Counter-flow – How to Mount Air Knives for Maximum Effect

counter flow

Example: Counter-flow arrangement

As with any tool, there can be a right way and a wrong way to use the tool. In this article I will explain the best way to mount a Super Air Knife in a blowing application so that you achieve the maximum force, time in contact and of course, effectiveness.

There is a term we use, “counter-flow”, to describe the opposing travel of target material/conveyor (red arrow) and the airflow coming from an Air Knife (yellow arrow). By having opposing flows, the Air Knife is able to blow the debris, contamination, water or other fluid back into the direction from which it came. Sometimes a catch pan can be used to collect and re-use the fluid. In the photo above, note that the air knife is oriented to blow from right to left and the parts are travelling on the conveyor belt from left to right. This is a simple example of how we set up counter-flow.

Also, with regard to effective Air Knife mounting strategies; the Super Air Knife in the photo is mounted using our Universal Air Knife Mounting System which allows for maximum flexibility for positioning and stability of the Air Knife once set. The Universal Air Knife Mounting System is another great accessory that you can recommend to clients to make the set up very easy. Of course a suitable compressed air filter and pressure regulator should be used for clean air and adjustability of force in the application.

Finally, in the photo above, note that the Super Air Knife is mounted up-side down. We generally recommend this kind of orientation with the cap of the Super Air Knife being closest to the material being blown off. This allows you to get the air knife a bit lower and closer to the target material. The lower the angle, the better. This allows for a longer time in contact between the Super Air Knife and the target material. When the target material spends more time in the high velocity flow, the more likely you are able to impart the desired effect whether that be drying, cooling, blowoff or static elimination. To find a good mounting angle to start, I recommend customers use the front, angled edge of the Super Air Knife cap as a guide for what part of the Super Air Knife to keep parallel to the moving surface. This is a great reference from which blowing angle can be optimized.

If you find yourself with an Air Knife application and are unsure about how to proceed with mounting it, the idea explained above is one of the core foundations we utilize for solid Air Knife mounting technique.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager


How to Prepare a Turkey the EXAIR Way – Happy Thanksgiving!

Knowing many of you may be out next week, or seemingly distracted by the thought of Mom’s (or Dad’s) home cooking – we would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy any time off, and your families and friends.


The EXAIR team

EXAIR Receives 4 Finalists for Product of the Year 2015!

Voting is now open and we would like your votes!

For 28 years, Plant Engineering magazine’s knowledgable readers have chosen  outstanding new products that help them do their jobs smarter, safer, more efficiently and more productively. These products, which are newly released in manufacturing industries,  are recognized with Plant Engineering’s Product of the Year Award. Many products categories are represented including, Compressed Air, Automation and Controls, Electric Motors and Drives, Environmental Health,  and Fluid Handling among others. Four of the products we released in 2015 are finalists in four different categories. Voting is open now and goes on through January 8, 2016.

Here are the products up for the 2015 award:

  1. High Lift Reversible Drum Vac:  Nominated in the Environmental Health category, our new High Lift Reversible Drum Vac is ideal for the recovery of fluids like: coolant, hydraulic oils, sludge and chips, waste water, tramp oil and liquid spills. The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac has been engineered to recover liquids found within below grade sumps, wells, underground tanks, pits and drains with up to 15′ of lift.  VOTE HERE
  2. No Drip Liquid Air Nozzles:  These patented atomizing spray nozzles, in the fluid handling category, have the added benefit of positively stopping liquid flow when compressed air is shut off. The nozzles are ideal where no post-spray drip is permissible. When the compressed air supply is shut off, the no-drip nozzle positively seals off the flow of liquid, eliminating the possibility of drips. Effective when using liquids up to 300 cP. VOTE HERE
  3. Electronic Temperature Control for Dual Cabinet Cooler Systems:   The Electronic Temperature Control (ETC) for dual-cabinet cooler systems installed on large or high heat-load enclosures keeps electrical units cool while minimizing compressed air use. Available in cooling capacities up to 5,600 BTU/hr.,  It permits just enough cooling for the electronics without going so cold as to waste compressed air. VOTE HERE
  4. Back Blow Air Nozzle:  These nozzles are designed to effectively blow debris and liquids from pipe or hose inside diameters, channels, bores, holes, internal threads, and other internal part features. An array of holes provides forceful 360-degree airflow to clear out coolant, chips, and light oils from machining processes. This nozzle prevents blowing chips further into a part, tube, or pipe and eliminates any safety hazard created by blowing debris out the far end of a pipe or tube.   VOTE HERE

We appreciate all who are willing to vote for our products and are proud to continue bringing you the best products we can offer. Thank you for the support.

The EXAIR Team

Proud Coach (and Dad)

If you read the EXAIR blog you may have noticed that a few of my recent posts have involved being an assistant coach for my son’s youth football team. We finished our regular season schedule with a 9-1 record which earned us the #2 seed for the playoffs and a 1st round bye. Pretty good for a first year team with only 3 kids who have played before and 14 newcomers.

8 Jersey

Proud to be #8’s dad! (and coach)

Our school district had several K5 and 1st graders sign up for youth football this year so we needed to have 2 teams – our squad was Milford Team White and the other was Milford Team Red. As fate would have it, the Red team won their first round game and would be our semi-final game opponent. A lot of our players go to school and our friends with kids on the other team, which created a bit of angst as they didn’t want to lose to them and, as one player said, “hear about it all week at school”. On the other hand, a few of them didn’t want to beat them because they knew it would end their friend’s season. As coaches we had to convince these little guys that it’s ok to be buddies but for 32 minutes (game time) they need to be focused on why we are here because their friends on other team are going to do everything they can to send us home.

Game day arrived and we assembled our team for check ins and warm ups. After our allotted 30 minutes warm up time we took to mid-field where we won the coin toss and elected to start the game on offense. We have had some issues during the year with our center to quarterback exchange so we had worked on that all week in practice, though apparently not enough. The first snap dropped to the ground and the other team jumped on the ball. Our defense was able to stop them from gaining 10 yards so we got the ball back on downs and our offense stepped to the line for our second series. Once again we dropped the snap but were able to recover the ball, so we called a timeout to calm our guys down and get them refocused. Facing a 2nd and 10, we cleanly snapped the ball and handed it off to our running back who raced down the sideline for the game’s first TD. We converted the 2-point conversion and secured a lead at 8-0.

Our excitement was short lived as the other team was able to break through themselves and score their first TD but were unable to score the 2-point conversion. Holding a 2 point lead at 8-6 with only 2 minutes left before halftime, our QB/center exchange issue again reared it’s ugly head and we fumbled the ball away to the opposing team. With time running out in the first half, they were able to navigate their way down the field and score another TD and this time the conversion to hold a 14-8 advantage at halftime. We headed to the sideline to regroup and reenergize our boys for the second half.

In the second half the opponents recognized our snap issues and they started to blitz on every defensive play. Their plan worked and in the second half we were only able to complete 2 “clean” snaps. Our defense held strong but with us not being able to move the ball on offense, we ended up losing the game by a final score of 14-8.

It was hard to see our kids so disappointed about losing but that’s part of playing a sport. There has to be a winner and a loser and at the end of a season, there is only 1 team that is truly happy. For me personally, I was bummed that it’s over but as a coach, I couldn’t be more proud of these little guys. Many have never played ANY type of organized sport and they gave it their all and have grown so much in the last few months. To finish the season with a 9-1 record and 3rd place overall is a victory for any 1st year team and coaches. This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am truly going to miss it. So until next year, WAR EAGLE and good luck to Milford Team Red, bring home that championship trophy!

Milford Eagles Team 17 White

New addition to my son’s trophy shelf.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer



Video Blog: Applying PTFE Tape to Compressed Air Fittings

This video illustrates the proper way to apply PTFE (Teflon*, or Plumber’s) tape to a threaded fitting in order to eliminate future problems with your compressed air system or products.

*Teflon is a registered trademark of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company Corporation.

Have a Good Day,
John Ball, Application Engineer

First Time For Everything

We’ve got a lot to be proud of at EXAIR. Over 32 years of experience in providing superior engineered compressed air products for demanding applications worldwide. A 19 year track record (we can only claim 19 years because it’s when we started keeping track) of over 99.9% on-time shipments. 35 Industry Awards (and counting) for new product excellence.

The thing I want to brag on today is…well, me. OK; not just me, but the whole Engineering staff at EXAIR. See, in addition to knowing the ins & outs of 192 pages of compressed air products and accessories in our catalog, EXAIR Application Engineers are well-versed in the situations where our products will…and won’t provide a successful solution.

Sometimes, a user is looking for something different. Same principle of operation, functionality, method, etc., but in a different size. Or shape. Or material of construction. And that’s where the Design Engineers come in…we’ll work together to determine the best way to apply all those years of experience and successful track record and solve your application. And usually, pretty darn quickly.

Case in point: I had the pleasure of discussing an application requiring a special Super Air Knife yesterday afternoon with a caller. Seems they had a tight spot that they needed to fit the Air Knife into, and saw that we had made a special flat Super Air Knife:

Flat Super

This design goes back about 16 years, and has been No, at times, for other applications as the need arises. Because of the large variety of these simulations, we’re probably already pretty close to the next simulation. I realized this was the case when, within 5 minutes of submitting my request to Design Engineering, the office printer (which sits next to my desk) started up, and one of our Design Engineers was on his way over to retrieve the print…of an approval drawing for my caller. Not to swell any heads around here (past our current level of well-deserved swagger, that is,) but this was just about the same amount of time that it took the caller to communicate the requirements to me, and for me to transcribe them into my inter-departmental request.

There’s always a first time for everything…and we look forward to each one of them. If you need help with a compressed air solution, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Versatile, Efficient And Quiet: The EXAIR Super Air Knife

It would be a memorable day in Application Engineering if one of us didn’t handle at least one call regarding a Super Air Knife. They’re just used for so many different purposes: from debris blow off, to drying, to cooling – in fact, a good number of “Super Air Knife calls” start as “Vortex Tube calls,” because both have their place, depending on factors such as how hot the part to be cooled is, what temperature you want to get it to, how fast does it need cooled, etc. More on that here, and here…today, I’m going to write about environmental containment and separation.

In a nutshell, that means keeping smoke, fumes, powder, etc., inside an area, or at the very least, away from another area. A couple of examples of this are documented in the Super Air Knives section of our latest catalog. If you don’t have one, click here.

The first features:

lens clearing

(2) Model 110024 24″ Aluminum Super Air Knives, which keep the smoke from machining oil that burns off during an engine test directed into the vent hood.

The second utilizes:

A Model 110006 6" Aluminum Super Air Knife to keep the slag, spatter, and smoke from a laser cutter away from the lens of the machine's visual inspection system.

A Model 110006 6″ Aluminum Super Air Knife to keep the slag, spatter, and smoke from a laser cutter away from the lens of the machine’s visual inspection system.

A third, which I don’t have pictures of yet because it’s brand-new, is a little larger scale: a recent caller was looking for a way to keep ALL the powder inside his powder coating spray booth. There’s an open vent with runs all the way across the top, and, when the booth is in operation, a very small plume exits along its 90″ width. They purchased a Model 110296 96″ Aluminum Super Air Knife Kit to blow a continuous curtain of air across this 4″ wide gap, angled down slightly into the booth. The Kit’s Pressure Regulator allows them to “dial down” the air flow to a level just high enough to keep the powder from exiting the gap, but also low enough to not disturb the powder coating process inside the booth.

A self contained blower unit was actually their first idea…these are very popular for large doorways…you’ve probably even seen them on large doors on shipping docks, or forklift paths inside plants where it’s necessary to keep pollutants from one room from entering another. For this situation, though, the compact size, low sound level, and precise adjustability of the Super Air Knife’s air flow made it the logical choice.

If you’d like to know more about EXAIR Super Air Knives, or any of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 14,979 other followers

%d bloggers like this: