Cooling Fabric with a Super Air Knife Increases Production Speed

Super Air Knife has 40:1 Amplification Ratio

Super Air Knife has 40:1 Amplification Ratio

I received a call from a customer in the textile industry. The customer was producing a fabric that ends up being used for furniture.  The fabric varied in width between 4 feet (1.2 meters) and 6 feet (1.8 meters) wide.  In one of the processes, the material went through an oven to be heated to 200 deg. F (93 deg. C).  This would “set” a fire retarding chemical compound in the fabric.  As the fabric web exited the oven, they needed to cool it to roughly 120 deg. F (49 deg. C) so it could be handled by the operators.

The customer tried their luck at designing a duct that was seven feet (2.1 meter) long by one foot wide (30.5 cm) by one foot tall (30.5 cm).  At the bottom of the duct, they cut one inch wide (2.5 cm) slots along the length in an attempt to create a wide airflow across their material.  The large metal box (ducting) was suspended across the fabric and oriented to blow air straight down onto the material.  On the open end of the metal box, they mounted a fan to blow air inside with the intention that the slits in the duct work would direct the air from the fan onto the fabric.

Their idea worked to some small degree, but the cooling results were simply too little to continue with this kind of solution. Fortunately, the customer knew about EXAIR Corporation and they contacted us to see if we could help. Because they needed to provide additional time for the fabric to cool, they slowed their line speeds down to 20 yards/min (18 meters/min). It was obvious that they wanted to increase the throughput if they could.

In order to increase throughput, we needed to figure a way to increase the cooling rate.  To increase the cooling rate, we can either use colder air or more air.  Given the wide format of the material, the best decision for this application would be to blow more air across the target material.  The Super Air Knife has a 40:1 amplification ratio.  For every 1 part of compressed air, it will entrain and move 40 parts of ambient air to the target surface.  The result is that a larger volume of air hitting the surface of the material.  More volume hitting the target means we can cool it quicker.  I suggested a model 110272, 72″ Super Air Knife Kit to span across the different width of fabrics.  It can be mounted across the width of the material and set at a 45 degree angle to the material in a counter flow orientation. The reason for the angle and the counter-flow orientation are to enhance the cooling effect provided by the Super Air Knife. Orienting the Super Air Knife at a low angle allows for the flow coming from it to stay in contact with the material web for a much longer period of time.

By removing the fan with the duct work and installing the Super Air Knife, they found they could increase throughput to 30 yards / min. (9.2 meters / min). A 50% increase. The customer was thrilled about the significant increase as this was a real bottleneck in their production process.

If you have any cooling issues, you can rely on EXAIR to determine the best product. If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of your applications, you can contact the Application Engineers at EXAIR.

John Ball, Application Engineer
johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

EXAIR Leads the Way with Product Standards

Standards seem to continually get introduced and updated. There is an ever increasing number of local, regional, federal, and even global standards to comply with.  We pay close attention to these standards and have the largest number of standards upon our products.

meets or exceeds oshaThe standards the every EXAIR product meets or exceeds are the OSHA standards for dead-end pressure as well as allowable noise level exposure.  The dead-end pressure directive is OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.242 (b).  The standard refers to the fact that compressed air can be dangerous when the outlet pressure of a hole, hose or copper tube is higher than 30 psig (2 BAR).  In the event the opening is blocked by a hand or other body part, air may enter the bloodstream through the skin, resulting in a serious injury.  All of the compressed air products manufactured by EXAIR have been designed for safety.  All are safe to be supplied with higher pressure than 30 psig and still meet or exceed the OSHA standard.

The OSHA standard 29 CFR – 191.95 (a) refers to the maximum allowable noise exposure that an operator is permitted to be exposed to for a given period of time.   The chart of allowable exposure times is shown below.   All EXAIR products are engineered to create the minimum amount of noise while efficiently utilizing compressed air.   Many times blow offs are cross drilled to permit air to escape in order to meet the OSHA standard for dead end pressure, this process increases the noise level generated by that blow off considerably.

OSHA Noise Level

One of the most stringent compliance that EXAIR has upon its products is the UL/CUL listings and recognition.  All EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are UL listed, we were the first to insure your electrical cabinet’s NEMA integrity remained by putting our Cabinet Cooler systems to the UL test. This means that the Underwriters Laboratories have deemed these products safe for operation throughout the US and Canada per their standards that are applicable for each of the product groups.   The products undergo numerous tests and scenarios to ensure that an operator will be safe during the normal operation of the units.   The tests for the Cabinet Cooler Systems includes environmental exposure for the given NEMA type of the enclosure along with many other tests.  The Static Eliminator Power Supplies are also UL listed.

cULlistedcULrecognized

CE is another standard which EXAIR pays great attention to to meet or exceed. CE is a standard that is normally preferred when dealing with countries outside of the US but is gaining popularity within the states as well.  CE being a European standard actually stands for a french phrase, “Confrmité Eurpéene” which is translated to “European Conformity”.  Any EXAIR product displaying the CE mark conforms where there are applicable directives.CE

The RoHS directive is targeted on heavy metals that are generally found within electronics.  Substances like Mercury, Lead, Polybrominated biphenyls, Cadmium, or Hexavalent chromium.  In order to meet the RoHs directive a product must have 100 parts per million or less of mercury and for other substances there must be less than 0.01% of the substance by weight in a raw homogeneous materials level. All EXAIR products which are electronic or contain electronic devices are compliant to the 2002/95/EC RoHS directive, also including the amendment outlined in the European Commission decision L 214/65.  This includes all EXAIR Static Eliminators, Electronic Flow Control, and Electronic Temperature Control products.ROHS_Vector

EXAIR maintains records to be sure our supply chain is providing product which meets the conflict mineral free guidelines of the Dodd-Frank Act.  EXAIR supports Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and we are committed to compliance with the conflict minerals rule in order to curb the illicit trade of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold in the DRC region. EXAIR is using the CMRT 3.02 template to document our supply chain and commitment to conflict free products. When requested we will even provide the needed forms to support our customer’s efforts in complying with the Dodd-Frank Act.

conflictfree

REACH, is another European Community Regulation this time on chemicals and their safe use.  REACH is targeted to ensure personnel and environmental health by identifying the intrinsic properties of chemical substances easily.  REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances and was written into law in 2007. EXAIR products are not required to be registered per Title II, Article 7, paragraph 1  of the legislation since they do not contain substances that are intentionally released.   This is to ensure compliance with Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 Title I, Article 3, paragraph 3, the European Union requires registration of chemicals and substances imported into the EU to ensure a high level of protection of human health and environment.

Reach

 

To conclude, when there is a safety audit, safe sourcing directive or some other form of standard/conformance that you need to meet, consider EXAIR compressed air products. Please contact us to find out if we can help you meet or exceed those standards.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Helping A Customer Get Their Installation Setup Just Right

IMG_5711

Staggered Super Air Knife setup used to solve blow off problem

With the amount of applications capable of benefiting from a Super Air Knife we tend to field a lot of questions about the product.  How much force does the Super Air Knife produce?  (2.5 oz of force for every inch of knife length.) What is the noise level at various operating pressures?  (57-69 dBA at operating pressures from 20-80 PSIG.)  Is an Air Knife right for my application?  (Possibly!  Our Application Engineers can help answer that question definitively.)

Another common question we have from existing customers and prospective customers alike, is in regards to the proper mounting of an Air Knife solution in a conveyor blowoff application.  As a standard practice we recommend to install the air knife/knives at a 45° angle of attack, opposite the direction of material travel.  (We refer to this as counterflow.)  And, if the knives are mounted vertically for a side-based blow off, we normally recommend to install the knives directly opposed to each other.  This type of setup creates a nice chevron pattern in the blow off, removing water, dirt, or whatever other undesirables are at play.

Recently, though, I went through a troubleshooting exercise with an end user unable to achieve adequate blow off with our go-to type of setup.  No matter the pressure or angle, we just couldn’t get the setup dialed in to remove the undesirable (in this case, water) while still allowing material flow.  In this application the force from the two knives hitting simultaneously was too great to allow the lighter products through the blow off curtain.  So I requested some sample product be sent in and ran some in-house tests.

What we found was identical to the results from the field, which were a bit puzzling.  We could blow off the water from the product, but not to the degree of dryness necessary.  This was because the weight of the product was too low to keep the product in place when in contact with the high force blow off from a set of two Super Air Knives.  We could force the product through by hand, but that wasn’t a real or repeatable option.

But, after trying various configurations we found the solution!  Two Super Air Knives mounted directly parallel produced too much force.  BUT, two Super Air Knives mounted in a staggered pattern separated our blow off air flows just a bit.  This setup allowed the product to pass through one air stream, then into the combined air stream of two knives, and then again through one air stream.

IMG_5699

Another view of the staggered setup used in this application

This solution, show above, brought the level of dryness to the needed level and allowed our customer to get back on track.  Without a solution to this problem workflow slowed, production reduced, and defects increased.  With the combination of an EXAIR product and our product support, we were able to increase workflow and production while eliminating defects due to excess water o the product.

If you have an application with a similar need, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Oil And Water Don’t Mix, But Oil And Air Sure Do

Do you have oil in your compressed air system? It may be there on purpose…air operated tools require it, and there are a number of devices on the market that provide a precise amount of oil to keep the moving parts in these tools well lubricated and properly operating.

If it’s not there on purpose, it’s not necessarily a problem, though, and it’s hardly uncommon. Many air compressors are oil lubricated, which means there’s oil being pumped at a constant rate, directly towards the piston rings, and a little bit is always going to end up in the air. As the rings wear, even more makes it past…this is impossible to prevent, but, with proper maintenance, it’s kept to a very minimal amount. There are, of course, oil-less compressor designs, which can eliminate this entirely, but they’ve been known to carry a little heavier price tag. Some situations, though, make them worth every penny.

Trace amounts of oil like this don’t affect a lot of compressed air applications, including the performance of most of our products. There are times, however, when oil needs to be addressed…for instance:

*Blow off prior to painting or coating. Even trace amounts of oil on a surface to be painted can cause big problems.
*Electrical enclosure cooling. Oil won’t affect the heat removal performance of an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System, but it can indeed cause serious issues with electrical/electronic components and devices if it’s present in the cold air that’s blowing on them.
*Air operated conveyors. Likewise, oil won’t hurt the performance of a Line Vac, but keep in mind that anything in the air supply will get on the material or product you’re conveying.
*Static Eliminators. Here’s a situation where oil in the air WILL have an effect on product performance…the emitter points of your EXAIR Static Eliminator need to be kept clean (including oil free) for proper operation. And, again, anything in your air is going to get onto your product.

This is where proper filtration comes in: properly installed downstream of a Filter Separator, EXAIR’s coalescing Oil Removal Filters take out even trace amounts of oil from the air flow, ensuring your process doesn’t see anything but clean, dry air.

EXAIR Model 9027 Oil Removal Filter, installed between Model 9004 Filter Separator and 9008 Pressure Regulator, using our Modular Coupling Kits

EXAIR Model 9027 Oil Removal Filter, installed between Model 9004 Automatic Drain Filter Separator and 9008 Pressure Regulator, using our Modular Coupling Kits.

Again, oil in your air isn’t always a problem. If you have questions about your application, though, give us a call…if it IS a problem, we’ve got a solution.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Super Ion Air Knife Assists Brewery with Can Filling Operation

A small brewery called looking for a static removal solution for their can filling, conveyor line. The empty cans are fed from a stacked palletizer that raises up and then an arm pushes the cans over to a large feeder tray where they are then funneled down a chute that narrows until the cans are in a single row. They run 2 separate cans on the same line at different times. The first can is painted and seems to feed fine to the conveyor. The second can is shrink wrapped with a film label. As the wrapped cans are fed down the chute, they rub against the guide rails of the conveyor and each other generating a static charge, causing them to corral at the opening to the conveyor, 2 – 3 cans wide, which restricts the flow of the cans. The customer then has to halt production and manually clear the line and feed the conveyor.

The area where they are seeing the most problem is right at the narrow opening that takes the cans down to a single row. The width of this opening is roughly 8.5″ wide, so I recommended they mount a 9″ Super Ion Air Knife about 12″ above the opening, flooding the area with ionized air. The Super Ion Air Knife is our Super Air Knife with an Ionizing Bar attached to provide a laminar sheet of ionized airflow across the entire length of the knife. The customer was concerned that their compressed air supply was close to being at max capacity so I suggested they operate the unit at a lower supply pressure. This would not only reduce the air consumption but also control the output flow and velocity so the cans are not disrupted, while still allowing for effective static dissipation.

Super Ion Air Knife

Super Ion Air Knife – delivers a sheet of ionized air to eliminate surface static up to 20′ away.

Static electricity is a common nuisance in canning and bottling applications. If you are experiencing similar problems with your process, please contact one of our application engineers for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Compressed Air Accessories – Filters and Regulators – The Rest of the Solution

IMG_5696

EXAIR Regulator with gauge and Filter/Separator

Many times in the stories that are written in our daily blogs, we espouse the many benefits of installing and using EXAIR made products into our many customers’ compressed air-based applications. From the guy who has a small shop in his home garage using our Atto Super Air Nozzle to much larger applications where customers use our 84” Long Super Air Knives to do such things as drying cast Acrylic Sheets used in tub and shower surrounds, the message is a very consistent one. Customers benefit by saving money, increasing the safety level of an application, reducing sound levels and improving productivity.  There’s no doubt that our customers will excel in these areas.

Knowing there is much more to a compressed air system than just point of use products, lets shed a little light on the other “parts” of a typical system set-up. Those would be the compressed air filter / separators and the pressure regulators that are a highly recommended part of a good installation. But why are they so highly recommended? What exactly is their role and why would anyone want or need to install them?

First, the blunt realities of compressed air and its relative “un-clean” condition once it arrives at the point of use. Since compressed air a utility that is produced in-house, the quality and quantity available will vary widely from facility to facility. And since it is not a regulated utility such as gas or electricity are, there are no universal minimums of quality that compressed air must meet before sent out to the distribution system. Yes, of course, companies are all the time getting better at this part, but many still operate with older, iron pipe systems that produce rust and scale which wreak havoc on the components within mechanical products that use compressed air as their power source. The point is that you are never sure of the quality of the air you will get at the point of use, so install a compressed air filter near that point to keep the debris out of your Air Knife, Nozzle, Line Vac or even other components like solenoid valves, air motors and the like. Believe me when I say it is much easier to un-screw a bowl from a filter housing and change an element than it is to disassemble an air motor or an 84” long Super Air Knife because rust migrated in from the pipes. So it is quite safe to say that an ounce of prevention in this case is worth a pound of cure!

Second, the discussion turns to the Regulator part of the equation. As many know, our products and those of other pneumatic product manufacturers have a certain set of specifications regarding performance at stated input pressures. But what if your application doesn’t require that “full, rated performance”? Maybe instead of needing two pounds of force, you only need one pound? In fact, if you provided two pounds of blowing force, you would end up “over-blowing” your target. By that, I mean you cause damage to the target or other surrounding items in the application. Or, perhaps blowing to hard (or sucking too hard in the case of a Line Vac or E-vac) might cause the vessel or the material you are picking up to collapse or deform (due to too much power).  There is also the concern about using more energy than one really needs to in order to achieve the desired effect in an application. In other words, if you can achieve your goals with only 40 PSIG, then why would you ever use 80 PSIG to accomplish the goal? By reducing your compressed air from 80 down to 40 PSIG, you can easily reduce the air consumption of the “engineered” solution by another 40% + …………that’s the cherry on top of the cake when you compare the benefits of simply “bolting on” the solution of an engineered air nozzle vs. an open pipe in the first place. Then there is the issue of taking advantage of the pressure differential (from 80 down to 40 PSIG) that creates a little bit more air volume capacity. At 80 PSIG, your compressed air to free air volume ratio is 6.4:1. At 40 PSIG, it is only 3.7:1. The net effect is you effectively have an overall larger volume of air at the disposal of the application which is always a good thing.

Regulating pressure is definitely warranted given the benefits that compliment the operation of the core EXAIR products.

If you need a deeper understanding about how EXAIR’s products can help your application, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to give you a clear understanding of all the benefits that can be had by our products’ use as well as proper implementation of accessory items such as compressed air filters and regulators.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR
www.EXAIR.com 

Pushing Hot Parts with Compressed Air More Efficiently

A manufacturer of forged, steel parts contacted EXAIR today and spoke to me about an application that was really giving them some trouble.

The application involved placing a molten piece of steel into a die.  The press would come down and mold the piece into a ring shape.  As it opened, a solenoid valve connected to a compressed air supply was actuated to push the falling part with the compressed air to a bin behind the press.  The manufacturer made a home-made nozzle by flattening a piece of ¾” pipe and directing it at the part.  (Reference picture below).  The operator had a cycle time of roughly 8 seconds.  During that time, the compressed air was actuated for 1 second to push the part away from the die.  An issue occurred if the part rotated 90 degrees as the die opened, and the compressed air would shoot through the open center of the part without pushing it into the bin.  The part would rest on the bottom die, causing a slowdown in production because the part had to be removed manually.

Forging press

Forging press

The part weighed 2.2 lbs. (1 Kg) and had an outer diameter of 3.5” (89mm).  The customer was operating the ¾” pipe “nozzle” at 90 psig (6.2 bar), and it was located 12” (305mm) away from the die.  This gave me some good information to find an appropriate nozzle.  While reviewing the force and air pattern needed, model 1112SS (3/4 NPT Stainless Super Air Nozzle) would be the best product.  This Super Air Nozzle would be able to withstand the radiant heat within the application and can produce a force of 4.5 lbs. (2 Kg) at 80 psig (5.5 bar).  At 12” (305mm), it produced an airflow diameter of 7.5” (191mm).  Even if the part rotated, the air pattern and force was large enough to push the part from the die even if it rotated, eliminating the need for manual intervention.

Not only did the production rate get back on target, but as an added bonus, Model 1112SS was able to save the customer compressed air. The advantage of using the Super Air Nozzles, is that they entrain ambient air to work with the compressed air, increasing the overall mass flow toward the target, making it much more efficient than a flattened pipe.  Even with the compressed air being turned on for 1 second during the 8 second cycle time, the Super Air Nozzle  is projected to save the customer over $1,500.00/year when comparing its air consumption to that of an open 3/4″ pipe.

Whenever you have an urge to flatten an end of a pipe to create a home-made nozzle, you should contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see if we can help. Like the customer above, we were able to solve their production problem, and able to save them money.

John Ball, Application Engineer
johnball@exair.com
@EXAIR_JB

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