Managing Pneumatic Sound

I recently took my daughter to a basketball game to watch Xavier University’s Lady Musketeers play. Due to Covid the arena felt empty and we could hear the players on the court and also the the coaches from the opposite side. If this was a regular season game we could barely hear ourselves let alone the teams and coaches. The obvious reason why there was not much noise is that there wasn’t much of a crowd and the crowd makes a lot of sound. So, what is sound?

Sound can be defined as “vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear”. Sounds hit our ears at different pressure levels depending on its strength (“loudness” or volume) and is measured in decibels (dB).

When sound travels and comes into contact with a surface, a portion will be absorbed and another portion will be reflected. Manufacturing environments obviously can be the source of a lot of sound and personnel near the sources should be protected as much as possible. One extremely effective way to do this is to substitute a loud noise source with a quieter one or remove the source all together. PPE can be effective but is much less reliable due to people forgetting to use PPE, using PPE improperly or even deciding for themselves they do not need it.

To substitute or eliminate means something like the strategic placement of air compressor which is not near personnel or recognizing the type of product you choose to use is vital to sound management and the health and safety of people working near the point of use. Many EXAIR products can help you reduce the sound level of your current point-of-use compressed air by replacing commercial air nozzles, open pipes and homemade blowoff solutions with our Engineered Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns, Air Amplifiers, or Super Air Knives. These products are all designed to minimize compressed air noise and can contribute to lowering the overall noise exposure of your personnel. The additional benefit is that you customers will also typically see a reduction in air consumption which saves money on generating compressed air.

EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter is a tool used to identify and quantify the particular noise levels within an area. The source of loud noises can be quickly identified and isolated so corrective measures can be implemented.

Compressed air noise levels often exceed OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) noise level exposure requirements. EXAIR pneumatic products meet or exceed the OSHA Standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a) and can be used to reduce sound levels in your compressed air environment.

EXAIR has has many engineered compressed air products that can help reduce your sound levels. Our Application Engineers are ready and eager to help assist your sound level decrease projects. Please contact us at www.EXAIR.com so we can be a vital part of your successful sound reduction program.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

What is a Decibel Level?

Decibel level also known as dBA, is how the industry measures sound intensity’s effect on the human ear and is an important value when discussing noise exposure for employees and operators within manufacturing. Manufacturing personnel can be at risk for hearing damage when exposed to high decibel levels if the proper precautions are not taken. For reference, 0 dBA is the softest level that a person can hear. Normal speaking voices are around 65 dBA. A rock concert can be about 120 dBA.

Sounds that are 85 dBA or above can permanently damage your ears. The more sound pressure a sound has, the less time it takes to cause damage. This damage occurs within a sensitive part of our ear called the cochlea, which contain thousands of hair cells used to allow our brains to detect sounds. For example, a sound at 85 dBA may take as long at 8 hours to cause permanent damage, while a sound at 100 dBA can start damaging hair cells after only 30 minutes of listening.

OSHA Max Noise Exposure Chart

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. Whether you work near machinery, at a sports venue, on a tarmac, or operate a jackhammer—hearing loss is preventable.

Noise may be a problem in your workplace if you:

  • Hear ringing or humming in your ears when you leave work.
  • Have to shout to be heard by a coworker an arm’s length away.
  • Experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work.

If you need to raise your voice to speak to someone 3 feet away, noise levels might be over 85 decibels. Sound-measuring instruments are available to measure the noise levels in a workspace.

The first step to lowering your sound level is to take a baseline reading of your various processes and devices that are causing the noise. EXAIR’s Sound Level Meter, Model 9104, is an easy to use instrument that provides a digital readout of the sound level. They come with an NIST traceable calibration certificate and will allow you to determine what processes and areas are causing the most trouble.

From there, EXAIR has a wide range of Intelligent Compressed Air Products® that are designed to reduce compressed air consumption as well as sound levels. For noisy blowoffs where you’re currently using an open-ended pipe or a loud commercial air nozzle, EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles are the ideal solution. Not only can they pay for themselves over a short period of time time due to compressed air savings, but your operators will thank you when they’re able to hear later on in life!

 EXAIR has the tools you need to reduce sound level in your processes. If you’d like to talk to an Application Engineer about any applications that you feel could benefit from a sound reduction, give us a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Compressed Air in Farming and Agriculture

I used to help my father-in-law around his farm and this city boy had his eyes opened when he realized it was more than shovels, tractors and livestock. Agriculture is vital for human existence and has become far more advanced over the centuries with a continual thirst for efficiency and technology. Agriculture is just like many other industries looking for continued ways to increase yield, improve quality, maximize labor and improve technology.

EXAIR has many products used in the agriculture and food processing industries. The following details a few example by product line how we can influence efficiencies and quality of products:

Super Air Knife drying fruits and vegetables

Super Air Knives:

EXAIRs Super Air Knives are have ben used to help harvest apples and peaches. In this case they use our Super Air Knives to dry and blow off the fruit after the rinsing process just before the waxing process then again after waxing to blow off any remaining debris or moisture from the fruit before being packed.

A processing company using the Super Air Knife to clean a conveying belt equipped with a weighing system. Before the installation of the the Super Air Knife some of the cut vegetables being weighed would stick to the belt. Their solution was to clean the conveyor belt with EXAIR’s Super Air Knife to ensure continuous operation of the weighing and packaging systems.

Super Air Nozzles:

An onion farmer used EXAIR’s Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle to blow loose onion skins from the onions before packaging to improve the aesthetics to the customers.

Line Vacs:

A food packaging company repackages banana peppers from 55 gallon drums to 1 and 5 gallon containers using our Model 6066 3″ Stainless Steel Line Vac.

Using EXAIRs Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vacs a feed stock manufacturer conveys various grains and feed stock simultaneously to a mixer which blends the ingredients. This reduced their blend time by 50%.

A grain processor used Model 142200 aluminum threaded Line Vac to convey small amounts of corn meal into a hopper which feeds into their inspection process.

A company producing worm eggs encapsulated in water soluble wax sold to farmers to enhance soil conditions. They eliminated a hand operation using Model 6081 1″ Aluminum Line Vac  to convey the worm eggs from one classifier to another.

EXAIR has several applications using Atomizing Spray nozzles to add moisture in growing environments . Greenhouses use our Atomizing spray nozzles to control humidity in the air and keep their soils moist to maintain optimal growing environments.

There are many other applications using compressed AIR on farms such as filling tires, cleaning equipment, blowing out water lines and more. Technology drives labor savings and improved quality prototypes are being designed and tested to use compressed air using drones to shoot pods filled with seeds, fertilizer and other nutrients into the soil. EXAIR will remain a strong influence in the growth of compressed air products helping to reduce the carbon footprint, enhance efficiencies and improve cost and quality within the agriculture and food processing industries.

If you have an application and you would like to talk please contact me or any of our qualified Application Engineers at 800.903.9247 and we will gladly help with our best recommendations.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

Engineered Air Nozzles by EXAIR Replace Modular Coolant Hose & Save Thousands!!

A common item that can be found in a majority of machine shops is the blue or gray knuckle-jointed hose used to dispense coolant on lathes and CNC machines. EXAIR also uses this same hose with our Cold Guns and Adjustable Spot Coolers for applications that cannot or do not wish to use liquid coolant as a means of keeping the heat down on their tooling. Since the cold air discharges at atmospheric pressure, this is an acceptable application.

Another application is using this style of hose as a compressed air blowoff. This is NOT a proper use of the hose and is not only a considerable waste of compressed air but can also pose a safety hazard. Using this method for compressed air blowoff is not compliant with OSHA 1910.242(b).

I was recently contacted by a customer in Indonesia that was using an array of (6) of these knuckle-jointed hoses with a ¼” round nozzle attachment for a blowoff operation. The customer had a series of rubber pads used in the construction of a toy castle. The pads were brought along by an overhead conveyor and a design was printed on the head of the pad.

The nozzles were used to dry the ink before the pad made it to the next part of the process. This was a new product line and the processes involved were being evaluated for potential places to save on compressed air rather than adding overall capacity to their system. After using a variety of EXAIR products for other blowoff applications, they came back for another engineered solution.

HP1126-9280 unassembled

After testing both a 1009-9280 (Adjustable Air Nozzle w/ 30” Stay Set Hose) and an HP1126-9280 (1” High Power Flat Nozzle w/ 30” Stay Set Hose), the customer determined that the airflow pattern from the 1” Flat Nozzle was more conducive to drying the rubber pad and purchased the remaining units to replace their original method. The compressed air savings was noticed immediately!!

For the old operation, they had to regulate the pressure down on the hose to 25 psig so that the hose wouldn’t break apart. (1) This hose , with a ¼” round nozzle, will consume 52 scfm at 25 psig of supply pressure. With (6) of these they were consuming a whopping 312 scfm!! Since the HP1126 is compliant with OSHA directive 1910.242(b) and will not break apart at higher pressures, they were able to operate at 80 psig while only consuming 17.5 scfm. They saved more than enough air for their new process and are evaluating whether or not they can turn off one of their smaller 25 HP compressors.

The new setup with the EXAIR engineered solution was able to save them 207 scfm of compressed air. Assuming a cost of $.25/1000 scfm and a 40 hr work week, this translates to an overall savings of $6,458.40 per year off of their utility bill.

207 scfm x 60 minutes x 8 hrs/day x 5 shifts/week x 52 weeks/year =25,833,600 scf

25,833,600 scf x ($.25/1000 scf) = $6,458.40

If you’re using an inefficient compressed air blowoff in your facility, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to evaluate your process and determine the safest and most efficient solution. With same day shipment for stock items on orders placed by 2:00 pm ET, we can get a solution out to you fast. And you can be saving money upon installation!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD