaning, or general blowoff applications. In addition to reducing your compressed air consumption, replacing inefficient devices with engineered products will also dramatically lower your sound level in the plant. Sound level in some applications can even be reduced down to a point that would eliminate the need for hearing protection with the OSHA maximum allowable exposure limits set at 90 dBA for an 8-hour shift.

If you have inefficient blowoff devices in your facility, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to help you select a product that will “quietly” reduce your compressed air consumption!

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

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

All the Hoses, Tubing, and Accessories Necessary for Your Intelligent Compressed Air Products®

In order to make sure you’re able to get the most out of your Intelligent Compressed Air Products from EXAIR, we offer a wide variety of various hoses and tubing to complement several of our product lines.

For any Line Vac Pneumatic Conveyor application, you may need appropriate tubing to handle the intake and outlet flow of the conveyor. EXAIR offers a clear reinforced PVC hose from stock in sizes ranging from 3/8” to 3” ID for use with our smooth Aluminum, Stainless Steel, and Heavy Duty Line Vacs. The PVC hose is available in lengths up to 50’ in 10’ increments and is on the shelf ready to ship, alongside the Line Vacs themselves. The hose is very flexible with a smooth internal bore that eliminates material build up. The reinforced, heavy wall of the clear hose provides visual confirmation that the material is moving when compressed air is supplied to the Line Vac. These hoses are rated for use in temperatures ranging from -4 to 150°F (-20 to 66°C).

 To help supply air to your Safety Air Guns, we offer (3) different styles of 12’ (3.6m) coiled hoses to help keep the area free of tangled air lines. Sizes are available in 1/8 NPT x ¼” ID, ¼ NPT x 3/8” ID, and 3/8 NPT x 3/8” ID. Each coiled hose has swivel fittings installed on either end for ease of installation.

If you need a bit longer length to supply your point-of-use products, or need a larger diameter hose, we also have both 3/8” and ½” ID compressed air hoses. These are manufactured with a reinforced synthetic rubber to assure long life and protection against ozone, weathering, and temperatures up to 158°F (70°C). Hose lengths are available in 10’, 15’, 20’, 30’, 40’, and 50’.

For EXAIR’s E-Vac Vacuum Generators, polyurethane vacuum tubing (along with various push-in fittings) is available to help connect to the necessary vacuum cups. The tubing comes in either ¼” ID or 3/8” ID in lengths ranging from 10’ to 50’. This allows you to build up a complete vacuum system when including the mufflers, vacuum cups, and generator itself!

All of these options are available from stock to ship alongside any Intelligent Compressed Air Product. If you need help determining the proper hose sizes based on your point-of-use products get in contact with an Application Engineer today for help!

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com

Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Creating an Efficient Compressed Air System

The electrical costs associated with generating compressed air make it the most expensive utility in any industrial facility. In order to help offset these costs, it’s imperative that the system is operating as efficiently as possible. I’d like to take a moment to walk you through some of the ways that you can work towards making your compressed air system more efficient.

The first step you should take is to identify and fix any leaks within the distribution piping. According to the Compressed Air Challenge, up to 30% of all compressed air generated is lost through leaks. This ends up accounting for nearly 10% of your overall energy costs!! To put leaks in perspective, take a look at the graphic below from the Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems handbook.

Compressed air leaks don’t just waste energy, but they can also contribute to other operating losses. If enough air is lost through leaks, this can also cause a drop in system pressure. This can affect the functionality of other compressed air operated equipment and processes. This pressure drop can affect the efficiency of the equipment causing it to cycle on/off more frequently or to not work properly. This can lead to anything from rejected products to increased running time. With an increase in running time, there’s also the need for more frequent maintenance and unscheduled downtime.

You can perform a compressed air audit in your facility using an EXAIR Model 9061 Ultrasonic Leak Detector. If you’d prefer someone come in and do this for you, there are several companies that offer energy audit services where this will be a focal point of the process.

Speaking of maintenance, proper compressor maintenance is also critical to the overall efficiency of the system. Like all industrial equipment, a proper maintenance schedule is required in order to ensure things are operating at peak efficiency. Inadequate compressor maintenance can have a significant impact on energy consumption via lower compressor efficiency. A regular preventative maintenance schedule is required in order to keep things in good shape. The compressor, heat exchanger surfaces, lubricant, lubricant filter, air inlet filter, and dryer all need to be maintained. This can be done yourself or through a reputable compressor dealer. The costs associated with these services are outweighed in the improved reliability and performance of the compressor. A well-maintained system will not cause unexpected shutdowns and will also cost less to operate.

The manner in which you use your compressed air at the point of use should also be evaluated. Inefficient, homemade solutions are thought to be a cheap and quick solution. Unfortunately, the costs to supply these inefficient solutions with compressed air can quickly outweigh the costs of an engineered solution. An engineered compressed air nozzle such as EXAIR’s line of Super Air Nozzles are designed to utilize the coanda effect. Free, ambient air from the environment is entrained into the airflow along with the supplied compressed air. This maximizes the force and flow of the nozzle while keeping compressed air usage to a minimum.

Another method of making your compressed air system more efficient is actually quite simple: regulating the supply pressure. By installing pressure regulators at the point of use for each of your various point of use devices, you can reduce the consumption simply by reducing the pressure. This can’t be done for everything, but I’d be willing to bet that several tasks could be accomplished with the same level of efficiency at a reduced pressure. Most shop air runs at around 80-90 psig, but for general blowoff applications you can often get by operating at a lower pressure. Another simple, but often overlooked, method is to simply shut off the compressed air supply when not in use. If you haven’t yet performed an audit to identify compressed air leaks this is even more of a no-brainer. When operators go to lunch or during breaks, what’s stopping you from just simply turning a valve to shut off the supply of air? It seems simple and minute, but each step goes a long way towards reducing your overall air consumption and ultimately your energy costs.

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Image taken from the Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems Handbook, 2nd Edition