OSHA Says Keep Compressed Air Use Safe and Quiet: EXAIR Does Just That

The Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed by Richard Nixon in 1970. Under the United Sates Department of Labor, shortly thereafter; OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was born. OSHA is a large regulatory agency tasked to assure safe and healthy working environments by setting and enforcing standards as well as to provide training, outreach and assistance. Although some people’s first response is to cringe at the word OSHA, they have been instrumental in dramatically reducing injury rates and injury costs without negative effects on employees or companies.

Sure we can all cringe by looking up OSHA horror stories on YouTube. And many of us have a story about that one company that was fined 10’s of thousands of dollars for x, y, or z violations… But in reality, OSHA are not the bad guys. They are not looking for fines, in fact they generally give warnings and timelines to fix possible issues, prior to an incident. The fines typically are generated when companies fail to comply. Yes, I know there are always exceptions, but exceptions are not the rule. We hear and hold on to the radical stories, and the day to day, mundane stories fall to the wayside. Regardless of how we feel, we all must comply.

When it comes to EXAIR products, there are two OSHA standards that we must adhere to. One is related to “sound” and one is related to “dead end pressure“.

First let’s look at the dead end pressure. OSHA Safety requirement 29 CFR 1910.242 (b) discusses the possibilities for air embolisms when more than 30 psi is “dead ended” into your skin. EXAIR products have pathways for air to exhaust so that they cannot be “dead ended”. Each product has a way for the air to exhaust to avoid danger. Here are a couple of examples:

Air nozzles have multiple paths to exhaust pressure
Air Knives exhaust the entire path, as well as out each end

Take note that when being used properly (no horseplay) the airflow will have some path to escape and cannot be blocked. They are designed so that air will escape prior to any danger.

Next we will take a look at OSHA requirement 29 CFR-1910.95 (a). This regulation deals with occupational noise exposure. Measuring sound in decibels (dBA) the magic number is 90. Anything under 90 dBA has no limitations on how long you can be exposed to it. For a reference 60 dBA is about the sound level of a normal conversation, or an air conditioner. 70 dBA is about the noise of a washing machine, 80-85 is like city traffic. Then we start getting loud like a motorcycle around 95, shouting or barking is about 110, and standing near a siren is about 120dBA.

Hearing loss is the best known, but not the only, ill effect of harmful noise exposure. It can also cause physical and psychological stress, impair concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents or injuries.

As mentioned, 90 dBA or less is our target to avoid needing alternative solutions such as noise barriers or PPE. Nearly all EXAIR products are compliant at or under 90 dBA. The few exceptions are with some of our high force / extensive reach products such as our High Force Air Nozzles.

Please reach out at anytime if you have any questions, or want to discuss EXAIR and OSHA compliance, or any EXAIR questions at all.

Thank you for stopping by,

Brian Wages

Application Engineer

EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter

EXAIR VariBlast® Safety Air Guns

VariBlast

EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.  In that time, we have engineered many products for new and existing markets that required better efficiency, versatility, safety, and effectiveness.  In this blog, I will discuss the features and benefits of the VariBlast Safety Air Guns.

To start, the unique feature that sets the VariBlast apart from other small air guns is the force variability.  Unlike the “all or nothing” blowing forces with most air guns, this valve is designed to control the opening to allow for a variable force with the same nozzle.  This will help you to not “overuse” the compressed air blowing. The VariBlast Safety Air Guns are made from a durable cast aluminum construction for tough industrial use.  They have a rugged ergonomic grip with a user-friendly trigger.  The compressed air inlets are located in two different positions to best fit your area.  They also have an easy storage handle to hang the Safety Air Gun nearby.  In addition to the VariBlast Safety Air Guns, EXAIR has options to enhance the features.  Here is a list of them:

Air Nozzles:

Air Nozzles can make or break an air gun in safety, efficiency and effectiveness.  EXAIR Air Nozzles are OSHA compliant for noise and dead-end pressure.  We offer nine different types of air nozzles with the VariBlast Safety Air Gun; making it very effective for a range of applications.

Chip Shields

Chip Shields:

OSHA 1910.242(b) requires chip guarding when compressed air is used for cleaning and blowing.  EXAIR offers Chip Shields with the VariBlast Safety Air Guns to meet this requirement.  They are made from a polycarbonate disc which is practically unbreakable.  It protects the operator from any blow back of shavings, debris, and coolant.  They come standard with a durable rubber grommet that squeezes the extensions and can be adjusted for greater protection.

Extension Pipes:

For those far away targets and hard-to-reach areas, EXAIR offers aluminum extension pipes to attach to the VariBlast Safety Air Guns.  They can range from 6” (15 cm) to 72” (183 cm) in length.  This light-weight and durable material allows for easy handling when reaching high above your head or spanning across unsafe areas.  With the EXAIR air nozzles at the end, the blowing force is not sacrificed as the back pressure will create a high velocity air stream.

Coiled Hose

Coiled Hoses:

To get the proper amount of compressed air from the piping system to the VariBlast Safety Air Guns, EXAIR offers Coiled Hoses.  They are made of a durable abrasion-resistant nylon material that is 12 feet long (3.6 meters).  They have swivel fittings to allow for easy uncoiling, and a spring strain relief to keep the hose from kinking at the ends.  The coiled design makes it easy to reach around the work area and retract back to the substation.  This will help to keep the hose off the ground where potential dangers could occur.

Regulator and filter

Filter Separators/Regulators:

To improve the VariBlast Safety Air Guns, EXAIR offers a series of filters and regulators.  The filters will remove dirty particles and liquid water from the compressed air that can affect the performance as well as contaminate the surface that you are cleaning.  The regulators are used to control the amount of air pressure used by the VariBlast Safety Air Gun; making them even more efficient.  The idea for compressed air savings is to use the least amount of compressed air to do the job.  The filter and regulator combination will allow you to control the proper amount of clean dry air to be used.

Not all air guns are the same.  A check list should be created for any air gun.  Is it safe, efficient, quiet, durable, ergonomic, and flexible?  The VariBlast Safety Air Guns meet every item on that list.  This is why the EXAIR VariBlast Safety Air Gun was awarded the Silver award by Plant Engineering in 2019.  To go even farther, EXAIR has a promotion where we will be giving away for free a model 1126 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle, a $48.00 value, from now until the end of September 2020 with qualified purchases.  (Check it out HERE).  If you expected more from your current air guns, you can try any of the EXAIR Safety Air Guns.  An Application Engineer is available to help recommend the best air gun for your application.  You will not be disappointed.

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

What’s So Great About Air Entrainment?

Air entrainment is the phenomenon that occurs when air (or any gas) under pressure is released from a device in such a way that a low pressure is generated in the immediate area of the air (or gas) discharge.  Air (or gas) from the surrounding environment is then pulled (or entrained) into the discharged air stream, increasing its volumetric flow rate.  EXAIR Corporation has been engineering & manufacturing compressed air products to take maximum advantage of this phenomena since 1983…and we’ve gotten better & better at it over the past 36 years.

Obviously, the first thing that’s so great about air entrainment is…free air flow.  Every cubic foot that’s entrained means that’s a cubic foot that your compressor didn’t have to spend energy compressing.  Considering the EXAIR Super Air Knife’s entrainment ratio of 40:1, that makes for a VERY efficient use of your compressed air.

Another thing that’s so great about air entrainment is…it’s quiet.  As you can see from the graphic at the top of this blog, the Super Air Knife entrains air (the lighter, curved blue arrows) into the primary compressed air stream (the darker, straight blue arrows) from above and below.  The outer layers of the total developed flow are lower in velocity, and serve as a sound-attenuating boundary layer.  The sound level of a Super Air Knife (any length…here’s why) is only 69dBA.  That means if you’re talking with someone and a Super Air Knife is running right next to you, you can still use your “inside voice” and continue your conversation, unaffected by the sound of the air flow.

I always thought it would be helpful to have more than just a graphic with blue arrows to show the effect & magnitude of air entrainment.  A while back, I accidentally stumbled across a stunning visual depiction of just that, using a Super Air Knife.  I had the pleasure of talking with a caller about how effective a Super Air Knife might be in blowing light gauge paperboard pieces.  So I set one up in the EXAIR Demo Room, blowing straight upwards, and tossed paper plates into the air flow.  It worked just as expected, until one of the paper plates got a little closer to the Super Air Knife than I had planned:

As you can see, the tremendous amount of air flow being entrained…from both sides…was sufficient to pull in lightweight objects and ‘stick’ them to the surface that the entrained air was being drawn past.  While it doesn’t empirically prove the 40:1 ratio, it indisputably demonstrates that an awful lot of air is moving there.

If you’re looking for a quiet, efficient, and OSHA compliant solution for cleaning, blow off, drying, cooling…anything you need an even, consistent curtain of air flow for – look no further than the EXAIR Super Air Knife.  If you’d like to discuss a particular application and/or product selection, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

EXAIR’s E-Vac Vacuum Generators & Accessories

vcacc

EXAIR’s In-Line and Adjustable E-Vacs are powerful compressed air powered vacuum generators. They’re a low-cost way to create a vacuum for a variety of different applications: pick and place, clamping, chucking, lifting, surface mounting, and vacuum forming are just some of the possibilities. Both the In-Line and Adjustable E-Vacs are available in a variety of different sizes and flows and can accommodate a wide range of applications.

In addition to the vacuum generators themselves, EXAIR offers a variety of different accessories to help you build a complete system. To minimize the sound level and ensure you’re adhering to OSHA 29CFR 1910.95, we have Standard Mufflers as well as Straight Through Mufflers. The Straight Through Mufflers offer the best level of sound reduction, up to 26 dBA!!

890001
Straight through mufflers are available from 1/4″-1″ MNPS

With no moving parts to wear out, EXAIR’s E-Vacs are virtually maintenance free when supplied with clean, dry compressed air. To maintain proper operation of your E-Vac, installation of an Automatic Drain Filter to remove any particulate and moisture from the air supply is necessary. In addition, oil removal filters are also available if your compressed air supply contains any oil as is common in many compressed air systems.

For pick and place or lifting applications, vacuum cups will be necessary. With a wide variety of different vacuum cups available: small round, large round, oval, and bellows, we can accommodate nearly any size or shape material. For heavier materials, round cups with cleats provide rigidity and ensure that the load remains stable. For applications on textured or uneven surfaces, bellows style cups have convolutions that allow for the cup to quickly decompress when it touches the surface of an uneven part or material.

vacupfam
EXAIR’s family of vacuum cups

The vacuum port of the E-Vac has an NPT thread, vacuum cups can be installed directly in this inlet. For applications where the vacuum cup(s) are remotely located, we offer polyurethane vacuum tubing as well as a variety of different fittings to connect them. Both 1/4” and 3/8” O.D. sizes are available in 10’ lengths up to 50’. Simply indicate the model number of the tubing and add the length with a “-“ at the suffix. For example, a 900795-30 would be 30′ of 1/4″ O.D. tubing. In addition to fittings and tubing, vacuum check valves are also available. These can be beneficial if there is potential for fluctuations in the compressed air pressure or supply. In the event that there is a significant drop in pressure or loss of compressed air supply, the check valve will ensure that the load remains held.

push_lock_t
Push-in Swivel Tee Connector

With all of the different options making a selection can seem like a daunting task. A highly trained EXAIR Application Engineer is ready and available to help you!! With just a few quick details, we can help advise you about the proper size E-Vac generator for your application as well as recommend the most suitable cup and accessories. Give us a call, shoot us an e-mail, or reach out to us online via chat and we’ll make sure you have a complete vacuum solution ASAP with all parts ready to ship from stock!

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