A manufacturer of both residential and commercial steel doors used in the construction industry recently contacted me for help with an application in their manufacturing process. They make a wide variety of exterior and interior doors as well as some custom doors that are sold to builders across the country.
The raw material for the doors is formed, assembled, and welded together before it is then taken to a finishing step that involves grinding down the welds and sanding any rough spots on the door down to a smooth finish. This smooth finish creates a clean look and also helps with the application of paint at the end of the process.
After finishing, the doors are hung on an overhead conveyor where they pass through a machine that cleans off all of the surfaces and remain hanging until they dry. This air drying prevented them from continuously operating as they’d have to wait at least 10 minutes until the doors dried before they could apply any paint. In the summer, humid conditions in their plant further increased the time the doors took to air dry.
Rather than waiting to dry, they wanted to blow off any remaining water from both sides of the door just after the washing operation. The solution was to install (2) Model 110048PKI Super Air Knives on either side of the door to blow off residual water as it moved along the conveyor. Since the spacing in between doors was 12’, they didn’t want to have to operate the knives continuously and waste unnecessary compressed air.
With the doors traveling slowly at about 30 ft/min and a significant space in between them, they also went with a Model 9064 Electronic Flow Controller to keep the air on only when necessary. A standard door height is just under 7′. At the speed they were traveling, it would take roughly 14 seconds for each door to pass through the flow of the knives while 24 seconds pass with no door.
With a minimum 10 minute dry time without the Super Air Knives, the overall drying time was reduced to 38 seconds. That’s a 93.6% improvement in the overall time of their drying process! By improving the drying process, they were able to increase their production to 100 doors per 8-hr shift.
(2) 48″ Super Air Knives operating continuously at 80 PSIG would require 278.4 SCFM of compressed air. The average cost of compressed air is $0.25/1000 SCF. So what did this cost when operating continuously with a 38 second blowoff time?
0.633 min x 278.4 SCFM = 176 SCF/door
176 SCF x 100 doors per shift = 17,600 SCF
17600 SCF x ($0.25/ 1000 SCF) = $4.40/ 8 hr shift
Over the course of a year that equates to $1,144 in operating costs. With the EFC implemented, the blowoff time was reduced to just 14 seconds per door.
0.233 min x 278.4 SCFM = 65 SCF/door
65 SCF x 100 doors per shift = 6500 SCF
6500 SCF x ($0.25/1000 SCF) = $1.63/ 8 hr shift
Not only were they able to increase their production rate by implementing the Super Air Knife, but by taking it one step further with the EFC they reduced the overall operating costs for a full year to just $423.80.
If you have a similar application in the construction industry and would like to speak to an Application Engineer please give us a call!