Built to Last

The past few months many of our lives have been altered in some fashion due to COVID-19. Personally, my three daughters began staying home full time and attending school through distance learning.  I myself switched to working some alternate shifts which EXAIR changed to in order to optimize our availability to our customer base as well as protect our team members effectively. I know many in manufacturing that have been furloughed. Even worse, some have been forced to work in unsafe conditions.

All of this has made me thankful I am part of a team that cares about our employees first, and then we all work towards ensuring our customers are taken care of. Our new shift structure has also given me time to reflect on many aspects of my life.

When I was younger, like many kids, I always wanted something I received to be new. I didn’t want an older hand me down bicycle, I wanted new.  Little did I know I would reach a point in life where I prefer things to be a little older, a little more seasoned, even broken-in if you will.  The days are here where disposable is what everyone expects whenever they purchase anything. Repairable is often a thing of the past and or requires specialty tools and or software.  I’ve been recently working on lots of small engines from friends and family members yard equipment and recreational vehicles.

I’ve worked on a 1970’s era Stihl chainsaw that the only safety is the weight of the saw and an on/off toggle switch, up to an imported 4 wheeler that instead of buying a single piece or carburetor kit, most people throw them away and buy new.  Something about the older equipment makes me think I was born in the wrong era. The time of working hard for what you make and taking pride in products lasting a lifetime is often gone from consumer-grade products.  When carburetors are riveted together to make them faster and cheaper to assemble, but also not easily repairable, the chance of someone repairing it 40 years from now diminishes.

It could be that I am closer to 40 than I am to 30, however, I find that being able to source parts direct from a manufacturer as well as being able to get support direct from the manufacturer is something I desire. This could also be because this is how we do business at EXAIR. Our compressed air products all carry a 5 year Built to Last Warranty, we service them, sell replacement parts for them and take pride in their ability to last.

There are few items that I am okay with going a cheap route on, spare screwdrivers, you know the ones you use as pry bars and oil filter punches, and anything I know I am only going to use once and I am okay if it breaks as long as it is worth a laugh.  When I went to repair a weed eater for a neighbor I found the engine casing was plastic, there was barely anything to the motor and the lack of maintenance on his part as well as the ethanol in the fuel with lack of stabilizer had gummed up the entire fuel system.

This was a disposable weed eater and he admitted it wasn’t cheap but he also knew it wasn’t a big brand name. Experiencing this, made me laugh.  I went to my older weed eater that has seen many days. It was bought used at an auction. I gladly started it up for him and offered to loan it out whenever he needed. That weed eater was built to withstand its use. Parts are readily available and it is so popular there are many of the parts reproduced through third party factories pretending to be the company.

Next up on my project list may be the biggest project yet, a tiller that is far older than I am. This again has been brought on by the want for a healthy garden and the ability to also help neighbors and friends when they are ready for their gardens.  Rather than looking new, I started at the old, something I knew was built for hard work, and was ready for the task.  I doubt there is a single piece of aluminum on this thing, it has probably seen more sweat throughout its years than I have in my lifetime.  First, the research though.  Parts, service manuals, and then the negotiation of the purchase. (Both with my wife, and the seller. Separately of course.)

Here at EXAIR, we can get nostalgic over some of our products and processes as well. At the same time, we continuously flex and work with the matters a hand. If you have an old product of ours that you think may not be worthy of use, give us a call. With a few pictures and some information, our team of Application Engineers should be able to help determine if it is in good working order or not.  If we cannot determine from pictures, we can always receive the unit in and inspect it for you. In the event it is not in working condition, we more often than not can refurbish the unit and have you back up and running within a few days.  Our Super Air Knives are a product that often gets overlooked when they get covered in debris from a process. We can inspect them, clean them, and often restore them to flowing like a brand new knife.

Brian Farno
Aging Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Warranties: Better Safe, Than Sorry!

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Not my pool, but hey I can dream right?

The last few months for me have been quite busy to say the least. In this time: I’ve gotten married, gone on our honeymoon, purchased my first home, and am planning for an upcoming business trip to China and Taiwan. While it has definitely been exciting, there’s been a fair amount of stress to accompany it. We were thrust into the wonderful world of home ownership when two days in our pool pump went out. I know, you’re probably thinking, whose crazy enough to buy their first home with a pool? Well, we did it! Needless to say, we were fortunate enough to have also gotten a home warranty with the purchase. We’ve had the pleasure of now also using it on our pool filter and the microwave. All of this in just six short weeks! No one is ever excited when things break around the home, but it sure is nice when you have something to fall back on. A few deductibles later, and we’re off to swimming!

Capture

Here at EXAIR, we have a longstanding history of standing behind our products. We take pride in ensuring that we manufacture a quality product that will work for years on end, solving your problems. With our 5 year built to last warranty, we guarantee the performance of the product under normal operating conditions for 5 years. If during that time there is any issue relating to a manufacturing defect, we will repair or replace the item at no charge to you.

In addition, we also offer an unconditional 30 Day Guarantee for all of our stock products. We want to make sure you get the most out of our products and this 30 days gives you the time to test it out in your application. If you’d like to discuss a possible application, or have any questions about our Intelligent Compressed Air Products, give us a call.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

Image courtesy of Bill Wilson. Creative commons license.

Not All Suppliers Are The Same

Just last week I received a package on my front porch.  This was a replacement part for a tool which I purchased used, knowing it needed the part.  The trick is, I needed it a few months ago.  I ordered the part from the manufacturer directly on July 2, 2015.  This part was said to be in stock and would ship to my home from their location which was also in the United States.  I heard good things about the company and I bought the tool with confidence I could have the part and the tool fixed quickly. I thought, no big deal I will get it within a week, fix it, and then use it.

After not receiving a shipping notification and nothing showing up at my door for two weeks I decided to call the company.  I finally got hold of a customer service representative after I had to wade through the automated phone attendant.  The person explained that they had in fact received my order and they would try to ship it out the next day so watch my email.   Well, the next day came and when it was nearing the end of the day I decided to call in again since I had still yet to receive a shipping confirmation.  This time I got in touch with a different customer service rep who explained there had been a fire in their warehouse and that nothing was shipping that day or even that week.   The fire didn’t happen that day, it had happened over 2 weeks prior to that.   Instead of notifying me when I placed my order, or even when I called in the first time I was simply told incorrect information.   I gave them the benefit of the doubt and after discussing the issue the customer rep. told me they are doing their best to get items lined up and out as quickly as they can.  It should only be a few more weeks.

I accepted the explanation and began the waiting period.  a few weeks came and I received a back-order notification in the mail, still no notification of any sort stating they are not shipping any products out.  Few more weeks and another post card.   After the third post card I had almost forgotten about it.  Finally I received an e mail, my item had shipped.  Two days later it was on my porch and packed like any other shipment.  No explanation for the delay, no apologies, and as if it was just normal business for them.

I ordered the part on July 2nd,   I received the part on October 13th.  Needless to say, the quality is good but the customer service communication is fairly lacking.

I began to think about what we do at EXAIR, and came to the realization that if something like this had happened here we would have sent out an E-News, a simple e-mail, tell customers who call in, and other forms of communication to every last customer that had an order in and we would be notifying every customer that was placing new orders.  We would be up front with the information and we would not hesitate to apologize for the inconvenience.   We have had disruptive incidents in the past which we handled this way, this is just good business etiquette.  This goes hand in hand with the fact you speak to a human when you call in to our office, all stock products (and we stock it ALL) ship same day on orders received by 3 PM ET when shipping in the US, and we will give you updates via e-mail or phone however you prefer.   Then to top it all off, we will give you a 30 day guarantee and a 5 year built to last warranty on pneumatic parts.

30 Day Guarantee
30 Day Guarantee

So if you want to be informed, treated right, get the products you need in a timely manner, and get your problem solved, you have zero reason to go with anyone else.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

The (Not So) Dreaded Warranty Claim Call, Resolved

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about warranty claims…one, specifically, that I had recently received (it’s still worth a look even if you remember it well, just for another chance to see the old luggage commercial with the gorilla again.) I also advised my readers to stay tuned, which reminds me of another blast from my past as a kid who watched way too much TV in the early 1970’s…

same_bat-time_same_bat-channel

We did, in fact, receive and evaluate the failed Stay Set Hose. This is a formal process by which our Quality Control team analyzes all the information that I can give them as to the application, installation, and use of the product. They then perform a detailed inspection, evaluation, and test (if needed) of the product in question. I won’t say we never find manufacturing or assembly problems, but our records indicate we’ve never found the same one twice…we’re keenly aware that the first time may be a mistake, but the second time is a choice.

More often than not, we find the problem is due to easily correctable installation, operation, or air supply problems. In this case, when we inspected the bendable element, we could see that it had been subjected to an unsupported, twisting motion, which had fatigued it at the point where it was bent, and sheared it away from its internal connection.  The customer and I had already gone over the common best practices for their use (which included properly supporting the hose while bending…see pictures below,) so they got a replacement Stay Set Hose, and are back in operation.

Hose is being bent with one hand, with no support at the bending point.  DON'T DO THIS.
Hose is being bent with one hand, with no support at the bending point. DON’T DO THIS.
Hose is being held firmly at connection end, providing support for the element's connection inside the fitting.  DO THIS INSTEAD.
Hose is being held firmly at connection end, providing support for the element’s connection inside the fitting. DO THIS INSTEAD.

If you’ve got questions about how EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products…and accessories…can make better use of your compressed air, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
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The (Not So) Dreaded Warranty Claim Call

If you’ve ever worked in customer service or technical support, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that you’ve spoken with someone who isn’t getting what they wanted from your products and/or services. And no matter who you are, you’ve almost certainly spoken with someone you’ve bought something from, because you’re not getting what you wanted from it, right? And we can all (I hope) agree that there are MANY things we’d rather do than make…or receive…those calls.

I had the pleasure of assisting a customer yesterday who wasn’t getting what he wanted from an EXAIR product: in this case, it was one of our Stay Set Hoses. It seems that the bendable element inside had broken, meaning the Stay Set Hose was no longer “staying set.”  Since this unit had only been in service for about a month, I was anxious to know what would cause such a failure on a solid product with such a successful track record.  The caller was up front, early in the conversation, with his understanding that we can’t warranty against everything that a user might do to our products (the fact of the matter is, we do honor a 5 year “Built To Last” warranty against manufacturing defects,) and we shared a quick laugh because we both remembered this luggage commercial:

By this time, it was the best warranty claim conversation ever.

Flexible and durable, EXAIR Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6" to 36".
Flexible and durable, EXAIR Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6″ to 36″.

This particular Stay Set Hose was one of many in their plant, so we had a good discussion of some common best practices for their use:

*Keep bends as gradual as possible, especially if repositioning is frequent.

*Use two hands to bend the hose, as much as possible, to prevent/limit an excessive amount of leveraged force being applied to the connecting end of the bending element.

*When re-positioning is needed, do not grab onto the point of use device (Air Nozzle, Air Amplifier), but instead, use the spring relief as a grip to bend the blow off device into place.

*Keep in mind they’re PVC…temperature rating is 158°F. They’ll handle a fair amount of heat, but take advantage of their flexibility and bend them well away from any hot surfaces.

Like I said, this hose had only been in service for about a month, so we’re getting it back in the shop for failure analysis. Stay tuned for a future installment, where I’ll tell you how the rest of EXAIR’s warranty evaluation process works.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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What The 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee Can Do For You. And Us.

If you’re reading this, then we must have one thing in common: we’re regular visitors to the EXAIR Blog. I work with these guys, so, odds are, I’ve heard it before I read it (and I want you to know that’s not always a blessing), but I still read them…mainly for the pictures.

This has nothing to do with my blog, but it's just awesome.
This has nothing to do with my blog, but it’s just awesome.

The other day, Brian Farno wrote a great piece on how to use our 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee to “prove out” an application before ordering a custom made (and non-returnable) product. Some folks are hesitant to do this, because they feel bad about taking advantage of us – “gaming the system,” I’ve heard it called. Don’t. It’s still better for both of us than sticking you with something that doesn’t give the desired results, and you can’t return.

I helped a customer a while back with a static elimination application – they were interested in a 102” long Super Ion Air Knife…this was an ideal case where a 96” long unit could be used to test performance. This one turned out even better than anyone expected: they actually got the results they were looking for from the 96” Super Ion Air Knife, so we were all pleased.

Another benefit of the Guarantee is, we get to find out where things DON’T work. This can be just about as valuable as knowing where they DO work. I’ve gained many a potential customer’s trust by being up-front with them, and, if I know what DOES work, I’ll be happy to tell you where you might be able to get it. We all will…we want to be your first call for your compressed air application needs. Try us.

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/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

Try It; You’ll Like It

old-couch

In my continuing adventures of marriage, my wife and I are looking for a new couch.  We both had previous couches from our individual apartments that aren’t going to make the move with us to the new place.  My couch was purchased on clearance from a warehouse store, and didn’t make it six months before I had to reconstruct the 1X4, staple and glue construction.  The couch is less than comfortable to sit on properly, and it’s color, brown, does not fit into the décor of the living room or any room.  You get the picture.  I spent a tiny amount of money and it held up to a tiny amount of use.  I knew the couch wouldn’t hold up for very long when I bought it, but I definitely got what I paid for, and I will not make that choice again.  For one, I want a couch that is very comfortable.  Second, I don’t want to spend another perfect football Sunday shopping for a couch…(writer realizes his wife reads this)… not that it wasn’t a lovely day!

In her shopping, my wife found a company online that manufactures and designs couches inside the USA and allows you to try out the couch for 365 days before deciding, if you want to keep it.  It is amazing how much better I feel about spending a good amount of money on something I haven’t had a chance to see or feel, when I know I can send it back in a couple of weeks, if it doesn’t work out.  They even have designers that will help you pick out fabric and colors to match your room.

Obviously, this is EXAIR’s model inside the US and Canada.  We have a 30 day unconditional guarantee for you to try out our products.  We do this because we have such faith in our products that once you test the product, you will want to keep our products.  We also do this because we don’t want you to feel hoodwinked after a purchase and feel any buyer’s remorse.  If the product doesn’t live up to your standards, we would rather take it back than leave you with any bad feelings about EXAIR.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
davewoerner@exair.com
@EXAIR_DW