ROI – Return on Investment

Return on Investment (ROI) is a measure of the gain (preferably) or loss generated relative to the amount of money that was invested.  ROI is typically expressed as a percentage and is generally used for personal financial decisions, examining the profitability of a company, or comparing different investments.  It can also be used to evaluate a project or process improvement to decide whether spending money on a project makes sense.  The formula is shown below-

ROI

  • A negative ROI says the project would result in an overall loss of money
  • An ROI at zero is neither a loss or gain scenario
  • A positive ROI is a beneficial result, and the larger the value the greater the gain

Gain from investment could include many factors, such as energy savings, reduced scrap savings, cost per part due to increased throughput savings, and many more.  It is important to analyze the full impact and to truly understand all of the savings that can be realized.

Cost of investment also could have many factors, including the capital cost, installation costs, downtime cost for installation, and others.  The same care should be taken to fully capture the cost of the investment.

Example – installing a Super Air Nozzles (14 SCFM compressed air consumption) in place of 1/4″ open pipe (33 SCFM of air consumption consumption) .  Using the Cost Savings Calculator on the EXAIR website, model 1100 nozzle will save $1,710 in energy costs. The model 1100 nozzle costs $37, assuming a $5 compression fitting and $50 in labor to install, the result is a Cost of Investment of $92.00. The ROI calculation for Year 1 is-

ROI2

ROI = 1,759% – a very large and positive value.  Payback time is only 13 working days.

Armed with the knowledge of a high ROI, it should be easier to get projects approved and funded.  Not proceeding with the project costs more than implementing it.

If you have questions regarding ROI and need help in determining the gain and cost from invest values for a project that includes an 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

Pressure Profile: Where to Measure Your Air Pressure

Generic Layout drawing of compressed air piping system.

In order to fully understand how efficient your compressed air system may be, you will need to generate a system pressure profile at some point.   This is a list or diagram of what pressures you have in your compressed air system at specific locations, as well as the pressure required by all the demand devices on your compressed air system.

One of the reasons for the pressure profile is that you may have an application that is far away from the compressor but also highly dependent on a specific operating pressure.   You may also find an application that, due to pressure losses within the system, causes an artificially high pressure demand.

The list below gives the critical points for measuring your compressed air system profile.

  1. At the air compressor discharge. (If using multiple compressors, measure at each.)
  2. If dryers of any type are being used after the compressor measure downstream from the dryer.
  3. Downstream of each filter. (If a particulate filter and oil removal filter are being used it is best to measure downstream of each individual device.   This is to tell when you have more than a 5 psig pressure drop or a clogged filter.)
  4. After each intermediate storage device, such as receiver tanks.
  5. At the point just before the main line from your compressor room branches off to distribution.
  6. The furthest point of each header line you have installed.
  7. On both sides of every filter/regulator units that are at high pressure point of use applications.

To give you an idea of why it is so important to measure these locations, take a look at the blogs we have posted on pressure drop. (Link Here)  As you can tell by the list of blogs that comes up, pressure drop through piping can really cause a lot of wasted energy in your compressed air system.   If you can get a good base line measurement by utilizing a pressure profile then you can start the process to optimizing your compressed air system.

6 steps
The EXAIR Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compressed Air System.

 

If you would like to discuss this or any of the other 6 steps to compressed air optimization, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Safety, Efficiency, and Production Improvements

Last week, I received an email from a satisfied customer, after he had already purchased our product.  Come to find out this customer had not spoken to an application engineer during the planning stage to make their purchase. With our excellent resources listed at EXAIR.com, the customer was able to fulfill his application without even speaking to us. After his initial email of thanks, he also shared with me some details of his application that I want to share with you today.

The customer works as a machinist at a large aircraft part manufacturer. The parts require a very tight tolerance. A sample of each part needed to be gauged and measured in an automatic thread gauging machine or a coordinate-measuring machine (CMM). Their machining process required a water based flood coolant, so each part would be coated in water based coolant and chips, which needed to be remove before gauging. Before visiting EXAIR’s site, the company used a variety of homemade and commercial blow offs, as safety air gun tips. Here is a photo of (20) of the (25) nozzles the customer was using.

Aircraft manufacturer's obsolete nozzles

As you can see, the nozzles vary in design purpose, flow and safety. Most of the nozzles feature a cross drilled hole or a secondary escape path, but not all of the nozzles do. Any nozzle without a secondary relief port violates OSHA standard CFR 1910.242(b), so replacing some of the nozzles increased the safety in the plant. Secondly, these nozzles are wasteful in their use of compressed air because some were designed as liquid nozzles and have large exit holes. A hole that is 1/8″ in diameter at the nozzle outlet can consume up to 21.4 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG. For comparison, the model 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzle with a 1/8″ NPT inlet will flow 10 SCFM at 80 PSIG, which would be a 53% compressed air savings. In 24 running hours, the 1103 nozzle will save 16,416 Standard Cubic Feet, which the plant spent $4.10 for a standard industrial compressor to produce (The standard for compressed air cost is $0.25 per 1,000 SCF). Replacing just one 1/8″ drilled hole with 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzle saves the aircraft company $1,026 over 250 working days running 24 hours a day.

Neither of these were the real reason that the customer emailed to thank us though. He was actually an office employee just entering the work force.  Starting in June until after the company finally acquiesced to his request to buy a better, quieter nozzle near the end of July, he had left work needing an aspirin to relieve the headache he acquired due to the noise from these other nozzles. The nozzles the machining center had been using would create noise levels between 88-100 dBA at 80 PSIG of inlet pressure. For reference OSHA mandates that employees are required to wear hearing protection, if they are exposed to noise levels over 90 dBA over an 8 hour work day.  The employees doing the machining wear hearing protection, but the employees in the office were still exposed and affected by the noise level.  This is just one anecdotal example, but everyday more and more research shows that noise exposure has a negative effect on our health and productivity in the workplace.  If you are interested in more information here are some links to a number of studies/research – please read this, here or this.

Anyway, that’s enough of my soapbox. The company purchased 25 of EXAIR’s 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzles and utilizing the same guns they were currently using saw between a 10-15 dBA decrease in noise levels near the work stations. Here is a photo of one of their setups with the model 1103 installed on one of their current air guns.

Nozzle Replacement
The 1103 Super Air Nozzle is an engineered solution to replace a plethora of commercial nozzles. It was a simple and cost effective retrofit which increased the comfort of employees.

 

We know that every time they squeeze that air gun trigger they will be using less compressed air than before, and we know they are now in compliance with OSHA. But the best benefit for EXAIR is we know that the engineer took the time to email us to thank us for taking away his headache everyday.  That’s enough for me.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

 

 

Combat Rising Energy Costs

It has been a long cold winter this year and I just got my utility bill in the mail. I almost fainted. Sad to say, I’m told that I should expect rising utility costs due to the increased cost of producing electricity.

Rising utility costs has a trickle down effect and no one is exempt. Manufacturers, retailers, farmers, food service, etc. all share the same duress. As the cost to do business increases, prices go up. It’s almost like I’m taking the hit twice.

A recent survey by the U.S. Department of Energy showed that for a typical industrial facility, approximately 10% of the electricity consumed is for generating compressed air. For some facilities, compressed air generation may account for 30% or more of the electricity consumed. Compressed air is an on-site generated utility. Very often, the cost of generation is not known; however, some companies use a value of 18-30 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of air.(ref. DOE)

bog200x181_e7daad

With that being said, EXAIR is your partner in compressed air energy savings. Our products are designed to use less compressed air for blow off, cooling, and non contact motion control. It is as simple as finding the leaks and making the repairs, controlling the air use, and upgrading to efficient engineered blow offs. Request your copy of our blow off guide [link]

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax (513) 671-3363
Web: www.exair.com
Twitter: EXAIR_JP

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Floating Plates With Compressed Air

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to work with a customer who was familiar with our product and was looking to roll out EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzle in various parts of the plant. Before purchasing our products, the customer was using (4) open 5/16″ aluminum tubing to move or “float” a 12 inches by 12 inches plate of aluminum. This plate is .187 inches thick and needed to be moved six inches against the wall of their conveyor. The (4) open tubes moved the plate, but the customer had some safety concerns. First, the open pipes violated the OSHA standard 1910.242(b) that any open pipe that can be dead ended must only be pressurized to 30 PSIG. Second, to move the plate successfully the shop pressure needed increase to 100 PSIG which increases the amount of load on the compressor and could lead to higher maintenance in the future. Finally, the noise level of open pipes was well over 110 dBA which was another OSHA violation.

1132ss

Considering all of these problems the customer contacted me, looking for an air nozzle to use instead of the open pipe. After a short discussion we decided to try (3) HP 1125 nozzles. Once the customer installed the air nozzles, they only used 2 of the air nozzles, and they were able to move the plate easily across the conveyor. This netted them several key results. The most noticeable at the plant was how quiet the operation became. Instead of dealing with noise levels in excess of 110 dBa (which is equivalent to the noise level of a turbo-fan aircraft at take off)  the HP1125 comes in at 83 dBA which is roughly the noise of a milling machine.  This was much more pleasant to the operator and any plant passersby.  The most important was the operation now complied with OSHA safety requirement of 1910.242(b).  Because of the width of the Flat Nozzle and the overhang of the cap, the nozzle can not be dead ended.  Since the unit can not be dead ended, pressure above 30 PSIG can be safely used.  Finally, the most economically result was that the air savings for the units.

The 5/16 tube had an ID of .183 and was 18″ long. When supplying it with 100 PSIG of compressed air, it will flow 22.8 SCFM of compressed air, so the customer was using 91.3 SCFM. The HP1125 nozzle uses 37 SCFM at 80 PSIG, so they were able to use 74 SCFM, which means each minute they were using 17.3 fewer cubic feet. At a cost of $0.25 per 1,000 Cubic feet, the HP1125 saved $0.26 per hour or $6.23 per day or $1,557 per year with 250 working days.

Replacing (4) open tubes with (2) HP1125 Flat Super saved $1,557 per year in compressed air savings, an OSHA violation, employees hearing, and lowered the system pressure from 100 psi to 80 psi.  Needless to say the customer was sold on the benefits on our products, and is looking for any more open pipes in his facility.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

Being Prepared

My sons went skiing with their Boy Scout troop this past weekend. It was the first time my youngest, who turns 12 next month, had been skiing, and he had a blast on the beginner’s slope and the tubing lanes. His 14 year old brother, however, is a grizzled veteran, having hit the slopes three whole times over the past three years. He’s quite athletic, though – this stuff just comes natural to him – so he and his friends spent most of their time on the “difficult” (marked by a blue square on the map) and “advanced intermediate” (blue square with a black diamond) courses. I don’t know much about skiing, but I do know that any slope represented with a black diamond is one that I do NOT belong on.

I mentioned his athleticism – right now, he’s in the middle of basketball season, his baseball team’s prospective pitchers and catchers are working out, and right after winter break, his football team began off-season weight training after school, three days a week. In the midst of all this, he still managed to find some muscles to get sore while skiing. Not as many as some of the other Scouts, though, considering the comments I heard at last night’s Troop meeting. They are all, however, looking forward to next year’s trip.

I tell you this, dear reader, because:
1. It reminded me of a conversation I once had with a customer, and,
2. It’s been a while since I wrote anything about Boy Scouts.

Now that #2 is out of my system, the customer wanted to discuss our Ultrasonic Leak Detector. He had recently purchased a Super Air Knife, and its performance made him think of where else he might be able to make improvements in his compressed air system. Since he had flow meters in place already (see The Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compressed Air System,) he turned to leak detection & repair. In other words, he wanted to find out where his system, much like my son’s hip & lateral abdominal muscles, was vulnerable.  Now that he’s finding out if he has any leaks to fix, he can move on to the next step of upgrading their operations with engineered compressed air products.

ultrasonic_2

And now that my son knows, very specifically and unforgettably, which muscle groups he needs to work on before the next ski trip, I hope he’ll consider some advance preparation next time. Even more than that, I hope that I’ll actually be able to join them then.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
russbowman@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_RB

If Money Weren’t An Issue.

For every year I grow older I find it harder and harder to open my wallet for certain things.  I guess some would say “cheap” where I believe I have just learned from experience the things that I prefer to keep my money for.  However, if money weren’t an issue there is plenty I would love to indulge in.  For instance, a garage with enough “toys” to keep myself and any number of friends race needs met, or a driveway like the video below.

At this current point in my life, I won’t have to worry about the upkeep on either of those.  However, there is one thing I do have to worry about and that is the upkeep and cost of compressed air.   While some operators believe compressed air is free or that a single blowgun with no engineered solution really doesn’t cost that much, they are sadly mistaken.  It is because of this that EXAIR offers the most efficient way to use your compressed air in many point of use applications.

Take the real life example below.

It boils down to this:

Less Compressed Air Usage = Lower Operating Costs = More Profit = Race Track in Front Yard.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF