When we compare the EXAIR Super Air Knife to other methods of providing a curtain or sheet of air flow in terms of operating cost, efficiency, safety, and sound levels, the Super Air Knife is ALWAYS the clear choice.
The Super Air Knives successfully replace these, and many other methods of providing a curtain or sheet of air flow all the time, while saving compressed air and decreasing noise. The word “replace” oftentimes means “do the same job as.”
What you’re about to read is NOT one of those times.
A paper products manufacturer has a machine that treats a specialty product, and the process generates ozone (O3) at levels that would exceed personnel exposure limits, so they need to be contained. They installed a long piece of drilled pipe to blow an air barrier, but they could only run the machine at about 65% of their desired capacity before the ozone level in the operators’ area exceeded their limits.
This company was familiar with several of our product lines already…they had several Cabinet Cooler Systems, a Reversible Drum Vac, and Super Air Knives in a variety of applications, so they knew how they worked. Since the barrier needed to be 120″ long, though, this was going to be a much larger scale than they were used to.
Still, the installation of two Model 110060 60″ Aluminum Super Air Knives, coupled with our Model 110900 Air Knife Coupling Kit, was quick and easy. Then came the good part: they found they were able to operate the machine at 100% capacity, while keeping the ozone at a safe level in the operators’ area.
Then came the better part: The machine was pretty loud (we couldn’t do anything about that,) at 93dBA when it was running. With the drilled pipe in operation, it was 94.5dBA. When they took that out and installed the Super Air Knives, there was no net increase in noise level…it remained at 93dBA.
THEN came the even betterpart: Compressed air consumption was reduced to about 30% of what the drilled pipe was using. Right in line with our table above. Just another validation of the trustworthiness of our published data. As EXAIR’s President is fond of saying, “Claims are easy, proof is hard.”
If you’re looking for a quiet, efficient – and effective – solution for a compressed air product application, give me a call.
What does Labor Day mean to you? Summer’s last hurrah? An extra day to sleep in, extend a weekend trip, or (ugh) tackle a home improvement project? Something else entirely, or all of the above? I neither expect, nor want, this to change any plans or mindset, but as U.S. federal holidays go, I find the history and meaning of Labor Day to be fascinating.
1777 – The first unions were organized in the United States by printers, carpenters and shoemakers, seeking better wages and shorter hours.
1825 – The United Tailoresses of New York, the first all-women’s union, is formed in New York City.
1827 – The Mechanics Union of Trade Associations forms in Philadelphia to call for a standardized 10-hour workday.
1840 – President Martin Van Buren establishes a 10-hour workday for federal workers.
1868 – The first federal 8-hour labor law is passed, but only applies to a small group of federal workers.
1885-1886 – Several municipalities around the United States declare Labor Day ordinances – a day of rest to recognize the social and economic achievements of American workers.
1887 – Oregon passes the first state-wide Labor Day observance law. Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York follow suit this same year.
1891 – Labor Day is established as a national holiday by the Congress of the United States.
I don’t have the space (or the will) to get in to a detailed discourse on the highs (and lows) of the achievements (and setbacks) of the American working class through the 20th Century. If I did, I’d choose to focus on the positive. Almost everyone I know who’s in the American work force – family, friends, neighbors, and especially my co-workers at EXAIR – enjoys a safe work environment, fair wages & benefits, and opportunities unavailable anywhere else in the world. So, Monday, I’ll take the day off that our forebears fought and earned for us.
If you’d like to talk about a compressed air product application, give me a call. On Tuesday.
Just this week I’ve been working with an aerospace manufacturer that had some concerns about a cleaning operation on one of their fin press machines used for a stamping process. After each operation, they need to blow out the dies to remove any residual oil and debris. They were currently using a ¼” open copper tubing operating at 90 psi. Their reason for contacting EXAIR was due to a recent OSHA compliance training that their production manager had attended. He learned about OSHA 1910.242(b), a directive that we’ve written about many times in the past, that states compressed air devices used for blowoff must maintain a dead-end pressure less than 30 psi. Additionally, the sound levels were far too high to adhere to OSHA directive 29 CFR 1910.95(a). This was a major concern for them and a common theme that we hear from many of our customers. As this manufacturer is clearly aware, fines associated with failing to comply to OSHA directives can be quite costly. Their failure to adhere to this and a few other directives led to a total penalty of $33,800.00.
After some discussion about the different types of solutions that EXAIR has to offer, we settled on the Model 1310-18-CS. At a sound level of just 74 dBA when operated at 80 psi, we were able to drastically improve upon the sound levels that he was previously experiencing. This was a very welcomed solution by his operators, as they were now able to clean out the dies without having to wear any hearing protection. The Chip Shield also added some additional protection so that no debris could come back towards the operator. In addition to addressing his sound level concerns, we were also able to save a substantial amount of compressed air. The 1310-18-CS will consume just 14 SCFM of compressed air at 80 psi. A ¼” pipe operated at this pressure will consume approximately 69 SCFM. This is an 80% reduction in compressed air usage for just one operation!!
If you have an application where sound level needs to be reduced or you’re looking to improve upon employee safety, EXAIR has the solution. Give us a call today to find out how we can implement a solution to keep OSHA inspectors at bay.
Last week, the EXAIR Blog featured an article about the OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) – Reduction of Air Pressure below 30 psi for Cleaning Purposes. This week, we will review another OSHA standard that affects many of you in manufacturing and other industries.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 – Standard on Occupational Noise Exposure discusses the effects of noise and sets limits for exposure. Occupational noise can cause hearing loss, and also interfere with concentration and communication, disrupting the job performance. Below is a summary from the standard of the Permissible Noise Exposure (OSHA Table G-16)
From the chart, the time an employee can be exposed to loud noise is greatly reduced as the sound level goes up. The use of hearing protection is helpful but relies on the operator to use consistently and correctly. Ear plugs or ear muffs can be uncomfortable and hot, leading to possible reduced usage. OSHA can come on site, and if violations to the sound level exposure limits are found, they can impose fines and mandate corrective action be taken place.
The recommended course of action when an operator is subjected to sound exceeding those in the chart above is to enable feasible administrative or engineering controls. Engineering controls is the arena in which EXAIR can be a great resource.
The first step in understanding and addressing any sound level issues is to measure the sound. The easy to use Digital Sound Meter, model 9104 shown below, allows for accurate testing of noise levels throughout the facility. Noisy areas can be quickly identified, leading to review, design and implementation of the engineering controls.
Some of the worst offenders for noise violations is compressed air usage. A prime example would be inefficient blowoffs, used for cooling, drying, or cleaning. Open pipe, copper tube or drilled pipe are a few of the common culprits. Not only do they consume excessive amounts of compressed air, they can produce noise levels above 100 dBA.
EXAIR manufactures a wide variety of engineered products that utilize compressed air and deliver it in a controlled manner. This allows for the most efficient use of compressed air and keeps the sound levels much lower than the inefficient methods. A Super Air Knife can replace a drilled pipe, reducing sound by as much as 20 dBA, while using 50-70% less compressed air. An engineered Super Air Nozzle can replace an open pipe or copper tube and reduce sound levels down to 74 dBA, and even down to 58 dBA for the smallest available nozzles.
EXAIR has been providing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.
If you have questions regarding noise limits and how to solve any issue with an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) discusses the use of compressed air for cleaning and blowoff. It states that the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes is prohibited if the dead-ended pressure exceeds 30 psig. This phrase means the downstream pressure of the air nozzle or gun, used for cleaning purposes, will remain at a pressure level below 30 psig for all static conditions. In the event that dead ending occurs, the static pressure at the main orifice shall not exceed 30 psi. If it does exceed this pressure, there is a very high potential for it to create an air embolism. An air embolism, left untreated, can quickly impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, and sometimes death. Take a look at the animation below to see how an air embolism can affect the body.
With this in mind, there are only two options for staying within compliance of this standard. Either install an engineered solution that will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 psig if dead-ended, or regulate the pressure below 30 psig. For the vast majority of operations, regulating the input pressure below 30 psig is useless. The force and flow from the nozzle at this pressure is greatly reduced and likely not enough to be effective in most applications. All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns are designed so that the flow cannot be dead-ended. The fins on the Super Air Nozzles are not only useful in amplifying the force by drawing in ambient air, but they also prevent an operator from completely obstructing the airflow.
In addition to being concerned about dead-end pressure, OSHA 1910.242(b) also states that compressed air used for cleaning should include effective chip guarding. By this, they mean that some method or equipment must be installed that will prevent chips and particles from coming back into the eyes or skin of the operator. In addition to offering OSHA compliant nozzles and guns, EXAIR also has Chip Shields that can be installed onto any of our Safety Air Guns. The polycarbonate shields protect the operator from any flying debris while performing a drying or blowoff operation. Simply add a “-CS” to the end of any Safety Air Gun Model number to have a Chip Shield installed on the gun.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does not contain any provisions that allow for the approval or endorsement of equipment. Alteration or the misapplication of what was once a safe piece of equipment would create a dangerous scenario that is out of the control of the original manufacturer. Any nozzles or guns marketed as “OSHA approved” should immediately throw up a red flag. Identifying and implementing a safe, OSHA compliant solution rests in the hands of the manufacturer themselves. If you’ve got questions about compressed air safety or have an existing blowoff in place that does not adhere to this OSHA directive, give us a call. We’ll be sure to recommend a solution that will keep your operators and wallets safe!
I have recently had the pleasure of working with a customer developing a method of delivering air to trapped miners during a multi-man mine rescue mission. The federal government mandates that in the event of an explosion, miners must have a safe place to retreat for a minimum of 96 hours. This system will provide them with a supply of air during that period of time. In the initial stages, they had tried using some old venturis left over from a previous project. While this did work, they weren’t as effective or efficient as they needed. Through a little bit of research, they found EXAIR.
Instead of using compressed air as the source, they’re using cryogenic liquid air. That air passes through a series of cold plates and heat exchangers and gets to the Super Air Amplifier at about 70°F. This air is then carried into the chamber, giving the miners a source of clean air.
EXAIR Super Air Amplifiers utilize a patented shim design that allows the unit to entrain ambient air at a rate of up to 25:1 from the compressed air supply. This balanced outlet airflow minimizes wind shear, producing sound levels that are typically three times quieter than other air movers. The Super Air Amplifiers are supplied with a .003” slotted air gap and can be adjusted by replacing the shim with a thicker .006” or .009” shim.
Do you have a cooling or drying application that could benefit from a Super Air Amplifier? Contact an Application Engineer today to find out how EXAIR can help you save compressed air in your application!
Just the other day, not far from here, a demolition crew at a shuttered factory and a local homeowner got this message, loud & clear, when the crew inadvertently cut into a still-pressurized compressed air cylinder. It launched, like a missile (an apt description, given the fact that real missiles operate on this exact same principle) some 1,500 feet, across the neighborhood, and into the bedroom of a house, three blocks away. Here’s what the local news reported on it:
Now, before you go turn your air compressor off and vent your system, let’s look at just a couple of other incredible dangers we place ourselves in close proximity to every day:
Driving a car: I came to work this morning in a 3,500lb mass of metal, plastic, and glass, hurtling at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) This would be an insane thing to do, were it not for:
*The engineering, design, and maintenance that makes the vehicle safe to operate,
*The training, experience, and periodic re-licensing required to maintain driving privileges,
*The upkeep of roadways, bridges, traffic signals, etc., and
*The monitoring and enforcement of traffic safety measures by our law enforcement officers.
Operating electrically powered devices: if you’re reading this on a computer screen, you’re likely surrounded by objects that are connected directly to 120 volts of alternating current electricity. That stuff will stop your heart. Thank goodness all that current is contained, isolated, and grounded to keep it out of our bodies, even when we have to touch the controls to turn those devices on & off.
Food: Don’t even get me started on the hazards of ingesting plant & animal product that used to live outside and was processed for transport hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of miles away. It’s a wonder any of us have made it this long. Well, except for the development and rigorous implementation of food safety and sanitation practices & policy.
Working with compressed air is no different. A typical plant compressed air system will operate at about 100psig. That literally means that there is ONE HUNDRED POUNDS OF FORCE being exerted on EACH AND EVERY SQUARE INCH of the inside of the pipes, hoses, tanks, etc., in the system. If you don’t keep it under control, you can have some serious problems. Fortunately, there are simple, straightforward, and easily accessible ways to do that.
This is not going to be a comprehensive guide, but let’s start with:
Design: Your piping and components have to be the proper pressure rating. We’ve got some good piping information on our website. Also, keep your vehicle well maintained, periodically check your electric devices for frayed cables, and look at your meat packages’ labels for a USDA stamp and “use by” date.
Controls: Make sure you’re using your compressed air safely. OSHA Regulation 1910.242(b) governs the use of compressed air when used for cleaning purposes…it limits you to no more than 30psi of downstream, static pressure at the discharge of your blow off device. EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products comply with this regulation, by design. Also, watch your speed on the highway, don’t plug too many strands of Christmas tree lights in to one outlet, and always cook chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165F (73.9C)
Personal Protective Equipment: Any time you’re working with compressed air, you should be wearing eye protection and using appropriate chip guards to keep flying debris from coming back at you. Certain applications may require more safeguards…check with your compliance coordinator or supervisor to make sure. Also, don’t shift out of ‘park’ without your seat belt fastened, take care to unplug any appliance before servicing it, and don’t skimp on a decent pair of oven mitts if you plan on making a lot of baked goods.
EXAIR has been making quiet, efficient, and safe compressed air products for 34 years now. If you ever have any questions about the safe use of compressed air, give us a call and ask for an Application Engineer. No; compressed air isn’t safe, in and of itself…but it CAN be used safely…and that’s the important part.