Line Vacs Save Time And Backs

I had the pleasure of working with a customer at a chemical processing plant recently who happened upon our Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors while searching for something to move powdered chemical compounds. They receive these in powdered or granular forms, in 15-20 gallon containers that weigh 180-190 pounds each. These were being lifted and dumped, by hand, into the processing mixer. During a recent safety audit, they noticed a number of employees had missed work due to back injuries & pain. This prompted them to look for an alternative to the manual lifting of the drums.

They found auger conveyors and elaborate vacuum transfer systems, but when they saw our Line Vac Video…

…it was EXACTLY what they had in mind. The quick and easy setup was a big plus too – “Are you sure that’s all it takes?” was asked several times during our original conversation. Once the first Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac was received and set up – in about an hour from opening the box, by the way – they were pleased enough to call me back and tell me I was right (of course I was) and that the Heavy Duty Line Vac actually exceeded their expectations for both ease of setup and simplicity of operation. And, obviously, everyone’s going to be happier, now that the cumbersome, heavy lifting of the drums has been eliminated.

If you’re lifting containers of bulk material, whether your back hurts (yet) or not, give us call. We’ve got something for that.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Super Air Amplifier Keeps Web Tension Clutch Cool


Model 120022 2″ Super Air Amplifier

I was working with a new customer today who was in the maintenance department at a printing company. He called because he was looking for a cooling solution to a heat build-up problem that his company was having on one of their pneumatically controlled web tensioner systems. The heat was building up in the pneumatic clutch which was housed inside a box along-side the web roller shaft. The customer had just replaced the clutch not even one month ago and production had called them down because it was making noises again.

After performing some routine checks, maintenance determined that production was operating the line at a speed higher than what the clutch was designed for in order to meet production goals. The unfortunate part was that being inside an enclosure did not allow heat to dissipate quickly enough from the clutch itself. So, the customer wanted to know how EXAIR products might be able to help them with this heat dissipation issue.

Once I had an understanding of the application and the nature of the problem, I guided the customer to utilize model 120022 (2” Super Air Amplifier). The clutch housing became so hot that they could not touch it with bare hands. That established the fact that the temperature of the housing already had the established temperature differential that was needed. All we needed to do was to provide a flood of room temperature air into this enclosure and also direct it at the clutch’s friction surface to quickly dissipate that heat.

You might ask why the customer didn’t opt to use fans. The reason is that fans were not sufficient enough to drop the temperature of the clutch during periods of extreme operation. The clutch housing actually needed to be doused with a high velocity airflow that was non-turbulent in nature. This is precisely the kind of airflow that exits the Super Air Amplifier. Because it is laminar (non-turbulent), 100% of the air volume will be directed to impact the target surface. With fans, you do not get that and thus an overall reduction in cooling effectiveness when compared to an Air Amplifier. Also, an Air Amplifier uses only a small volume of air to induce a much larger flow of ambient air to perform the cooling task.

Many times automotive component manufacturers will use Air Amplifiers in a similar manner when they are testing shocks, struts, brakes and other suspension parts to simulate real world air movements while the components are under test in a test cell. When testing without air flowing around the component, excessive heat builds up and can cause premature wear and failure. Similar to the issue with the pneumatic clutch described above.

The Super Air Amplifiers are a great tool for providing localized cooling to carry heat away from components or other tools when they are being operated under stressful or less than ideal conditions. Think about your operations. Do you have some component that fails consistently due to overheating conditions? If so, contact us to discuss your application and see how we may be able to help.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager

Extra Shims Give Super Air Knives A Boost

The EXAIR Super Air Knife is the most efficient and quietest compressed air blow off knife on the market. We know this because we’ve tested them, and our competitors’ offerings, for performance, using the same instruments, controls, and procedures. We’re not going to publish data that we can’t back up, and that’s a fact.

We will use the same precision calibrated equipment, by the way, to test your existing products for savings comparison in our Efficiency Lab service.

We will use the same precision calibrated equipment, by the way, to test your existing products for savings comparison in our Efficiency Lab service.

They’re also ideally suited to a wide variety of applications – they come in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet long (and can actually be coupled together for uninterrupted air flows of even longer lengths,) a variety of materials for just about any environment, and changing performance is as easy as “dialing in” a regulator, or, for gross adjustments, installing a different (or additional) shim.

As the title of this blog suggests, a larger shim gap will give you higher flow and force from your Air Knife. Honestly, the 0.002″ shim that comes pre-installed in all of our Air Knives is perfectly suitable for most blow off applications, and appropriate air supply conditions are the first thing you should check for before going with thicker shims, but if you do indeed need a boost, a thicker shim will indeed give you one…here’s a video to show you how it’s done:

Keep in mind that appropriate air supply is going to be important here as well…by increasing the shim gap, you’re increasing the amount of compressed air flow required.  This means that you may need a larger diameter of infeed pipe to carry that much air, and/or you may have to plumb that air to additional ports on the Super Air Knife.

This is from the Installation & Operation Guide that ships with your Super Air Knife. It's also available from our PDF Library (registration required.)

This is from the Installation & Operation Guide that ships with your Super Air Knife. It’s also available from our PDF Library (registration required.)

For most cases, we can use the above data to determine how to properly supply a Super Air Knife with additional shims.  For example, let’s look at a 12″ Super Air Knife:

*With a 0.002″ shim, you’ll need a 3/8″ pipe, assuming infeed length of 10ft or less, to pass the 34.8 SCFM that this unit will consume when supplied @80psig.

*By installing a 0.004″ shim, you’re doubling the air consumption, which means it’ll consume the same amount as a unit twice this length…we can see from the chart, then, that a 24″ Super Air Knife will need a 1/2″ infeed pipe.

*Also, since you’re using the same amount of air as the 24″ Super Air Knife, the 12″ unit should be treated like the 24″ one, and plumbed to (2) inlets at opposite ends of the knife (see “Compressed Air Supply” notes above.)

This is just one simple case for a small unit. If you’d like to discuss altering the performance of your Super Air Knife, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Analogies Are Like…

I came up with this title for this week’s blog the other day, and I can’t think of something to compare an analogy to, in the context I wish to discuss today.  Isn’t that ironic?

I’ve always had good luck with analogies…if I need to explain something to someone, being able to draw a comparison to a well-known or easy to picture scenario just comes easy to me. Someone smarter than me once said “if you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough,” and analogies have always served me well in that regard.

They are, in fact, a popular tool of the trade in EXAIR’s Application Engineering department. The most common example is, in fact, the topic of my blog today.

If a caller wants to use a Vortex Tube to cool something that’s very hot, we may recommend a Super Air Nozzle, Air Amplifier, or Air Knife instead. The long answer is that there are two variables to consider in a conductive/convective heat transfer application using fluid flow: flow rate, and temperature differential between the object and the medium (air in this case.) If the item is indeed very hot, then you already have a very high differential between the item’s surface temperature and the temperature of the air (ambient) that you’ll be blowing on it…and our Intelligent Compressed Air Products serve to increase the air flow rate, by entraining “free” air from the surrounding environment. If there’s a moment of silence when we get to that part of the explanation, we’ll compare it to when you blow a quick breath on a spoonful of very hot soup, which, although your breath isn’t cold at all, it still cools that soup down in a hurry. In comparison to the temperature of the very hot soup your breath is cold. Then we take their order, ship their Super Air Nozzle (or Air Amplifier or Air Knife) and everyone’s happy.

If you’d like to discuss a compressed air product application – or if you can help me solve the problem of this blog’s title with a rapt analogy – please let me know. Either way, I’ll be as happy as a kid in a candy store to hear from you.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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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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Compressed Air Accessories – Filters and Regulators – The Rest of the Solution


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

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


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