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

Super Air Knives Provide Needed Blow Off

Dust hood

I had the pleasure of working through an application in which uncooked hamburger buns are processed and baked.  In the application, dough patties travel along a conveyor into an oven and a small, targeted blow off (technical term: “fluff”) is needed to remove excess flour.

When the flour is blown off of the dough, it is extracted by a system mounted above the conveyor.  The difficulty for this end user was in finding a reliable, laminar solution with consistent blow off force.

Enter the EXAIR Super Air Knife.

By installing an EXAIR Super Air Knife (in the appropriate material), the uneven and inefficient blow off that was originally installed was replaced with a reliable and quiet solution.  We were able to take a problematic application and turn it into a repeatable process.  And, we were able to repeat success in another similar application at another point in the same facility.

If you have an application in which repeatable, reliable, efficient solutions are needed, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

EFC Can Provide Valuable Compressed Air Savings

I recently worked with a customer who was wanting to use one of our 72” Super Ion Air Knife is his paint booth application. He would be using the Super Ion Air Knife to remove any static build up and blow dirt/debris off ABS plastic molds (truck beds) prior to the paint booth. We were both confident the Super Ion Air Knife would perform in the application but he was concerned with the amount of air he would be wasting in between paint cycles. The paint time for each mold is 5 minutes and the blowoff time is 30 seconds, he was planning to leave the knife run during this time. This is an 8 hour per day operation, Monday – Friday, so this practice was going to lead to an expensive waste of compressed air*. I recommended that he incorporate our EFC (Electronic Flow Control) into his process.

Without using the EFC

(* Using $ 0.25 per 1000 SCFM used)

  • 72” Super Ion Air Knife = 208.8 SCFM @ 80 PSIG
  • 208.8 SCFM x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1000 SCFM = $ 3.13 per hour
  • $ 3.13 per hour x 8 hours = $ 25.04 per 8-hour day
  • $ 25.04 x 5 days = $ 125.20 per work week
  • $ 125.20 per week x 52 weeks = $6,510.40 per work year without the EFC control

The EFC is an electronic flow control that minimizes compressed air usage by incorporating a timing controlled (0.10 seconds to 120 hours) photoelectric sensor. The unit will turn off the compressed air supply when there are no parts present and provides an easy way to program the device to a specific application. The EFC offers an additional eight programmable on/off modes and is suited for NEMA 4 environments. It can also be easily wired for electric, 100-240VAC, 50/60Hz.

EFCp4

With the EFC installed (turning the air off for 4.5  minutes with a 30 second cycle time = 6 minutes/hour compressed air usage)

  • 208.8 SCFM x 6 minute x $ 0.25 / 1000 SCFM = $ 0.31 per hour
  • $ 0.31 per hour x 8 hours = $ 2.48 per 8-hour day
  • $ 2.48 x 5 days = $ 12.40 per work week
  • $ 12.40 per week x 52 weeks = $644.80 per work year with the EFC control 

$ 6,510.40 per year (w/o EFC) – $ 644.80 per year (w/ EFC) = $5,865.60 projected savings per year by incorporating the EFC.

This example illustrates, clearly, why choosing the EFC is a good idea. It has the ability to keep compressed air costs to a minimum and saves compressed air for use within other processes around the plant. With this type of compressed air savings, the unit would pay for itself in less than 3 months.

If you would like to see how we might be able to improve your process or provide a solution for valuable savings, please contact one of our Application Engineers.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_JN

Super Air Knife – Dip Tank Application

I took a call from a customer today who was having a problem with residual fluid “pooling” on top of their parts after a heat treat dip tank application. After the parts are treated and removed they have to be set aside for an operator to walk around the tray with an air gun and manually blow off the parts, resulting in the fluid ending up on the shop floor. They were looking for a solution to effectively blow off the residual fluid prior to the trays being removed, so they could recover the excess fluid back in to the process and their operator could tend to other areas of production.

Heat Treat Equipment

I recommended using 2 of our 30” Super Air Knives. The Super Air Knife produces a high velocity laminar sheet of airflow with a 40:1 amplification ratio (the ratio of entrained ambient air to compressed air) and only consumes 2.9 SCFM (per inch) @ 80 PSIG. Engineered for safety, they cannot be dead ended – meeting OSHA standard 1910.242(b) and they also meet the OSHA allowable noise exposure operating at a low 69 dBA (@ 80 PSIG).

Capture

By mounting 1 of the units on the front and the other unit on the back of the tank, they would be able to pass the tray through the high velocity airflow providing the desired blow off and recovery of the fluid. More importantly, the customer was able to eliminate the unsafe, wet floor, work environment.

If you have a similar application or would like to discuss your process, please feel free to contact us. We are always ready to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Bottling Line Can Run Efficiently by Taking a Few Simple Steps

I recently visited a local customer who bottles a liquid drink.  They do two different sizes, single serve and gallon bottles.  The main issues they were having is the gallon bottles were not dry enough after they come out of a cooling / rinse tunnel.  They currently had three different blow off devices in place outside of this cooling tunnel.  The cooling tunnel had hundreds of spray nozzles to both rinse and cool the gallons of liquid.

On the exit of the tunnel there was a blower driven air knife that was being powered by a high maintenance motor that was also sucking in non filtered air to blow the moisture off thee gallon jugs.  The blower was not producing high velocity air and the knife position could not be adjusted for maximum effectiveness due to the hard piping from the blower.

The bottles come out of the blower and go from a 60″ wide conveyor to a 24″ wide conveyor in about five feet of travel. The bottles are then funneled down even further into a single file line and then sped up and sent through two 90 degree bends to try and knock any residual water off them before going into the casing machine.

There were no other blow offs on the gallon line because they were concerned with their compressed air use.  The other two blow offs they had in place were on the single serve bottling line. On that line there were two points that had six separate clusters of a metal flat nozzle that was approximately 1″ wide and were all pointed at a different point of the cap to try and eliminate some moisture that would get trapped under the lip.

The single serve bottles would come out spaced approximately six inches apart but the nozzles were blowing continuously.  This was a very large waste of compressed air.  They could have very easily installed an EXAIR EFC on these supply lines to cut their usage by more than 50% of their current demand.   They then went past an open pipe blow off to help dry the final labeling point.   This was also on continuously which was another opportunity for air savings.

I recommended installing two Electronic Flow Control (EFC) units and replacing their existing nozzles and open pipe with the EXAIR model 1126 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle outfitted with swivels to allow them to be positioned properly to reach under the bottle cap. Proper positioning, in many cases, increases the effectiveness of the nozzles and can get the job done with fewer nozzles installed. In this application I am confident we can get that bottle cap area blown off with only 2 nozzles.

By eliminating excessive nozzles and cycling compressed air on and off only as needed, the customer saves compressed air. I estimated it was enough compressed air to install a 24″ Deluxe Super Air Knife Kit to blow down on top of the gallon containers, which is the primary reason they asked me to visit in the first place. This will not only give them the 24″ Super Air Knife, but it will also include the crucial EFC and a filter separator to clean the compressed air and a pressure regulator to adjust the pressure down to the minimum necessary for success. All of these factors contribute to optimizing compressed air and using it effectively within anyone’s plant:

  • Eliminate open pipes and ineffective blow offs
  • Turn off compressed air whenever possible
  • Keep it clean to reduce wear and maintenance
  • Adjust the pressure to a minimum level for success

This is just one location in the entire facility where implementing the Electronic Flow Control and EXAIR engineered nozzles will help the customer to optimize their compressed air use.

If you would like to learn more or have questions on any of the EXAIR products mentioned in this blog, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Once Again EXAIR Is First To Tackle The Impossible

That’s right folks, in case you haven’t seen, EXAIR is the first company to offer long length Super Air Knives in single piece construction.   You can now get up to a 108″ long Super Air Knife in Aluminum, 303 Stainless Steel, or 316 Stainless Steel as a single piece.

EXAIR's new 108 inch Super Air Knives

What does this mean for you, the customer? Well, a few of the benefits are a seamless airflow no matter how close your target is to the knife, easier plumbing of compressed air for uniform flow, easier mounting since no coupling brackets are needed to join the two halves together, and single piece shim construction for fewer parts overall.

We also offer these Super Air Knives with our Plumbing Kit Installed as well as with our Universal Air Knife Mounting System.  This means you can get from a 3″ to 108″ Super Air Knife in single piece construction ready to use and mount to your system from STOCK. These additional features will allow you time same time and resources upon receipt of your Super Air Knife.  If you have any questions on our long Super Air Knives or what product might fit your application, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Straight To The Source

201010-w-pies-aroma

This week I took a call from a bakery who was using an air knife to remove the left over crust in their silicone lined stainless steel baking pans. They purchased the air knife through a reseller who made the recommendation. They noticed there wasn’t much of an increase in velocity and little force coming from the exhaust side of the air knife so after several attempts at re-mounting the knife and adjusting the input air pressure, they still weren’t able to remove the remaining crust, so they returned the unit.

They called EXAIR looking for a recommendation and provided the part # for the air knife they had recently returned. It turns out that the air knife they returned was actually a 12” EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife. The Super Ion Air Knife provides a laminar sheet of ionized airflow, with a 40:1 amplification rate,  to remove a static charge from a process. I asked if the customer was needing to remove a static charge and their answer was simply, “No, we weren’t even using the ionizing feature”.

The customer mentioned the crust falls right out if a pan is turned over, the need for static elimination was most likely unnecessary. I recommended the same solution as the reseller, but without the static elimination qualities, the EXAIR Super Air Knife  can get the job done. After troubleshooting the lack of performance they experienced, I determined they were using quick disconnects and tubing, which per my previous blog titled “(Im)Proper Infeed Pipe Size For The Super Air Knife”, was incorrect.

SAK

The customer is going to re-pipe their supply line so I recommended re-ordering our 12” Super Air Knife. Since they already have an account with the supplier, they wanted to order through them. Of course this was perfectly fine but I reminded them we also sell factory direct and we make placing your order easy.

Regardless if you order your EXAIR product direct or from another source, we are always here to help troubleshoot your application to ensure you are achieving optimal performance.

If you have a current process or a new application that requires assistance, please do not hesitate to contact an Application Engineer.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
JustinNicholl@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_JN

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