Compressed Air in Farming and Agriculture

I used to help my father-in-law around his farm and this city boy had his eyes opened when he realized it was more than shovels, tractors and livestock. Agriculture is vital for human existence and has become far more advanced over the centuries with a continual thirst for efficiency and technology. Agriculture is just like many other industries looking for continued ways to increase yield, improve quality, maximize labor and improve technology.

EXAIR has many products used in the agriculture and food processing industries. The following details a few example by product line how we can influence efficiencies and quality of products:

Super Air Knife drying fruits and vegetables

Super Air Knives:

EXAIRs Super Air Knives are have ben used to help harvest apples and peaches. In this case they use our Super Air Knives to dry and blow off the fruit after the rinsing process just before the waxing process then again after waxing to blow off any remaining debris or moisture from the fruit before being packed.

A processing company using the Super Air Knife to clean a conveying belt equipped with a weighing system. Before the installation of the the Super Air Knife some of the cut vegetables being weighed would stick to the belt. Their solution was to clean the conveyor belt with EXAIR’s Super Air Knife to ensure continuous operation of the weighing and packaging systems.

Super Air Nozzles:

An onion farmer used EXAIR’s Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle to blow loose onion skins from the onions before packaging to improve the aesthetics to the customers.

Line Vacs:

A food packaging company repackages banana peppers from 55 gallon drums to 1 and 5 gallon containers using our Model 6066 3″ Stainless Steel Line Vac.

Using EXAIRs Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vacs a feed stock manufacturer conveys various grains and feed stock simultaneously to a mixer which blends the ingredients. This reduced their blend time by 50%.

A grain processor used Model 142200 aluminum threaded Line Vac to convey small amounts of corn meal into a hopper which feeds into their inspection process.

A company producing worm eggs encapsulated in water soluble wax sold to farmers to enhance soil conditions. They eliminated a hand operation using Model 6081 1″ Aluminum Line Vac  to convey the worm eggs from one classifier to another.

EXAIR has several applications using Atomizing Spray nozzles to add moisture in growing environments . Greenhouses use our Atomizing spray nozzles to control humidity in the air and keep their soils moist to maintain optimal growing environments.

There are many other applications using compressed AIR on farms such as filling tires, cleaning equipment, blowing out water lines and more. Technology drives labor savings and improved quality prototypes are being designed and tested to use compressed air using drones to shoot pods filled with seeds, fertilizer and other nutrients into the soil. EXAIR will remain a strong influence in the growth of compressed air products helping to reduce the carbon footprint, enhance efficiencies and improve cost and quality within the agriculture and food processing industries.

If you have an application and you would like to talk please contact me or any of our qualified Application Engineers at 800.903.9247 and we will gladly help with our best recommendations.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

Laminar Flow Compared to Turbulent Flow

turbulent vs laminar

Fluid mechanics is the field that studies the properties of fluids in various states.  There are two main areas; fluid statics and fluid dynamics.  Fluid dynamics studies the forces on a fluid, either as a liquid or a gas, during motion.  Osborne Reynolds, an Irish innovator, popularized this dynamic with a dimensionless number, Re. This number determines the state in which the fluid is moving; either laminar flow, transitional flow, or turbulent flow.  Equation 1 below shows the relationship between the inertial forces of the fluid as compared to the viscous forces.

Equation 1:  Re = V * Dh/u

Re – Reynolds Number (no dimensions)

V – Velocity (feet/sec or meters/sec)

Dh – hydraulic diameter (feet or meters)

u – Kinematic Viscosity (feet^2/sec or meter^2/sec)

The value of Re will mark the region in which the fluid (liquid or gas) is moving.  If the Reynolds number, Re, is below 2300, then it is considered to be laminar (streamline and predictable).  If Re is greater than 4000, then it is considered to be turbulent (chaotic and violent).  The area between these two numbers is the transitional area where you can have eddy currents and some non-linear velocities.  To better show the differences between each state, I have a picture below that shows water flowing from a drain pipe into a channel.  The water is loud and disorderly; traveling in different directions, even upstream.  With the high velocity of water coming out of the drain pipe, the inertial forces are greater than the viscous forces of the water.  This indicates turbulent flow with a Reynolds number larger than 4000.  As the water flows into the mouth of the river, the waves transform from a disorderly mess into a more uniform stream.  This is the transitional region.  A bit further downstream, the stream becomes calm and quiet, flowing in the same direction.  This is laminar flow.  Air is also a fluid, and it will behave in a similar way depending on the Reynolds number.

Turbulent to Laminar Water

Why is this important to know?  In certain applications, one state may be better suited than the other.  For mixing, suspension and heat transfer; turbulent flows are better.  But, when it comes to effective blowing, lower pressure drops and reduced noise levels; laminar flows are better.  In many compressed air applications, the laminar region is the best method to generate a strong force efficiently and quietly.  EXAIR offers a large line of products, including the Super Air Knives, Super Air Amplifiers and Super Air Nozzles that utilizes that laminar flow for compressed air applications.  If you would like to discuss further how laminar flows could benefit your process, an EXAIR Application Engineer will be happy to help you.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com

Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

EXAIR Cold Gun Prevents Melting of Chocolate During Filling

With Valentine’s Day coming up in the U.S. many of us will be buying chocolates for our significant other. My wife (somehow) doesn’t particularly care for chocolate, so I buy some for her anyway knowing that it will sit around until I eat it. I think most of us would agree that chocolate is even more delicious when melted and drizzled all over the top of just about anything. But, melted chocolate isn’t always a good thing.

I recently worked with a company that manufactures chocolate products. They came out with a new line of small candies and were encountering an issue during packaging. In their process, the chocolates are formed, cooled, and packaged for resale. During the packaging process they were experiencing a problem that caused the chocolates to melt. The bags are heat-sealed along the sides and bottom. This heat was transferring from the bag to the chocolates and causing them to melt. Rather than having a finished package of individual candies, they were melting together to form one large lump. Not exactly what they are hoping to deliver to their consumers.

 

Video of the bag filling process

Fortunately, EXAIR offers a range of different products that are suitable for cooling. For this application, they utilized a Model 5330 High Power Dual Outlet Cold Gun. With the fan-type nozzle installed, they were able to cool both sides of the package immediately after sealing and just before filling the bags with chocolates.

EXAIR’s Cold Gun was a Product of the Year finalist in 2007. Using only a source of compressed air, the Cold Gun and High-Power Cold Gun produces a stream of clean, cold air 50° (28°C) below your compressed air supply temperature. The Cold Gun is very quiet at only 70dBA and has no moving parts to wear out. Just supply it with clean, dry compressed air and its maintenance free! It’s available as both a standard and High-Power option, providing 2x the cooling power. Each style is available with either a single or dual cold outlet flow.

The Cold Gun is pre-set to an 80% Cold Fraction. In other words, 80% of the compressed air supplied to it will exhaust from the cold end of the tube, 20% from the hot end. This prevents the Cold Gun from freezing up during use and optimizes the gun’s cooling capacity. The Cold Gun is an ideal alternative to messy and expensive coolant mist systems. It eliminates the cost of purchase and disposal of cutting fluids as well as worker related health problems from breathing airborne coolant or slipping on wet floors. Replacing a coolant-based system also eliminates the need for secondary cleaning operations after milling or drilling.

If you have an application that you believe would be better served by the use of an EXAIR Cold Gun, give us a call.

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

3 Types of Static – How Static is Generated

Static, everyone loathes it except for those kids that like to run around shocking their friends. This phenomenon affects not only everyday life with things like frizzy hair and that annoying zap you get when someone touches you but also industry. But what is static and how is it generated?

Static is generated on the atomic level from the exchange of valance electrons on each surface. The energy produced from the friction causes those valance electrons to enter an excited state; when in this excited state they begin to jump back and forth from atom to atom. When this happens, the atoms begin to accumulate either a positive charge if the atom lost electrons or a negative charge if the atom gained electrons.

As the charge accumulates on the surface where the friction occurs if a ground source (i.e., a piece of metal or a person) comes in close proximity to the charged surface an arc is generated between the two surfaces transferring the build-up of electrons and returning the charged surfaces to a neutral state.

But how can these surfaces become charged in the first place?

The most common and well-known way is via friction. Friction generation is when two surfaces rub against each other causing the static to build up on the surfaces. The energy from the two objects being pushed together and rubbing up against each other causes the electrons within the atoms to enter an excited state. When these electrons are in this excited state the valence electrons will jump from atom to another atom; this causes one atom to become positively charged (lost the electron) and the other to become negatively charged (gained the electron). The harder the two surfaces are pushed together and the faster they are rubbed together the more static will be generated.

A second type of static generation is contact static build up, which is when a charge that is built up when two surfaces impact each other and then separate. Much like friction static generation, contact static build up generates the charge on the surfaces from the kinetic energy of the impact. The material of the two objects in question will determine how many electrons are transferred from surface to surface based on the properties of the atoms in the material (Electronegativity, Ionization Energy, and Electron Affinity).

Contact Static Generation

The third type of static generation is detachment static build up. Detachment static build up once again relies on the kinetic energy and the properties of the atoms in the material. When the two surfaces are pulled apart the electrons that are transferring from one molecule to another get stuck with the molecules of one surface, which leaves both surfaces charged. This is seen a lot with plastic protective covers like the ones that come on a new window pane.

Static generation via detachment

No matter how the static is generated EXAIR’s line of Static Eliminators including EXAIR’s New Intellistat that can neutralize a 1000V charge in under one second. Don’t let static cause issues for your production facility, contact EXAIR for a solution. 

Static Eliminators

If you have any questions about compressed air systems or want more information on any of EXAIR’s products, give us a call, we have a team of Application Engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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