Mounting Options for EXAIR’s Super Air Knife

 

Super Air Knife installed using the Universal Air Knife Mounting system.

The key towards a successful Super Air Knife  application is making sure it’s installed properly. Using the chart on the installation & maintenance guide to ensure your plumbing is properly sized is the first step. This ensures that an adequate volume of compressed air is able to reach the knife, without causing an unnecessary pressure drop.

super air knife pipe size

Once you’ve planned out the distribution of compressed air to the Super Air Knife you must consider how to mount it in your application. Across the bottom of the knife are ¼-20 tapped holes spaced out evenly every 2” along the knife. A 30” Model 110030 will have (15) holes, a 60” 110060 (30), and so on. These holes are tapped through to allow you to mount the knife to best suit the application.

If you’d rather have a more “out of the box” solution, EXAIR offers our Universal Mounting System. It gives you the ability to mount onto a conveyor rail or machine frame and provide precise positioning for all of EXAIR’s Super Air Knives, Standard Air Knives, Full-Flow Air Knives, as well as the Standard and Super Ion Air Knives. Each system comes with (2) 1/2-13 x 5” long bolts, 2’ long stainless steel rod, mounting hardware, angle bracket, and adjustable swivel clamps. Check out the video below for a demonstration of the adjustability you can achieve with the Model 9060 Universal Mounting System.

Another critical factor to consider is the mounting position of the knife. If the material is moving along a conveyor, the knife should be positioned as closely as possible with the airflow oriented against the direction of travel of the material. By doing so, we increase the amount of time that the material is in contact with the airflow. We call this term counter-flow. Maximizing the time in contact with the laminar airflow from the Super Air Knife gives us the best chance at a successful result. Whether we’re talking about cooling, drying, or cleaning, the longer that the material is in contact with the laminar airflow the better the results will be.

air knife counter flow

In this photo, the Super Air Knife is positioned upside down at an angle above a conveyor belt, against the direction of travel. We recommend installing the Super Air Knife in this orientation as it allows the airflow to get closest to the material being blown off. They’ve used their own brackets to allow the knife to be adjusted when blowing residual dust off of a conveyor for a mining application. The dust on the belt would build up over time and was difficult to remove. By installing a Super Air Knife, they’re able to continuously remove the dust from the conveyor belt before it becomes a problem.

If you have an application that would be better served with one of EXAIR’s Super Air Knives, give us a call. An Application Engineer is ready to assist you in selecting the proper material, length, and mounting method.

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

Troubleshooting a Cabinet Cooler Application: Clogged Filter Elements

Recently I’ve worked with a customer who needed to troubleshoot some of his Nema 12 Cabinet Coolers installed in their plant. They’ve been installed for about 6 years now without issue, but over the summer they noticed a few times where the temperatures inside the enclosures was getting a bit higher than they were comfortable with. Since this hadn’t been an issue since prior to installation, they gave us a call to see what could be the problem.

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They had (6) total Cabinet Coolers, (2) of the 4340s and (4) 4325s all being fed from the same compressor. The first thing we wanted to determine was whether or not a sufficient volume of air was being supplied to them. Since this was a new problem and we had several years of operation without any trouble, there had to be something that has changed. With a pressure gauge installed directly at the inlet, he observed that the pressure coming into the Cabinet Cooler was only 70 PSIG. Cabinet Coolers are rated at pressures of 100 PSIG but can operate in the range of 80-100 PSIG, so we knew then that not enough air was reaching them.

When troubleshooting any Intelligent Compressed Air Product, we need to know the pressure DIRECTLY at the air inlet to the product. Oftentimes a customer will know the pressure they’re getting out of the compressor, but this isn’t generally the pressure you’ll see at the point of use. Pressure drops can occur due to undersized lines, restrictive fittings (such as quick disconnects), or improper maintenance.

He shared with me some photos of the setup and said that they hadn’t changed anything since the original installation. These units were operating off of their own dedicated compressor, so we weren’t getting a pressure drop due to any additional applications also using the same air supply.

With no moving parts to wear out the Cabinet Coolers are a maintenance-free product, so long as they’re supplied with clean and dry compressed air. In order to ensure that the air supply stays clean and dry, an Auto-Drain Filter should be installed just upstream of the Cabinet Cooler. Inside of any of EXAIR’s Auto-Drain Filters is a 5-micron filter element. If this becomes clogged over time, it can result in a pressure drop just after the filter. This turned out to be the culprit in this case as he placed an order for some replacement filter elements, changed them out, and was back up and running! The pressure at the Cabinet Coolers increased to 90 PSIG and started operating as they had before.

built to last 5 year

EXAIR prides ourselves in delivering a quality product that’s Built to Last. If you have a product that doesn’t seem to be operating at peak performance, give us a call. An Application Engineer is ready to take your call and help make sure you’re getting the most out of our products.

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

EXAIR’s Super Air Knife: The Benefits of Laminar Airflow

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When a wide, even, laminar flow is necessary there isn’t a better option available on the market than EXAIR’s Super Air Knife. We’ve been manufacturing Air Knives for over 35 years, with the Super Air Knife making its first appearance back in 1997. Since then, the Super Air Knife has undergone a few enhancements over the years as we’re constantly trying to not only introduce new products but also improve on the ones we have. We’ve added new materials, longer single piece knives, as well as additional accessories. But, by and large, the basic design has remained the same. As the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.

What really sets EXAIR’s Super Air Knife above the competition is the ability to maintain a consistent laminar flow across the full length of the knife compared to similar compressed air operated knives. This is even more evident when compared against blower operated knives or fans. A fan “slaps” the air, resulting in a turbulent airflow where the airflow particles are irregular and will interfere with each other. A laminar airflow, by contrast, will maintain smooth paths that will never interfere with one another.

turbulent vs laminar
A representation of a turbulent flow on top, and laminar flow on bottom

The effectiveness of a laminar airflow vs turbulent airflow is particularly evident in the case of a cooling application. The chart below shows the time to cool computers to ambient temperatures for an automotive electronics manufacturer. They used a total of (32) 6” axial fans, (16) across the top and (16) across the bottom as the computers traveled along a conveyor. The computers needed to be cooled down before they could begin the testing process. By replacing the fans with just (3) Model 110012 Super Air Knives at a pressure of just 40 psig, the fans were cooled from 194°F down to 81° in just 90 seconds. The fans, even after 300 seconds still couldn’t remove enough heat to allow them to test.

air-knife-cooling
While the fans no doubt made for large volume air movement, the laminar flow of the Super Air Knife resulted in a much faster heat transfer rate.

Utilizing a laminar airflow is also critical when the airflow is being used to carry static eliminating ions further to the surface. Static charges can be both positive or negative. In order to eliminate them, we need to deliver an ion of the opposite charge to neutralize it. Since opposite charges attract, having a product that produces a laminar airflow to carry the ions makes the net effect much more effective. As you can see from the graphic above showing a turbulent airflow pattern vs a laminar one, a turbulent airflow is going to cause these ions to come into contact with one another. This neutralizes them before they’re even delivered to the surface needing to be treated. With a product such as the Super Ion Air Knife, we’re using a laminar airflow pattern to deliver the positive and negative ions. Since the flow is laminar, the total quantity of ions that we’re able to deliver to the surface of the material is greater. This allows the charge to be neutralized quickly, rather than having to sit and “dwell” under the ionized airflow.

With lengths from 3”-108” and (4) four different materials all available from stock, EXAIR has the right Super Air Knife for your application. In addition to shipping from stock, it’ll also come backed up by our unconditional 30-day guarantee. Test one out for yourself to see just how effective the Super Air Knife is on a wide variety of cooling, cleaning, or drying applications.

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

EXAIR Webinar 11/7/18 2pm EDT: Understanding Static Electricity

Halloween has passed, temperatures are dropping, and you’ve had enough of constantly raking up leaves. It’s clear to everyone that summer is over (much to my dismay). As temperatures decline, so too does the amount of moisture in the air. As this happens, issues related to static electricity begin to increase. If you’ve ever walked across a carpeted surface, only to be shocked as soon as you touch a doorknob, you’re familiar with the effects of static electricity. In addition to painful shocks, static can contribute to a variety of problems within industrial processes.

We’ve talked here on the EXAIR blog about several of these different applications. Some examples include: removing static on plastic packaging, stopping dust from clinging to product, or aiding in part removal in an injection molding application. These types of applications can certainly occur year-round, but the absence of humid conditions dramatically increases the potential for them to occur.

summer static
In this photo, a static charge present causes the plastic particles to cling to the end of a suction wand.

They key to combating static electricity is first understanding how it it’s generated and how to test for it. To help you gain some more knowledge about static electricity and the problems it can cause, EXAIR is hosting a FREE webinar this week. Within this webinar you’ll learn how to identify a static charge, the series of events that are causing the charge, as well as various ways to eliminate this nuisance.

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Brian Farno, EXAIR’s Application Engineering Manager, will be conducting the webinar at 2:00 ET on 11/7/18. Immediately following the presentation will also be a brief Q&A. If you can’t attend, don’t let that stop you from registering! A link to view a recorded version of the webinar will go out to all registered participants whether you’re able to attend live or not.

Click here to register and view details on this upcoming webinar. Make sure you’re educated on the issues associated with static electricity before it’s too late!

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

EXAIR Standard Air Knife Overview

EXAIR manufactures a variety of different air knives in several different materials of construction. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll be discussing the Standard Air Knife. EXAIR’s Standard Air Knife was the first rendition of the Air Knife family. The Standard Air Knife utilizes what’s known as the Coanda Effect, or the propensity of a fluid to adhere to a curved surface. The airflow from the Standard Air Knife exits the nozzle outlet and ends up perpendicular to the outlet. This air motion that is created also allows the knife to entrain ambient air at a rate of 30:1, 30 parts ambient air to one part compressed air, which maximizes the force while minimizing compressed air consumption.

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Standard Air Knife

Due to this air entrainment, air savings of 40%-90% are possible when replacing homemade blowoff devices such as drilled or slotted pipe. Return on your investment is seen typically within weeks rather than months or years.

In addition to significant air savings, the Standard Air Knife also dramatically reduces “wind shear” by gradually introducing the entrained air into the primary airstream. The exiting air is also laminar, not turbulent. These two features help cut noise levels in HALF! With drilled pipes or open tube jets, there’s little to no air amplification and the sound levels are extremely high. These sound levels typically will be far outside of OSHA’s acceptable level of noise for operators. Fines can be handed out by OSHA under directive 29 CFR 1910.95.

The Standard Air Knife is available in lengths from 3”-48” in both aluminum and Type 303SS. They’re an excellent choice for applications such as blowing or removing debris, drying or cooling parts, or environmental separation. ¼ NPT female ports are located at either end of the knife and the force and flow through the knife is adjustable. For gross adjustments to the airflow, we offer shim sets that contain a .001”, .003”, and .004” shim for aluminum or (3) .002” shims for the stainless steel knives. Shims can be stacked together to create even more flow, or in the case of the aluminum knives the .001” shim can be installed to cut the flow and force in half. In addition to offering the shim sets, a pressure regulator can be installed right at the point of use to “dial in” the exact pressure that you need for the application.

Standard Air Knife Kit
Standard Air Knife Kit

If you have drilled or slotted pipe blowoffs in your facility, you’re simply leaving money on the table through high energy costs. Take advantage of the unconditional 30 day guarantee for all stock products and see just how much you can save with EXAIR’s Standard Air Knife.

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

Another Unique Application for an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor

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Plastic mesh used to protect parts prior to shipping

Generally, when we’re talking about a Line Vac application it involves the transfer of bulk materials from one place to another. Many applications involve replacing what we call a “bucket and ladder” operation. An operator must fill a bucket or container with the material, climb up a ladder, and then deposit it into a hopper. While this is a great example of one way to use  them, Line Vacs can also be used in a variety of other applications.

In the past, we’ve blogged about using smaller Line Vacs for conveying yarn or string. At the end of a run there’s often too little thread left on a roll to save for a future run. The customer must strip the yarn off the remaining spool in order to reuse it. Using just a small amount of compressed air, a 3/8” Line Vac makes quick work of any residual thread on the spool.

I recently worked with our distributor in Argentina on another unique Line Vac application. Their customer manufacturers a variety of different types of protective plastic mesh. They come in many different sizes and colors and are used to protect the outsides of parts or products during shipping. Their machine required an operator to keep a close eye and at times manually feed the material into the machine as it would get stuck. Their hopes were to automate this process so that they could increase production and alleviate the need for an operator to worry about feeding the material by hand.

Using a Model 6082 1-1/4” aluminum Line Vac fitted with a funnel on the intake side, they were able to convey the plastic material into the cutter. It was cut to length and deposited in a box below. The video below shows the process.

The material is fed off of the spool and into the cutter without jamming or getting bunched up. Production rates are now consistent and they were even able to increase the feed rate by almost 20%. The 6082 consumes just under 26 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG, making it a low-cost solution to what was an aggravating problem for them. In addition to the ability to increase the feed rate, automating this process freed up an operator to monitor additional processes in the facility.

If you have an outside the box application that you believe could be suitable for a Line Vac Air Operated Conveyor, take advantage of EXAIR’s 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee and test one out for yourself!

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

 

Nothing But Net image courtesy of Haas Automation via Creative Commons License

Intelligent Compressed Air: Maintaining an Efficient Compressor System

compressor

The electrical costs associated with generating compressed air make it the most expensive utility in any industrial facility. In order to help offset these costs, it’s imperative that the system is operating as efficiently as possible. I’d like to take a moment to walk you through some of the ways that you can work towards making your compressed air system more efficient.

The first step you should take is to identify and fix any leaks within the distribution piping. According to the Compressed Air Challenge, up to 30% of all compressed air generated is lost through leaks. This ends up accounting for nearly 10% of your overall energy costs!! To put leaks in perspective, take a look at the graphic below from the Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems handbook.

air leaks cost

Compressed air leaks don’t just waste energy, but they can also contribute to other operating losses. If enough air is lost through leaks, this can also cause a drop in system pressure. This can affect the functionality of other compressed air operated equipment and processes. This pressure drop can affect the efficiency of the equipment causing it to cycle on/off more frequently or to not work properly. This can lead to anything from rejected products to increased running time. With an increase in running time, there’s also the need for more frequent maintenance and unscheduled downtime.

You can perform a compressed air audit in your facility using an EXAIR Model 9061 Ultrasonic Leak Detector. If you’d prefer someone come in and do this for you, there are several companies that offer energy audit services where this will be a focal point of the process.

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EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector

Speaking of maintenance, proper compressor maintenance is also critical to the overall efficiency of the system. Like all industrial equipment, a proper maintenance schedule is required in order to ensure things are operating at peak efficiency. Inadequate compressor maintenance can have a significant impact on energy consumption via lower compressor efficiency. A regular preventative maintenance schedule is required in order to keep things in good shape. The compressor, heat exchanger surfaces, lubricant, lubricant filter, air inlet filter, and dryer all need to be maintained. This can be done yourself or through a reputable compressor dealer. The costs associated with these services are outweighed in the improved reliability and performance of the compressor. A well-maintained system will not cause unexpected shutdowns and will also cost less to operate.

The manner in which you use your compressed air at the point of use should also be evaluated. Inefficient, homemade solutions are thought to be a cheap and quick solution. Unfortunately, the costs to supply these inefficient solutions with compressed air can quickly outweigh the costs of an engineered solution. An engineered compressed air nozzle such as EXAIR’s line of Super Air Nozzles are designed to utilize the coanda effect. Free, ambient air from the environment is entrained into the airflow along with the supplied compressed air. This maximizes the force and flow of the nozzle while keeping compressed air usage to a minimum.

Another method of making your compressed air system more efficient is actually quite simple: regulating the supply pressure. By installing pressure regulators at the point of use for each of your various point of use devices, you can reduce the consumption simply by reducing the pressure. This can’t be done for everything, but I’d be willing to bet that several tasks could be accomplished with the same level of efficiency at a reduced pressure. Most shop air runs at around 80-90 psig, but for general blowoff applications you can often get by operating at a lower pressure. Another simple, but often overlooked, method is to simply shut off the compressed air supply when not in use. If you haven’t yet performed an audit to identify compressed air leaks this is even more of a no-brainer. When operators go to lunch or during breaks, what’s stopping you from just simply turning a valve to shut off the supply of air? It seems simple and minute, but each step goes a long way towards reducing your overall air consumption and ultimately your energy costs.

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

 

Image taken from the Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems Handbook, 2nd Edition