EXAIR Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun Reduces Noise Level and Saves Air!

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Inside of the customer’s fin press

Just this week I’ve been working with an aerospace manufacturer that had some concerns about a cleaning operation on one of their fin press machines used for a stamping process. After each operation, they need to blow out the dies to remove any residual oil and debris. They were currently using a ¼” open copper tubing operating at 90 psi. Their reason for contacting EXAIR was due to a recent OSHA compliance training that their production manager had attended. He learned about OSHA 1910.242(b), a directive that we’ve written about many times in the past, that states compressed air devices used for blowoff must maintain a dead-end pressure less than 30 psi. Additionally, the sound levels were far too high to adhere to OSHA directive 29 CFR 1910.95(a). This was a major concern for them and a common theme that we hear from many of our customers. As this manufacturer is clearly aware, fines associated with failing to comply to OSHA directives can be quite costly. Their failure to adhere to this and a few other directives led to a total penalty of $33,800.00.

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EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun with Chip Shield

After some discussion about the different types of solutions that EXAIR has to offer, we settled on the Model 1310-18-CS. At a sound level of just 74 dBA when operated at 80 psi, we were able to drastically improve upon the sound levels that he was previously experiencing. This was a very welcomed solution by his operators, as they were now able to clean out the dies without having to wear any hearing protection. The Chip Shield also added some additional protection so that no debris could come back towards the operator. In addition to addressing his sound level concerns, we were also able to save a substantial amount of compressed air. The 1310-18-CS will consume just 14 SCFM of compressed air at 80 psi. A ¼” pipe operated at this pressure will consume approximately 69 SCFM. This is an 80% reduction in compressed air usage for just one operation!!

If you have an application where sound level needs to be reduced or you’re looking to improve upon employee safety, EXAIR has the solution. Give us a call today to find out how we can implement a solution to keep OSHA inspectors at bay.

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

Crescent Hammers, Phillips Head Punches, and Other Cautionary Tales

I don’t want to sound “preachy,” but I’m a stickler for using the right tool for the job. Case in point: just the other day, I noticed (OK; my wife told me about) a loose drawer handle. I went to my toolbox in the garage to get a flat-head screwdriver, even though the drawer in question had a selection of butter knives, any one of which could have been used to tighten that screw.

I can trace this, without doubt or hesitation, to my service in the US Navy, under the direction of Senior Chief Cooper.  Proper tool selection & use was VERY important to him.  He stressed the issues of safety, quality, and performance, but if that didn’t work, he’d make his point with an offer to demonstrate the use of a specific tool (a ball peen hammer) on a sensitive part of your anatomy (it’s exactly the part you’re thinking of.)  At that point, it would have been unwise (and unsafe) to question whether that was a proper use of the tool or not.

Only one of these is a hammer………………..….only one of these is a punch………………..…..only one of these is a chisel.
Choose wisely.

Likewise, there are safety, quality, and performance issues associated with compressed air blow offs.  At EXAIR, we’re ALL sticklers about this, and we get calls all the time to discuss ways to get more out of compressed air systems by using the right products.  Here’s a “textbook” example:

A hose manufacturer contacted me to find out more about our Air Wipes, and how they might be a better fit for their various cleaning & drying applications (spoiler alert: they are.)  The blow offs they were using were made of modular hose, designed (and very successfully used) for coolant spraying in machine tools.

Only one of these is a compressed air blow off. Again…choose wisely.

The selection process was two-fold: they purchased one Model 2401 1″ Super Air Wipe to verify performance, and they sent in some of their modular hose assemblies for Efficiency Lab testing.  The first part was just as important as the second because, no matter how much air they were going to save (another spoiler alert: it was significant,) it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t get the job done.  At the station shown above, the Super Air Wipe resulted in superior performance, and a compressed air cost savings of over $400.00 annually.  For that one station.  Based on that, they outfitted TWENTY FIVE stations with engineered product sized for their different hoses, using our Model 2400 (1/2″), 2401 (1″), 2402 (2″) and 2403 (3″) Super Air Wipes.

If you’d like to find out how using the right product for the job can help your operation, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Back Blow Nozzle: An Overview

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Model 1006SS clears debris from inside of pipe

In certain applications such as blowing chips or debris out of a pipe or blind hole, it may not be possible to blow forward. The pipe may be too long, making it impossible to push the debris all the way down the pipe or the other end of the pipe may not be open. In either of these scenarios, the Back Blow Nozzle is the right tool for the job. An array of holes around the diameter of the Back Blow Nozzles provides a powerful 360° airflow pattern that will clear out any leftover coolant or chips from the machining process.

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Small 1004SS easily clears debris

EXAIR has three different size Back Blow Nozzles; the 1004SS (M4 x .5), the 1006SS (1/4 NPT), and the 1008SS (1” NPT). The 1004SS is recommended for use on pipes as small as ¼” and up to 1”. The 1006SS can be used for a wide range of pipe sizes, from 7/8” up to 4”. The 1008SS nozzle offers the greatest overall force for stubborn or sticky materials stuck to the inside diameter of the pipe. This nozzle is suitable for use in pipes ranging from 2”-16”. As the Back Blow Nozzle will be blowing chips and debris back out of the pipe towards the operator, it is always recommended that a Chip Shield is used. The strong polycarbonate Chip Shield will keep them safe from flying debris and keep you in compliance with OSHA directive 1910.242(b). For visual representation of the performance of the Back Blow Nozzle, take a look at this short video clip that demonstrates its use.

All of EXAIR’s Back Blow Nozzles are available with extensions. For the 1004SS we have extensions from 6”-36”, and from 12”-72” for the 1006SS and 1008SS. The Back Blow Nozzle can also be installed on our VariBlast, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty, and Super Blast Safety Air Guns. With such a wide range of available sizes and configurations, we can tackle just about any internal pipe cleaning application. If you have a process in your facility that may benefit from the use of one of these nozzles, give us a call and get one on order today!

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

 

Not All Compressed Air Guns Are The Same

If you work in an industrial plant or manufacturing environment, chances are you use some type of compressed air gun for cleaning parts, work areas, etc. Many air guns purchased through large industrial suppliers are a common choice due to the cost of the gun but as the saying goes – “you get what you pay for”. These types of guns may be cheap to purchase but they are also made cheap and have parts that can break easily, like the trigger or nozzle. In many cases, the nozzles on these guns are also in violation of OSHA requirements, producing dangerous discharge pressures and loud noise levels, which can lead to costly fines or potentially deadly injuries.

EXAIR offers 5 different styles of Safety Air Guns that not only eliminate these concerns, but also provide a more efficient operation, which can reduce energy costs. All of our Safety Air Guns are fitted with our engineered Air Nozzles  which meet OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) for 30 PSI dead end pressure, as they provide a relief or safe path for the air to exit if the nozzle were to be blocked or pressed against an operator’s body so the exiting air pressure will never reach 30 PSIG. They are also engineered to entrain surrounding air across the profile of the nozzle, which produces a smoother airflow, ultimately reducing wind shear, resulting in much lower sound levels, meeting OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a).

 

 

The Precision Safety Air Gun body is made of a durable high impact, glass reinforced nylon, providing for a lightweight, ergonomic operation. These guns feature a curved extension, ideal for delivering a powerful stream of air in hard to reach areas, like clearing debris from drilled holes. All of the nozzles used with these units are either 316ss construction for durable, corrosion resistance or PEEK plastic for non-marring applications. The air inlet is 1/4 FNPT and there is a convenient hanger available for safe storage.

 

 

 

Our NEW VariBlast Compact Safety Air Guns are ideal for light to medium duty processes, featuring a variable flow trigger to achieve different force levels ranging from 2.0 ounces up to 1 pound, depending on the nozzle. The body is cast aluminum and there are (2) 1/4 FNPT air inlets available, 1 on the bottom and 1 on the back of the gun, as well as a storage hanger, for easy installation. Nozzles are available in zinc aluminum alloy, 303ss, 316ss and PEEK plastic. These guns are available with aluminum extensions from 6″ up to 72″.

 

 

The Soft Grip Safety Air Guns are commonly used in long-term use applications as they feature a comfortable grip and long trigger which helps to reduce hand and finger fatigue. The cast aluminum construction is well suited for more rugged environments and again, features a hanger hook. These guns can be fitted with aluminum, stainless steel or PEEK plastic to meet the demands of a variety of applications and are available with 6″ – 72″ aluminum extensions for extra reach or Flexible Stay Set Hoses , allowing the user to aim the airflow to a specific target area. The air inlets for these guns are going to be 1/4 FNPT.

 

 

 

EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns deliver higher force and flows than other air guns, as these units feature a 3/8 FNPT air inlet, which maximizes the compressed air flow to the engineered Super Air Nozzle. Like the Soft Grip, the durable cast aluminum body is designed for use in tough industrial processes, and the ergonomic and comfortable trigger are ideal for hours of use. Aluminum extension are available, again in lengths from 6″ up to 72″, but feature a larger diameter for optimal flow and superior durability.

 

The Precision, VariBlast, Soft Grip and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns are ALL available with an optional, polycarbonate Chip Shield to protect personnel from flying chips and debris, further meeting OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) for the safe use of compressed air.

 

Lastly we offer our Super Blast Safety Air Guns. The Super Blast Safety Air Guns are ideal for wide area blowoff, cooling or drying a part, as well as long distances. They feature a comfortable foam grip and spring loaded valve that will shut off the airflow if the gun is dropped. These units use our larger Super Air Nozzles and Super Air Nozzle Clusters, providing forces levels from 3.2 lbs. up to 23 lbs. Depending on which nozzle is fitted on the assembly, air inlets will range from 3/8 FNPT up to 1-1/4 FNPT. Aluminum extensions are available in 36″ or 72″ lengths.

 

 

For help selecting the best product to fit your particular application, please contact one of our application engineers for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 – Standard on Occupational Noise Exposure

Last week, the EXAIR Blog featured an article about the OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) – Reduction of Air Pressure below 30 psi for Cleaning Purposes.  This week, we will review another OSHA standard that affects many of you in manufacturing and other industries.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 – Standard on Occupational Noise Exposure discusses the effects of noise and sets limits for exposure.  Occupational noise can cause hearing loss, and also interfere with concentration and communication, disrupting the job performance. Below is a summary from the standard of the Permissible Noise Exposure (OSHA Table G-16)

OSHA Noise Level

From the chart, the time an employee can be exposed to loud noise is greatly reduced as the sound level goes up.   The use of hearing protection is helpful but relies on the operator to use consistently and correctly.  Ear plugs or ear muffs can be uncomfortable and hot, leading to possible reduced usage.  OSHA can come on site, and if violations to the sound level exposure limits are found, they can impose fines and mandate corrective action be taken place.

The recommended course of action when an operator is subjected to sound exceeding those in the chart above is to enable feasible administrative or engineering controls. Engineering controls is the arena in which EXAIR can be a great resource.

The first step in understanding and addressing any sound level issues is to measure the sound. The easy to use Digital Sound Meter, model 9104 shown below, allows for accurate testing of noise levels throughout the facility.  Noisy areas can be quickly identified, leading to review, design and implementation of the engineering controls.

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Some of the worst offenders for noise violations is compressed air usage.  A prime example would be inefficient blowoffs, used for cooling, drying, or cleaning.  Open pipe, copper tube or drilled pipe are a few of the common culprits.  Not only do they consume excessive amounts of compressed air, they can produce noise levels above 100 dBA.

EXAIR manufactures a wide variety of engineered products that utilize compressed air and deliver it in a controlled manner.  This allows for the most efficient use of compressed air and keeps the sound levels much lower than the inefficient methods.  A Super Air Knife can replace a drilled pipe, reducing sound by as much as 20 dBA, while using 50-70% less compressed air.  An engineered Super Air Nozzle can replace an open pipe or copper tube and reduce sound levels down to 74 dBA, and even down to 58 dBA for the smallest available nozzles.

EXAIR has been providing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.

If you have questions regarding noise limits and how to solve any issue with an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

EXAIR Safety Air Gun Promotion

From August 1st to September 30th, 2017, EXAIR will be giving away a 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle with a purchase of a Precision, Soft Grip, or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun.  We are promoting the importance of safety in the workplace with the EXAIR Safety Air Guns as well as the versatility of the different types of EXAIR nozzles.  This promotional item, model 1126 nozzle, has a patented shim to blows a 1” wide stream of air to clean surfaces quickly and efficiently; a $43.00 complimentary gift (click on the link below).

Promotional Nozzle with EXAIR Super Air Guns

Compressed air guns are one of the most commonly used pneumatic products in a manufacturing plant.  They are used at workstations to blow off debris and to clean parts and tools.  Because of the large quantities that are used in a plant; they are the most targeted by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).  Majority of the common brands of air guns fail to comply with two common violations, rule 29CFR 1910.95(a) for loudness and rule 29CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure.  The reason is due to the nozzles that comes with the compressed air guns.  Fines can get very expensive, and you can alleviate these penalties by purchasing an EXAIR Safety Air Gun.  We are all responsible for safety; management, HSE department (Health and Safety Engineer), supervisors, and even the operators.  Your compressed air guns should be assessed in your facility to evaluate your safe work environment.

1310 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun

With EXAIR Safety Air Guns, we supply an efficient, effective, and most important, safe air nozzle with all of our air guns.  They are CE Compliant and exceed the OSHA sound level and dead-end pressure requirements.  With substandard air guns, the operators would have to listen to loud noises all day and have to wear hearing protection.  As for the dead-end pressure; the EXAIR nozzles are engineered to not allow the operator to completely close the end against the hand or skin.  This is very important because if the pressure exceeds 30 PSIG, air can penetrate the skin and cause an air embolism.  Some manufacturers place a restriction inside the air gun to comply with this standard, sacrificing the effectiveness of the blowing force.  With our design, the compressed air is not able to be blocked; allowing the air to escape to atmosphere.  Even with the compressed air system set to 100 PSIG, the pressure against the skin will not exceed 30 PSIG.  Safety is a major concern for all of our customers and a priority for EXAIR in manufacturing our products.

1210-6-CS Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

As I mentioned above, the nozzles are one of the most significant parts in making a compressed air gun safe and OSHA compliant.  In combining our engineered nozzles with a quality air gun, this makes the EXAIR Safety Air Guns one of the best products on the market.  We currently have three different styles; the Precision, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty.  These Safety Air Guns are ergonomically designed to fit comfortable in your hand; and they come with quality trigger mechanisms and a durable valve assembly.  The Precision Safety Air Gun is great for tight spaces and clearing out small holes.  The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun provides extra comfort for long extended uses, and the Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun is a rugged, heavy duty industrial air gun.  In combination with the EXAIR nozzles, the Safety Air Guns can offer another important attribute; we can save you money!!!  Compressed air is very expensive to make, and with our Safety Air Guns, we use less compressed air but still create a strong blowing force.  We do this by entraining the free ambient air into the air stream.  If you increase the mass of air to the target, it will give you a hard hitting force to remove debris from surfaces or to clean tools and holes.  The amplification ratio can be as much as 25 to 1.  That means that for every 1 part of compressed air, the EXAIR Nozzles will entrain 25 parts of ambient air.  So, the payback period for using an EXAIR Nozzle can be within weeks by the savings in the electrical cost.  With the EXAIR products, we were able to partner with Energy Star and power facilities.  For the amount of energy savings, some power companies offer rebates for using EXAIR products.   We can offer our services to see if your local power company is participating in these rebates.

1408SS-CS Precision Safety Air Gun

A substandard blow-off gun is unsafe, loud, waste compressed air, and increase production times.  EXAIR Safety Air Guns can help improve these situations in all these areas.  They are OSHA compliant, very safe and very quiet.  They use less compressed air which saves you money.  And with a variety of different nozzles, they can better fit your application to decrease down time.  EXAIR offers a 30 day unconditional guarantee on our cataloged items to try.  You can see for yourself on how effective these compressed air guns can be.  If you need help to match the best Safety Air Gun to your application, you can contact an Application Engineer.  And during the next two months, take advantage of the free 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle  offer.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) – Dead-End Pressure and Chip Guarding Explained

OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) discusses the use of compressed air for cleaning and blowoff. It states that the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes is prohibited if the dead-ended pressure exceeds 30 psig. This phrase means the downstream pressure of the air nozzle or gun, used for cleaning purposes, will remain at a pressure level below 30 psig for all static conditions. In the event that dead ending occurs, the static pressure at the main orifice shall not exceed 30 psi. If it does exceed this pressure, there is a very high potential for it to create an air embolism. An air embolism, left untreated, can quickly impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, and sometimes death. Take a look at the animation below to see how an air embolism can affect the body.

With this in mind, there are only two options for staying within compliance of this standard. Either install an engineered solution that will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 psig if dead-ended, or regulate the pressure below 30 psig. For the vast majority of operations, regulating the input pressure below 30 psig is useless. The force and flow from the nozzle at this pressure is greatly reduced and likely not enough to be effective in most applications. All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns are designed so that the flow cannot be dead-ended. The fins on the Super Air Nozzles are not only useful in amplifying the force by drawing in ambient air, but they also prevent an operator from completely obstructing the airflow.

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The fins of the Super Air Nozzle allow air to escape and prevent dead-end pressure from exceeding 30 psig.

In addition to being concerned about dead-end pressure, OSHA 1910.242(b) also states that compressed air used for cleaning should include effective chip guarding. By this, they mean that some method or equipment must be installed that will prevent chips and particles from coming back into the eyes or skin of the operator. In addition to offering OSHA compliant nozzles and guns, EXAIR also has Chip Shields that can be installed onto any of our Safety Air Guns. The polycarbonate shields protect the operator from any flying debris while performing a drying or blowoff operation. Simply add a “-CS” to the end of any Safety Air Gun Model number to have a Chip Shield installed on the gun.

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EXAIR’s Model 1210-PEEK-CS with Chip Shield

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does not contain any provisions that allow for the approval or endorsement of equipment. Alteration or the misapplication of what was once a safe piece of equipment would create a dangerous scenario that is out of the control of the original manufacturer. Any nozzles or guns marketed as “OSHA approved” should immediately throw up a red flag. Identifying and implementing a safe, OSHA compliant solution rests in the hands of the manufacturer themselves. If you’ve got questions about compressed air safety or have an existing blowoff in place that does not adhere to this OSHA directive, give us a call. We’ll be sure to recommend a solution that will keep your operators and wallets safe!

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

 

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