Versatile, Efficient And Quiet: The EXAIR Super Air Knife

It would be a memorable day in Application Engineering if one of us didn’t handle at least one call regarding a Super Air Knife. They’re just used for so many different purposes: from debris blow off, to drying, to cooling – in fact, a good number of “Super Air Knife calls” start as “Vortex Tube calls,” because both have their place, depending on factors such as how hot the part to be cooled is, what temperature you want to get it to, how fast does it need cooled, etc. More on that here, and here…today, I’m going to write about environmental containment and separation.

In a nutshell, that means keeping smoke, fumes, powder, etc., inside an area, or at the very least, away from another area. A couple of examples of this are documented in the Super Air Knives section of our latest catalog. If you don’t have one, click here.

The first features:

lens clearing
(2) Model 110024 24″ Aluminum Super Air Knives, which keep the smoke from machining oil that burns off during an engine test directed into the vent hood.

The second utilizes:

A Model 110006 6" Aluminum Super Air Knife to keep the slag, spatter, and smoke from a laser cutter away from the lens of the machine's visual inspection system.
A Model 110006 6″ Aluminum Super Air Knife to keep the slag, spatter, and smoke from a laser cutter away from the lens of the machine’s visual inspection system.

A third, which I don’t have pictures of yet because it’s brand-new, is a little larger scale: a recent caller was looking for a way to keep ALL the powder inside his powder coating spray booth. There’s an open vent with runs all the way across the top, and, when the booth is in operation, a very small plume exits along its 90″ width. They purchased a Model 110296 96″ Aluminum Super Air Knife Kit to blow a continuous curtain of air across this 4″ wide gap, angled down slightly into the booth. The Kit’s Pressure Regulator allows them to “dial down” the air flow to a level just high enough to keep the powder from exiting the gap, but also low enough to not disturb the powder coating process inside the booth.

A self contained blower unit was actually their first idea…these are very popular for large doorways…you’ve probably even seen them on large doors on shipping docks, or forklift paths inside plants where it’s necessary to keep pollutants from one room from entering another. For this situation, though, the compact size, low sound level, and precise adjustability of the Super Air Knife’s air flow made it the logical choice.

If you’d like to know more about EXAIR Super Air Knives, or any of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Video Blog: Air Entrainment Of An Air Amplifier

The following is a short video explaining how EXAIR’s Super Air Amplifiers work. It also shows the high volume of surrounding air that is pulled into the outlet flow with a very small amount of compressed air required. As yo will see, this high volume of ambient air produces a dramatic effect on the Air Amplifier’s  outlet flow. Super Air Amplifiers are very efficient, quiet and safe and can be used to vent fumes, circulate air, cool, clean and blow off surfaces.



Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer

Calculating Compressed Air Cost & Savings Made Easy

If you have ever looked through our catalog, website, blog, twitter feeds, or even our Facebook page, you will see that we can almost always put a dollar amount behind the amount of compressed air you saved by installing EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products.   No matter which platform we use to deliver the message, we use the same value for the cost of compressed air which is $.25 per 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet of compressed air. This value is derived from average commercial and industrial energy costs nationwide, if you are on either coast this value may increase slightly. On the positive side, if your cost for compressed air is a bit more, installing an EXAIR product will increase your savings.

So where does this number come from?   I can tell you this much, we didn’t let the marketing department or anyone in Accounting make it up.   This is a number that the Engineering department has deemed feasible and is accurate.

To calculate the amount we first look to what the cost per kilowatt hour is you pay for energy.  Then we will need to know what the compressor shaft horsepower  of the compressor is, plus the run time percentage, the percentage at full-load, and the motor efficiency.

If you don’t have all of these values, no worries.   We can get fairly close by using the industry accepted standard mentioned above, or use some other general standards if all you know is the cost of your electricity.

The way to calculate the cost of compressed air is not an intense mathematical equation like you might think.  The best part is, you don’t even have to worry about doing any of the math shown below because you can contact us and we can work through it for you.

If you prefer to have us compare your current compressed air blow off or application method to one of our engineered products, we can do that AND provide you a report which includes side by side performance comparisons (volume of flow, noise, force) and dollar savings. This refers to our free Efficiency Lab service.

EXAIR's Efficiency Lab is a free service to all US customers.
EXAIR’s Efficiency Lab is a free service to all US customers.

If you already know how much air you are using, you can use the Air Savings Calculators (USD or Euro) within our website’s knowledge base. Just plug in the numbers (EXAIR product data is found on our website or just contact us) and receive air savings per minute, hour, day and year. We also present a simple ROI payback time in days.

Now, back to the math behind our calculation.
Cost ($) =
(bhp) x (0.746) x (#of operating hours) x ($/kWh) x (% time) x ( % full load bhp)
Motor Efficiency

— Compressor shaft horsepower (generally higher than motor nameplate Hp)
0.746 – conversion between hp and KW
Percent Time — percentage of time running at this operating level
Percent full-load bhp — bhp as percentage of full load bhp at this operating level
Motor Efficiency — motor efficiency at this operating level

For an average facility here in the Midwest $0.25/1,000 SCF of compressed air is accurate.   If you would like to attempt the calculation and or share with us your findings, please reach out to us.   If you need help, we are happy to assist.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager


Consider Longevity of Product Life When Making a Purchase

In some instances, we have customers that will call and tell us about their EXAIR products. They tell us about how well they work and how long they have been in service. As a manufacture, this is great to hear. In this instance, the customer had 14 EXAIR Vortex Tubes in his laser inspection system. He uses them to keep the lens cool during operation. He was extremely happy with the longevity designed into the EXAIR product, and he wanted to contact us to let us know.

He stated that the Vortex Tubes have been in service for over 10 years without any problems, and they still are going strong.  EXAIR manufactures their Vortex Tubes out of stainless steel.  They can have a cooling capacity that ranges from 135 BTU/hr to 10,200 BTU/hr.  We also can produce a high temperature (HT) version for applications within elevated ambient temperatures.    What is unique with this product is that there is no moving parts – there are no bearings or slides to wear out, no coolant to refill or no compressor to fail.  We incorporate this same principle with our Cabinet Coolers, Air Amplifiers, Industrial Housekeeping Products, Air Nozzles and Air Knives.  With the quality engineering and design of our products, longevity is a norm, not an exception.

Vortex Tube
Vortex Tube

The reason for this blog is to explain longevity, and longevity can be a factor in ownership. When you look at items like refrigeration systems, the compressor will wear out, the system can leak Freon, the continuous PM to keep the condenser clean and filters changed requires close attention. When replacing or fixing the product regularly, you can see how this will add up in costs for repairs and costs due to downtime. Finding a solution for your production or application problem is easy with EXAIR’s huge variety of products, sizes and materials. With the exceptional design and engineering behind EXAIR products, you can rely on the product for years to come, with little to no maintenance. That is the longevity EXAIR products possess, with longevity comes dollar and air savings, and best of all it comes with peace of mind.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Video Blog: How To Clean An EXAIR Air Knife

From time to time, cleaning of an EXAIR Air Knife may be necessary. Watch the video below for a walk through of the cleaning procedure.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I’m old enough to remember doing business before we had the internet, but I swear I don’t remember how I (or anyone else) ever got anything done. The ability to share details and information, in real time, is a hallmark of the way business is conducted in the 21st Century.

Now, to be fair, we’ve been able to immediately send written data (spec sheets, operation instructions, etc.) for a long time, via fax machines. Curiously, this technology predates the invention of the telephone, believe it or not. It just didn’t work well at all with photographs, though…I recall trying it several times, and actually having it work once: someone put a small part directly on the glass of the copier (much to the chagrin of the office manager) and faxed the resultant image to me.

Nowadays, we just snap a picture with a smart phone camera and email it. In fact, EXAIR Application Engineers do this at least a couple of times a day. In fact, just this morning, I had the pleasure of helping a customer get a replacement muffler for one of our Vortex Tube Spot Cooling Products…one that they purchased about 25 years ago. I was a little curious to know, however, what condition of the rest of the device was in. The customer sent me an email with photos, which showed a 25 year old EXAIR Component Cooler in REMARKABLE condition…except for the muffler, which was showing some corrosion due to recent operation with some moisture in the air supply (due to the undetected failure of an upstream dryer.) The nice thing about digital photos is, I could also tell that the o-ring used to install the muffler was also in need of replacement…something we’d have never been able to tell from a fax of an image, taken from a copier.

As you can see, the o-ring had seen better days too...back in the 1990's!
As you can see, the o-ring had seen better days too…back in the 1990’s!

Within about a half an hour, we were processing an order for a muffler and o-ring that they’ll have tomorrow, and their 25 year old Vortex Tube product will be running like new. Just like the ones shown near the end of this video (you will see that back in the day, we used two x’s in our name):

Every day, EXAIR Application Engineers prove that a picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words…and videos might just be worth a thousand pictures.  If you’d like help with a compressed air product application, or an existing compressed air product, let us know.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Vac-u-Gun Increases Production and Eliminates Mess

I recently took a call from a customer who was looking for a way to increase the production in their bean bag chair and pillow filling application. They currently have an operator use a scoop and manually take the polystyrene pellets out of a bag to fill the chairs and pillows. This process was time consuming, tedious and messy. Since they were only looking to move the material a short distance, they were considering using our Light Duty Line Vac but were hoping for something that could be more easily controlled. Our Vac-u-Gun is a great solution for this customer because it is a hand held, trigger operated solution that will provide the control they desired. The Vac-u-Gun is a versatile product that can be used to efficiently transfer bulk material, evacuate a vessel or used as a blow gun. By changing the orientation of the nozzle insert in the Vac-u-Gun it will provide positive pressure (for blow off or cleaning) or negative pressure (vacuum) which is the position best suited for transferring these polystyrene pellets.

No moving parts or electricity required to operate, with the convenience of 3 separate tools.

For this particular application, the customer ordered our Model # 6292 Transfer System which includes the Vac-u-Gun, 10′ of vacuum hose and some additional tools. This allowed them to easily transfer the material and by making it a closed system with the vacuum hose, eliminated the mess they were seeing with their current process.

Vac-u-Gun Systems
3 different systems available for collection, transfer or multi-purpose.

With our extensive offering, there may be several products to fit your particular application. Call one of our application engineers for assistance in making the best selection.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer