Multiple Products Provide a Solution to Improve a Laminated Sign Making Process

A manufacturer that produces laminated signs contacted EXAIR for a blow off application. Being that we are experts in this area, I thought this would be a simple solution. The conversation started out about the signs that they manufacture. They are laminated sheets that have a thin aluminum film with a coating on the front and back sides. Their process was to cut stacks of these signs that he called books to specific dimensions. Here is how the conversation went in a shortened version:

Problem –

  1. I need to blow off chips from the saw process.
  2. It has to be strong enough to remove the chips that are melted into the face of the laminate.
  3. When the blade gets dull, the chips become hotter. The operator has to blow on the blade as it is cutting to reduce the amount of chips that melt into the laminated face.
  4. After the machine finishes and the books are removed, the table lifts up and disposes of the excess chips.

Solution –

  1.  Model 1122 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle to blow a wide area off the top of the signs after sawing.
Model 1122: 2

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

2.  Model 5330 High Power Cold Gun with dual point hose to place on the saw blade. This will extend the life of the blade and help keep the chips cool. Eliminating the melting into the face.

5330 High Power Cold Air Gun

High Power Cold Gun System

3.  Model: 110248 Super Air Knife Kit to blow the chips from the table after it is lifted.

Super Air Knife

Super Air Knife

As you can see, with a simple initial question, it became complicated rather quickly. Instead of looking at one area of the application, I was able to improve their entire process. In any manufacturing plant, scrap and downtime are the two biggest culprits in reducing profits. The scrap occurred when the faces were scratched and damaged. The downtime happened during the cleanup between book change-overs and when the saw blades were being replaced. Overall, their process improved in efficiency and speed.

Whenever you need to look at the overall process for improvement, EXAIR may have multiple solutions to offer. You can speak to an Application Engineer to see how EXAIR can increase your efficiency and reduce your scrap. You can either call 800-903-9247 or send an email to

John Ball
Application Engineer

Full-Flow Air Knife Dries Copper Strip

Last week I was working with a customer who was using our 36″ Full-Flow Air Knife to dry a flat copper strip as it exited the rinse cycle of their process. The customer chose the Full-Flow design due to it’s small profile, making it easier to fit into the tight space available to mount to their machine. The customer stated that they flow tested the knife before installation and the knife “worked great” but once mounted, the flow was reduced significantly. They were thinking of returning the unit under our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee but I offered to help troubleshoot the unit to see if we couldn’t relieve their issue(s).


The Full-Flow Air Knife is available up to 36″ in either aluminum or 303ss construction.

When they tested the unit external to the machine they were using 1″ hose (our recommendation for a 36″ Air Knife) running to a tee, which stepped down to 1/2″ ID hose going to both rear inlets on the back of the knife. But when they installed the knife, due to space limitations, they reduced the main supply to 3/8″ tubing and plumbed only 1 inlet using a quick disconnect. This explained some of the low output flow with the unit. Using undersized supply lines and quick disconnect cause significant pressure drops due to their small inside diameters. When this occurs, you aren’t able to flow enough volume of air (SCFM) to the knife, which results in reduced performance and uneven flow.

The second issue was how they had the unit mounted to the machine. Wanting to keep the air inlets easily accessible, they mounted the face of the knife (the surface the compressed air runs along) right up to the outside wall of the machine, leaving just a small gap for the output flow and built a protective shield around the unit. The Full-Flow Air Knife will entrain 30 parts of surrounding, ambient air for every 1 part (SCFM) of compressed air used. With the unit being unable to entrain any free air, the output flow is further diminished.

How the Standard Air Knife Works

Illustration showing how the Standard and Full-Flow Air Knives operate.

After increasing the supply line to both inlets, removing the quick disconnect and protective shield and moving the knife back to allow for the air entrainment, the customer called back to advise that the strip was now completely dry.

If you are experiencing reduced performance or need help with the installation of your EXAIR product, give us a call at 1-800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer


Several Small Air Knives Remove Dust From Robot

We often are successful using a Super Air Knife to blow off product traveling on a conveyor or drying bottles in a labeling application. While these are common uses, sometimes we get a unique application that isn’t as clear cut a solution and requires several units and strategic placement to achieve the best result.

SAK drying parts on conveyor

Super Air Knife drying stamped parts on a conveyor

This was the case recently as I was working with a robotics company that was needing to contain debris inside a vessel as they removed a robot. They were needing to blow dust off all sides of the robot but had limited mounting space available to cover the round, 24″ diameter opening. Originally, they were considering using (4) 24″ Super Air Knives and mounting the units in a square pattern but were concerned that some parts of the robot wouldn’t be treated effectively and the air consumption might be too great.

I recommended they use (8) of our 9″ Super Air Knives and mount the units in an octagon type pattern around the opening. This setup would allow them to blow off the entire circumference of the opening, treating all sides of the robot from a relatively equal distance to achieve consistent results, as it is removed from the vessel. By going to several smaller knives, they would reduce the compressed air usage, making the operation more efficient. In addition, since they were only needing to blow dust off the robot, using a pressure regulator, they may be able to operate the knives at a lower pressure, further reducing the overall air consumption.


Our most efficient Air Knife, providing a high velocity airflow across the entire length of the knife. Available from 3″ up to 108″ in single piece construction.

If you have a specific application that requires assistance, please contact an Application Engineer at 1-800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer


Proper Plumbing Makes Full Flow Air Knives Operational

Full Flow Air Knives for plate drying

These EXAIR Full Flow Air Knives were in need of an EXAIR Application Engineer’s expertise

Sometimes we get calls or emails from our customers that need help.  Help can be in the form of product selection, heat load calculation, or proper installation.  I had one such interaction with an end user of our Full Flow Air Knives, using them in the manner shown above.

The problem they were having was poor flow and low force from the blow off.  We originally discussed the application over the phone, and after suspecting a plumbing issue may be at play, I asked for a photo.  I received a quick photo of their setup and immediately saw the two knives were poorly plumbed.  The clear/light blue hose, and the dark blue hoses in the photo just aren’t big enough for two knives of this size.

When installing any compressed air driven product, pressure and flow are the name of the game.  Sometimes, as in this case, there was good pressure at the gauge (which, if checked at the inlet of the knife would have shown a significant pressure drop), but there just wasn’t enough flow.  The root cause was diameter of the piping used to deliver the air from the main line to the point of use.

Once the compressed air line sizes were increased, the knives worked flawlessly and the end user could use them as intended – which was blowing debris off of a plate fed through the middle of the two knives.

If you have an application that you think may have a plumbing concern, or any other need for EXAIR products, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

A Sound Reckoning Of The Super Air Knife

In May of 1976, The Who performed a concert in London that Guiness’ Book of World Records used to certify them as the World’s Loudest Band. A sound level of 126 decibels was recorded and documented at a distance of 32 feet from the stage. That’s right at the boundary of the threshold of pain.  Which I’m sure is what they were going for.

There are a variety of charts available that relate common noises to the decibel levels they could be expected to produce. For instance, a DC-9’s engines produce a sound level of about 120 decibels at takeoff or landing. Now, imagine if such a plane were to land at the aforementioned concert: would the sound level, at a given distance, be equal to those two decibel levels added together?

The answer, of course, is no, because we’re talking about sound pressure level. It’s not EXACTLY the same as fluid pressure, but a decent analogy is that, if you have an air compressor supplying your system with 100psig compressed air, turning on your other, identical air compressor won’t result in 200psig in your system.

I mention this for a couple of reasons. One; I’m a BIG fan of The Who, and I heard one of my favorite songs of theirs on the radio this morning: “You Better You Bet,” from their Face Dances album, which came out in 1981 and hence would not have been played at the 1976 Loudest Band concert, but I digress.

The other reason is because of a conversation I had with a caller about the sound levels produced by our Super Air Knives. The published sound pressure level is 69 dBA. “dB” is short for decibels; “A” means the unit is weighted to express the relative loudness of sounds as perceived by the human ear. Anyway, the caller was interested in knowing how much louder our longer Super Air Knives were than their shorter counterparts. The answer is, of course, they’re not louder…for the same reason that your second air compressor doesn’t double the air pressure in your system, which is the same reason that the fictional jet landing at the rock concert wouldn’t double the sound level.

Now, a couple of things to consider: the sound pressure levels that we publish were measured at a distance of 3 feet to the side of the Super Air Knife. Sound levels at a closer distance, and/or in front of or behind the Air Knife, will be different. Also, the Super Air Knife was blowing into free air. If the air flow is impinging on a surface, there will be a sound level associated with that as well. If it’s in excess of the 69 dBA that the Super Air Knife is producing, then that’s what your ears are going to be subject to.

All things considered, though, the Super Air Knife is INCREDIBLY quiet, considering the amount of air flow it’s producing. The science behind this has to do with what makes them so efficient with their use of compressed air: their entrainment ability. The Super Air Knife’s design allows it to use the primary compressed air flow to entrain enormous amount of air from the surrounding environment. This entrained air not only multiplies the resultant flow rate produced, but forms an attenuating boundary layer, which effectively reduces the sound level produced by the high velocity compressed air.

The Super Air Knife entrains air at a rate of 40:1, relative to its compressed air consumption.

The Super Air Knife entrains air at a rate of 40:1, relative to its compressed air consumption.

If you’d like to find out more about how EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products such as the Super Air Knife can reduce your air consumption AND your sound levels, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Super Air Knife = HUGE Compressed Air Savings!

We deal with several unique and challenging applications on a regular basis and many times we field a request that falls right into our expertise, compressed air savings!

I was recently contacted by a customer who was looking to reduce the compressed air consumption in their separator cleaning operation. The separator is continually cleaned by using compressed air through a header with a series of nozzles attached. Their current air consumption was roughly 720 SCFM and there were 2 headers per separator or 1,440 SCFM total for the process. (As you will see, that is ALOT of compressed air!) The headers cover a width of 36″ and blow through perforated sheet metal to remove fiber glass from clogging the holes. They were considering switching to a blower system but wanted to avoid large capital costs and engineering fees so they called EXAIR for assistance.

I recommended the customer use our 36″ Super Air Knife which would reduce their air consumption to 104.4 SCFM (@ 80PSIG) or roughly 615 SCFM per header.


Available from 3″ up to 108″ in aluminum, 303ss or 316ss construction.

Using the average of $ 0.25 per 1,000 SCFM, I calculated the following potential savings:

1440 SCFM (current) – 208.8 SCFM (Super Air Knife) = 1231.2 SCFM saved

1231.2 SCFM saved X 60 (minutes) X $ 0.25 / 1,000 = $ 18.47/hr. saved

$ 18.47/hr. X 8 hour work day (assumed) = $ 147.76/day saved

$ 147.76/day X 5 day work week = $ 738.80/week saved

$ 738.80 x 52 weeks per year = $38,417.60 annual savings

For this customer, these 36″ Super Air Knives will pay for themselves in less than 9 days!

This provided the customer with the compressed air savings they were hoping to achieve, plus saving the capital and engineering dollars to spend elsewhere in the plant. Not to mention saving the amount of valuable space they would need to dedicate to a blower system and maintenance required to keep the unit operational.

Based on the way our customer described the application and our knowledge of what it takes to solve an application successfully, this was another case of a customer providing significantly more compressed air than necessary to get the job done. The customer has ordered the units and is currently in the process of testing it under our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. To see how we can help optimize your current system, give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer



Turbulent vs. Laminar Flow

I visited my family in Kentucky, and we went to the spillway at Cave Run Lake in the Daniel Boone National Park.  At the beginning of Licking River, there is a large pipe that drains from Cave Run Lake.  Kentucky had quite a bit of rain and the lake was very full.  The pressure from the lake was pushing lots of water through the drainage pipe.  It emptied into a cement channel and then into the mouth of the river.  As seen in the picture below, the water behaves violently as it exits the pipe and goes into the channel.  This turbulent state is loud and chaotic, and you can see the waves traveling upstream.  After the channel, the water transformed, and the river was quiet, calm and all flowing in the same direction.  This helped me to create a visual on how compressed air must look.


From Channel to River

From Channel to River

Turbulent Water from Pipe

Turbulent Water from Pipe


Even though we cannot see compressed air, it follows the same rules as a fluid.  Like the water coming out of the drainage pipe, the turbulence represents the flow of compressed air from an open pipe or copper tube.  The noise was extremely loud and the water was traveling side to side and back on itself.   You can see the inefficiency.  But after the channel, you can see the transformation to a laminar state.  EXAIR Super Air Knives and Super Air Nozzles do this with compressed air.  The laminar flow of air is quiet, and it efficiently works together.

Turbulence is useful for mixing, but horrible for reducing noise and effective blowing, very similar to the violent action of water flowing from the drainage pipe. You can replace an open pipe with EXAIR air nozzles to achieve the same laminar flow.  Then you can reduce the noise level, and the amount of compressed air being used.  To get the most out of your compressed air system, the EXAIR Super Air Knives and Super Air Nozzles are the products to use.   contact our Application Engineers now to discuss the amount of noise reduction and cost savings you can achieve by using EXAIR products.



John Ball
Application Engineer


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