One of the most common and dangerous hazards that occur within a manufacturing and production facility is the noise level within the plant. Noise is measured in units known as decibels. Decibels are a ratio of the power level of the sound compared to a logarithmic scale. If an employee is an exposed for too long to high levels of noise, they can begin to lose their hearing. That is where the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 regulation comes into play.
This OSHA standard doesn’t just provide the protection against noise in the work place but monitoring as well. Companies shall provide at no cost audiometric tests for all employees to ensure that no damage is being to the hearing of all personnel. This program is to be repeated every six months and the results are to be made accessible to all personnel.
Hearing is very important to our everyday lives and must be protected due to the fact that once it is damaged hearing loss cannot be lost be repaired. The OHSA 29 CFR 1910.95 is there to protect and monitor this dangerous hazard in the workplace so that all employees can go home safe and sound.
Here at EXAIR we design all of our products to safe and quite. Weather it is using one of our mufflers for vortex tubes or E-vac’s or one of our Super air nozzles we strive to meet and exceed the OSHA standard. One could also purchase EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter which can give a accurate and responsive reading of how loud your compressed air sources are.
For more information on EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter and any of EXAIR‘s 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.
EXAIR Corporation manufactures quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products for industry. We want our customers to get the most out of our products, and, in turn, their compressed air systems. To do that, we offer a unique service called the EXAIR Efficiency Lab. Here’s how it works:
An Application Engineer can arrange to have your existing compressed air device(s) sent in to our facility.
We’ll use our calibrated test equipment to measure the compressed air consumption, sound level, and force applied of those devices.
You’ll receive a detailed test report, along with our recommendations to implement an efficient, quiet, and safety compliant solution.
We’ll even send your tested device(s) back to you, at no charge, if you wish.
I recently had the pleasure of conducting just such a test on some air guns. The caller was the Environmental Health & Safety Director for a plastics manufacturer. The main concern was safety compliance…a recent audit had shown that some workstations were using handheld blowoff devices that did not comply with OSHA standard 1910.242(b), which limits dead end pressure of compressed air products used for cleaning to 30psi.
After discussing their typical uses for these (and other) air guns, they sent in a couple for testing. Here’s what we found out:
The air gun with the 7″ straight extension (top) is a “textbook” example of non-compliance with OSHA standard 1910.242(b). Because it has an open-end discharge with no relief path, this one could cause an air embolism if it were inadvertently dead-ended into the operator’s skin – a potentially fatal condition. It also uses a considerable amount of compressed air, and is quite loud. At 80psig supply pressure:
Force applied, at a distance of 12″, is 13oz…same as theirs.
The other one is OSHA compliant (it can’t be dead-ended…the cross-drilled hole provides a relief path, but it was still pretty inefficient and loud. At our standard test pressure of 80psig:
Compressed air consumption is 30.8 SCFM
Noise level is 94.8dBA
Force applied, at a distance of 12″, is 16.9oz
Although the force generated by the Model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun isn’t quite as high as theirs, it’s still our recommendation here. Oftentimes, the flow and velocity generated by the engineered Super Air Nozzle is more than capable of meeting the needs of the typical blow off applications these types of air guns are used in.
EXAIR Efficiency Lab testing proves that replacing these air guns with our Soft Grip Safety Air Guns (or at least replacing the tips with EXAIR Super Air Nozzles…we also have adapters for that) will result in compressed air savings of 66% and 55%, respectively, and lower sound levels to within OSHA standard 1910.95(a) limits:
If you’d like to know more about the efficiency & safety (or lack thereof) of your current air blow off devices, give me a call.
Russ Bowman, CCASS
Application Engineer EXAIR Corporation Visit us on the Web Follow me on Twitter Like us on Facebook
I recently took my daughter to a basketball game to watch Xavier University’s Lady Musketeers play. Due to Covid the arena felt empty and we could hear the players on the court and also the the coaches from the opposite side. If this was a regular season game we could barely hear ourselves let alone the teams and coaches. The obvious reason why there was not much noise is that there wasn’t much of a crowd and the crowd makes a lot of sound. So, what is sound?
Sound can be defined as “vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear”. Sounds hit our ears at different pressure levels depending on its strength (“loudness” or volume) and is measured in decibels (dB).
When sound travels and comes into contact with a surface, a portion will be absorbed and another portion will be reflected. Manufacturing environments obviously can be the source of a lot of sound and personnel near the sources should be protected as much as possible. One extremely effective way to do this is to substitute a loud noise source with a quieter one or remove the source all together. PPE can be effective but is much less reliable due to people forgetting to use PPE, using PPE improperly or even deciding for themselves they do not need it.
To substitute or eliminate means something like the strategic placement of air compressor which is not near personnel or recognizing the type of product you choose to use is vital to sound management and the health and safety of people working near the point of use. Many EXAIR products can help you reduce the sound level of your current point-of-use compressed air by replacing commercial air nozzles, open pipes and homemade blowoff solutions with our Engineered Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns, Air Amplifiers, or Super Air Knives. These products are all designed to minimize compressed air noise and can contribute to lowering the overall noise exposure of your personnel. The additional benefit is that you customers will also typically see a reduction in air consumption which saves money on generating compressed air.
EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter is a tool used to identify and quantify the particular noise levels within an area. The source of loud noises can be quickly identified and isolated so corrective measures can be implemented.
Compressed air noise levels often exceed OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) noise level exposure requirements. EXAIR pneumatic products meet or exceed the OSHA Standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a) and can be used to reduce sound levels in your compressed air environment.
EXAIR has has many engineered compressed air products that can help reduce your sound levels. Our Application Engineers are ready and eager to help assist your sound level decrease projects. Please contact us at www.EXAIR.com so we can be a vital part of your successful sound reduction program.
Air entrainment is the phenomenon that occurs when air (or any gas) under pressure is released from a device in such a way that a low pressure is generated in the immediate area of the air (or gas) discharge. Air (or gas) from the surrounding environment is then pulled (or entrained) into the discharged air stream, increasing its volumetric flow rate. EXAIR Corporation has been engineering & manufacturing compressed air products to take maximum advantage of this phenomena since 1983…and we’ve gotten better & better at it over the past 36 years.
Obviously, the first thing that’s so great about air entrainment is…free air flow. Every cubic foot that’s entrained means that’s a cubic foot that your compressor didn’t have to spend energy compressing. Considering the EXAIR Super Air Knife’s entrainment ratio of 40:1, that makes for a VERY efficient use of your compressed air.
Another thing that’s so great about air entrainment is…it’s quiet. As you can see from the graphic at the top of this blog, the Super Air Knife entrains air (the lighter, curved blue arrows) into the primary compressed air stream (the darker, straight blue arrows) from above and below. The outer layers of the total developed flow are lower in velocity, and serve as a sound-attenuating boundary layer. The sound level of a Super Air Knife (any length…here’s why) is only 69dBA. That means if you’re talking with someone and a Super Air Knife is running right next to you, you can still use your “inside voice” and continue your conversation, unaffected by the sound of the air flow.
I always thought it would be helpful to have more than just a graphic with blue arrows to show the effect & magnitude of air entrainment. A while back, I accidentally stumbled across a stunning visual depiction of just that, using a Super Air Knife. I had the pleasure of talking with a caller about how effective a Super Air Knife might be in blowing light gauge paperboard pieces. So I set one up in the EXAIR Demo Room, blowing straight upwards, and tossed paper plates into the air flow. It worked just as expected, until one of the paper plates got a little closer to the Super Air Knife than I had planned:
As you can see, the tremendous amount of air flow being entrained…from both sides…was sufficient to pull in lightweight objects and ‘stick’ them to the surface that the entrained air was being drawn past. While it doesn’t empirically prove the 40:1 ratio, it indisputably demonstrates that an awful lot of air is moving there.
If you’re looking for a quiet, efficient, and OSHA compliant solution for cleaning, blow off, drying, cooling…anything you need an even, consistent curtain of air flow for – look no further than the EXAIR Super Air Knife. If you’d like to discuss a particular application and/or product selection, give me a call.
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