How To Solve A Problem with Compressed Air

In my (almost) six years as an EXAIR Application Engineer, I’ve learned a great many things about the capabilities of our products.  The way we do business sure does make it easy:

  • We readily share application information, as a team.  If you ask me a question, you’re asking all of us.  It does neither of us any good if I tell you something MIGHT work if one of my team knows it WON’T – or if someone knows what else DOES work.  If we can offer a solution, we will.
  • We’ll test your product, free of charge.  This is a popular way of finding out which Line Vac is best for conveying a particular product, for example.
  • If you’re considering a quiet, safe, and efficient EXAIR product as an upgrade, we’ll test your current product in our award winning Efficiency Lab, so you can compare accurate performance data and analyze the expected benefits…which can be dramatic.  Try us on that.
exair-testin

Line Vac conveyance rate testing (left;) Efficiency Lab testing (right.)

 

  • We’ll let YOU test our product, risk-free.  All catalog products come with a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee.  We invite you to put it through its paces for up to a month.  If it’s not working out, we’ll arrange return for full credit.
  • We’ll do the math.  But first, a disclaimer: strictly comparing the force or flow of an engineered product to an open-end blow off won’t always tell the tale.  Our Intelligent Compressed Air Products are creating a laminar flow which won’t generate as high of a force/thrust as open-end blowing (which is turbulent by nature,) but is MUCH more conducive to efficiency and noise reduction, as well as similar (if not improved) performance.  But back to the math: if you know the metrics you need to meet for spot cooling (like a Vortex Tube, Adjustable Spot Cooler, Cold Gun, etc.) or for liquid spraying (the liquid flow rate and/or pattern size & shape from an Atomizing Spray Nozzle, for instance,) or the heat load that a Cabinet Cooler System can handle, we’ll do the calculations and specify the appropriate product.

Regardless of the application, if it can be solved with compressed air, it’s very likely that we have a great solution.  Call me to find out how we can help.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Air Nozzle Provides Non-Marring Solution For Rotary Die Cutting

Die Cutting is a highly efficient means to produce large volumes of uniquely shaped parts while creating a low volume of wasted materials. There are several different ways to produce die cut parts with one of the more common being Rotary Die Cutting. A Rotary Die Cutter typically incorporates the material passing between a roller die cutter and a heavy roller anvil to cut the specific shape  then passes the material down a conveyor or feed line while retrieving the waste material in another collection device.

I recently worked with a customer who was starting to see a large volume of scrap in their vinyl and rubber parts die cutting process as the die cut parts themselves were getting stuck onto the rolling die cutter and weren’t getting grabbed by the conveyor rollers. To try and get the parts to eject from the cutter they installed a few 1/4″ open copper tube air lines running across the roller but were concerned with amount of air they were wasting and the high pitch noise levels of close to 100 dBA. They were also seeing some damage to the parts they were able to get loosened from the die as some of the parts would make contact with the pipe, causing a “blemish” on the part, ultimately failing inspection.

I recommend the customer use our Model # 1100-PEEK Super Air Nozzle. The Model # 1100 consumes only 14 SCFM of compressed air (at 80 PSIG), much less than a 1/4″ open pipe, tested at close to 140 SCFM @ 80 PSIG. This nozzle produces a low sound level of only 74 dBA falling well within the allowable noise exposure levels set forth by OSHA. In addition, the PEEK plastic construction provides a non-marring solution in the event one of the parts did make contact with the nozzle.

1100-peek

1100-specs Model # 1100-PEEK Super Air Nozzle with Performance Specs

EXAIR offers a large selection of engineered air nozzles with varying airflow patterns, force, sound levels and materials of construction to meet a wide variety of application requirements. With help selecting the best solution or to discuss your particular application, please give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

EXAIR’s High Velocity and Adjustable Air Jets – Now Available in Stainless Steel

Newly released, the EXAIR High Velocity Air Jet and Adjustable Air Jet are now available in Type 303 Stainless Steel, providing greater durability, corrosion resistance and a higher maximum temperature rating of 400 °F.  Type 303 stainless steel has good resistance to mildly corrosive atmospheres along with good oxidation resistance at elevated temperatures, making the stainless steel Air Jet a great choice for blowoff or part drying in your harsh environment. Both types of Air Jets are also available in brass, for applications at 275°F and below, and when corrosion resistance is not as critical.

6013ss

Model 6013SS – High Velocity Air Jet

Air Jets utilize the Coanda Effect – wall attachment of a high velocity fluid – to produce air motion in their surroundings. As illustrated above, a small amount of compressed air to the inlet (large black arrow) is throttled through an internal ring nozzle above sonic velocity.  A vacuum is produced, resulting in large volumes of surrounding, or “free” air, being pulled in through the jet (blue arrows.)

air jet How Air Jets Work

Both the outlet and inlet can be ducted for remote positioning applications.

If the end is blocked, flow simply reverses at well below OSHA dead end pressure requirements, ensuring safe operation.

The High Velocity Air Jet comes standard with an .015″ shim, and a Shim Set is offered that includes .006″ and  .009″ shims to provide additional adjustability and control.  The Adjustable Air Jet has a variable gap design, and can be adjusted and locked to meet the required airflow and thrust parameters.

When you are needing a simple solution to reduce excessive air consumption and noise levels on compressed air blowoff operations, EXAIR has a large line of Air Nozzles and Jets to solve your problems. You can contact an Application Engineer to discuss which Air Jet or Nozzle to best fit your application.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Use The Force…Or Not…It’s Up To You, Really

The month of May, in 1977, was a great time to be ten years old. I was finishing up my fifth grade year, a pivotal one, thanks to Miss Walker, who ended up being my favorite teacher ever. She had a pet rat named A.J. that we took turns taking home for the weekend. She rewarded us for class performance by taking us outside to play softball on warm & sunny spring afternoons. I trace my love for math (and hence, my inspiration for a career in engineering) to the excitement she instilled in me for the subject…I was among the first to master the multiplication tables.

And then there was Star Wars. There were commercials for the movie and the toys and the merchandise on TV; I swear they ran every five minutes. A fast food chain released a series of posters (free with purchase) and every time a new one came out, Miss Walker promptly hung it on the classroom wall. None of us, her included, could hardly wait until the premiere. I could go on (and on and on and on,) but suffice it to say (for the purposes of this blog,) I’ve been a BIG fan ever since.

Which brings us to today…opening day for “Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” The first time, by the way, a Star Wars movie hasn’t premiered in the month of May, but I digress. The 10 year old inside me wants to go see it RIGHT NOW, but the grownup I have to be has a company Christmas party, two Boy Scout events, and a pre-holiday “honey-do” list to attend to first.

Of course, the “other” epic space movie series couldn’t resist launching THEIR new trailer this week…

All this talk about The Force (capital “F”) and the fact that I write this blog on company time has me thinking about compressed air applications that involve force (lower case “f”) and how using force (unlike “The Force”) is not always prudent.

This is the case in just about any blow off application that uses air under pressure. Open ended copper tubing, drilled pipes, etc., are common and easy ways to discharge compressed air for debris removal, drying, or cooling a part. But the fact is, they waste a LOT of the energy devoted to compressing the air by simply turning it into brute force and noise.

This is where EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products(r) come in: by using the energy of the compressed air to entrain air from the surrounding environment, the total air flow is amplified, resulting in a high velocity blast, at minimal consumption. No; it doesn’t have the same amount of force as an open ended discharge device, but most blow off applications don’t need all that much force anyway.

Of course, there ARE situations where you need to use the force, and we’ve got efficient and OSHA compliant ways to do that too: additional shims in Air Knives, Air Wipes & Air Amplifiers, or larger Super Air Nozzles.

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” the continuing theme of the Star Wars saga is to use The Force properly. For the past 32 years, the continuing theme at EXAIR is to help you use the force (of your compressed air) properly. Let me know how we can help.

May The Force be with us all…this weekend, and always.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Intelligent Compressed Air Products: Pulling In Free Air

Home of Intelligent Compressed Air Products

EXAIR is the home of Intelligent Compressed Air Products.

What is an Intelligent Compressed Air product? What makes it intelligent? Compressed air is typically a manufacturing facility’s most expensive utility. A standard cost is $0.25 per 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet (SCF) produced. Any pipe, manifold, or fitting can be modified to blow compressed air, but these homemade blow offs will be very noisy, waste a tremendous amount of compressed air and create an OSHA violation. In contrast EXAIR’s intelligent compressed air are engineered solution are quiet, use a minimal amount of compressed air and comply with OSHA safety standards.

Let’s take EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle as an example. Connecting it to a 1/4 NPT fitting, will produce 13 ounces of force on a target when mounted twelve inches away, and use 14 SCFM of compressed air. To produce so much force using that little air, the Super Air Nozzle must be precisely designed and manufactured to maximize the entrainment of ambient air.

With the air nozzle we use compressed air to induce a primary air flow. This primary air flow is a high velocity jet of air that create low pressure area around the primary airflow entraining the ambient or free air. These air streams combine past the tip of the nozzle creating a powerful blast of air. The Super Air Nozzle can entrain air up to a ratio of 25 parts of ambient air moved for every 1 part of compressed air.  All of our Super Air Nozzle create this level of air entrainment.

AirflowAnimation

EXAIR Super Air Nozzle entrains ambient air up to a 25:1 ratio

In addition to entraining a significant amount of air, the Super Air Nozzle also reduces the noise level. Most homemade nozzles are not well constructed so, the hole(s) that allow the air to escape may have sharp jagged edge which will induce noise or turbulence. Even commercial nozzles with cross drill holes create a tremendous amount of wind shear which leads to an ear splitting compressed air squeal. The smooth design of the Super Air Nozzle creates a laminar flow of air that reduces the noise of the nozzle to 74 dBA. For reference a 1/4″ open tube can easily create noise levels over 100 dBA. Using a compressed air nozzle, can greatly reduce the amount of noise in and around your shop.

Finally, EXAIR Super Air Nozzle complies with OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.242, which requires that all nozzles that use compressed air over 30 PSIG must provide a point of relief in case the nozzle is dead ended. EXAIR Super Air Nozzle uses multiple orifices that are recessed, so that the air always has a path of escape. Many homemade nozzles do not have any provision to protect from dead ending, which means they do not comply with the OSHA standard.

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are an important upgrade from a homemade nozzle and many times an upgrade for a commercial nozzle, because they entrain ambient air, reduce noise level, and comply with OSHA regulation.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

Reduce Noise Exposure with Super Air Nozzles

News from the CDC that those of us involved with industrial safety are paying close attention to is the release of their NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) division’s Hazard Evaluation Program Noise Measurement Database, which contains data obtained through Health Hazard Evaluation surveys performed between 1996 and 2012. It includes hundreds of personal noise exposure measurements (how much noise was received by individuals) and almost as many area noise measurements (how much noise was made.) A comparison of these measurements, of course, is valuable in determining if appropriate measures are being taken to abate the exposure, which is key: there are an awful lot of industrial processes where there’s nothing that can be done about the generation of noise…they’re just simply LOUD. So, they focus on what they can do to limit exposure: Use engineering controls (retrofit open line with engineered nozzles, build sound barriers) , use administrative controls (relocating personnel away from the sound), use personal protective equipment, and spending as little time as possible near the source.

Regardless of what people can get used to, the area noise associated with compressed air use CAN be reduced, while still maintaining the efficiency of the operation. Here’s the deal:

*The most basic form of air blow off is a piece of pipe, tubing, or hose connected to a source of compressed air. When it’s opened to the atmosphere, the compressed air exits with a great deal of force. This makes quite a racket, and the only way to quiet it down is to reduce the air supply pressure. Then you get less force, however, and it might not get the job done.

*Engineered air nozzles, such as EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles, solve this problem by design:

air nozzle flow

The compressed air supply (black arrow) uses the Coanda effect when it exits the series of holes recessed in the array of fins (dark blue arrows.) This serves to entrain an enormous amount of air from the surrounding environment (light blue arrows,) which not only results in a high volume flow rate at minimal consumption, but also makes the resultant air flow very quiet.

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are quiet, efficient, and easy to get…we maintain inventory of anything you see in the Catalog, all available for same day shipment. If you’d like to know how EXAIR products can be easy on your ears…and your wallet…give me a call!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
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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

 

 

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