Digital Sound Level Meter Identifies Harmful Noise in the Workplace

slm-newlabel EXAIR offers the model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter.  It is an easy to use instrument for measuring and monitoring the sound level pressures in and around equipment and other manufacturing processes.

Sound meters convert the movement of a thin membrane due to the pressure waves of sound into an electric signal that is processed and turned into a readable output, typically in dBA.  The dBA scale is the weighted scale that most closely matches the human ear in terms of the sounds and frequencies that can be detected.

 

To protect workers in the workplace from suffering hearing loss OSHA has set limits to the time of exposure based on the sound level.  The information in the OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a) is summarized below.

OSHA Noise Level

The Digital Sound Meter can be used to monitor and measure sound levels of manufacturing processed such as blowoffs for cooling or drying.  Many blowoffs, especially open or drilled pipes are very inefficient and can be identified as a source of excessive noise, outside the OSHA exposure ranges.  Once the noise violators are identified, a review can be done and the implementation of engineered solutions such as Super air Nozzles or Super Air Knives can be investigated. Keeping harmful noise levels in check benefits everyone involved.

The EXAIR Digital Sound Level Meter is an accurate and responsive instrument that measures the decibel level of the sound and displays the result on the large optionally back-lit LCD display. There is an “F/S” option to provide measurement in either ‘slow’ or ‘fast’ modes for stable or quickly varying noises. The ‘Max Hold’ function will capture and hold the maximum sound level, and update if a louder sound occurs.

Certification of accuracy and calibration traceable to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is included.

There is an informative Video Blog, presented by @EXAIR_LE that can be found here.

If you have questions about the Digital Sound Level Meter, or would like to talk about any of the quiet EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Calibration – Keep Your Meters True

EXAIR offers meters to measure the level of physical parameters such as sound and static. Each meter has sensitive electrical circuitry and a periodic calibration is recommended to ensure the meter readings are tried and true.

The model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter is an easy to use instrument that measures and monitors the sound level pressure in a wide variety of industrial environments. The source of loud noises can be quickly identified so that corrective measures can be taken to keep sound levels at or below OSHA maximum allowable exposure limits.

The sound meter comes from the factory with an NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) certificate of accuracy and calibration.  As a good practice, EXAIR recommends a yearly calibration of the instrument, and we offer a service that calibrates the unit to the same NIST standards and provide a written report of the calibration.

The model 7905 Static Meter allows easy one-hand static measurements.  It is useful in both locating sources of high static charge and checking the reduction of static after treatment with an EXAIR Static Elimination product.  The unit is sensitive and responsive, and indicates the the surface polarity of objects up to +/- 20 kV when measured from 1″ away.

It is also recommended that the Static Meter be calibrated on a yearly basis.  EXAIR offers (3) levels of calibration service.  The first two provide calibration in accordance with MIL Standards using accepted procedures and standards traceable to NIST.  The third calibration service conforms to the same Mil Standard, as well as ISO/IEC standards.

Annual calibration service of your EXAIR Digital Sound and Static Meter, along with proper care and storage, will keep your meter performing tried and true for many years, providing accurate and useful measurements.

To initiate a calibration service, give us a call and an Application Engineer will issue an Returned Good number, and provide instructions on how to ship the meter to EXAIR.

If you have questions regarding calibration services for your meters or would like to talk about any 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.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 – Standard on Occupational Noise Exposure

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)

OSHA Noise Level

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.

SoundMeter_new_nist225

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.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Use The Force…Or Not…It’s Up To You, Really

The month of May, in 1977, was a great time to be ten years old. I was finishing up my fifth grade year, a pivotal one, thanks to Miss Walker, who ended up being my favorite teacher ever. She had a pet rat named A.J. that we took turns taking home for the weekend. She rewarded us for class performance by taking us outside to play softball on warm & sunny spring afternoons. I trace my love for math (and hence, my inspiration for a career in engineering) to the excitement she instilled in me for the subject…I was among the first to master the multiplication tables.

And then there was Star Wars. There were commercials for the movie and the toys and the merchandise on TV; I swear they ran every five minutes. A fast food chain released a series of posters (free with purchase) and every time a new one came out, Miss Walker promptly hung it on the classroom wall. None of us, her included, could hardly wait until the premiere. I could go on (and on and on and on,) but suffice it to say (for the purposes of this blog,) I’ve been a BIG fan ever since.

Which brings us to today…opening day for “Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” The first time, by the way, a Star Wars movie hasn’t premiered in the month of May, but I digress. The 10 year old inside me wants to go see it RIGHT NOW, but the grownup I have to be has a company Christmas party, two Boy Scout events, and a pre-holiday “honey-do” list to attend to first.

Of course, the “other” epic space movie series couldn’t resist launching THEIR new trailer this week…

All this talk about The Force (capital “F”) and the fact that I write this blog on company time has me thinking about compressed air applications that involve force (lower case “f”) and how using force (unlike “The Force”) is not always prudent.

This is the case in just about any blow off application that uses air under pressure. Open ended copper tubing, drilled pipes, etc., are common and easy ways to discharge compressed air for debris removal, drying, or cooling a part. But the fact is, they waste a LOT of the energy devoted to compressing the air by simply turning it into brute force and noise.

This is where EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products(r) come in: by using the energy of the compressed air to entrain air from the surrounding environment, the total air flow is amplified, resulting in a high velocity blast, at minimal consumption. No; it doesn’t have the same amount of force as an open ended discharge device, but most blow off applications don’t need all that much force anyway.

Of course, there ARE situations where you need to use the force, and we’ve got efficient and OSHA compliant ways to do that too: additional shims in Air Knives, Air Wipes & Air Amplifiers, or larger Super Air Nozzles.

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” the continuing theme of the Star Wars saga is to use The Force properly. For the past 32 years, the continuing theme at EXAIR is to help you use the force (of your compressed air) properly. Let me know how we can help.

May The Force be with us all…this weekend, and always.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Never Think Your Idea Will Not Be Heard

The above title proved very true in a work experience of my father’s. After working in the mill for several years, he drew up a new piece of process equipment which would eventually turn in to something that they put in place on the production line.   This was all done from his idea that he was able to place on a scrap piece of paper as a drawing.   While he wasn’t the decision maker in the process, he was the person who saw what kind of impact this device could have and knew the people he had to get the information to.

That brings me to the topic of this blog, don’t ever think an idea is too small to warrant a reward.  This can ring true throughout any type of application, including compressed air.  There have been instances where a maintenance worker, or even a new operator, have called in to speak to me here asking what can they do to lower the noise in the work area when they are using the hand held blow gun the company supplies.   After talking to them about what they are trying to achieve with the blow gun and how much air they are currently using, we generally find that they can save a good amount of compressed air, lower the noise level, and become OSHA compliant, all by changing this one simple tool.   Once they have all the benefits that their company will see from implementing our engineered solution, they can then propose this to the decision makers.

For the most part, companies will at the very least entertain ideas like this.  When you back that idea up with some relevant data on how much money the company will save, or the fact that is will make the work environment safer and more enjoyable, then you will more than likely get a little more attention.  The main point is to ensure that you are getting that information to the correct person and that you have the correct information.   That is one of the many reasons that EXAIR has a full team of Application Engineers who can help you identify how much air you might be using, what products will fit the need, and what kind of benefits your company will see.   On top of all the information that we have available for free, we even offer the chance to get compensation for sharing application data with us.

EXAIR Efficiency Lab
EXAIR’s Efficiency Lab will test your product for force, flow, and noise.

That’s right, we will compensate you for sharing your cost savings, sound level reductions or application improvements, with us.  This is all possible through our Case Study program.  All you have to do to find out more is contact any Application Engineer.  We simply need some photographs of the application and some quantitative data for the benefits you have gained.  Don’t know what your current device is using, take advantage of our EXAIR Efficiency Lab, that will give us a good amount of information we need to then, help you solve a problem as well as produce a Case Study.

If you would like to discuss your compressed air systems or how we can help you, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Reduce Noise Exposure with Super Air Nozzles

News from the CDC that those of us involved with industrial safety are paying close attention to is the release of their NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) division’s Hazard Evaluation Program Noise Measurement Database, which contains data obtained through Health Hazard Evaluation surveys performed between 1996 and 2012. It includes hundreds of personal noise exposure measurements (how much noise was received by individuals) and almost as many area noise measurements (how much noise was made.) A comparison of these measurements, of course, is valuable in determining if appropriate measures are being taken to abate the exposure, which is key: there are an awful lot of industrial processes where there’s nothing that can be done about the generation of noise…they’re just simply LOUD. So, they focus on what they can do to limit exposure: Use engineering controls (retrofit open line with engineered nozzles, build sound barriers) , use administrative controls (relocating personnel away from the sound), use personal protective equipment, and spending as little time as possible near the source.

Regardless of what people can get used to, the area noise associated with compressed air use CAN be reduced, while still maintaining the efficiency of the operation. Here’s the deal:

*The most basic form of air blow off is a piece of pipe, tubing, or hose connected to a source of compressed air. When it’s opened to the atmosphere, the compressed air exits with a great deal of force. This makes quite a racket, and the only way to quiet it down is to reduce the air supply pressure. Then you get less force, however, and it might not get the job done.

*Engineered air nozzles, such as EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles, solve this problem by design:

air nozzle flow

The compressed air supply (black arrow) uses the Coanda effect when it exits the series of holes recessed in the array of fins (dark blue arrows.) This serves to entrain an enormous amount of air from the surrounding environment (light blue arrows,) which not only results in a high volume flow rate at minimal consumption, but also makes the resultant air flow very quiet.

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are quiet, efficient, and easy to get…we maintain inventory of anything you see in the Catalog, all available for same day shipment. If you’d like to know how EXAIR products can be easy on your ears…and your wallet…give me a call!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
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