Six Sigma and The Compressor Room

Throughout my undergrad courses as well as during my professional career I have encountered Six Sigma or Lean Manufacturing in many facilities.  There is at least one component to the theory that can be implemented into any facility with a compressor room. That component is the practice of the 5 S’s.

The 5 S’s of Lean Manufacturing come from the Japanese terms  listed below with their English translations:

Seiri – Sort (Organize)
Seiton – Set in Order (Orderliness)
Seiso – Shine (Cleanliness)
Seiketsu – 
Standardize
Shitsuke –  Sustain (Discipline)

These 5 points can aid in keeping any air compressor room in a facility efficient, safe, and effectively supplying the company with compressed air. How you may ask.

Sort – Keeping a compressor room as originally laid out and preventing it from being a catch-all for items that have nothing to do with the compressed air system. This can easily happen when it is actually a room that has unused floor space in a small facility. By keeping the area clean and free of unrelated materials, maintenance and troubleshooting can be done quickly. Clear labeling of anything kept in the room is also ideal to make items easily identified.

Set in Order – To deliver the air in a single path/direction as well as keeping equipment in locations where they can be easy to maintain and clearly labeled eases the troubleshooting and understanding of how the system is laid out. Rather than having a spaghetti bowl of piping running all around the room to different components it is wiser to keep a flow that matches the process. From the compressor(s) to the receivers, dryers, filter, and regulators, out to the point of use. This shouldn’t be a tangled web of piping that introduces air to a process which bypasses key components such as the dryer or receivers.

Block diagram of a compressor room layout.

Shine – The compressor room shouldn’t be a dirty grungy area. The compressor pulls the air in from this environment. Any exposed components easily collect airborne debris. By keeping the equipment clean again makes labels easy to read and a clean machine is always easier to perform maintenance and sometimes even troubleshoot. If there are puddles of oil or other liquids on the floor and no surfaces are clean then any leak may not be easily spotted.

Standardize – The layout and processes used within the room should be repeatable. Maintenance tasks should be performed on a schedule, per a process that doesn’t allow for much differentiation on methods and end results. This mitigates errors and is always the desired result when focusing on lean manufacturing. LOWER THAT DELTA!

Sustain – This is sometimes the hardest part of any process. Getting the program up and running, starting with a fresh build is always the easiest.  Everything is fresh, new and you want to keep it shiny. Years later the desire to dust and maintain piping as well as keep receiver tanks and floors clean isn’t always at the top of the desired list.  It should always be a priority because cleanliness also promotes safety and reduces overhead by lowering downturns due to housekeeping related failures.

If you want to discuss how we can help lean out your compressed air usage, maintenance costs, and help to standardize the use of compressed air in your facility, contact an Application Engineer today.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer – Green Belt Certified
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler Systems Cool Electrical Enclosures

One of the main focuses for Cabinet Cooler Systems is to cool electrical enclosures that are overheating due to inadequate cooling, failing air conditioners, or heat exchangers that are not performing due to high ambient conditions.  Another focus is the fact that the Cabinet Cooler Systems don’t require refrigerant based coolants, or fans that can move dirty ambient air into the cabinet. This is the portion I would like to focus on today.

If there are vents on the enclosure then these are sometimes covered with a filter media that is an easily forgotten maintenance item –  sometimes they are even removed.  This is an issue as it starts to allow the contaminants from the surrounding area to begin to enter the inside of an enclosure.  In case you have never seen a circuit board that is covered in oil mist and metal chips, it is terrifying to see a maintenance person that is trying to troubleshoot the machine for failures.  Not only does this present a fire hazard but it also presents the internals of the panel with a strong probability of failure.

Another item I have personally seen fail in the field are small fans mounted within enclosure vents to help circulate air through the enclosure.  This is a great idea if the ambient environment is climate controlled and has no dirt or debris in the air.   Even in a facility that is climate controlled there is still potential for airborne debris, dust, and contaminants to enter the cabinets. These are merely accelerated into the cabinet by the fan and distributed throughout the entire enclosure instead of just coming in and covering the area just inside of the vent.

The solution to all the problems above which can easily save thousands of dollars worth of damaged circuit boards or drives is an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System.  The Cabinet Coolers will all provide a slight positive air flow within the enclosure and will help to keep those external ambient conditions out of the cabinet and away from valuable electronics.  Even with our thermostatically controlled systems (which turn on and off as needed to maintain internal temperature AND save air) we offer a Non-Hazardous Purge option which will permit a 1 SCFM flow of air through the Cabinet Cooler to always keep a slight positive pressure within the enclosure. When the cabinet needs to be cooled, it will open the solenoid valve and provide the full rate of cooling from the Cabinet Cooler System.  The Non-Hazardous Purge function is available for all three NEMA types of Cabinet Cooler Systems, 12, 4, and 4X.

NHP.PNG

If you would like to discuss the other benefits of utilizing EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems and which model is right for your enclosure, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF