WHY Compressed Air Optimization?
Compressed air is a useful but costly utility and optimizing its use should be a priority for any manufacturing operations. Optimization does not mean eliminating compressed air use because that can also cause a negative outcome.
Replacing compressed air with blowers, for example, may work in some applications but in others, it can actually slow down output or simply not do the job as well. Compressed air is relatively benign, easy to use, and flexible. Compressed air operated equipment is generally much simpler, compact, rugged, and portable than other options which should also be considered depending on the application. For these reasons, 70% of usable compressed air is still used extensively worldwide for blow off and cooling applications.
Compressed air, however, does have two issues: cost and noise. Optimizing compressed air addresses these issues. Along with Nex Flow™ energy saving and noise-reducing air amplification technology, its vortex tube cooling technology and air moving products, the following products can assist in compressed air optimization:
The Nex Flow™ Digital Flow Meter is an easy way to monitor the air consumption of a particular compressed air line in your factory system. While we offer models in the 1” to 2” range as the most popular common sizes, Nex Flow™ can provide systems form ½” to 6”. Each flow meter is pre-calibrated for a particular pipe size where it is applied. Each flow meter has an LED display to monitor the compressed air consumption. A remote display is also available to indicate the current air consumption, usage over the previous 24 hour period and cumulative usage amount. A data logger is also available to record the flows from once a second to up to once every 12 hours. Collected data can be viewed on a computer with supplied software or exported to an Excel file. By monitoring the flow rate on each major leg of a factory compressed air system, the company can get an idea of real compressed air usage and address possible areas of improvement, as well as identify any changes from their standard consumption.
Compressed air exhaust can be noisy. Nex Flow™ air amplification products reduce noise levels dramatically but not all areas of their application are readily identified because they are hidden from view or just missed. By monitoring the noise levels caused by compressed air, areas previously missed can be identified. Because high levels of noise for an extended period of time can lead to ear damage if not proper hearing protection is worn, The Nex Flow™ Digital Sound Level Meter can help identify high levels to protect workers and monitor noise levels to ensure they do not exceed limited shown in OSHA standard 29 CFR – 1910.95 (a) which limits an 8 hour exposure of constant noise to 90 dBA. The Nex Flow™ Digital Sound Level Meter is accurate and measures and displays the sound level on a large LCD display. A fast/slow response button gives you a choice for slow response measurements for stable noise or fast for varying noise levels. The maximum hold setting will provide the highest noise level and will update continuously if a higher noise level comes into play. If you need to keep a record of sound measurements a complete data logging system is available. Any high sound measured from the exhausting air can be addressed using mufflers on cylinders. Any identified blow off can have sound reduced with low-cost air amplifying nozzles.
Plug & Play System to Control Compressed Air Use in Blow-off and Cooling to Conserve Energy
One advantage using compressed air is that it is instantaneous on and off and need only be used when required. When not used, no energy is expended. The Nex Flow™ PLCFC is a prepackaged plug and play sensing system that turns on the air supply when needed and off, when not needed, conserving energy. It is designed especially for all types of blow off applications. It is preset to “sense” when the unit should turn on to allow air flow and then, after the product passes, to turn off after two seconds. It can be re-programmed as necessary.
Powerful, Easy to use Hand Held Leak Detector to Find Compressed Air Leaks
One of the greatest sources of energy loss in a compressed air system, in fact, often the greatest loss, is simply from compressed air leaks. A routine audit using a quality ultrasonic leak detector can identify sources of leaks that can then be repaired. There are numerous ultrasonic leak detectors on the market ranging from very low cost to very high-end units that can even calculate the cost of a specific leak. But for maintenance personnel, the following features are important in the choice of a leak detection instrument:
- Unit should be accurate and easy to use
- The ultrasound must be “heard” above the factory noise
- The unit should be flexible to reach hard to measure areas.
The Nex Flow™ Ultrasonic Leak Detector incorporates these important features. It has a very narrow frequency range to identify a true air leak and not a mouse running. This is especially important in hard to get to areas and to be certain that the identified leak is really a leak. Factory noise can be very loud and using Walkman-style headphones will not drown out such extraneous noise. The Nex Flow™ system has quality headphones to drown out all major factory noise so the person can easily hear the sound being picked up by the unit. As for flexibility, the Nex Flow™ Ultrasonic Leak Detector has the sensor at the end of a flexible tube. This way the unit can measure around corners and get to hard to reach areas and identify possible leaks. The unit is battery operated, with volume control, and easy to operate. Simply turn it on and “listen”.