Using Ion Air Cannons To Help Assemble Motorcycles

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The body panels on motorcycles can carry a static charge, shocking personnel assembling the bikes

One of the more fun applications I’ve worked through involving the Ion Air Cannon, was for a major motorcycle manufacturer.  In their assembly plant, motorcycles would transition from bare frames to complete bikes ready for the road.

In one stage of this transformation, the body panels were installed onto the motorcycles, fully painted and ready to go.  But, there was a problem with static in the assembly area, causing shocks to the assembly personnel and slowing down the process.  Multiple solutions had been tried, such as grounding straps and anti-static floor mats, but they didn’t work.

What did work was an Ion Air Cannon mounted above each installation area, with the ionized air “raining” down from atop the bikes.  As the bikes entered into this ionized airflow, they were treated for static and completely neutralized.  And, with a low operating pressure, low compressed air consumption, and low noise levels, the solution was a welcome one for the manufacturer.

I’ve helped our customers with Ion Air Cannons time and time again, but this application always stands out to me.  It highlights the versatility of the product, the ease of use, and the immediate results available for our customers when they implement EXAIR solutions.

If you’re facing a static problem, we’re here to help discuss solutions.  Feel free to contact an EXAIR Application Engineer with application specifics.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

 

Photo courtesy of David RosenCreative Commons License.  Image reference here.

Taking Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone

During the warmer Ohio weather months, April through October, my blog posts may include information about taking my motorcycle to some road course tracks (and now even a cold month or two).  I take my bike to open track days where (mostly) amateur riders can get on a proper race course. There are people on the track for the first time and people who race professionally.   They will generally divide the riders into several groups, Novice, Intermediate or Advanced.  The control riders/coaches at the track will help you to determine what group you should ride in and then help you throughout the day.   Below is a video of a control rider that is also a professional rider at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.  (Don’t mind the music, it’s not my cup of tea either.)

For the novice group there are classes after each session, as well as skills practiced in every session.  This is to help teach the beginning track rider that the same habits you use on the street are not meant for the track, as well as how to be as safe as possible while being on the track.  This is the most watched and controlled group due to the fact it generally has the most riders and they are all the newest to the track.

For intermediate group there are optional classes and you just run your own pace.  They step up the skill level by not enforcing you to focus on a skill during each session or requiring you to go to a class after each session of the day.  The pace is considerably faster than novice and the only ways to get instruction are to either ask a control rider for it or if they see something to help you with they will generally stop you and coach you on how to do it better.

The final group is advanced, or race class.  This has the same elements as a professional race minus the grid at start-up.   There aren’t really any passing rules and the control riders are mainly all professional racers or former racers who can still make your head spin as they fly past you.  Similar to the intermediate group the only way you will get help is to ask for it.

For the past two years I have been running in the intermediate group and it is a serious meat grinder.  You will have people in there that are fast enough to be in advanced group, but are too scared.  As well as having people who let their ego and pride tell them they don’t need to learn anything from a novice class and should really be in novice learning as much as they can.  I stayed in Novice for over the first year of track riding that I had done.   Some people choose to never leave the novice group because that is exactly where they are comfortable.  They don’t want to worry about the other classes and are perfectly fine with not even being the fastest person in Novice.  This is perfectly acceptable for some, but I had to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to really enjoy the entire experience.  Even though I have been to the track several times now I am always out of my comfort zone in intermediate because there are always new people showing up and you never know when you will running with a group that should be racing, or a group that should be getting coached in novice.

Here at EXAIR we have customers that could fit into each of these groups also.   The customer who doesn’t know what an engineered solution is and doesn’t understand the cost of compressed air.  The intermediate user who has used some of our products in the past but is encountering new issues and knows that we can help lead them in the right direction.  As well as the advanced users who know exactly what they need and sometimes even request a special unit to fit their exact needs.

No matter the case, we can help as well as coach even the most advanced users of our products on how to use compressed air better.  If you are reading this and you don’t know the difference between a Super Air Nozzle and an open pipe, then give us a call.  We will help teach you the differences as well as make sure you understand the need for engineered solutions on your compressed air system.  It may be out of your comfort zone for the first few calls but we will make sure you get to the level you want to be so you get back into your comfort zone.

Brian Farno
Advanced Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Back To The Basics (of compressed air)…And The Track

The past several weeks I have been finding myself doing things the more complicated way (I  know how that sounds odd – an engineer that prefers to do things the hard way). Over the weekend I took a brief ride on the motorcycle for a short 15 minute trip that I found to be satisfying, even if it is less direct and a more out-of-the-way route for getting my errands complete.   The route runs past the local university of Mount Saint Joseph, down a winding road that has no houses and only one business, the rest is all woods and a creek.  Finally, this route runs along the mighty Ohio river and back up a steep winding road near my house.

While I have been worrying about all the projects and errands which need to be completed, this more complicated route gives me a moment to decompress and remember that my family at home and few other things are all I need.  Once  I was reminded of that and got some perspective which allowed me to “keep calm and carry on” I proceeded to break my projects and errands down into smaller pieces and everything will start to come together.

I now have a to do list at home as well as a refreshed list at EXAIR of all the items I need to do.   The list at home is considerably more fun as it all involves getting my “new to me” track bike ready for this season.  20140506_134512That’s right, it’s right around the corner, the first track weekend of 2014.  So expect to see some more motorcycle blogs coming and hopefully more ways to use EXAIR products while working on them. It was these newly developed lists that helped me reorganize and get back on track for the new season, sometimes a list is necessary in order to gain perspective, prioritize and begin to take action.

On that note, EXAIR has a list to help you gain perspective, prioritize and take some action toward getting your compressed air system optimized. Our systematic approach using the Six Steps To Compressed Air Optimization has been developed to help you save your compressed air,your hearing, and your money. By following these steps you can lower your compressed air use, minimize workplace noise exposure (OSHA will be happy) and save money on this important utility.

6 steps

 

If you have ever thought of reducing your compressed air costs, use our list to help you gain perspective on this simple process and take some positive steps toward saving your facility some money.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Track Days Will Never Be The Same

We all know that change is always right around the corner, there are far too many variables in life to know exactly what is going to happen.  That’s the joy in it.  As the track season has begun this year so has the burden of owning a trailer that is large enough to haul more than just your own bike.   When two of my friends and I bought a 20′ trailer, we only planned on carrying our 3 bikes, all of our stuff, and maybe 1 extra bike.

The only problem has been that over the past two years of owning this trailer, more and more people seem to need a ride to the track.   Well this just makes it more of a hassle for us to get everyone’s stuff and make sure everyone has all they need.  Not to mention hotel rooms get a little crowded at 6 people.

So, we finally decided to sell the big trailer and it just so happened that my brother-in-law was looking for one to carry around a 1966 Nova he is restoring.  So, this past weekend, I drove to Skaneateles, New York to deliver his new to him trailer.   In case you have never been there, it is in the country and so when I sent this picture to my buddies, their response was, “Wow, you really did take her to a farm upstate.  Looks like she’ll have plenty of room to run around.”

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Now that the trailer is gone and the next track day is only 2 weeks away, we are all trying to figure out the best way for us to get there.   So it looks like we’ll be back to the car caravan where everyone tows their own bike and we all have hours of fun on the CB’s.

Here at EXAIR change is happening every day.   We are constantly improving processes, designing new products, or figuring out ways to get information to and from our customers faster and easier.  We’re always looking for a good challenge to promote thinking outside of the box also.  So if you have any questions on your compressed air application then give a call, email, fax, chat or visit.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

First Track Weekend Down And No Where To Go But Up.

Well, I managed to stay shiny side up for both days of track riding with MCRA at Putnam Park this past weekend.  Out of the five that went in my group, two crashed, one bad enough that he may need some surgery on his shoulder.  Even though he crashed, he is still chomping at the bit to go to Mid-Ohio at the end of June and ride with us again.  A video of his crash is below.  You can listen to the sound in the clip and hear how fast he is going into Turn 1 off the front straight.   Simply went into the turn too hot and wasn’t able to keep it on the track.

The main downfall to the weekend was my personal performance on my race bike.  I didn’t go near as fast as I had hoped and my lack of preparation definitely showed as I wasn’t able to stay out for a full session of riding because fatigue would set in.  Because of this, I wasn’t able to ride as fast as I would have liked and got passed by more people than I should have.

My lack of preparation for the track day hindered my end result of the weekend, much like not preparing for the heat of summer can hinder your company’s performance and production.  Now is the time to be preparing to keep those electrical enclosures cool, not when they are overheating and causing shut downs.

If you would like help sizing the correct Cabinet Cooler System for your enclosures, give us a call.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com 
@EXAIR_BF

Quality Of A Knock Off and Racing Motorcycles

That’s right folks, the first track day of the year is getting close.  The first for this year will be held at Putnam Park Road Course, with Midwest Cafe Racers Association.  We will be heading out on Friday, April 19th, for the weekend.  The preparations already began a few weeks ago, actually over a month ago.  This year I am not only prepping my track bike, but also my friends track bike.   The best part is, I am learning more and more about his bike, and the bells and whistles that it has.

One of the many parts to prepping the bike for the track was changing out the coolant to a non-glycol based coolant, changing the tires, removing all glass / plastic from the bike.  Not to mention drilling and safety wiring the oil filler cap, oil drain plug, and oil filter.  Those are simply the necessities, we have taken it a step further and changed out some other stock parts for nicer track ready parts.  The main obstacle has been that he elected to go with a non-branded rear set foot control.  These were copies of a very large name brand rear set foot control.  Everything seemed to fit together until I went to install the shift linkage.  The linkage length should be 9″ long, the one they sent with the new set was actually 9-5/8″ long.  Because of this it actually placed the shift lever about 3″ too low and will not work.   Luckily, I have the knowledge and ability to modify things like this.  After cutting the extra length off and re-tapping the hole, the linkage is now to the correct length on the bike, and ready to go racing.

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The point to the story is this:  my friend went with the company who said they were just as good if not better than the big name brand, yet considerably cheaper and not made locally.  In the end the quality of the product was not what they made claims of over the internet and they don’t have near the level of support that the brand name does.  After some fixing, the units will work but it could have been a costly replacement as the manufacturer of these doesn’t stand directly behind their product.

Here at EXAIR we have instilled quality into our product and customer service.  If you were to receive a part that doesn’t work, we will be here to help figure out why, and then make the correct actions to remedy your problem as fast as possible.   So don’t always believe what you read on the internet about how great some products are when they are so much cheaper than a well established, market leading brand.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

A Bachelor Life Weekend

So this past  weekend began early for me.  A little while after I left for work last Friday,  my Wife and daughters embarked on a 10 hour journey with my mother and niece to visit some family.  It’s a little different because I am normally the one that is leaving to go to track days.  (Which can also be considered bachelor weekends).

The first thing I thought of was this scene from the classic Risky Business.

Of course, I immediately tried to think of all the things I want to do with the time.  The problem was, I have about 150 hours of projects that I wanted to do and really only had about 48 hours to do so. That being said, I had to prioritize and decide what would be best to do with the time that is given. Sleep, as unfortunate as it may sound, was first on my priority list. Sleep was quickly crossed off the list as a friend arranged to show up by 8:00 am to work on our motorcycles. I ultimately settled on making sure I didn’t miss my favorite meal that my family doesn’t care for – a gyro from Sebastians.

What it boiled down to is the fact that I only had so many hours in the day to get the projects done and when the dead line hit I needed to have the most important ones done.  The key point is to prioritize, much like the Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compress Air System does.

6 steps

My personal priority list looked like this:

1. Measure the consumption of frozen foods and fast foods one can consume in a weekend.

2. Find and Fix the leaking faucets in the bathtub.

3. Upgrade to being aggravated with plumbing and go blow off some steam.

4. Turn off all the lights in the house for the entire weekend.

5. Re-purpose some lumber to create storage in my garage.

6. Control the air temperature in my house to save a little more money.

Yeah it was a great weekend, but they can come home any time now…

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF