Stainless Steel Super Air Knives Boost Productivity in Drying Process for Medical Device Manufacturer

I’m a big proponent of investing in devices that help to improve on efficiency in a variety of tasks around the household. At the onset of this year’s pool season, I was reminded exactly why I made the investment several years ago in a robotic pool vacuum cleaner. If you have a pool, you’ll know just how time consuming it is to keep it maintained perfectly. That I have 4 large maple trees ready to drop a bunch of helicopters into my pool each spring only adds fuel to the fire. After enduring my first full season as a pool owner using the old-school manual vacuum, I immediately purchased a new robotic vacuum for the following season.

Things had been great ever since as I opened up the pool each year. I’d toss Scuba Steve in (yes, we named him Scuba Steve) and let him do his thing. Clean out the filters after he’s done and we’re ready to swim. This year, however, he had other plans in mind. After years of functioning well, it was time for several replacement parts to get him back to operating in peak condition. Since seemingly everything you need is out of stock at the moment, I had to resort to the old, trusty manual vacuum as I opened up my pool this year. After weeks of dealing with the uncharacteristically stormy May we’ve had in 2022, I was happy to finally get the parts in and get it repaired right before we got into swimming season this summer.

At EXAIR, we often have cases where we’re contacted by a customer who’s looking to improve in their efficiency in a particular process or application. Recently I worked with a customer in Pakistan who was looking to improve on a process for drying medical instruments that they manufactured.

Instruments just prior to drying

At present, they would dip the instruments into a series of washing tanks followed by a last dip in a rinse tank. Upon completing the final rinse, they’d manually dry the rack with an air gun. In some cases, they wouldn’t get completely dry and would end up with water spots that would require them to start the cleaning process all over again.

Another issue with their present setup was cross contamination between the different tanks. With no drying in between, they were getting detergent in their rinse tank. After a few cleaning cycles, they’d have to drain the tanks and fill them back up again before continuing.

The solution was to install (2) Model 110018SS Super Air Knives on either side of the two tanks. As the instruments are lifted out, the high-velocity laminar airflow from the Super Air Knife dries them off quickly while blowing the residual moisture back down into the tank. The detergent solution stayed in its own tank, keeping the rinse water free from contaminants. As the parts are brought up from both the cleaning tank and the rinse tank, they’re sufficiently dried without having to do a manual process with an air gun. By preventing cross-contamination, they were also able to maintain the same solution for an entire shift rather than frequently having to drain the tanks and replace them. This alone represented about a 10% boost in productivity over the course of a full day.

If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your cleaning operations, give us a call. With a variety of different products suitable for compressed air blowoff available from stock, you won’t be stuck waiting for weeks for the parts to arrive. We have them ready to ship as soon as today!

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

Pool image courtesy of southbay poolservices via Pixabay, Pixabay License

Super Air Knives Provide Fast ROI when Replacing Drilled Pipe

EXAIR proves often that we’re able to work with you to create a customized solution that best serves your application. Recently I had the pleasure of working with a customer who wanted a better solution on their tissue paper converting machine. What they currently had was too loud, too inefficient, and they knew there was a better way.

The machine was an old rewinder used to convert webs of tissue paper ranging from 99-115” in width. Installed on the old machine was a 115” drilled pipe with 1/16” drilled holes spaced out every ½” along the length of the pipe. This was using a substantial amount of compressed air and was significantly louder than they would’ve liked. They purchased a new machine that had an EXAIR Super Air Knife already installed and working great, so they reached out to us for some help.

The customer conducted some time studies to determine exactly how much air this application required. The air blast ran for 500 seconds per hour, equating to 8.3min/hr of air usage. The operation runs 24/7, but with time spent doing changeovers the actual run time is closer to 20hrs.

20hrs x 8.2min = 166 min/day of air usage

166min x 365 = 60,590 min per year

A 1/16” unpolished, drilled hole will consume 2.58 SCFM at a pressure of 60 PSIG. With a total of 228 holes across the full pipe, this is quite a bit of compressed air.

2.58 SCFM x 228 = 588 SCFM of compressed air

588 x 60,590 min = 35,626,920 SCF

Considering the lightweight nature of the material, we recommended that the customer use our .001” shim to cut the flow from our stock Super Air Knives to their minimum. We recommended our Model 110054-.001 and Model 110060-.001. At 60 PSIG, a Super Air Knife with .001 shim installed will consume 1.15 SCFM/inch of knife length.

114 x 1.15 SCFM = 131 SCFM of compressed air

131 x 60,590 min = 7,937,290 SCF

Installing the Super Air Knives with .001” shim reduced their air consumption by 77% for a total air savings of 27,689,630 SCF each year. But, what does this mean in terms of money? To determine the cost of compressed air, we use the approximate value of $0.25/1000 SCF.

27,689,630 SCF x $0.25/1000 = $6,922.41

Super Air Knife Shims

In just one year, on this one single machine, this customer was able to save almost $7k per year. These knives quickly pay for themselves, then begin to contribute to your bottom line. All of this in addition to lowering the sound level and providing a safer working environment for their operators. So how quickly did this customer end up seeing the payback on their two knives?

2022 list prices:

Model 110054-.001 – $1,315.00

Model 110060-.001 – $1,411.00

Total investment: $2,726.00

Based on an operation of 166 min, the customer was saving $18.90 per day. To recoup the initial purchase costs, these would only need to be operated for 145 days. On the 145th day, they’ve already saved enough compressed air to account for their initial costs. Moving forward, that savings does not go away but continues to add to the bottom line.

If you have areas in your facility that are using air inefficiently, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer today.

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

EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler® Systems vs Refrigerant-Based Panel Coolers

Whether you’re a fan of hot temperatures and humid conditions or not, one thing is for certain. Summer is right around the corner for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. As a pool owner, this is my favorite time of year. Not only is it much more pleasant to look at once it’s opened, but there’s nothing better than coming home from work after a long day and just jumping right in for an evening swim. While the temperatures begin to heat up, this can be a problem for the sensitive electronics located in control panels throughout your facility.

One solution for keeping the panel cool is an A/C refrigerant-based cooling system. While these can work to keep the conditions cool inside the panel, they come with their own set of maintenance issues and added costs. Some of these aren’t always readily apparent when you’re looking to solve a problem stemming from a heat-related shutdown. You need a solution, and you need it FAST. Installing a refrigerant-based panel cooler is going to take a MINIMUM of 3 hours and oftentimes an entire shift to complete. This means that you’re going to be subjected to additional downtime before you’re back up and running smoothly. In comparison, EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler Systems are on the shelf, in stock, and installed in an hour or less. We ship same-day for stock products with orders in by 2:00 ET, you can have one in your hands as soon as tomorrow.

Installation is merely one part of the equation. I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t consider the ambient environment in a manufacturing plant to be inherently “clean”. That is unless we’re inside of a cleanroom type of environment. Generally speaking, air throughout an industrial facility is riddled with dirt, dust, and even oil. A/C panel coolers do have to draw in ambient air which means these filters can become clogged, restricting airflow and preventing the unit from operating at peak capacity. In many cases, it’s not discovered that the filters are clogged until AFTER the alarms have sounded and your panel is overheating. Maintenance is going to be necessary for any A/C panel cooler installed in an industrial facility.

This maintenance doesn’t stop just at the filters. It’s reasonable to consider around 4 hours of time per quarter cleaning/replacing filters, changing refrigerant, checking for leaks, etc. While this maintenance is performed, the systems have to be shut down and locked/tagged out. Not only is downtime required to install, but there will also be downtime associated with the regular maintenance necessary for these systems to operate effectively.

EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler systems have absolutely NO maintenance required when supplied with clean, dry air (a suitably sized filter is included in our Cabinet Cooler system kits). Once they’re installed, they’ll operate darn near forever without any intervention at all. In fact, we’ve come across Cabinet Cooler systems that have been out in the field operating for 20+ years without a problem.

Cabinet Cooler systems were designed specifically for operating in the harshest of conditions where A/C systems will be problematic. Thermostatically controlled systems are available to ensure that you’ll maintain the desired internal temperature of the panel without using any unnecessary compressed air. High Temperature Cabinet Cooler systems are also available for applications where ambient conditions could be higher than 125°F. Refrigerant-based panel coolers must be de-rated by 65% at 90°F and by 95% at 115°F, meaning they’ll need to either be oversized or operate longer to match the performance from a similarly sized Cabinet Cooler system.

Do yourself a favor and check out EXAIR’s NEW Cabinet Cooler Calculator to see what system we’d recommend for your given conditions. It’s ready to ship out to you today. Give us a call to get one on order before you experience heat-related shutdowns, NOT after!

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

EXAIR’s 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzles Provide Fast ROI When Replacing Inefficient Blowoffs

Any time you’re considering a new purchase your return on investment is a critical aspect of the decision-making process. An easy way to illustrate this is the use of an LED lightbulb. An LED lightbulb may cost more initially but will use less energy to operate. In addition, it’ll also have a longer lifespan than an incandescent bulb. You can calculate, down to the day, when you’ll recoup the costs difference from buying the more expensive bulb.

The same can be said for EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products. In many cases, our products are replacing a homemade, cheap, or otherwise inefficient blowoff device. Let’s walk through an example of an application where EXAIR helped save a company money by reducing their compressed air consumption.

An extrusion company had a line where they were using (3) modular-hose style flat nozzles. These products are not designed to be used with compressed air, but rather are intended for distributing liquid coolant. Despite these devices not being designed for compressed air, seeing them used for blowoff purposes is all to common in industrial applications. A total of (3) nozzles were being used to dry the material as it exited a cooling bath. While they did work for them in the application, they had begun to notice pressure drops in their compressed air system that was causing issues for other processes in the facility.

The (3) nozzles were all operated at 50 PSIG consuming 17 SCFM per nozzle for a total consumption of 51 SCFM. They were operated for one full 8-hour shift, 5 days per week.

51 SCFM x 60 mins x 8-hours = 24,480 SCF/day

To keep the same airflow profile, we recommended the Model 1126 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle to replace the modular hose. Operating at 50 PSIG, the 1126 will consume 7.17 SCFM of compressed air. With a total of (3) nozzles operating, that comes to 21.5 SCFM total for the drying operation.

21.5 SCFM x 60 mins x 8-hours = 10,320 SCF/day

By implementing the 1” Flat Super Air Nozzles, they reduced their compressed air consumption for this particular application by 57%!! But, just how quickly will that air savings provide them with a return on their investment? Let’s calculate the savings:

The average cost for compressed air is $0.25/1000 SCF. Before the installation of the Super Air Knives, the total consumption was 24,480 SCF/day.

24,480 SCF x $0.25/1000 SCF = $6.12/ day

With the Flat Super Air Nozzles, this was reduced to just 10,320 SCF/ day:

10,320 SCF x $0.25/1000 SCF = $2.58/ day

Total Savings – $3.54 each day!!!

The 2022 list price on the Model 1126 is $53.00. Since they bought (3) their total investment was $159.00.

$159.00/$3.54 = 44.92 (45 days)

On the 45th day, the customer will have saved enough money from the reduced air consumption to account for the initial purchase price of the Flat Super Air Nozzles. Once they’re paid for, it isn’t like you just stop saving money. The nozzles will continue to save money, each shift, day in and day out. In some areas, your local utility provider may also offer rebates for the installation of engineered compressed air nozzles when replacing an inefficient solution.

If there’s a process in your facility that you can improve upon, give us a call. We’re also able to test it out here at EXAIR and report back to you on the savings through our free Efficiency Lab!

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

Light bulb photo courtesy of Mike Mozart via Flickr Creative Commons License