Pulsing compressed air can often reduce overall compressed air capacity when using the correct system. to pulse there are three alternatives:
- Pulsing with traditional solenoid valves reduces overall use but, also is highly subject to back pressure so there is a significant reduction as well in force. The same savings can be realized by just reducing the air pressure, And if lower pressure works for the application, it is more economical to use Nex Flow energy saving nozzles. Solenoids also have high maintenance to keep them operating optimally.
- Special pulse systems have been developed to pulse the compressed air but with similar pressure drops to solenoids. They can save a significant amount of energy but, can still be subject to back pressure negating much of their air saving effect. Still, air savings from 20% to 50% are still possible. These systems, as with solenoids do not have a builtin system to turn off when not needed and cannot because of limited response time. They are also limited to frequencies of 15 hz. As with solenoids, a high level of maintenance is required.
- The Nex Flow® KTW Air Flow Saver system incorporates new “patented”real-time valve technology. Because of fast response, the units can operate at higher frequencies (up to 40 hz) and address faster line speeds. It also has a secondary setting to turn on and off to ONLY operate when the blow off is required. This high response time not only increases the pulsing “force” for better blow off and/or cleaning action but also allows for immediate on and off control when the product is “not there” and blow off is not required. This can realize energy savings of well over 50%. Even without this on-off control, due to lower sensitivity to back pressures, it allows for greater energy savings compared to older pulsing technology. Combined with air nozzles, and air knives, even additional savings can be realized.
Air equipment 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.
The Nex Flow® Digital Sound Level Meter can help identify high levels of sound to protect workers and monitor noise levels to ensure they do not exceed the limited standards 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.
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, thereby 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.
One of the greatest sources of energy loss in a compressed air system is simply from 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 sample headphones will not drown out such extraneous noise. The Nex Flow® system has quality noise-canceling 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”.
WHY is Optimization Needed?
Compressed air is a useful but costly utility, and optimizing its use should be a priority for any manufacturing operations. Optimization is not the same as elimination 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 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 this usable equipment is still used extensively worldwide for blow off and cooling applications.
There are two rather important issues when it comes to using compressed air, , which are cost and noise. These issues are solved with Along with Nex Flow® energy saving and noise-reducing air amplification technology, vortex tube cooling technology air moving products, and the following products can also assist in compressed air optimization: