Variety – The Key for Successful Applications No Matter the Conditions

 

EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air® products since 1983.  In the beginning, the Standard Air Knives and Full Flow Air Knives were very effective at that time.  But as leaders in this market, EXAIR did not want to stop there.  We were able to engineer a more efficient, more powerful, and much safer air knife, the Super Air Knife.  In this blog, I will discuss the features and benefits that the Super Air Knives can offer. 

Bernoulli’s principle explains how a high velocity fluid can generate a low pressure.  The Super Air Knife creates that high velocity air stream to produce a low pressure above and below the opening to entrain ambient air.   What does this mean for you?  It will save you much money by using less compressed air.  The mass of the free ambient air is added into the air stream to give a strong blowing force.  The Super Air Knife has an amplification ratio of 40:1. For every 1 part of compressed air, 40 parts of ambient air is drawn into the blowing air stream.  Ambient air is free, and compressed air is definitely not.  EXAIR was able to engineer a design to use the Bernoulli’s principle to make one of the most efficient air knives in the market place.   

Super Air Knife

As a benefit, they blow a laminar air stream which reduces noise levels and create a consistent force along the entire length.  An even force will give you tighter control for blowing applications which will cut compressed air usage unlike the inconsistent and turbulent air flows caused by drilled pipes, manifolds of nozzles or blower-type systems.  Some other interesting features for the Super Air Knives are that they have a compact design to fit into tight places for blowing and cooling.  The footprint is very small as compared to blower-air knife systems.  They do not have any moving parts to wear or maintenance to do.  They only need clean compressed air to work. 

What else makes the Super Air Knives unchallenged?  We manufacture and stock the widest range in lengths and materials.  To start, Super Air Knives range from 3” to 108” (76mm to 2,743mm) in three different materials; aluminum, 303 stainless steel, and 316/316L stainless steel.  There is no-one else in this industry that can manufacture to those lengths.  EXAIR also offers Super Air Knives in PVDF material with Hastelloy hardware for chemical resistant applications from 3” to 54” (76mm to 1,372mm).  Depending on the temperature requirement, chemical resistance, OSHA and FDA regulations, or application details, we probably will have one on the shelf for you. 

If EXAIR does not stock it, we make special air knives in different lengths and materials to best fit your application.  In some confined areas, the Super Air Knives may have to fit inside a specific width or footprint.  Well, EXAIR can make it to that specific length in a short period.  We have also made special designed Air Knives that were very thin, curved, double-sided, and with distinct mounting holes to easily attach to specific machines or operations.  And if you need a special material, like the PVC Super Air Knife below, we can do that.  EXAIR has a team of Application Engineers that can help you with the design, configuration, and details for special types of Super Air Knives. 

PVC Super Air Knife

Double-sided Super Air Knife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also offer the Super Air Knives in kits as a more complete system.  The kit includes a filter, regulator and a Shim Set.  The filter removes the debris and water from the compressed air line to optimize the performance of the air knife as well as keeping your product clean.  The regulator is used to make the “fine” adjustment to the blowing force while the shim set is used as the “coarse” adjustment.  EXAIR sells this kit as one model number for simple ordering, and the accessories are properly sized to not hinder the performance of the Super Air Knife.

Super Air Knife Kits include a Shim Set, Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator.

With the today’s cost to make compressed air, it is important to do it as efficiently as possible.  The EXAIR Super Air Knives are the most efficient as well as safe and effective.  And if you need a specific design for your application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be glad to help you. 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

EXAIR Standard Air Knives™: Overview

Standard Air Knife

EXAIR manufactures three different styles of Air Knives; Super, Standard, and the Full Flow.  In this blog, I will be discussing the Standard Air Knives.

The Standard Air Knife uses a Coanda profile for blowing.  The Coanda effect was named after a Romanian aerodynamic pioneer, Henri Coanda, where he found a fluid phenomenon.  He stated that “a jet of fluid emerging from an orifice to follow an adjacent flat or curved surface and to entrain fluid from the surroundings so that a region of lower pressure develops” (1).  Being that air is a fluid, it will react in the same way.

Compressed air flows through the inlet (1) to the Standard Air Knife, into the internal plenum. It then discharges through a thin gap (2), adhering to the Coanda profile (3) which directs it down the face of the Air Knife. The precision engineered & finished surfaces optimize entrainment of air (4) from the surrounding environment.

The EXAIR Standard Air Knife creates a high velocity air stream along an engineered profile.  So, as the air “hugs” the profile, a low pressure is created which will draw in ambient air.  What does this mean for you?  It will use less compressed air to save you money.  For the Standard Air Knife, it has an amplification ratio of 30:1.  (For every 1 part of compressed air, 30 parts of ambient air is drawn into the stream).  We can use less compressed air and bring in more of the free ambient air to create a strong blowing force.  This design makes the product very efficient.

We stock the Standard Air Knives in various lengths from 3” to 48” (76mm to 1219mm) in two materials, aluminum or 303 stainless steel.  The unique design is very compact; so, it can fit into tight places for blowing and cooling.  The aluminum version uses a plastic shim to set the gap.  They come standard with a 0.002” (0.05mm) shim installed.  We have additional shims to make the Standard Air Knife more versatile.  The shim set will include a 0.001”, 0.003”, and a 0.004” thickness shim (.03mm, .08mm, and 0.1mm respectively) for controlling the air flow from a small breeze to a blast.  The shims are color coded for easy verification.  The stainless steel Standard Air Knife comes with a stainless steel shim for higher temperatures or chemical resistance.

Standard Air Knife Kit

We do offer the Standard Air Knives in kits for a more complete package.  The kit will include the Air Knife, a filter, regulator and the above-mentioned shim set.  The filter will remove the debris and liquid water from the compressed air line to optimize the air knife as well as keeping your product clean.  The regulator is used to make “fine” adjustments to the blowing force.  The shim set is used as a “coarse” adjustment to the blowing force.  Together, you can “dial” in the right amount of air required to do the job without wasting compressed air.

Universal Mounting System

For easy mounting, we do offer a Universal Air Knife Mounting System.  This kit is used to position your air knife securely and precisely.  It comes with a bracket and an articulated arm that can reach up to 30” (762mm).  You can direct the Standard Air Knife in any position to maximize the effectiveness.  It is easy to use as seen in this video: CLICK HERE.

With the today’s cost to make compressed air, it is important to do it as efficiently as possible.  The Standard Air Knife has the ability to give you the effective blowing to remove debris, dry parts, or cool objects without using a large amount of compressed air.  As another feature, the Standard Air Knife is quiet.  It only has a sound level of 83 dBA at 80 psig (5.5 bar).  So, by using this EXAIR product, you are not creating a noise nuisance in the work environment.  If you have any questions about the Standard Air Knife or if you would like to discuss an application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.

 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

  1.  Wikipedia – Caonda effect.

The Heavy Duty Line Vac™ moves CO2 Cartridges

Threaded Heavy Duty Family

In trying to cut over-all costs, companies are reviewing process flows throughout their plant.  A CO2 cartridge manufacturer was following that same strategy.  They wanted to move the silk-screening process that marked the outside of the cartridges to a different location.  Currently, the operators would have to pick up bins to move them about 50 feet (15 meters) to the packaging area.  They currently were using blower-type vacuum systems in other parts of their process to move the cartridges through different stages.  But, the bulkiness and noise level of the blower system made them have to find an alternative way; so, they contacted EXAIR.

For their process, they would start with a steel cap.  The metal caps would run through a series of different forms where round punches would “redraw” the metal into a final diameter and thickness.  Once it is finished through this process, it would look like a test tube.  The metal tubes would have the ends heated and pressed with a set of different dies to create the “neck” region.  The “neck” section would be cut and lathe to make a sealing edge.  The cylinders would then go through a washing and drying system to clean.  Once dried, they would travel to the filling station where the cylinders would be partly filled with liquid CO2, and then capped.  The bare steel cylinders would move through a zinc-coating process for protection and appearance.  The filled cartridges would then be inspected by quality control prior to screen printing on the outer diameter.  The finished CO2 cartridges had an outer diameter of ¾” (19mm) (reference photo below).  Once they are printed, the shipping staff would carry them to their department for packing.

The process flow change for this company was to move the silk-screening process about 50 feet (15 meters) from the current position.  With an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor or Line Vac™, the QC department can transfer the cartridges to the screen printer near the packaging department.  This would stop the needless handling of the filled bins between the printing station and the packaging station.  Not only did this speed up packaging, but it also ergonomically helped the operators from lifting and carrying.

Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit

For the material, distance, and size; I recommended the model 152125 1 ¼” Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit.  This Line Vac is made from a hardened alloy material which makes them resistant to abrasion and wear.  The throat diameter has a clearance of 1” (25mm) which is enough to carry the ¾” (19mm) diameter cartridges.  With a kit, it will also include a filter, regulator and a bracket.  The filter will help keep the Line Vac and the cylinders clean.  The regulator will allow for flexibility in conveyance rates, distances, and speeds.  The bracket helps to mount the Line Vac to a sturdy base for support.    With the small footprint and compact design, it was easy to set up and use as a simple conveyor.

After installation, the Production Manager was amazed by the simplicity of the design and the ease of operation.  He could also reduce maintenance cost without having to change intake filters, check bearings, monitor electrical controls, and replace any failed motors within the blower-type system.  The EXAIR Line Vacs do not have any moving parts to wear; so, they are reliable and long-lasting.  Overall, as compared to the blower-type systems; the cost, set-up, and operation were greatly improved with the EXAIR Line Vac.  They were so happy in meeting the criteria above; the Production Manager mentioned that he would be replacing their existing blower systems when they fail.  And as mentioned above with all the transfers to the different stations, there would be many spots for the EXAIR Line Vac to be used.

If you need to convey materials like cartridges, steel shot or abrasive products, the Heavy Duty Line Vac could be a blessing for you.  Not only can they transfer material safely and quickly, but they also will ergonomically help in saving the backs and knees of your operators.  How can this get any better?  Until the end of October 2020, we are running a promotional ad for our U.S. and Canadian customers.  You will receive a 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle, a $72.00 value, free with qualified purchases online.  If you would like to discuss any of your conveying application, please contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We may have a solution for you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

EXAIR Line Vacs™ can be Customized for Your Application

Line Vacs can convey many things.

Do you have operators climbing steps to dump bags of material into hoppers?  Do you need a faster way to remove scrap from a process?  Do you have budgetary constraints in trying to move material from point A to point B?  Do you want to get rid of your bulky, loud blower conveying system?   If you answered yes to any of these, EXAIR may have a simple solution.  We manufacture an air-operated conveyor that does not have any moving parts, a very compact design, and a high throughput capacity.  They can attach easily to standard hoses, pipes, or sanitary flanges to convert your piping system into a powerful conveying system.   EXAIR manufactures these air-operated conveyors and trademarks them as Line Vacs™.

If you wish to read about our different Line Vacs that we stock, I wrote a blog that has an overview of this product line, and you can find it HERE.  We offer them in a variety of materials, sizes, and connection types.  But in the blog, I will tell you how EXAIR can manufacture special types of Line Vacs for specific applications.

One of our quickest turnarounds for a special Line Vac is when we can change the cap or body connection type to be dissimilar.  EXAIR offers a slip-on connection for hoses and a threaded connection for pipe.  In some instances, customers want to connect a hose to one end while attaching a pipe to the other.  Without needing to find special connectors, EXAIR can deliver this to you in one day.  Here are some other specials that EXAIR has manufactured over the years to solve specific issues for our customers.

This Stainless Steel Line Vac with flanges was used to fit an ASME flange connection to an existing machine.  We have used this same type of connection for our special Air Amplifiers which has a higher exhaust rate, but with the many bends in the exhaust piping and higher back pressure, the Line Vac’s performance could handle it much better.  This application was for removing acidic vapors resulting from surface etching in the silicon industry.

In addition to making Line Vacs with various connections, we can also manufacture Line Vacs from special materials.  In this instance, the flanged Line Vac was manufactured out of PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride) due to its superior corrosive resistance.  It was manufactured with special QF vacuum flanges which allowed for easy assembly and disassembly for cleaning purposes.  This Line Vac would be regularly exposed to a chloride wash that would corrode even stainless steel.

Here is a special Miniature Line Vac that was manufactured with barb fittings.  It was designed for an integrated circuit chip manufacturer where they can attach a tube to remove the collected material.  Its small overall footprint made it ideal for applications requiring confined work spaces.  For this application, it was used to remove microscopic contamination during the chip making process.  It has also been used by other manufacturers to clear small drilled holes from liquid and chips.

This next special Line Vac was used to fill small packets of fine salt or sugar.  The funnel shape helped to capture the material from a hopper above.  A feed tube in the hopper would move the material from the hopper to the special Line Vac, then into the packets.  An additional feature that the Line Vac provided was the vacuum pressure.  It was able to keep the gravity tube clear and allow for a continuous flow, even if the powder got moist.

As you can see, EXAIR is not limited to the products that we have on our website or in our catalog.  We can alter, change, or create special products to fit your application.  EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air products since 1983, so we know a few things.  Whether you are an OEM or an end-user, if you need a special design to coat, clean, cool, convey, or conserve, you can speak with an Application Engineer.  We will be happy to hear from you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb