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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Super Air Wipe Controls Coating Thickness On Tubing

A large manufacturing company called looking for a better solution to control the thickness of a curing agent being applied to the outside of tubing used in the automotive industry. The tubing is formed in an extruder and travels through a liquid cooling chamber and then air dried. After the tubing is dried, it is sent to a spray chamber where the curing agent is applied to the exterior. On the exit side of the spray chamber, the customer had installed several flexible air lines placed around the perimeter of the tubing to blow air across the surface to help control the coating thickness. This worked somewhat but they were seeing an increase in the amount of rejected material as the air pattern was sporadic and uneven, which caused streaking and dry spots in certain areas of the tubing. They reviewed our web site and familiarized themselves with our Air Wipes but were unsure of the best design and size to fit their need so they reached out for assistance.

After further discussing the process, their tube O.D. sizes range from 3/8″ – 1/2″, making our 1″ Air Wipe the ideal solution. As far as the design, the Standard or Super Air Wipe, I recommended they use our Model # 2451 Super Air Wipe kit due to the aluminum construction and stainless steel wired braided hoses being able to withstand the potential temperature in the area of 200°F. The kit includes a filter separator to remove any water or contaminants in the supply and a pressure regulator which would allow them to control the flow and force of the exiting air, to help “dial” it in to fit the demand of the application.

Super Air Wipe is available in sizes from 1/2″ up to 11″ in Aluminum construction and up to 4″ in Stainless Steel construction.

 

EXAIR Air Wipes features a split design, which can easily be clamped around the material, to provide a 360° uniform airflow, perfect for treating the surface of round shapes, like extruded tubing. If you have an application where you are needing to dry, cool or clean the outside of a pipe, hose or cable, contact an application engineer for help making the best product selection.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Super Sized Is Not A Problem At EXAIR

For many years we as Americans wanted to biggie size, super size, or mega size anything and everything we could.   For myself that mainly meant the fries and drink I used to get at any local fast food joint.   Now that I have hit my mid-30s and all of that has started to catch up to me, I don’t always want the large fry or any fries at all, instead I might try a new salad and trying to eat healthy.  Here at EXAIR, we don’t always associate bigger with better but we do always fill the need when we don’t have something off the shelf.

However, there are still occasions where going super size is necessary and this week, we did just that.   We had a customer ask if we can go bigger on our Super Air Wipes.   We simply asked how big they needed to go and what the reasoning is for it.  Turns out, the reasoning for the larger Super Air Wipe was a newly designed automated cell in a pipe manufacturing facility.   The stock 11″ was too small to fit the 11″ max. diameter piece through to blow off debris so they requested a 12″ Super Air Wipe.   To top off the customization, they were also in need of BP threaded air inlets.

Catalog 30 Stock Air Wipe Sizes

Within a matter of weeks our customer has gone from a product they didn’t know was possible, to shipping out to their site.  This is a one off, custom machined, Super Air Wipe that has a 12″ Throat Diameter.   The only parts on this that are from our standard stock are the bolts, stickers, and the connecting / hinge plates(The clam shell design requires these.).

If you have an application where you don’t think we have exactly what you need or maybe you need to go bigger, or smaller, than what we show in the catalog don’t move on and try to find something else.   Give an Application Engineer a call and we will see how we can tailor our products to your exact needs.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Drying and Cleaning Tubes Using The Standard Air Wipe

A tubing manufacturer called looking for a better way to dry their 3″ (O.D.) tubes after a rinse application. In their current setup, the tubes are being cut by a band saw, which uses flood coolant to keep the blade cool and evacuate chips. After the tubes are cut, they are then bundled together and dipped into a rinse tank to remove the cutting fluid and any machining debris on the surfaces. The tubes are then fed, one by one, through a series of blower driven air knives placed around the outside  of the tubing to dry and clean them before a painting and bar code process. The air knives were working somewhat, but they were seeing some residual streaking on the surface of the tubes that needed to be manually cleaned by hand, slowing down the process.

Example of a typical band saw used for cutting metals and other rigid material.

I recommended the customer use our 4″ Standard Air Wipe in their application. EXAIR Air Wipes provide a 360° uniform, high velocity airflow that adheres to the outside surface, as it passes through the throat of the device. Here is a short video we made showing the cleaning power of our Standard Air Wipes.

The Standard Air Wipe is available in stock sizes from 1/2″ up to 11″. The aluminum construction and PVC hose (included on sizes up to 4″) is suitable for most “general” industrial environments with ambient temperatures reaching as high as 150°F. We also offer Stainless Steel Super Air Wipes, which have the same performance as the Standard, for processes requiring superior corrosion resistance and/or where higher temperatures are possible, up to 800°F.

Super (left) and Standard (right) Air Wipes – ideal for drying, cleaning or cooling round shapes like tubing, hose, pipes, etc.

For help selecting the best product to fit your particular need, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

FMB FMB Titan Bandsaw Gravity Feed image courtesy of Kitmondo Marketplace via Creative Commons license.

Controlling Supply Pressure, Controlling Flow

“What is the lowest operating pressure and what kind of force can I expect?”. This is common question we get at EXAIR and the simple answer – it depends. Okay, that’s not so simple and it does matter what EXAIR product you are considering.

Take for example some of the vortex tube based cooling products, like our Cold Gun for dry machining and Cabinet Cooler Systems to purge and cool electrical enclosures. These particular products are designed to operate at 80-100 PSIG for optimal performance and efficient cooling capacity. They can be operated at lower pressure but their effectiveness and performance are reduced.

Most other products, and the problem they are solving vary in the amount of pressure needed for success. In many cases, the simplest method would be to use a pressure regulator. By incorporating a pressure regulator in a blowoff application, for example using our Air Nozzles or Safety Air Guns,  adjusting the supply pressure is the easiest way to control the output velocity and force of the airflow. Many applications don’t require full line pressure to achieve the desired result and operating at lower pressure provides a way to reduce compressed air usage and lower energy costs.

Click on picture for more information

Pressure Regulator with gauge for simple supply adjustment

Another way some of EXAIR’s products allow for easy adjustment is by incorporating a replaceable shim. Take for example our Air Knives – All of our Air Knives are shipped from stock with a .002″ shim installed. We offer Shim Sets for our aluminum knives that include a .001″, .003″ and .004″ shim  that allows you to either reduce the gap and cut your air usage and force in half. By installing the thicker shims, you can increase these properties by 1.5 times for the .003″ shim or double by installing the .004″. For our stainless steel knives, we offer shim sets which include (3) .002″ which can best stacked to provide more force and flow.

sak-shims

Super Air Knife shims

Our Air Amplifiers feature patented shims that allow for the similar adjustments, resulting in large volumes of outlet airflow.

Super Air Amplifer w- shims

Super Air Amplifier and optional shim set

Our Air Wipes, which perform similar to our Air Knives but produce a 360″ ring of air to treat the surface of a hose , pipe, tube, etc. , are also shipped with .002″ shim installed with optional shim sets available.

gh_SAWshimsets_750x696p

Shims for our Super and Standard Air Wipes

We also offer replaceable shims for our 1″ and 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles for those applications requiring more of a focused airflow that needs that extra bit of force, like when trying to blow heavy grit off of a chain or blow reject parts from a conveyor.

Model 1126 (Zinc Aluminum) or 1126SS (316SS) 1" Flat Super Air Nozzles (left) have replaceable shims (middle), same as Model 1122 (Zinc Aluminum or Model 1122SS 2" Flat Super Air Nozzles (right.)

1″ and 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles provide laminar airflow that can be easily adjusted.

As you can see, there are some viable options to fine tune your EXAIR product to provide the optimal performance. If you need any assistance or would like to discuss the specifics of a particular application, give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

 

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Adjustability=Flexibility=Wide Ranging Performance

Recently, I moved into a new house, and it didn’t have bathroom vent fans.  In order to prevent mold and mildew growth from the humid shower air; we decided to install them ourselves.  Going to the local home goods store, we were faced with a wall of options, with factors such as noise level, CFM rating and of course price.  Going over the myriad of possibilities was headache inducing and of course, the bathroom size was borderline between a small and mid-size unit. The decision came down to – pay more and oversize it or risk installing an undersized unit.  If only they made a unit to cover a wide variety of conditions.

Here at EXAIR, we make many types of Intelligent Compressed Air Products.  Many times, when we are talking to customers, the right size or performance needed isn’t quite clear.  Fortunately, many of the products we make are flexible, and allow for adjustability and increased range of performance to best match the specific need of the application.

For example, The Super Air Knives and Super Air Wipes have available Shim Sets to increase or decrease the air gap and change the force and flow.  The shims are easily installed, and come in a wide choice of sizes. Super Air Knives are available, from stock, in aluminum, 303SS, 316SS, and PVDF. Super Air Wipes are made from aluminum or 303 SS.

The Super Air Amplifiers also have available patented Shim Sets to fix the air flow at a predetermined setting. Adjustable Air Amplifiers have an infinitely adjustable air gap which can easily be set to match the application needs if a predetermined flow is not preferred. Adjustable Air Amplifiers also have a smaller footprint than Super Air Amplifiers and can also use the aforementioned shims to preset the air flow in applications where space is limited. These are available in 303 stainless steel and aluminum. We also have a high temperature option.

adjustable Air Amplifier

Adjustable Air Amplifier

Within our already enormous and flexible Air Nozzles & Jets product line, the Flat Super Air Nozzles have available Shim Sets to provide the ability to adjust the force and flow for blowoff or cleaning operation.  The model 1009 Adjustable Air Nozzle has an adjustable gap setting, allowing you to “tune in” the force and flow to meet the application requirement.  Also, the Adjustable Air Jet provides an adjustable gap setting to control the air flow performance. Flexibility also comes from the available materials of zinc/aluminum, aluminum, 303SS, 316SS and PEEK thermoplastic.

For vacuum generation, the Adjustable E-Vac allows for the vacuum and flow rate to be easily adjusted.  With a simple turn of the unit, the vacuum and flow levels can be changed to overcome porosity and increase or decrease the lifting power.

Adjustable EVac

Adjustable E-Vac

There are several other Intelligent Compressed Air Products that EXAIR manufactures that offer the adjustability and flexibility, such as Vortex Tubes and Adjustable Spot Coolers.

If only EXAIR manufactured bathroom fans, I could have ensured making the right choice and be able to match the performance to exactly meet my application needs.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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Super Air Wipe Helps in Testing Wire Insulation

A cable manufacturer sent me videos of his operation as they needed to improve their efficiency in removing water from the surface of the insulation. Their system began with the insulation being applied to the outside of the wire cable, being dipped into a water trough to harden the insulation, travel through the blow-off device, then into a spark tester.  The spark tester checks the insulation for imperfections.  Also called a hi-pot tester (high-potential), a high voltage is used to create a large potential across the insulation.  Any defects in the insulation can be detected, but it is very sensitive to surface contamination.  Being that the water is very conductive, it had to be removed or it would give a false result.  They were using a home-made circular blowing device (photo below) to blow the water off after dipping.  When they were at the higher line speeds, the blow-off device was not removing the water completely from the insulation.  This would cause the spark tester to alarm and stop production.

Home-made Air Wipe

Home-made Air Wipe

This company makes cables ranging from 10mm to 25mm in diameter. With various types of voltage ratings on the wire, the insulation was made with different types of materials and thicknesses.  So, the line speeds could range from 20 to 200 meter/minute.  Being that they needed a better way to remove the wire, they searched for wire and cable blow-off devices. They came across the Super Air Wipe from EXAIR.  The design of the Super Air Wipe blows compressed air at a 30 degree angle toward the center in a 360 degree air pattern, just like a cone.  It uses the Coanda effect to entrain as much ambient air into your compressed air to maximize force and efficiency.  Because of the variations in diameters and speeds, I suggested two different sizes, the model 2401 and model 2402.  The model 2401 has an I.D. of 1” (25mm), and it would work best with the cable diameters of 15mm and under.  The model 2402 has an I.D. of 2” (51mm), and it can handle the cables that are above 15mm in size. This pair of Super Air Wipes would give the customer the most consistent results no matter what line speeds that they ran.  With the split design of the Super Air Wipe, it makes it easy to clamp around the cable and change from one size to the other.

Super Air Wipe

Super Air Wipe

As they removed their home-made unit and attached the Super Air Wipes, they noticed a few things. The spark tester stopped getting false alarms.  This made the production process run smoother; even at the faster line speeds.  They noticed that the Super Air Wipe was much quieter.  With a decibel rating of 77 dBA, the nearby operators were very happy with this choice.  Also, they noticed that the Super Air Wipes used much less compressed air.  Because the design utilizes the “free” ambient air, less compressed air is required.  This would save them a lot of money in their electric bill and the stress on the compressed air system.  If your company needs to blow off cables, hoses, pipes, or any cylindrical type parts, the Super Air Wipe could be a great product for you.

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

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