Return On Investment: Does It Matter, And How Much?

I have a friend who participates in a process known as “extreme couponing.” She has multiple subscriptions to the Sunday edition of our major newspaper, and a couple of local papers that also have coupon inserts. When I see her at the grocery store, she’s got two 4″ binders full of baseball card holders, all stuffed with multiples of clipped coupons, organized by store aisle. The insane amount of money saved is a big factor in her being able to be a stay-at-home mother, which is something else she’s pretty good at.

If you get stuck at step one…or even two…extreme couponing may not be for you!

Now, extreme couponing isn’t for everyone. Even beginners to the process can buy a year’s worth of paper towels for next to nothing. However, that may take up so much room in their house that they need to rent a storage facility for other belongings that folks like you and me simply keep in the garage or basement. It also takes a LOT of time and effort to do it right – as well as discipline. Saving half (or more) on a truckload of stuff you don’t need (or will never use) is a waste of money, time, and space. In fact, I know people who have abandoned extreme couponing for those very reasons…the “return on investment” just isn’t there.

That’s the deal in industry too.  Anyone tasked with finding and exploiting efficiencies – or finding and eliminating inefficiencies – is going to be looking at return on investment.  Like extreme couponing, though, it has to make sense in all aspects of the operation.  For example:

*An OEM taking advantage of a quantity discount for components or subassemblies has to not only have the storage space available, but also has to consider the turnover rate…it costs money to keep product on the shelf.

*A machine shop considering a tooling upgrade has to compare the cost difference with the increased performance and/or lifespan of the “new and improved” product.  A tool that costs 10% more but lasts twice as long is probably a good deal.  A tool that costs twice as much but lasts 10% longer might not provide the “bang for the buck.”

*Any facility, before switching a service or utility provider, will “run the numbers” on promotional rates, contract terms, etc. before making a commitment.

Unlike extreme couponing, EXAIR makes it easy – and beneficial – to evaluate the return on investment:

*Our catalog (if you don’t have the latest, get it here) has complete performance & operational data on all of our products.  This is great if you know what you want it to do.

*If you’re not quite sure, our catalog also has a good number of actual application write-ups for most of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products.  You may be able to find something that’s similar to what you want to do, and further inform your selection from there.

*Once you’ve chosen a product, you can use the Calculator Library on our website to determine actual dollar cost savings associated with replacing a current compressed air powered device with an EXAIR product.

*Application Engineers are available to discuss your application and/or product selection via phone, email, or Live Chat.

*No matter how detailed the discussion, and how confident a plan we may make, the age-old saying about how it “looked good on paper” proves itself every now and again.  When this happens, all catalog products are covered by our 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee.  If you’re not satisfied for any reason within 30 days of purchase, we’ll arrange return for full credit.

*Let’s assume that we’re pretty good at this (because we are) and it actually DOES work out (because it usually does) – we can calculate your new (and improved) operating costs and compare them with the cost of your previous devices.  If you don’t have the instrumentation (flow meters, sound level meters, etc.,) this is a free service we provide in our Efficiency Lab.  Send it in, and we’ll do a full performance test & issue a comprehensive report, all at no charge.  And if you qualify for a Case Study, we can even save you some money on your next order.  Contact me for more details if you’re interested.

Free testing. Verifiable data. EXAIR Efficiency Lab.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Coupon Pile Stock Photos courtesy of Carol Pyles  Creative Common License

How To Propose A Cost Saving Strategy To Management

Chances are if you have been on your job for a little while, you have noticed some processes or equipment that takes excessive time, wastes energy, etc.. and delivers less than optimal results.  So, just how do you communicate those observations to management in your organization?  You certainly do not want to embarrass yourself by having your idea torpedoed, nor let the company continue wasting money on inefficient processes or equipment.  The question becomes, how do you present your cost savings plan to the management team?  This blog will help you with that very question!

Your idea(s) for cost savings should be presented clearly and concisely with some key information highlighting the cost and the savings.  The simplest way to accomplish this is to quantify the savings for a given period of time and the payback schedule.  The payback schedule is generally calculated by dividing the cost of the project by the forecast savings.  Generally speaking, the shorter the time required for payback, the better the odds of your project being approved.

To start the process generate a (1) page overview that states the problem, cost of your proposal and the forecast savings.  A thorough and concise presentation will help sway any naysayers in the group, and you should include detailed information that includes current operating costs and how you arrived at those figures.

In the compressed air industry, EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air products provide some easy installations and quick payback times without sacrificing production or quality – in many cases, we can improve production and quality.  Let’s consider the case below, where open tubes were being used to blow off punch presses.  We started by capping off (4) of the open tubes and trying one EXAIR 1100 Air Nozzle with a defined air pattern and we clearly needed more force.  That is when we attached the second super air nozzle, and voila! We had the amount of force and the air pattern required for this application, all while greatly minimizing air consumption and noise!  The image below shows what a sample air savings presentation sheet or test sheet may look like. 

Open Tube Cost Comparison

Considering the EXAIR 1100 Super Air Nozzle are $39 each, you can calculate that the payback time is slightly less than 10 working days per press, since two nozzles were used for each press.

When considering larger and more in-depth projects, naturally more documentation and information will be required.  In addition to the requirements for the above example, just be sure to include the following points:

  • List the action items for your proposal and any purchases that may be necessary.
  • Outline your proposed savings and document how you arrived at that number.
  • Discuss anything that may cause delays or not go as planned, and if possible, suggest viable workarounds.
  • Create a milestone schedule for all the major points in your plan.
  • Create illustrations.

If you would like to discuss increasing the efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products, and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you. Give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Super Air Wipe Greatly Increases Productivity & Saves Money!

Late last year I received a call from a customer that was using EXAIR Super Air Knives to create an air curtain that protected the lens on their Robotic Welders from weld spatter.  The EXAIR Super Air Knife accomplished this by virtue of its design to deliver a uniform sheet of laminar air flow across its entire length.  While this greatly improved the life of the welder lens and reduced maintenance time, further improvements were needed.

The event that triggered this was the challenge they received from their customer (one of the big 3 automobile manufacturers) to increase their output of welded seat frames by 50%.  While the EXAIR Super Air Knives greatly reduced lens maintenance the consensus was further improvements would facilitate the goal of increasing output 50% .

Super Air Knife laser application
Using the Super Air Knife to protect the welding lens

 

This started the discussion on the possibility of using the EXAIR Super Air Wipe, even though it is primarily used for drying/cleaning of long continuous flow products its airflow pattern (see illustration below) was able to direct the weld splatter down and away from the lens.  This ultimately proved to be more effective at protecting the lens than the laminar air curtain provided by the EXAIR Super Air Knife.

Air Wipe - how it works
Air Wipe – How it work

The installation of the EXAIR Super Air Wipes started on 12/16/2017 and was completed on 12/23/2017. The original production rate was 480 pair of SUV rear seat frames per day running 3 shifts 24/6.

Laser Above SAW Front
Robotic Welder fitted with EXAIR Super Air Wipe

After the Installation of the EXAIR Super Air Wipes, they had improved the production rate to 750 pair/day running 3 shifts 24/5 days per week.  That equates to a productivity increase of 156%, far exceeding the goal of 50%!

Before using the EXAIR Super Air Wipe their maintenance department would clean the Cover Slide on the Laser Welding Head – 3 times per day at approximately 20 min x 3x daily x 6 days / week 6 hours / week.  “With the EXAIR Super Air Wipe we found that we can weld for 10 days before cleaning the Cover Slide” says the customer.

Each Cover Slide costs $195 and those were being replaced weekly, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that only a small amount of dust collects on the Cover Slide now, which is cleaned off in less than a minute

In 10 weeks of Operation they have not replaced a single  Slide since the EXAIR Super Air Wipe has nearly eliminated pitting from the weld spatter.

Also, Cleaning of the Slides is now performed on Saturday’s at the leisure of the maintenance team and not under the strain of production time. The Labor Rate for Maintenance is $75/hour x 6 hours/week = $450 X 50 weeks/year $22,500 plus the cost of the replacement windows at $195 each x 25 weeks = $4,875 savings per year.  Total savings after implementing the EXAIR Super Air Wipe = $27,375 per welding machine!

With the maintenance & replacement cost savings alone it is an easy calculation to make on the purchase of the EXAIR Super Air Wipe’s. That figure is not counting the productivity increase of 156% which allowed them to meet their customers delivery schedule and reduce overtime!

If you would like to discuss increasing the efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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ROI – Is it Worth the Investment?

Any time you’re planning to purchase something, the return on investment (ROI) is an important thing to consider. Whether you’re considering buying new windows to improve on your heating and cooling costs, looking at replacing outdated appliances with newer and more efficient models, or purchasing an Intelligent Compressed Air Product, how quickly that product will pay for itself can help you to make the right decision.

coins

Last year, my wife and I purchased our first home. In the backyard, was a nice, big in-ground pool. While it was something we did look for, it requires a bit of maintenance during the summer months to keep the water clear and things running smoothly. Who wants to swim in a pool ridden with dirt, leaves, bugs, and debris floating around? Certainly not me, which meant I needed to spend some time brushing the sides of the pool and vacuuming to keep everything clean. For our first season, we elected to tackle this task manually. Not only was this time consuming, but it was also not very effective. To brush the sides and steps, skim, and vacuum took about 2 hours each time. I was doing this 2x per week to keep everything looking good. Over the course of a 15-week pool season here in Southwest Ohio, I spent approximately 60 hours just keeping the pool clean.

We were interested in the robotic pool vacuums available at our local pool supply store, but we balked at the initial price of them. After spending all this time doing it myself, I began to think that it would pay for itself relatively quickly (depending on how much I valued my own labor 😊). Allocating the cost of the robotic vacuum over the six-year life expectancy, as well as taking into consideration how much time I had spent cleaning the previous year, made this decision much more palatable. We went ahead, bit the bullet, and purchased one for this season. I must say, just two weeks in and my pool is cleaner than it ever was last year. We’ve only run it twice!! It only takes 5 minutes to connect and drop in. I reduced my time spent from 4 hours per week to 10 minutes per week. Consider me a happy consumer.

If you follow the EXAIR Blog, you’ll know that one of our primary focuses is saving customers money by reducing their compressed air operating cost. Recently, I wrote a blog post about a customer that replaced an inefficient solution with some EXAIR Super Air Knives. Let’s take a look and see how quick these knives were able to pay for themselves:

The previous solution consisted of (3) nozzles operated at 50 psig, consuming a total of 51 SCFM. This line was run continuously for (1) 8-hour shift, (5) days per week. The average cost for compressed air is $0.25 per 1,000 SCF (based on $0.08/kWh).

51 SCFM x 60 mins x 8-hours x $0.25/1000 = $6.12 per day

Replacing the inefficient nozzles with (3) Model 110003 Super Air Knives reduced the overall consumption to 17.1 SCFM when operated at 50 psig.

17.1 SCFM x 60 mins x 8-hours x $0.25/1000 = $2.05 per day

This led to a total savings of $4.07 per day, just by swapping out the inefficient product with the EXAIR Super Air Knives. So how quickly will they pay for themselves? Each Model 110003 Super Air Knife carries a list price of $199.00. Since we were using (3) on each line, their total investment per line was $597.00 USD.

$597.00/4.07 = 146.68 (147 days)

KIMG0161
Inefficient blowoff

On the 147th day (less than 30 weeks, based on a 5-day workweek), the Super Air Knives have paid for themselves. Afterward, that $4.07/day/line goes straight to the bottom line. You’ll be hard pressed to find many products that will pay for themselves in less than one year, but at EXAIR we see this day in and day out. Stop throwing your money out the window with inefficient compressed air solutions. Reach out to an EXAIR Application Engineer and see how quickly your blowoffs can start paying YOU.

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

Little things add up image courtesy of Nic McPhee via creative commons license

EXAIR’s Industry Leading Super Air Knife Saves You Money

One common application that we get calls for each and every day centers around maximizing compressed air efficiency. I recently got to work with a customer who was using an inefficient blowoff method and was looking to replace it with an engineered compressed air solution. They had a total of (8) extrusion lines, each with (3) modular-hose style flat nozzles installed. Before a cooling bath they had one nozzle remove some of the heat, then as the extruded material exits the water bath another (2) nozzles blowoff any residual water. They were maxing out their compressor’s peak operating capacity and pressure drops across the system were causing problems elsewhere in other processes.

KIMG0161

They were operating each of the flat nozzles at 50 psi using a total of 17 SCFM per nozzle. We first calculated how much air the current method was using. The extrusion lines were run for one full 8-hr shift per day:

17 SCFM/nozzle x 3 nozzles/line = 51 SCFM per extrusion line

51 SCFM x 60 mins x 8hrs x 5 days x 50 weeks = 6,126,000 SCF

The extrusion lines accommodated product that ranged from 1”-2.5” wide. They wanted one single solution to use across all different products. We settled on (3) of our 110003 3” Super Air Knives. Let’s take a look at the compressed air requirement for (3) 110003 Super Air Knives, also operated at 50 psig.

A Super Air Knife will consume 1.9 SCFM/inch when operated at 50 psig:

1.9 SCFM/inch x 3 inches (per knife) = 5.7 SCFM/knife

5.7 SCFM x (3) total knives = 17.1 SCFM

17.1 SCFM x 60 mins x 8hrs x 5 days x 50 weeks = 2,052,000 SCF

Total savings per extrusion line – 6,126,000 SCF – 2,052,000 SCF = 4,074,000 SCF

4,074,000 SCF x 8 extrusion lines = 32,592,000 SCF

By replacing the (3) inefficient nozzles with EXAIR’s Super Air Knives, a whopping 4,074,000 SCF of compressed air is saved each year. With (8) total lines, this equates to a total of 32,592,000 SCF of compressed air. Most companies will know the cost of their compressed air usage per CFM, but a cost of ($0.25/1000 standard cubic feet) is a good baseline to use.

($.25/1000 SCF) x 32,592,000 SCF = $8,148.00 USD

By replacing (3) inefficient nozzles across all (8) extrusion lines with EXAIR’s industry leading Super Air Knife, they were able to save a total of $8,148.00 per year. In as little as (6) months, the Super Air Knives will have already paid for themselves!!

If you’ve been maxing out your compressed air system, don’t necessarily assume you need to increase your overall capacity. Put in a call to an EXAIR Application Engineer and we can take a closer look at the ways your using your compressed air throughout the facility. By replacing some inefficient methods with an engineered solution, we can help you save air and money!

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

Replacing a 1/4″ Open Copper Tube With a 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle Leads To Quick ROI

The generation of compressed air accounts for approximately 1/3 of all energy costs in an industrial facility and up to 30% of that compressed air is wasted through inefficient operation. Open pipes or homemade blowoffs waste a ton of compressed air, resulting in high operating costs. By replacing these devices with an energy efficient, engineered solution, you can reduce this waste and dramatically cut energy costs.

For example, let’s look at the average operating costs for a single 1/4″ open copper tube. (If you don’t know you current energy costs, a reasonable average to use is $ 0.25 per every 1,000 SCF used, based on $ 0.08/kWh.

1/4″ Copper tube

A single 1/4″ open copper tube consumes 33 SCFM @ 80 PSIG and costs roughly $ 0.50 per hour to operate. (33 SCF x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1,000 = $ 0.50). For an 8 hour shift, the total cost would be $ 4.00 ($ 0.50 x 8 hours = $ 4.00).

If we were to replace the 1/4″ open copper tube with our Model # 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with 1/4″ FNPT inlet, the air consumption would be reduced to 21.8 SCFM @ 80 PSIG. This may not seem like much of an air usage reduction, but when you look at the monetary, total cost of ownership for purchasing and operating the nozzle, the savings can quickly add up.

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

The operating cost for a 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with 1/4″ FNPT inlet is $ 0.33 per hour (21.8 SCF x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1,000 = $ .033) or $ 2.64 per 8 hour shift ($ 0.33 x 8 hours = $ 2.64).

We can now compare the operational cost between the 2 devices:

1/4″ open copper tube operating costs:
$ 0.50 per hour
$ 4.00 per day (8 hours)

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle operating costs:
$ 0.33 per hour
$ 2.64 per day (8 hours)

Cost Savings:
$ 4.00 / day (open copper tube) –  $ 2.64 / day (2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle) = $ 1.36 savings per day

The Model # 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle has a list price $ 67.00 USD.

ROI or Return On Investment calculation:
$ 67.00 (Cost) / $ 1.36 (savings per day) = 49.26 days.

The 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle would pay for itself in just over 49 days in operation. This is the savings for replacing just ONE 1/4″ open copper tube with an engineered solution! In most industrial plants, there could be several of these which presents even more opportunities to reduce the overall operational costs.

Our focus here at EXAIR is to improve the overall efficiency of industrial compressed air operating processes and point of use compressed air operated products. If you are looking to reduce compressed air usage in your facility, contact an application engineer and let us help you optimize your current system.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Dirty Coolant in, Clean Coolant Out – EXAIR’s Chip Trapper Extends Coolant Life

In a machine shop one of the most dreaded tasks is always cleaning out the coolant sumps of the CNC machines. Over time, chips and shavings can make their way up into the coolant lines resulting in a clog. The coolant flow slows down or stops entirely, resulting in premature wear of expensive cutting tools, imperfections in the parts, or unacceptable product finish. When this occurs, if it is even noticed right away, the machine has to be stopped and valuable production time must be spent identifying the location of the clog and removing it.

Another problem, one anyone working around CNC machines can attest to, is the rancid coolant smell that is a result of bacteria building up in the stagnant cutting fluid. Regularly cleaning this oil can reduce this smell, prevent premature tool wear or costly shutdowns, as well as extend the overall life of your coolant.

ctrhlctr_heroi_770x620

There are some machines out there capable of cleaning the oil and removing any chips or shavings, but these tend to be very expensive and not very effective. We tested a few different methods here at EXAIR in our machine shop. As a result of these tests we determined that the best foot forward would be to develop something ourselves. Enter the EXAIR Chip Trapper. Using either a standard or High Lift Reversible Drum Vac to provide the vacuum source, the Chip Trapper is capable of filling or emptying a 55 gallon drum in less than two minutes. It is able to pick up both the liquid coolant as well as any chips or shavings that are suspended in the coolant. The liquid is forced through a filter bag inside of the drum which contains any solid materials while allowing the coolant to filter out into the drum. Switching the knob on the Reversible Drum Vac and the directional flow valve to empty will allow the clean coolant to be pumped back out of the drum and reused.

After implementing the Chip Trapper in our own shop, we were able to increase the life of the coolant by 6x. In addition to the increased coolant life, a process that used to take up to 2 hours per machine now takes less than 10 minutes. The Chip Trapper quickly and easily pays for itself.

The Chip Trapper is available in either 30, 55, and 110 gallon systems. It’ll also come with (2) 5 micron filter bags, other filter bags are also available ranging from 1 micron up to 200 micron filtration. Using a simple detergent, the filter bags can be washed out, cleaned, and reused multiple times. With no motors or impellers to clog or wear out, as well as no electricity requirement or shock hazard, the Chip Trapper comes with our standard 5-year Built to Last Warranty. Do yourself (and your machine operators) a favor and get a Chip Trapper on order today. They’re in stock, ready to ship and start saving you time and money!

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