Compressed Air Calculations, Optimization, and Tips

EXAIR uses our blog platform to communicate everything from new product announcements to personal interests to safe and efficient use of compressed air. We have recently passed our 5 year anniversary of posting blogs (hard for us to believe) and I thought it appropriate to share a few of the entries which explain some more of the technical aspects of compressed air.

Here is a good blog explaining EXAIR’s 6 steps to optimization, a useful process for improving your compressed air efficiency:


One of the Above 6 steps is to provide secondary storage, a receiver tank, to eliminate pressure drops from high use intermittent applications. This blog entry addresses how to size a receiver tank properly:

Here are 5 things everyone should know about compressed air, including how to calculate the cost of compressed air:

These next few entries address a common issue we regularly assist customers with, compressed air plumbing:

In a recent blog post we discuss how to improve the efficiency of your point of use applications:

Thanks for supporting our blog over the past 5 years, we appreciate it. If you need any support with your sustainability or safety initiatives, or with your compressed air applications please contact us.  

Have a great day,
Kirk Edwards
@EXAIR_KE

Top 6 Compressed Air Plumbing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When installing a compressed air driven device, there is almost nothing more important than proper plumbing.  Inadequate compressed air supply can cause performance issues which lead to rejected product or machine slowdown.  In each of these cases, the end result is a loss in productivity and profitability.

At EXAIR, we understand the ins and outs of proper compressed air plumbing.  Over time, I’ve made a list of the most common plumbing mistakes and how to avoid them.

  1. Quick disconnects:  While tempting and lighting fast, these fittings can limit the amount of compressed air delivered through the orifice of the fitting.  If you have performance concerns, check for pressure drops across a quick disconnect fitting.
  2. Inadequate line size:  Think of the compressed air line as a water hose.  If the hose gets too long or is restricted or too small, there won’t be enough force and flow to do any work.  Many compressed air installations use schedule 40 pipe, and the ID and OD dimensions of this pipe are not always what you would think.  Engineering Toolbox is a favorite site of mine and they have a handy chart about Schedule 40 pipe here.  Always make sure the compressed air line can flow enough air volume for the application.
  3. Pressure drops:  Both of the above mentioned problems are essentially pressure drop related issues, but often there are oversights such as the distance of the compressed air line.  As the length of the line increases, the pressure drop will increase.  Imagine trying to blow air through a 1 ft section of garden hose.  Not too hard, right.  Now imagine trying to blow through 50 ft of garden hose.  No matter how hard you try, all the energy will be lost along the length of the hose.  Double check your line lengths and corresponding pressure drops.
  4. No gauges:  If you’re operating a compressed air device and you depend on that unit for proper production, it is imperative to know the operating pressure at the unit.  This is why EXAIR includes pressure gauges with any kit containing a pressure regulator.  There may be 110 PSIG available at the main line, but a gauge at the device will register pressure to the device, which will generally be slightly lower. (This is also helpful to locate any of the aforementioned pressure drops)
  5. Excessive piping bends:  Each bend in a compressed air line (especially 90° bends) removes energy from the compressed air.  Make sure the line to the point of use is as direct and free as possible.
  6. PSI vs. SCFM:  When sizing a compressed air device or system, it’s important to size based on the SCFM and PSI ratings of the compressor.  A compressor that produces 100 PSI cannot necessarily operate any device that requires 100 PSI.  Be sure your compressor has adequate PSI and SCFM ratings for the needs of the application.

As a general rule, we always advise to consult with an EXAIR Application Engineer regarding application specific questions.  Whether product orientation or plumbing, we are always available to answer your questions.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
leeevans@exair.com
@EXAIR_LE

Go OSHA Safe & Save Money in the Process

Another customer has contacted EXAIR and taken advantage of our FREE Efficiency Lab.  This customer has approximately 150 homemade magnetic blow offs throughout their facility.  They are being used to help move and push paper down the lines.

This unit was taken into the lab and put through the paces. The first being flow; The drilled hole in the pipe plug measured out to be a .061″ diameter hole.  The customers operating pressure for these units is 50 PSIG, so all testing was performed at 50 PSI at the unit.  The unit was flowing 3.46 SCFM per nozzle.   We then tested the sound level, at a distance of 3′ the unit measured 77.5 dBA, then force measured  3.2 oz at 12″ away from the homemade blow off.

Because the homemade blow off was a 1/8″ MNPT pipe plug it’s extremely easy to replace the unit with one of our Atto Super Air Nozzles.  The Atto Super Air Nozzle is a good fit for this application, even with a slightly lower force value, since we have determined the application can be successful at lower force values. The Atto Super Air Nozzle will also produce OSHA compliance for this blow off process. For this application the Atto Super Air Nozzle was tested at 50 PSIG inlet pressure and consumed 1.89 SCFM, created a 63.5 dBA noise level, along with gave 1.6 oz. of force 12″ away.

This calculates to saving 1.57 SCFM per nozzle, reducing the ambient noise level by 14 dBA, and still being able to get the job done.  When you calculate the savings for all 150 nozzles being operated at once the customer will save $3.53 per hour of operation.  Considering these nozzles run whenever  product is present that means the customer will save $28.26 per 8 hour day.

On top of the cost savings the customer gains the safety of the Atto Super Air Nozzle.  Their original blowoff device does not meet or exceed the OSHA standard for 30 PSI dead-end pressure.  Because the piece has a single hole the risk of an air embolism is there.  With the EXAIR Pico Super Air Nozzle we meet or exceed the OSHA standard for dead-end pressure to help keep the operators safe and in a quieter environment.

If you would like to take advantage of the EXAIR Efficiency Lab feel free to fill out the form and then send in your sample.  We’ll get it tested and give you a full report on how we can help.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF