“I’ve been using your Model # 2018SS 18″ Stainless Steel Standard Air Knife since 1992 and it’s STILL working great!”. This was the first thing a customer told me last week when we began our conversation. Of course we really appreciate hearing about success stories like this as it just further demonstrates our commitment to provide top quality, energy efficient, compressed air operated products.
The next part of the conversation was a subject we don’t necessarily like hearing, as the customer was thinking of replacing our unit with a blower driven air knife due to the concern of the amount of compressed air usage and resulting energy costs. They initially inquired about using the blower to supply our unit but all of our products require high pressure, compressed air to operate and wouldn’t run on a blower type system. They are using the Standard Air Knives on their extrusion operation where they have a unit mounted above and below the part as it exits the machine, to remove the remaining moisture from the part.
I explained that blower systems may seem like a more economical choice due to the lower energy demand compared to a compressor, but in actuality, they require a lot of maintenance hours in the form of replacing bearings, belts, filters, etc. Some of these repairs can’t be performed at the site and require the unit to be taken offline and sent back to the manufacturer for refurbishment, resulting in costly downtime. In addition, these type of systems require a large footprint for installation and large duct for the airflow.
EXAIR actually performed a comparison test putting our 24″ Super Air Knife up against common blowoffs in the form of drilled pipe, a manifold of inefficient flat nozzles and a blower driven air knife. Please note, the Super Air Knife is more efficient than the Standard Air Knife that the customer is using, but as you will see in the chart below, the minimal increase in compressed air requirement for the Standard Air Knife would be quickly offset by the overall bottom line.
While the annual electrical/energy cost was higher for the Super Air Knife, the initial purchase price and annual maintenance costs were significantly lower, making the 1st year of ownership over 3.5 times less than that of the blower driven unit. Also, with the design of our Air Knives entraining large volumes of surrounding air, wind shear is reduced, which decreases the noise level generated. As a result, our units are going to produce sound levels well below the allowable noise exposure levels set forth by OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a) when compared to other devices.
After explaining this information to the customer, they are going to re-evaluate their requirements. As the customer put it, “it is kind of hard to argue against 24 years of successful operation with your product”. I would tend to agree!