On October 24, 2023, I presented a live webinar covering the methods and advantages of turning the compressed air off when it’s not in use or unneeded.
Compressed air is often referred to as one of the major utilities in most manufacturing facilities due to the cost to generate it. A major benefit to utilizing compressed air is the speed at which it can be shut off and re-energized for use – in fact, this can be done instantaneously. Shutting down the supply of compressed air to an application while it is not needed can drastically reduce the compressed air consumption of the process over time. This is an easy tactic that can produce significant savings for your process and your facility, even if you have high efficiency pneumatic equipment installed, this can still garner notable savings.
Here is the playback for that webinar!
If you would like to discuss any of EXAIR’s safe, quiet & efficient compressed air products, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call or shoot me an email!
In case you don’t follow me on Twitter / X or know me personally, you may not know my educational background. Well, I received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Cincinnati in 2006. Then a few years ago I went back to school at Northern Kentucky University to achieve a Master of Business Administration. The path I took to get there was drastically different from my undergrad and experiences through life are great teachers to what is important.
You see, when I left UC, I was at a point where I had struggled and came out triumphant, started working in the metal cutting industry and the amount of experience I was gaining was like a fire hose constantly. I was attending training, shadowing, and constantly researching or reading. Then, that started to slow, and I started to give the training and write the documentation that others were reading. The draw to learn new skills was still strong, so I continually signed up for more training or would research different aspects of the equipment I was working on to learn more about what they are capable of and the best ways to use them.
Once I transitioned to EXAIR I had an entirely new set of skills to hone, and an extensive product offering which led to weeks of training and reading. Slowly but surely I was able to gain an understanding of our product offering as well as continually conduct testing on products or processes in order to ensure I have a strong understanding of our products how they work, and what is possible to achieve with them. I then got the wild idea to learn more and push my limits, so I started my MBA and really stretched the limits of my ability to consume material and apply the knowledge. This was all a path to improve myself and my ability to serve EXAIR as well as our customers. The truth is, my mindset for online learning this go around was drastically different, and I looked forward to the challenge and structure then being able to apply some of the concepts in my day-to-day life.
The point is that we should never stop learning. When I was younger I didn’t see any value in learning more past my undergrad. Then, I learned you have to continue to learn, and so I continue to do so. Even today, after my MBA I still look for articles, classes, and events to gain more knowledge. This is also why I am glad that EXAIR hosts a wealth of knowledge available to our customers, and we also continually release new content.
The next installment of some knowledge from our team is happening at the end of the month, the EXAIR Webinar. Our own Jordan Shouse will be discussing ways to save compressed air by simply turning it off. Register today to save your seat and then show up for the live event on October 24, 2023 @ 2 PM ET.
A major benefit to utilizing compressed air is the speed at which it can be shut off and re-energized for use – in fact, this can be done instantaneously. Shutting down the supply of compressed air to an application while it is not needed can drastically reduce the compressed air consumption of the process. This is an easy remedy that can produce significant savings.
Think about a place where you have a compressed air blow off with spaces between the parts or dwell times in conveyor travel. What about break times, do operators continue to keep the air on when they leave for a break or even worse, for the day?
Step number four in EXAIR’s Six Steps to Optimization is:
A simple manual ball valve and a responsible operator can provide savings at every opportunity to shut down the airflow. But an automated solution is a no-brainer and can provide significant savings.
For a more automated approach, you can add a solenoid valve that would tie into your existing PLC or e-stop circuit, into your compressed air supply lines to aid in turning the compressed air on and off.
For an automated on/off solution can be found by using the EXAIR EFC (Electronic Flow Control). The EFC is made to accept 110V or 220V AC, and convert it to 24V DC to operate a sensor, timer, and solenoid valve. Its multiple operating modes allow you delay on, delay-off, and delay on/off among others. The operating mode can then be set to the specific time necessary for a successful application.
The spaces between parts can be turned into money saved. Every time you reach the end of a batch run, the EFC can turn the air off. You can also add solenoid valves and run them from your machine controls. If the machine is off, or the conveyor has stopped – close the solenoid valve and save the air. The modes are all defined in the video below.
So, take a look, or even better a listen, around the plant and see what you can find that could benefit from turning the air off; even if it is just for a moment it will help put money back into your bottom line.
I was recently working with a process Engineer at a food packaging plant on installing a Super Air Knife to blow excess water off a food product. This product was moving single file on a conveyor belt with about 6 feet between each product. The belt was moving pretty slow so we wanted to turn the air knife on only when the product was in front of the knife, which saves compressed air and energy. To do this we used the ELECTRONIC FLOW CONTROL (EFC). If the knife ran the entire time it would be wasting any air blowing during one of the 6′ long gaps. This would also put an unnecessary strain on their already taxed compressed air system. The EFC let him only supply air to the Knife when it saw a product on the belt. To read more about the EFC click here!
This application worked perfectly, but they had one other issue. Throughout the day it seemed as if they were losing compressed air pressure at the knife. What they found was during peak compressed air usage in the plant the compressor couldn’t keep up with the demand. Fear not, the Super Air Knife was only running for 7 seconds and was off for 20 seconds. This was a perfect application for EXAIR’sReceiver Tank.
Receiver Tanks are great for applications that require an intermittent demand for a volume of compressed air. This can cause fluctuations in pressure and volume throughout the compressed air system with some points being “starved” for compressed air. EXAIR’s Model 9500-60 60 Gallon Receiver Tank can be installed near the point of high demand so there is an additional supply of compressed air available for a short duration. The time between the high volume demand occurrences should be long enough so the compressor has enough time to replenish the receiver tank.
If you have a process that is intermittent, and the times for and between blow-off, drying, or cooling allows, a Receiver Tank can be used to allow you to get the most of your available compressed air system. If you need any assistance calculating the need for a receiver, please let us help.
Note – Lee Evans wrote an easy to follow blog that details the principle and calculations of Receiver Tanks, and it is worth your time to read here.
If you would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.