EXAIR & Tough Mudder Ohio 2015

Several months ago, maybe even last year, a group of EXAIR employees started joking and talking about trying to get a team together to do the Tough Mudder in 2015.  After several months of joking, things got serious and 4 of us signed up to do the event at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.   You may have seen a few of my blogs that involve Mid Ohio but they normally also involve a motorcycle.    The event was held on Saturday, May 9th, and was my first official “race” at Mid Ohio.   Prior to a few months ago, if you asked if I would ever “run” (I use the term run very loosely here.) a 10 mile race, I would have laughed in your face and said no way.   Let alone a 10 mile race with a whole slew of obstacles. Never underestimate the power of co-worker’s friendly chastising aimed at one’s toughness…

This was after the first wall during the pre race pump up speech / comedy show.
This was after the first wall during the pre race pump up speech / comedy show.

For the team, an Application Engineer (me), our CFO, and two from Shipping & Receiving.  As soon as we hit the first obstacle, which was a 6′ wall you had to clear in order to get to the starting line, our EXAIR mind-set kicked in.   There was no discussions on who would go first, who is going to take what position, or who is going to be the weak link.   It was simply teamwork.   We each helped where we knew our strengths were, anytime we needed a solid ballast, or good step off point, I was the man.   If we needed upper body strength, it was obvious that the handling of heavy freight found in shipping and receiving provided the necessary muscle – most definitely not me.

Needless to say, we made it through the entire course in less than three and a half hours which was absolutely shocking.   Not as shocking as the last obstacle, where we got shocked with 10kV before the finish line (see below).

Electroshock Therapy 2.0 - 10kV wires that will make any man scream.
Electroshock Therapy 2.0 – 10kV wires that will make anyone scream.

The fact of the matter is, we went there as a team, we conquered each obstacle and didn’t only worry about ourselves, but helped many others clear the same obstacles, and each one of us faced and conquered a personal fear.   For me, it was being able to complete a 10 mile run, and a slight fear of heights.  (You can see here that we had to jump out and grab onto a pendulum then swing and hit a bell, after which you would fall 12-15 feet into a pool of 15′ deep water. )

Didn't even come close to that bell, but I did remember to let go of the swing at least.
Didn’t even come close to that bell, but I did remember to let go of the swing at least.

The fact that people from three different departments in EXAIR worked so well together on something only one person on the team had ever done before speaks volumes to the environment and the way we conduct our day-to-day business here.

From the front offices, to the shipping dock, EXAIR is here to help you tackle any obstacle and face any fear you might have (involving your compressed air system that is).

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
TOUGH MUDDER FINISHER
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Short fast week. No shortage of success.

That’s right everyone, it’s Friday.   I’m blogging again which means everything went according to plan on Monday and Tuesday at Mid Ohio.  Myself and everyone I went with all stayed shiny side up so we consider it a complete success.  Even though it’s been a short week for me here at EXAIR there hasn’t been a lack of applications coming across my desk.  As Lee mentioned in his blog yesterday a good number of them are Cabinet Cooler inquiries seeing as how much of the US is well into the Summer temps now.  One of the applications that came across stood out though.

There was a customer who started out the conversation with, “I’m not a compressed air person.  I normally work with electricity.”  He was given the task of trying to figure out how to cool down a part as it exits a drying oven.  The parts were fairly flat and being conveyed on an overhead conveyor system.  They slowing down production of the parts because he couldn’t package the parts after they exited the drying oven because the heat from the part was not only too much for the operators to handle but it was also too hot for the packaging.  When the part would go in too hot the packaging would slightly mar the surface finish of the coated part.  This meant the customer was placing parts on drying racks and letting them cool which slows down the production line.

The customer initially wanted to cool down the part using a Vortex Tube to do so.   After a brief discussion I found out that the ambient environment of the cooling area was considerably cooler than the part and the parts were around 11″ long.  This means by using a 12″ Super Air Knife we can entrain a large volume of free ambient air and move the air over the surface of the part to strip the heat away from the part.  This will get the parts down to near ambient conditions so the operators can place them straight into their packaging instead of holding up the line or placing them on a cooling rack.

The customer initially contacted us looking for something that puts out cold air, he hadn’t thought about just using a large volume of cool, free ambient air to move over the part and get the same performance.   After a little talking he decided to test out two 12″ Super Air Knives.  He knows if they don’t work as predicted then they can simply let us know and send them back within 30 days. A similar application is shown below.

The customer received the units yesterday and this morning I had a message from the customer saying that the knives are working wonderfully and he is not using any cooling racks, they were even able to speed up the production line.

This made my week go amazing; it started out with two days of a beautiful race track, going faster than I ever have and stepping up to the next class of racing, then finishing it out with a success story from a customer who can now relax on the weekend.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Time for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

This Sunday afternoon I will be leaving for a two day trip to The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for two straight days of Motorcycle “Racing”.  It’s my second track riding event of the season and isn’t even actually a race.  For those that ride though they may understand how amazing it feels to be out on the track without having to worry about drivers that are distracted by cell phones or not seeing you.  This is because it’s only motorcycles and they even divide everyone one up per their skill level.   Here’s a good video of one of the Coach Riders having some fun with the Intermediate and Advanced group.  (Yes, the reason I chose this video is the music and I know the rider.  Also, yes, those are his dreadlocks you can see every now and then. )

The last time I was at Mid-Ohio I ran in Novice class on my SV 650.  I was told then that I should be running in Intermediate but the class was too full so just hang out and work on passing.  This year instead of going straight to intermediate I am hanging back in Novice for the beginning of the day just because I am still learning the ins and outs of the 600RR race bike I will be riding this year.

Along with the bikes the three of us going will be taking all of our protective gear, lots of snacks and drinks to keep our energy up, and an entire workshop of tools.   This is because we never like to be at the track and not get to ride because something breaks or comes loose.  I can guarantee our EXAIR E-Vac Motorcycle Brake Bleeder will even be in the tool box.

As long as everything goes according to plan I’ll be right back here on Wednesday and start working on another Friday blog that I can hopefully entertain all our readers with.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Another Day Another Track

That’s right folks, it’s that time of the year and I really lucked out this time by winning a track day raffle for a day at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course and School. I had a spot for Novice class at the track day school.  I then proceeded to talk two of my good friends that always go to the track into taking off work and going with me.

They had been to Mid Ohio before and ran several times.  I on the other hand had never even seen the track.   I knew it was quite technical compared to Putnam Park but, the school that they put on for first time attendees receives nothing but excellent comments and reviews. Since I didn’t know what to expect I of course went straight to their website and  then to good ole’ Youtube.  I started my research and talked with a few other people who’d been there and was completely amped about going.  A map of the track is below.

My nerves were on high alert and I couldn’t wait to see this historic race course.  As we pulled in I noticed a bunch of large factory sponsored trailers, the track day just happened to be the day before the AMA Superbike Races started.  Because of this we got the luxury of not only pitting on hot pit, but also we go to watch all the pros get setup in the garages and even see a few of them.

Once we got the bikes ready we went to the morning riders meeting where I found out there were only 6 people total in the Novice class.  This  was unheard of, normally there would be 20-30 people, Because of the small numbers we divided up into two groups and each group had a coach rider.  My coach rider was a gentleman by the name of Dennis Myrwold.  He took us through the basics and each session we practiced different aspects of riding the track.  At lunch time he approached me and commented that my lines were looking good and lap times weren’t bad either.  He asked about why I had blown a few turns, I gave him my answer, then he said you should step up to Intermediate.  I was amazed, I had never been commented to by a Coach rider before let alone told I was good to step up my first time at a track.

Needless to say, I declined and stayed with him and the two other people he had under his group.  By the end of the day I was dragging knee on the freshly painted curbs and passing people on bigger bikes on the back straight.  My two friends and I were all packing the trailer and loading up the bikes when I saw Dennis walking down pit row.  He came up to our trailer and once again talked to me about my riding ability stating that I would really benefit from stepping up and that I should definitely come back.  My two friends were both standing there saying we told you that you’d have no problem with this track.  I thanked Dennis for everything he had taught me that day and told him I’m sure I will be seeing him again later in the year.  At this point I went straight to cloud nine, not only had I gotten to do a track day at Mid Ohio which I never thought I would get to, but I had been told by the instructor after my first time to the track that I should step up.   I realize that I am no where near the fastest rider but it took a Coach rider telling me I should do something in order to get me to do it.

The moral of the story is even though my friends and my peers were encouraging me to do something I had to have a person with technical expertise in the field in order for me to listen.  This is the case in a lot of areas, if you go to a car dealer and the salesman tells you the car has zero maintenance issues you may or may not believe them.  On the other hand if there is a service person there and you ask them the same question, if you are like me you’ll take his expert opinion over a commissioned sales person.

This is why when you call EXAIR and have a question on a product or application you speak directly to an Application Engineer.  We are not commissioned sales people and we are all experts in our field of efficient compressed air usage.  We are going to be up front with our recommendations and also back our recommendations up with a 30 day guarantee along with a 5 year built to last warranty on all of our compressed air products.

P.S.   The track day video footage is still being processed.   I’m sure it will makes its way to our Facebook or Twitter feed.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF