Speed is everything. A micro tube manufacturer was extruding a polyethylene tube for drip type irrigation. This type of irrigation is very common in the desert to confine the watering near the plants in arid regions. The plastic tubes have an 8 mm (0.315”) outer diameter with a 5.5mm (0.217”) inner diameter (reference photo below). They were looking for ways to increase the speed of production.
Their extrusion application included a water bath to cool and harden the material as it came out of the extruder. After the bath, the tube travels directly into an inkjet marking machine. They were using a home-made circular blowing device to remove the water after the dipping process. When they tried to increase their line speeds, this blow-off device was not able to remove enough water from the surface. Thus, the printing was poor, and sections would have to be scrapped.
When they searched for a tube blow-off device, they came across the Super Air Wipe from EXAIR. Unlike the home-made device, this engineered design blows compressed air at a 30-degree angle toward the center in a 360-degree air pattern, just like a cone. It uses a Coanda profile to maximize the entrainment of ambient air into the compressed air stream to produce a strong force. As a non-contact wiping device; the Super Air Wipe is very efficient and very powerful.
For this application, I recommended the model 2450 ½” Super Air Wipe Kit. This kit includes our Super Air Wipe, a Filter, a Regulator, and a Shim Set. With the ½” or 13mm opening, it gives ample room to allow the 8mm tube to travel through without touching. For the rest of the kit, the Filter will remove bulk liquids and debris from the compressed air to keep the unit performing optimally and keep the tubes from getting dirty. The Regulator is used to control the amount of force. This helps to not over-use the amount of compressed air required for the job. With a Regulator, you can make fine adjustments to get the proper amount of air while the shims in the Shim Set will give you coarse adjustments. With the Regulator and Shim Set together, you can “dial” in the correct amount of force required for the different speeds. The Super Air Wipe Kits will give you the most versatility in your system to optimize the 360-degree blow-off.
As they removed their home-made unit and attached the Super Air Wipe, they noticed some great things. The speed of production was increased by about 10% which matched the maximum speed of the inkjet printer. They also noticed that the Super Air Wipe is much quieter. With a decibel rating of 77 dBA, the nearby operators are very happy with this choice. One of the top features that they noticed was the cost savings that the Super Air Wipe gives. Because the design uses the “free” ambient air, less compressed air is required. This saves them a lot of money in their electric bill.
Many applications use water in the process, and it can negatively affect printing and labeling on products. EXAIR offers a range of efficient, safe, and effective blow-off devices to remove water from the surface in a non-contact way. For the customer above, the Super Air Wipe was their solution. Speed is everything, but without the proper tools, it is lost. If you have a printing or labeling application, an Application Engineer at EXAIR can help you to maximize that speed.