Super Air Knife Dries Plastic Fence Net

I recently worked with an extruded fence manufacturer who was looking to dry the material after a rinse process. The polyethylene fencing is 48″ wide with cells ranging from .25″ up to 2″ and the web is traveling at 5 meters per minute. After leaving the rinse bath, the web spans a 12′ area before being sent to a winder where they apply a tape before producing the finished rolls. It was in this area the company was looking to add a blow off device to remove the moisture to assure the tape would adhere to the surface.

construction-netting

Example of the fence, which is commonly used at construction sites as safety netting.

After discussing the details with the customer of the area that needed to be covered, I recommended they use our 48″ Super Air Knife for the application. The Super Air Knife produces a high velocity, laminar sheet of airflow across the entire length of the knife. Operating at 80 PSIG, using a 40:1 amplification rate (entrained air to compressed air) the unit produces a velocity of 11,800 feet per minute while maintaining a low sound level of only 69 dBA. Air consumption is 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife when operated at 80 PSIG. Since the customer was looking to treat both sides of the fencing, they would need to mount a unit above and below the web for effective blowoff.

Super Air Knife

The Super Air Knife provides a high velocity curtain of air at minimal compressed air usage.

The Super Air Knife is the most efficient and quietest air knife offered on the market today. Available in lengths from 3″ up to 108″ in single-piece construction and offered in aluminum, 303ss or 316ss construction, they are the perfect choice for small scale or wide coverage blowoff applications. With help selecting the best EXAIR Air Knife for your process or to discuss your application, give me a call, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Plastic orange construction fence-net image courtesy of Jnzl’s Photos via Creative Commons license.

 

A Solution for This and a Solution for That – Solving Problems Throughout the Plant

EXAIR’s 15 extensive product lines solve problems in production processes everyday. From cooling to laser lens protection (as you will see below) to static elimination, general shop housecleaning, conveying and air conservation –  we would like to help solve your problems.

Last week, I got an email from a customer.  It was late in the day, and I was spent from a busy day.  The customer was emailing for (2) reasons. First, they wanted to express their appreciation for our efforts several months ago regarding an application for a Vortex Tube. Over the course of a couple of weeks, we shared information and ideas back and forth regarding the Vortex Tube technology, how it works, and the various considerations when choosing the appropriate model.  They ended up purchasing a unit and put it into operation.  The application involved a plastic tubing cutting process and in this instance both the cold and hot air streams could be utilized to improve the process. The process involves heating up the material so it would lose its memory set, and then a cooling operation to improve the material cutting and handling.  Below is an excerpt from the recent email:

capture

How_A_Vortex_Tube_Works

The Vortex Tube takes in compressed air, and creates a Cold Stream and a Hot Air Stream

The second reason for the email was that he needed help with another application and based on the success of the initial collaboration, he knew he could trust in EXAIR to help find a solution that would work.  The new application involves protecting a camera lens from debris created during a wire cutting laser process. The lens is getting hit with spatter and damage is starting to occur. Our collaboration has begun, and we are looking at the Super Air Knife and Flat Super Air Nozzle as possible solutions, each of them providing a strong air flow to direct the debris away from the lens.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can help your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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EXAIR Super Air Knife vs. Blower-type Air Knife

Super Air Knife Blower Air Knife

Super Air Knife                           Blower Air Knife

A plastic company was developing thin layered films in their laboratory on a miniature prototype machine. It was designed for trial runs to make 24” wide material from various plastics, blends, and thicknesses.  They would place the plastic pellets into a hopper, and the material would be melted and extruded into a flat sheet.  To harden the material, it would land onto a cold drum, a large cylinder that had chilled water running through it.  To keep the sheet on the surface of the cold drum, they had a blower air knife.  In addition to the blower air knife, they had to use two ¼” copper air lines blowing on the outside section of the film.  Whenever they decided to make a change to their process, change material runs, or even for clean up; they had to move the blower air knife from the cold drum.  This was a hassle as it had a 3” hose attached to a blower.  It was very cumbersome and awkward to handle.  They heard about the EXAIR Super Air Knives, and they wanted me to do a comparison to their current system.  I was glad to compare the EXAIR 110224 Super Air Knife to their blower-type air knife system.

 

  1. They were getting “stretch” marks on the plastic film.
    • Blower-type air knife – Hot air is generated by the blower system. When the hot air hits the cool surface, it will cause an uneven hardening of the material, causing stretch marks.
    • Super Air Knife – It has a 40:1 amplification ratio. That means that 40 parts of the ambient air is entrained with 1 part of compressed air. Being that the ambient air is much cooler than the hot air from the blower system, it actually aides in cooling. There is no thermal shock to the material, and hardening is better and faster.
  2. They required an even force across the surface of the plastic film to keep against the cold drum.
    • Blower-type air knife – Their design had one 4” line feeding into the side of the blower air knife. This would cause 2 issues for an even force. As the velocity of the air hits the opposite side of the knife, the closed end, a turbulent air flow is developed. Also, there would be a slight negative pressures at the entrance caused by the velocity of the air entering. This turbulent mayhem and slight negative pressure are very inconsistent in force and velocity. The reason that they had to add the additional two ¼” copper lines to blow compressed air on the outside edges.
    • Super Air Knife – The flow that is delivered from the Super Air Knife is laminar. This means that the force and velocity is consistent across the entire length, even on the outside. With this even force, the film is held evenly and securely onto the cold drum.
  3. They needed maneuverability for change overs and clean up.
    • Blower-type air knife – To keep the needed pressure on the film, they had to have the blower air knife ¼” from the surface of the cold drum. So, before a change over or clean up procedure is started, they had to remove the knife and attachments. This was time consuming, cumbersome, and a headache to move.
    • Super Air Knife – With the compact design, the Super Air Knife has a large force in a small package. It has a footprint of 1 ¾” X 1 ½” X 24” long with only two ¼” NPT compressed air lines feeding it. The force measurement is equivalent from 3” to 12” away from the surface. Now, they could mount the Super Air Knife far enough to not disrupt their cleaning or change-over procedures. This saved them much time in changing to different materials and clean up.
  4. They wondered about the compressed air usage.
    • Blower-type air knife – This device does not require any compressed air to operate, but because it could not keep the film against the cold drum on the outer edges, they did have to use compressed air. With the two ¼” copper tubing at 80 psig, they were using a total of 79 SCFM of compressed air.
    • Super Air Knife – As a direct comparison to their air usage, the Super Air Knife would use 70 SCFM of compressed air at 80 psig across the entire width of the film. But with the unique design to entrain 40 parts of ambient air, it gives the Super Air Knife a powerful force. They were able to reduce the air pressure to 40 PSIG to keep the film on the cold roll, which also cut the air consumption to 41 SCFM. This efficient design helped them to save on compressed air without the added cost of the electricity to run the blower motor.
  5. Any other comparisons between the two products
    • Blower-type air knife – With the sound of the blower and the turbulent air flow, the unit was very loud. It had a sound level over 90 dBA, and with the operators working around this system, they required PPE for hearing.
    • Super Air Knife – These units are very quiet. At 40 PSIG, the sound level is only 61 dBA. (Just as a reference, the sound level is 72 dBA at 100 PSIG). This was very nice for the operators as they did not need to wear the ear plugs to work around their machine all day.

When it comes to using the EXAIR Super Air Knife, it has many benefits over the blower-type air knife. We can even include the initial cost in which we would be about 1/10 the cost of a blower-type air knife system.  For this customer above, they were delighted to replace that system with the Super Air Knife, and start running plastic film effectively, efficiently, and quietly on their miniature prototype machine.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Compressed Air Safety is No Joke – and Violations are Expensive

osha

All EXAIR products meet or exceed OSHA dead-end pressure requirements

While reading through the newspaper a few weeks ago I happened upon an article about a local bread manufacturer facing financial penalties for safety violations from which one of their employees was permanently injured.  The total proposed penalties were $146,979 related to three safety violations, and one of those violations had to do with compressed air dead-end pressures exceeding 30 PSIG.

This OSHA violation refers to standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b), which mandates that compressed air driven devices do not exceed 30 PSI of dead-end pressure.  What this means is that any compressed air device, if placed directly against your skin, cannot exceed a pressure of 30 PSIG.

Why?  Because at pressures greater than 30 PSIG the compressed air can penetrate through the skin and force air into the bloodstream.  Air within the bloodstream can result in an air embolism which can block an artery or vein, leading to blood pressure complications, breathing difficulties, or even death.

EXAIR Application Engineers are well versed in removing this type of safety concern through engineered compressed air products.  This is because EXAIR products meet or exceed the OSHA dead-end pressure requirement, allowing users of our products to maintain favorable line pressures while adding safety to their facilities.

An open-ended pipe or drilled holes in a manifold is a tempting low-cost alternative to an engineered solution – until they aren’t.  Just ask this bread manufacturer who faces $9799.00 in fines related to “Serious” violations in their compressed air system.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Darn Right, More Power

“Home Improvement” was one of the more popular TV shows of the 1990’s – the lead Character (I capitalized that on purpose,) Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, hosted a handyman show with his skilled & more sensible sidekick, Al Borland. Tim’s mantra, “More Power,” was often tempered by Al’s quintessential retort of “I don’t think so, Tim.” For your viewing pleasure, here’s a collection of (more than) a few times when Al’s warning went unheeded.

When discussing compressed air product applications, I’m often asked if EXAIR has something with “more power” than what the caller is currently using.  Sometimes, it’s even an EXAIR product that’s not giving the results they want.  Regardless, the answer is usually “darn right, we do!”

This was the case recently, when I had the pleasure of actually doing a conveyance test in our shop for a customer.  The product was broken glass, and they wanted to move a fair amount of it, in a hurry.

Last year about this time, I wouldn’t have even recommended a test of the product; our Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac was our epitome of “More Power.”  Then, earlier this year, we introduced the Model 150300 3″ Heavy Duty Line Vac (also a 2-1/2″ model).

Yeah, we really don't have an "Al Borland" character on the EXAIR team...2" Heavy Duty Line Vac (left;) the new 3" model (right.)

2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac (left;) the new 3″ model (right.) Yeah, we really don’t have an “Al Borland” character on the EXAIR team…

The results were conclusive, and dramatic.  The 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac moved the broken glass at a rate of 10.8 lb/min. Considering that included a 15 foot vertical rise, that’s not bad at all.  Based on the difference in conveyance air flow alone (which we use as a VERY rough estimation,) I expected an increase of 40-50% with the new 3″ model.  Instead, I could almost hear Tim Allen’s signature grunt as the 3″ Heavy Duty Line Vac reached a conveyance rate of 24 lb/min.  More power, indeed.

If you’d like to discuss an air operated conveyor application, or 1990’s sitcoms, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Ion Air Jet Improves Teflon Gasket Cutting

If your familiar with our blog, you may have noticed that a common theme lately has been static.  Take for example our recent blog titled  Static Can Become A Big Issue With Winter Approaching , details how static was negatively affecting an automobile instrumentation assembler’s production or another one titled Static Electricity – What is it? , providing a better general understanding of the phenomena. Here in Cincinnati we’ve had some relatively mild temperatures lately but this weekend it was just downright cold. Now that our furnace is running, the humidity in the house is starting to be removed which not only wreaks havoc on our hardwood floors, but in winter’s past, it seemed like every time one of us touched each other or something metal , we got “zapped” due to static. As many homeowners do, I’ve purchased several humidifiers and strategically placed them throughout the house which has helped immensely. While this is a good approach for a residence, it’s not as easy an alternative when dealing in an industrial setting.

I recently worked with a customer in the northeastern U. S. who manufacturers Teflon gaskets. As the Teflon tube exits the extruder, a blade passes by and cuts a very thin cross section of material which drops into a collection bin underneath. During the spring and summer months, the process was running seamlessly but over the past couple weeks, temperatures in the area have dropped, causing the company to turn on the large, gas heaters on the production floor. Now that the air is starting to dry out, they are beginning to see the gaskets cling to the blade and surrounding tooling which is not only causing damage to the part itself but it’s also resulting in production delays.

Since the area they are needing to treat is relatively small, I recommended they use our Ion Air Jet. The Ion Air Jet  provide a focused stream of ionized air to eliminate the surface static of a material or object. By incorporating a pressure regulator to operate at low pressure, they would be able to reduce the outlet force and velocity, allowing them to gently blow the airflow across the area as to not disrupt the collection of the parts.

NEW Ion Air Jet
Static can cause a variety of nuisances in industrial settings ranging from damage to sensitive electronics, machine jams, parts or sheets sticking together, and personnel shock just to name a few. If you need any help selecting the best EXAIR product for your needs, don’t hesitate to ask one of our application engineers for assistance. I’d be shocked if we couldn’t help. (I know, not punny).

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

A 20 Year Old Cabinet Cooler Reveals our Small World

Recently, I had dinner with some family that I hadn’t seen in a quite a while.  As part of catching up and reminiscing about old times, the discussion went to professions and ‘what are you doing now?’  I told my uncle that I was doing Application Engineering for EXAIR Corporation, and he asked about what we do. I responded that we manufacture an extensive array of Intelligent Compressed Air Products, and then gave a few specifics, like Air Knives, Line Vacs, and Cabinet Cooler Systems. Since my uncle had worked in the chemical process and research industry for many years, he was at least familiar with the products I had mentioned.  He then shared stories about the facility he works at, and because I had worked there many years ago in college (driving a forklift), he knew I would appreciate hearing about all the changes in the last quarter decade.  Eventually, the evening came to and end and we went our separate ways.

Very soon after I received a text message with the below photo attached. Sure enough, my uncle had come across an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System installed in his facility.  Based on the photo, I identified it as a NEMA 12 model, with a cooling capacity of 275 or 550 BTU/hr. When I did an order history search, I confirmed it was a model 4208 (550 BTU/hr) and found it had shipped in August of 1995, and that my uncle’s name was listed as the order contact, since he placed the order.

Small World!

img_6375

Model 4208, NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler System, Installed in 1995 – Still Working Today

Speaking of small worlds, the model 4208 and it’s little brother model 4204, are perfect for small cabinet enclosures that have a minor amounts of internal heat generation, such as a power supply, or moderate outside heat transfer.  Capable of producing 550 BTU/hr and 275 BTU/hr of cooling while using just 8 and 4 SCFM of 100 PSIG compressed air, the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems offer a great way to keep cabinets cool and worry free, as evidenced by over 20 years of operation.  Just provide clean air (a simple 5 micron water/dirt filter is recommended) and it will operate worry free for a long time.

EXAIR manufactures Cabinet Cooler Systems from 275 to 5600 BTU/hr, for NEMA 12, NEMA 4 and NEMA 4X enclosures. They are available in Continuous Operation, (2) Types of Thermostat Control, special designs for High Temperature environments, and a Non- Hazardous Purge. Materials of construction include aluminum, stainless steel, and type 316 stainless steel.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System would help out, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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