Reduce Sound Levels With Engineered Compressed Air Products

A while back, I had the pleasure of assisting a customer with selection and implementation of our Super Air Nozzles, to replace open-ended blow offs on their machine tools. They installed the Super Air Nozzles after shutdown one afternoon. When he came in to work the next day (he arrived after production started), he thought there was a major problem in the shop, because (as they say in the movies right before something bad happens) “it was quiet…too quiet.” Turns out that, even though the goal was to reduce air consumption, they also reduced the sound level of the blow offs to an unexpected degree.

The copper tube used to have a crimped end that was aimed at the part in the chuck. They simply cut it off and used a compression fitting to install the Super Air Nozzle.

Another time, a metal stamping plant tried out our Model 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle on a stamping machine, using a Stay Set Hose to replace the copper tubing that was used to eject parts from the platen. They did the switch in the middle of the day…the operator at the adjacent machine noticed the dramatic noise level drop and came over to see what was wrong. Then he asked when they were getting one for HIS machine.

This loud & inefficient copper tubing blowoff was just Model 1122 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle (and a Stay Set Hose) away from being quiet and efficient.

Both of these solutions originated with calls to discuss ways to reduce compressed air consumption costs. The fact that noise levels went down so dramatically just added to the benefits of using engineered compressed air products from EXAIR. If you’d like to find out how to make your electric bill – and your shop noise level – go down, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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What is a Decibel Level?

Decibel level also known as dBA, is how the industry measures sound intensity’s effect on the human ear and is an important value when discussing noise exposure for employees and operators within manufacturing. Manufacturing personnel can be at risk for hearing damage when exposed to high decibel levels if the proper precautions are not taken. For reference, 0 dBA is the softest level that a person can hear. Normal speaking voices are around 65 dBA. A rock concert can be about 120 dBA.

Sounds that are 85 dBA or above can permanently damage your ears. The more sound pressure a sound has, the less time it takes to cause damage. This damage occurs within a sensitive part of our ear called the cochlea, which contain thousands of hair cells used to allow our brains to detect sounds. For example, a sound at 85 dBA may take as long at 8 hours to cause permanent damage, while a sound at 100 dBA can start damaging hair cells after only 30 minutes of listening.

OSHA Max Noise Exposure Chart

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. Whether you work near machinery, at a sports venue, on a tarmac, or operate a jackhammer—hearing loss is preventable.

Noise may be a problem in your workplace if you:

  • Hear ringing or humming in your ears when you leave work.
  • Have to shout to be heard by a coworker an arm’s length away.
  • Experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work.

If you need to raise your voice to speak to someone 3 feet away, noise levels might be over 85 decibels. Sound-measuring instruments are available to measure the noise levels in a workspace.

The first step to lowering your sound level is to take a baseline reading of your various processes and devices that are causing the noise. EXAIR’s Sound Level Meter, Model 9104, is an easy to use instrument that provides a digital readout of the sound level. They come with an NIST traceable calibration certificate and will allow you to determine what processes and areas are causing the most trouble.

From there, EXAIR has a wide range of Intelligent Compressed Air Products® that are designed to reduce compressed air consumption as well as sound levels. For noisy blowoffs where you’re currently using an open-ended pipe or a loud commercial air nozzle, EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles are the ideal solution. Not only can they pay for themselves over a short period of time time due to compressed air savings, but your operators will thank you when they’re able to hear later on in life!

 EXAIR has the tools you need to reduce sound level in your processes. If you’d like to talk to an Application Engineer about any applications that you feel could benefit from a sound reduction, give us a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Engineered Air Nozzles Keep Your Operations Safe

If you are looking for a way to save money and make your blow off applications safer, look no further than EXAIR’s Engineered Air Nozzles & Jets. By upgrading your blowoff, cooling, and drying operations to use one of our Super Air Nozzles or Jets you can save as much as 80% of your compressed air usage when compared with an inefficient solution. Plus you can remove open ended pipes and other unsafe blow offs that OSHA will fine you for.

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An open copper pipe or tube, even if “flattened” as we commonly see, wastes an excessive amount of compressed air. This wasted compressed air can create problems in the facility due to unnecessarily high energy costs, maintaining system pressure that can affect other processes and excessive noise exposure for personnel. An open pipe or tube will often produce sound levels in excess of 100 dBA. At these sound levels, according to OSHA, permanent hearing damage will occur in just 2 hours of exposure.

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By simply replacing the open tubes and pipe with an EXAIR Super Air Nozzle, you can quickly reduce air consumption AND reduce the sound level. Sound level isn’t the only thing an OSHA inspector is going to be concerned about regarding an open pipe blowoff, in addition OSHA 1910.242(b) states that a compressed air nozzle used for blowoff or cleaning purposes cannot be dead-ended when using with pressures in excess of 30 psig. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to use an air gun with 30 psig fed to it, but the effectiveness of it is dramatically reduced. This is why there needs to be a device installed that’ll prevent it from being dead-ended so that you can operate at a higher pressure.

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EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles are designed for maximum performance and safety. The engineered features keep EXAIR nozzles running quietly, and cannot be dead-ended. Using an OSHA compliant compressed air nozzle for all points where a blowoff operation is being performed should be a priority. Each individual OSHA infraction will result in a fine if you’re surprised with an OSHA inspection. Inspections are typically unannounced, so it’s important to take a look around your shop and make sure you’re using approved products.

You’ll find all of the tools you need in the EXAIR catalog. Click here if you’d like a hard copy sent directly to you! Or, get in touch with us today to find out how you can get saving with an Intelligent Compressed Air Product.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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EXAIR Digital Sound Level Meters Measure Noise Exposure Levels

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Digital Sound Meter

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.

Noise induced hearing loss can be a significant problem for many workers in manufacturing and mining. 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 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.

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.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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