The Old One-Two: Super Air Knives And Super Air Nozzles

The EXAIR Super Air Knife is THE ideal, efficient, and quiet solution for most any blow off application. We know this for a fact; we’ve been making them for years, folks all around the world have been buying them for years, and they keep coming back for more. They’re popular enough that over the years, we’ve introduced Mounting Systems and Plumbing Kits for ease of installation, and when Coupling Kits (to join multiple Super Air Knives together for greater lengths) became big sellers, we “upped our game” and started making Super Air Knives up to nine feet (108″) long. And certain applications (I’m looking at YOU, lumber and paper industries) order multiples of THOSE, and our Coupling Kits. Quite literally, there’s no job too big for EXAIR Super Air Knives.

EXAIR Super Air Knifes come in a wide variety of lengths to suit a wide range of applications.

No matter how long they are, though, the laminar, high velocity curtain of air they generate only moves in one direction. So, if there are significant geometric features (holes, bosses, recesses, “nooks & crannies,” etc.) to be blown off, we’ll have to look at something supplemental.

Enter the EXAIR Blowoff Systems…it doesn’t get any easier than this: an EXAIR engineered Super Air Nozzle, attached to a flexible, repositionable Stay Set Hose, mounted to a Magnetic Base.  Put a hard hitting, high velocity, pointed flow of air right where you want it.  If the next piece is different, that’s no problem – just bend the hose to re-aim the air flow.

Mag Bases come with one or two outlets. Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6″ to 36″.

No matter what the requirements of your blow off application are, we have an efficient, quiet, and safe solution.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Intelligent Compressed Air: Desiccant Dryers – What are they and How Do they Work?

Desiccant dryer

Heat of Compression Desiccant Dryer

No matter where you are in the world, the atmospheric air will contain water vapor. As this air cools to the saturation point, also known as dew point, the vapor will condense into liquid water. The amount of this moisture will vary depending on both the ambient temperature and the relative humidity. According to the Compressed Air Challenge, a general rule of thumb is that the amount of moisture air can hold at a saturated condition will double for every 20°F increase in temperature. In regions or periods of warmer temperatures, this can create a significant problem. Some problems that can be associated with moisture-laden compressed air include:

  • Increased wear of moving parts due to removal of lubrication
  • Formation of rust in piping and equipment
  • Color variation, adherence, and finish of paint that is applied using moisture-laden compressed air
  • Create unstable conditions for processes that are dependent upon pneumatic controls. Malfunctions due to rust, scale, or clogged orifices can damage product or cause costly shutdowns
  • In colder temperatures, moisture in the compressed air flow can freeze in the control lines

To remove moisture from the lines, a dryer must be installed. One of the most commonly found dryers in a facility are referred to as desiccant dryers. There are three variations of desiccant dryers: Regenerative-Desiccant Dryers, Heat Reactivated Desiccant Dryers, and Heat of Compression Desiccant Dryers.

A Regenerative-Desiccant Dryer uses a porous desiccant that collects and adsorbs the moisture. This allows for large amounts of water to be retained with a minute amount of desiccant. Most regenerative-desiccant dryers consist of two towers. One where wet, moisture-laden compressed air flows through a desiccant bed. A second tower contains desiccant that is being regenerated. A controlled amount of dry air flows through the tower being regenerated, which causes the moisture to release from the desiccant and flow out with the purge flow. This saturated air exhausts to atmosphere. After a set time, the towers will switch and continue this cycle of drying/regenerating.

Another, and more efficient, regenerative-desiccant dryer uses heat to assist in removing water from the desiccant. As the tower is heated, the moisture is no longer adsorbed by the desiccant and is purged through the flow. This style is more efficient than the other styles of dryers because less compressed air is wasted removing the moisture in the tower.

The third type of desiccant dryer is the Heat of Compression dryer. This style utilizes the heat that is generated during compression to accomplish the regeneration of the desiccant. Typically, the heat that is generated from the air compressor is exhausted to atmosphere and wasted. With a heat of compression dryer, this heat is captured and used to regenerate the desiccant. The compressed air passes through the drying section of the desiccant bed, is dried, and exits through the discharge. A portion of the captured heat flows through the opposite side of the dryer to regenerate the desiccant. Afterwards, this hot air passes through a regeneration cooler and is combined with the main air stream. This results in ZERO loss of purge air, making this style of dryer the most efficient available.

If you have questions about how to optimize your compressed air system, contact EXAIR. An Application Engineer is standing by ready to assist you!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

Heated Desiccant Dryer by Compressor1.  Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

2.5″ Line Vac Used In Plastic Part Recovery

I recently worked with an OEM who designed an injection molding machine for their customer. In their design, after the polypropylene parts are formed, they pass through a punch process which creates a scrap piece roughly 1-3/4″ in diameter and 6mm thick but it is very light in weight. The end user was looking for a way to recover these parts in an effort to reduce the amount of waste material in the process but needed an automated solution so they didn’t have to dedicate an operator to manually recover the parts and dump them in the recycle bin. The recovery bin is located close to 25 feet away on the other side of the machining area.

After further discussion,  I recommended they incorporate our Model # 6085 2-1/2″ aluminum Line Vac into their design. The 2.5″ Line Vac has a 2.25″ inside throat diameter which could easily pass the parts and convey them to the collection hopper.

Line Vacs connect to standard ID hose or pipe to create a powerful in-line conveyor

With the recovery bin being located outside of the processing area, they were going to have to run the discharge piping up and over the machines so they were needing something flexible to do so. In addition to the Line Vac, I suggested they use a 30′ section of our 2.5″ conveyance hose. Our conveyance hose is constructed of a durable, clear reinforced PVC, ideal for most general applications and we offer it in 10′ lengths up to 50′, in diameters of 3/8″ to 3″ ID.

Flexible clear PVC hose with smooth bore eliminates material build up.

 

When it comes to moving dry material, like small plastic parts or more abrasive materials like steel shot blasting media, the Line Vacs are the perfect, maintenance-free solution as they have no moving parts or motors to wear out. For help selecting the best option to fit your needs or to discuss how another product might be suitable for your application, give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Safety Air Guns – True Cost of Ownership

There are many inexpensive, cheaply made air guns out on the market.  If evaluated solely on purchase price, the decision of what air gun to buy seems obvious.  Only when you consider all the cost of ownership and operation, does the best direction become apparent.

A popular thumb lever operated air gun, readily available online has a base purchase price of $6.11.  The List price of the EXAIR model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is $81.00. Wow- big difference you think, I am surely not going to spend that kind of money on a simple air gun.  Let’s take a look of the true cost of ownership for each of the guns.

IMG_6967

Thumb Operated Air Gun

1210

EXAIR Model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

We tested both the model 1210 and the other gun utilizing our Efficiency Lab service. We tested at 80 PSIG of supply pressure and measured and recorded air consumption, force and sound levels. Results of this testing is shown below.

Capture

From the test data, the other gun is able to provide 9% more force, but at a cost of 35% greater compressed air consumption, 5.64 SCFM more, along with an 18 dBA sound level increase (a sound level where hearing protection is needed, an additional cost to be incurred.)

If we examine the compressed air consumption, we can calculate the yearly compressed air usage, considering 4 hour per day of operation, 5 days per week, for 50 weeks out of the year.

Capture

 

A general rule of thumb for industry is that 1000 SCF of compressed air costs $0.25 to produce.Capture

As you can see, after 1 year of operation the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun has already paid for itself with compressed air savings, not to mention significantly reduced sound levels, well within the OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910(a) for Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure. To read more about the OSHA Standard, see this EXAIR blog. An EXAIR Safety Air Gun will continue to bring you benefits after this ROI period, and includes many other feature you do not receive with the cheap air gun.

You get the EXAIR 5 Year Built to Last Warranty which covers defects in workmanship and materials.  EXAIR’s safety air guns lead the way in standards and certification – we meet or exceed relevant OSHA standards, carry the CE mark and utilize a conflict mineral free supply chain.  We offer (5) types of Safety Air Guns, all offering ergonomic, comfortable, lightweight operation.

Safety Air Guns are also available with optional Chip Shields and Extensions (in lengths of 6″ to 6′) along with many different nozzle sizes (2.5 SCFM to 460 SCFM of air flow) and a variety of materials (Zinc Aluminum alloy, Stainless Steel, brass and PEEK plastic) to allow the configuration of the best air gun for your application.  EXAIR Safety Air Guns are great for use in applications ranging from light dust removal from delicate circuit boards to large scale, long distance, wide area blow off, cooling and drying applications and everything in between.

Be sure to check out the new VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun for variable flow with the squeeze of the trigger!

If you have questions regarding the Safety Air Guns, or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Drying Small Diameter Wires

An overseas company contacted me about an issue with drying copper wires.  Their production process utilized fourteen wire drawing machines in their facility.  They could make very fine wire in the range of diameters from 0.2mm to 2.6mm.  Some of their drawing machines were able to make a maximum of sixteen wires at the same time.

Each wire is made by a process of drawing and annealing.  The machine will draw a thicker copper wire through dies that will get progressively smaller in diameter.  Before the material goes through the dies, the copper is annealed to make it ductile and workable.  Annealing is a process of heating to make the material softer.

In this application, once the wire was to the correct diameter, it would go through a coolant bath to cool and harden.  To remove the coolant from the wires, it would travel over a set of drying cloths.  From there, the wire would travel out of the drawing machine and into a spooler.

The spooler places the wire onto a spool for packaging and shipping.  The reason that they contacted EXAIR was because the wires were not properly dried before it went to the spooler.  If any coolant was left on the surface, it would corrode the wires in that area.  They needed a better way to dry the wires because they started to receive complaints from their customers.

Site for Super Air Knife on exit of Wire Drawing Machine

When the company first contacted me, they had an interest in the Super Air Wipes.  The Air Wipes are designed to blow air in a 360 deg. pattern around the wire to dry the entire surface.  But, after getting more details about their process, the sixteen wires were coming out of the drawing machine at 1.75cm apart.

With the gap between the wires being so small, the Super Air Wipes would not be able to fit around each wire.  As another engineered solution, I recommended the Super Air Knives Kit, model 110212.  The Super Air Knives are 12” long (30.5cm) to span across all sixteen wires.  The kit includes a filter, regulator, and shim kit to accommodate different forces for different wire speeds.

The Super Air Knife can blow a laminar flow of air consistently across the entire width.  Air, as a fluid, likes to “hug” the surface.  Since the air stream isn’t turbulent, the contact time along the surface of the wire will be much longer; making it very effective at removing liquid.

I had the customer mount one Super Air Knife above and one Super Air Knife underneath, spanning across the entire row of wires.  They were positioned at a 45 deg. angle to blow in the opposite direction the wires were traveling.

Being compact, the Air Knives could be placed at a close distance near the drawing machine to blow the excess coolant back into the machine.  This would keep the floor clean and safe from coolant collecting on the ground.  So, no matter the diameter of wires being drawn through the machine, the Super Air Knives would be a non-contact way of drying the surface without having to use the drying cloths which were inconsistent and had to be replaced often.

Super Air Knife Drying Wires

If you require a non-contact way of keeping your product clean and dry, EXAIR has many products to tackle this.  No matter how large or small of a profile, we can efficiently and effectively accomplish this. You won’t have to replace items that wear or cause damage to your product by improper contact.  EXAIR has the ability to use compressed air to create a strong force without scraping or scratching your material.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Adjustable Air Amplifiers Solve Cooling and Air Circulation Problems

An EXAIR Adjustable Air Amplifier

An EXAIR Air Amplifier is a compressed air-driven device designed to utilize a small volume of compressed air and transform it into a large volume airflow.  This is done by throttling the compressed air through a small gap within the Air Amplifier, and allowing a controlled volume to escape.  This escaping compressed air flow adheres to a Coanda profile, changing its flow direction and resulting in an entrainment of ambient air.  The end result is an amplification of as much as 25x the output airflow compared to the inlet compressed air flow.  And, this already amplified volume of air continues entraining air as it exhausts from the Air Amplifier, resulting in further amplification.

But, what if you are uncertain of the air volume needed in your application?

When exploring any solution, there are bound to be uncertainties.  There may be application parameters which will change or remain unknown, a need to produce multiple airflow volumes within a given space, or simply a desire to have variability in the solution package.  If any of these apply, an Adjustable Air Amplifier is worth consideration.

EXAIR Adjustable Air Amplifiers utilize the same approach mentioned above to entrain ambient air, while allowing infinite adjustment of the incoming compressed air.  This translates to an infinite adjustment of the output airflow, allowing for fine tuning in an application to move the maximum volume of air with minimal compressed air use.

Arrows and text identify the components of an Adjustable Air Amplifier

To adjust compressed air consumption of an Adjustable Air Amplifier, simply loosen the locking ring, turn the “plug” within the “body” to increase or decrease the airflow, and retighten the locking ring.  There are no parts or components to change, just an easy, simple adjustment.

Aluminum and Stainless Steel Adjustable Air Amplifiers

Our adjustable units are available from stock in aluminum and 303 grade stainless steel, and in sizes from ½” to 4” in outlet diameter.  This range of size and materials (from stock) allows for proper sizing and adjustability within an application, while maintaining the integrity based on materials requirement.

For applications with high ambient temperatures and a desire to take advantage of the adaptability of Adjustable Air Amplifiers, a High Temperature Adjustable Air Amplifier is available upon request with our Application Engineers. These units withstand ambient temperatures of 700F (374C) and are useful to circulate hot air within ovens to provide consistent temperatures. They have been used within large rotational molds to prevent hot spots to maintain even material thickness. High Temperature Adjustable Air Amplifiers solve circulation and cooling problems with zero maintenance or breakdown concerns.

No matter the material of construction or application temperature, EXAIR Adjustable Air Amplifiers allow infinite adjustment of input and output flows while entraining a huge volume of ambient air.  This ability, to entrain high volumes of ambient air with small volumes of compressed air, is an expertise of EXAIR, which serves us well in helping customers with applying this principle to do work.  For example, if you were to need to cool a cast part and needed a large volume of airflow to complete the task, we can not only provide the products to do so, but also the engineering support to help determine the required air volumes.

Let us help you find an efficient solution to your application today.  We’re available by phone (1-800-903-9247), email (techelp@exair.com), online chat (www.exair.com), and our social media handles (@EXAIR_LE).

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Custom Air Amplifiers To Meet Most Any Requirement

When I think of “special” in regard to Air Amplifiers, I’m more inclined to think of the applications they can be used in. I mean, the Air Amplifier itself is about as straight-forward as an engineered compressed air product can be:

Air Amplifiers use the Coanda Effect to generate high flow with low consumption.

Considering the simplicity of the product itself, they can be used for a large variety of “typical” applications:

  • Cooling
  • Drying
  • Cleaning
  • Ventilation
  • Fume Exhausting
  • Dust Collection

There are no shortage of “special” applications either.  They’re used successfully in Air Operated Conveyance applications (when the stronger vacuum head of a Line Vac isn’t required) and we’ve even got a customer who uses one instead of an E-Vac Vacuum Generator for a “pick & place” operation…they’re picking up small, porous fiber discs (sort of like a coffee filter) one at a time, and the E-Vac wanted to pick up a good part of the whole stack, no matter how low they turned the pressure.  And of course, I can’t think of anything more special about Air Amplifiers than this:

You have to read it to believe it.  Follow the link and click on “Case Study: Roaring Banana Breath”

With fifteen distinct models to choose from in a range of sizes (3/4″ to 8″,) materials (aluminum or Stainless Steel) and even a High Temperature model that’s rated to 700°F (374°C), we’ve still made a fair number of Custom Air Amplifiers too…thirty-four, to be exact, as of this writing.

I won’t bore you with all the details – I can’t, actually, because some of them are proprietary* – but here are some “regular” examples of “special” accommodations:

  • Connections: EXAIR Air Amplifiers have smooth bores on the inlet & outlet plenums that you can hose clamp a hose (or round duct) to if you need to get air flow from, or to, one place or another.  Sometimes, though, they’re going in to an existing system, so we’ve made them with flanges (150#RF and Sanitary Tri-Clamp, for example) or threads (NPT or BSPP.)  If you want to use something other than a standard hose or duct line, we can help.
  • Material of construction: Our durable, lightweight aluminum Super & Adjustable Air Amplifiers are just fine an awful lot of the time.  Our type 303 Stainless Steel Adjustable Air Amplifiers will hold up to heat and corrosives.  We’ve also in PTFE (Teflon™) as well as a range of metal alloys to meet specific corrosion or wear conditions.  If your environment calls for a little something extra, we can help.
  • Assembly: Super Air Amplifiers are fitted with a stock shim that gives you published performance.  We’ve got other thicknesses, though, if you need more (or less) flow, though.  Adjustable Air Amplifiers are, well, adjustable…you just thread the plug in/out of the body until you get the results you want.  Sometimes the user knows what shim they want in a Super Air Amplifier, or what gap their Adjustable Air Amplifier needs to be set to, and we can assemble it accordingly.  If you have a ‘tried-and-true’ performance setting and want it met right out of the box, we can help.
  • Assembly, part 2: Good engineering practices call for lubrication on O-rings and threaded connections, and we use high quality, general purpose compounds when assembling our Air Amplifiers.  These are detrimental, however, in certain situations (silicone exclusion areas, I’m looking at you.) If certain chemicals or compounds are prohibited by your application, we can help.

*Let’s say you’ve done the “heavy lifting” to call out one (or more) of these special design features.  If we make a custom product (and that’s not just Air Amplifiers, by the way) using directions based on your time and labor, we’ll treat that product as proprietary to you, and you alone.

EXAIR has 208 catalog pages worth of Intelligent Compressed Air Products on the shelf…8 of those pages are our Air Amplifiers.  If you want to talk about customizing one to meet your needs, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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