A little while back, I was contacted by a customer who was looking for a way to clean chips and debris out of tapped holes in an engine block. They were familiar with our products, having used them in several different areas in their plant, and had done some early research into our Air Nozzles.
They were considering using our small M4 Back Blow Air Nozzle in the process. The Back Blow Air Nozzles produce a 360° airflow that blows away from the end of the nozzle and in many cases, are the ideal solution for treating the inside diameter of hose, pipe, machined holes, etc. These unique nozzles, eliminate the concern of forcing particulate further down into a machined hole or the safety issue of blowing material out of the opposite end of an open tube or pipe.
In this particular case, having the material blown out of the hole increased the risk of possible cross contamination somewhere else in the engine block so they were also thinking of incorporating some type of recovery system like our Chip Vac or one of our Line Vacs but were concerned with having to use two separate devices.
Once again, EXAIR has the perfect solution, the Deep Hole Vac-u-Gun. The Deep Hole Vac-u-Gun features a small blow tube (1/8″ OD) that provides a small blast of air to dislodge or loosen foreign material while simultaneously providing vacuum to carry the debris away.
If you have a similar application or would like to discuss how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help solve a unique situation, contact an application engineer for assistance.
Compressed air systems will contain contaminants that can lead to issues and increased costs through contamination of product, damage to the air operated devices, and air line clogging and restriction. Proper air preparation is critical to optimizing performance throughout the plant operations.
Because there are different types of contaminants, including solid particles, liquid water, and vapors of water and oil, there are different methods of filtration, each best suited for maximum efficiency in contaminant removal.
Particulate Filters – The compressed air flows from outside to inside of the filter element. The compressed air first passes through a baffle arrangement which causes centrifugal separation of the largest particles and liquid drops (but not liquid vapors), and then the air passes through the filter element. The filter element is usually a sintered material such as bronze. The filter elements are inexpensive and easy to replace. Filtration down to 40-5 micron is possible.
Coalescing Filters – This type operates differently from the particulate type. The compressed air flows from inside to outside through a coalescing media. The very fine water and oil aerosols come into contact with fibers in the filter media, and as they collect, they coalesce (combine) to form larger droplets towards the outside of the filter element. When the droplet size is enough the drops fall off and collect at the bottom of the filter housing. The filter element is typically made up of some type glass fibers. The coalescing filter elements are also relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. Filtration down to 0.01 micron at 99.999% efficiency is possible.
Adsorption Filters – In this type of filtration, activated carbon is typically used, and the finest oil vapors, hydrocarbon residues, and odors can be be removed. The mechanism of filtration is that the molecules of the gas or liquid adhere to the surface of the activated carbon. This is usually the final stage of filtration, and is only required for certain applications where the product would be affected such as blow molding or food processing.
When you work with us in selecting an EXAIR product, such as a Super Air Knife, Super Air Amplifier, or Vortex Tube, your application engineer can recommend the appropriate type of filtration needed to keep the EXAIR product operating at maximum efficiency with minimal disruption due to contaminant build up and unnecessary cleaning.
If you have questions regarding compressed air filtration or any 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.
I would like to discuss the importance of clean and dry filtered air. This all comes from some discussions I have had with customers over my time here at EXAIR, as well as from my time in the machine tool industry. It is notable to state that we simply ask for clean/dry air to run through our products, not “instrument” or “process” air which is typically held at a different pressure, temperature, or volume and can be more expensive to generate. All of EXAIR’s products use general plant air and can be cleaned up with simple point of use filters.
Clean and dry compressed air is essential for ensuring a long and easy life of almost any compressed air product. One product in particular that I have some data on is the EXAIR Line Vac. The pictures below show the inside wall of a Stainless Steel Line Vac. This unit was used in a harsh outdoor environment. The compressor was not maintained and did not have any form of filtration on the lines feeding the Line Vac unit. The first picture shows where all the dirt and particulate were impacting the internal generator wall as it entered the air chamber.
The two dark grey marks are actually the impact points on the unit. There is only one air inlet on the Line Vac, this means that the unit was taken apart during the two months and actually inspected then put back together and the generator was rotated slightly during this process. These spots are similar to what sandblasting does to metal, just to illustrate how much particulate was in the air stream. Since the air has not yet reached its full velocity within the Line Vac, it has left only those visible surface blemishes.
As the air begins to exit the array of small generator holes it begins to rapidly increase in velocity while it is trying to expand to atmospheric conditions. Because of this increased velocity, the wear the generator holes experience is greater and as seen below it is causing some extreme wear.
To give you an idea of what a new generator should look like is below. Here you can see uniform holes that go precisely through the generator.
To prevent a disaster like this from happening to your end-use compressed air products, all you need are some simple, low maintenance filters. EXAIR offers dirt / water filter separators that will filter your compressed down to 5 micron particulate size. The will catch the good majority of rust, water, and dirt within your compressed air system. Then you can also install an oil removal filter which will filter all oils and particulate out of your compressed air system down to 0.03 micron particulate level.
Each of these units are great point of use filtration to keep any of your processes from experiencing what this Line Vac experienced. If you have any questions about the quality of your compressed air or why you are seeing failures in product on your compressed air system, contact us.