## ROI: Super Air Knife vs. Drilled Pipe

Return on Investment, or ROI, is the ratio of profit over total investment.  Many people use it to check investment stocks, financial markets, capital equipment, etc.  It is a quantitative way in determining the validity for an investment or project.   You can use this ROI value to give a measurable rate in looking at your investment, no matter how big or small.  In this blog, I will compare the ROI between an EXAIR Super Air Knife to a home-made drilled pipe.  Let’s start by looking at Equation 1 to calculate the Return on Investment.  For a positive ROI value, the project will pay for itself in less than one year.  Any negative values would represent a high-risk investment.

Equation 1:  ROI = (Total Annual Savings – Total Project Cost) / Total Project Cost * 100

The Total Project Cost is the cost of the product with the labor to install.  In our example, we will use a 36” (914mm) blow-off device to cover the width of a conveyor.  One device will be an inexpensive drilled pipe and the other will be a high-efficiency EXAIR Super Air Knife.  The drilled pipe had (72) 1/16” (1.6mm) diameter holes spaced ½” (13mm) apart.  EXAIR manufactures the model 110036 36” Aluminum Super Air Knife with a .002” (.05mm) shim along the entire length.  The model 110036 has a retail price of \$802.00 each.  The cost of the home-made drilled pipe was around \$70.00 for material and labor.  What a difference in price!  It seems like the ROI should be in the negative, but is it?

Let’s continue on with the Return on Investment.  The amount of time required to install the Super Air Knife across the conveyor only took a maintenance staff about one hour to mount.  The labor rate that I will use in this example is \$80.00 per hour (you can change this to your current labor rate).  The labor cost to install the knife is \$80.00.   The Total Project Cost can be calculated as follows: \$802 + \$80.00 = \$882.00.  The next part of the equation, Total Annual Savings, is a bit more in-depth, but the calculation is below.

To calculate the Total Annual Savings, the amount of compressed air used by the drilled pipe is around 261 SCFM (7,389 SLPM) at 60 PSIG (4.1 Bar).  The model 110036 Super Air Knife has an air consumption of 82.8 SCFM (2,344 SLPM) at 60 PSIG (4.1 Bar).  With an electrical rate of \$0.08 per Kilowatt-hour, the electrical cost is near \$0.25 per 1000 standard cubic feet or compressed air, or \$0.25/1000SCF.  To calculate an annual savings, let’s use a blow-off operation of 8 hours/day for 250 days a year.   Replacing the drilled pipe with the model 110036 Super Air Knife, it will save you (261 SCFM – 82.8 SCFM) = 178.2 SCFM of compressed air.  To put this into a monetary value, the annual savings will be 178.2 SCFM *\$0.25/1000SCF * 60 Min/hr * 8hr/day * 250 day/yr = \$5,346.00 per year.

With the Total Annual Cost and the Project Cost known, we can insert these values into Equation 1 to calculate the ROI:

ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Project Cost * 100

ROI = (\$5,346.00 – \$882.00) / \$882.00 * 100

ROI = 506%

With a percentage value that high, we are looking at a payback period of only 40 days.  You may look at the initial cost and be discouraged; but in a little over a month, the model 110036 will have paid for itself.  And after using it for one year, it will save your company \$5,346.00.

In my experience, a loud blowing noise from your equipment is generally coming from an inefficient and safety-concerned product.  With these “cheap” ways to blow compressed air, it will cost your company a lot of money to use as shown in the example above.  EXAIR has an Air Savings Calculator on our website to calculate the savings by replacing your inefficient blow-off devices. And, if you would like to team up with EXAIR to find ways to increase savings, improve productivity, and promote safety, you can contact an Application Engineer.  We can help you get started by defining your Return on Investment with EXAIR products.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com

## How to Save Money on Compressed Air

Compressed air can be one of the more expensive utilities to use in a facility, but a compressed air system is full of simple opportunities to increase efficiency and minimize the cost. Much like how you can take multiple steps to save electricity at your house there a few simple steps you can take to save your compressed air. These steps include finding and repairing leaks, compressor maintenance, minimizing pressure at the point of use, and turning the compressed air off when not in use. Implementing these steps and using the right tools to achieve them can lead to significant dollar savings – in fact our website case studies, other blog articles and catalog are filled with example after example of air (and dollar) savings success! And let’s be honest here, who doesn’t like saving money.

First off is finding your leaks. Leaks are one of the major wastes of compressed air in a system that could happen. Leaks in a compressed air system can account for wasting 20-30% of a compressors output. These leaks can commonly be found in pipe joints, devices that use the compressed air, quick connect fittings, and storage tanks. All of this compounds to wasting air much like a leaky faucet wastes water – little by little it grows until it simply needs to be addressed. One of the ways to help find leaks in your system is EXAIR’s affordable Ultrasonic Leak Detector. This leak detector uses ultrasonic waves to detect where costly leaks can be found so that they can be patched or fixed.

Choose efficient end-use products. Engineered air knives, air amplifiers, air nozzles and safety air guns can dramatically outperform (use less air) than commercial air nozzles and in-house solutions such as drilled pipes, open air lines and other creative “fixes”. We have seen some very nice in-house solutions from customers who have put in some significant time and effort, but they all have one thing in common – they use more air than any of EXAIR’s engineered solutions.

Minimizing your pressure can also save you money by limiting the amount of compressed air that is being used. Pressure and volume go hand and hand, the higher the pressure the higher the volume of air and vice versa. By minimizing the pressure that you are using you are also minimizing the amount of air that is being used which means savings. Each CFM used can be associated with a certain price value so the less you use the more you save. You also cut down on the amount of work the compressor has to do and how often the compressor has to cycle. Pressure can be minimized using one of EXAIR’s Pressure Regulators to cut down on the amount of air being used.

Turn off the compressed air when it is not in use. Just like how you wouldn’t leave the faucet running or lights on in a room that is not being used, don’t leave your compressed air running (insert bad dad joke). Constantly using compressed air even when not in use will cause the compressor to cycle more often wasting money. Each CFM has a price to it so don’t waste CFM’s blowing it back into the air and doing nothing. This can simply be done by adding one of EXAIR’s ball valve or solenoid valves to turn off when you are done using it. Also, if you want to take it another step farther you can look at using one of EXAIR’s Electronic Flow Controllers (EFC). The EFC uses a photo eye attached to a timer that will open a solenoid valve for a set amount of time when it detects an object within 3’ of the photo eye. This will turn the air on only when your product is in the air path and turn it off during any spaces in between.

Compressor maintenance is another important step to minimizing the cost of compressed air. Neglected air compressors can cause a lot of issues ranging from expensive repairs to a decreases in efficiency. Wear and tear placed on the motor of an air compressor can cause the compressor to produce less compressed air (SCFM) at the same power consumption. This means you are paying the same amount of money and getting less out of it. Making sure that your compressor or any machine is always running at its optimal performance and should always be a priority for any facility.

There are many different ways to save on compressed air, these are just a few of them. Reducing air use will save money and reduce the demand on your compressor which in turn can prolong the life of your air compressor. If you have questions about how to save on compressed air or any of our engineered Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR or any Application Engineer.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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## A Digital Flowmeter can Help Improve Your Monthly Electric Bill

No one likes paying their bills at the end of the month.  But, if you can save yourself some money, it helps to make it a little easier.  For this customer, he received a monthly bill for his compressed air.

An industrial facility consisting of four separate manufacturing plants and a power company that supplied all of them with utilities, i.e. hot water, natural gas, electricity, and compressed air.  The parent company decided to reorganize and sell the entities.  At the end of it, the power company was controlled by a different organization than the manufacturing plants.  The power plant was contracted to still supply the utilities to the individual plants, but now they would be charged individually on a monthly basis.

Being that compressed air is one of the most expensive utilities, the general manager of a solid-state electronic plant really noticed the charge on his bill.  He did an estimate on the amount of air that his equipment was using, and he compared it to the charges.  There was roughly a 20% difference in the figures.  Because of the excessive amount of money, he contacted EXAIR to see what we could offer.

In discussing their system, the compressed air was supplied through one 6” schedule 40 black pipe.  The pipe came into the facility in the ceiling and it branched off to supply the entire shop with compressed air.  He was looking for something to measure the compressed air flow with the ability to measure a cumulative amount.  He could use this amount to compare to his monthly usage.  He was also concerned about cutting into his compressed air line as this could cause him much downtime and additional costs.  He needed something easy to install, accurate, and versatile.

I suggested our 6” Digital Flowmeter with the Model 9150 Summing Remote Display.  EXAIR Digital Flowmeters are designed to measure flow continuously and accurately.  You do not need to weld, cut, or disassemble pipe lines to install.  With a drill guide, the Digital Flowmeter can be easily mounted onto the 6” black pipe by drilling two small holes.  After that, they just had to insert the Digital Flowmeter into the holes, and tighten the clamp around the pipe.  The total procedure took less than 30 minutes, so downtime was minimal.  The EXAIR Digital Flowmeter measures flow by comparative analysis with thermal dispersion; so, the accuracy is very high and recalibration is not required.

With the option of the Summing Remote Display, they could attach it to the Digital Flowmeter and display the flow remotely up to 50 feet away.  They mounted it on the wall next to his office for the operational functions.  With a simple press of a button, it can show the current flow rates, daily flow rates, and cumulative flow rates.  So, during the billing cycle, he was able to get the cumulative measurement to compare the results, and reset the counter to zero for the next month.

Believe it or not, the power company was correct in their measurements.  But, not to waste an entire blog, I did have him turn the compressed air supply off after business hours to watch the flow rate.  He did find his 20% difference in compressed air leakage.  The Digital Flowmeter was able to measure low flows to target other problem areas in your compressed air system.  Now he had another chore in leak detecting and pipe fixing.

EXAIR Optimization line has different products that can help you to get the most out of your compressed air system.  With the customer above, he was able to measure his compressed air flow with the Digital Flowmeter, as well as detecting other issues.  I will now have to talk to him about our Ultrasonic Leak Detector.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com

Picture: Calculator Calculation Insurance by stevepb.  Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain

## Professor Penurious, Mystery Solver!

ZOINKS! What have Professor Penurious and the gang gotten into this time? Enjoy viewing this video – we sure do enjoy making them…And recognizing that some day the Oscar committee will be calling.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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(513)671-3363 fax
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