Compressed Air Uses In Industry

From pneumatic hand tools like impact wrenches or nail guns to larger scale industrial applications like stamping presses, the use of compressed air can be found in almost any industry. In fact, it is often referred to as a “fourth utility” next to water, gas and electric.

Compressed air is used in virtually every industry!

 

Take for example in construction, workers will use a pneumatic riveter to join steel framing because of the power generated by the tool over an electrically powered device, not to mention it provides for a safer operation by removing an electrical hazard. Many companies use compressed air operated diaphragm pumps or air motor driven pumps to move expensive or viscous liquid from one location to another. These types of pumps are self priming drawing the liquid in and provide positive displacement meaning they fill and empty the liquid chamber with the same amount of liquid through a common inlet and outlet.

Amusement parks have used compressed air in some capacity in the operation of thrill rides like roller coasters or to enhance the effect of certain attractions. Compressed air can be found in hospitals where it is used for specialized breathing treatments or to power surgical instruments in an operating room. Educational facilities use compressed air for laboratory testing. You can even find compressed air in the tires on your car. Basically, when you think about it, compressed air is being used just about anywhere.

Here at EXAIR, we manufacture Intelligent Compressed Air Products to help improve the efficiency in a wide variety of industrial operations. Whether you are looking to coat a surface with an atomized mist of liquid, conserve compressed air use and energy, cool an electrical enclosure, convey parts or dry material from one location to another or clean a conveyor belt or web, chances are we have a product that will fit your specific need.

EXAIR has been providing engineered solutions since 1983.

 

To discuss your particular application or for help selecting the best product, contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Compressed Air Valves image courtesy of Shane Gorski via creative commons license.

Reducing Lubricant in a Blanking Operation

We recently chatted with a customer that was looking to improve the lubrication system for multiple blanking lines.  Blanking involves the cutting of sheet metal in a single step, to separate the piece form the surrounding stock. The part that is cut out is the desired product and  is called the ‘blank.’  This operation can be moderate to fast in speed, and the process creates heat, so a lubricant is used to cool and decrease the wear on the tooling.  Our customer was looking for a better way to apply the lubricant.

We proposed the model AN2010SS, a No Drip, internal mix, narrow angle, round fan Atomizing Nozzle.  The nozzle uses compressed air to create a mist of the liquid with very fine droplet size. When using for the  lubricant, a fine layer can be applied over the entire surface without areas of over coverage and waste.  This leads to lower costs for lubricant, and less mess on the blanks.

No Drip Atomizing Nozzle

No Drip Atomizing Nozzle

To simplify the process, the No Drip model was chosen. The No Drip style has the added benefit of positively stopping liquid flow when the compressed air is turned off.  There is no need to independently control the liquid flow via a control system and valve.

Finally, to control the compressed air side, we recommend the Electronic Flow Control (EFC.)  Utilizing a photoelectric sensor, the open position of the press can be detected and using 1 of many program options, the compressed air can be turned on and off to accurately control the application of the lubricant.  Due to the excessive amount of lubricant being used, the customer was applying every other cycle.  The first blank would be overly lubricated so that there would be some remaining for the next.  With the Atomizing Nozzle and EFC, the right amount of lubricant can be applied for each cycle.  The result is reduced lubricant usage, and a better operation.

EFCp4

If you have questions regarding Atomizing Nozzles or any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Adding Atomized Water To A Starch Blending Application

Starch blending takes place at the top of this tower

The image above shows a material transfer process for starch.  At the top of the tower the starch rests inside of tumbling tanks (shown below) which blend larger pieces into small, finely blended particles.  In order to achieve the proper blend, an hydration level of 5% water must be maintained within the tank.  For the water introduced to the tank, the smaller the droplet size of the water particles, the better the blend.  The current setup in this application is to spray water directly into the tanks, by hand, using a pump sprayer.

These are the tanks at the top of the tower shown in the photo above

The investigation into droplet sizes led this customer to EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles, searching for a method to introduce small droplet water particles into the blending tanks.  The ultimate question was “How small of a particle size can we achieve with an EXAIR Atomizing Nozzle?”

The answer to that question can be found here on our website and in our catalog as well.  Our smallest confirmed droplet size is currently 22µm when using our 1/4″ NPT Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzles, which was more than enough for this application.

Model SR1010SS EXAIR Atomizing Nozzle

By installing SR1010SS atomizing nozzles into this application this customer is able to achieve the required hydration level with small droplet size water particles.  These particles ensure proper blending of the starch and proper quality for the final product.  And, the atomizing nozzles prevent an operator from having to manually add the necessary water to achieve the required hydration in the blending tanks.

If you have a solution in need of an atomized liquid solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’re here to help.

 

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Internal Mix Atomizing Spray Nozzle Used In Feed Additive Process

Last week I took a call from an agricultural customer looking to replace the spray nozzle used in their feed additive process. The soy oil/beeswax solution they are applying to the feed, is slightly viscous (close to 100 cP) which seems to be clogging the tight clearances inside the current nozzle, resulting in varying flow rates and an erratic spray pattern. They had tried to contact the current manufacturer several times for a solution but were unhappy with the lack of assistance they were receiving, not to mention the long lead times of 6-8 weeks for a replacement.

After further discussion, they confirmed they weren’t as concerned with the flow rate or spray pattern, as they were with the nozzle potentially getting clogged.  They were able to obtain some internal dimensions of the existing nozzle and after further review, I recommended they use our Model # AF1030SS Internal Mix Flat Pattern Atomizing Nozzle as a replacement. This nozzle has larger inside diameters which would reduce the potential for clogging. Our Internal Mix Atomizing Nozzles mix the liquid and air inside the air cap and produce the finest atomization. The flow rate can be changed by adjusting the control valve on the nozzle and/or by adjusting the liquid pressure. Internal Mix nozzles are capable of handling fluids up to 300 Centipoise. All of our Atomizing Nozzles are In STOCK, so delivery is never an issue.

Model AF1030SS Internal Mix Flat Fan Pattern Atomizing Nozzle

When considering an Atomizing Nozzle for an application, there are some general parameters that can be helpful in making the best selection.

  1. Do you have a pressurized liquid source?
  2. What is the fluid viscosity?
  3. What spray pattern best fits the process?
  4. How much flow (GPH/LPH) do I need?

If you have an application requiring a fine mist of atomized liquid spray, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Viscosity – Why it Matters

EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.  We work every day with air properties, such as compressed air pressures and flow rates, when evaluating product performance to provide a solution to a customer problem. We also need to be versed on a certain liquid property, viscosity, as it relates to the operation of (2) of the EXAIR product families, the Atomizing Spray Nozzles and the Industrial Housekeeping liquid vacuums (Reversible Drum Vac and Chip Trapper).

Viscosity is often referred to the thickness of a fluid.  A common example would be water and honey.  Water is a low viscosity fluid, while honey is a high viscosity material.

Dynamic, Shear, or Absolute Viscosity is a measure of the resistance to shearing flow.  If you think of 2 plates (see below) with the bottom one stationary and the top one moving horizontally, and with a fluid between them – this illustrates Absolute Viscosity. When the top plate moves to the right, there will be induced multiple horizontal layers of the fluid, each moving at different speeds (the fluid will be at rest at the bottom, and the top layer will move with the top plate.) The friction generated between the layers will give rise to a force resisting this motion.  The force is proportional to the speed and area of the plate and inversely proportional to the distance between the plates.Capture

In simplest terms, viscosity is the ratio of the shear stress, τ,  to the velocity gradient du/dy.  Of concern to us, it takes more force to cause a very viscous (thick like honey) fluid flow.

Centipoise, cP,  is the common unit of measure for viscosity, and 1 cP is equal to 0.01 g/cm/s.

Water has a viscosity of 1 cP at room temperature and honey ranges from 2,000-10,000 cP.

How does all this relate to EXAIR? It relates to EXAIR because we engineer products to specifically move and use liquids. There are limitations to the viscosity each of these products can handle and still perform well.

The EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles can be used with liquids up to 800 cP. The Internal Mix type nozzles can be used on liquids up to 300 cP. The External Mix nozzles can be used with liquids over 300 cP and up to 800 cP.  Lastly, the Siphon Fed models are good to 200 cP, and do not require a pressure source for the liquid. Each nozzle type will atomize the fluid and provide a very small droplet size, which is ideal for washing,  rinsing, coating, cooling and other applications. Exceeding the cP each of these nozzles are designed to use will result in larger droplet sizes and a more inconsistent fluid flow, which may impact your process.

atomizing nozzle

Atomizing Spray Nozzle

The other EXAIR product family where viscosity is important, is the Industrial Housekeeping Products, especially the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac and High Lift Chip Trapper.  They are capable of moving liquids with viscosities of up to 1400 cP through 20′ of hose.  Simply provide compressed air and turn any closed head drum into a high powered liquid vacuum. Great for coolant, hydraulic oils, waster water, and many other fluids. For these products, as the cP increases, so does the time it will take to move the liquids into or out of the drum.

HLRDVpr_openpit_3mbcmyk (2)

High Lift Reversible Drum Vac

To discuss your fluid viscosity and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can make your process better, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Atomization Nozzles For Better Grain Processing

I have been working with a customer from the grain milling industry.  They take a grain like corn, and mill it to sizes that range from coarse product like grits to fine product like flour. The customer had a special application where steam was injected into a mixing screw process to add moisture to the grain.  Steam can be expensive and dangerous to work with, due to the energy required to make, store, transport and use, along with the high temperatures and pressures involved.

The customer was aware of our products from previous work we had done involving Super Air Knives.  He approached me about the Atomizing Nozzles and whether they could be used to replace the steam injection system.  We reviewed the process details such as target flow rate, the spray pattern desired, and the available distance from the target we had to work with.   We determined that (3) of the EF1030SS – External Mix Flat Fan, each capable of delivering 14 Gallons Per Hour, were the solution.  The nozzles would be placed equidistant along the mixing screw, to provide an even delivery of water.

ef1030ss

EF1030SS

 

To operate the nozzles, all that is needed is a supply of water, and 3.5-15.1 SCFM of compressed air at 10-95 PSIG.  Varying the liquid and air pressure will change the flow rate and pattern size of the spray.  Charts are published to help with the set-up and tuning of the nozzles to match the process needs.

CaptureCapture

The use of the Atomizing Nozzle allows for precise application of very fine droplets.  For the External Mix type, droplets sizes of 39 to 57 micron are possible.  Smallest droplet size is achieved by operating at higher air pressures and lower liquid pressures.

EXAIR also manufactures Internal Mix type nozzles and even a Siphon type, that can operate under siphon or gravity fed conditions  (no liquid pump/pressure is required.)  Nozzles are available with flow rates from 0.1 to 303 Gallons per Hour, in flow patterns such as Narrow Angle Round, Wide Angle Round, Flat Fan, and 360° Hollow Circular.

To discuss your application and how the EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzle can be a benefit at your facility, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Will It Spray?

Video showing the intended use of EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles, illustrated with a green spray pattern.

 

One of the common questions we receive with regards to our Atomizing Spray Nozzles, is whether they will spray a specific liquid.  Most of the time this is a simple answer, found by referencing the viscosity of the liquid and the viscosity range of the specific atomizing nozzle in question.  But, sometimes the viscosity of a fluid isn’t readily available and the best path forward is testing of the specific fluid or application.

Such was the case with the videos above and below.  This application was to spray a specific mixture comprised of catnip biomass onto materials as they pass along a conveyor.  There was no specific flow rate required, we simply needed to spray a specific width at a specific distance away from the product.

The video above shows the desired spray pattern from the nozzles, something with a wide angle and flatpattern, and the video below shows the most suitable solution we found in testing at EXAIR.

The suitable nozzle in this application was our model AD2010SS, an internal mix nozzle with deflected flat fan spraying pattern and a patented technology to prevent liquid flow after compressed air to the nozzle is turned off.  This nozzle provided the right solution for this application, and shipped from stock on the same day we received the order.

Fast forward a few weeks and this same application found benefit from an Electronic Flow Controller (EFC) model 9057.  The EFC allows for sensor-based control of compressed air flow, and thereby control of liquid flow to the AD2010SS nozzles.  This prevents operation of the nozzles when there is no need to spray the liquid.

The discussion, testing, and implementation of this solution are an excellent example of the engineering support available behind EXAIR products.  We really do help our customers find solutions, and if there is an unknown in an application we’re willing to find the answers together.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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