Full-Flow Air Knife Dries Copper Strip

Last week I was working with a customer who was using our 36″ Full-Flow Air Knife to dry a flat copper strip as it exited the rinse cycle of their process. The customer chose the Full-Flow design due to it’s small profile, making it easier to fit into the tight space available to mount to their machine. The customer stated that they flow tested the knife before installation and the knife “worked great” but once mounted, the flow was reduced significantly. They were thinking of returning the unit under our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee but I offered to help troubleshoot the unit to see if we couldn’t relieve their issue(s).


The Full-Flow Air Knife is available up to 36″ in either aluminum or 303ss construction.

When they tested the unit external to the machine they were using 1″ hose (our recommendation for a 36″ Air Knife) running to a tee, which stepped down to 1/2″ ID hose going to both rear inlets on the back of the knife. But when they installed the knife, due to space limitations, they reduced the main supply to 3/8″ tubing and plumbed only 1 inlet using a quick disconnect. This explained some of the low output flow with the unit. Using undersized supply lines and quick disconnect cause significant pressure drops due to their small inside diameters. When this occurs, you aren’t able to flow enough volume of air (SCFM) to the knife, which results in reduced performance and uneven flow.

The second issue was how they had the unit mounted to the machine. Wanting to keep the air inlets easily accessible, they mounted the face of the knife (the surface the compressed air runs along) right up to the outside wall of the machine, leaving just a small gap for the output flow and built a protective shield around the unit. The Full-Flow Air Knife will entrain 30 parts of surrounding, ambient air for every 1 part (SCFM) of compressed air used. With the unit being unable to entrain any free air, the output flow is further diminished.

How the Standard Air Knife Works

Illustration showing how the Standard and Full-Flow Air Knives operate.

After increasing the supply line to both inlets, removing the quick disconnect and protective shield and moving the knife back to allow for the air entrainment, the customer called back to advise that the strip was now completely dry.

If you are experiencing reduced performance or need help with the installation of your EXAIR product, give us a call at 1-800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer


Long Super Air Knives Help Dry Oil Pans

Last week I was contacted by a local machining company who was stamping oil pans for a large automotive manufacturer. Stamping, also referred to as pressing, is an industrial machining process where a flat material, like sheet metal, is placed into the stamping press and a press die stamps down to form a specific shape or mold.

metal stamping

Example of Metal Stamping Machines

As the oil pan exits the stamping press the parts are sent through a water rinse to remove any particulate and then hung from a drying rack. After the parts are dry they are sent to a paint booth then an oven for the paint to cure. They were beginning to see reject parts after the curing process due to residual water droplets being present which caused the paint to bubble or streak in this particular area. As a quick fix, on each side of the drying rack they ran compressed air to long lengths of 1″ PVC pipe with approximately (21) 1/8″ drilled holes spaced about every 4 inches to try and dry the parts more efficiently. While this did improve the dry cycle time, they were still seeing the rejects due to gaps in the airflow continuing to leave water drops. Another concern was their compressed air usage as they have a large number of rotary presses requiring compressed air so this particular application was, as the customer stated – “getting whatever air is left”, and potentially starving other processes of required air.

Once again EXAIR had the perfect solution, the Super Air Knife. The Super Air Knife produces an even, high velocity curtain of air across the entire length of the knife. Extremely efficient, the unit uses only 1 part of compressed air while entraining 40 parts of surrounding, ambient air. In this particular application, I recommended the customer mount one 84″ knife on the front and another 84″ unit on the back of the rack, allowing the parts to pass through the laminar airflow removing the excess water from both sides of the part.


Lengths up to 108″ in single piece construction.

Addressing the compressed air usage – each 1/8″ drilled hole is going to consume roughly 21.4 SCFM @ 80 PSIG, so for a quantity of (21) drilled holes, the total would be 449 SCFM per PVC pipe. In contrast, an 84″ Super Air Knife is going to consume only 243.6 SCFM @ 80 PSIG, or just a little over half of what they are currently using!

Justin Nicholl
EXAIR Corporation


Metal Stamping Machines image courtesy of Sam Beebe Creative Commons License

The Patrol Method, Revisited

My eldest embarked on a six-day tour at Boy Scout Summer Camp this week. He’s eleven, and this is the longest he’s been away from home to date. OK; he’s only about 10 minutes from our house at a real nice BSA facility known as Camp Friedlander. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Scout Leaders from around the country, and hear time and again that Friedlander is a premier destination for Scouts from all over, and then some. If you’re a Scout Leader/Parent from another part of the country (or the world), I’d love to compare notes about local Scouting facilities – especially if you’re anywhere near Cimarron, NM!  But…does your Camp have a Blob?

I’m a big fan of the Scouting Program. I like the sense of independence and responsibility that it’s reinforcing in my son. He’s never asked me for help in preparing for a campout, and Summer Camp was no exception. I secretly went through his stuff Sunday morning, right before he left, and found that it was all there, mostly organized. “Mostly” being the key word…he gets that from me…

Even if something was forgotten, though, it’s not a fatal error. I’ve written before about The Patrol Method, and how these young men are learning to hold each other accountable as a rule, and help each other out in a pinch. As a last resort, and I DO mean last resort, either I or (gasp) his mother, could easily run a necessity out there. Heck, I could even do it on my lunch break, since I’m closer to Camp Friedlander at work than I am at home. Hopefully, it won’t come to that. But it’s nice to know that help is so close.

You might have experienced similar anxieties about a project at work. If so, you obviously appreciate the value of something being in stock, instead of “1-2 weeks ARO.” If the scope of your project includes spot cooling, drying, blowoff, mass heat removal, material conveyance, cleaningvacuum generation, cabinet cooling, or conservation of your compressed air, you’re in luck…anything in EXAIR’s comprehensive 164-page catalog is in stock, and available for immediate shipment. And we’re just a phone call away.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: http://www.exair.com
Blog: http://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair


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