“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” is a well-known axiom in engineering & process improvement circles. We talk to callers every day who are keen on conserving compressed air use in their facilities by making a few tweaks, considering a complete overhaul, or more often, some point in between. Bottom line (literally) is, compressed air isn’t cheap, so small gains in efficiency can add up. And large gains can be complete game-changers…following our Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compressed Air System has resulted in users being able to shut down 50 and 100 HP air compressors, saving thousands of dollar A MONTH in operating costs.
Step #1 is measurement, and that’s where the EXAIR Digital Flowmeter comes in. They’re easy to install, highly accurate, extremely reliable, and available for just about any size pipe used for compressed air distribution. They can output a 4-20mA signal straight from their PCB board, or serial comms (RS485) through an optional control board. USB Data Loggers and Summing Remote Displays have proven to be value-added accessories for data management as well.
If you want to go wireless, we can do that too: using ZigBee mesh network protocol, a radio module is installed in the Digital Flowmeter with wireless gateway to transmit data to an Ethernet connected gateway. The transmitting range is 100 ft (30 meters,) and the data can be passed from one radio module to another, allowing for multiple Digital Flowmeter installations to extend the distance over which they can communicate with the computer you’re using for central monitoring. Advantages include:
Wireless capability is an option for EXAIR’s Digital Flowmeter’s. It is the efficient way to monitor your compressed air consumption wirelessly utilizing the ZigBee® mesh network. This is accomplished by a module located within the meter that transmits data to an ethernet connected gateway. Each meter has a range up to 100 feet (30 meters), however the ZigBee mesh network protocol is very versatile as it allows data to also be transmitted from meter to meter, effectively extending the distance over which the system can operate. So large facilities with great distances to cover are not a problem.
The Digital Flowmeter with Wireless Capability is offered in a kit with a wireless output flow meter, wireless to ethernet gateway, drill guide, power supplies for each component, and ethernet cable for gateway connectivity. These kits are best suited for new installations. They are also available without a gateway if you are simply adding an additional meter to a pre-existing Gateway in your plant. EXAIR simplifies this process by configuring each gateway to communicate with the flowmeter to provide the necessary communication for monitoring your system. Models from 1/2″ to 4″ iron pipe are in stock. 5″, 6″ iron pipe, copper pipe ranging from 3/4″ to 4″ diameter and aluminum pipe from 25mm to 101mm diameter are available with short lead time as a special product offering. Each digital flowmeter is calibrated for the pipe size to which it is mounted and the large digital display shows air use in either SCFM or Cubic Meters per Hour.
Setting up the EXAIR Digital Flow Meter with Wireless Capability is super easy. After the meter is installed download the graphing software from our website and install on your computer. There is also a video tutorial posted in the previous blog from Tyler Daniel, Video Blog: EXAIR’s New Wireless Digital Flowmeter Installation.
The Digital Flowmeter with Wireless Capability is designed for permanent or temporary mounting to the pipe. It requires the user to drill two small holes through the pipe using the optional drill guide which includes the drill bit and locating fixture. The two flow sensing probes of the flowmeter are inserted into these holes. The unit seals to the pipe once the clamps are tightened. No cutting, welding, adjustments or calibration are needed, ever! If the unit needs to be removed, blocking rings are available for the 1/2″ to 4″ iron pipe sizes from stock with other sizes available on short lead time as special orders.
This year EXAIR has introduced the new Wireless Digital Flowmeter. This meter is capable of monitoring compressed air consumption and transmitting the usage data to your PC wirelessly using ZigBee mesh networking protocol.
Each meter has a range of 100′ and allows for multiple meters to be installed on the same network, “piggybacking” off of one another. As long as the next meter is installed within 100′ of the first, you will only require one ZigBee gateway.
This video highlights the value and benefits of an engineered blow off solution. We take a homemade open pipe blowoff and replace it with an EXAIR model 1100 Super Air Nozzle. This air nozzle is then controlled through our Electronic Flow Controller, allowing for intermittent On/Off of the compressed air flow. And, these solutions are wirelessly monitored via Zigbee network using our Wireless Digital Flowmeter. Implementing these solutions results in a compressed air reduction of over 90%!!!
Full calculations along with supporting flow values (pulled from the same data shown in the video above) are shown below.
The open pipe:
The first compressed air flow values to show up on the EXAIR Logger are for the open pipe blow off. At 1 BAR operating pressure, this “solution” consumes 22.3 SCFM of compressed air. At a cost of $0.25 for every 1,000 cubic feet of compressed air, this nozzle will cost $695.76 to operate 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, 52 weeks per year.
The engineered EXAIR Super Air Nozzle
Model 1100 EXAIR Super Air Nozzles consumes 4.7 SCFM at an operating pressure of 1 BAR – a reduction of 79% compared to the open pipe. These savings prove out in terms of operating cost as well – $146.64 per year, compared to $695.76.
The engineered EXAIR Super Air Nozzle with Electronic Flow Control (EFC)
By controlling the “ON” time for this application with an EFC, we are only blowing for 32% of the time for each minute of operation which changes the required compressed air flow from 4.7 SCFM to a peak value of 1.5 SCFM. This control saves an additional 68% of compressed air flow. And, these savings are compounded by eliminating the need for constant compressed air flow. Total annual operating cost for the EXAIR 1100 Super Air Nozzle with Electronic Flow Control is just $46.80.
Implementing an engineered solution can have a TREMENDOUS impact on energy costs and operating costs in your facility. Compressed air is the most expensive utility to produce and consume, making the impact of proper solutions of high value to any business. Let us help you utilize engineered compressed air solutions in your facility by contacting an EXAIR Application Engineer today.