EXAIR Air Wipes

Super Air Wipe

Whenever I come across an extrusion application, I am reminded of an on-site visit I made with our Costa Rican distributor, Dansar Industries.  During our visit we reviewed a previously solved application problem in which an extrusion line was experiencing poor coolant removal and high noise levels.  The EXAIR Super Air Wipe installed in the application corrected the poor coolant removal problem, brought the noise level down, and lowered compressed air use.

The secret to offering such a solution was the ability of the distributor to spot the application and make a model number recommendation accordingly.  When walking through the shop floor of your facility, remember the following tenets when considering an EXAIR Air Wipe:

  1. The Standard Air Wipe and Super Air Wipe have the same performance. The choice of which to use is based on the material of construction for various components.
  2. A difference of ~0.5” (13mm) is ideal between the OD of the part and the ID of the Air Wipe.
  3. A difference that is larger than ~0.5” (13mm) can be acceptable in many applications, depending on speed of travel of the material, shape of the material, inlet air pressure, etc.
  4. For applications exceeding our largest Air Wipe diameters we recommend an arrangement of Super Air Knives and/or nozzles to provide a solution.
  5. Maximum line speed when using an Air Wipe must be determined through testing.

As with any EXAIR products, our Air Wipes are OSHA compliant and maximize force per volume of compressed air consumed.  If you have any specific questions regarding the use of an Air Wipe in your application, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

The (Not So) Dreaded Warranty Claim Call, Resolved

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about warranty claims…one, specifically, that I had recently received (it’s still worth a look even if you remember it well, just for another chance to see the old luggage commercial with the gorilla again.) I also advised my readers to stay tuned, which reminds me of another blast from my past as a kid who watched way too much TV in the early 1970’s…

same_bat-time_same_bat-channel

We did, in fact, receive and evaluate the failed Stay Set Hose. This is a formal process by which our Quality Control team analyzes all the information that I can give them as to the application, installation, and use of the product. They then perform a detailed inspection, evaluation, and test (if needed) of the product in question. I won’t say we never find manufacturing or assembly problems, but our records indicate we’ve never found the same one twice…we’re keenly aware that the first time may be a mistake, but the second time is a choice.

More often than not, we find the problem is due to easily correctable installation, operation, or air supply problems. In this case, when we inspected the bendable element, we could see that it had been subjected to an unsupported, twisting motion, which had fatigued it at the point where it was bent, and sheared it away from its internal connection.  The customer and I had already gone over the common best practices for their use (which included properly supporting the hose while bending…see pictures below,) so they got a replacement Stay Set Hose, and are back in operation.

Hose is being bent with one hand, with no support at the bending point.  DON'T DO THIS.

Hose is being bent with one hand, with no support at the bending point. DON’T DO THIS.

Hose is being held firmly at connection end, providing support for the element's connection inside the fitting.  DO THIS INSTEAD.

Hose is being held firmly at connection end, providing support for the element’s connection inside the fitting. DO THIS INSTEAD.

If you’ve got questions about how EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products…and accessories…can make better use of your compressed air, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
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Ion Bars Remove Static, Help Improve Labeling Quality

I worked with a customer recently who was experiencing a static issue when trying to apply a bar coded label to their cardboard box. The boxes travel down a conveyor then passes by a labeler that uses a mechanical arm with air vacuum to hold the label in place. As the box passes by a sensor, the arm applies the label to the corner (front and side) and then the box passes by an applicator brush that ensures the label is firmly applied.

box_label

They were starting to see wrinkles in the label as it passed by the brush and were thinking the label was holding a static charge which was making it be rejected by the box during the process. They were experiencing this about every other box. When it would occur, they would need to stop the line and manually check to make sure the label was seated properly. As a result, this was negatively affecting their production time and increasing wasted labels.

Since they thought it was the label holding the static charge, they wanted to use one of our Ionizing Bars to remove the static from the label as it was attached to the arm. The Ionizing Bar produces a high concentration of positive and negative ions able to dissipate 5 kV in 0.30 seconds, 2” from the object’s surface. It is also UL listed for safety and RoHS compliant.

Ionizing Bars Work

The customer is local, so they asked if someone from EXAIR could visit their location and take a look at their process. I was able to make the appointment for the next morning and brought a few of our Static Eliminating products and a Static Meter to take some measurements. By measuring within 1” of the surface of the product, the Static Meter measures the voltage and polarity up to +/- 20 kV.

Upon arrival, I was directed to the labeler and took a measurement – I was only getting a reading of about 0.2 kV. I then decided to take a reading on the box itself as it traveled down the conveyor. Now I was getting a reading of 3 – 5 kV, which meant that it was the box and not the label that was holding the static charge.

Since the customer could get within 2” of the surface of the box, they were able to mount a 6” Ionizing Bar vertically to remove the static prior to the labeling process.  This helped to greatly reduce the downtime of the line.

If you have a similar issue or would like to discuss your particular application, please contact one of our Application Engineers at 1-800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
JustinNicholl@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_JN

Step 1: Understanding The Demand On Your Compressor

The Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compressed air System are all based from the demand side of your compressed air system.   These all lead to saving money by reducing the energy demanded from your supply side of the system. The first step in understanding your demand side is to figure out how much compressed air is currently asked for and why are you asking the supply side for that air. This will allow you to gather information on where the savings are possible in order to make educated adjustments within your compressed air system.

So you would first want to start documenting your demand with a Usage Chart.   You will want to start a spreadsheet that has each point of compressed air use and quantify the volumetric flow, as well as operating pressure of the compressed air products in your system.  You will want to start at your compressor and follow the compressed air lines in to each drop that has a point of use, whether it is a Safety Air Gun being used by an operator, or a Super Ion Air Knife that is automated inside of the machine.  An example of the Usage Chart is below

Demand Chart

One note to add is that you can break the demand column into several different columns in case you have a variable demand location, such as a Non-Hazardous Purge Cabinet Cooler System where there is always a slight demand, but then there is a short burst peak demand when the enclosure needs to be cooled.

Once you have all of the point of use devices mapped out and charted on your Usage Chart, you can then begin to look at the areas you have for improvement.  For example, if you only have one location that needs a 5 psig higher pressure than everything else in the plant, that would be an ideal location to look at why you need the higher pressure.   If you can reduce your system pressure by 5 psig then you will save on average, 2.5% of the electricity used to drive your compressor.

If you see that you have a few areas with similar point of use devices but the usage is higher, then that is a prime location to start inspecting for leaks, a tool like the Ultrasonic Leak Detector makes this part easier than using soapy water to spray down each joint in a pipe.   On the same note, if you are able to reduce your system pressure by 5 psig then that is also going to reduce the amount of leakage throughout the system.

In order to determine what the usage of each point of use device can also easily be viewed and even recorded using one of our Digital Flowmeters w/ Summing Remote Display and Data Logger.   This device is offered in a range of sizes 1/2″ to 6″ iron pipe or copper pipe.

If you want to take the first step in optimizing your compressed air system and ensure that you are saving as much air as possible while compressing the least amount demanded by your system then feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Cooling Efficiently

Last week, I had the opportunity to work with a customer who was trying to cool a thermoformed film from 85° C (185° F)  down to room temperature, 21° C (69.8° F) or low enough for the package to be handled by an operator. This container was 270 mm X 170 mm X 100 mm (10.63″ x 6.69″ x 3.94″)

Thermoformed packaging

In applications like this, the customer often calls in with the idea of using a Vortex Tube to produce the cold air.  There are two reasons to use a different product than a vortex tube in this application. First, a vortex tube is only going to cool a small area, so to cool anything this size would take several vortex tubes.  Second, the cold air is going to mix with the ambient air very quickly. When the ambient air mixes with the cold air from the vortex tube, the air will lose the cold temperature generated by the vortex tube. To counter act this mixing, we have had customers create an insulated container to hold cold air from a vortex tube close to a product, similar to a cooling tunnel. This works in some applications, but my customer had a continuously moving line. He did not have time to stop the line and install insulation around each product.  He also didn’t have the length of conveyor needed to put a cooling tunnel over the line.

Super Air Knife Promo

Instead of using the vortex tube, I suggested that he use a 12” (305 mm) Super Air Knife to cool the thermoformed container. The 12” Super Air Knife moves significantly more air than a vortex tube over the surface of the part. Thanks to the 40:1 amplification ration of the Super Air Knife, it creates more cooling to the product and use less compressed air than a series of Vortex Tubes.  By mixing a large volume of free ambient air, that is the same temperature he needs to cool the part to, and a small amount of compressed air over the product they can easily cool their part to close to ambient so the operator can handle the part. The best benefit for this customer was they would not need change their manufacturing line.  The air knife is the best choice when cooling a very hot, fairly flat, large surface part to a temperature close to ambient. If you need to cool a product to a temperature lower than room temperature, then a vortex tube would be a great product to do the job.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

Cooling An Overheating Pneumatic Positioner

Pneumatic positioner

What can you do when the pneumatic positioner in your high temperature application is overheating?  Call EXAIR!

Or email (and call), as was the case in this application.  An end user in an overseas power plant uses a pneumatic positioner in their steam bypass system.  A pneumatic positioner can best be correlated to a PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) linear actuator.  It will take a supply signal of various forms and provide an output to an actuator or valve, most often to regulate pressure/flow.  So, why not just use a pressure regulator?  Because a pneumatic positoner can be programmed to respond differently to different inputs, and it can function in real time.  Meaning, that when the supply signal reaches a certain threshold the output action can be preset, adding precision to a pneumatically controlled application.  And, as application needs change, the adjustments can be automated.

Some pneumatic positioners are pneumatically controlled (the input signal is a compressed air pressure), but most are electronic.  The end user in this case was using an electrically controlled unit that was experiencing shutdown due to the high ambient temperatures.

When cooling in an application like this it is important to consider the needs (and restrictions) of the application.  To blow ambient air was not an option because of the high ambient temperature, so a Super Air Amplifier, Super Air Knife, or Super Air Nozzle weren’t viable options.  And, the pneumatic positioner was exposed to ambient conditions, with no intent to place within an enclosure.

The lack of an enclosure ruled out a Cabinet Cooler, but a Vortex Tube based solution was still possible.  When considering the heat load and required cooling capacity, the end user determined that with less than 200 BTU/hr. of cooling, the application should run flawlessly. This customer also expressed they may have fluctuations in there pressure supply, and ambient temperatures which would create the need to provide a larger Btu/Hr Vortex Tube in order toake up for lower pressures and increased temperatures. Our smallest Vortex Tube is capable of producing 550 Btu/Hr and was recommended for a successful application.

If you have an application problem in need of compressed air solutions, call an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

EXAIR Does The Ice Bucket Challenge

Many of us have had the opportunity to take the ALS ice bucket challenge outside of work. Once our own Professor Penurious took the challenge, EXAIR made it a bit more interesting for us…in exchange for our own cold selves.

Thanks EXAIR.

 

 

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