Six Years At EXAIR: What I’ve Learned

Yesterday, I went “over 6” as an Application Engineer at EXAIR Corporation, and I’m still loving every minute of it! I came here with a fair degree of mechanical engineering & technology know-how, but, in reflection, I’ve learned an even fairer degree…some of which I’d like to share with you, dear reader, on the occasion of this ‘work-iversary:’

*Time spent doing something doesn’t always equal “experience.” If you work at something for, say, 20 years, and never learn anything new after your initial training, you don’t really have 20 years’ experience…you have one year of experience, 20 times. Big difference.

*Teamwork is critical to success.  The Patrol Method works.  The value of a “lesson learned” multiplies exponentially when it’s shared with others.  Design Engineers have a universal law of CAD that says “don’t ever draw anything twice.”  Application Engineers “don’t ever test anything twice.”

*Sometimes, there’s one way to find out.  That’s why we devote the resources we do to the Efficiency Lab.  If you want to know more about the performance of your current compressed air products, and how they might compare to one of our quiet, efficient solutions, so do we.

*A picture is worth a thousand words.  We prove this every day, whether it’s a photo (or short video even) of an application, a photo of a product or system for troubleshooting, or a photo of a nameplate or device for product comparison.  I’m old enough to remember doing business before email & digital photos, but I swear I don’t know how we ever got anything done.

*There’s always a ‘better mousetrap’ – and that’s the unofficial motto of EXAIR’s Engineering department.  That’s why we have so many more Atomizing Spray Nozzles than the did six years ago.  And Heavy Duty HEPA Vacs, long Super Air Knives and more product accessories.

*Relationships are vital.  At least a couple of days a week, I spend more time with my co-workers than my wife & kids.  We’re all in this together, and the more we help each other, the better off we are ourselves.

Next week, I’ll be back to blogging about a super cool compressed air product application. If you come up with one in the meantime, I’ll be happy to talk about it with you.  The conversation might just make it into next week’s blog, because one more thing I’ve learned is, when you’ve written 300 or so weekly blogs, “writer’s block” is a very real & present danger!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Maintenance Free And Proud Of It

Caller: Do you sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, but…why?

This is a WAY oversimplified summary of the start of a popular conversation that an EXAIR Application Engineer might have with a caller looking to restore a particular product to proper operation. Truth is, most of our products have no moving parts, and if you supply them with clean, dry air, they’ll run maintenance free, darn near indefinitely. We’ve documented this in specific cases regarding a Reversible Drum Vac from 1999, a Vortex Tube from 1987, and a Cold Gun from 1985.

Product & year of manufacture, from top left: Reversible Drum Vac (1999,) Cold Gun (1985,) Vortex Tube (1987.) All still performing within factory specifications.
Product & year of manufacture, from top left: Reversible Drum Vac (1999,) Cold Gun (1985,) Vortex Tube (1987.) All still performing within factory specifications.

Caller: So…DO you sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, but…only when necessary.

It’s important to note that none of the products mentioned above needed any parts replaced to return to service. Sometimes, a good cleaning is all that’s required. We can help you with a video tutorial if you want to know how to restore a Reversible Drum Vac, an Air Knife, or an Atomizing Spray Nozzle, for instance.  And we’re making new videos all the time for product maintenance, operation, tips & tricks, etc.

Caller (again): So…you DO sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, of course!  I mean, who wouldn’t sell rebuild kits for their products?

Take our Safety Air Guns, for example. We offer Service Kits, if the trigger and/or internal valve of a Soft Grip or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun starts to wear or leak, it’s super easy to replace. We’ve also got replacement springs for the “fail shut” feature of the ball valve of a Super Blast Safety Air Gun. Just about anything else that could be wrong with a Safety Air Gun’s performance can be addressed by cleaning the nozzle.

We also recently added Rebuild Kits for our Atomizing Spray Nozzles to inventory. These contain all of the seals (and moving parts, for the No-Drip models) to restore an EXAIR Spray Nozzle to rated performance.

Keep your EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzle (left) in perfect working order with a simple & inexpensive Rebuilt Kit (right of the nozzle.) Contact an Application Engineer to select the one for your product.

For other products, we can also provide replacement gaskets & seals for the Reversible Drum Vac & Chip Trapper products, O-rings for the Line Vacs, Chip Vacs, and Heavy Duty Dry Vacs, new elements for Filter Separators & Oil Removal Filters…just to name a few.

Bottom line: if your EXAIR product isn’t performing the way it used to, give me a call.  It will be my pleasure to help you get it working like new, so that you can continue to get the most out of it.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Consider Longevity of Product Life When Making a Purchase

In some instances, we have customers that will call and tell us about their EXAIR products. They tell us about how well they work and how long they have been in service. As a manufacture, this is great to hear. In this instance, the customer had 14 EXAIR Vortex Tubes in his laser inspection system. He uses them to keep the lens cool during operation. He was extremely happy with the longevity designed into the EXAIR product, and he wanted to contact us to let us know.

He stated that the Vortex Tubes have been in service for over 10 years without any problems, and they still are going strong.  EXAIR manufactures their Vortex Tubes out of stainless steel.  They can have a cooling capacity that ranges from 135 BTU/hr to 10,200 BTU/hr.  We also can produce a high temperature (HT) version for applications within elevated ambient temperatures.    What is unique with this product is that there is no moving parts – there are no bearings or slides to wear out, no coolant to refill or no compressor to fail.  We incorporate this same principle with our Cabinet Coolers, Air Amplifiers, Industrial Housekeeping Products, Air Nozzles and Air Knives.  With the quality engineering and design of our products, longevity is a norm, not an exception.

Vortex Tube
Vortex Tube

The reason for this blog is to explain longevity, and longevity can be a factor in ownership. When you look at items like refrigeration systems, the compressor will wear out, the system can leak Freon, the continuous PM to keep the condenser clean and filters changed requires close attention. When replacing or fixing the product regularly, you can see how this will add up in costs for repairs and costs due to downtime. Finding a solution for your production or application problem is easy with EXAIR’s huge variety of products, sizes and materials. With the exceptional design and engineering behind EXAIR products, you can rely on the product for years to come, with little to no maintenance. That is the longevity EXAIR products possess, with longevity comes dollar and air savings, and best of all it comes with peace of mind.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

The Trusty Reversible Drum Vac, 16 Years Later

This week a customer sent us a Reversible Drum Vac to refurbish. From time to time a Reversible Drum Vac may need (depending on cleanliness of the supply air) cleaning due to particulate from the compressed air line landing inside the air chamber of the Reversible Drum Vac. EXAIR regularly rebuilds, cleans and tests Reversible Drum Vacs that customers send in to have us return them to new condition. You can also easily refurbish the Drum Vac at your facility: Here is a link to our How-To video for cleaning your Reversible Drum Vac. This particular Reversible Drum Vac though was clearly special.

IMG_5195
16 Year Old Laser Marked Reversible Drum Vac
IMG_5194
16 Year Old Laser Marked Reversible Drum Vac

At first glance, the Reversible Drum Vac had been laser marked by the customer to permanently label their unit. The customer just so happened to be a laser marking shop, so I’m sure it was convenient for them. But digging deeper, the company originally purchased the unit in 1999, this Reversible Drum Vac could get its Learner’s Permit in most states. During the 16 years our customer was using the Reversible Drum Vac, we never heard from them. After 16 years they contacted us but not for a problem. They just wanted us to clean and inspect the unit to ensure maximum efficiency. This unit, though a bit dirty, was still operating very well. EXAIR put it through our refurbish process and brought it back to performance specifications that matched a new product.

The Reversible Drum Vac is a compressed air operated vacuum that attaches to a 55 gallon drum to create a vacuum that can also empty a 55 gallon drum in 90 seconds. The Reversible Drum Vac pulls a vacuum on the drum creating a siphon the pulls the liquid into the drum. With this technology the liquid never pass through the Reversible Drum Vac, which leads to its tremendous longevity. It is the perfect vacuum to empty coolant sumps, isolate contaminated liquids, or clean floor spills. The Reversible Drum Vac have no motors to wear out or impellers to clog so they last longer than their electrically operated counterparts.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com