EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System Used on Cement Barge

I joined the Navy, right after high school, to get out of Ohio, see the world, and never come back. “My recruiter said” (if you are considering military service, those can be famous last words, just so you know) that I would be a good candidate for Nuclear Power School, so I took the test. As a math & science nerd scholar, I qualified for admission easily.  About halfway through Nuke School, I volunteered for submarines.  My decision was based in no small part on the sea stories of our instructors, the strong reputation of better food, and my deep appreciation for the movie “Operation Petticoat.”

Upon graduation, I was assigned to a new construction Trident submarine.  I did not see the world…I saw the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, and Naval Submarine Base King’s Bay, Georgia.  Hilarity occasionally ensued, but never in the context of that movie I so adored.  I moved back to Ohio (on purpose) soon after my enlistment was up.  The food WAS good…I can unreservedly vouch for that.

In the new construction environment of the shipyard, I became quite familiar, and developed a deep respect for, the high level of attention paid to the materials and workmanship that a seagoing vessel demanded…not to mention, one with a nuclear reactor on board.  Reliability and durability are obviously key factors.

I had the pleasure recently of assisting an electrical contractor who was looking for a cooling solution for a new Variable Frequency Drive enclosure installation on a cement barge.  The ship’s engineer (a Navy veteran himself) had told the contractor that his priorities were reliability, durability, and dust exclusion.  He couldn’t have made a better case for an EXAIR Cabinet Cooling System.

Based on the specified heat load of the VFD, the size of the enclosure, and its location, a Model 4380 Thermostat Controlled NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler System, rated at 5,600 Btu/hr, was specified.  This equipment is internal to the ship; had it been exposed to the elements, a NEMA 4X system would have been presented.

Up to 2,800 Btu/hr cooling capacity with a single Cabinet Cooler System (left) or as much as 5,600 Btu/hr with a Dual system (right.)

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems have no moving parts to wear, no electric motor to burn out, and no heat transfer surfaces (like a refrigerant-based unit’s fins & tubes) to foul.  Once it’s properly installed on a sealed enclosure, the internal components never see anything but cold, clean air.

If you have a need to protect an electrical enclosure in aggressive environment, give me a call.  With a wide range of Cabinet Cooler Systems to meet a variety of needs, we’ve got the one you’re looking for, in stock and ready to ship.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Optimizing Compressed Air with EXAIR Innovative Static Eliminators

A dear friend is turning 50 this month, and I have no intention of making a big deal of it, considering the spectacle that her husband (who is younger than both of us) is no doubt going to make of it. I was reminded of her impending birthday when I read that Alvin is also turning 50 this year.

Even at this depth, Alvin doesn't look a day over 49.
Even at this depth, Alvin doesn’t look a day over 49.

Alvin (DSV-2) is a deep-dive submersible, built in 1964. Built to dive to depths of over 8,000 feet, Alvin has had quite a storied career:

  • 1966 – Used to locate a hydrogen bomb that was lost off the coast of Spain when a US Air Force bomber “had an accident.” The bomb was retrieved a few weeks later, without incident.
  • 1967 – On dive #202, Alvin was attacked by a swordfish, at a depth of about 2,000 feet. The swordfish became entangled, forcing an emergency surface. Upon removal, the swordfish was cooked for dinner.
  • 1968 – Alvin’s tender ship accidentally dropped Alvin when some steel cables snapped, in the middle of the ocean. Three crew members onboard at the time were able to escape, but left their lunches behind. Severe weather and the development of the required technology put off Alvin’s recovery for almost a full year. A full rehab of the vessel was slated. The fruit and sandwiches left behind were found to be well preserved, and soggy but edible.
  • 1986 – Alvin was used to find the wreckage of the Titanic. While the mission was making headlines at the time, it was actually a cover story for the highly classified “real” operation: the search for USS Scorpion (SSN-589), lost under unknown circumstances in 1968. In a remarkable stroke of good fortune, both vessels were found.

That’s all neat stuff, but I’m sure there are a few spine tingling stories we’ll never hear about a deep submergence vessel, operated by the US Navy, during the height of the Cold War. Another bit of interesting trivia, though, is who built Alvin: General Mills. That’s right, the breakfast cereal folks. Turns out, they had an electromechanical division back then that pioneered advances in packaging technology, and had previously applied some of their mechanical arms to other submersibles, leading them to successfully bid the project that Alvin was born from.

This, of course, is what engineers do. EXAIR has been making Intelligent Compressed Air Products, aimed at optimizing compressed air use, increasing safety, and lowering noise levels for over 31 years now. Along the way, we’ve added products, and added TO our products to meet other frequent needs of our customers.

Consider the Air Knife: the Air Knife had been a product for years when EXAIR developed the Ionizing Bar  and added it to the Air Knife to turn it into an efficient, quiet, and safe Static Eliminator. The Air Knife then provided good information toward development of the super efficient Super Air Knife which has become the hallmark of efficiency and performance within industry.  After years of successfully solving thousands upon thousands of static dissipation applications with the Super Air Knife, we recently added one-piece designs from 60 – 108” long which used to be a two piece construction.

3to54 siak
EXAIR stock SIXTEEN different lengths, from 3″ to 108″. Custom lengths are available in as little as three days.

A quick look at our complete and comprehensive line of Static Eliminator products shows that, if you’ve got a static problem – big or small – we’ve likely got a solution for it.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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expl1874 image courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.  Creative Commons License

Submarines, Shipwrecks, Air Knives, and Corrosion

Monday was a notable day in naval warfare history. On February 17th, 1864, the H.L. Hunley sank the USS Housatonic, a Union sloop that was blockading the harbor in Charleston, South Carolina, during the American Civil War. In doing so, the Hunley became the first combat submarine to sink a warship in battle. Unfortunately, they never returned.

Treasure hunters and archaeologists searched for the sunken vessel in the years following the war. Despite grand efforts, one even spurred by a $100,000 reward offer from legendary showman P.T. Barnum, the ship and crew were lost to history until 1995. So many people had mistakenly thought they’d found the wreckage that when underwater archaeologist Harry Pecorelli actually did find it, he radioed to his boat, “I don’t know what it is, but it is definitely not the Hunley.” Because of this, the preservation group, Friends Of The Hunley, have affectionately dubbed him “the first person to have never found the Hunley.”

In 2000, the intact ship was raised and placed in a specially built tank, where the conservation team immediately went to work. Because of her iron construction and age, this turned out to be an engineering (mechanical and chemical) feat like no other. Over the next four years, precision excavation efforts allowed the team to exhume the remains of the crew, and they were buried with full military honors in the spring of 2004. They still haven’t proven conclusively why the Hunley sank, but as restoration work continues, she may give up her final secrets yet, as long as they can keep corrosion at bay.

hunley in tank

The prevalent use of aggressive chemicals in certain manufacturing processes today can likewise take their toll on equipment made from materials that aren’t compatible for use in these environments. As advances have been made in the development of these chemicals, metallurgists and materials engineers have kept pace in the field of corrosion resistance. EXAIR has taken full advantage of these innovations by offering our Super Air Knives in a variety of materials that can stand up to just about whatever you can throw at them:

Two grades of Stainless Steel are available: Type 303 is well suited to mildly corrosive environments. Type 316 offers even better corrosion resistance, and is often specified in the food, pharmaceutical, and surgical product industries. Both are also good to 800°F (427°C).

PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride) Super Air Knives are resistant to harsh conditions where UV light, inorganic chemicals, solvents, ozone, weather, fungi, chlorinated hydrocarbons, strong acids, and/or salts are present. They are equipped with PTFE shims, 316SS pipe plugs, and Hastelloy C-276 hardware for superior performance in the most aggressive environments.  These are rated for temperatures up to 275°F (135°C).

Of course, if your application doesn’t concern any of these, our Super Air Knives in aircraft grade aluminum construction are perfect for general purpose applications in standard conditions. Just about wherever you need to install it, though, EXAIR has a Super Air Knife that is up to the task. Try us.

Russ Bowman
RussBowman@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_RB

The Importance Of Accurate Instrumentation

A sailor from a destroyer said to a submariner, “It must be scary, going to sea on a ship that’s designed to sink!”

The submariner replied, “It must be REALLY scary, going to sea on a ship that operates at test depth ALL THE TIME!”

The implication, of course, is that a destroyer could not survive a dive to any depth. Oh, and submariners don’t call it “sinking;” we call it “diving,” because submarines are also designed to perform an all-important maneuver known as “surfacing.” There are no guarantees, of course, but the odds are absolutely in our favor, due to the highest caliber of engineering, fabrication, inspection, and training that make the Silent Service so successful.

I thought of this today because of an event that happened on this day in 1973: USS Greenling (SSN-614), a US Navy fast attack submarine, accidentally went below her test depth, and actually approached crush depth, due to a sticky needle on the main depth gauge in the Control Room. According to unofficial reports, a junior enlisted man noticed that the seawater pressure reading on another gauge indicated they were far deeper than the depth gauge was showing. Official reports said they surfaced rapidly (I bet), immediately returned to port, and underwent an extensive inspection in drydock before returning to duty.

USS Greenling (SSN-614) Depth Gauge Reading zero (assumed)
USS Greenling – Depth Gauge reading zero (assumed)

Now, your plant’s compressed air system instrumentation may not be as life-or-death critical as a submarine’s depth gauge, but there’s still no reason to skimp on, or settle for, second-rate gear that might cause you undue hassle. For instance, I recently had the pleasure of testing a customer’s Model 6061 1” Stainless Steel Line Vac in our Efficiency Lab – they weren’t able to draw our published vacuum rating (-42” water) or flow rate (14.7 SCFM), when supplying compressed air at 80psig. Curiously, they were getting values that corresponded with operation at 70psig. Using their pressure gauge and commercial-grade inline flow meter, I verified it was indeed under-performing, with 80psig compressed air supplied…this was measured UPSTREAM of their flow meter, however. I installed a pressure gauge at the Line Vac’s inlet port (downstream of the flow meter) and found that the flow meter was (quite unexpectedly) responsible for a 10psi pressure drop! Once the supply was regulated to provide 80psig at the inlet to the Line Vac, we found that it performed as specified.

EXAIR’s Digital Flow Meters, on the other hand, won’t restrict your compressed air flow at all. They’re easy to install…you simply drill two small holes in the pipe, using the included Drill Guide Fixture. They’re just as easy to remove, if you need to, and their holes can be covered with blocking plates (sold separately.)

Our Summing Remote Display can be easily wired to any Digital Flow Meter, and mounted up to 50 feet away. With the push of a button, you can also cycle the display to show not only current compressed air flow, but the previous 24 hours’ usage, and total cumulative usage.

For the ultimate in data management, our USB Data Logger connects just as easily to a Digital Flow Meter, and can be removed and inserted into any available USB port on your computer. It comes with software that will automatically graph your compressed air usage, or you can import the data directly into Microsoft Excel®. Since its introduction early last year, it’s won Environmental Protection Magazine’s New Product of the Year Award, Plant Engineering’s Product of the Year Gold Award, and Design News deemed it a “Better Mousetrap” Award Finalist.

In closing, here’s our Senior Application Engineer, Joe Panfalone, holding the Plant Engineering Gold Award. In case you were wondering, the other three are for our Model 1114SS Large Super Air Nozzles, our Dual High-Temperature Cabinet Cooler Systems, and Siphon-Fed Atomizing Nozzles, all of which were introduced in 2012, with great success – hence the literal armload of awards!

Joe and Awards 2013

If you use compressed air, odds are very good that EXAIR products can improve your results. Let’s talk!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: http://www.exair.com
Blog: https://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Safety Is A Non-Negotiable

Yesterday was an important day for submarine sailors. On April 10th, 1963, USS Thresher was lost with all hands while performing deep-diving tests off the coast of New England. Despite an exhaustive investigation of the wreckage, the exact details remain unknown, but the evidence suggests that a seawater pipe weld failed, propulsion was lost, and the compressed air that was supposed to blow all the water out of the ballast tanks had high moisture content, causing it to freeze in the lines. With no way to stop the seawater coming in under tremendous pressure, no steam to turn the propeller to drive the ship to the surface, and no way to empty the ballast tanks to provide positive buoyancy, she plunged to the bottom, some 8,400 feet below the surface. That’s why we remember April 10th.

The tragedy resulted in something else we all became intimately familiar with: SUBSAFE. SUBSAFE is a comprehensive quality assurance program that covers all submarine systems exposed to sea pressure, as well as those that are critical to recovery from flooding. I can tell you from personal experience that maintenance evolutions on these systems is laborious, detailed, and meticulous. The paperwork can consume way more time than the work itself. If you were the one that wrote the work order, you dread the lengthy meeting with the QA Officer to review the package. If you’re performing the work, you’ll be “under the microscope,” as the Engineer, and possibly the Captain, peer over your work, potentially questioning your every move. And when you’ve put to sea and are diving to test depth to perform the final inspection, you don’t regret a thing…that’s how you maintain your dive-to-surface ratio at 1:1.

The success of, and confidence afforded by, the SUBSAFE program isn’t limited to the submarine community: After the Space Shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry in 2003, the folks from NASA turned to the Navy’s SUBSAFE people for help and guidance in the enhancement of their already stringent safety programs and practices.

If you’re a regular reader of our Application Engineering blogs, you know we spend a fair amount of time on safety. Now, few of us need to approach the same level of safety program that is required in the construction, operation and maintenance of a nuclear sub or a Space Shuttle, but adherence to whatever plan you have is still a non-negotiable. Our lines of blow-off devices (Air Knives, Air Nozzles, etc.) are designed with safety in mind: none of them can be dead-ended, which means they comply with OSHA’s Directive STD 01-13-001 – STD 1-13.1, governing the use of compressed air for cleaning. Our Static Eliminators are common in applications where static charge presents a real hazard to personnel. Our Air Amplifiers can be used to quickly and efficiently ventilate tanks, pits, etc., if required for a Confined Space Entry job. Our new Chip Shields for our Safety Air Guns are a fine example of our focus on continuous progress in the safety field. If you think we can help, we’re eager to hear from you.

Incidentally, April 11th is a big day to submariners too.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: http://www.exair.com
Blog: https://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Small World

My world has always been surprisingly small. I know; a lot of people say that, but I don’t think many match mine for compactness. I submit for your approval:

I grew up in a small rural community on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio, and joined the Navy right out of school, to see the world and never come back. I ended up on a Trident submarine and got to travel around the Atlantic Ocean quite a bit, but the only ports-of-call that I saw were Groton, CT; King’s Bay, GA; and an occasional liberty stop in Port Canaveral, FL.

During one of those PCAN port calls, we took on a new crew member, and put to sea for seventy-two days of strategic deterrent patrol (aka hiding missiles from the Russians). One night, on the midwatch, we found out The Newbie was from Cincinnati, too. Turns out, he and I had both lived in the same little one-horse town, where his stepmother was a teacher. I gazed at the name sewn above the pocket of his coveralls, and remembered that my fifth grade teacher had later married a man with that same last name.  As we realized that his father’s wife was my all-time favorite grade school teacher, Machinery 2 grew deathly quiet – sailors love a good omen, and chance meetings like this are real harbingers.  She was a wonderful and effective teacher – I credit her with my love for math.  That’s why I get totally juiced when someone wants to know how fast we can cool something down with a Vortex Tube – or a Super Air Knife – or which one’s better for their application.  Or when questions arise about ventilating a space with an Air Amplifier.  And it wasn’t just math – she just flat-out made learning fun.  I suppose that’s the mark of a quality educator, and it seems that some just have it, and some just don’t. 

Fast forward twenty years: I left the Navy in 1991 and, despite some valiant efforts to keep my vow to never return, I had ended up living in Cincinnati, married to the girl I took to my senior prom, settled comfortably in the ‘burbs with our two young sons.  My boys and I were out one crisp fall day in 2009, participating in that great Boy Scout tradition, the door-to-door Popcorn Sale.  As we canvassed the neighborhood, we came to a particular house in a cul-de-sac, where we found out the owner was a recently retired school teacher.  It had been over thirty years since I’d seen her, but some people you just don’t forget.  After meeting her stepson 400 feet deep in the middle of the Atlantic, she’s now my neighbor!  Small world indeed.

Maybe it’s coincidence.  Maybe it’s fate.  Perhaps it’s a little of both.  But I consider it a unique blessing that someone who meant so much to me in my youth is back in my circle.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.exair.com
Blog: https://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair