It is a typical call to receive from customers looking to replace an inefficient, commercial grade or homemade compressed air product. Nearly always, customers can save dollars by using their compressed air more efficiently through an engineered product like ours. The performance characteristics of EXAIR products are presented at a pressure and air consumption capable of solving most industrial applications, but these performance numbers can be increased or decreased in a couple of ways. One way is by adjusting the inlet air pressure. The force, flow and volume will increase or decrease with increased or decreased pressure. Secondly, some products like Super Air Wipes, Super Air Knives and Super Air Amplifiers have an internal shim which can be changed to increase or decrease the precision air gap of the product. Applications like the following benefit from changing the shim in these products:
I worked with a customer who was using our 9″ aluminum Super Air Knife to dry a ceramic block with several individual cells. The unit was working great and they were looking to add another machine to their production line but since the Super Air Knife came with the wash coating machine, they were unsure how much air they were using and were concerned the demand on their compressor might be too great. As mentioned above, one way to reduce the air consumption would be to use a pressure regulator to adjust the supply pressure as well as control the output flow and velocity. Another simple way to control the airflow would be to change the shim to a different thickness. (for reference, here’s a video blog showing how to change the shim on a Super Air Knife)
The Super Air Knife is shipped from stock with a .002″ shim installed which is red in color. I asked if they knew what shim was in the knife and they didn’t have the thickness but knew it was green not red. That was all the info we needed, the green shim is .003″ thick and certainly overkill for removing a water based liquid from most surfaces. The performance spec chart below references the air consumption per inch with the .002″ shim installed. With the .003″ shim installed, these values would increase by 1.5 times.
I recommended the customer order the .002″ shim, which the OEM had removed and replaced with a larger shim. This would cut the current air consumption rate from 39 SCFM at 80 PSIG to 26 SCFM at 80 PSIG. That was what it took to get the application solved and to increase production with a new machine.