When it comes to process improvement, the term Kaizen project, when used by a recent customer made me sit up and take notice. The customer extruded many forms of tubing, hose and other forms from various polymers. Cooling is a natural part of any extrusion process and is accomplished mainly by water, which is effective, but can be messy and cause production problems. The customer had been using a “homemade” blow off which consisted of two thick plates bolted together which had a slot milled into them. The blowoff device did drive the water from the extrusion, but was tremendously loud and used a lot of compressed air. In fact, on one line, three of these blowoffs were used.
As part of the Kaizen project, the customer did their research and naturally found the EXAIR Super Air Knife to be a very good candidate to not only lower the air noise generated, but also lower the air consumption and bring the blowing process within acceptable OSHA limits for dead end pressure.
They ended up using (1) Model 110206 6″ Super Air Knife Kit and (1) 6″ Super Air Knife only to do the job of blowing off the 4″ wide, flat extrusion. The Air Knives were mounted to be 1″ off of each face of the extrusion and blew in the direction opposite the travel of the product. This action sets up a nice “counter flow” between the air and the product to strip off the water. Sound level was reduced from 95 dB down to a more reasonable 72 dB at 1 meter. Air consumption was reduced from 110 SCFM to 35 SCFM for the project. The customer’s cost for product was right at $500.00 and with the air savings alone had a payback period of less than 3 months with only a 40 hour week considered.