If you are like me and love to garden we are approaching the time of year that we start seeding our longer maturing plants like tomato and pepper plants. I have made my purchases of seeds, plant packs, soil and plant food. I am ready and excited for the gardening season.
EXAIR has many applications where our products help the agricultural industry. The use of our Air Knives, atomizing spray nozzles and Line Vacs help assit in the growing, cleaning and movement of products.
EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles atomize fluids (most commonly water) in a range of spray patterns for a variety of uses. These nozzles can be used to keep soils moist, environments humid and also for cleaning the harvested products. The Atomizing Spray Nozzles come in a variety of sizes, styles and spray patterns and can be sized specifically for your application.
EXAIR Air Knives can also be used for cleaning where moisture is a concern before products are placed in packaging containers. Our Air Knifes come is many stock sizes and styles. EXAIR Air Knives are a great option replacing noisy blow-offs and show noise and air consumption reductions.
EXAIR Line Vacs have been used to move grains, soil, sand, wood chips and other products saving labor. They are ideal for moving large volumes of material over long distances. The material flow rate is easily controlled by the size of the Line Vac and by the use of a pressure regulator. No moving parts or electricity assures maintenance free operation.
Just as I am excited to strategize my garden, EXAIR can take the frustration of your projects away and make your life as as exciting and fun as Spring and Summer home gardens. If you have a specific application you would like to discuss you can visit us at www.EXAIR.com or by calling 800.903.9247 and talking to me or any of our qualified Application Engineers.
Compressed air is a necessary utility in any manufacturing environment. When used improperly, this compressed air can pose very real and serious dangers to your personnel. It’s imperative that you’re aware of the potential risks associated with the use of compressed air and educate yourselves and your operators to ensure you’re operating safely.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) provides standards designed to mitigate the risks of compressed air usage. If not adhered to, fines can be administered for each infraction. Fines are given out for each individual infraction. Meaning, if you have unsafe blowguns that are used in your facility you’ll get a notice for each individual gun that is identified during an inspection. Inspections aren’t something that happen often, but they will show up unannounced and often at the worst possible times.
OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) discusses the use of compressed air for cleaning and blowoff. It states that the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes is prohibited if the dead-ended pressure exceeds 30 psig. This phrase means the downstream pressure of the air nozzle or gun, used for cleaning purposes, will remain at a pressure level below 30 psig for all static conditions. In the event that dead ending occurs, the static pressure at the main orifice shall not exceed 30 psi. If it does exceed this pressure, there is a very high potential for it to create an air embolism. An air embolism, left untreated, can quickly impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, and sometimes death.
With this in mind, there are only two options for staying within compliance of this standard. Either install an engineered solution that will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 psig if dead-ended, or regulate the pressure below 30 psig. For the vast majority of operations, regulating the input pressure below 30 psig is useless. The force and flow from the nozzle at this pressure is greatly reduced and likely not enough to be effective in most applications. All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns are designed so that the flow cannot be dead-ended. The fins on the Super Air Nozzles are not only useful in amplifying the force by drawing in ambient air, but they also prevent an operator from completely obstructing the airflow.
In addition to being concerned about dead-end pressure, OSHA 1910.242(b) also states that compressed air used for cleaning should include effective chip guarding. By this, they mean that some method or equipment must be installed that will prevent chips and particles from coming back into the eyes or skin of the operator. In addition to offering OSHA compliant nozzles and guns, EXAIR also has Chip Shields that can be installed onto any of our Safety Air Guns. The polycarbonate shields protect the operator from any flying debris while performing a drying or blowoff operation. Simply add a “-CS” to the end of any Safety Air Gun Model number to have a Chip Shield installed on the gun.
Hearing loss due to high noise levels is another common problem in many industrial facilities. Without the use of proper PPE, hearing loss can occur quickly. This is a serious concern as hearing loss is permanent and once the damage is done there’s no way to reverse it. Due to this risk, OSHA strictly enforces standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a).
This directive discusses the effects of noise and limits exposure based on the dBA. The table below indicates the maximum allowable exposure time to different noise levels. Sound levels that exceed these levels should first be addressed by proper engineering controls such as isolating the source of the sound from personnel or replacing the cause of the sound with something like an engineered compressed air nozzle. When such controls aren’t feasible, proper PPE must be worn to protect the operator.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does not contain any provisions that allow for the approval or endorsement of equipment. Alteration or the misapplication of what was once a safe piece of equipment would create a dangerous scenario that is out of the control of the original manufacturer. Any nozzles or guns marketed as “OSHA approved” should immediately throw up a red flag. Identifying and implementing a safe, OSHA compliant solution rests in the hands of the manufacturer themselves. If you’ve got questions about compressed air safety or have an existing blowoff in place that does not adhere to this OSHA directive, give us a call. We’ll be sure to recommend a solution that will keep your operators and wallets safe!
Tyler Daniel Application Engineer E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com Twitter: @EXAIR_TD
Atomizing spray nozzles atomize fluids with compressed air to create a fine spray in a variety of patterns for a variety of uses. They are commonly used to mark products, paint or coat, cool, reduce dust, lubricate and clean parts.
With the numerous types of Atomizing Nozzles, it can be challenging to sift through all the information. But with a few basic questions you can narrow down the right nozzle type for you and your application:
Are you using a pressurized liquid feed? In some cases, a pressurized liquid source is not available for the nozzle, so you would have to rely on a gravity or siphon fed nozzle. While you lose the complexity of having a liquid pump pressurizing your liquid, you do have a few draw backs. Your siphon height is typically with in 36” so your liquid source has to be fairly close to your nozzle. Siphon fed nozzles are hard to turn off and on, they are best used for applications where you are continuously spraying a low viscosity liquid with a low gph.
What is the viscosity of the fluid? Another deciding factor is the viscosity of the liquid you are spraying. Different nozzles are designed for different viscosity. For example, two of the main nozzle types are internal mix nozzles and external mix nozzles. They function just like they sound, internal mix nozzles mix the compressed air and liquid source inside the nozzle. And because of this they typically can not spray liquids over 300 cP. And because external mix nozzles mix the liquid and air outside the nozzle, they can handle liquids well above 300 cP.
What is the liquid flow rate in gallons per hour(gph)? Another factor in choosing the right nozzle is if your application has a set gph you are looking to achieve. Some nozzles are designed to flow more liquid then others. For example, the external mix nozzles inherently flow more liquid then the internal mix. As there is less restriction on the liquid flow. If you are looking for even higher gph you can source a liquid only atomizing nozzle, its going to give you a large bump in gph. But your droplet size will suffer with the liquid only nozzles.
What droplet size are you looking for? Fine droplet sizes are one of the primary reasons atomizing nozzles are used. Benefits of small droplet sizes include even coating and liquid conservation. Internal mix nozzles will do the best at providing the smallest droplet size possible. While external mix and liquid only will give you larger droplet sizes but they will give you a larger gph some applications need.
Should I use a No-Drip option? The No-Drip option positively shuts off liquid flow when the compressed air supply is shut off. One benefit of this is appreciated in coating applications, where an errant droplet of liquid would mar an otherwise smooth, even coating. Operationally, though, it also means you can precisely turn the liquid flow on & off, in short, quick bursts, up to 180 times a second.
If you are in the need for a Liquid Nozzle to assist in your facility, please reach out! We have a team of application engineers waiting from 8AM – 5PM EST to help you size and fit a product to your specific application!
EXAIR does not shy away from an application or solution that doesn’t involve a stocked or catalog product. We often provide customized solutions for a wide variety of customers across nearly each and every industry. Sometimes the cataloged products we stock on the shelf doesn’t quite fit the application as best as it could. If we can modify them or make something custom from scratch, we absolutely will!
Recently I worked with a customer who was looking to solve a new application related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. He owned a cleaning company that contracts with a variety of local businesses to provide cleaning and sanitation services. Typically, that would consist of a bi-weekly visit to tidy up the office spaces and provide a general cleaning. With the current risks of COVID-19 running rampant, he’s seen a dramatic increase in businesses looking to implement a daily sanitization of common surfaces throughout the office.
While this is a service that he’s offered for some time, the current crisis has led many more companies to request additional cleaning within their offices. To perform this disinfecting procedure, the droplet size of the mist is critical. The spray gun that he was previously using did not provide a fine enough mist to reliably decontaminate the area. In addition, this gun was consuming too much liquid that would puddle up on various surfaces that would have to be later wiped down and dried. He was looking for a handheld solution that provided a fine enough atomization to both effectively eliminate any pathogens as well as prevent the unnecessary step of having to come behind and dry everything off.
Our line of Atomizing Spray Nozzles is an ideal solution for applications where a fine mist of fluid is required. But, these aren’t designed to be used in a handheld operation. Fortunately, we do have a variety of Safety Air Guns, extensions, and fittings that allow us to install an Atomizing Nozzle on the end of a handheld gun. In the photo below, we used a Model SF2020SS No-Drip Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzle to produce the atomized flow of disinfectant. With standard fittings that we have in stock, we’re able to connect the nozzle to the end of a gun with a 24” extension. The operator carries a jug of disinfectant that is then drawn into the nozzle without the need for a pressurized tank or pump.
This is just one example of a custom product designed specifically for a particular application. A quick search here on the EXAIR Blog will show a variety of various special products we’ve created over the years. Even though we regularly roll out new products and have been in business for nearly 37 years, there are still cases that we encounter for something we haven’t done before. If you have an application that you believe may be better served by something a bit customized, give us a call. An Application Engineer would be happy to discuss your application and help to determine the best solution.