Need More Capacity? Start By Finding it in House or Renting

I field a decent number of calls from companies that are trying to expand to new lines or venture into an area of production that they have not crossed into before.  Maybe it is bringing a process in-house that they traditionally outsourced, or altering a process that now requires a large scale blow off operation. In many cases, as these companies grow and succeed, their compressed air systems grow with them. Some of them need to find out find out how much air they will need if when they make decisions to bring processes in house or expand a current process.

One of the first options when needing more capacity from your current compressed air system is to take a look at the existing demand side and determine if we can free up enough supply to meet the requirements of this new option.   Let’s say for instance a new 60″ Super Air Knife is needed.   To test that unit at 80 psig inlet pressure we would need to free up 174 SCFM of compressed air. In all the years we have been around it is still surprising to consult with customers who are using large numbers of open blow-offs, homemade air knives, coolant hoses and nozzles for compressed air etc. These companies can find that extra capacity in their current systems by retrofitting engineered solutions on to the aforementioned poor solutions for keeping compressed air efficient. IF you are using some of those solutions, call EXAIR today to find out how much air our products may save you.

In the event that is not possible to find the necessary new volume of compressed air by streamlining your current system, it means looking at adding compressor capacity.  Some companies think they have to go out to buy a new compressor immediately, simply to test this new process.   That is more often than not, false.   The best recommendation I have is to look into renting a compressor, much like the one shown below.

A Rental Tow Behind Air Compressor
A Rental Tow Behind Air Compressor
The compressor distribution piping.
The compressor distribution piping.

I saw this unit while I was jogging, well attempting to jog, on my lunch break.  This was outside a local company that apparently, going through a very similar scenario like I mentioned above.  When I looked a little closer, I noticed the unit included around a 75-100′ of hose that did not use the dreaded quick disconnect fittings everyone sees.  Instead it utilized what I know as a Chicago style air fitting which does not restrict the air flow nearly as much as a quick disconnect and permits you to utilize the largest volume of compressed air from the compressor – remember folks: properly sized compressed air lines and fittings are extremely important when needing to keep volume and pressure of compressed air at high levels.

A Chicago Style Air Fitting
A Chicago Style Air Fitting

 

Once I looked up the statistics on the compressor I found that it will generate up to 375 CFM at 150 psig.  This is more than enough to test or run a 60″ Super Air Knife and validate whether additional compressors are needed, as well as if the Super Air Knife will perform to meet your needs.   Then, when you are done with the test, you can simply return the air compressor. Based on the results of this test, this could be another point to decide if you could save the needed air from your current system or if you would require a new compressor.

The EXAIR Guarantee
The EXAIR Guarantee

The moral that I am trying to instill in this blog is simple.  If you have a need for more compressed air to validate a new or improved process, don’t hesitate to think outside of your existing system. Where there is a will and a need, there is a way.  If it doesn’t work, take advantage of our 30 day unconditional trial.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

The Value Of Knowing

One of my many favorite shows as a child was the animated series G.I. Joe.  Through the main story line, they tried to teach a life lesson at the end of every episode.   Then the famous saying would come out.   “Knowing is half the battle.”  This has proved to be extremely true and helpful throughout my life and my career.

The biggest lesson that I believe I have learned is that when you don’t know the answer, ask for help.  Knowing the right person to ask is quite often just as good as knowing the information yourself.   This is why the Application Engineering team here at EXAIR is comprised of people from such diverse backgrounds.

If one of us is unfamiliar with your application there is most likely someone nearby who has been exposed to your industry or specific process.  For instance, I have a machine tool background, and you call to discuss discharge of our Reversible Drum Vac versus some other mechanical pump, then I may ask Justin Nicholl or Russ Bowman about the mechanical pump for help with understanding your situation.  This also showcases just how much of a team effort goes into solving problems for our customers.

Fortunately for us, the company also backs us up when we run across an unfamiliar process or problem. EXAIR’s 30 day guarantee allows us to get the product into your hands so you may test it risk free for 30 days. Test it within your facility under your conditions for a real world result. We enjoy learning about new processes and problems, plus we get to add this knowledge to our diverse experience.

Just in case you were wondering what kind of experience we have at our disposal, here is a brief listing of our core knowledge. If we were to include our internships, educations, field experience and people who are still at EXAIR but were once in the Application Engineering department, this list would go on and on:

  • Machine Tool
  • Injection Molding
  • Industrial Pumps
  • Natural Gas Regulators
  • Petroleum Nozzles
  • Compressed Air Hand Tools
  • Industrial Supply
  • Electronic Sensors / Transducers
  • Aerospace
  • Mechanical Power Transmission

So as you can see, if we don’t know about it or haven’t seen something like it,  chances are you have a unique application that we are still going to do our best to help with.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss one of our compressed air applications, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Troubleshooting 101: Super Air Knife

Yesterday, I was working with a customer on troubleshooting a Super Air Knife. He had brought the knife into EXAIR’s demo room so I was able to verify a few items very easily.  When trouble shooting air knives there are no moving parts, so it is very small list of items to check.

  1. Check the Air Supply

  2. Check the plumbing

  3. Check the inside of the Air Knife for debris

The customer had a 36″ Super Air Knife ,and he was seeing some weak spots in the air flow as well as a gradient in flow from one side of the knife to the other.  The first thing I did was to install a pipe tee with a pressure gauge in both ports on the bottom of the knife.  This would allow me to monitor the pressure we were supplying to the knife to calculate the air consumption and ensure the our piping was not starving the knife for air.

IMG_3735

Feeding the knife with equal pressure from both sides, is necessary for any air knife 24 inches or longer. The customer immediately noticed that the flow from the knife lost any sort of gradient, once it was fed in (2) locations. Still the air knife exhibited a spot in the flow where air velocity significantly decreased.  Since we were getting correct pressure and supplying enough air, we decided to remove the cap from the Super Air Knife.  Under the cap we found a variety of debris and one dreaded piece of PTFE plumbing tape. The plumbing tape was suppose to prevent air leaks throughout the compressed air system, but a piece had become lodged in the air gap of the Super Air Knife preventing air flow through a small portion of the Super Air Knife.  As you can see, once we followed a few simple steps to ensure proper installation of the Super Air Knife, it was quick and easy to narrow down what caused the lack of performance. This is yet another reason to make sure you have clean and dry compressed air, as well as use a point of use filter separator.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW