Counter-flow – How to Mount Air Knives for Maximum Effect

counter flow

Example: Counter-flow arrangement

As with any tool, there can be a right way and a wrong way to use the tool. In this article I will explain the best way to mount a Super Air Knife in a blowing application so that you achieve the maximum force, time in contact and of course, effectiveness.

There is a term we use, “counter-flow”, to describe the opposing travel of target material/conveyor (red arrow) and the airflow coming from an Air Knife (yellow arrow). By having opposing flows, the Air Knife is able to blow the debris, contamination, water or other fluid back into the direction from which it came. Sometimes a catch pan can be used to collect and re-use the fluid. In the photo above, note that the air knife is oriented to blow from right to left and the parts are travelling on the conveyor belt from left to right. This is a simple example of how we set up counter-flow.

Also, with regard to effective Air Knife mounting strategies; the Super Air Knife in the photo is mounted using our Universal Air Knife Mounting System which allows for maximum flexibility for positioning and stability of the Air Knife once set. The Universal Air Knife Mounting System is another great accessory that you can recommend to clients to make the set up very easy. Of course a suitable compressed air filter and pressure regulator should be used for clean air and adjustability of force in the application.

Finally, in the photo above, note that the Super Air Knife is mounted up-side down. We generally recommend this kind of orientation with the cap of the Super Air Knife being closest to the material being blown off. This allows you to get the air knife a bit lower and closer to the target material. The lower the angle, the better. This allows for a longer time in contact between the Super Air Knife and the target material. When the target material spends more time in the high velocity flow, the more likely you are able to impart the desired effect whether that be drying, cooling, blowoff or static elimination. To find a good mounting angle to start, I recommend customers use the front, angled edge of the Super Air Knife cap as a guide for what part of the Super Air Knife to keep parallel to the moving surface. This is a great reference from which blowing angle can be optimized.

If you find yourself with an Air Knife application and are unsure about how to proceed with mounting it, the idea explained above is one of the core foundations we utilize for solid Air Knife mounting technique.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR

 

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