EXAIR Ion Air Jets: Phase 1 for Improving Medical Devices

Medical Anatomy

A manufacturing facility was machining small plastic components for the medical industry.  They had their machining center located in a semi-clean room to keep dust and debris from getting onto the product.  As a procedure before entering the machining area, the operators would have to put on a lab jacket, wear hats, step on tack matts, and then test themselves for static buildup.   This was to ensure the operators were not bringing in contamination.  For this company, there was a high importance in keeping the area and the parts very clean.

With any non-conductive material like plastic, static is a common problem.  Static causes things to “stick” to the surface like a magnet.  Stuff like dirt, dust, and in this case; the swarf from the machining process.  When the plastic material was being machined, static would build and cause the fragments to stick to the part.  This was causing surface defects on the components which caused a rejection failure.  They tried to use a small brush to keep the fragments from gathering, but it was not real effective.  They decided to contact EXAIR to see if we could eliminate the problematic issues caused by static.

Stay Set Ion Air Jet

When it comes to removing static, EXAIR has a large product line of Static Eliminators.  Our design creates both positive and negative ions to remove any type of static charge.  In most of our systems, we can use compressed air to carry the ions to the problem areas to remove the static.  Then the air can easily blow the debris from the surface.  For the above operation, this company needed a hands-free device.  Since the size of the products being machined were small, I recommended the Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit; model 8494-9362.  This kit includes an Ion Air Jet, magnetic base, a 12” Stay Set Hose, power supply, filter and regulator (a complete startup kit to begin removing static).  The Ion Air Jet delivers a concentrated air flow of ionized air that can be focused on the parts.  With a small amount of compressed air, the Ion Air Jet induces the surrounding air at a ratio of 5:1; making it very efficient to use.  The magnetic base and the Stay Set Hose allows for easy maneuverability to direct the ionized air at the best position for maximum effectiveness in removing the swarf.

Once they installed the model 8494-9362 onto the CNC platform near the part, they started to see much improvement in their process.  As the Ion Air Jet was keeping the surface clean during machining, the reject rate for surface defects were reduced over 90%.  Another benefit that they saw was the reduction in time for cleaning after the machining process.  It was already debris-free and ready for the next operation.  One other thing that they did notice was the surface roughness was much “cleaner”.  They believed that the air from the Ion Air Jet was removing the heat from the tool and the surface of the part during the machining.   This allowed for a smoother and cleaner finish.

If you are dealing with plastic and non-conductive materials, the EXAIR Static Eliminators are designed to make your process run more efficiently by removing the static.  It was a great benefit for the above manufacturer to keep the product clean, reduce defects, and streamline their operation.  If you have issues with static, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see how we can eliminate it.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Muscles Anatomy Medical Human by heblo/64.  CC0 Public Domain.

83% Cyle Time Improvement with EXAIR Super Air Amplifiers

EXAIR Super Air Amplifier – an easy way to quickly move large air volumes

 

At a shipyard in Finland, our distributor found an application using blowers which needed a more viable solution.  The application was to dry the interior of large tanks after coating, and the original solution was to use a blower mounted to a 12” opening on top of the tank.  The airflow from the blower was forced into the tank in an effort to dry the coating but often ended up without any drying effect at all.

This problem was due to vapors (non-combustible vapors) produced by the coating process which are more dense than the ambient air, causing them to collect on the bottom of the tank.  The airflow produced by the blower was not sufficient to force these vapors from the tank, causing a long drying cycle for the coating process or no drying at all.

But, these same tanks feature a 3” diameter plug in the bottom of the tank to allow for draining if needed.  And, this opening is almost perfectly sized for a 2” EXAIR Super Air Amplifier model 120022.  (Model 120022 has an outer diameter of 2.95” at the side which provides incoming ambient air.)  By removing the plug in the bottom of the tank and installing a 2” Super Air Amplifier, this tank can be fully dried in a fraction of the time required for an electric blower setup.  The end user estimated an 83% reduction in drying times (from one hour per tank to ~10 minutes), and gained confidence that the tanks would be 100% dry and free of vapor when using the EXAIR solution.

One additional benefit of this Super Air Amplifier solution was increased reliability.  The electrical supply to this shipyard is unstable, resulting in blackouts and surges which shut down electric blowers.  But because the Air Amplifiers do not rely on electricity and sufficient storage capacity was available for compressed air, these units are unaffected by electrical supply problems.

If you have a similar application or would like to discuss a problem currently present in your production facilities, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’re here to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Memorial Day 2017

We’re in the home stretch now…mere hours away from Memorial Day weekend, or, as I call it, the Official Start Of Summer™.  EXAIR Corporation will be closed on Monday for this occasion. To make good use of this time off, I have three cookouts planned: one at the neighbors’, one at the in-laws’, and the third is self-inflicted.

As much as I like my neighbors and my in-laws (really,) I’m expecting that third one to be my favorite, even considering that I’m the one that has to clean up after it. Why, you may ask? Because we’re going to make s’mores. If you don’t know what s’mores are, I have two thoughts: 1) You’re killing me, and 2) Watch this RIGHT NOW (it’ll make you better understand my first thought too):

Whatever our plans, Monday culminates the celebration of this long weekend…Memorial Day. In the midst of our celebration and activities (or lack thereof – I’m all for some relaxation too,) I encourage you, dear reader, to remember the reason that this day was consecrated.

It was thirteen years ago last month that my wife called me at work to tell me the news that our neighbor’s son had been captured by hostile forces in Iraq.  By the time I got home, yellow ribbons were everywhere…trees, mailboxes, front doors, windows…all in support and hope for Matt Maupin.

Four years later was when the next Memorial Day took on an even more united meaning for our small town, when Matt’s family got the word that he had, in fact, been killed in service of his country.  I still see his father around town, and the grief has spurred determination to make something greater come from the remembrance of his son’s sacrifice.   The Yellow Ribbon Support Center:

*Sends care packages to military individuals serving in harm’s way.

*Hosts an annual “Let Us Never Forget” Scholarship dinner to honor local fallen heroes.  Over half a million dollars worth of scholarships have been awarded to date in remembrance & honor.

*Sends & supports speakers at schools, public events, gatherings, etc. to share the stories of our troops’ heroism.

The Yellow Ribbon Support Center is one of many organizations that could use your help, if you’re so inclined to find one, wherever you may be.  I still think, too, that every one of our fallen heroes, and their families, will want you to have an enjoyable holiday weekend.  It’s been paid for dearly.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Internal Mix Atomizing Spray Nozzle Used In Feed Additive Process

Last week I took a call from an agricultural customer looking to replace the spray nozzle used in their feed additive process. The soy oil/beeswax solution they are applying to the feed, is slightly viscous (close to 100 cP) which seems to be clogging the tight clearances inside the current nozzle, resulting in varying flow rates and an erratic spray pattern. They had tried to contact the current manufacturer several times for a solution but were unhappy with the lack of assistance they were receiving, not to mention the long lead times of 6-8 weeks for a replacement.

After further discussion, they confirmed they weren’t as concerned with the flow rate or spray pattern, as they were with the nozzle potentially getting clogged.  They were able to obtain some internal dimensions of the existing nozzle and after further review, I recommended they use our Model # AF1030SS Internal Mix Flat Pattern Atomizing Nozzle as a replacement. This nozzle has larger inside diameters which would reduce the potential for clogging. Our Internal Mix Atomizing Nozzles mix the liquid and air inside the air cap and produce the finest atomization. The flow rate can be changed by adjusting the control valve on the nozzle and/or by adjusting the liquid pressure. Internal Mix nozzles are capable of handling fluids up to 300 Centipoise. All of our Atomizing Nozzles are In STOCK, so delivery is never an issue.

Model AF1030SS Internal Mix Flat Fan Pattern Atomizing Nozzle

When considering an Atomizing Nozzle for an application, there are some general parameters that can be helpful in making the best selection.

  1. Do you have a pressurized liquid source?
  2. What is the fluid viscosity?
  3. What spray pattern best fits the process?
  4. How much flow (GPH/LPH) do I need?

If you have an application requiring a fine mist of atomized liquid spray, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

EXAIR Super Air Knives Increase Production of Jar Labeling Process

When a customer has a problem with a labeling process within their operation, many times they call EXAIR to provide a solution. The company in this example manufactures honey and dispenses it into jars and squeeze bottles. Due to an increase in demand, they were looking to increase their output. To do this, they simply increased the speed of their conveyor to accommodate approximately 70 jars per minute instead of their typical 50 jars per minute. This began to present a problem and they reached out to EXAIR for a solution.

honey SAKs
Honey jars traveling along conveyor and the recommended position of Super Air Knives.

After dispensing the honey, the jars and bottles travel through a washing station. The containers pass through a heated chamber that dries the excess water from the jar. At the higher speed, they were experiencing some residual water left on the containers. This began to pose an issue when they reached the labeling process. With water remaining on the jars, the labels adhesive would not adhere properly. This led to an increased amount of rejections and additional rework time to remove the rest of the label and re-run the defective containers.

They had a point in the conveyor just prior to labeling that the sides of the jar would be exposed. My recommendation was to install (2) 110009 9” Super Air Knives on each side of the conveyor to remove the water that was left after exiting the drying chamber. This worked like a charm and the customer was able to maintain an increased level of output without experiencing any further complications. Their previous rate of production without the Super Air Knives was approximately 50 jars per minute.  By installing the Super Air Knives, they were able fully realize their 70 jars per minute goal and increase their production by 40%!

The laminar flow that exits the Super Air Knife wraps itself around the outside of the jar, stripping away any leftover moisture. Supplied at 80 PSIG, each knife will consume only 26.1 SCFM of compressed air at a sound level of just 69 dBA. The flow and force from the knife are infinitely adjustable by dialing in the operating pressure with a pressure regulator or swapping out the shims with a Super Air Knife Shim Set. If you’re experiencing an issue with residual water or liquid on your product that is causing a problem during production, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to take a look and recommend the most suitable blowoff solution!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I think we have all heard the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – a phrase that is thought to have originated back in 70’s when environmental protection became a governmental policy.

We at EXAIR can help your company follow this important principle and help to keep your costs down as well.

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Reduce – Reduce the number of times you change out your coolant, reduce your wastewater. Our Reversible Drum VAcs and Chip Trappers help keep your coolant clean by providing a simple and effective method to remove and/or strain your coolant.

Also, remember this – they are VERY hard to break or ruin. If you have one of our liquid handling Reversible Drum Vacs or Chip Trapper units, and the performance isn’t quite as you remember it to be, give us a call.   We can help to trouble shoot and narrow in on the root cause.  Most of the time, it is a simple fix, such as a air leak or a change to the air supply system that has caused a drop in performance. If we have eliminated all of those possible causes, we can offer the RDVREFURB option. Simply send in your Reversible Drum Vac pump unit, and we will do a free evaluation. Then we’ll let you know what we find, and provide a quote for the repair.  The repair typically involves a thorough cleaning, replacement of a few basic parts, and then setting and testing to original factory specification.  Because the unit has no moving parts, there isn’t much that can break down or go wrong.  Don’t throw away that unit, REDUCE the amount of waste you create.

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Reuse – Maybe you have a Super Air Knife in storage that is not in use, and you come up with a need, but the Knife doesn’t quite match the application.  We can provide new custom shim to change the air flow pattern.  Perhaps you have a 24″ Super Air Knife, but the new application requires only 18″ of airflow.  You can send the knife in and we can clean it up and install a new custom shim to provide the exact airflow pattern that meets your requirements.  Or, we can send the new shim directly to you for your team to install. Don’t let the unused product lie around, REUSE it for another process or application.

Super Air Knife

Recycle – If for what ever reason a product has been deemed to be no-longer viable and cannot be reused, the time comes to dispose of it.  We hope that you would take the time to recycle it properly. With materials of construction including brass, aluminum and type 303 and type 316 stainless steels, most EXAIR products can be RECYCLED as common metals and you may even get a little money back!

To discuss your processes and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can provide a beneficial service, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

Photo Credit – “Recycling” by Andy Arthur is licensed under CC BY 2.0

EXAIR 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles – Little Things That Make a Big Difference

EXAIR 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle vs. other nozzles

I recently purchased a dart board to hang on the wall in my basement.  The dart board had a nice wood case with doors.  It also had some beautiful woodwork engraved along the outside edges.  When it arrived, I was so excited I decided to put it on the wall right then.  The wood case had four predefined holes that were 16” apart (to fit onto studs).  I got my tape measure, determined the correct height, and marked the points onto the studs.  As I ran the screw into the wall, I was about halfway into the stud, and the head of the screw broke.  That is correct!!!  It twisted right off the shank.  I was not happy.  I spent good money on a very nice dart board, and the screws were low quality and not tempered correctly.  The screws are only a fraction of the cost of the dart board, but they created a huge headache.  Now, I had to get the screw out and find new better quality screws to continue the process.

As an International Application Engineer for EXAIR, I have been to many facilities throughout the world with large automation systems inside their manufacturing plants.  I always wondered how much money was needed for the capital purchase to get a system created, assembled, and operational.  On many occasions when the customers brought me to their problem areas, I would see the flat plastic “duck-foot” nozzles.  They would be broken, ineffective, and loud.  They were looking for a recommendation to replace these plastic nozzles.  I know that their automation system cost much more than my dart board; but, I can relate to their headaches.

When you have an automated system that costs thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, the last thing you want is for nozzles that cost pennies compared to the full system to cause you headaches and problems.  EXAIR has effectively addressed this issue with the model 1122/1122SS 2” Flat Super Air Nozzles.  They are made either from zinc aluminum or stainless steel, not plastic.  This makes them very strong and durable.  With its unique design, they utilize shims which can be easily changed for different force requirements.  For stronger blowing applications, EXAIR also offers this same design in a high power version, model HP1125/HP1125SS.

This makes the 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle very versatile as you can purchase shim sets with different thickness in your kit.  Now you have more flexibility to “dial” in the correct performance for your application.  Another feature is the ability to draw in large amounts of ambient air to make them very quiet and efficient.  So, it will actually save you money by using less compressed air.  The sound level is only 77 dBA for the model 1122/1122SS, so it is not a noise nuisance.  They are OSHA compliant with noise level, 29CFR1910.95a, and  for dead-end pressure, 20CFR1910.242b.

Since the plastic nozzles break easily, they become very loud and unsafe for workers as they will not meet the OSHA standard.  If you need a durable, versatile, efficient, OSHA safe type of nozzle that will last a long time, the 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle is an easy choice over the plastic types of nozzles.  If you need help with mounting or positioning the nozzles, we have a line of accessories that can help.  We offer the Stay Set Hose, Magnetic Base, and Swivel Fittings to make it easy to mount and direct the nozzle for optimum performance.

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

If you have an automated system that is being contracted or if you are a machine builder, you will want to consider the EXAIR brand for your blow-off, cooling, and coating applications. With the overall cost of the system, you would not want to use poor quality plastic nozzles to save a couple of dollars.  In the long run, it will actually cost you more with loss of production, very loud noises, and an unsafe work environment.  I may have only broken one screw in hanging a dart board due to poor quality, but I can also relate to the unhappy feeling you get when your system is not performing because of low quality nozzles.   If you would like to try out the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles against a plastic nozzle, you can request an Application Engineer to help.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb