So Many Holes

I remember the book and movie about a young teenager who gets sent to a prison/ work camp that all they do is dig holes. Yeah, there’s a much deeper story line there and that isn’t the point of this blog. The point is, that movie is all I thought of when I encountered this customer’s nozzle solution. Their ejector nozzle on a recycling conveyor was using too much air and was too noisy.

Upon receiving the nozzle to do a free EXAIR Efficiency Lab, we were absolutely amazed at the level of care taken to make something like this. The nozzle was purpose built and definitely got the job done, it also drained their compressed air system at times and made a lot of noise while it did the work. So what did this nozzle look like, now keep in mind, this was not the customer’s design, it was a solution from the machine manufacturer.

For an idea, the customer nozzle was a 3″ overall length, and had a total of 162 holes in it. There were two inlets for 3/8″ push to connect tubing. The holes were very cleanly drilled and we used a discharge through orifice chart to estimate the consumption before testing. Operating pressure were tested at 80 psig inlet pressure.

Discharge through an orifice table.

Our estimations were taken from the table above. We used a pin gauge to determine the hole size and it came close to a 1/32″ diameter. With the table below we selected the 1.34 CFM per hole and used a 0.61 multiplier as the holes appeared to have crisp edges.

Estimation Calculation

Then, we went to our lab and tested. The volumetric flow came out to be measured at 130.71 SCFM. This reassured us that our level of estimation is correct. We then measured the noise level at 95.3 dBA from 3′ away. Lastly, we tested what could replace the nozzle and came up with a 3″ Super Air Knife with a .004″ thick shim installed. To reach this solution we actually tested in a similar setup to the customer’s for functionality as they sent us some of their material.

Now for the savings, since this customer was focused on air savings, that’s what we focused on. The 3″ Super Air Knife w/ .004″ thick shim installed utilizes 5.8 SCFM per inch of knife length when operated at 80 psig inlet pressure. So the consumption looks like below

That’s an astounding amount of air saved for each nozzle that is replaced on this line. The line has 4 nozzles that they want to immediately change out. For a single nozzle, the savings and simple ROI looks like the table below.

Air Savings / Simple ROI

That’s right, they will save 115.02 SCFM per minute of operation. These units operate for seconds at a time so the amount of actual savings is still to be determined after a time study. In videos shared, there was not many seconds out of a minute where one of the four nozzles was not activated. Once the final operation per minute is received we can rework our calculations and see how many hours of line operation it will take to pay back each knife purchase.

If you have any point of use blowoff or part ejection and even have a “nice looking” blowoff in place, don’t hesitate to reach out. These are still very different from our Engineered Solutions. We will help you as much as we can and provide test data, pictures, and even video of testing when possible.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Quick Disconnects and Push In Fittings are not Ideal for Peak Performance

In order to achieve the best performance of your EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® product, a steady flow of compressed air must be supplied at the optimal pressure. Compressor output pressure, air flow rate, piping ID (inner diameter), the smoothness of the inside of the pipe and connector type all contribute to the performance.

Especially for manufacturing uses, it is important to consider both the air pressure and air flow being produced by the air compressor providing the supply for all tooling. It is possible for an air compressor to produce sufficient supply pressure for an EXAIR product while not having adequate air flow to use the product for very long.

The optimal air pressure for most EXAIR products is 80 PSIG, with the exception of Vortex Tube based products, which are rated at 100 PSIG. Operating EXAIR products at air pressures less than 80 PSIG may lead to lower performance, but EXAIR encourages operating any blow-off product at as low a pressure as possible to achieve your desired result. A simple pressure regulator can lower your pressure and save energy. As a general rule near the 100 PSIG level, lowering air pressure by 2 PSIG will save 1% of energy used by an air compressor. Operating the product at pressures greater than 80 PSIG may produce slightly higher performance, but will require more energy to produce only a small gain.

Make sure that connectors and fittings do not restrict compressed air flow in any manner. Quick connectors can be especially problematic in this area. Because of their construction, quick connections that are rated at the same size as the incoming pipe or hose may actually have a much smaller inner diameter than that associated pipe or hose. This will significantly restrict the amount of air that is being supplied to the tool, starving it of the air flow it needs for best performance. In some cases, if the fitting is too small, the tool may not work at all!

EXAIR products are designed to improve the overall efficiency of your operations. If you need help and have questions please contact any of the Application Engineers. There is no risk to trying our products as we have a 5 year warranty and also a 30 Day Guarantee to all of our US and Canadian customers.

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

EXAIR Super Air Knives Improve Efficiency For Beer Bottling Application

As summer begins to wind down, we’re seeing some “slight” reprieve (at least this week) from the intensely hot summer we’ve had thus far in 2022. Fall will be here before we know it, which for me means a return to weekends on the couch watching football! What goes better with football than an ice cold beer?

In a recent application, I worked alongside a beverage manufacturer to help improve on the efficiency of their beer bottling process. You know the saying, “you get what you pay for”. For this customer it was made quite evident as we replaced some rather inefficient nozzles they were using in the facility with our Super Air Knives.

In the process, the customer had (4) sets of inefficient nozzles to dry the bottles off. (2) sets were located just after their wash/rinse cycle, with another two placed just prior to labeling. After washing, the bottles are taken to the fill station where they perform a cold fill process. Their location is hot and humid year-round, so immediately after filling condensation would form on the outside of the bottle.

Once filled, they need to apply a label to the outside of the bottle. If there’s any condensation present, this leads to many of the labels not adhering properly. The issue they were having was that when all of the nozzles were running simultaneously, they were experiencing a pressure drop that led to insufficient drying of the bottles in both stages of the process. Their solution was a rather expensive one: (8) operators were staged at the end of the line to inspect, dry, and fix any of the labels that didn’t adhere well while boxing them up.

Since we knew compressed air consumption was a critical aspect of this application, we offered (2) of our Model 110006-.001 6” Super Air Knives with a .001” thick shim installed. Super Air Knives are shipped directly from stock with a .002” shim, so this thinner shim helped to further reduce the air consumption from the knife. The knives produce a laminar curtain of air that’s far more effective at drying than the turbulent airflow from these flat nozzles. Rather than having (4) sets of knives, they were able to use just (2) effectively eliminating two of the blowoff stations they were using with the cheap nozzles.

With the knives in place the pressure in their system was no longer dropping and the laminar airflow from the Super Air Knives was much more effective at drying the bottles. Now, at the end of the conveyor they only needed (2) operators to unload the bottles and begin to box them. This dramatically reduced their labor costs for this operation as they were able to utilize those employees for other tasks instead of tying them up standing around, drying bottles, and fixing labels.

If you’re tired of experiencing issues with an inefficient blowoff device, EXAIR has a solution that can ship out today from stock. Contact an Application Engineer today and we’ll be happy to help you to determine the best solution based on your application.

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

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

beer image courtesy of RawPixel Ltd via Flickr Creative Commons License

EXAIR Case Study Library: Help Me Help You

EXAIR Corporation has a broad range of resources to aid in the selection of the right product for the right application:

If you’re a regular reader of EXAIR blogs, you’ve seen a number of “brags” on the successful implementation of just about all of our products. Another “more” part of our website is Applications, where you’ll find WAY more brief summaries of EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product successes than we can fit in our catalog. These come from conversations, emails, and oftentimes shared photos or videos between EXAIR Application Engineers and our customers. We get to write those up as examples of our products making things better. On the occasions where the customer is willing to work with us to quantify how MUCH better our products have made things, we’re able to do a Case Study. A typical Case Study involves collection of “before/after” data, quantifying the benefits of using EXAIR products. This can include, but is not necessarily limited to :

  • Compressed air consumption
  • Noise level
  • Safety (OSHA compliance)
  • Performance improvements
  • Product durability/longevity

At last count, there are over forty entries in our Case Study Library. You can search these by Product, or by Application…depending on what, specifically, you’d like to know. Registration (free and easy) is required to access our Case Studies…if you’re already registered & signed in, you can read the details on any of them. For your immediate viewing, though, here are the pertinent details on just a few:

“Before/After” photos of this efficient and quiet upgrade.
  • More durable and efficient Safety Air Guns: This customer’s main concern was the durability of the air gun they were using. This was a situation where they sent one in for Efficiency Lab testing (that’s one of the ways we can help collect “before” data for a Case Study). I did this one, and the customer’s air gun’s trigger BROKE WHILE I WAS TESTING IT. In addition to providing a more durable product (a Model 1310 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, specifically), it also reduced the compressed air consumption from 63.5 SCFM to 14 SCFM, and the sound level dropped from 89.9dBA to just 74dBA.
EXAIR Safety Air Guns: rugged construction, quiet & efficient performance.
Static charge from simple contact between this injection molded plastic part & the mold caused defects in a subsequent metallic coating process (left,) which were eliminated after an EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife was installed (right.)

So, back to the title of this blog…how can you “help me help you” with a Case Study? Let’s start with that 2nd part. Upon successful completion of a Case Study, I can “help you” with a credit on the order you placed for the EXAIR product(s) that replaced what you were using before, or a discount on a subsequent order…if, for example you got a Super Ion Air Knife to try out on one of your headlight making machines, and it worked so good you want to put them on the other nine machines (true story).

The “help me” part is pretty easy too. If you have instrumentation (air flow meters, sound level meters, etc.) to gather the “before” data, we can use that for the Case Study. If you don’t, we do. You can send the subject devices in for Efficiency Lab testing…our engineering staff will use calibrated test equipment to work up a detailed performance profile on what you send in. It’s a free service we offer to anyone who wants this data, in fact, and Efficiency Lab testing has no effect on the credits or discounts we offer for participation in a Case Study.

I also “help you” (and “help me”) by keeping your name, and your company’s name, off the Case Study. That way, if your process or product is proprietary in nature, we don’t risk sharing your hard earned success with your competition. We also don’t run afoul of the authorities, like this one last Case Study I’m going to share, where a machine shop was blowing off parts they make for the military that are classified in nature. They had crimped copper tubing pointed at the cutting tool, and it worked…it was just loud and wasteful. They zipped the crimped ends off and installed Model 1100 Super Air Nozzles with a simple compression fitting. Had the photo below shown the machined part in the lathe chuck, “we’re ALL going to prison” according to the customer:

One well-cropped photo made for a great Case Study, and nobody had to go to prison. THAT was a good deal.

This one, by the way, saved 2.7 SCFM per nozzle (over $840.00 a year in compressed air savings), and reduced the sound level from 96dBA to only 76dBA.

EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products have been making things better for compressed air users for almost forty years. If you’d like to find out how MUCH better we can make things for you, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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