Opportunities To Save On Compressed Air

If you’re a regular reader of the EXAIR blog, you’re likely familiar with our:

EXAIR Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compressed Air System

This guideline is as comprehensive as you want it to be.  It’s been applied, in small & large facilities, as the framework for a formal set of procedures, followed in order, with the goal of large scale reductions in the costs associated with the operation of compressed air systems…and it works like a charm.  Others have “stepped” in and out, knowing already where some of their larger problems were – if you can actually hear or see evidence of leaks, your first step doesn’t necessarily have to be the installation of a Digital Flowmeter.

Here are some ways you may be able to “step” in and out to realize opportunities for savings on your use of compressed air:

  • Power:  I’m not saying you need to run out & buy a new compressor, but if yours is
    Recent advances have made significant improvements in efficiency.

    aging, requires more frequent maintenance, doesn’t have any particular energy efficiency ratings, etc…you might need to run out & buy a new compressor.  Or at least consult with a reputable air compressor dealer about power consumption.  You might not need to replace the whole compressor system if it can be retrofitted with more efficient controls.

  • Pressure: Not every use of your compressed air requires full header pressure.  In fact, sometimes it’s downright detrimental for the pressure to be too high.  Depending on the layout of your compressed air supply lines, your header pressure may be set a little higher than the load with the highest required pressure, and that’s OK.  If it’s significantly higher, intermediate storage (like EXAIR’s Model 9500-60 Receiver Tank, shown on the right) may be worth looking into.  Keep in mind, every 2psi increase in your header pressure means a 1% increase (approximately) in electric cost for your compressor operation.  Higher than needed pressures also increase wear and tear on pneumatic tools, and increase the chances of leaks developing.
  • Consumption:  Much like newer technologies in compressor design contribute to higher efficiency & lower electric power consumption, engineered compressed air products will use much less air than other methods.  A 1/4″ copper tube is more than capable of blowing chips & debris away from a machine tool chuck, but it’s going to use as much as 33 SCFM.  A Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle (shown on the right) can do the same job and use only 14 SCFM.  This one was installed directly on to the end of the copper tube, quickly and easily, with a compression fitting.
  • Leaks: These are part of your consumption, whether you like it or not.  And you shouldn’t like it, because they’re not doing anything for you, AND they’re costing you money.  Fix all the leaks you can…and you can fix them all.  Our Model 9061 Ultrasonic Leak Detector (right) can be critical to your efforts in finding these leaks, wherever they may be.
  • Pressure, part 2: Not every use of your compressed air requires full header pressure (seems I’ve heard that before?)  Controlling the pressure required for individual applications, at the point of use, keeps your header pressure where it needs to be.  All EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product Kits come with a Pressure Regulator (like the one shown on the right) for this exact purpose.
  • All of our engineered Compressed Air Product Kits include a Filter Separator, like this one, for point-of-use removal of solid debris & moisture.

    Air Quality: Dirty air isn’t good for anything.  It’ll clog (and eventually foul) the inner workings of pneumatic valves, motors, and cylinders.  It’s particularly detrimental to the operation of engineered compressed air products…it can obstruct the flow of Air Knives & Air Nozzles, hamper the cooling capacity of Vortex Tubes & Spot Cooling Products, and limit the vacuum (& vacuum flow) capacity of Vacuum Generators, Line Vacs, and Air Amplifiers.

Everyone here at EXAIR Corporation wants you to get the most out of your compressed air use.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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316 Stainless Steel Products- Always in Stock

Metallurgically speaking, stainless steel is a steel alloy with the highest percentage contents of iron, chromium and nickel, with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass, and a maximum of 1.2% of carbon by mass.

Stainless steels are widely regarded for the corrosion resistance that they exhibit. As the chromium content is raised, the corrosion resistance increases as well. The addition of molybdenum also increases the corrosion resistance to reducing acids and against pitting attacks in chloride solutions. By varying the chromium and molybdenum content, different grades of stainless steel are produced with each suited for varying environments. Due to the resistance to corrosion and staining, stainless steel is ideal material for many applications, especially in the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.

The 300 series stainless steels are considered chromium-nickel alloys and is the largest group and most commonly used. Of the different compositions within the 300 series family, Type 304 stainless is the most widely used followed by Type 316, which has 2% molybdenum added to provide greater resistance to acids and to localized corrosion caused by chloride ions.

Table below shows the nominal composition by mass content for 316 stainless steel

316 SS Table

Because 316 stainless steel provides a high level of corrosion resistance, resists pitting, and has good strength properties, EXAIR manufactures many of its products from 316 stainless steel material so that they can be used in the harshest of environments.

Of the EXAIR products these are available off the shelf in 316 stainless steel- Super Air Knife, certain sizes of Adjustable Air Amplifiers, numerous Air Nozzles, Line Vacs including the Sanitary Flanged style, NEMA Type 4X and Hazardous Location Cabinet Coolers. If you need one of our other products such as the Super Air Wipes or Vortex Tubes made in 316 stainless steel, just let us know. Of course we also have them made from Type 303 stainless steel, in stock and ready for shipment (and aluminum, too!)

gh_stainless-steel-super-air-knife-750x696.jpg
316 Stainless Steel Super Air Knife

And, you don’t have to wait months or even weeks, as we keep all of these in stock, ready for shipment.

If you have questions about any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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EXAIR’s Huge Variety of Air Nozzles is Like an Equalizer for your Application

MCS 3035 Final

Many of us are familiar with what an equalizer (EQ) looks like and what it does. Unfortunately, sometimes they get a bad rap from so-called audiophiles, which in my opinion are defined individuals who spent so much money on their equipment they can’t afford to buy any music to play!  Typically, they insist that tone controls must be set to flat because the sound recording engineers mastering the music have already equalized the recording to perfection and if you need to attenuate or cut certain frequencies it is an indicator of poor-quality equipment, and that is simply is not true!

Let’s consider some of the reasons why an equalizer makes sense and, in my opinion, an absolute necessity. The objects and materials in the room will change the sound reproduction characteristics of any speaker system.  If you have large floor standing speakers positioned in the corners of the room, sitting directly on wood floors the speakers are now “acoustically coupled” with the floor and the walls.   On the other hand, if you move the speakers away from the wall and/or place them on spikes or stands (isolating them for the floor) you would have “acoustically de-coupled” the speakers from the walls and floor, which will reduce the bass or low-frequency loudness. This all affects the perceived loudness and/or quality of the music we want to listen too.

This is where the graphic equalizer shines, no need to move the speakers around or use speaker stands or spikes.  An equalizer will allow you to increase or decrease the loudness of multiple frequencies.  You can completely customize your sound to suit your tastes, overcome issues with your listening room acoustics, the speakers you are listening with or even anomalies with the music recording.

Like adjusting an equalizer to suit your room acoustics, speaker size and/or speaker frequency response, EXAIR understands that the need for many different options gives you the necessary adjustments for a successful application.  A few sizes of Air Nozzle, Air Jet or High Force Air Nozzles will not solve every application with the highest efficiency or effectiveness.  EXAIR’s air nozzle variety allows you to produce maximum effectiveness based upon the air pressure and air volume you have available.  Whether you need a strong blast or a gentle breeze, if you have tricky mounting positions or remote applications, EXAIR has the largest selection to choose from and solve your production problem.

We clearly state compressed air volume requirements in SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute) at a given operating pressure in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), force at 12” from the compressed air outlet and the sound loudness in dBA at 3′ from the nozzle. These details provide the starting point for selecting the best air nozzle.

When you are looking for expert advice on safe, quiet, efficient, and engineered point of use compressed air products give us a call.   We would enjoy hearing from you!

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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What’s In My Air, And Why Is It Important?

Everyone knows there’s oxygen in our air – if there wasn’t oxygen in the air you’re breathing right now, reading this blog would be the least of your concerns. Most people know that oxygen, in fact, makes up about 20% of the earth’s atmosphere at sea level, and that almost all the rest is nitrogen. There’s an impressive list of other gases in the air we breathe, but what’s more impressive (to me, anyway) is the technology behind the instrumentation needed to measure some of these values:

Reference: CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, edited by David R. Lide, 1997.

We can consider, for practical purposes, that air is made up of five gases: nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, and water vapor (more on that in a minute.)  The other gases are so low in concentration that there is over 10 times as much carbon dioxide as all the others below it, combined.

About the water vapor: because it’s a variable, this table omits it, water vapor generally makes up 1-3% of atmospheric air, by volume, and can be as high as 5%.  Which means that, even on a ‘dry’ day, it pushes argon out of the #3 slot.

There are numerous reasons why the volumetric concentrations of these gases are important.  If oxygen level drops in the air we’re breathing, human activity is impaired.  Exhaustion without physical exertion will occur at 12-15%.  Your lips turn blue at 10%.  Exposure to oxygen levels of 8% or below are fatal within minutes.

Likewise, too much of other gases can be bad.  Carbon monoxide, for example, is a lethal poison.  It’ll kill you at concentrations as low as 0.04%…about the normal amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

For the purposes of this blog, and how the makeup of our air is important to the function of EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products, we’re going to stick with the top three: nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor.

Any of our products are capable of discharging a fluid, but they’re specifically designed for use with compressed air – in basic grade school science terms, they convert the potential energy of air under compression into kinetic energy in such a way as to entrain a large amount of air from the surrounding environment.  This is important to consider for a couple of reasons:

  • Anything that’s in your compressed air supply is going to get on the part you’re blowing off with that Super Air Nozzle, the material you’re conveying with that Line Vac, or the electronics you’re cooling with that Cabinet Cooler System.  That includes water…which can condense from the water vapor at several points along the way from your compressor’s intake, through its filtration and drying systems, to the discharge from the product itself.
  • Sometimes, a user is interested in blowing a purge gas (commonly nitrogen or argon) –  but unless it’s in a isolated environment (like a closed chamber) purged with the same gas, most of the developed flow will simply be room air.

Another consideration of air make up involves EXAIR Gen4 Static Eliminators.  They work on the Corona discharge principle: a high voltage is applied to a sharp point, and any gas in the vicinity of that point is subject to ionization – loss or gain of electrons in their molecules’ outer valences, resulting in a charged particle.  The charge is positive if they lose an electron, and negative if they gain one.  Of the two gases that make up almost all of our air, oxygen has the lowest ionization energy in its outer valence, making it the easier of the two to ionize.  You can certainly supply a Gen4 Static Eliminator with pure nitrogen if you wish, but the static dissipation rate may be hampered to a finite (although probably very small) degree.

At EXAIR Corporation, we want to be the ones you think of when you think of compressed air.  If you’ve got questions about it, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Air photo courtesy of Bruno Creative Commons License

Line Vac Makes Golf Ball Testing More Efficient

Recently, we at EXAIR worked with a major player in the golf ball manufacturing world.  As an avid golfer myself, this was an application I could really get a ‘grip’ on and I had the ‘drive’ to propose a solution.

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Golf Ball Pyramids

The customer was involved in Research & Development, performing testing on the golf balls through robotic hitting, collection, and attribute measurement. The current set up involved the ball being hit, gravity collection into a PVC tube, and then an operator unhooking the tube, walking it over to and unloading the balls onto a rack, in the same order of hitting. The customer wanted to eliminate the manual task of the tube handling and have the balls delivered directly to the rack area.  The transfer would need to be 15′ vertically, then 15′ horizontally, before dropping down to table level.  A typical rate is only 5 balls per minute. This is a perfect application for the Line Vac, a compressed air operated conveyor.

EXAIR had previously tested golf ball conveyance, as seen in the Line Vac video below (at the 1:53 mark) where golf balls are conveyed 100′, at only 30 PSIG of supply pressure.

To present the best solution to customer, we had 2 dozen golf balls sent to us, and we set-up and simulated the actual conveyance conditions of 15′ vertical and 15′ horizontal travel. We found that the balls could be conveyed at only 20 PSIG of supply pressure, when presented one at a time. When the inlet was flooded with golf balls, simulating a worst case condition, the Line Vac was able to perform the conveyance at 60 PSIG. Operation at 80-100 PSIG is possible providing a operational safety factor.

The customer was impressed with the results and has implemented the model 6984 – 2″ Aluminum Line Vac Kit into the process, making the process more efficient.

6984
Model 6984 – 2″ Aluminum Line Vac Kit, with Auto Drain Filter Separator, Pressure Regulator, and Mounting/Coupling Kit for the Filter/Regulator

We have a team of Application Engineers that are ready to review your process and application, and help to determine if an EXAIR Line Vac can convey your material at the distance and rate desired.  We may even have you send in small sample of the material, and we can set-up, test, and share the results with you.

If you have questions about Line Vacs, or would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Golf Ball Pyramids by Beau B used under Creative Commons – CC BY 2.0

Another Unique Application for an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor

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Plastic mesh used to protect parts prior to shipping

Generally, when we’re talking about a Line Vac application it involves the transfer of bulk materials from one place to another. Many applications involve replacing what we call a “bucket and ladder” operation. An operator must fill a bucket or container with the material, climb up a ladder, and then deposit it into a hopper. While this is a great example of one way to use  them, Line Vacs can also be used in a variety of other applications.

In the past, we’ve blogged about using smaller Line Vacs for conveying yarn or string. At the end of a run there’s often too little thread left on a roll to save for a future run. The customer must strip the yarn off the remaining spool in order to reuse it. Using just a small amount of compressed air, a 3/8” Line Vac makes quick work of any residual thread on the spool.

I recently worked with our distributor in Argentina on another unique Line Vac application. Their customer manufacturers a variety of different types of protective plastic mesh. They come in many different sizes and colors and are used to protect the outsides of parts or products during shipping. Their machine required an operator to keep a close eye and at times manually feed the material into the machine as it would get stuck. Their hopes were to automate this process so that they could increase production and alleviate the need for an operator to worry about feeding the material by hand.

Using a Model 6082 1-1/4” aluminum Line Vac fitted with a funnel on the intake side, they were able to convey the plastic material into the cutter. It was cut to length and deposited in a box below. The video below shows the process.

The material is fed off of the spool and into the cutter without jamming or getting bunched up. Production rates are now consistent and they were even able to increase the feed rate by almost 20%. The 6082 consumes just under 26 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG, making it a low-cost solution to what was an aggravating problem for them. In addition to the ability to increase the feed rate, automating this process freed up an operator to monitor additional processes in the facility.

If you have an outside the box application that you believe could be suitable for a Line Vac Air Operated Conveyor, take advantage of EXAIR’s 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee and test one out for yourself!

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

 

Nothing But Net image courtesy of Haas Automation via Creative Commons License

Video Blog: Sanitary Flange Line Vac

The below video reviews the Sanitary Flange Line Vac, the newest type from the EXAIR family of Line Vacs.

 

Sanitary Line Vac Family
EXAIR offers the Sanitary Line Vacs in diameters from 1-1/2″ (19mm) to 3″ (38mm), all in stock!

 

PowerPoint Sanitary Flanged Line Vacs file

If you have questions about the Sanitary Line Vac, or would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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