Opportunities to Save On Compressed Air

Since air compressors use a lot of electricity to make compressed air, it is important to use the compressed air as efficiently as possible.  EXAIR has six simple steps to optimize your compressed air system.  (Click HERE to read).  Following these steps will help you to cut your overhead costs and improve your bottom line.  In this blog, I will cover a few tips that can really help you to save compressed air.

To start, what is an air compressor and why does it cost so much in electricity?  There are two types of air compressors, positive displacement and dynamic.  The core components for these air compressors is an electric motor that spins a shaft.  Like with many mechanical devices, there are different efficiencies.  Typically, an air compressor can put out anywhere from 3 SCFM per horsepower to 5 SCFM per horsepower.  (EXAIR settles on 4 SCFM/hp as an average for cost calculations.)  Equation 1 shows you how to calculate the cost to run your air compressor.

Equation 1:

Cost = hp * 0.746 * hours * rate / (motor efficiency)

where:

Cost – US$

hp – horsepower of motor

0.746 – conversion KW/hp

hours – running time

rate – cost for electricity, US$/KWh

motor efficiency – average for an electric motor is 95%.

As an example, a manufacturing plant operates a 100 HP air compressor in their facility.  The cycle time for the air compressor is roughly 60%.  To calculate the hours of running time per year, I used 250 days/year at 16 hours/day.  So operating hours equal 250 * 16 * 0.60 = 2,400 hours per year.  The electrical rate for this facility is $0.08/KWh. With these factors, the annual cost to run the air compressor can be calculated by Equation 1:

Cost = 100hp * 0.746 KW/hp * 2,400hr * $0.08/KWh / 0.95 = $15,077 per year in just electrical costs.

There are two major things that will rob compressed air from your system and cost you much money.  The first is leaks in the distribution system, and the second is inefficient blow-off devices.   To address leaks, EXAIR offers an Ultrasonic Leak Detector.  The Ultrasonic Leak Detector can find hidden leaks to fix. That quiet little hissing sound from the pipe lines is costing your company.

A University did a study to find the percentage of air leaks in a typical manufacturing plant.  For a poorly maintained system, they found on average that 30% of the compressor capacity is lost through air leaks.  Majority of companies do not have a leak preventative program; so, majority of the companies fall under the “poorly maintained system”.  To put a dollar value on it, a leak that you cannot physically hear can cost you as much as $130/year.  That is just for one inaudible leak in hundreds of feet of compressed air lines.  Or if we take the University study, the manufacturing plant above is wasting $15,077 * 30% = $4,523 per year.

The other area to check is air consumption.  A simple place to check is your blow-off stations.  Here we can decide how wasteful they can be.  With values of 4 SCFM/hp and an electrical rate of $0.08/KWh (refence figures above), the cost to make compressed air is $0.25 per 1000 ft3 of air.

One of the worst culprits for inefficient air usage is open pipe blow-offs.  This would also include cheap air guns, drilled holes in pipes, and tubes.  These devices are very inefficient for compressed air usage and can cost you a lot of money.  As a comparison, a 1/8” NPT pipe versus an EXAIR Mini Super Air Nozzle.  (Reference below).  As you can see, by just adding the EXAIR nozzle to the end of one pipe, the company was able to save $1,872 per year.  That is some real savings.

 By following the Six Steps to optimize your compressed air system, you can cut your energy consumption, improve pneumatic efficiencies, and save yourself money.  With the added information above, you can focus on the big contributors of waste.  If you would like to find more opportunities to save compressed air, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to help.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Reduce Sound Levels In Less Than A Minute

Okay, I will admit, the title may be a tad bit leading.  The fact is, it can be done.  I speak to customers almost daily who are struggling with the noise levels produced from open pipe blowoffs.  With Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) a significant problem among manufacturing workers, reducing the noise form compressed air can be a simple solution and contribute toward reducing overall noise exposure levels. Many of these calls and emails revolve around reducing these exact noise levels, sometimes the open pipes have existing threads on them to install the solution immediately.

To reduce these noise levels, we need to simply reduce the amount of energy that is being expelled through the pipe. How do we do this you might ask?  The use of an air nozzle will reduce the energy being dispersed from an open pipe.  This will result in lower air consumption as well as lower sound levels while actually increasing velocity as the pipe will maintain higher operating pressures. Be cautious about the air nozzle you choose, however, they are not all created equal. EXAIR’s engineered air nozzles are among the quietest and most efficient air nozzles available.

Family of Nozzles

What size pipes can we fit nozzles to?  That’s a great question.  We have nozzles that range from a 4mm straight thread all the way up to 1-1/4″ NPT thread.  This also includes nearly any size in between especially the standard compressed air piping sizes.  For instance, a 1/4″ Sched. 40 pipe that has 1/4″ MNPT threads on it can easily produce over a 100 dBA noise level from 3 feet away.  This can easily be reduced to below 80 dBA from 3′ away by utilizing one of our model 1100 Super Air Nozzles.  All it takes is a deep well socket and ratchet with some thread sealant.

This doesn’t just lower the sound level though, it reduces the amount of compressed air expelled through that open pipe by creating a restriction on the exit point.  This permits the compressed air to reach a higher line pressure causing a higher exit velocity and due to the engineering within the nozzle, this will also eliminate dangerous dead-end pressure and complies with OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b).

Easy Install

All in all, a 30-second install can make an operator’s work station considerably quieter and potentially remove the need for hearing protection.  If you would like to discuss how to lower noise levels in your facility, contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Dollar Savings: Open Pipes vs EXAIR Air Nozzle

Early one morning we received a call from a local metal stamping company that had a problem. They had outstripped the volumetric capacity of their (2) 50 HP air compressors.

They were using open copper tubes to facilitate separating the part from the die on the upstroke and then blow the part backwards into the collection chute. The (5) 1/4” copper tubes were all connected to a single manifold with a valve to control each tube.  Compounding their compressed air shortage was that this setup was duplicated on approximately (8) presses.  Per the plant they run the presses for approximately (4) hours per day.  The volume of air required for one press was calculated as:

One 1/4” open copper pipe consumes 33 SCFM @ 80 PSIG, therefore:

EDV Blog.JPG

Due to the award winning design of EXAIR’s engineered air nozzles the plant achieved faster separation of the part from the die and greater efficiency moving the part to the collection chute, while averting the need to purchase a larger air compressor. They are saving air, reducing energy costs and lowering the noise level in their facility.

If you would like to discuss saving air and/or reducing noise, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
Send me an email
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Increasing Efficiency With EXAIR Super Air Nozzles

Earlier this morning I received a phone call from a gentleman in search of a more efficient compressed air solution.  The application was to remove thermoformed plastics from a mold immediately after the mold separates.  In the current state, the application is consuming ~40% of the available compressed air in the facility through the use of (9) ¼” open pipes, consuming a confirmed 288 SCFM at 60 PSIG.  Due to the use of an open pipe, this customer was facing a safety and noise concern through the existing solution.

After discussing the application need and the desire to reduce compressed air use, reduce noise, and add safety, we found a suitable solution in the 1101 Super Air NozzleInstalling (9) of these EXAIR nozzles will reduce the compressed air consumption by over 65%!!!  Calculations for this savings are below.

Existing compressed air consumption:  288 SCFM @ 60 PSIG

Compressed air consumption of model 1101 @ 60 PSIG:  11 SCFM

Total compressed air consumption of  (9) 1101 nozzles:

Air savings:

This is the percentage of air which the new EXAIR solution will consume.  To put it another way, for every 100 SCFM the current solution consumes, the EXAIR solution will only require 34.38 SCFM. Installing these EXAIR nozzles will result in lower operational cost, lower noise levels, and increased safety for this customer – all while maintaining or improving the performance of the blow off solution in this application.

EXAIR Application Engineers are well versed in maximizing efficiency of compressed air systems and blow off needs.  If you have an application with a similar need, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Energy Rebates and EXAIR Products

In case it goes unnoticed, EXAIR focuses on engineered compressed air point of use products to ensure that our customers are utilizing their costly utility as efficiently as possible.  The main benefits to purchasing EXAIR products are the support you receive from us at EXAIR, the quality of the product, the savings in compressed air, and the increase in safety.  Another added benefit is a large number of utility companies are offering rebates on the purchase of engineered nozzles, just like the Super Air Nozzles that EXAIR offers.

Many energy providers offer these energy rebates for commercial or industrial users.  Here in the Cincinnati area, Duke Energy offers rebates on items such as lighting, air compressors, engineered air nozzles, heaters / dryers for extrusion machines, energy management systems, variable frequency drives, data center equipment, even food service equipment, custom incentives, and many other items.

Duke Energy Rebate
Example of our local energy rebate offering for Engineered Nozzles

For each engineered compressed air nozzle that is installed, in order to meet the rebate requirements they must flow less than or equal to given flow rates in SCFM at 80 psig inlet pressure. The pipe sizes, flow rates, and EXAIR equivalents are shown below.

EXAIR Engineered Air Nozzle Part Number EXAIR Flow Rate @ 80 psig
#1102/#1103 – 1/8 NPT 10 SCFM
#1100/#1101 – 1/4 NPT 14 SCFM
#1108SS-NPT/#1109SS-NPT/#1110SS-NPT
All are 1/8 NPT
2.5, 4.9, 8.3 SCFM
respectively
#1003 – 3/8 NPT 18 SCFM

By just replacing the nozzles the customer saved 2.7 SCFM per nozzle.If we take an example such as the EXAIR Case Study  shown below for 1/4″ copper tube that was being used as an open ended blow off.  The copper tubes were consuming 19.6 SCFM at 100 psig inlet pressure, there were 10 machines with one line per machine operating 40 hours, 52 weeks per year.   The customer retrofitted the open pipes with a model 1100 Super air nozzle and was able to reduce the air consumption by 2.7 SCFM per nozzle.  If they were to purchase these nozzles this year, current list price for a model 1100 Super Air Nozzle is $36.00 USD, then apply for the energy rebate offered by Duke Energy and receive $20.00 per nozzle replaced.  The total savings and return on investment is shown below.

Case Study 1561
EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle Replaces Open Copper Pipe Blow Off

10 nozzles x 2.7 SCFM = 27 SCFM  x 60 minutes per hour x 8 hours per day x 5 days per week x 52 weeks per year = 3,369,600 SCF of compressed air saved per year.

3,369,600 / 1,000 SCF x $.25 = $842.40 USD savings in compressed air per year.

Cost Savings per week = $16.20 USD

Total purchase cost is  $36.00 x 10 nozzles = $360.00 USD

Energy Rebate = @20.00 per nozzle x 10 nozzles  = $200.00 USD in rebates.

$360.00 USD purchase price – $200.00 USD energy rebate = $160.00 USD final purchase cost.

Return on investment at a savings of  $16.20 USD per week is

$160.00 / $16.20 = Less than 10 weeks pay back!

By applying for the energy rebate this customer could reduce the ROI of this air savings project from just over 22 weeks (which is still very good) to less than 10 weeks.

If you would like to learn more about whether there are Industrial energy rebates available in your area, contact an Application Engineer and let us know where you are located and who your energy provider is.

We will help you determine the correct engineered solution to save your compressed air as well as help you to apply for eligible energy rebates in your area.

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

 

Remove Irritants in the Work Place

Saving Money and Compressed Air
Save Money, Reduce Noise, and Minimize Compressed Air Use

We are having a mild winter in Cincinnati, Ohio, and even though the poison ivy seems dead, you can still catch it. My sweetheart was collecting brush, and in two days, she broke out.  She had a rash on her arms, legs, face, and stomach.  And if you ever had poison ivy, you know how itchy it is.  The problem is that if you itch it, you can spread it.

It started me to think of things that are a nuisance in manufacturing, like noise exposure to personnel and wasted costs within processes. The Intelligent Compressed Air Products by EXAIR can reduce noise levels and electrical costs.  One very simple exercise would be to locate all your open pipes that use compressed air.  They can be located on machines to blow off debris and even on the end of air guns.  For every open type pipe, place an EXAIR Super Air Nozzle on the end of it.  You will notice very quickly that the noise level is reduced.  It can drop the noise by as much as 40 decibels.  The other thing that you will notice is your monthly electric bill.  By adding our Super Air Nozzles to the end of your inefficient blow off pipes, you can be saving over $1,000/year for every open type pipe.

If you have poison ivy, I would suggest calamine lotion or here are some additional tips. If you have high noise levels and high energy costs, then I would suggest EXAIR products.  You can discuss how EXAIR can save you money and reduce your noise level by contacting one of the Application Engineers at EXAIR.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Drilled Holes In A Pipe – Stop Violating OSHA Standards!

The photos below show one of the most common OSHA violations we see at EXAIR.  A  1-1/4” pipe with 5mm holes drilled every 1.5”.  Drilled pipe is a common practice in many facilities for two reasons – One, it is quick and two, is it easy.  The problem with this type of setup is the safety concern if the drilled hole is dead-ended against skin.  A pressure above 30 PSI can force compressed air into the bloodstream, creating the risk for an embolism – a condition which can be fatal. EXAIR’s engineered Super Air Nozzles can save the day.

IMG_4666
5mm holes drilled into a 1-1/4″ pipe (Top)
IMG_4668
5mm holes drilled into a 1-1/4″ pipe (Left)
IMG_4667
5mm holes drilled into a 1-1/4″ pipe (Right)

 

All EXAIR products conform to OSHA standard CFR 1910.424(b), a standard that regulates dead-end pressure level maximums for compressed air products.  The designs of all EXAIR products are developed in such a way that if dead-ended against human skin they will never exceed the maximum pressure mandated by OSHA (30 PSI). In the above case, our Pico Super Air Nozzles are the right solution. With its recent nomination of the 1109-PEEK for the Plant Engineering Product of the Year Award in the Compressed Air Category, I got to thinking about the product.  There are the obvious, material-specific benefits such as the chemical resistivity of PEEK plastic, the high temperature range (160°C/320°F), and the friendly, non-marring qualities when in direct contact with other materials. But, there is also another side to the 1109-PEEK nozzle (and every other EXAIR product), and that is the added safety with every installation.

EXAIR can also supply a quick and easy solution to keep you OSHA safe and conserve air at the same time. With EXAIR’s unmatched variety of sizes and material, we have an in STOCK solution for your drilled pipes. With threads sizes ranging from M4 x 0.5 through 1-1/4 NPT on the shelf, we ship orders same day in most cases. That is the quick part of the equation.

The correction for such a condition can be the easy installation of a Super Air Knife, or Super Air Nozzles (below) – This illustrates the easy part of the equation.

IMG_4672
1109-PEEK nozzles installed into 1-1/4″ pipe
IMG_4669
Closer view of 1109-PEEK nozzles
IMG_4670
Close-up of 1109-PEEK nozzles
IMG_4671
1109-PEEK nozzles lookin good… and SAFE!!

The 1109-PEEK nozzles installed above provide the needed safety to this drilled pipe. The same nozzle is also available in 316 stainless steel. If you have an application with a similar need in your facility, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to discuss technical details and specific recommendations.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE