Return On Investment: Does It Matter, And How Much?

I have a friend who participates in a process known as “extreme couponing.” She has multiple subscriptions to the Sunday edition of our major newspaper, and a couple of local papers that also have coupon inserts. When I see her at the grocery store, she’s got two 4″ binders full of baseball card holders, all stuffed with multiples of clipped coupons, organized by store aisle. The insane amount of money saved is a big factor in her being able to be a stay-at-home mother, which is something else she’s pretty good at.

If you get stuck at step one…or even two…extreme couponing may not be for you!

Now, extreme couponing isn’t for everyone. Even beginners to the process can buy a year’s worth of paper towels for next to nothing. However, that may take up so much room in their house that they need to rent a storage facility for other belongings that folks like you and me simply keep in the garage or basement. It also takes a LOT of time and effort to do it right – as well as discipline. Saving half (or more) on a truckload of stuff you don’t need (or will never use) is a waste of money, time, and space. In fact, I know people who have abandoned extreme couponing for those very reasons…the “return on investment” just isn’t there.

That’s the deal in industry too.  Anyone tasked with finding and exploiting efficiencies – or finding and eliminating inefficiencies – is going to be looking at return on investment.  Like extreme couponing, though, it has to make sense in all aspects of the operation.  For example:

*An OEM taking advantage of a quantity discount for components or subassemblies has to not only have the storage space available, but also has to consider the turnover rate…it costs money to keep product on the shelf.

*A machine shop considering a tooling upgrade has to compare the cost difference with the increased performance and/or lifespan of the “new and improved” product.  A tool that costs 10% more but lasts twice as long is probably a good deal.  A tool that costs twice as much but lasts 10% longer might not provide the “bang for the buck.”

*Any facility, before switching a service or utility provider, will “run the numbers” on promotional rates, contract terms, etc. before making a commitment.

Unlike extreme couponing, EXAIR makes it easy – and beneficial – to evaluate the return on investment:

*Our catalog (if you don’t have the latest, get it here) has complete performance & operational data on all of our products.  This is great if you know what you want it to do.

*If you’re not quite sure, our catalog also has a good number of actual application write-ups for most of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products.  You may be able to find something that’s similar to what you want to do, and further inform your selection from there.

*Once you’ve chosen a product, you can use the Calculator Library on our website to determine actual dollar cost savings associated with replacing a current compressed air powered device with an EXAIR product.

*Application Engineers are available to discuss your application and/or product selection via phone, email, or Live Chat.

*No matter how detailed the discussion, and how confident a plan we may make, the age-old saying about how it “looked good on paper” proves itself every now and again.  When this happens, all catalog products are covered by our 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee.  If you’re not satisfied for any reason within 30 days of purchase, we’ll arrange return for full credit.

*Let’s assume that we’re pretty good at this (because we are) and it actually DOES work out (because it usually does) – we can calculate your new (and improved) operating costs and compare them with the cost of your previous devices.  If you don’t have the instrumentation (flow meters, sound level meters, etc.,) this is a free service we provide in our Efficiency Lab.  Send it in, and we’ll do a full performance test & issue a comprehensive report, all at no charge.  And if you qualify for a Case Study, we can even save you some money on your next order.  Contact me for more details if you’re interested.

Free testing. Verifiable data. EXAIR Efficiency Lab.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Coupon Pile Stock Photos courtesy of Carol Pyles  Creative Common License

2.5″ Line Vac Used In Plastic Part Recovery

I recently worked with an OEM who designed an injection molding machine for their customer. In their design, after the polypropylene parts are formed, they pass through a punch process which creates a scrap piece roughly 1-3/4″ in diameter and 6mm thick but it is very light in weight. The end user was looking for a way to recover these parts in an effort to reduce the amount of waste material in the process but needed an automated solution so they didn’t have to dedicate an operator to manually recover the parts and dump them in the recycle bin. The recovery bin is located close to 25 feet away on the other side of the machining area.

After further discussion,  I recommended they incorporate our Model # 6085 2-1/2″ aluminum Line Vac into their design. The 2.5″ Line Vac has a 2.25″ inside throat diameter which could easily pass the parts and convey them to the collection hopper.

Line Vacs connect to standard ID hose or pipe to create a powerful in-line conveyor

With the recovery bin being located outside of the processing area, they were going to have to run the discharge piping up and over the machines so they were needing something flexible to do so. In addition to the Line Vac, I suggested they use a 30′ section of our 2.5″ conveyance hose. Our conveyance hose is constructed of a durable, clear reinforced PVC, ideal for most general applications and we offer it in 10′ lengths up to 50′, in diameters of 3/8″ to 3″ ID.

Flexible clear PVC hose with smooth bore eliminates material build up.

 

When it comes to moving dry material, like small plastic parts or more abrasive materials like steel shot blasting media, the Line Vacs are the perfect, maintenance-free solution as they have no moving parts or motors to wear out. For help selecting the best option to fit your needs or to discuss how another product might be suitable for your application, give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

What’s In A Name?

Well, a lot, actually…if that name is EXAIR. I wrote a blog just last week about how a set of Super Air Knives solved a MAJOR problem with a brand new aluminum sawing application – the company got those Super Air Knives on the recommendation of the Maintenance Supervisor, who had used them, with great success, at a previous company.

Even more recently, I had the pleasure of helping a caller from an engineering firm that specifies a wide range of our products for use in their OEM machinery:

*Air Knives & Nozzles for automated blow offs.
*Cabinet Cooler Systems for electrical/electronics heat protection.
*E-Vac Vacuum Generators for end-of-arm robotics “pick & place.”

Turns out, they use a good amount of compressed air in their manufacturing facility and (did I mention they’re an engineering firm?) they’re interested in implementing a facilities resource management program. For one part of this, they want to know how much compressed air they’re using, when they’re using it, and what they’re using it for. And when presented with a question about compressed air, they thought about EXAIR…and wanted to know more about the Digital Flowmeter.

EXAIR's Digital Flowmeter w/ USB Data Logger
EXAIR’s Digital Flowmeter w/ USB Data Logger

We discussed everything from theory of operation, to best practices for installation (location, position, etc.,) to accuracy, to getting the flow data…and we’ve got a few options for that:

*The Digital Flowmeter itself can output a 4-20mA signal, or there’s an optional RS-485 output board available.
*The USB Data Logger connects directly to the Digital Flowmeter and records flow rate data – about 9 hours’ worth if measured once a second; 2 years’ worth if measured every 12 hours. When removed from the Digital Flowmeter and plugged into your computer, you can use its software, or Microsoft Excel, to view & analyze the data.
*The Summing Remote Display offers instant indication of current flow rate, previous 24 hours’ air consumption, and cumulative total usage, all at the push of a button.

EXAIR's Remote Summing Display - see current flow rate, previous 24 hours' consumption, or total cumulative usage, at the push of a button!
EXAIR’s Summing Remote Display – see current flow rate, previous 24 hours’ consumption, or total cumulative usage, at the push of a button!

The latter turned out to be the best fit for my caller – the main supply header runs right past his office, and, if he can sell his facilities folks on it, he can install the Summing Remote Display on the wall, right next to his desk.  Easy as that.

EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products have made a name for themselves in many places like this. Here at the factory, we’re all dedicated to spreading, and reinforcing, that reputation for excellence. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Going To The County Fair

My thoughts this week are full of flashing neon lights, calliope music, carnival games, food you wouldn’t think should be deep fried (but is, and it’s awesome,) 4H exhibits, and thrill rides. This of course, means the county fair starts this weekend.

County Fair

I grew up just a few miles from the fairgrounds, so I gained an appreciation for all things fair-related at an early age. That’s why I was particularly excited about the opportunity to help a new client specify a Cabinet Cooler System a while back.

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are very popular for keeping sensitive electronic/electrical components and controls cool & dry in “less-than-optimal” environments…which was the case for this client, who designs and builds thrill rides, and whose customer for this new ride has a traveling carnival, operating primarily in the southwest United States. The high ambient heat and prevalence of sand & dust, not to mention the regular teardown, transport & setup, meant that vent fans just weren’t going to get the job done. The ride operators have enough to do getting everything operational on a tight schedule, meaning that a refrigerant-type cooler – and associated maintenance – wasn’t going to work either.

Then the designer and I reached a critical point in the conversation: EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems require a ready supply of compressed air…something that isn’t always easy to come by when the equipment to be cooled is as mobile as this. Good news was, the ride has pneumatically actuated motion control, so they had an on-board compressor, and could simply tap into that.

4608The calculated heat load was just under 400 BTU/hr, so I specified our Model 4808-24VDC NEMA 4 Cabinet Cooler System – 550 BTU/hr – w/Thermostat Control (24VDC). To date, it’s worked perfectly, and they’ve ordered two more, since they intend to make the Cabinet Cooler System an integral part of this equipment…a win-win-win: for us, them, and their clients.

At EXAIR, we take a great amount of pride in being a premier solutions provider for your compressed air product needs, whether it’s an application in your plant, or for OEM equipment that you’re building. We want you – and your clients – to get the most out of their compressed air usage. Give us a call and find out how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help you do just that.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
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Image from Anita Ritenour. Creative Commons

More Than You Asked For? Not A Problem.

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EXAIR’s brand-new Catalog #27 came out yesterday. It contains 168 pages of details on our fifteen distinct lines of Intelligent Compressed Air Products. When you make products, like we do, that range from coating to cooling to conveying to cleaning to conservation (and those are just the ones we put on the cover), we can hardly blame folks for calling with one product in mind, and finding that another (sometimes) completely different product is the ideal solution to their application…and perhaps another part of their application as well. I had the pleasure of assisting an OEM machine manufacturer with the perfect example of this just the other day:

This customer makes machinery for the food industry. They were experimenting with a machine for a candy maker – small fruit gum candies are fed into a bowl hopper, where they needed to have a static charge eliminated for the next part of their proprietary process. The machine maker had procured a fan-type ionized air blower, which did a decent job of removing the static, but they also needed a way to keep the candies separated…they don’t call them “gummies” for nothing, right?

Anyway, they were looking for suggestions for an air nozzle to provide a little blast of air to break up the ones that were stuck together, and were concerned about disturbing the ionized air flow. In essence, they didn’t want to trade one problem for another. This actually made them quite interested to hear about our Static Eliminators, which could potentially eliminate the cost, space, and installation of their current ionized air blower.

The concentrated airflow of the Model 7294 Ion Air Jet (with Power Supply) is able to be directed to a precise spot in the bowl, and, as the candies pass through, they’re both separated and neutralized of their static charge. This turned into a real all-in-one solution, AND an introduction of a new (to them) EXAIR product line.

EXAIR's Ion Air Jet provides focused blowoff AND static elimination...an all-in-one solution.
EXAIR’s Ion Air Jet provides focused blowoff AND static elimination…an all-in-one solution.

If you want to find out how an EXAIR product can contribute to the efficiency of your process, or the value of your OEM machinery designs, give us a call.  Don’t be surprised, though, if we offer you more than you asked for.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
www.exair.com
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EXAIR Serves OEMs

PVDF Super Air Knife

EXAIR has become well known for solving problems in industrial applications. Many times, the end users of our products contact us directly for application assistance, technical specifications, drawings, and installation tips. But, we also spend considerable time meeting the needs of OEM clients as well.

I worked alongside a new OEM customer recently, discussing options for an EXAIR solution in their prototype. In this case, the OEM needed an air knife suitable for use in a chemical wash down environment, so we discussed our PVDF Super Air Knives. They were unsure about the technical specs (compressed air use, suitable operating pressure, output force and air volume) and needed to sort through those issues, but they were completely blown away when I told them we had the products in stock.

And, not only were they in stock, but we could work with their delivery schedule to ensure the products they needed were ready on time. When the discussion moved into a potential need for custom length PVDF Super Air Knives, they were again blown away that we can deliver custom products in a relatively short time frame. (It pays to be the manufacturer of your own products!)

Many OEMs, when sourcing products for their equipment, encounter never ending barriers to completing a project. At EXAIR, we make it a point to have repeatable, dependable products ready to ship on time, and to make the process of doing business as easy as possible for end users and OEMs alike.

Having all cataloged products in stock, matching the needs of the OEM with our internal production schedule, and flexibility in product design are just a few of the benefits EXAIR offers new and existing OEM customers. If you have a project or design that is in need of an EXAIR solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE