Compressed Air in Farming and Agriculture

I used to help my father-in-law around his farm and this city boy had his eyes opened when he realized it was more than shovels, tractors and livestock. Agriculture is vital for human existence and has become far more advanced over the centuries with a continual thirst for efficiency and technology. Agriculture is just like many other industries looking for continued ways to increase yield, improve quality, maximize labor and improve technology.

EXAIR has many products used in the agriculture and food processing industries. The following details a few example by product line how we can influence efficiencies and quality of products:

Super Air Knife drying fruits and vegetables

Super Air Knives:

EXAIRs Super Air Knives are have ben used to help harvest apples and peaches. In this case they use our Super Air Knives to dry and blow off the fruit after the rinsing process just before the waxing process then again after waxing to blow off any remaining debris or moisture from the fruit before being packed.

A processing company using the Super Air Knife to clean a conveying belt equipped with a weighing system. Before the installation of the the Super Air Knife some of the cut vegetables being weighed would stick to the belt. Their solution was to clean the conveyor belt with EXAIR’s Super Air Knife to ensure continuous operation of the weighing and packaging systems.

Super Air Nozzles:

An onion farmer used EXAIR’s Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle to blow loose onion skins from the onions before packaging to improve the aesthetics to the customers.

Line Vacs:

A food packaging company repackages banana peppers from 55 gallon drums to 1 and 5 gallon containers using our Model 6066 3″ Stainless Steel Line Vac.

Using EXAIRs Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vacs a feed stock manufacturer conveys various grains and feed stock simultaneously to a mixer which blends the ingredients. This reduced their blend time by 50%.

A grain processor used Model 142200 aluminum threaded Line Vac to convey small amounts of corn meal into a hopper which feeds into their inspection process.

A company producing worm eggs encapsulated in water soluble wax sold to farmers to enhance soil conditions. They eliminated a hand operation using Model 6081 1″ Aluminum Line Vac  to convey the worm eggs from one classifier to another.

EXAIR has several applications using Atomizing Spray nozzles to add moisture in growing environments . Greenhouses use our Atomizing spray nozzles to control humidity in the air and keep their soils moist to maintain optimal growing environments.

There are many other applications using compressed AIR on farms such as filling tires, cleaning equipment, blowing out water lines and more. Technology drives labor savings and improved quality prototypes are being designed and tested to use compressed air using drones to shoot pods filled with seeds, fertilizer and other nutrients into the soil. EXAIR will remain a strong influence in the growth of compressed air products helping to reduce the carbon footprint, enhance efficiencies and improve cost and quality within the agriculture and food processing industries.

If you have an application and you would like to talk please contact me or any of our qualified Application Engineers at 800.903.9247 and we will gladly help with our best recommendations.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

FullStream Liquid Atomizing Nozzles

At EXAIR, we know compressed air, and we’ve been helping customers around the world get the most out of their compressed air systems since 1983. It was only logical that, about ten years ago, we got into using compressed air for liquid atomization.  If you’re looking to spray a liquid in a fine mist with a controllable pattern & flow rate, there are many advantages to using compressed air to atomize it:

  • Adjustability
  • Maximum dispersion
  • Optimal, efficient consumption
  • Small droplet size

Since their introduction, EXAIR has come to offer 142 distinct models of Air Atomizing Spray Nozzles, and, along the way, we leveraged our engineering, machining, and manufacturing prowess to gain position as an industry leader in liquid spraying.  So much so, that, earlier this year, we introduced a spraying product line that doesn’t require compressed air:  the FullStream Cone Liquid Atomizing Nozzles.  Instead of using the energy of compressed air to effect atomization, these use the energy of the liquid’s pressure and flow to change the continuous stream of liquid flow entering the nozzle into a conical spray as it exits to atmospheric pressure.  Here’s how it works:

While Air Atomizing Spray Nozzles maintain their advantage of a smaller droplet size (ours consistently make droplets under 100 microns in size,) there are clear benefits in certain applications to the FullStream Cone Liquid Atomizing Nozzles:

  • Higher liquid flow rates
  • Increased liquid coverage
  • More compact design

These are all important in applications like quenching, cooling, foam breaking, lubricating, degreasing, and sanitizing.  All stainless steel construction means they’ll stand up to a variety of chemicals…both in what’s being sprayed, and in the environment in which they’re installed.

If you have a liquid that needs sprayed, EXAIR has an engineered solution.  Call an EXAIR Application Engineer today to find out more.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Compressed Air Safety with EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products

Compressed air is a necessary utility in any manufacturing environment. When used improperly, this compressed air can pose very real and serious dangers to your personnel. It’s imperative that you’re aware of the potential risks associated with the use of compressed air and educate yourselves and your operators to ensure you’re operating safely.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) provides standards designed to mitigate the risks of compressed air usage. If not adhered to, fines can be administered for each infraction. Fines are given out for each individual infraction. Meaning, if you have unsafe blowguns that are used in your facility you’ll get a notice for each individual gun that is identified during an inspection. Inspections aren’t something that happen often, but they will show up unannounced and often at the worst possible times.

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.

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.

Hearing loss due to high noise levels is another common problem in many industrial facilities. Without the use of proper PPE, hearing loss can occur quickly. This is a serious concern as hearing loss is permanent and once the damage is done there’s no way to reverse it. Due to this risk, OSHA strictly enforces standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a).

Hearing loss is the best known, but not the only, ill effect of harmful noise exposure. It can also cause physical and psychological stress, impair concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents or injuries.

This directive discusses the effects of noise and limits exposure based on the dBA. The table below indicates the maximum allowable exposure time to different noise levels. Sound levels that exceed these levels should first be addressed by proper engineering controls such as isolating the source of the sound from personnel or replacing the cause of the sound with something like an engineered compressed air nozzle. When such controls aren’t feasible, proper PPE must be worn to protect the operator.

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!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

How to Pick the Right Atomizing Spray Nozzle

Atomizing spray nozzles atomize fluids with compressed air to create a fine spray in a variety of patterns for a variety of uses. They are commonly used to mark products, paint or coat, cool, reduce dust, lubricate and clean parts.

With the numerous types of Atomizing Nozzles, it can be challenging to sift through all the information. But with a few basic questions you can narrow down the right nozzle type for you and your application:

142 distinct models. 8 different patterns. Liquid flow rates from 0.1 to 303 gallons per hour. If you’ve got a spraying application, EXAIR has an Atomizing Nozzle for you!

Are you using a pressurized liquid feed? In some cases, a pressurized liquid source is not available for the nozzle, so you would have to rely on a gravity or siphon fed nozzle. While you lose the complexity of having a liquid pump pressurizing your liquid, you do have a few draw backs. Your siphon height is typically with in 36” so your liquid source has to be fairly close to your nozzle. Siphon fed nozzles are hard to turn off and on, they are best used for applications where you are continuously spraying a low viscosity liquid with a low gph.  

Internal Mix Atomizing Spray Nozzles

What is the viscosity of the fluid? Another deciding factor is the viscosity of the liquid you are spraying. Different nozzles are designed for different viscosity. For example, two of the main nozzle types are internal mix nozzles and external mix nozzles. They function just like they sound, internal mix nozzles mix the compressed air and liquid source inside the nozzle. And because of this they typically can not spray liquids over 300 cP. And because external mix nozzles mix the liquid and air outside the nozzle, they can handle liquids well above 300 cP.

What is the liquid flow rate in gallons per hour(gph)? Another factor in choosing the right nozzle is if your application has a set gph you are looking to achieve. Some nozzles are designed to flow more liquid then others. For example, the external mix nozzles inherently flow more liquid then the internal mix. As there is less restriction on the liquid flow. If you are looking for even higher gph you can source a liquid only atomizing nozzle, its going to give you a large bump in gph. But your droplet size will suffer with the liquid only nozzles.

Full Cone Liquid Only Atomizing Spray Nozzle

What droplet size are you looking for? Fine droplet sizes are one of the primary reasons atomizing nozzles are used. Benefits of small droplet sizes include even coating and liquid conservation. Internal mix nozzles will do the best at providing the smallest droplet size possible. While external mix and liquid only will give you larger droplet sizes but they will give you a larger gph some applications need.  

Should I use a No-Drip option?  The No-Drip option positively shuts off liquid flow when the    compressed air supply is shut off.  One benefit of this is appreciated in coating applications, where an errant droplet of liquid would mar an otherwise smooth, even coating.  Operationally, though, it also means you can precisely turn the liquid flow on & off, in short, quick bursts, up to 180 times a second.

No Drip External Mix

If you are in the need for a Liquid Nozzle to assist in your facility, please reach out! We have a team of application engineers waiting from 8AM – 5PM EST to help you size and fit a product to your specific application! 

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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