At PackExpo last month, Parker Hannifin highlighted its Air Saver Unit, which allows for easy adjustment of impulsed air flow to blow off contaminants, clean, move, and agitate products. Additionally, the company launched an updated suite of 15 apps to help properly size compressed air devices to reduce energy and waste.
After a soft launch of its Air Saver Unit (ASU) this past year, Parker Hannifin is now promoting that the device also promises plant productivity gains on the factory floor.
Introduced from Parker Japan last year, the ASU allows users to eliminate the air that is wasted during constant blowing when blowing off chips, agitating products, PET bottle transfer, cooling, and cleaning, etc., says Rick Hand, marketing program manager for Parker’s Pneumatic Division North America.
“What this does is integrate a timing module into a directional control valve and it allows us to set a pulse rate that we can tune and adjust to the application so that we can go ahead and save that extra air,” Hand said. This could allow you to save up to 50% of wasted compressed air. And even if you’re only saving 10%, at 30,000 in.3, that’s a lot of air.
It is an energy-saving device, and more, Hand said. “What’s interesting to us is we’re selling it as an energy saving device, but we’re seeing productivity improvements at the customer level, because you can control the pressure and the flow and the pulse to give you more, give you less, vs. just having a constant.”
Through manual adjustment, ASUs can save energy by interrupting compressed air flow. These series of impulses are mechanically more advantageous because the ASU can recover during the “off” period of each on/off cycle. Thus, the air impulses are delivered with greater force than a steady stream of air.
“For years Parker has promoted good sizing practices, air audits, things that you can take onto the plant floor and look at as a way to save some money, because compressed air can be expensive if you’re not careful with it. We tend to add on and add on to a pneumatic system and the efficiency goes down and down and down as we do that if we don’t really pay attention,” Hand said. “The simple things in life sometimes are the things that are really beneficial. And when Parker came up with the Air Saver, it was like, ‘Why didn’t we think of this sooner? This is a no-brainer.’”
The Air Saver is available in port sizes ranging from M5 to 11/4 in. (5 to 530 cfm flow). Control is done through a pneumatic control or a solenoid version, said Hand. The device allows for adjustable pulse frequency and duty cycles. Additional features include a silicone-free grease version for paint shop applications and an on/off time adjustment needle.
Watch and listen as the Air Saver pulses to save compressed air in this demonstration at PackExpo:
To promote the productivity enhancements current users are seeing, Parker has updated its compressed air cost apps to help calculate the value this device can bring to an application, said Hand.
A collection of 15 new cost calculators, conversion tools and air valve (CV) and flow (scfm) calculations for air cylinder actuation is now available from Parker to determine everything from what a compressed air leak can cost you to how to properly size a component for your application.
“We took a look at what we’ve been doing for years with Excel spreadsheets and slide rules and all the other various methods for calculators and put it in a mobile platform,” Hand said. “We did add a value calculator for the Air Saver where if you know your orifice, your cycle and how long it’s going through the day, and if you understand what your electrical rate is, you can go ahead and do the calculations. The answer coming down to it really is going to give you what your footprint is, going to tell you how much CO2 you’re saving and all the things that go along with it.”
Parker is currently working with a couple electrical companies in the Pacific Northwest that are evaluating and proofing the value calculator, so that customers can obtain energy credits by using the ASU, Hand said. He expects that verifiable data will be available to promote in the next six months.
While this allows companies to be green, it also gives them easy and clear access to the supply chain. By knowing exactly what cylinder a user requires, it is easy to determine what valves, FRLs or any components are suitable, too. Additionally, you find out what is in stock, costs and lead time all through this mobile platform. “Ultimately, it comes down to efficient design, that’s what we’re really pushing and promoting here,” Hand concluded.
The suite of 15 tools include the following compressed air electricity cost calculators:
• Cost calculator for leaks
• Cost calculator for compressors
• Cost calculator for compressors <100% lead time
• Air flow through an orifice
• Vacuum flow through an orifice
• Cost calculator for reverse flow regulators
• Annual cost of air cylinder operation
• Pulse blow air saver
Two additional apps calculate cost savings due to using air economizing on vacuum and determine storage tank (receiver) size and capacities.
Four valve/FRL sizing programs are also included:
• Valve/FRL sizing for cylinder actuation
• Air flow Q (scfm) if CV is known
• CV if air flow Q (scfm) is known
• Air flow Q (scfm) to atmosphere
A final tool helps convert millimeters to inches, pressure of bar to psi and Nl/min to scfm.
The apps can be found and downloaded from the iTunes and Google Play stores by searching for “Parker PDN.” A desktop version is available at www.parkerpdncalc.com.