Using Ion Air Cannons To Help Assemble Motorcycles


The body panels on motorcycles can carry a static charge, shocking personnel assembling the bikes

One of the more fun applications I’ve worked through involving the Ion Air Cannon, was for a major motorcycle manufacturer.  In their assembly plant, motorcycles would transition from bare frames to complete bikes ready for the road.

In one stage of this transformation, the body panels were installed onto the motorcycles, fully painted and ready to go.  But, there was a problem with static in the assembly area, causing shocks to the assembly personnel and slowing down the process.  Multiple solutions had been tried, such as grounding straps and anti-static floor mats, but they didn’t work.

What did work was an Ion Air Cannon mounted above each installation area, with the ionized air “raining” down from atop the bikes.  As the bikes entered into this ionized airflow, they were treated for static and completely neutralized.  And, with a low operating pressure, low compressed air consumption, and low noise levels, the solution was a welcome one for the manufacturer.

I’ve helped our customers with Ion Air Cannons time and time again, but this application always stands out to me.  It highlights the versatility of the product, the ease of use, and the immediate results available for our customers when they implement EXAIR solutions.

If you’re facing a static problem, we’re here to help discuss solutions.  Feel free to contact an EXAIR Application Engineer with application specifics.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer


Photo courtesy of David RosenCreative Commons License.  Image reference here.

Another “Bucket And Ladder” Operation, Foiled By The Line Vac

Let me start by saying that EXAIR Corporation has nothing against buckets. Or ladders. We use them both here for a variety of tasks, and are very satisfied with them. But when they’re used together…that’s where we’re going to take exception. And we’re not the only ones.

I had the pleasure of speaking to an expert technician with a company that provides world class water recycling equipment & services. They use our Model 140200 2″ NPT Threaded Aluminum Line Vacs to move bentonite clay (an amazingly versatile purification & absorption media) from 50 lb bags into a hopper. It is then dispersed into a holding tank of oily water, where it removes the pollutants and impurities, allowing for clean recycling.  And, since they no longer have to carry it up a ladder and pour it in, it’s also safer and more efficient.

Model 140200 2" NPT Aluminum Threaded Line Vac moves bentonite clay into water recycling tank.

Model 140200 2″ NPT Aluminum Threaded Line Vac moves bentonite clay into water recycling tank.

EXAIR Corporation is committed to being proactive about the way we impact the environment. Our Sustainability Plan details the way we do this in regards to our responsible consumption of resources, our conscientious waste recycling measures, and the comprehensive impact of our products…everything from materials & design, to their efficient usage, to packaging. So, when our products are used in  application geared toward like-minded goals, it’s a win-win-win. For EXAIR, our customers, and the environment.

This is one of many ways that EXAIR’s diverse line of compressed air products are not only making processes more efficient, but making the world a better place through dedication to being “clean and green.” If you’d like to know more, please give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Vortex Tube Cold Fractions

Vortex Tubes are the perfect solution when dealing with a variety of spot cooling applications. They use compressed air to produce a cold air stream and a hot air stream, with temperatures ranging from as low as -50°F  up to +260°F (based on ambient supply temperature) and providing as much as 10,200 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity. By simply adjusting the valve in the hot end of the Vortex Tube, you are able to control the “cold fraction” which is the percentage of air consumed by the vortex tube that is exhausted as cold air versus the amount of air exhausted as hot air. Our small, medium and large Vortex Tubes provide the same temperature drop and rise, it’s the volume of air that changes with the various sizes.

Vortex Tubes

Vortex Tubes are available in small, medium and large sizes with various flows and cooling capacities.

When looking at the below performance chart, you will see that “Pressure Supply” and “Cold Fraction %” setting all play a part in changing the performance of the Vortex Tubes. Take for example, an operating pressure of 100 PSIG and cold fraction setting of 20%, you will see a 123°F drop on the cold side versus a 26°F temperature rise on the hot side. By the using the same Vortex Tube and keeping the operating pressure at 100 PSIG but changing the cold fraction to 80%, you will now see a 54°F temperature drop on the cold side and a 191° rise at the hot end.

Vortex Tube Performance Data

Vortex Tube Performance Chart

We’ve looked at how the cold fraction changes the temperature, but how does it change the flow for the various Models?

Say you are using a Model # 3240 Medium Vortex Tube which consumes 40 SCFM @ 100 PSIG. Again with the cold fraction set at 80% (80% of the consumed compressed air out of the cold end), you would flow 32 SCFM at the cold air exhaust.

40 SCFM x 0.8 (80% CF) = 32 SCFM

Using the same Model # 3240 Medium Vortex Tube but now with a 20% cold fraction (20% of consumed compressed air out of the cold end), you would flow 8 SCFM at the cold exhaust.

40 SCFM x 0.20 (20% CF) = 8 SCFM

As you can see, to achieve the colder air temperatures, the volume of cold air being exhausted is reduced as well. This is important to consider when making a Model selection. Some other considerations would be the operating pressure which you can see also has a significant effect on performance. Also the compressed air supply temperature because the above temperatures are temperature differentials, so in the example of the 80% cold fraction there is a 115F temperature drop from your inlet compressed air temperature.

If you need additional assistance, you can always contact myself or another application engineer and we would be happy to make the best selection to fit your specific need.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer


EXAIR No-drip Atomizing Nozzles – Finalist for Flow Control Magazine Innovation Award


EXAIR No Drip Atomizing Nozzle

In this summer of 2016, we are nearing the beginning of one of the largest sporting events on the planet, The 2016 Summer Olympics. At the heart of this celebration will be sporting events of all kinds. And in the tradition of the Olympics there is always a gold, silver and bronze winner to award the top three athletes in each event.

EXAIR is participating in a competition as well. It isn’t one of a sporting nature, but rather, one of ingenuity and innovation. Flow Control Magazine holds an annual competition for innovations in new products available in industry and we have entered the No Drip Atomizing Nozzle into the competition.

In general, Atomizing Nozzles are used for the application of high value fluids within industrial processes. In some cases where the Atomizing Nozzles are mounted above the target, residual fluid that is left inside the nozzle body can drip out when de-energized and cause un-wanted blemishes on the target surface.

EXAIR No Drip Atomizing Nozzles allow for external adjustment of compressed air and liquid inputs to adjust the liquid spray flow rate as well as droplet size for a wide range of applications. That’s pretty common amongst atomizing nozzles in general. So what is so innovative about the No-Drip Atomizing Nozzles?

We have found a way to control the on/off function of the atomizing spray which supports the no-drip feature as well as the atomizing flow with only one compressed air supply. Most other manufacturers require a nozzle that has a separate control for the small valve within the nozzle and another for the airflow that atomizes the fluid coming through. It is this innovation that dramatically improves the simplicity with which these nozzles can be installed into an application and controlled through typical air automation techniques. It was innovative enough that the US Patent Office granted EXAIR a patent on the design (Patent # 9156045). So, we’ve made the No-Drip Atomizing Nozzle available with 3 different spray patterns and 14 different liquid volume options to suit a wide variety of application need. Operating pressures can fall anywhere between 30 – 250 PSIG to atomize fluids up to 300 centipoise.

If you agree with the US Patent Office on the innovation and think that EXAIR’s No Drip Atomizing Nozzles should be a winner in this competition, we would appreciate your official vote.

Please vote for the EXAIR No Drip Atomizing Nozzles at this link to the Flow Control Magazine’s Innovation Awards page.

Thank you!

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager


Compressed Air Vacs have Advantages Over Electric Vacuums – Durability, Reliability, Noise Levels

Have you ever heard an electric vacuum toward the end of its life? It gets this high pitch annoying noise caused by the bearings going out.  I spoke recently to a customer who was hearing it about every two months.   This company cuts ceramic tiles with a diamond-tooth circular saw.  During this operation, a lot of dust is being created.  He would attach an electric vacuum to the dust port of the saw housing.  The vacuum was to remove as much dust as possible from the sawing operation to keep the area clean and the operators safe.  After about two months of operation, they would start hearing that “moan” from their electric vacuum.  The performance of the vacuum started to drop off, and it would allow more dust to collect in the saw room.  This was a hazard as it would make the floor slippery.  The operators then had to stop operations early to clean the floors at the end of each shift.  After their second electric vacuum failed, they started looking for a better alternative.

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac Family

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac Family

When they contacted me about their issue, I knew immediately which EXAIR product would serve their need very well. I suggested our new model 6399-30, 30 gallon Premium Heavy Duty HEPA Vac system for this operation.  The 30 gallon size is the smallest in the Heavy Duty HEPA family which made it easy to fit behind the saw table away from the operators.  The HEPA filter inside has an efficiency of 99.97% at 0.3 micron.  So, the dust will remain in the drum and not migrate back into the ambient air.  The EXAIR vacuum generator has no moving parts or bearings to wear.  It is made from a hardened steel construction which is very resistant to wear and abrasion from materials like ceramic.  The EXAIR design can generate a high vacuum level to draw dust material at an extremely high rate, and it only has a decibel level of 82 dBA.  With clean compressed air, this vacuum will last for years and years; not months.

As this company installed the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac into their system, the first thing that they noticed was how quiet it operated. The constant loud noise from their electric vacuum was gone, making it a better working environment.  They also noticed that the dust was being removed very quickly by the powerful vacuum pressure.  This meant that the amount of dust that could collect on the floor and equipment was greatly reduced.  Since the floors were cleaner longer, it decreased shut down times and removed the constant hazard of a slippery floor.

If you find that you are going through your electric vacuums or just would like to reduce the noise levels, EXAIR has a large line of Industrial Housekeeping Products. You can contact us to see if we have the right vacuum product for you.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Super Air Knife Provides Engine Block Blowoff


Extra points if you can identify this engine block

My hobby with cars is no secret.  Most people who meet me come to know I’m a total gearhead.  Case in point, on a recent trip to visit with our distributor in Finland, I was asked about the car I was working on when they last visited us just a few months ago.  Since then, the aforementioned car (a blue BMW) has found a new home, and I’m gearing up to sell another.

So, when I received an email from a major auto manufacturer needing a solution to clean the top side of an engine block, I was intrigued.  In addition to the photo above, I received the photo below with a short description of the current state in the application.


The top deck of this block, where the cylinder head gasket will rest, has a width of approximately 200mm.

As it stands, coolant is accumulating on the top side of the engine block after they are fully cast, decked, and cleaned.  In order to move on to the next step in the process, these engine blocks need to have all residual oil removed from the top side of the block.

The solution?  A 9” (229mm) Super Air Knife installed above the engine blocks as they travel down the production line.  The Super Air Knife will install at a 45° angle of attack, blowing off the residual coolant and allowing these parts to move on in the process without stopping.  This prevents lost throughput due to stoppage of the production line, prevents increased costs due to personnel needing to treat each engine block by hand, and provides a uniform condition for the engine blocks when they arrive in the next step of this production process.

The best part of the interaction was that this auto manufacturer contacted EXAIR for a solution because they were able to solve previous problems with overheating electrical control panels using our Cabinet Coolers.  So, when they needed another compressed air solution, they immediately knew who to call.

If you have an application in need of a compressed air solution, give us a call.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

Vacuum Evacuation Time for E-Vacs

A tank manufacturer was building specially designed tanks for their customer. These tanks were to hold cryogenic materials, so they had to create an outer shell to hold a special type of insulation material.  This shell maintained a 1/2 inch (13 mm) gap around the tank.  The overall dimensions of the cylindrical tanks were 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter and 43 feet (13 meters) in length.  The internal volume of the gapped area was 56.1 cubic feet (1560 liters).  With this type of insulation, it had to be under a negative pressure, or vacuum, to help facilitate the insulation properties.  So, when the tanks were completed, they had to check for leaks between the shell and the tank.  The requirement was to draw a vacuum to 21” Hg  and to hold it at that level for 30 minutes.  As the tank manufacturer researched vacuum pumps to test their design, they came across EXAIR.

Being that they were not familiar with EXAIR E-Vacs, they wondered how they worked. I explained that the E-Vac uses compressed air to create a vacuum by a venturi method.  It can reach vacuum levels up to 27” Hg in a very compact and lightweight design.  Being that they do not have any moving parts, they are very durable and long lasting in systems with on/off cycling or continuous running.  The tank manufacturer was very intrigued by this concept as they had electric vacuum pumps fail in the past.

He wondered about the evacuation time to get to 21” Hg of vacuum. The idea for the leak test was to reach the vacuum level and turn a valve off to isolate the area.  From there, they would watch a gage to see if they were losing vacuum.  If so, then they would have to find and fix the leak and recheck.  If the vacuum pressure held, then they could fill the area between the shell and the tank with insulation material; use the E-Vac to put it under vacuum; and cap.  Because the volume was large and time was a concern, I suggested the model 840060M.  This had the highest vacuum flow rate and can reach a vacuum level of 25” Hg.

Adjustable E-Vacs

Adjustable E-Vacs

To help explain a little better about vacuums, when you are near atmospheric pressure, you have the highest air flow rates. As the vacuum levels rise, less air is present to be drawn out.  When you reach the vacuum pump capacity or complete vacuum, the flow rate is zero.  You can notice this with your vacuum at home.  As you turn the vacuum on, the air is rushing in (the highest flow rate/very low vacuum pressure).  As you cover it with your hand, the vacuum pressure increases and the flow rate decreases to zero (no flow rate/highest vacuum pressure). To figure the amount of time to reach a certain vacuum level, we have to take into consideration the different flow rates as the vacuum level continues to increase.  The equation that we use is below:

Equation 1:  t = V * ln(p0 / p1)  / q

t = evacuation time (min)

V = enclosed volume (ft^3)

p0 = atmospheric pressure (“Hg)

p1 = end vacuum pressure (“Hg)

q = flow rate of vacuum pump (SCFM)

With the performance data of the model 840060M E-Vac, we can start to calculate the time to reach 21” Hg vacuum. A couple of details are required to make the equation work properly.  Just as a note, the end vacuum pressure, p1, has to be converted to an absolute pressure. This will equate to 29.92” Hg – 21” Hg = 8.92” Hg (absolute).

Here are the details for Equation 1:

V = 56.1 ft^3 (above)

p0 = 29.92” Hg (absolute start)

p1 = 8.92” Hg (absolute target)

q = 70 SCFM (cataloged at 80 psig)


t = V * ln(p0 / p1) / q

t = 56.1 ft^3 * ln(29.92” Hg/8.92” Hg) / 70 SCFM

t = 0.97 minutes

For this application, the model 840060M worked great for both procedures. With less than 1 minute to get to the desired set point, it didn’t hinder production for leak checks or to vacuum set the insulation. If you have a timing sequence with vacuum chambers or “pick and place” systems, you can use this equation to find the best E to meet your goal.  If you need any additional help, you can always contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.

John Ball

Application Engineer


Twitter: @EXAIR_jb


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