Six Years At EXAIR: What I’ve Learned

Yesterday, I went “over 6” as an Application Engineer at EXAIR Corporation, and I’m still loving every minute of it! I came here with a fair degree of mechanical engineering & technology know-how, but, in reflection, I’ve learned an even fairer degree…some of which I’d like to share with you, dear reader, on the occasion of this ‘work-iversary:’

*Time spent doing something doesn’t always equal “experience.” If you work at something for, say, 20 years, and never learn anything new after your initial training, you don’t really have 20 years’ experience…you have one year of experience, 20 times. Big difference.

*Teamwork is critical to success.  The Patrol Method works.  The value of a “lesson learned” multiplies exponentially when it’s shared with others.  Design Engineers have a universal law of CAD that says “don’t ever draw anything twice.”  Application Engineers “don’t ever test anything twice.”

*Sometimes, there’s one way to find out.  That’s why we devote the resources we do to the Efficiency Lab.  If you want to know more about the performance of your current compressed air products, and how they might compare to one of our quiet, efficient solutions, so do we.

*A picture is worth a thousand words.  We prove this every day, whether it’s a photo (or short video even) of an application, a photo of a product or system for troubleshooting, or a photo of a nameplate or device for product comparison.  I’m old enough to remember doing business before email & digital photos, but I swear I don’t know how we ever got anything done.

*There’s always a ‘better mousetrap’ – and that’s the unofficial motto of EXAIR’s Engineering department.  That’s why we have so many more Atomizing Spray Nozzles than the did six years ago.  And Heavy Duty HEPA Vacs, long Super Air Knives and more product accessories.

*Relationships are vital.  At least a couple of days a week, I spend more time with my co-workers than my wife & kids.  We’re all in this together, and the more we help each other, the better off we are ourselves.

Next week, I’ll be back to blogging about a super cool compressed air product application. If you come up with one in the meantime, I’ll be happy to talk about it with you.  The conversation might just make it into next week’s blog, because one more thing I’ve learned is, when you’ve written 300 or so weekly blogs, “writer’s block” is a very real & present danger!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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How To Solve A Problem with Compressed Air

In my (almost) six years as an EXAIR Application Engineer, I’ve learned a great many things about the capabilities of our products.  The way we do business sure does make it easy:

  • We readily share application information, as a team.  If you ask me a question, you’re asking all of us.  It does neither of us any good if I tell you something MIGHT work if one of my team knows it WON’T – or if someone knows what else DOES work.  If we can offer a solution, we will.
  • We’ll test your product, free of charge.  This is a popular way of finding out which Line Vac is best for conveying a particular product, for example.
  • If you’re considering a quiet, safe, and efficient EXAIR product as an upgrade, we’ll test your current product in our award winning Efficiency Lab, so you can compare accurate performance data and analyze the expected benefits…which can be dramatic.  Try us on that.
exair-testin
Line Vac conveyance rate testing (left;) Efficiency Lab testing (right.)

 

  • We’ll let YOU test our product, risk-free.  All catalog products come with a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee.  We invite you to put it through its paces for up to a month.  If it’s not working out, we’ll arrange return for full credit.
  • We’ll do the math.  But first, a disclaimer: strictly comparing the force or flow of an engineered product to an open-end blow off won’t always tell the tale.  Our Intelligent Compressed Air Products are creating a laminar flow which won’t generate as high of a force/thrust as open-end blowing (which is turbulent by nature,) but is MUCH more conducive to efficiency and noise reduction, as well as similar (if not improved) performance.  But back to the math: if you know the metrics you need to meet for spot cooling (like a Vortex Tube, Adjustable Spot Cooler, Cold Gun, etc.) or for liquid spraying (the liquid flow rate and/or pattern size & shape from an Atomizing Spray Nozzle, for instance,) or the heat load that a Cabinet Cooler System can handle, we’ll do the calculations and specify the appropriate product.

Regardless of the application, if it can be solved with compressed air, it’s very likely that we have a great solution.  Call me to find out how we can help.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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How To Determine Which EXAIR Product Is Right For You

Expert Testing, Professional Results
Expert Testing, Professional Results

Those of you who are frequent readers of the EXAIR blog (we appreciate your loyalty and fine taste, by the way) probably know a little something about our Efficiency Lab. This is where, upon request, we will perform a controlled test of a compressed air product that you’re currently using, and provide a comprehensive report, comparing it to a suitable EXAIR Engineered Compressed Air Product.

It’s a service that we provide at no charge, and to “sweeten the pot,” our goal is a 24-hour turnaround on the testing, from the time we receive your product.

For some folks, however, seeing is believing…and sometimes, critical elements of a particular application just can’t be duplicated in our facility, so a “real world” trial becomes the only way to find out for sure. That’s where our 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee comes in. If you’ll commit the time to give us a try, we’ll commit to allowing you to do, risk free.

Give any EXAIR catalog product a 30 day trial, risk free.
Give any EXAIR catalog product a 30 day trial, risk free.

This was exactly the case with a manufacturer of cable cleaning equipment, who sought an efficient, quiet compressed air solution to dry the cable upon exiting their machinery. Some of the cables that these machines service are very small in diameter, so they wanted to evaluated both an Air Wipe, and an Air Amplifier.  Both had theoretical advantages:

Air Wipes come in sizes from 1/2" to 11".Air Wipes come in sizes from 1/2″ to 11″. The Air Wipe’s 360° converging flow provides for positive contact with the material, which uniformly wipes the entire surface with high velocity air. Its split clamshell design also eliminates the need to thread the material through it.

Air Amplifiers entrain enormous amounts of "free" air, at ratios of up to 25:1!
Air Amplifiers entrain enormous amounts of “free” air, at ratios of up to 25:1!

The Air Amplifier’s compressed air consumption is lower, its operation is quieter, and it’s less expensive.

After trialing both a Model 2430 ½” Aluminum Standard Air Wipe and a Model 120020 ¾” Super Air Amplifier, the Air Amplifier proved itself out, and became their standard offering on this machine.

For 31 years now, EXAIR Corporation has established and maintained a formidable reputation for being easy to do business with. In Application Engineering, we support this by committing to making sure you get the most out of our products. If you have an application, or an idea, you’d like to discuss, give us a call. We can’t wait to find out how we can help.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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The Best Company Policy Is Right Here At EXAIR

All companies have policies. Some have a LOT. Others may not have enough. Some emphasize documenting every single action. Others write down the basics, and rely on “unwritten mutual understandings” for the rest…

We don't call it "yelling;" we call it "stuff you should already know."
We don’t call it “yelling;” we call it “stuff you should already know.”

At EXAIR, we have one core policy: to be easy to do business with. This has served the company well for thirty one years now, and I don’t expect it to be supplanted with anything else, anytime soon. Now, it may seem vague or ambiguous, but we’re quite specific, and diligent, in our methods of adhering to this one core policy:

Easy to find technical information: We offer complete specifications, performance data, dimensions, and application information for any EXAIR compressed air product on our website, and in our catalog. If you have specific questions, a team of the most knowledgeable and experienced Application Engineers in the business are standing by.

Easy to contact technical support: You can reach an Application Engineer immediately by phone or Live Chat. Emails to techelp@exair.com are also given prompt attention. We have a number of tools at our disposal, including a comprehensive test facility that we call the Efficiency Lab…if you have an operational question that we haven’t answered yet, we’ll find the answer in short order.

Easy to get products: If it’s got a part # in our catalog, it’s in stock, and available for same day shipment. Exceptions are some of our longer Air Knife products, which may take one day to ship. We can even manufacture custom length Air Knives, and ship them in only three days. Just so you know, we’re finishing up our 19th consecutive year with a 99.9% on-time shipment record.

Easy to solve applications: This is where the rubber hits the road, once we’ve made it easy to select and obtain your EXAIR product. Those same Application Engineers are ready to assist with any questions you may have about installation, operation, “tips and tricks,” etc. We’ve got an Application Database (registration required for access) that details over 1,000 successful uses of our products. Odds are, one of them is close enough to your situation to help shed some light.

Easy to solve applications, part 2: If, for any reason, the EXAIR product you buy doesn’t work out for you, we offer a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee on all catalog products. Whether you want to get the next larger or next smaller product, a different one, or go another direction altogether, you’re not stuck with your first purchase…we’ll arrange return for full credit.

Easy to help us help the next person…and yourself: We’re keenly interested in knowing how our products work in specific applications. If you’ve put an EXAIR product to the test, and found that it’s saving you time or money, cutting your air consumption or noise levels, increasing production or safety, or any other quantifiable benefit, you may qualify for participation in a Case Study. Not only will that allow us to better apply our products, we’ve got something for you if you provide a case study for EXAIR.

If you’ve got an application that an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product may be the solution to, give me a call and find out how easy we can make it work for you.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
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Max the Brown Tabby and Burt the Grey Kitten: Cat Argument 3 photo courtesy of Found Animals FoundationCreative Commons License.

Testing, Testing

One of the best criteria to know in a cooling application is the amount of cooling capacity required.  For example, if an ultrasonic weld needs to be cooled in 10 seconds and 400 BTU/hr. of cooling capacity is needed, we can recommend a suitable Vortex Tube.  (In this case, model 3208 with 550 BTU/hr. of cooling capacity.)  Or, if a specific temperature and flow of air is required, we can recommend accordingly. I recently spoke to a customer who needed a specific temperature of air at a low volume…

3408 Vortex Tube Test at 100 PSIG
EXAIR 3408 Vortex Tube tested at 100 PSIG with an inlet  compressed air temperature of 77°F (6.9 BARG, compressed air temperature of 25°C)

The photo above shows a test run for an end user that needed to achieve a specific cold outlet temperature from a Vortex Tube.  Their specific application required lower flow, lower temperature air, which led to the recommendation of our 3400 series units. The 3400 series Vortex Tubes produce the coldest air temperatures at a lower volume of air.

The project deadline for this end user had been shortened, making it imperative to find a solution which was not only suitable, but repeatable and readily available.  And, although the cold fraction percentages (which define temperature rise/drop from a Vortex Tube) are published on the EXAIR.com site and in our catalog, a quick test setup and photo can go a long way toward providing confidence within a customer that we could provide a solution.

The test proves the data from EXAIR is true to our published values, and gave the customer the confidence to order four pieces for their project.  Update:  The customer called today and ordered four more pieces.

Discussion and testing are methods we use in the Application Engineering department at EXAIR to determine if our products are suitable for an application.  If you have questions about your application and would like an EXAIR opinion, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE