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Thorite top tips

Thorite Top TipsFor effective manufacturing processes.

Pumping and Fluid Handling Top Tips
Air Compressors and Compressed Air Systems Top Tips
Air Line Processing Top Tips
Pneumatic Control Top Tips
Vacuum Systems Top Tips
Air Tools Top Tips

Pumping and Fluid Handling Top Tips

  • Increase pipe size for better pumping efficiency. Increasing the fluid inlet suction hose/pipe to a diaphragm pump by one size improves flow performance dramatically for fluids with high viscosity.
  • How much air is required to operate a diaphragm pump? Rule of thumb: 1 gallon of fluid = 1 cubic foot of air e.g. 15 gallons per minute is roughly 15 CFM - simple!
  • Bigger pumps run longer with abrasive products. Increase your air operated diaphragm pump by one size for abrasive fluid and/or higher duty cycles. The reduced cycle rate can extend the pump life by 4 & 5 times.
  • Correct lubrication of diaphragm pumps. Lubrication oil must be 'non detergent' oil. Reason: detergent additives disintegrate O rings in the pump. For air operated diaphragm pumps the lubrication oil should be 90 weight oil, this will not pass through micro-fog lubricators so always use oil fog lubricators.
  • Convert your process valves don't replace. A manual valve can often be converted to actuated for difficult or inaccessible areas.
  • Lift up your source. When pumping fluid, raising the fluid source higher than the pump improves flow.
  • Sweep your elbows away. Sweeping bends used in fluid transfer lines improve performance compared to elbows.
  • 3 piece process valves - a better alternative. 3 piece valves are much easier to service than 2 piece valves.
  • Alternative actuation sources. In process valve applications sometimes the fluid being controlled can be used for the actuation e.g. water.
  • Clever use of 'waste air'. The exhaust air from an air operated diaphragm pump can be used for aeration/agitation of effluent sumps or silt pits.
  • Beware of lengthy fluid transfer pipe runs. Long pipe runs with an isolation valve at the end can be the cause of fluid expansion and damage to pump and pipe work.
  • Controlled efficiency for diaphragm pumps. The best way to control a diaphragm pump is with a fluid isolating valve fitted downstream of the pump. This does not damage the pump and does not consume compressed air, even though it is pressurised.
  • Water in air - a dead give away. Wet air indicates your dryer is either under sized, needs servicing, or the by-pass has accidentally been left open.

Air Compressors and Compressed Air Systems Top Tips

  • Reduce air leakage - the largest waste of compressed air. Have an ongoing test and repair programme for leaks, as leaks can reappear and the equivalent of a 3mm hole could cost as much as £2,200 per annum in wasted energy.
  • Simple compressor check. Whilst no production is taking place, use a stopwatch to compare the percentage the compressor is on-load to off-load. The percentage on-load is likely to be compressed air leakage.
  • Pressure boosters, a different solution. If a higher pressure is required for one application/machine, fit a pressure booster rather than run the whole system at higher pressure.
  • Weekend or night shift with a much smaller air demand? No sequence controller? Then manually change the lead machine to the smaller compressor for much better efficiency and cost savings.
  • Divert your hot air away. Do not have compressor radiators directed towards air receivers and/or dryers. The result is higher water vapour carryover. Simple.
  • Ever thought about simply producing your own nitrogen? 80% of compressed air is nitrogen. Thorite can supply nitrogen generators - call for details.
  • Compressor check - use a stopwatch to gain a quick comparison of the time a compressor is on-load to off-load, to determine if your compressor is overworked.
  • Lower your running pressure. Running air cylinders at a lower pressure can speed up cycle times, reduce air consumption and improve life cycle.
  • Compressed air savings. Manually isolate the air supply to a production line when not in use to save on wasting compressed air feeding air leaks that cannot be heard.
  • Stainless steel - better for the cold. Brass ball valves fitted outside in freezing weather sometimes split open with freeze expansion. Use stainless steel instead.
  • Compressors condensate the law and you. It is illegal for untreated compressor condensate to go straight to drain. Fit a condensate separator today and be totally legal.
  • Make use of the heat generated by air compressors. Over 80% of the energy used in compressing air can be utilised for space heating, or to heat water. Call us to find out more.
  • Always use a gauge. Fitting differential pressure gauges to compressed air filter housings provides an easy indicator of when filter elements need replacing.
  • Reduce your factory air main working pressure. For a typical screw compressor operating at 8 bar, for every 0.5 bar reduction in pressure, the compressor will require 3-4% less energy.
  • Meech air movers and amplifiers save 70% of compressed air. Install Meech air movers where you previously operated with open ended compressed air lines for blowing, cooling, drying, or cleaning, again saving 70% of your compressed air consumption.
  • Automatic isolation of machinery. Fit auto shut off valves on machine compressed air inlet supplies so the machine is not using any air whilst not in production.
  • Meech blow guns - up to 70% savings! Replace all your blow guns with the Meech blow gun with integral air saver nozzle and save up to 70% of your compressed air consumption.

Air Line Processing Top Tips

  • Norgren Olympian FRL - assembly made easy! Place a small amount of grease on the O rings before clamping the locking ring together, nightmare gone.
  • Food processing compressed air quality. 0.01 micron filtered air is not acceptable (refer to British Retail Consortium guide) for direct/indirect contact with food. Have you checked your filters lately?
  • FRL spares - solve flow and pressure reduction problems. Clogged up and sodden filter elements in filter bowls can naturally restrict airflow and create a pressure drop. Carry a stock of filter elements and run scheduled checks.

Pneumatic Control Top Tips

  • Health and safety issues? - Machinery guard safe systems. Often a simple roller lever valve and an emergency stop valve in the circuit can turn a potentially hazardous machine into a safe one.
  • Size your pipe correctly and save air. Reduce pipe runs and diameters to a minimum on small cylinders, as the pipework can consume more air than the cylinder.
  • Norgren soft start dump valves - multiple benefits and savings. Protect your machinery and equipment by zoning your ring mains with soft start dump valves.
  • Norgren smoothline cylinders - the factory wash down solution. Install Norgren smoothline cylinders on all wash down applications and wash down areas and remove the places where nasties, bacteria etc, can remain.
  • Health & safety issues? - Two handed start control. A two hand start valve is the fool proof way which makes it impossible for a machine operator to turn on his machine with one hand leaving the other free.
  • The nightmare of getting nylon braided tube on a hosetail. Place nylon braided hose end in boiling water to soften it and help it slip onto a hosetail with ease.
  • Air leaks - a common hotspot. Leaking/faulty quick release coupling or a push in fitting can be a huge energy drain. Carry a small stock of these low cost items for immediate replacement.
  • Compressed air not always the answer. Where no compressed air is available for actuation, there are electric actuator equivalents.

Vacuum Systems Top Tips

  • Vacuum pump problem indicator. Close the vacuum inlet on the pump - if the pump's vacuum gauge is showing the correct level, the problem is downstream and not the vacuum pump at fault.
  • Go automatic on vacuum and save! A lot of vacuum pumps can be changed to automatic stop/start. The result is significant energy and service cost savings.
  • Which vacuum pump to use? A simple guide... Rule of thumb: dry application = dry pump. Wet application = lubricated pump.

Air Tools Top Tips

  • Invest in ergonomic air tool accessories. Ergonomic air tool accessories avoid operator injuries and prevent large compensation claims.
  • The clue is in the speed. Listen - if an air tool starts at a slightly higher pitch noise and then lowers within a couple of seconds, the air hose bore is too small and the air tool is not running at optimum performance.
  • Maintain correct line pressure for air tools. Always use a pressure regulator for air tools and regulate them down to a pressure just sufficient to power the tool - usually 90 psi (6 bar). Doing this helps immensely with energy cost savings.
  • Get your speeds right. Selecting the correct speed of air drill for the hole size makes for more efficient working and extends the service life of drill bits.
  • Lubricate your air tools! Most air tools and air motors definitely needs lubrication to avoid unnecessary maintenance costs - fit a lubricator today.
  • Air fuses - the only safe way. Make safe and ensure no more snake whipping of your flexible airline by installing air fuses to all flexible lines connected to air tools, spray guns and blow guns.
  • Take the fatigue out of air tool use. Fitting of a 'Z' swivel joint makes the air tool much easier and lighter to handle, and helps with ergonomic issues.
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BCAS - British Compressed Air Society -- EEF - The Manufacturers' Organisation -- CHAS - The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme -- SafeContractor Approved