Friction Loss – Pressure Drops – Fitting Restrictions – Why Compressed Air Plumbing Matters

Over the weekend I was working on a car in my driveway and I needed a large volume of air at the far end of the car to try and unplug a clogged sunroof drain line.  Rather than trying to move the car while it was mostly taken apart, I just hooked up another air line extension and started to go to the drain.   Even knowing what I know as an EXAIR Application Engineer about lengths of tubing, air restriction, and fitting restrictions, I went ahead with the quick and easy “fix”.

An example of pressure drop from a compressed air quick disconnect.

I grabbed another 30′ – 3/8″ i.d. air line with 1/4″ quick disconnects (see why this is wrong with this blog) on both end, rather than getting out the 50′ long 1/2″ i.d. air line that I have with proper fittings that then reduce down to a 1/4″NPT at the end to tie into most of my air tools. By doing so I ended up hooking up a Safety Air Gun which then gave a very light puff of air into the tube and the clog in the line went nowhere.  As a matter of fact, it was almost like it laughed because the tubing vibrated as if the clog said, “Pfft I am going nowhere.”

I then, stepped back and evaluated what I had done in a rush to try and get a job done rather than taking the extra five minutes to get the proper air line to do the job.   I then spent 10 minutes putting that hose up and getting out the correct hose.  Then, with a whoosh and a thud the clog was launched into my yard from the clogged drain port and I finished the repairs.

If only I had watched Russ Bowman’s spectacular video on Proper Compressed Air Supply Plumbing the day before. Rather than wasting time with the quick “fix” that cost me more time and didn’t fix anything I should have taken a little more time up front to verify I had properly sized my lines for the job at hand.

If you would like to discuss compressed air plumbing, appropriate line sizes, or insufficient flow on your compressed air system, please contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Video Blog: VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun Rebuild

VariBlast Compact Safety Air Guns provide a variable flow through the pull of the trigger. A light pull provides a breeze while a heavy pull provides a powerful blast. It has a smaller frame than our Soft Grip or Heavy Duty air guns, is lightweight and designed to utilize any of our 1/8 NPT air nozzles for general duty industrial applications.

This video shows how to install the VariBlast Valve Rebuild Kit, part number 902001 – to rebuild any VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun that, through use, has become worn.

If you have questions about installing the VariBlast Valve Rebuild Kit or to discuss any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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Airguns, OSHA, And You

Depending on the context, those may be three words you DON’T want to hear in the same sentence. Case in point…a caller I spoke with recently, who works at a large steel forging plant. During a recent inspection, management was surprised (and disappointed) to find out that, unbeknownst to them, some of their operators had modified some of their compressed air blow off devices.

These modifications left them in violation of both OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) (limit on outlet, or dead end pressure) and 1910.95(a) (limits noise level exposure.)  The OSHA inspector left them with an $8,000.00 fine, and a promise to return with an even higher one if the situation wasn’t corrected.

We discussed the ways their current devices were supplied, the conditions they were operating in, what they were used for…and why the operators had modified them.  Sadly, we found the devices were underperforming due to air supply issues – hoses that were too small in diameter and/or too long, with restrictive quick connect fittings.  And some of their modifications (drilling out the discharge) just exacerbated those problems.

Most of their applications were pretty typical – blowing flash, chips, oil, coolant, etc. from processed metal parts.  Typical enough that a couple of EXAIR Safety Air Guns would allow them to determine what they would need, by taking them around to various stations in the plant and trying them out.

My caller ordered a Model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun with a Zinc Aluminum Super Air Nozzle (our most popular for typical blow off applications,) and a Model 1260 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun with a High Force 1/2 NPT Zinc Aluminum Super Air Nozzle (the most powerful one available on the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun.)

Here’s Model 1210-6-CS, fitted with a Zinc Aluminum Super Air Nozzle on a 6″ Rigid Extension & Chip Shield.  All EXAIR Safety Air Guns are compliant with OSHA Standard 1910.242(b).

I feel pretty good about the chances of publishing a future blog about the success of this application.  If you want to keep up, I encourage to follow the EXAIR blog – there’s a link to the right to provide your email address – for more on this one, other applications, and a wealth of expert writings on how to get the most out of your compressed air system.

As always, if you’d like to discuss a particular compressed air application and/or product selection, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Minimize Exposure to Hazards Using the Hierarchy of Controls

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) published a useful guide called “Hierarchy of Controls” that details (5) different types of control methods for exposure to occupational hazards while showing the relative effectiveness of each method.

HierarchyControls
CDC Hierarchy of Controls

The least effective methods are Administrative Controls and PPE. Administrative Controls involve making changes to the way people perform the work and promoting safe practices through training. The training could be related to correct operating procedures, keeping the workplace clean, emergency response to incidents, and personal hygiene practices, such as proper hand washing after handling hazardous materials. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is the least effective method because the equipment (ear plugs, gloves, respirators, etc.) can become damaged, may be uncomfortable and not used, or used incorrectly.

In the middle range of effectiveness is Engineering Controls. These controls are implemented by design changes to the equipment or process to reduce or eliminate the hazard. Good engineering controls can be very effective in protecting people regardless of the the actions and behaviors of the workers. While higher in initial cost than Administrative controls or PPE, typically operating costs are lower, and a cost saving may be realized in the long run.

The final two, Elimination and Substitution are the most effective but can be the most difficult to integrate into an existing process. If the process is still in the design phase, it may be easier and less expensive to eliminate or substitute the hazard. Elimination of the hazard would be the ultimate and most effective method, either by removing the hazard altogether, or changing the work process to the hazardous task is no longer performed.

EXAIR can help your company follow the Hierarchy of Controls, and eliminate, or reduce the hazards of compressed air usage.

Engineers can eliminate loud and unsafe pressure nozzles with designs that utilize quiet and pressure safe engineered air products such as Air Nozzles, Air Knives and Air Amplifiers. Also, unsafe existing products such as air guns, can be substituted with EXAIR engineered solutions that meet the OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b) and 29 CFR 1910.95(a).

Nozzles

In summary, Elimination and Substitution are the most effective methods and should be used whenever possible to reduce or eliminate the hazard and keep people safe in the workplace.

If you have questions about the Hierarchy of Controls and safe compressed air usage from any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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EXAIR’s Huge Variety of Air Nozzles is Like an Equalizer for your Application

MCS 3035 Final

Many of us are familiar with what an equalizer (EQ) looks like and what it does. Unfortunately, sometimes they get a bad rap from so-called audiophiles, which in my opinion are defined individuals who spent so much money on their equipment they can’t afford to buy any music to play!  Typically, they insist that tone controls must be set to flat because the sound recording engineers mastering the music have already equalized the recording to perfection and if you need to attenuate or cut certain frequencies it is an indicator of poor-quality equipment, and that is simply is not true!

Let’s consider some of the reasons why an equalizer makes sense and, in my opinion, an absolute necessity. The objects and materials in the room will change the sound reproduction characteristics of any speaker system.  If you have large floor standing speakers positioned in the corners of the room, sitting directly on wood floors the speakers are now “acoustically coupled” with the floor and the walls.   On the other hand, if you move the speakers away from the wall and/or place them on spikes or stands (isolating them for the floor) you would have “acoustically de-coupled” the speakers from the walls and floor, which will reduce the bass or low-frequency loudness. This all affects the perceived loudness and/or quality of the music we want to listen too.

This is where the graphic equalizer shines, no need to move the speakers around or use speaker stands or spikes.  An equalizer will allow you to increase or decrease the loudness of multiple frequencies.  You can completely customize your sound to suit your tastes, overcome issues with your listening room acoustics, the speakers you are listening with or even anomalies with the music recording.

Like adjusting an equalizer to suit your room acoustics, speaker size and/or speaker frequency response, EXAIR understands that the need for many different options gives you the necessary adjustments for a successful application.  A few sizes of Air Nozzle, Air Jet or High Force Air Nozzles will not solve every application with the highest efficiency or effectiveness.  EXAIR’s air nozzle variety allows you to produce maximum effectiveness based upon the air pressure and air volume you have available.  Whether you need a strong blast or a gentle breeze, if you have tricky mounting positions or remote applications, EXAIR has the largest selection to choose from and solve your production problem.

We clearly state compressed air volume requirements in SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute) at a given operating pressure in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), force at 12” from the compressed air outlet and the sound loudness in dBA at 3′ from the nozzle. These details provide the starting point for selecting the best air nozzle.

When you are looking for expert advice on safe, quiet, efficient, and engineered point of use compressed air products give us a call.   We would enjoy hearing from you!

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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Safety Air Guns: Chip Shields, Extensions, and More

Over the last several weeks, you may have read blog posts regarding the EXAIR Safety Air Guns.  You can find the blogs here, here and here. We are also in the midst of a Safety Air Gun Promotion, please click HERE for more details on how you can get a free 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle. Today, I want to review a few available options for the Safety Air Guns.

Protect Workers From Flying Debris! – Chip Shields are durable polycarbonate shields that protect the operator from flying debris often seen when blowing off chips from machined parts. They are also useful to prevent coolant from splashing back, creating a mess during drying processes.

Chip Shields
Chip Shields

The Chip Shields are available for EXAIR’s VariBlast, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns. The Chip Shield can be used on Safety Air Guns with or without an aluminum extension. They may be purchased as part of a new air gun system, or retrofitted as a Chip Shield Kit.  Consult an Application Engineer for selection assistance.

 

If you have a blow-off process where the air is to be directed at a distance away from the operator, or into a hard to reach location an extension is the solution. Available in lengths from 6″ (152mm) to 72″ (1829mm), with sizes as shown below, a length to meet most any requirement can be found. To add an extension to an air gun, simply add -xx to the current part number.

extensions
Aluminum Extensions, Available in Sizes of 6″ (152mm) up to 72″ (1829mm)
1210-6-CS
Model 1210-6-CS, a model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, with 6″ Extension and Chip Shield

And, if you need a 12′ coiled air hose, to use with your Safety Air Gun, we have them available and in stock. Available with 1/8 NPT, 1/4 NPT or 3/8 NPT male end swivel connections. Avoid tangled and messy air lines and keep things neat!

Coiled Hose
Coiled Hose, 12′ Long, With 1/8 NPT, 1/4 NPT or 3/8 NPT Male Swivel Connections

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can improve your process, feel free to contact EXAIR, myself, or one of our other Application Engineers. We can help you determine the best solution!

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Safety Air Guns – Using Engineered Air Nozzles For High Performance

Inexpensive air guns can be picked up just about anywhere, and you generally get what you pay for. Most will be very noisy and waste lots of compressed air.  And many will be unsafe, violating two of OSHA’s standards put in place to protect worker safety. The first is Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) which sets limits to the maximum noise exposure, and the second is Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) which says that the nozzle cannot be dead-ended, or exceed a 30 PSIG pressure limit.

These guns may seem like a perfect fit for a handheld blowoff application. The truth is, the cost saved up front will easily be paid throughout the cost of ownership.  This is due to the lack of an engineered nozzle which meets and exceeds the OSHA standards mentioned above.   The “cheap” guns often have a cross drilled hole to meet or exceed the OSHA standard for dead-end pressure. While this may be true, it causes a large wind sheer which escalates noise levels to well over the allowable noise level exposure set by OSHA.  These tips sometimes offer large force outputs because they are equivalent to an open pipe.  We have publicized numerous times about how an open pipe blow off does not permit pressure to be utilized all the way to the point of blowoff, and is also a waste of energy.

In order to determine how much compressed air your current blow guns utilize, the level of noise they product, and the sound level they produce, consider taking advantage of the EXAIR Efficiency Lab.  The Efficiency Lab is a free service that you can read more about here.

An EXAIR Safety Air Gun is engineered and designed to comply both of the OSHA standards mentioned above, ensuring safe operation for company personnel.  On top of the safety designed into the guns, we also ensure all of our guns are efficient by offering only engineered nozzles on them.

EXAIR offers (4) types of Safety Air Guns – the VariBlast, the Soft Grip, the Heavy Duty, and the Super Blast.  Each type of Safety Air Gun is offered with a plethora of nozzles, as well as varying length extensions, with or without the Chip Shield.

Safety Air Guns
The VariBlast, Soft Grip and Heavy Duty Style of Pistol Grip Safety Air Guns
Super Blast
The Super Blast Style of Safety Air Gun

 

We invite you to try out an EXAIR Safety Air Gun, and get the free 1″ Wide Flat Super Air Nozzle as a bonus. Click here for more details about this special promotional offer.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can improve your process, feel free to contact EXAIR, myself, or one of our other Application Engineers. We can help you determine the best solution!

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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