Super Air Knife Helps Make More Candy Bars

It’s known in various places as Beggar’s Night, Trick-or-Treat, or just good old Halloween.  Whatever you call it, many of us have fond memories of donning a costume and a mask and roaming the neighborhood in search of candy.  Most of the grownups we encountered were only too happy to oblige our requests, in exchange for the opportunity to spend some time on the porch, enjoying a brisk autumn evening.  We won’t talk about the times when it may have rained, snowed, or been unseasonably hot…like, in the 80F range (yes, I grew up in Ohio.)

As fond as those childhood memories are, I’ve built a solid arsenal of grownup memories too, both passing out candy to neighborhood kids, and escorting my own kids around the neighborhood…of course, I always “suited up” for the occasion…

My neighbors breathed a collective sigh of relief when my sons became old enough to go Trick-or-Treating without Dad.

My neighbors breathed a collective sigh of relief when my sons became old enough to go Trick-or-Treating without Dad.

It’s probably no great secret that candy manufacturers ramp up their production in preparation for the occasion.  I had the pleasure of discussing an application with one of them recently – in fact, it was for some of the bite-size candy bars that they were about to be “Job One.”  This particular treat is produced as a continuous “strand” of nougat that is extruded onto a conveyor.  It’s then covered in peanut pieces and cut to size before being coated in chocolate.  Now, because these are bite-size bars, they’re making 3-4 times as many cuts as their regular candy bars (you know…the ones you got at the “cool houses?”) there’s 3-4 times as many peanut pieces on the belt.

To recover these pieces, they got a Model 110254 54″ Aluminum Super Air Knife Kit, and installed it to blow a light “curtain” of air across the belt in the area where the cutting takes place.  The excess pieces are blown into a trough on the side of the conveyor, where they’re cleanly and neatly recovered & recycled.  They only need about 5psig of compressed air supply pressure to do this, and it’s timed to the indexing of the belt, so not only is it reliable & effective, it’s just about as efficient as they can get.

The EXAIR Super Air Knife – quiet, efficient, and infinitely adjustable to meet the needs of most any blow off situation.

If you’d like to talk about Super Air Knives, Trick or Treating, or Halloween candy, give me a call.  I know a LOT about all of those things.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Ion Air Jet Keeps Sensor Lens Clean In Tablet Manufacturing Process

Last week I worked with a tablet manufacturer on a bottling application where they were having static issues in a key area of their process. After the tablets are made, they travel to a vibratory feeder where they are counted with a photo-eye sensor before moving to the bottling line. The problem was the vibration of the feeder was causing the tablets to contact each other which created powder, dust and a static charge that aided the dust settling on to the counting sensor lenses.

Over the course of the production cycle, as the dust built up, they were experiencing incorrect quantity counts. Keeping the sensor lenses clean was inconsistent and time consuming for personnel. They were also dispensing too many and too few tablets into the bottles. As a means to try to contain and capture the dust, they placed plexiglass over the feeder bowls and installed a vacuum head a few inches after the sensor but this only helped a little as the operators would still have to manually clean the sensor. Looking for a more reliable, “hands-free” solution, they contacted EXAIR for assistance.


Example of a vibratory feeder bowl used for counting.

When dealing with small area cleaning applications, the Ion Air Jet is the ideal solution as it provides a high volume of focused, ionized airflow. By incorporating the Ion Air Jet into this particular process, the customer was able to effectively eliminate the static charge on the sensor, releasing the particulate and directing it towards the vacuum head to be carried away. I recommended they operate the unit at low pressure as a way to control the outlet velocity so they wouldn’t disrupt the tablets process or overwhelm the existing vacuum flow.

NEW Ion Air Jet

Ion Air Jet is a low cost, reliable device for effective spot cleaning.

EXAIR offers a wide variety of Static Eliminators for various industrial applications. With help selecting the right product to fit your specific needs or to discuss a particular application, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our application engineers for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer


Vibratory  Feeder for  screw counting image courtesy of Solarbotics via Creative Commons.

Part Ejection Improved by Choosing the Right Air Nozzle

Recently, I was able to work with a gentlemen from a stamping company that produces small metal stamped lids for the cosmetic industry.  He was frustrated because the current blow off setup, a copper tube and nozzle (shown below), was too weak and narrow to be effective with parts ranging from 1″ to 2.5″ wide.  Whenever a lid did not get completely discharged, the machine would jam and double hit on the next cycle, ruining (2) parts in the process, not to mention, potentially damaging the the tooling.


Stamping Operation with Original Nozzle

After reviewing the process, which is very high speed, we wanted a strong, concentrated blast of air that matched the part profile to maximize the air flow contact patch.  We agreed the model HP1125 – 2″ High Power Flat Super Air Nozzle would be a good nozzle to implement and test.  In addition to the Nozzle, the customer ordered the model HP1132SS Shim Set, to allow for flow and force adjustment of the nozzle to obtain the best possible performance under production conditions.  The HP1125 nozzle provides 2.2 lbs of force with the standard .025 patented shim installed, and can be decreased or increased by changing the shim to .020″ or .030″ thick. Preliminary testing has proven successful, and reliability testing and data collection is underway.

2 Inch Flat

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

EXAIR has available, the Air Nozzles Blowoff Guide, a handy reference with 23 pages of technical data for OSHA safe nozzles and Safety Air Guns for every application imaginable.

blowoff guide

The EXAIR Air Nozzles Blowoff Guide

To discuss your part ejection, blowoff, cooling or drying application, feel free to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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The power of the 2” High Power Flat Super Air Nozzle in a blow-off application

A stamping company contacted me for help in their ejection blow-off system.  Their operation consisted of a punch press that would form two 8” X 8” triangles from a square piece of metal.  The operation of the punch press was to cut the square piece diagonally at the same time forming the outside edges of the triangle.  At the end of each stroke cycle, the formed parts would then be blown off the die with compressed air.  The blow-off system consisted of two pipes, one that was a ¾” NPT pipe and the other that was a ½” NPT pipe.  They both had the ends of a long nipple flattened to concentrate the air flow.  EXAIR has reduced air use, saved money, and lowered noise levels for many similar applications by replacing open blow-off devices with our engineered air nozzles.

In giving me more details about their operation, the system had a timing sequence that controlled an actuator. When the cycle was complete, the actuator, located below the tabletop of the punch press, would open and send compressed air through both pipes.  The positions of the blow-off pipes were designed to eject one part off the side of the die and the other part off the front of the die into a collection chute.  (Reference the picture below)  They were having issues when their blow-off system wasn’t consistently able to eject the 1 lb. part completely off the die.  In manually having to remove the parts, it would cause an unsafe environment as well as a slowdown in operations.  They found that EXAIR manufactures Intelligent Compressed Air Products and wondered if we could help.

Blow-off Setup

Blow-off Setup

With a lack of restriction at the end of the pipe, the air pressure will drop quickly as it travels through a relatively long length of pipe. The actuator, which was more than 3 feet away from the end of the pipes, had a line pressure of 90 psig (maximum that they could supply).  By the time the compressed air reached the ejection site, the pressure was much lower; thus, not quite removing the part from the die.  An example that I like to use is a garden hose attached to a spigot outside your house.  As you open the spigot, water will flow out of the hose at a slow velocity; not very strong, that is the same as air through an open pipe.  When you place your thumb partially over the end of a garden hose you restrict the flow and increase velocity. Engineered nozzles from EXAIR work the same way.  They restrict the flow at the nozzle, increasing the pressure for a more effective velocity and blow-off force.  Neal Raker wrote a great blog for EXAIR referencing how the nozzles work; called “What’s in a Nozzle?”

HP1125 2" High Power Flat Super Air Nozzle

HP1125 2″ High Power Flat Super Air Nozzle

I recommended the model HP1125, 2” High Power Flat Super Air Nozzle. It has a 2” wide air stream to allow more contact against the side of the triangle edge.  It has a force of 2.2 lbs. at 80 psig which is more than enough to eject the 1 lb. formed part.  As an added benefit, it only has a noise level of 83 dBA which is magnitudes more quiet than the open pipe.  Also in using the engineered nozzles, they were able to use much less compressed air in their blow-off, saving them over $1,000/year.  If you find that your open pipe blow-off is too loud, not effective, or uses way too much compressed air, you should contact an Application Engineer to see which engineered nozzle would best suit your application.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Adding Thermostat Controls To An Existing Cabinet Cooler Application is Easy & Intelligent


The image above shows a NEMA 4 Cabinet Cooler after years of use in a food production facility.  The head electrician at the facility which uses this unit, contacted me regarding the possibility of installing thermostat controls on a pre-installed Cabinet Cooler systems.  Apparently there are multiple EXAIR Cabinet Coolers in use around this facility, and as part of an improvement to compressed air efficiency, this facility wanted to explore automated regulation of the temperature in these enclosures (through thermostats). THis customer inquiry was about how to go about implementing such an upgrade.

It was refreshing for the end user to find that we have mechanical thermostat controls, solenoids, and even digital thermostatic solutions available from stock, making the upgrading process easy and pain-free.  After some conversations over the phone and emailing part numbers along with our Cabinet Cooler Installation and Maintenance Guide, which outlines how to install the thermostat for our Cabinet Cooler systems, this customer had everything required to do exactly what they needed in their facility.  (In this case, our model 9016 Solenoid Valve and Thermostat Kit met the voltage and compressed air flow requirements needed for the application.)

Providing efficient, controlled, and reliable solutions for industrial applications is all we do at EXAIR.  If you have an application in need of a complete solution, or just an upgrade, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’re happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

For the record, EXAIR recommends the use of 316 grade stainless steel Cabinet Coolers in food production facilities

Maintenance Free And Proud Of It

Caller: Do you sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, but…why?

This is a WAY oversimplified summary of the start of a popular conversation that an EXAIR Application Engineer might have with a caller looking to restore a particular product to proper operation. Truth is, most of our products have no moving parts, and if you supply them with clean, dry air, they’ll run maintenance free, darn near indefinitely. We’ve documented this in specific cases regarding a Reversible Drum Vac from 1999, a Vortex Tube from 1987, and a Cold Gun from 1985.

Product & year of manufacture, from top left: Reversible Drum Vac (1999,) Cold Gun (1985,) Vortex Tube (1987.) All still performing within factory specifications.

Product & year of manufacture, from top left: Reversible Drum Vac (1999,) Cold Gun (1985,) Vortex Tube (1987.) All still performing within factory specifications.

Caller: So…DO you sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, but…only when necessary.

It’s important to note that none of the products mentioned above needed any parts replaced to return to service. Sometimes, a good cleaning is all that’s required. We can help you with a video tutorial if you want to know how to restore a Reversible Drum Vac, an Air Knife, or an Atomizing Spray Nozzle, for instance.  And we’re making new videos all the time for product maintenance, operation, tips & tricks, etc.

Caller (again): So…you DO sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, of course!  I mean, who wouldn’t sell rebuild kits for their products?

Take our Safety Air Guns, for example. We offer Service Kits, if the trigger and/or internal valve of a Soft Grip or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun starts to wear or leak, it’s super easy to replace. We’ve also got replacement springs for the “fail shut” feature of the ball valve of a Super Blast Safety Air Gun. Just about anything else that could be wrong with a Safety Air Gun’s performance can be addressed by cleaning the nozzle.

We also recently added Rebuild Kits for our Atomizing Spray Nozzles to inventory. These contain all of the seals (and moving parts, for the No-Drip models) to restore an EXAIR Spray Nozzle to rated performance.

Keep your EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzle (left) in perfect working order with a simple & inexpensive Rebuilt Kit (right of the nozzle.) Contact an Application Engineer to select the one for your product.

For other products, we can also provide replacement gaskets & seals for the Reversible Drum Vac & Chip Trapper products, O-rings for the Line Vacs, Chip Vacs, and Heavy Duty Dry Vacs, new elements for Filter Separators & Oil Removal Filters…just to name a few.

Bottom line: if your EXAIR product isn’t performing the way it used to, give me a call.  It will be my pleasure to help you get it working like new, so that you can continue to get the most out of it.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Excessive Noise Levels Cost You Health and Money

OSHA and the CDC make these statements about noise exposure. Did you know almost 30 million American workers are exposed to dangerous noise levels almost daily, with over 72% of those reported incidents happening in manufacturing environments? Noise induced hearing loss is the second most self-reported occupational injury and since 2004, over 125,00 workers have experienced some level of permanent hearing loss. Excessive noise levels can also reduce productivity, contribute to increased stress levels, communication errors and an irreversible condition called tinnitus or a constant ringing in the ears. In fact, disability claims associated to occupational hearing loss has risen to over $ 242 million per year.


Noise Induced Hearing Loss Is One Of The Most Common Occupational Diseases.

In effort to reduce worker exposure and increase safety, OSHA introduced Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a). As the standard reads, employees that are subjected to sounds levels in excess of 90 dBA, some type of engineered controls should be implemented by either using some form of PPE – Personal Protective Equipment, i.e. – earplugs, earmuffs, etc. or replacing the loud device altogether with an engineered solution that is designed to reduce the sound level. When a company is found to be in violation of the Standard, OSHA hands down costly fines, in some cases nearing almost $5,000. While providing PPE may seem like the inexpensive, “quick” fix, it actually could lead to more overall cost in the form of fines or claims, as now it is the responsibility of the operator to utilize the equipment provided. The better choice of the 2 options mentioned above, would be to replace with an engineered solution that is designed to lower the sound level.

OSHA Noise Level

Noise Level Chart per OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a)

Take for example, a section of pipe with drilled holes across the length to cover wide area applications or an open end pipe or tube for more focused blowoff, both of which typically produce sound levels in excess of 100 dBA which would limit work exposure to only a couple hours per the above chart.

EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products are designed to meet or exceed this standard. Our products entrain large volumes of surrounding air across the profile of the device which helps to reduce wind shear, ultimately lowering the sound level. When considering replacing drilled pipe, take a look at our Super Air Knife. The Super Air Knife produces a much lower sound level at only 69 dBA which is well under the allowable exposure times set forth by OSHA. Depending on the pipe or tube size, these can quickly and easily be replaced with one of our Super Air Nozzles by just adding a fitting to the existing line. For instance, our Model # 1100 Super Air Nozzle, with a sound level of 74 dBA, again falls well within the OSHA Standard.


Sound Level Comparison

In addition, we offer our Digital Sound Level Meter to measure sound levels ranging from 35 to 130 dBA. The unit features a backlit LCD display, fast and slow response times, Max hold and includes NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) certification.


Model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter

For assistance in gaining OSHA compliance relating to your compressed air needs, please give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer





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