EXAIR Super Air Wipe Greatly Increases Productivity & Saves Money!

Late last year I received a call from a customer that was using EXAIR Super Air Knives to create an air curtain that protected the lens on their Robotic Welders from weld spatter.  The EXAIR Super Air Knife accomplished this by virtue of its design to deliver a uniform sheet of laminar air flow across its entire length.  While this greatly improved the life of the welder lens and reduced maintenance time, further improvements were needed.

The event that triggered this was the challenge they received from their customer (one of the big 3 automobile manufacturers) to increase their output of welded seat frames by 50%.  While the EXAIR Super Air Knives greatly reduced lens maintenance the consensus was further improvements would facilitate the goal of increasing output 50% .

Super Air Knife laser application
Using the Super Air Knife to protect the welding lens

 

This started the discussion on the possibility of using the EXAIR Super Air Wipe, even though it is primarily used for drying/cleaning of long continuous flow products its airflow pattern (see illustration below) was able to direct the weld splatter down and away from the lens.  This ultimately proved to be more effective at protecting the lens than the laminar air curtain provided by the EXAIR Super Air Knife.

Air Wipe - how it works
Air Wipe – How it work

The installation of the EXAIR Super Air Wipes started on 12/16/2017 and was completed on 12/23/2017. The original production rate was 480 pair of SUV rear seat frames per day running 3 shifts 24/6.

Laser Above SAW Front
Robotic Welder fitted with EXAIR Super Air Wipe

After the Installation of the EXAIR Super Air Wipes, they had improved the production rate to 750 pair/day running 3 shifts 24/5 days per week.  That equates to a productivity increase of 156%, far exceeding the goal of 50%!

Before using the EXAIR Super Air Wipe their maintenance department would clean the Cover Slide on the Laser Welding Head – 3 times per day at approximately 20 min x 3x daily x 6 days / week 6 hours / week.  “With the EXAIR Super Air Wipe we found that we can weld for 10 days before cleaning the Cover Slide” says the customer.

Each Cover Slide costs $195 and those were being replaced weekly, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that only a small amount of dust collects on the Cover Slide now, which is cleaned off in less than a minute

In 10 weeks of Operation they have not replaced a single  Slide since the EXAIR Super Air Wipe has nearly eliminated pitting from the weld spatter.

Also, Cleaning of the Slides is now performed on Saturday’s at the leisure of the maintenance team and not under the strain of production time. The Labor Rate for Maintenance is $75/hour x 6 hours/week = $450 X 50 weeks/year $22,500 plus the cost of the replacement windows at $195 each x 25 weeks = $4,875 savings per year.  Total savings after implementing the EXAIR Super Air Wipe = $27,375 per welding machine!

With the maintenance & replacement cost savings alone it is an easy calculation to make on the purchase of the EXAIR Super Air Wipe’s. That figure is not counting the productivity increase of 156% which allowed them to meet their customers delivery schedule and reduce overtime!

If you would like to discuss increasing the efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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Cool Job, Cool Products

I’ve got a pretty cool job. I’ve written about this before…in fact, as recently as last week, in a piece about workplace safety, and how EXAIR is all over it, all the way. Brian Farno also blogged the other day about how EXAIR recognizes, appreciates, and celebrates achievement. Like usual, actually.

So yeah; this is a pretty cool job. And, just to put that into perspective, my first “grown up” job set the bar pretty high: upon completion of Naval Nuclear Power School, I was assigned to the initial manning crew of a new construction Trident submarine. When I got there in the spring of 1987, “tha thirty-five boat,” as the future USS Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) was known, was ON the pier (not NEXT to it) and we boarded through hull cuts in Engine Room Lower Level & the Torpedo Room. For two years, we worked with shipyard personnel to install, test, & certify all ship’s systems, and then took her out in the summer of 1989 for a rigorous series of sea trials. I wish there were words capable of conveying the extent of “job satisfaction” we felt when we submerged for the first time, and the whole ocean stayed outside the boat.

I was reminded of this the other day when I saw a news account of the bow section of a submarine being transported via barge from the shipyard that fabricated this section, to the shipyard that’s assembling the boat. Here’s a video clip of one such transit, from about a year ago:

I’ve written before about how compressed air is (and isn’t) used on board a submarine at sea. Compressed air is also used, for some pretty neat stuff, in their construction & service. And EXAIR Compressed Air Products are in the mix:

*Sometimes during work on a piping system, it’s not possible to isolate a particular section with valves, so a freeze seal is applied: a collar fits around the outside of the pipe, and very cold fluid is circulated through the collar. This freezes the liquid inside the pipe, forming a “plug,” which allows you to work on the piping downstream, just the same as if you had shut a valve there. One method of doing this is with liquid nitrogen…you take a big tank of the stuff to your work site, implement all the safety precautions you need to handle pressurized liquid at -321°F (spoiler alert: it’s complicated,) make up your connections, hope they don’t leak, and activate the system. Depending on the length of the job and the size of the tank, you may need to change it out…which, again, is complicated.  And yes, I’ve done it.

It's a real shame to foul this view with a block & tackle to lower a pressurized nitrogen tank down.
It’s a real shame to foul this view with a block & tackle to lower a pressurized nitrogen tank down.

Or, like several shipyards are doing currently, you can install an EXAIR Maximum Cold Temperature Vortex Tube to the collar, run a compressed air line to it, and you can supply cold air as low as -40°F, which will freeze a plug in that pipe for as long as you keep your air compressor running.

Vortex Tube
EXAIR Vortex Tubes produce cold air, on demand, with no moving parts.

*Another application has to do not with the equipment, but the people working on it. Welding is a hot job – there’s really no way around it – and welding in tight spaces can present real issues for the folks involved. Fans and blowers can provide a good amount of ventilation, but they also take up some room, which there may not be any to spare.

Enter EXAIR Air Amplifiers – they’re compact, lightweight, and use a small amount of compressed air to blow a high flow of cooling air, right where it’s needed.

EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.
EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.

These are just a couple of examples of how a large industry – shipbuilding – is using EXAIR products to capitalize on efficiency in a challenging environment. Regardless of your situation, if you’d like to learn if EXAIR can help out, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Up Ladder courtesy of Russ Bowman  Creative Commons License

EXAIR Vortex Tubes Reduce Cooling Cycle Time

In a recent phone call with an end user of EXAIR products, we discussed an automotive application within a robotic welding cell.  In this application a series of Fanuc robot arms orient front and rear doors for welding.  After the welds are complete the pre-EXAIR cooling cycle time was more than desired, so Vortex Tube options were explored.

The target cycle time for cooling each weld was 1.5 seconds.  In order to do so, the application needed to be able to quickly produce cold air flow, and required the solution to be lightweight (as to not place excessive torque strain on the robot) and portable within the work cell.

What we found was that the large EXAIR Vortex Tubes would have enough cooling capacity to remove the heat from the welds in the proposed time, but testing needed to be done to confirm.  So, medium sized Vortex Tubes were chosen to prove the concept of vortex-based cooling.

Robot VT 2
Test model installed on the robot

To test the concept, a medium sized Vortex Tube was installed into the application.

Robot VT
EXAIR Model 3299 Vortex Tubes installed in robot welding cell

After positive results from the testing, (3) model 3299 EXAIR Vortex Tubes were installed into the application.  With the installation of these Vortex Tubes the cycle time was brought within spec and the operations increased throughput.

If you have an application in need of instantaneous cold air, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to discuss our Vortex Tubes.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE