I recently worked with a customer at a company that manufactures steel sheets. They grind, polish, and then shot blast the steel sheets. As the material exits the shot blasting chamber, some of the media still sticks to the steel and is carrying over into additional processes. To mitigate this, they installed a 1” pipe with drilled holes at the exit of the conveyor to remove the excess media and keep it contained inside of the machine. While this worked, it was using a substantial amount of compressed air which was resulting in a pressure drop across the rest of the facility when this machine was in operation.
Although their current method was doing the job for them, they couldn’t live with the increased compressed air consumption. After searching the internet, they came across the EXAIR website and were interested in learning about other blowoff methods. Typically for an application involving a wide sheet of moving material we’d look towards one of our Super Air Knives, available from stock in lengths from 3”-108”. But, in this case there was some friction between the shot blasting media and the stainless steel sheet that required brute force. They needed something that was going to give them an increased amount of force, but still reduce their overall consumption.
I recommended our HP1125 High Power 2” Flat Nozzle. With a .025” thick shim installed, the HP1125 nozzle will produce 2.2 lbs of force when operated at 80 psig. This was more than enough to remove the shot blasting media. They’re also much quieter than an open blowoff, producing a sound level of just 83 dBA. While this wasn’t a motivating factor for them, the reduction in noise was definitely welcomed. They placed some on order and replaced the 1/4″ open holes with (10) Model HP1125 2” Flat Super Air Nozzles.
For comparison, (10) 1/4″ holes will consume 690 SCFM at 80 PSIG while (10) of the HP1125 comes in at just 370 SCFM. By simply installing the HP1125 (which conveniently also has a 1/4 NPT air inlet), they reduced their compressed air consumption by a whopping 46%!! By reducing air consumption they eliminated the system pressure drop, they were also able to increase the force as the compressor was able to maintain the 80 PSIG pressure at the header pipe. This also alleviated the pressure drops experienced elsewhere in the plant.
At EXAIR we have a wide-range of different products suited to a number of different blowoff applications. From 4mm nozzles producing just 2 ozs of force, all the way up to our largest nozzle capable of delivering 23 lbs of force and everything in between. No matter the application, EXAIR has something capable of taking care of the job. Odds are it’ll be safer, quieter, and more efficient!
The word “accessory” can come with some baggage… it’s become synonymous with “add-on” and “up-sell,” and cost-mindful consumers may see them as just another way for a slick salesperson to make an extra buck. And frankly, they wouldn’t have that reputation if there wasn’t some truth to it. The server at your favorite restaurant will offer appetizers, or recommend side dishes to go with your entree. If you go to buy a new car, you’ll get a pitch for a variety of aftermarket add-ons. The paint counter folks at the hardware store always tell me what specific brush and/or rollers I should use with the paint I’m buying…and it’s never the 10-pack of economy brushes that costs less than the single, premium quality brush they recommend. In all of these cases, these employees are trained, constantly encouraged, and hopefully rewarded on the success of these “up-sell” strategies.
Of course, my boys and I can devour even the largest plate of chili cheese nachos long before the rest of meal comes out. My wife absolutely loves the remote starter function that the dealership installed on the new car she bought last year. And, if you’ve ever painted a well-lit room, you know the difference between a $1 paint brush and a $10 paint brush. So if my server gets a little bigger tip, my car dealer salesperson gets a little more commission, or the paint counter folks get a bonus, then it’s a win-win, as far as I’m concerned.
EXAIR carries a variety of accessories for our Intelligent Compressed Air Products. Some aid in mounting & installation:
Others make it easy to ensure adequate supply conditions:
The performance of many EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can be altered by replacing the shim:
In addition to these product-specific accessories, EXAIR carries a complete line of:
*Filter Separators to remove water, dirt, and rust from your compressed air system. Our Automatic Drain Filter Separators have a 5 micron particulate element, and a centrifugal vane to remove moisture.
*Oil Removal Filters with coalescing elements that remove any trace of oil, and also provide additional particulate filtration to 0.03 microns.
*Pressure Regulators, so you can “dial in” the performance you need, so you don’t overpower the application, or waste compressed air. They come in sizes from 1/4 NPT to 1-1/4 NPT, and are rated for flows up to 700 SCFM. A pressure gauge provides accurate indication of outlet pressure, and the adjustment cap can be removed to prevent tampering.
*Silencing Mufflers to reduce work area noise from compressed air exhausting from pneumatic cylinders, valves, etc. There are several styles to choose from, depending on your needs:
Sintered Bronze Mufflers are simple in design, with minimal back pressure restriction, and come in sizes from #10-32 thread to 1-1/2 NPT.
Straight-Through Mufflers offer noise reduction up to 20 dB, and come in sizes from 1/4 NPT (up to 22 SCFM) to 3/4 NPT (up to 73 SCFM.)
Heavy Duty Mufflers have an internal stainless steel screen that not only protects the exhausting components from environmental contamination, but also keeps air system contaminants from being ejected at high speed into the work area.
Reclassifying Mufflers are an upgrade to the Sintered Bronze Mufflers and provide the highest level of noise reduction – up to 35 dB. They also trap oil mist, eliminating breathing hazards to personnel.
*12 ft Coiled Hoses (1/4″ or 3/8″ ID) and Compressed Air Hose (3/8″ or 1/2″ ID; up to 50ft lengths) can be provided with any Intelligent Compressed Air Product. We also have a full supply of fittings (tees, elbows, nipples, couplers, reducers, etc.) and adapters to fit our Super Air Nozzles to your existing air guns or blow off devices.
*Receiver Tanks are used to store a ready supply of compressed air. If you have an intermittent demand of sufficient size, it can cause a pressure transient in your system, which can drag down the ability to supply other points of use. Installed near the point of intermittent demand, they prevent pressure & volume fluctuations, keeping the operators at all points of use happy. Model 9500-60 Receiver Tank has a capacity of 60 gallons, is rated to 200psig, and meets ASME pressure vessel code.
In closing, let me offer the following advice that’s served me well over the years:
*Be mindful of the valued added by the accessories & add-ons you’re presented during a purchase of capital equipment…or anything else, really. Don’t buy something you don’t need, but if you need it…well…it’s OK to buy it.
*Don’t skimp on quality. Odds are, if an accessory is offered by the manufacturer of the product, it’s going to work well for you. They should be able to tell you if it will or won’t if you discuss your needs with them. I know I will if you call me to discuss a compressed air product application.
*Get the big plate of nachos, especially if you’re dining with teenagers.
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Flow rate is the quantity of material that is moved per unit of time. Generally, the quantity of material can be expressed as a mass or a volume. For example, mass flow rates are in units of pounds per minute or kilograms per hour. Volumetric flow rates are stated in cubic feet per minute or liters per hour. The trick begins when volumetric flow rates are used for a compressible gas. In this blog, I will go over the various acronyms and the reasons behind them.
What acronyms will be covered?
CFM – Cubic Feet per Minute
SCFM – Standard Cubic Feet per Minute
ACFM – Actual Cubic Feet per Minute
ICFM – Inlet Cubic Feet per Minute
The volumetric component of the flow rate is CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute. This term is commonly used for rating air compressors. From history of air compressors, they could calculate the volume of air being drawn into the air compressor by the size of cylinder. With the volume of the compression chamber and the rotations per minute of the motor, RPM, they could calculate the volumetric air flows. As conditions change like altitude, temperature, and relative humidity, the value of CFM changes. To better clarify these conditions, compressor manufacturers decided to add terms with definition. (For your information, air compressors still use CFM as a unit of air flow, but now this is defined at standard temperature and pressure).
The first letter in front of CFM above now defines the conditions in which the volumetric air flow is being measured. This is important for comparing pneumatic components or for properly sizing pneumatic systems. Volume is measured with three areas: temperature, pressure, and relative humidity. We can see this in the Ideal Gas Law: P * V = n * R * T or Equation 1:
V = n * R * T / P
V – Volume
n – Number of molecules of gas
R – Universal Gas Constant
T – Absolute Temperature
P – Absolute Pressure
The volume of air can change in reference to pressure, temperature, and the number of molecules. Where is the relative humidity? This would be referenced in the “n” term. The more water vapor, or higher RH value, the less molecules of air is in a given volume.
SCFM is the most commonly used term, and it can be the most confusing. The idea of this volumetric air flow is to set a reference point for comparisons. So, no matter the pressure, temperature, or relative humidity, the volumetric air flows can be compared to each other at that reference point. There have been many debates about an appropriate standard temperature and pressure, or STP. But as long as you use the same reference point, then you can still compare the results. In this blog, I will be using the Compressed Air and Gas Institute, CAGI, reference where the “Standard” condition is at 14.5 PSIA, 68 deg. F, and 0% RH. Since we have a reference point, we still need to know the actual conditions for comparison. It is like having a location of a restaurant as a reference, but if you do not know your current location, you cannot reach it. Similarly, we are “moving” the air from its actual condition to a reference or “Standard” condition. We will need to know where the air began in order to reach that reference point. We will talk more about this later in this blog.
ACFM is the volumetric air flow under actual conditions. This is actually the “true” flow rate. Even though this term is hardly used, there are reasons why we will need to know this value. We can size an air compressor that is not at “Standard” conditions, and we can use this value to calculate velocity and pressure drop in a system. We can correlate between SCFM and ACFM with Equation 2:
ACFM = Actual Cubic Feet per Minute
SCFM = Standard Cubic Feet per Minute
Pstd = standard absolute air pressure (psia)
Pact = absolute pressure at the actual level (psia)
Psat = saturation pressure at the actual temperature (psi)
Φ = Actual relative humidity
Tact = Actual ambient air temperature (oR)
Tstd = Standard temperature (oR)
ICFM is one of the newest terms in the history of air compressors. This is where devices are added to the inlet of an air compressor, affecting the flow conditions. If you have a blower on the inlet of an air compressor, the volumetric flow rate changes as the pressure and temperature rises at the “Inlet”. If a filter is used, then the pressure drop will decrease the incoming pressure at the “Inlet”. These devices that affect the volumetric flow rate for an air compressor should be considered. The equation to relate the ACFM to ICFM is with Equation 3:
ICFM = ACFM * (Pact / Pf) * (Tf / Tact)
ICFM = Inlet Cubic Feet Per Minute
Pf = Pressure after filter or inlet equipment (PSIA)
Tf = Temperature after filter or inlet equipment (°R)
Examples of these different types of flow rates can be found here in this EXAIR blog by Tyler Daniel.
To expand on my explanation above about SCFM and ACFM, a technical question comes up about the pressure when using SCFM. The reference point of 14.5 PSIA is in the definition of SCFM. Remember, this is only a reference point. The starting location is actually required. This would be the ACFM value where the air values are true and actual. As an example, two air nozzles are rated for 60 SCFM. An EXAIR Super Air Nozzle, model 1106, is cataloged at 80 PSIG, and a competitor is cataloged at 60 PSIG. By comparison, they look like they use the same amount of compressed air, but actually they do not. To simplify Equation 2, we can compare the two nozzles at the same temperature and RH at 68 Deg. F and 0% RH respectively. This equation can be reduced to Equation 4:
Even though the SCFM is the same amount, you are actually using 21% more air with the competitive nozzle that was reported at 60 PSIG. So, when it comes to rating compressed air products or air compressors, always ask the conditions of pressure, temperature and RH. The more you know about volumetric flow rates, the better decision that you can make. If you need help, you can always contact our application engineers at EXAIR.
Have you ever happened across something that would have been a real “game changer” at some time in the past? I’ll never forget the time that I went camping with my sons’ Boy Scout Troop, and I was introduced to the peanut butter and bacon sandwich. I still enjoy one from time to time, but my doctor does not enjoy hearing about it…
I’ve also written before (and before) about when I found out EXAIR Vortex Tubes were being used in some shipyards for freeze sealing pipes…a task that (when I worked in a shipyard) we used tanks of liquid nitrogen for. I was amazed that such a cumbersome ordeal was replaced by something so simple and easy.
When we were developing the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun, a key feature…the variable flow trigger…also would have been real handy at a time in my not-so-distant past. See, I used to run a small industrial equipment service department, and one time I found myself in a pinch to get a structural steel tube frame made for a support for a particular piece of equipment. This wasn’t something we did all the time, and this particular job was a bit larger scale than most of what we’d done before. It wasn’t really a big deal; I just had to cut some rectangular tubing to length with our band saw, drill some small holes (for bolts) and bore some larger holes (for cables & hose) along the length.
We had a small air compressor and a cheap commercial grade air gun, which served the purpose of our infrequent usage. Blowing the shavings away from those holes, and the inside of the tubing was a challenge…that air gun would just barely move them all the way from the holes near the middle, and when I blew out the holes near the ends, the spray of coolant-soaked shavings was making a heck of a mess in our relatively small shop. After a while, I found that I could kind of “mash” the trigger a little to one side and get a rough measure of control…I was only going to have to mop about half the floor, instead of the whole thing, and I wasn’t going to have to wash the service truck parked in the closest garage bay to the shop area.
Needless to say, this wasn’t exactly ergonomic, and it was real pain (literally) to use my left hand for a few days following. Which, being left-handed, was kind of a drag.
Fast forward to just last year, when we rolled out the latest and greatest (in a distinguished line of latest and greatest) EXAIR product: the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun. Now, individually, the key features might not be all that mind-blowing to the casual observer, but taken together, they’re a pretty big deal. Consider:
*Aluminum construction – lightweight, durable, corrosion resistant.
*Two compressed air inlets – one on the bottom (below your pinkie finger) and one on the rear (above your thumb;) your choice…whichever makes your task easier.
*Cast-in hanger – to keep it out of the way, but still handy, when you’re not using it.
*Chip Shield – you still have to wear safety glasses, but this will keep them cleaner.
*Variable pull trigger – as the name implies, you can “vary the blast” by how hard (or not) you pull the trigger. Like I said before, you can do this – kind of – with a run of the mill commercial grade air gun, but it’s not very precise, and far from ergonomic. Here’s a short video showing just how sensitive that trigger pull is:
If you’d like to give one a try, EXAIR offers these – and any catalog product for that matter – with a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee. We invite you to put it through its paces for up to a month. If it’s not going to work out for you, for any reason, we’ll arrange return for full credit. Give me a call – we can talk about how you intend to use it, and which one’s right for you.
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Chances are if you have been on your job for a little while, you have noticed some processes or equipment that takes excessive time, wastes energy, etc.. and delivers less than optimal results. So, just how do you communicate those observations to management in your organization? You certainly do not want to embarrass yourself by having your idea torpedoed, nor let the company continue wasting money on inefficient processes or equipment. The question becomes, how do you present your cost savings plan to the management team? This blog will help you with that very question!
Your idea(s) for cost savings should be presented clearly and concisely with some key information highlighting the cost and the savings. The simplest way to accomplish this is to quantify the savings for a given period of time and the payback schedule. The payback schedule is generally calculated by dividing the cost of the project by the forecast savings. Generally speaking, the shorter the time required for payback, the better the odds of your project being approved.
To start the process generate a (1) page overview that states the problem, cost of your proposal and the forecast savings. A thorough and concise presentation will help sway any naysayers in the group, and you should include detailed information that includes current operating costs and how you arrived at those figures.
In the compressed air industry, EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air products provide some easy installations and quick payback times without sacrificing production or quality – in many cases, we can improve production and quality. Let’s consider the case below, where open tubes were being used to blow off punch presses. We started by capping off (4) of the open tubes and trying one EXAIR 1100 Air Nozzle with a defined air pattern and we clearly needed more force. That is when we attached the second super air nozzle, and voila! We had the amount of force and the air pattern required for this application, all while greatly minimizing air consumption and noise! The image below shows what a sample air savings presentation sheet or test sheet may look like.
Considering the EXAIR1100 Super Air Nozzle are $39 each, you can calculate that the payback time is slightly less than 10 working days per press, since two nozzles were used for each press.
When considering larger and more in-depth projects, naturally more documentation and information will be required. In addition to the requirements for the above example, just be sure to include the following points:
List the action items for your proposal and any purchases that may be necessary.
Outline your proposed savings and document how you arrived at that number.
Discuss anything that may cause delays or not go as planned, and if possible, suggest viable workarounds.
Create a milestone schedule for all the major points in your plan.
If you would like to discuss increasing the efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products, and/or any EXAIR product, I would enjoy hearing from you. Give me a call.
From August 1st to September 30th, 2018, EXAIR will be giving away a 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle with the purchase of any promotional VariBlast, Soft Grip, or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun. EXAIR is stressing the importance of safety in the workplace with the EXAIR Safety Air Guns as well as the versatility of the different types of EXAIR Super Air Nozzles.
This promotional item, the model 1126 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle, has a patented shim to blow a 1” wide stream of air to clean surfaces quickly and efficiently and is a $45.00 USD value. For more details on the Promotion, click on the photo/link above. For more information about the Flat Super Air Nozzles, click HERE.
Inexpensive air guns can be purchased just about anywhere- online, via catalogs, and through industrial supply companies. Typical quality is less than ideal – broken triggers, leaky valves – a short lifespan in an industrial setting are merely a few of the issues observed. Most are loud and inefficient – they just blow large amounts of compressed air, and at noise levels that violate OSHA requirements. Some may even generate dangerous dead end pressure situations that that can result in serious or fatal injuries if blocked.
EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns have been engineered and designed to eliminate these issues. They are durable for use in industrial situations and comfortable to use for extended periods of time. With an EXAIR engineered air nozzle, each model provides top performance by entraining large volumes of surrounding air into the air-stream. Operation is assured to be safe along with low compressed air consumption and noise levels. Due to the design, the airflow that exits the nozzle cannot be blocked, as required by OSHA Standard 29 CPR 1910.242(b).
The VariBlast style of safety air gun offers variable force based on the range of trigger pull. Force can be varies, form a light breeze, to full force maximum output. This cast aluminum air gun can be fitted with any of the EXAIR 1/8 NPT engineered air nozzles.
The Soft Grip style of safety air gun has a durable cats aluminum body suited for rugged, industrial use. The ergonomic design has a soft vinyl cover, a large trigger for easy operation, and a hanger hook for easy storage.
The Heavy Duty style of safety air gun is powerful with a durable aluminum cast body and ergonomic composite rubber grip, best suited for rugged industrial environments. Hours of fatigue free operation are possible.
With all of the Safety Air Guns styles, Chip Shields and Extension Pipes are available, from 6″ to 72″ in length.
With many nozzle options, from a whisper quiet 58 dBA and 2.5 SCFM of flow up to 60 SCFM and 87 dBA (still below the OSHA 8 hour noise level threshold) there is a model that will fit practically any application. Application Engineers are available by phone, email, and chat to review your specific blow off needs, and help to select the best possible solution available.
We invite to you to try out an EXAIR Safety Air Gun, and get the free 1″ Wide Flat Super Air Nozzle as a bonus.
Many customers may not have the means to test the air consumption of their blowoff solutions. With compressed air being the most expensive utility in a manufacturing facility, it’s important to identify places where you can save money on your overall operating costs. EXAIR manufacturers a wide variety of products intended to help you reduce your compressed air usage. If you’re not able to accurately measure the consumption in your own shop, we invite you to send the products into EXAIR for testing. With EXAIR’s Award Winning Efficiency Lab, just simply contact an Application Engineer, box them up and send them to our warehouse in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Once we receive it, our engineers will complete some in-depth testing to determine the compressed air consumption, sound level, and force that your current solution provides. With this information, we’ll be able to compare it to an EXAIR Engineered Solution. This way we ensure that you receive the best, safest solution possible also capable of saving money through reduced air consumption and improved efficiency. We’ll send you back a comprehensive report that’ll help you to make the best decision for your company.
I’ve been recently working with a customer that sent in one of the nozzles they’re using across all their CNC machines. They wanted us to test it out and see if we’re able to offer them something that could reduce their overall compressed air usage. The nozzle was one of the cheap plastic varieties and was attached to a commonly used modular hose. This type of modular hose is not designed for operating under high pressures. These hoses are more suitable for liquid coolant or air that is at or below atmospheric pressure.
After testing, we found that at 80 psig the nozzle consumed 3.85 SCFM and produced a force of 1.92 oz. We also noticed that after 60 psig, the nozzle began to leak due to a poor seal where the nozzle met the brass hex. The EXAIR nozzle most suitable to replace this was the 1108SS. At just 2.5 SCFM at 80 psig, replacing the plastic nozzle with an engineered solution saves them 35% of their overall consumption for this blowoff. With close to 1000 of these nozzles in operation, that adds up quickly!!
In addition to increasing efficiency, replacing these nozzles also greatly increases overall worker safety. The sound level is reduced from 73 dBA to just 58 dBA and EXAIR’s nozzles also adhere to OSHA 1910.242(b). The plastic nozzles could be dead-ended, posing a hazard that can result in costly fines. These fines are assessed per infraction, so having multiple non-compliant nozzles can easily get very expensive if you’re subject to an unannounced visit by an OSHA inspector.
If you think you may have an opportunity to improve upon your existing blowoff methods, give us a call. We’ll be happy to take a closer look and have you send the product back to EXAIR for a quick trial in our Efficiency Lab. You’ll be glad you did!