Taming The Dust Cloud With EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles

Have you ever dropped one of your nice dinner plates on a tiled kitchen floor? And noticed how they seem to go in slow motion as they hurtle to their doom? I never cease to be impressed at how far some of the smaller pieces can go. I recently had to replace our oven, and I found broken dishware shards (and an impressive amount of trash scraps, pet toys, and ‘dust bunnies’) all the way against the back wall.

Curiously, as small as the pieces can be when a dinner plate meets its end, it started its life in even smaller pieces…as a fine ceramic powder, pressed into a mold and heated to a temperature that is WAY hotter than when the server at your favorite restaurant warns you that plate “might be hot.”

I’m writing about this because recently, I had the pleasure of assisting a maker of ceramic dishware with a messy little problem…this fine ceramic powder is moved from where it’s produced, to the various mold stations (dinner plates, salad plates, saucers, etc.) on a vibratory belt conveyor. The vibration keeps the powder loose and homogenous, both of which are extremely important to the molding & firing process. It also causes a cloud of dust to rise along the entire length of travel, and they wanted to minimize this. Their chemists had told the engineer who called me that they could live with a small amount of moisture, as long as it wasn’t enough to make the powder clump up – this would evaporate out at a point closer to the molds anyway.

This was an ideal application for the EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles…they produce a fine mist of liquid that is precisely controllable…one Model AW1010SS Internal Mix, Wide Angle Round Pattern Nozzle was installed near the beginning of the line, and once they find out how long it takes the dust-suppression supplied by the misted water to evaporate away, they will install more nozzles accordingly.

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles are a perfect solution for dust suppression.

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles are a perfect solution for dust suppression.

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles are ideal for situations where you need a fine liquid mist and fine adjustment of the flow & pattern. With ninety models to choose from, we’ve got the one you’re looking for. Call me if you want to find out more.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Two Vacuums For The Price Of One

I recently noticed on my mortgage statement that I own more of my house than the bank does now. That made me feel good, and it also gave me pause for a moment of reflection on all the adventures I’ve had as a suburban American homeowner.  Good times…then, another adventure happened:

I’m in the middle of a major (to me) construction project in our house. Now, if you’ve ever worked with drywall, you know that anything you do to it creates dust….sometimes in great volume. No worries, though – I’ve got a real nice portable wet/dry vacuum that makes light work of drywall dust & scrap. So, when I’m done for the day, I leave the area as dust-free and tidy as it was before (“tidy” is relative…there are two teenagers and a dog in my house.)

For the record, the dog was more interested in the new hole in the wall than the teenagers.

For the record, the dog was more interested in the new hole in the wall than the teenagers.

Anyway, the adventure happened last Saturday morning, when the basement sump high level alarm went off. I had to get the water out of the sump, and fast, so I could find out what was wrong with my sump pump. No problem…I’ve got that real nice portable wet/dry vacuum, right? That was full of drywall debris. So, I hastily dumped it into the garage trash can (making another mess I had to clean up later) and removed the particulate filter so I could drain the sump. Which it did, like a champ. It was a stuck float on the sump pump, which I remedied quickly, and all was well with the world again. At least in my (and my bank’s) almost 1/4 acre of it.

Speaking of the different things you can use vacuums for, I had the pleasure of talking with a caller the other day about industrial vacuum applications. When they wash down a particular area of their facility, they end up with puddles of water, mixed with lots of solid debris, all over the floor. They were using electric wet/dry vacuums (like mine) but had a recent scare involving a damaged power cord on a wet floor. Luckily, someone saw it before anything bad happened, but it made them think about other options…like compressed air operated Industrial Vacuums.

They looked at some dual Venturi systems, which would indeed replicate the function of their electric vacs, but at a considerable rate of compressed air consumption…over 100 SCFM (over 25HP worth of typical industrial air compressor load.) Their compressed air system simply didn’t have the capacity for this. They already had an EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac, and had plenty of capacity to run it since it only requires 19 SCFM @80psig (about 5HP worth of compressor load,) but it wasn’t greatly effective at picking up the solid debris. That’s where the EXAIR Chip Vac comes in to our story…it uses only 40 SCFM @80psig (about 10HP worth of compressor load) to clean up the solid debris that doesn’t get sucked up with the puddles of water & sludge that the Reversible Drum Vac takes care of.

Reversible Drum Vac (left) and Chip Vac (right) – two EXAIR Industrial Vacuums for lower cost (purchase AND operation) than wet-dry combo air operated vacuums.

And…(back to the title of this blog)…a Reversible Drum Vac AND a Chip Vac STILL cost less to purchase than the dual Venturi system they were looking at. Lower purchase cost. Lower operating cost. Two independent systems. That’s a win-win-win.  If you have wet…dry…or wet & dry…messes to clean up, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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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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Compressed Air Flows At The Speed Of Technology At EXAIR

I don’t know that any enterprise can give you a better idea of the scope, width, and breadth of American manufacturing quite like the automotive industry:

*Pick a raw material – rubber, steel, plastic, glass, just to name a few – modern day production of all of these has been heavily influenced by the way they’re used in automobiles.

*Pick a manufacturing process – welding, cutting, molding, machining, mechanical & electrical assembly, again; just to name a few – car makers have revolutionized them all, oftentimes to the benefit of many other industries that have used…and adopted…these technological improvements.

*Pick a business.  OK; this is going to depend on where you are.  I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I can be on Interstate 75 Northbound in under 10 minutes, and four hours later (and on one tank of gas, thanks to the fuel efficiency of my American made automobile,) I can be in Detroit, Michigan – the land of the “Big Three.”  And I’ll pass dozens, if not hundreds, of buildings within sight of the highway that house businesses whose largest customers are automotive industry types.

We brag on American manufacturing occasionally, because we’re proud to be a part of it, and to support so many different aspects of it.  What got me thinking about all of this was a call I got recently about our Cold Gun Aircoolant Systems, and how one might be used in a particular machining application.  They machine transmission parts and, due to the specifics of a new material and a subsequent operation, they needed to eliminate the liquid coolant.  This is a ‘textbook’ situation for a Cold Gun – the part in question is small, and just needs a quick shot of cold air during the process, so they got a Model 5215 Standard Cold Gun, put it on the machine, and turned off the coolant…forever.

With four models to choose from, we've got most any cooling application covered.

With four models to choose from, we’ve got most any cooling application covered.

This is one of, literally, hundreds of applications where EXAIR’s line of engineered compressed air products is making all the difference in the world.  If you’d like to discuss how we can help you keep up with the speed of technology, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Reversible Drum Vac Services Ultrasonic Cleaner

The other day, I got a call from a customer who was frustrated with how long it took to change the solution out in their shop’s ultrasonic cleaners. Most folks are familiar with ultrasonic cleaners as the magic contraption that jewelry shops use to keep the gold and silver in their display cabinets all bright & shiny. My first thought was, this caller is NOT talking about those. Turns out, they come in MUCH larger sizes, and are used to clean a variety of industrial parts.

They were using a small submersible pump, but it was troublesome in that they could only use a 1/2″ hose (it was actually made for aquarium use,) and it took a long time to get 25-30 gallons out of their cleaners. Plus, there was always a little left in the bottom that had to be scooped out, because the centrifugal pump lost suction with about 1/2″ of liquid still standing in the bottom.

Since they were pumping it into one of the 30 gallon drums that they received the solution in, the EXAIR Model 6196-30 Reversible Drum Vac System (for 30 Gallon Drum) was an ideal choice. It used to take up to 15 minutes to empty the ultrasonic cleaner now takes about a minute, and they can get it all out, except for a small amount that has to be wiped up with a sponge.

The EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac - four sizes to choose from; tools & accessories to fit your needs.

The EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac – four sizes to choose from; tools & accessories to fit your needs.

EXAIR has a wide range of Industrial Vacuums to choose from…wet or dry, big or small, and a variety of accessories & tools to make life easier. If you’d like to find out how to turn a standard drum into an air operated vacuum system, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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What Makes Things Easier Than An EXAIR Static Eliminator? Another EXAIR Static Eliminator!

A contract manufacturer, servicing the medical and biotechnology markets, is a long time user of our Ion Air Guns. They’ve had great success with them in keeping their products free from static & dust for years. These are mainly small, hand-held parts, so, when they need to get them clean and static-free during assembly and packaging, EXAIR’s Ion Air Gun is ideal, because it, too, is small and hand-held.

A new process, though, involves the operator needing both hands for assembly. This would mean picking up the Ion Air Gun, blowing off the part, putting it down, and then using both hands to complete the operation. They thought there had to be a better way. And they were right!

The Model 8910 Instant Static Elimination Station offers hands-free control of ionized air flow – a foot pedal turns an Ion Air Jet (whose performance is identical to the Ion Air Gun) on and off with…well, the press of a foot. The Magnetic Base and Stay Set Hose make it easy to install, and even easier to position.

Hand held convenience of the Ion Air Gun (easy) or no-hands convenience of the Ion Air Jet Station (easier.) Your call.

Hand held convenience of the Ion Air Gun (easy) or no-hands convenience of the Ion Air Jet Station (easier.) Your call.

For an even more automated approach, they are considering an EFC Electronic Flow Control. They’re ready to go, right out of the box…the photoelectric sensor will open and close a solenoid valve (installed in the compressed air supply line) based on the setting of the programmable timer unit. With a simple wave of the part in front of the sensor, the operator could activate a preset blow of a few seconds, which would be easy to determine, even easier to set, and…easiest of all…reliably repeat all day long. They’re going to try out the foot pedal first, and that’s just fine by me.  Perhaps there’s such as thing as “too easy,” but man, I hope not.

Even if you’re already using EXAIR products to make things easy, you can call me to see how much easier it might get.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Speaking of easy...get a FREE AC Sensor with a Static Eliminator order. Promotion ends 1/31/2017!

Speaking of easy…get a FREE AC Sensor with a Static Eliminator order. Promotion ends 1/31/2017!

“(Stay) Set It And Forget It”

The Stay Set Hose is a popular, and practical, accessory for use with many of our blow-off products. Thread one end onto a compressed air supply connection, thread a Super Air Nozzle (or maybe even a small Air Amplifier or short Air Knife) onto the other end, and you’ve got an easily repositionable blow off…which will reliably hold its position.

That last part was of considerable importance to a caller I had the pleasure of assisting recently. Some of the CNC machines in their shop were fitted with flexible plastic tubing (commonly used for coolant & cutting fluid,) supplied with compressed air to blow off chips & debris from the tooling as the parts were being machined. They use our Super Air Knives in other blow off processes (where they used to use costly & loud open blow off devices,) and wanted to see if engineered products might reduce their compressed air consumption & noise levels in the machine shop too. (spoiler alert: Yes, they can.)

Thing is, they really needed the flexibility of the modular hose, but it’s not rated for the pressure supply required for a Super Air Nozzle. This is what makes our engineered products so efficient; they use the Coanda effect to amplify the compressed airflow..and they use the supply pressure to do that. So they can’t install a Super Air Nozzle on what they have now.

Enter the Stay Set Hoses: They’ll bend to direct the nozzles’ air flow right where you need it, and they’ll keep it there until you bend it again. Which (back to what’s most important to this caller) is exactly what they needed. With our efficient & quiet Super Air Nozzles, they’re saving compressed air and improving the conditions of their work environment. With the Stay Set Hoses, they’re able to quickly & easily rig the air flow before running a job, knowing they won’t have to worry about it until the job’s done.

EXAIR Stay Set Hoses hold their position as long as you need them to. All day, every day.

EXAIR Stay Set Hoses hold their position as long as you need them to. All day, every day.

“Set it and forget about it” is a benefit you can realize from many EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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