Digital Flowmeter Improves Production Scheduling And Upgrade Budgeting

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” might be the most popular axiom in any process improvement endeavor. And it’s true. We hear it almost every time we discuss a Digital Flowmeter application, and a conversation I just had with a customer was no exception.

Their business is growing, and they’re pushing the limits of their compressed air system. The use compressed air to run their CNC mills in their machine shop, for blow off/cleaning as they assemble products, as well as a variety of pneumatic tools throughout the shop. The CNC machines’ air load was pretty consistent…the rest of the shop; not so much. So they wanted to find out when their compressed air demand peaked, and what it peaked at, in order to make a more informed decision about upgrading their compressor.

From your Digital Flowmeter to your computer screen, the USB Data Logger tells you how much air you’re using…and when you’re using it!

So, they purchased a Model 9095-DAT Digital Flowmeter for 2″ SCH40 Pipe, with USB Data Logger. They installed it immediately, with the USB Data Logger set to record once a second…this told them their consumption at any given time over the course of the day. Every day at closing time, the shop manager pulls the USB Data Logger from the Digital Flowmeter and transfers the data to his computer. After just a few days, he knew exactly how much air they were using…and exactly when they were using it. He’s now using this data (in the short term) to plan certain operations around peak scheduling, and (in the long term) to know what they’re looking at for their next air compressor.

Do you know as much about your compressed air usage as you should? If you’d like to talk about how to measure…and manage…your air consumption, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Why Measure Compressed Air Use?

Model 9097-M3 Digital Flowmeter installed on 3″ compressed air line

One of the best analogies I’ve heard to explain the importance of monitoring compressed air related to banking.  With any bank account there are deposits and withdrawals, and if withdrawals exceed deposits, problems ensue.  So, most people/businesses/institutions have systems in place to monitor their banking accounts, ensuring that there is always enough of a balance in the account to cover expenses.

The same is true for a compressed air system.  If the demand exceeds the supply, problems ensue…Lowered pressure and force from compressed air driven blow offs, irregular performance within pneumatic circuits of CNC machines, and general decline of any devices on the system all begin to occur when demand exceeds supply.  So, this begs the question of how to prevent a mismatch between compressed air demand and available supply.

Enter the Digital Flowmeter.  The entire purpose of the Digital Flowmeter is to provide a method to see (in real time or over a specific period of time) what the existing demand is within a compressed air system.  This quantifies the “withdrawal” into an output that can be compared to what is produced by the compressor, allowing for analysis and proper balance of the system.

This Digital Flowmeter allows for monitoring compressed air usage quickly and easily. The USB Data Logger installed onto this unit allows for collection of compressed air flow data.

The application photo at the top of this blog shows the DFM being installed to do just that.  This unit is being set up to use a USB Data Logger to capture compressed air flows at a customer-chosen time interval.  By monitoring their compressed air flow, this customer can optimize their compressed air system (align output of the compressor with demand of the facility), determine whether there are any leaks in the system, and determine the effectiveness of the compressed air which is being used.

It is important to remember that compressed air is the most expensive utility in any industrial facility.  Failing to monitor the system is akin to blindly writing checks on your bank account.  Proper system performance starts with proper monitoring, which the Digital Flowmeter easily provides.

If you’re interested in learning more about monitoring your compressed air system, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to discuss specifics and options available.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure

And this was never more true than in a conversation I had with the facilities engineer at a manufacturing plant recently. Their business has grown so much over the past few years to cause a move into a larger building. They took this opportunity to install some engineered compressed air products, and, with the brand-new building, they also got brand-new compressed air piping, which the contractor has just completed post-installation testing on, and it’s leak free. Good news!

They noticed, however, that the run time hours on their air compressors (which were in fine shape, and simply moved from the old facility) hadn’t appreciably decreased. The engineer was looking for another way to measure…and quantify…their compressed air usage, and was interested in our Digital Flowmeters.

Available for a wide range of SCH40 Iron or Type "L" Copper, EXAIR Digital Flowmeters are quick to install and easy to operate.

Available for a wide range of SCH40 Iron or Type “L” Copper, EXAIR Digital Flowmeters are quick to install and easy to operate.

Of primary concern during our conversation was, how could they track their usage? Would someone have to check the Digital Flowmeter reading periodically? What about intermittent uses? They have a TON of hand-held air guns throughout the plant…what if they read the meter when only a few were in use? Or if they ALL were in use?

There are a couple of options for that…our Digital Flowmeters are all supplied with both 4-20mA and RS-485 Serial connections, which are easily outputted to an appropriate device. You can run this right to your computer, and there are a variety of programs that will allow you to collect and manage this data.

They intend to install this Digital Flowmeter in the compressor room, though…and even though it’s well within the maximum distance for RS-485 serial – it’s good for distances up to 4,000 feet (1,200 meters,) it would be impractical to run a cable through the building.

Enter the USB Datalogger: this is going to allow them to “take a snapshot” of their usage, at specified intervals…in this case, every 10 seconds, which means the USB Datalogger will collect and store data for over three days. It has its own proprietary software, which you’ll use to set the frequency of readings, choose units & graph scale, high/low alarm points (if desired) and even when you want to start recording. This would, for example, let you record data on the mid-shift, without staying at work until midnight to start recording. VERY convenient, as far as I’m concerned.

Once it’s installed and running, I hope to work with them on the next steps towards optimizing their compressed air system…but we’re off to a good start!

Looking to "go green?" We can help.

Looking to “go green?” We can help.

If you want to talk about getting the most out of your compressed air system, give us a call. We’re here to help.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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What is the USB Data Logger for Digital Flow Meters? How Can It Help Me?

USB Data Logger

The USB data logger works with all of EXAIR’s Digital Flow Meters and provides valuable feedback for optimizing your compressed air system.

EXAIR’s Model 9147 USB Data Logger has become one of the most valuable tools that we sell to help customers get a “view” of their compressed air usage over time. One of the important tenets we promote at EXAIR is energy savings by prudent use of compressed air through our engineered solutions (Air Knife, Air Nozzles, Air Amplifier, etc.). But how does a person in charge of such systems really “know” whether they are helping or hurting their compressed air system?

The first step is to have an appropriate flow meter which can give an indication of how much air volume is being used. EXAIR’s line of Digital Flow Meters are perfect for getting to that point with instant and direct readings that don’t need to be calculated any further. What you see on the meter is the flow in either SCFM or m3/hr calibrations.

The second step is to attach the USB Data Logger to the Digital Flow Meter so that readings can be kept over time. It is like setting up a security camera for your compressed air system. Nothing gets by without being recorded.

The USB Data Logger can be connected to just about any type of monitoring system that has a 4 – 20 mA output to which the 2-wire harness can be installed. A quick and easy initialization to choose the unit of measure, to select the frequency of measurement and some optional alarms is all that is necessary. The software package is included with the USB Data Logger and is convenient to run on a typical desktop or laptop computer. You simply, set it and forget it (at least until you want to do some reporting).

The reporting is how the USB Data Logger can help you as the person concerned with monitoring the compressed air use in your facility. Once the defined monitoring period of time has passed, the USB Data Logger can be removed from its socket, stopped from recording and the data is then downloaded into a suitable format that can be imported into EXCEL or other spreadsheet program for creating charts to analyze what is happening, when it is happening and how much compressed air is being used. In the analysis, you can compare the flow data and times with certain problems in a production line that might cause low pressure condition which shuts machinery down. You might also be able to determine where additional, point of use compressed air storage might be needed close to certain processes.

Ultimately, the USB Data Logger allows you to “see” your compressed air system in a way that allows you to sleuth out problems seen that might have no other explanation. It can also help you to justify your air savings when you apply the other air saving compressed air products that EXAIR produces by monitoring a base line for “before” performance and “after” performance. After all, it if is important to your organization, it should be measured. And compressed air is certainly a utility that should be measured.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com
@exair_nr

Back From Vacation With a Lot of Ideas

Last week I went on the annual trip to Topsail Island, NC with my family and all of the in-laws.   The week lends plenty of time to relax, play on the beach, see a shark 10′ away from you in the water…you know the normal stuff.   I couldn’t help but think as to what my next project at home needs to be, not a “real” project at home but one I will enjoy, a hobby project if you will.   I went to my favorite place in North Carolina for some much needed relaxation and input, Saigon Sam’s, a military surplus store.  It’s really more than just a military surplus store, it has that museum feel as well due to all of the relics and weapons it showcases.

Saigon Sams

 

After seeing how a lot of military items have been re-purposed and watching a few of the old Professor videos, I have decided that my next project for home will be making a Tall Bike.  What is a tall bike you ask?  Absolutely awesome is what I would say.  The legitimate answer would be it is essentially two to three bikes welded together to form one really tall bike that is not easy to get on or off of.

2011-07-02 Bicycle Friends Tall Bike a

My hopes are that it will look something like the one pictured above.   However, due to budget constraints and my love for things that work instead of look good it may appear like the one below.

tandy

Just like here at EXAIR, even at home I am constantly thinking of new projects.   One of the newest projects that has wrapped up at EXAIR is the expansion of our Digital Flowmeter family.   These meters are now available to help you monitor your compressed air use on 1/2″ through 6″ schedule 40 iron pipe OR 3/4″ through 4″ Type L copper pipe.  The EXAIR Digital Flowmeters are simple to install and include a drill guide, drill and jig to make the process even easier. Also available is our USB Data Logger or Summing Remote Display to further the ease of collecting your compressed air use data.   If you want to compare two different lines that are the same size you can simply use a set of block off rings to clamp off the probe area while the Digital Flowmeter is in use on the other line.   This means you can easily use a single Digital Flowmeter and a few sets of block off rings to monitor all of your compressed air lines that are the same size.

dfm_sizes_pr_337w

These Digital Flowmeters are an essential first step toward understanding where your air is used, when it is at its highest use and where it is used. With this understanding, you can begin to work on making your air system more efficient and using your compressed air more effectively. Using flowmeters to monitor compressed air is the intelligent first step toward saving air and money for your company. Saving money on compressed air and operating an efficient system can help secure your competitive position now and into the future.

If you have any questions or want to know more about our Digital Flowmeter family, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_BF
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com

 

EXAIR Welcomes Our French Distributor Kermaz Pneumatic

KERMAZvisit_2014_half

L to R: Lee Evans, Neal Raker, Lionel Barbat, Ivan Banks

EXAIR is pleased to host Lionel Barbat of Kermaz Pneumatic, the distributor of EXAIR products in France.  Mr. Barbat has made the journey to visit with us for product training and to see the new developments of EXAIR in person.  We hold an open door to our international distributors and are always pleased when they can visit with us.

While he has been here, we have reviewed new EXAIR products such as the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac and the No Drip Atomizing Nozzles.  We’ve had the opportunity to discuss product award winners like the Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzle, Digital Flow Meter Data Logger, and the 1114SS Super Air Nozzle.  And, we’ve spent a great deal of time discussing applications of EXAIR products.

One of the applications that stood out was the potential to make a custom Light Duty Line Vac to convey material.  As many of our customers know, we will make custom parts or modifications to our products to suit the specific needs of an application.  This end user wanted flanges machined onto the end of a 130600 (6″ Light Duty Line Vac).  The purpose of these flanges was to allow for ease of mounting within the application.

After a few discussions here at EXAIR, we determined that a stock model could be used and the existing flanges of the system could mount everything perfectly.  Not only did this satisfy the end user, it sped up the timeframe on their project, saved them money, and proved once again that EXAIR is about solving problems.

If you have an application in need of a solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’d love to lend a hand.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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/
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