Know What to Look For – Are Your Compressed Air Guns OSHA Safe?

One of the easiest ways to find out if your compressed air guns are safe for operation is by looking at the nozzle.  First, take your current compressed air gun and disconnect it from the compressed air line.  Second, look directly into the end of the nozzle where the air comes out.  If you can see the inside of the nozzle, then your air gun or blow-off device is unsafe.  Nine out of ten compressed air guns are considered to be dangerous.  In this blog, I will go through the dangers and violations of compressed air guns and nozzles that are very common in the market place.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, is an organization that enforces standards for safe and healthy working environments.  They have training, outreach programs, and educational assistance for manufacturing plant.  But, they will also enforce these standards with heavy fines for violations.  The two most common violations with compressed air guns and nozzles are 29CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure/chip shielding and 29CFR 1910.65(a) for maximum allowable noise exposure.  If you are unfortunate in receiving an audit, the OSHA agent will target your compressed air guns and blow-off devices.

Unsafe Nozzle

Here is the first example of a nozzle that I would like to discuss.  As you can see, there is only one opening where the air can come out from the nozzle.  Other types of nozzles that would fall into this category will include copper pipes, extensions, or worn nozzles.  They are dangerous as the compressed air cannot escape if it is blocked by your skin.  An air embolism could occur within the body which can cause bodily harm or death.  If operated above 30 PSIG (2 bar), these nozzles would violate the OSHA 29CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure.  This is a hazard which can be avoided by using EXAIR Super Air Nozzles and Safety Air Guns.  The nozzles are designed to utilize fins to allow air to escape and not penetrate your skin.  With EXAIR products, you will not violate this standard even if you go above the 30 PSIG (2 bar).

Safety Air Gun

To counteract the dead-end pressure violation, some nozzle manufacturers created a hole through the side of the nozzle (Reference photo below).  This will allow for the compressed air to escape, but, now the issue is noise level.  With an “open” section in the nozzle, the compressed air is very turbulent and very loud.  They state that 70% to 80% of all hearing loss within a manufacturing plant is caused by compressed air.  For this, OSHA 29CFR 1910.65(a) was created to show the maximum allowable noise exposure.  This chart shows the time and noise limits before requiring hearing protection.  The EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are designed to have laminar flow which is very quiet.  With our typical Safety Air Gun, model 1210, the sound level is only 74 dBA; well under the noise exposure limit for 8 hours.

Unsafe Air Gun
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.

Why do I bring these points up?  Because safety is everyone’s responsibility.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, has an overview of how to handle hazards in the workplace.  They call it the Hierarchy of Controls (click).  This is a means to best protect workers from dangers.  The most effective way is by eliminating the hazard or substituting the hazard.  The least effective way is with Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.  For your unsafe compressed air nozzles and guns, EXAIR can help by substituting the hazardous air gun and nozzle with an engineered solution designed with safety in mind.

In my opening statement, I explained a quick and easy method to determine if your compressed air guns are dangerous.  To keep your company compliant and safe, EXAIR offers a variety of different types of nozzles and Safety Air Guns to best fit your requirement.  If you find that you are using hazardous blowing equipment, you can contact an Application Engineer to find a safe and effective alternative.

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

Product Overview: Back Blow Safety Air Guns

BackBlowNozzle

EXAIR’s highly engineered and efficient Back Blow Nozzle’s provide a powerful 360° airflow through an array of holes to remove coolant, chips or debris.  Back Blow Nozzle’s are the perfect solution for cleaning out the inside of any pipe, tube, hose or channels.

They are available in three different sizes:

M4 X .5 BB Nozzle

.25 NPT BB

1 NPT BB

The Back Blow Nozzle’s are also offered on the VariBlast, Soft GripHeavy Duty, and Super Blast Safety Air Guns.  They can be configured with different length extensions (up to 72″) to make nearly any cleaning job within reach!   We recommend the optional Chip Shield since the air stream is carrying the debris back towards the operator.

1604SS-6-CS-lftangle
Variblast Safety Air Gun 1604SS-6-CS, Includes 1004SS Back Blow Nozzle With 6″ Extension and Chip Shield. The 1604SS Is Offered In 6″, 12″, 24″ and 36″ Lengths.
1204SS-6-CS
Soft Grip Safety Air Gun 1204SS-6-CS, Includes 1004SS Back Blow Nozzle With 6″ Extension and Chip Shield.  The 1204SS Is Offered In 6″, 12″, 24″ and 36″ Lengths.
1206SS-6-CS559
Soft Grip Safety Air Gun 1206SS-6-CS, Includes 1006SS Back Blow Nozzle With 6″ Extension and Chip Shield.  The 1206SS Is Offered In 12″, 18″, 24″, 36″, 48″, 60″ & 72″ Lengths.
1306SS-6-CS
Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun 1306SS-6-CS, Includes 1006SS Back Blow Nozzle With 6″ Extension and Chip Shield.  The 1306SS Is Offered In 12″, 18″, 24″, 36″, 48″, 60″ & 72″ Lengths.
1219ss800
Super Blast Safety Air Gun 1219SS, Includes 1008SS Back Blow Nozzle With 1′ Extension.  The 1219SS Is Offered In 1′, 3′ & 6′ Lengths.

Take it from me EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns fitted with a  Back Blow Nozzles are a must have for any operation that needs to remove debris from pipes, tubes or hose!

If you would like to discuss Safety Air Guns with Back Blow Nozzles or any of our quiet and efficient compressed air devices, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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Why Use EXAIR’s Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

1210-6-CS
EXAIR 1210-6-CS Soft Grip Safety Air Gun With 6″ Extension & Chip Shield

EXAIR’s Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is the ideal choice for long hours of continuous use without fatigue.  Its ergonomic design keeps the hand in a comfortable position and incorporates a large trigger that allows operation with one or more fingers.  The durable cast aluminum body is suited for rugged industrial use and includes a convenient hangar hook for easy storage.  The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun can be ordered with a large variety of different Air Nozzles which range from light to heavy force and can handle most applications.  For the ultimate in comfort and operator safety order the Chip Shield which deflects debris away from the operator.

Chip Shields
EXAIR Chip Shields are made to fit extension tubes from 3/16″ to 3/4″ O.D.

Aluminum extension pipes are also available in lengths of 6″, 12″, 18″, 24″, 36″, 48″, 60″ and 72″ which allows you to easily customize it for your application(s).

Extension Tubes For Air Guns
Different Length Extensions To Suit Nearly Every Application

The EXAIR Soft Grip Safety Air Gun can also be configured with our Stay Set Hose.  This hose can be bent and then hold that desired shape with as small as a 3″ radius!  The Flexible Stay Set Hose is available in length’s of 6″, 12″, 18″, 24″ and 36″.  The connection ends on the Flexible Stay Set Hose are available as 1/4 MNPT X 1/8 FNPT or 1/4 MNPT X 1/4 MNPT, they also can withstand temperatures up to 158°F (70°C).

1210-6SSH
1210-18SSH, Soft Grip Safety Air Gun With 18″ Stay Set Hose & Super Air Nozzle

With EXAIR’s Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, you can still achieve the high forces required for tough applications without the risk of injuries to personnel (it’ll handle the light duty stuff too). It will also keep you safe from any fines associated with an unannounced OSHA visit because it meets OSHA standards for dead-end pressure and noise exposure. Do yourselves and your operators a favor and order them today!

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer

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Powerful and Safe Blowoffs with EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun

EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun is designed to provide powerful blasts of compressed air for use in rugged, industrial environments. With a larger 3/8 NPT air inlet compared to our other Safety Air Guns, it allows for higher force and flow values. It comes with a durable cast aluminum body and ergonomic composite rubber grip. The wide curved trigger allows for continuous use for hours without operator’s experiencing fatigue.

HP1330SS-6-CS
Model 1330SS-6-CS

All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns come with an engineered compressed air nozzle at the tip. This allows you to remain OSHA compliant while still getting the force you need to get the job done. EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles utilize the coanda effect to entrain large amounts of ambient air from the environment. This ambient air mixes with the primary airstream and is projected towards the target with more force and flow than the supplied compressed air could deliver alone.

Each of the Safety Air Guns is available with extensions fully assembled ranging from 6”-72”. You can simply add a “-“ and the required length, in inches, to the end of any Safety Air Gun Model number.

In addition, they’re also available with a Chip Shield to prevent any chips or debris from coming back into the faces of your operators. Effective chip guarding is another component of OSHA 1910.242(b) in addition to the concerns of dead-end pressure. To add a Chip Shield onto the gun as well, a “-CS” to the standard Model number. For example, a Model 1310-12-CS would be a 1310 gun with 12” extension and a Chip Shield installed. If the application involves blowing off metal chips or shavings, your operators will certainly appreciate this Chip Shield preventing the debris from blowing back all over them.

HD SAG Chip Shield and Extensions
Easily add both an extension and Chip Shield to your Safety Air Gun!

With EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, you can still achieve the high forces required for tough applications without the risk of injuries to personnel. It’ll also keep you safe from any fines associated with an unannounced OSHA visit. Do yourselves and your operators a favor and get one on order today!

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

Where Has The VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun Been All My Life?!?

Have you ever happened across something that would have been a real “game changer” at some time in the past? I’ll never forget the time that I went camping with my sons’ Boy Scout Troop, and I was introduced to the peanut butter and bacon sandwich. I still enjoy one from time to time, but my doctor does not enjoy hearing about it…

I’ve also written before (and before) about when I found out EXAIR Vortex Tubes were being used in some shipyards for freeze sealing pipes…a task that (when I worked in a shipyard) we used tanks of liquid nitrogen for.  I was amazed that such a cumbersome ordeal was replaced by something so simple and easy.

When we were developing the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun, a key feature…the variable flow trigger…also would have been real handy at a time in my not-so-distant past.  See, I used to run a small industrial equipment service department, and one time I found myself in a pinch to get a structural steel tube frame made for a support for a particular piece of equipment.  This wasn’t something we did all the time, and this particular job was a bit larger scale than most of what we’d done before.   It wasn’t really a big deal; I just had to cut some rectangular tubing to length with our band saw, drill some small holes (for bolts) and bore some larger holes (for cables & hose) along the length.

We had a small air compressor and a cheap commercial grade air gun, which served the purpose of our infrequent usage. Blowing the shavings away from those holes, and the inside of the tubing was a challenge…that air gun would just barely move them all the way from the holes near the middle, and when I blew out the holes near the ends, the spray of coolant-soaked shavings was making a heck of a mess in our relatively small shop.  After a while, I found that I could kind of “mash” the trigger a little to one side and get a rough measure of control…I was only going to have to mop about half the floor, instead of the whole thing, and I wasn’t going to have to wash the service truck parked in the closest garage bay to the shop area.

Needless to say, this wasn’t exactly ergonomic, and it was  real pain (literally) to use my left hand for a few days following.  Which, being left-handed, was kind of a drag.

Fast forward to just last year, when we rolled out the latest and greatest (in a distinguished line of latest and greatest) EXAIR product: the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun.  Now, individually, the key features might not be all that mind-blowing to the casual observer, but taken together, they’re a pretty big deal. Consider:

*Aluminum construction – lightweight, durable, corrosion resistant.

*Two compressed air inlets – one on the bottom (below your pinkie finger) and one on the rear (above your thumb;) your choice…whichever makes your task easier.

*Cast-in hanger – to keep it out of the way, but still handy, when you’re not using it.

*Chip Shield – you still have to wear safety glasses, but this will keep them cleaner.

*Wide selection of engineered nozzles – from our Atto Super Air Nozzle (2.5 SCFM; 2.0 oz force) to the 1″ High Power Flat Super Air Nozzle (17.5 SCFM; 16 oz force,) there are 20 distinct models in stock.  We can customize the performance of the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun to the specific needs of your intended use for it.

*Extensions – for applications that require a little (or a little more) reach, we offer the VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun with rigid aluminum extensions up to 72″ in length.  These are particularly handy when used with the Atto Back Blow Nozzle.

*Variable pull trigger – as the name implies, you can “vary the blast” by how hard (or not) you pull the trigger.  Like I said before, you can do this – kind of – with a run of the mill commercial grade air gun, but it’s not very precise, and far from ergonomic.  Here’s a short video showing just how sensitive that trigger pull is:

If you’d like to give one a try, EXAIR offers these – and any catalog product for that matter  – with a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee.  We invite you to put it through its paces for up to a month.  If it’s not going to work out for you, for any reason, we’ll arrange return for full credit.  Give me a call – we can talk about how you intend to use it, and which one’s right for you.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Stay Set Hoses & Magnetic Bases – Precise Positioning for your Blowoff Application!

sshapp2

Once you’ve selected an engineered compressed air nozzle for your blowoff application, you’ll likely need a solution to mount and position it as well. In some applications you may be able to simply replace the old solution with a similar thread, but if the installation is a bit more complex, or if it is a new installation entirely, you’ll need a means to do so. Here’s where EXAIR’s Stay Set Hoses and Magnetic Bases come into play.

sshfam2

EXAIR’s Stay Set Hoses are available from 6”-36” in length with ¼ NPT male threads on each end, or a ¼ NPT male on one end and 1/8 NPT female on the other. The Stay Set Hoses are rigid and allow you to maintain precise positioning of the blow off nozzle. The hoses have “memory” and will not creep or bend. They’re easily repositioned as well, making them an ideal solution for applications that may require moving them around due to varying parts.

Stay Set Hoses can also be installed on any Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. Simply adding a suffix to the end of the any of the Soft Grip Air Gun model numbers will come with the Stay Set Hose installed. For example, the gun below is a Model 1230-36SSH. A Model 1230 Safety Air Gun, with a 36” Stay Set Hose installed. Having a Stay Set Hose on your air gun can allow you to reach into tight or awkward places that a traditional air gun won’t permit.

1230-6SSH
Model 1230-36SSH

In addition to the Stay Set Hoses, EXAIR also has Magnetic Bases available as well. The powerful magnet permits both horizontal and vertical mounting. A manual valve is also included that will allow you to vary the force and flow. Magnetic bases are available with one or two outlets and can be combined with any of our nozzles and Stay Set Hoses to create your own customized blowoff system.

1122_9412
(2) 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles w/ Dual Magnetic Base and 12″ Stay Set Hose

No matter the application, EXAIR has a solution for your blowoff. Give an Application Engineer a call today and we’ll help you determine EXACTLY what you’ll need with all parts available from stock!

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

What Is The Difference Between Pressure & Flow In A Compressed Air System?

There is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t receive a call from someone who has a need for a compressed air product and when I state the SCFM requirements of the device they respond back with the psi rating of their air compressor.  Many technicians simply do not understand the difference between the two.  Simply put psi (pounds square inch) is force and CFM (cubic feet per minute) is flow.

A simple illustration would be to contrast a 12 VDC powered air compressor that many people carry in their trunks to inflate car tires.  They will inflate your car tire to 35 psi in a matter of minutes.  While the air compressor at a tire shop can inflate a car tire in a minute or less.  What is the difference?

12 VDC Air Compressor
12 VDC Tire Inflator

 

Simply put, the flow. Both inflate the tire to the desired pressure but the one with largest flow (volume) does it much faster.  In the case of a compressed air product such as an air nozzle, the pressure required to operate is only one part of what is necessary to operate the device effectively, you need to have enough flow or CFM.

Let us now consider an EXAIR 1100 Super Air Nozzle, its rated performance of 13 ounces of force at 12″ distance from the nozzle is derived from supplying 14 SCFM @ 80 psi.  The typical home use air compressor that runs on 110 VAC (Generally 2 HP maximum) will not generate the flow (volume /CFM) at 80 psi to run the nozzle at peak force, just as it would not generate enough flow to fill the tire as quickly as the industrial compressor at a tire shop.

When an open tube, pipe or inefficient nozzle is placed at the end of an air line to provide blow off for cooling or cleaning it demands much greater volume from the compressor. If the compressor cannot keep up the force (pressure) of the system will decline. Replacing an open tube or pipe with an EXAIR engineered nozzle will require less compressed air volume which, in turn, will give the compressor more ability to provide full pressure and force upon your application.

1100group
EXAIR 1100 Super Air Nozzle

If you would like to discuss air consumption of any of EXAIR’s engineered solutions, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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12 VDC Tire Inflator Image courtesy of Moto Service Dinamarca