How To Choose An Air Knife

The EXAIR Super Air Knife has a prominent place near the front of our catalog, and THIRTEEN pages of photos, application details, performance data & specifications. It’s the most efficient and quietest product of its kind on the market, and our most diverse product offering in terms of size range, operational adjustability, materials of construction, and accessories available. For almost any general industrial air blow off application, the EXAIR Super Air Knife is the superior choice in terms of air usage, sound level, and capability.

EXAIR Super Air Knives come in a wide range of lengths, for a wide range of possibilities.

EXAIR Super Air Knives come in a wide range of lengths, for a wide range of possibilities.

As tireless champions of the causes of reducing air consumption and noise, we’re always going to promote these benefits of the Super Air Knife. Still, a caller asked me the other day, “Well, why do you still make the others?”…meaning, of course, our Standard and Full Flow Air Knives. Why, indeed:

*Given the same air supply pressure, the Standard Air Knife generates the highest force of our three styles. The amount of force applied isn’t always a prime consideration…if you think about one of the more “textbook” applications for an Air Knife, it doesn’t take a great amount of force to blow off dust and light debris from a conveyor belt…certainly this is a case where efficiency factors in: the lower air consumption of a Super Air Knife can pay for the cost difference between it and a Standard Air Knife in as little as three months of operation.

The Standard Air Knife has the highest force, for when it's needed.

The Standard Air Knife has the highest force, for when it’s needed.

Of course, if you’re blowing stubborn debris out of tight spaces, like gummy, greasy dirt that’s accumulating in the recesses of a finned tube heat exchanger, that extra force can make all the difference. No; the Standard Air Knife isn’t as efficient or quiet as the Super Air Knife, but it’s still a far cry better than a drilled pipe.

*While the Super Air Knife is pretty compact – you only need a few square inches of profile area to successfully mount it – the Full Flow Air Knife is even smaller, requiring not much more than one square inch of profile for mounting. With ports on the rear face (instead of the ends & bottom for the Super Air Knife,) they can fit in very tight quarters.

Low profile and lightweight, the Full Flow Air Knives are a great fit for tight quarters.

Low profile and lightweight, the Full Flow Air Knives are a great fit for tight quarters.

The Full Flow Air Knife is also the lightest weight for a given length. A 36” Aluminum Super Air Knife, for instance, weighs about 8lbs. The 36” Aluminum Full Flow Air Knife weighs less than 4lbs. Most of the time, 8lbs is a very manageable amount of mass to support, but there are situations where every ounce matters, and if yours is one of them, you’re looking at the Full Flow Air Knife all the way.

*The biggest (in the most literal sense) factor in Air Knife selection is, well…size. We make the Standard Air Knives in lengths to 48”, and the Full Flow Air Knives come as long as 36”. The Super Air Knives, however, are stocked in lengths from 3” to 108”, and can be coupled together for as long of an uninterrupted, steady, laminar air flow as you need.

At the end of the day, a majority of blow off applications can be handled just fine with any of our Air Knives. If you’d like to discuss your application and see which one is best for you, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Air Conveyor Improves Candy Bar Recovery

This week I worked with a candy company who was looking to improve their overflow product recovery. When their bulk bagging machine is inoperable, the wrapped candy bars are sent to an overflow container where they are manually scooped out by an operator. This process was causing damage to the bars and wrappers, as well as presenting an ergonomic hazard to the employee, so they called EXAIR for a solution.

I recommended using our Line Vac Air Operated Conveyor. The Line Vac  connects to hose or pipe to create an inline conveyor and is able to move large amounts of material over long distances, requires no electricity, has no moving parts, and provides maintenance free operation, making it the ideal choice for this application.

After discussing the details with the customer, they were concerned that the candy bars and wrappers, getting picked up by the airflow and transported through the hose, might continue to be damaged. I advised that by using a pressure regulator they could control the vacuum/conveying rate by increasing or decreasing the supply pressure, but their concern remained. I then offered to perform a conveyance test at our facility, if they were willing to send product. The customer agreed and was kind enough to send some of the candy, with some extra bags inside for the staff here at EXAIR. (Which is pretty awesome! I mean, FREE candy? Who doesn’t love that?!)

With a wide range of sizes and materials of construction, we've got your solution.  Call us.

Available in 11 sizes and different materials to meet many application requirements. Line Vacs have smooth ends for connecting hose with a clamp or threaded ends to connect with standard pipe sizes.

Our set up included our 3″ Line Vac with a 10′ section of 3” conveyance hose on the vacuum side and a horizontal conveyance run of approximately 35′, with a 13′ vertical run into a soft sided hopper. We were successful in conveying approximately 9.9 lbs. per minute, when operating at 80 PSIG, with no broken candy bars and no damage to the wrappers. We also determined that 40 PSIG inlet pressure was the lowest they could run the operation, if they were okay with a lower convey rate.

We provided the results to the customer and included a short video of our testing. Intrigued by the results, they are now looking in to other possible applications throughout their facility.

To discuss your Line Vac application, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Help with Choosing an E-Vac Vacuum Generator

This is a pretty common question when it comes to Vacuum Generator use in pick-and-place application, and although we can’t boil it down to a simple table & formula based on mass (like we can with the Vacuum Cups themselves,) we can usually hone right in on it, if we have enough details of the situation. And, if questions remain, we can always test one to find out…we’ve got an Efficiency Lab.

That’s what I did, first thing this morning. I had the pleasure of speaking with a robotics instructor at a vocational school yesterday…his class was building a robot to enter in a competition, and one of the operations it needs to accomplish is picking up a golf ball and carrying it a certain distance.  This sounded like a great application for a small E-Vac Vacuum Generator, and, considering the potential leakage at the Vacuum Cup face from the dimples on the golf ball, my first instinct was to consider our Model 810002M E-Vac Low Vacuum (Porous Duty) Generator w/Muffler, and a Model 900766 Bellow Style Vacuum Cup, with a 0.73″ diameter face…our smallest, and ideally sized for a golf ball.  They, however, have a VERY limited supply of compressed air, so the difference between the Model 810002M’s compressed air consumption (2.3 SCFM @80psig) and the Model 800001M E-Vac High Vacuum (Non-Porous Duty) Generator w/Muffler (1.5 SCFM @80psig) was worth considering.  Also, we figured that they might be able to use a Model 900804 Check Valve, so the only time they’d need to supply air was to pick it up, and, possibly intermittently to maintain the vacuum.  So, golf ball in hand, off to the Efficiency Lab I went.  I also took our trusty video camera:

As you can see, it locked on to the golf ball instantly, and the Check Valve allowed the Vacuum Cup to hold the ball for over 13 seconds with no air flow to the E-Vac, proving that there isn’t much leakage at all past those dimples.  I suspect we’ll be seeing this robotics class team in the winner’s circle at the competition.

In most cases, the difference between 1.5 SCFM and 2.3 SCFM consumption may go unnoticed when picking a short-duration pick-and place vacuum generator.  The higher usage product’s supply pressure can always be regulated down to reduce compressed air consumption and use only what’s necessary to do the task…we, in fact, recommend that on ANY compressed air application.  In this case, though, it was worth finding out.

If you have a pick-and-place application that you’d like help with in selecting the right system, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Safety Air Gun Improves Aluminum Extruding Machining Process

I was doing some work around the house Saturday when I heard my wife shouting out from our laundry room….”Something is wrong with our dryer. This is the 3rd time I’ve restarted it and the clothes are still wet!”. Now having been in this situation before, I knew this meant that the exhaust was probably clogged with lint (again).

See, our laundry room runs parallel to our family room and the exhaust ducting goes up and then across the laundry room, across the family room and then exhausts on the side of the house. (I would like to find the person who thought this was a good idea!). I have thought about re-routing the ducting but the only other option would be to have the exhaust on the front of the house which will “never happen” (per my wife). So I usually end up taking my vacuum and attaching as many extensions as possible to reach as much of the ducting as I can. I have tried a few other methods with no success – like taking my leaf blower and, from the outside of the house, blow the lint back towards the laundry room and into a garbage can. (hint: make SURE your wife is not in the laundry room when attempting this…. They don’t react too well when they get covered in lint!)

This made me think of an application I worked on last week with an aluminum extrusion company. The customer cuts lengths of aluminum siding from 1’ up to 10’ in length and, standing at one end of the material, are using a standard blow gun to try and blow out the chips but are unsuccessful. They reviewed our website but were still unsure what product may fit their needs best, so they gave us a call.

We discussed their application and the customer was able to email pictures. After reviewing the pictures I recommended using one of our Soft Grip Safety Air Guns with our Model # HP1125, 2” Flat High Power Super Air Nozzle and a 72” extension.  The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is constructed of cast aluminum and includes a hook for hanging in a convenient location. The Model # HP1125, 2” High Power Flat Super Air Nozzle, produces 2.2 lbs. of force @ 80 PSIG and utilizes 37 SCFM with a sound level of 83 dBA. This would also meet or exceed the OSHA standards for safety, per Standard 1910.242(b) for 30 psi dead end pressure, and allowable noise exposure per Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a).

HP1230

An EXAIR model HP1230 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

To discuss your application or help with selecting the right product, contact an application engineer.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

A Dull Knife Is A Dangerous Knife

Anyone who’s ever cooked, hunted, crafted, fished, whittled, opened a well sealed package, or sharpened a stick for roasting marshmallows knows what I mean. A dull knife requires more force to cut your material, which means that you’re using less of your muscle strength to control the blade. If you’re not sure of where the blade is going, that’s a heck of a thing to leave to chance, especially if you’re holding what you’re cutting in your other hand.

Even if (I might even say “especially if”) you don’t use a knife for cutting every day, the conventional wisdom dictates that you should keep its blade sharp. Not only is this imperative for safety reasons (see above,) but you’re going to make a MUCH higher quality cut as well.

Sharp blades result from high quality material that is professionally crafted, and expertly maintained. The cheaper the material, the easier the blade will dull. High carbon stainless steel blades cost a little more, but they’re also easier to sharpen, and they stay sharp longer. A decent stamping machine can turn out hundreds of blades an hour, but forging a single piece of metal results in a level of hardness that is much more conducive to maintaining a sharp edge. Speaking of maintaining a sharp edge, that’s going to be left up to the user. A lot of hardware stores provide sharpening services, but it’s not all that hard. Expert results can be obtained by following what the experts do, and the Boy Scouts of America have taken pride in doing stuff like this for over a hundred years now. Full disclosure: I’ve been a Scout Leader for over nine years now, so I may be biased, but I am unapologetically so. I use these tips, and my pocketknife is VERY sharp.

High quality material, professionally crafted and expertly maintained, is, of course, a successful recipe for a great many products other than knife blades. EXAIR applies these principles to every single item in our 168-page catalog of Intelligent Compressed Air® Products. Here are just a couple of examples:

*The Super Air Knife (no relation to the cutting tools discussed above) is available in a range of materials: aircraft grade aluminum, types 303 or 316 stainless steel, or PVDF. They’re engineered for maximum efficiency, minimum noise level, and manufactured to exacting quality standards.

Capture
*The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac System turns your open top drum into a powerful, high capacity, dust free, industrial vacuum. It’s made of a hardened alloy for superior abrasion resistance, and, with no moving parts, it’s virtually maintenance free.

Exair-heavy-duty-HEPA-vacuum

I could go on, but these are the two products, and the benefits they provide, that I’ve actually discussed with potential users just today. If you’d like to know more about how EXAIR products can keep the use of your compressed air sharp, effective, and safe, give me a call.

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

Vac-u-Gun Makes the Job Easier and Safer

I worked with a customer this week who was wanting to use one of our small Light Duty Line Vacs to remove plastic chips from their small machining operation. The Light Duty Line Vac  is a lesser version of our more powerful Line Vac models and provides an alternative solution for conveying smaller volumes of material over a short distance.

Light Duty Line Vac

Our family of Light Duty Line Vacs are built for use with 3/4″ to 6″ hose or pipe.

The customer is currently using an ordinary blow gun to blow out the chips onto the floor which was creating an unsafe work area. Another concern was the decrease in production, as the operator would need to stop machining, find a broom, sweep up the chips and dump them in a receptacle. To eliminate this, they were thinking that the operator could manually use the Light Duty Line Vac to vacuum the chips and convey them to the collection receptacle which was only about 5 feet away.

The Light Duty Line Vac would have worked well in the application, but since the process of vacuuming the chips would remain a manual operation, I mentioned our Model 6292 Vac-u-Gun Transfer System. The Vac-u-Gun is a hand held product, with a trigger valve built in. It is a more ergonomic and efficient solution than the Light Duty Line Vac. The Vac-u-Gun can be used as a vacuum gun, blow gun or transfer tool providing the customer with a single tool for a variety of different jobs. Utilizing only 13 SCFM @ 80 PSIG, it creates a vacuum of -29.5” H2O and produces a force of 9 ounces. By changing the orientation of the nozzle insert, the unit can be easily changed from a vacuum gun to an efficient blow gun.

Vac-u-Gun orientation

Offered in 3 different systems to cover several applications:

Vac-u-Gun Systems
By choosing the Vac-u-Gun rather than the Light Duty Line Vac, the customer was able to keep the manual operation, eliminate the unsafe working conditions, perform the job with less compressed air and improve their overall production. I was happy to assist them with the information to make the best decision.

At EXAIR, we have many different intelligent compressed air products that may fit your application. For help selecting the best option, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always willing to help!

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

What Type of Compressor Is Right for EXAIR Products?

Which One

A frequent question (and rightfully so) for compressed air products is “How much compressed air does it use?”  Fortunately for EXAIR, we can provide these values with confidence, knowing the research and development, testing, and quality control that goes into the products we make.

For many applications, this question is cut and dry.  For others, particularly those that do not currently have compressed air on site, the question leads to further conversation.  One of the questions that is often asked, is “What type of compressor should we use with these products?”

While the end-use products (EXAIR products) will operate regardless of the compressor type, there are benefits and advantages to various compressor types in different applications.

For short-term or intermittent use, a reciprocating compressor can be an excellent choice.  The size and weight, maintenance requirement (relatively low), and ease of procurement make them very suitable for small demand applications.  They are also suitable for high pressures. Keep in mind that reciprocating compressors typically have higher noise levels and higher cost of compression when compared to screw compressors.

When the compressed air need is high volume, and the demand requires a continuous supply of compressed air, a rotary screw compressor can be a better choice.  Rotary screw compressors are designed for more regular use in industrial applications, are (generally) more maintenance intensive, feature partial load capability allowing to align supply and demand, and can be found in a variety of sizes. You can expect to pay more for these models than the reciprocating compressors.

From an engineering standpoint, reciprocating compressors are dynamic devices, and screw compressors are positive displacement devices.  Click here for a more in depth look at screw compressor operation.

EXAIR manufactures many, many compressed air driven devices with a concentration on solving problems, conserving compressed air and making it safe by meeting OSHA standards.  And, although we do not supply or support any specific compressor manufacturer, our Application Engineers are well versed in compressed air generation and suited to discuss those needs with our customers.

If you have a compressed air related question, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 815 other followers

%d bloggers like this: