Six Years At EXAIR: What I’ve Learned

Yesterday, I went “over 6” as an Application Engineer at EXAIR Corporation, and I’m still loving every minute of it! I came here with a fair degree of mechanical engineering & technology know-how, but, in reflection, I’ve learned an even fairer degree…some of which I’d like to share with you, dear reader, on the occasion of this ‘work-iversary:’

*Time spent doing something doesn’t always equal “experience.” If you work at something for, say, 20 years, and never learn anything new after your initial training, you don’t really have 20 years’ experience…you have one year of experience, 20 times. Big difference.

*Teamwork is critical to success.  The Patrol Method works.  The value of a “lesson learned” multiplies exponentially when it’s shared with others.  Design Engineers have a universal law of CAD that says “don’t ever draw anything twice.”  Application Engineers “don’t ever test anything twice.”

*Sometimes, there’s one way to find out.  That’s why we devote the resources we do to the Efficiency Lab.  If you want to know more about the performance of your current compressed air products, and how they might compare to one of our quiet, efficient solutions, so do we.

*A picture is worth a thousand words.  We prove this every day, whether it’s a photo (or short video even) of an application, a photo of a product or system for troubleshooting, or a photo of a nameplate or device for product comparison.  I’m old enough to remember doing business before email & digital photos, but I swear I don’t know how we ever got anything done.

*There’s always a ‘better mousetrap’ – and that’s the unofficial motto of EXAIR’s Engineering department.  That’s why we have so many more Atomizing Spray Nozzles than the did six years ago.  And Heavy Duty HEPA Vacs, long Super Air Knives and more product accessories.

*Relationships are vital.  At least a couple of days a week, I spend more time with my co-workers than my wife & kids.  We’re all in this together, and the more we help each other, the better off we are ourselves.

Next week, I’ll be back to blogging about a super cool compressed air product application. If you come up with one in the meantime, I’ll be happy to talk about it with you.  The conversation might just make it into next week’s blog, because one more thing I’ve learned is, when you’ve written 300 or so weekly blogs, “writer’s block” is a very real & present danger!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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EXAIR & Tough Mudder Ohio 2015

Several months ago, maybe even last year, a group of EXAIR employees started joking and talking about trying to get a team together to do the Tough Mudder in 2015.  After several months of joking, things got serious and 4 of us signed up to do the event at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.   You may have seen a few of my blogs that involve Mid Ohio but they normally also involve a motorcycle.    The event was held on Saturday, May 9th, and was my first official “race” at Mid Ohio.   Prior to a few months ago, if you asked if I would ever “run” (I use the term run very loosely here.) a 10 mile race, I would have laughed in your face and said no way.   Let alone a 10 mile race with a whole slew of obstacles. Never underestimate the power of co-worker’s friendly chastising aimed at one’s toughness…

This was after the first wall during the pre race pump up speech / comedy show.
This was after the first wall during the pre race pump up speech / comedy show.

For the team, an Application Engineer (me), our CFO, and two from Shipping & Receiving.  As soon as we hit the first obstacle, which was a 6′ wall you had to clear in order to get to the starting line, our EXAIR mind-set kicked in.   There was no discussions on who would go first, who is going to take what position, or who is going to be the weak link.   It was simply teamwork.   We each helped where we knew our strengths were, anytime we needed a solid ballast, or good step off point, I was the man.   If we needed upper body strength, it was obvious that the handling of heavy freight found in shipping and receiving provided the necessary muscle – most definitely not me.

Needless to say, we made it through the entire course in less than three and a half hours which was absolutely shocking.   Not as shocking as the last obstacle, where we got shocked with 10kV before the finish line (see below).

Electroshock Therapy 2.0 - 10kV wires that will make any man scream.
Electroshock Therapy 2.0 – 10kV wires that will make anyone scream.

The fact of the matter is, we went there as a team, we conquered each obstacle and didn’t only worry about ourselves, but helped many others clear the same obstacles, and each one of us faced and conquered a personal fear.   For me, it was being able to complete a 10 mile run, and a slight fear of heights.  (You can see here that we had to jump out and grab onto a pendulum then swing and hit a bell, after which you would fall 12-15 feet into a pool of 15′ deep water. )

Didn't even come close to that bell, but I did remember to let go of the swing at least.
Didn’t even come close to that bell, but I did remember to let go of the swing at least.

The fact that people from three different departments in EXAIR worked so well together on something only one person on the team had ever done before speaks volumes to the environment and the way we conduct our day-to-day business here.

From the front offices, to the shipping dock, EXAIR is here to help you tackle any obstacle and face any fear you might have (involving your compressed air system that is).

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager


O H…I O!

This week The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes completed an improbable run to win their eighth national championship and their first since 2002. After two blowout losses in the BCS National Championships games in 2007 and 2008, the Buckeyes came back to slay the elephant from the SEC and clip the wings off the drake from the Northwest. The Buckeyes were underdogs in both games by at least a touchdown against Alabama and Oregon, but soundly defeated both opponents. There is a lesson to be learned from the Buckeyes and their coach Urban Meyer: incremental growth leads to exponential gains.This is not a lesson unique to the Buckeyes, football, sports, or EXAIR, but continually improving in small ways every day will net exponential gains toward your goal.

The Buckeyes started out the year losing their second game of the season to Virginia Tech, a team that finished tied for last place in the ACC Coastal division. This was not a good showing. In particular the offensive line of Ohio State looked awful in the game. The most obvious statistics signified that the line performed poorly. The offensive line gave up 7 sacks in the game, and the team only gained 108 yards rushing. As a Ohio State fan, the game seemed to confirm all of my worse fears about the team. The team was young, overmatched, hamstrung by a small playbook, and lacking in consistent offensive force.

Fast forward to last Monday night, the running game was able to put up 296 yards against Oregon after putting up 281 yards against Alabama vaunted defense in the Sugar bowl. This is quite a jump from the Buckeye team that was beat up by Virginia Tech. The same players played on the line in all three games, so what changed. The players practiced, worked, trained, learned, and grew. This new group of 5 lineman played a majority of the games for the rest of the season and learned to play as a team.

We have a team here at EXAIR as well. Everyday we work to get better. We are learning about new industries. We are testing our products in new applications. We are coming out with new products. We are here to help you. We want to know more about your industry and how you use compressed air. Is there a problem your are having with high usage, too much noise, or unsafe conditions? Gives us a call. We have help industry use compressed air intelligently for 30 years.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer

What If a Gear Turns at the Speed of Light… ??


I’m not sure where I came across the question above, but I found it sifting through the images on my computer and it got me to thinking.  If gear 1 turns at the speed of light, I’d be inclined to think gear 2 would turn at 2.5 times the speed of light.  BUT, if the speed of light is the maximum attainable speed of anything, it would stand to reason that gear 2 would turn at the speed of light, which becomes a little bit of a brain teaser.

I took this question around the engineering department at EXAIR and we had some back and forth about it amongst ourselves.  The responses ranged from “It will travel through time”, to “Are these gears RoHS compliant?”, to “Regardless of how fast it spins, those gears are going to need some serious suspension to make it through the desert next year“, and “I’ll bet Han Solo knows”.

Ultimately, we decided that if gear 1 is turning at the speed of light, and accepting that the speed of light is the angular velocity of the gear, gear 2 must also turn at the speed of light.  There can be no difference in the angular velocity from gear 1 to gear 2, otherwise the teeth will shred.  This means that they will both have an angular velocity equal to the speed of light, but gear 2 will have 2.5 times the revolutions in order to do so (compared to gear 1).

Also, for reference, Professor Penurious was pretty sure he’d seen the answer to this on Star Trek at some point.

This was a fun exercise for us in the engineering department and although it doesn’t solve a customer’s problem, it does highlight the type of team all our customers get access to when working with our Application Engineers.

If you have a need for EXAIR products, even a hypothetical one, give us a call.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer