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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A Tale Of Two Cooling Applications

There are many, many ways to cool something down. Which method works best will depend on a number of factors, but the biggies are:

*How hot is it?
*How cool do you need it?

If you call EXAIR to discuss a cooling application, these are most likely the first questions that’ll be asked. And the answers will determine which product line we start talking about. In the title of this blog, I promised you two tales…here’s the first:

A caller from a metal fabricating shop needed to cool down metal cylinders after they were heated to 400F, and was curious to know if this was a good application for one of our products. Now, he had already answered one of our questions, so the answer to the second would tell the rest of the tale.

Turns out, they only needed to get down to 120F or so, which made this an excellent application for our Super Air Knives…they’re going to blow a laminar, high volume flow of ambient temperature air onto the part. We knew this from a past application that was so well documented that we included it in our catalog…you can read all about it on page 21 (if you don’t have one, get one – it’s free.) But for now, here’s a graph of the cooling rate comparison with the Super Air Knife:

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.

While the fans no doubt made for high volume air movement, it was also very turbulent.  The laminar flow of the Super Air Knife resulted in a much faster heat transfer rate.

When I showed this to the caller, that was all the convincing it took…their goal was to reach 120F in about a minute and a half.  Which, as you can see, will be no problem for the Super Air Knife.

Tale #2 is a bit different.  This was from a firearms manufacturer who needed to cool small, but hot, parts quickly, and they needed to reach room temperature.  Looking at the graph above, we know that blowing room temperature air on a hot part will cool it rapidly, until the temperature of the part begins to approach room temperature.  The solution?  Colder air, of course!

Enter the EXAIR Vortex Tube…after some discussion of the part size, shape, and their compressed air capacity, we determined the Model 3215 Medium Vortex Tube should be suitable for their operation.  By generating a cold air flow of about 20F, this replicated the higher temperature differential we see in the left-hand side of the cooling graph above…where the cooling rate was the highest.

If you’d like to talk about how “cool” an EXAIR product can make your application, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Adjustability=Flexibility=Wide Ranging Performance

Recently, I moved into a new house, and it didn’t have bathroom vent fans.  In order to prevent mold and mildew growth from the humid shower air; we decided to install them ourselves.  Going to the local home goods store, we were faced with a wall of options, with factors such as noise level, CFM rating and of course price.  Going over the myriad of possibilities was headache inducing and of course, the bathroom size was borderline between a small and mid-size unit. The decision came down to – pay more and oversize it or risk installing an undersized unit.  If only they made a unit to cover a wide variety of conditions.

Here at EXAIR, we make many types of Intelligent Compressed Air Products.  Many times, when we are talking to customers, the right size or performance needed isn’t quite clear.  Fortunately, many of the products we make are flexible, and allow for adjustability and increased range of performance to best match the specific need of the application.

For example, The Super Air Knives and Super Air Wipes have available Shim Sets to increase or decrease the air gap and change the force and flow.  The shims are easily installed, and come in a wide choice of sizes. Super Air Knives are available, from stock, in aluminum, 303SS, 316SS, and PVDF. Super Air Wipes are made from aluminum or 303 SS.

The Super Air Amplifiers also have available patented Shim Sets to fix the air flow at a predetermined setting. Adjustable Air Amplifiers have an infinitely adjustable air gap which can easily be set to match the application needs if a predetermined flow is not preferred. Adjustable Air Amplifiers also have a smaller footprint than Super Air Amplifiers and can also use the aforementioned shims to preset the air flow in applications where space is limited. These are available in 303 stainless steel and aluminum. We also have a high temperature option.

adjustable Air Amplifier

Adjustable Air Amplifier

Within our already enormous and flexible Air Nozzles & Jets product line, the Flat Super Air Nozzles have available Shim Sets to provide the ability to adjust the force and flow for blowoff or cleaning operation.  The model 1009 Adjustable Air Nozzle has an adjustable gap setting, allowing you to “tune in” the force and flow to meet the application requirement.  Also, the Adjustable Air Jet provides an adjustable gap setting to control the air flow performance. Flexibility also comes from the available materials of zinc/aluminum, aluminum, 303SS, 316SS and PEEK thermoplastic.

For vacuum generation, the Adjustable E-Vac allows for the vacuum and flow rate to be easily adjusted.  With a simple turn of the unit, the vacuum and flow levels can be changed to overcome porosity and increase or decrease the lifting power.

Adjustable EVac

Adjustable E-Vac

There are several other Intelligent Compressed Air Products that EXAIR manufactures that offer the adjustability and flexibility, such as Vortex Tubes and Adjustable Spot Coolers.

If only EXAIR manufactured bathroom fans, I could have ensured making the right choice and be able to match the performance to exactly meet my application needs.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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The Super Air Knife: It’s Super Easy To Install

One of the more commonly asked questions about one of our more commonly asked-about products is:

“How do you install a Super Air Knife?”

Well, I’m glad you (or, in this case, “they,”) asked! There are several options, and they’re all pretty simple:

The Universal Air Knife Mounting System – right out of the box, the 9060 Universal Air Knife Mounting System is ready to go. It gives you a complete range of motion, so changes to the angle, direction, and distance of the air flow to the target are quick and easy. Multiple systems provide secure support for longer Air Knife lengths.

The 9060 Universal Air Knife Mounting Systems are perfect for simple, fast installation and positioning.

The 9060 Universal Air Knife Mounting Systems are perfect for simple, fast installation and positioning.

The Air Knife Plumbing Kit – Air Knives 24″ and longer need to be supplied at multiple inlets.  A Plumbing Kit comes with everything you need to get that down to just one (lengths to 54″) or two (lengths to 108″) 1/2 NPT connections, saving you from hunting down the fittings and hose or tube, while ensuring you get sufficient air flow for optimum performance.

Plumbing Kits

The Super Air Knife Itself (part 1) – because the Air Knife cap & body are held together with a series of Stainless Steel cap screws, there’s a 1/4″-20 tapped hole, about 3/8″ deep, every 2″ along the bottom of the body. These are commonly used to install the Air Knife to an acceptable mount.

If you've got something to hold it to, mounting a Super Air Knife with 1/4"-20 fasteners is a snap!

If your equipment already has rails or a frame, mounting a Super Air Knife with 1/4″-20 fasteners is a snap!

The Super Air Knife Itself (part 2) – like I said above, when they get longer than 24″, an Air Knife needs to be supplied at both ends to ensure proper air flow across the entire length. There are MANY Super Air Knives installed over conveyor belts (a “textbook” application) that are simply supported by hard piping to both ends. The Air Knife is, essentially, as well supported as the piping.

Use the supply piping to adequately support longer lengths of Super Air Knives

Use the supply piping to adequately support longer lengths of Super Air Knives.

The Super Air Knife Itself (part 3) – I saved “part 3″ to talk about the 3” Super Air Knife specifically…see what I did there? These short, compact units can actually be supported and plumbed properly, using a Magnetic Base and a Stay Set Hose.

Install and reposition a 3" Super Air Knife using any steel surface with a Mag Base & Stay Set Hose.

Install and reposition a 3″ Super Air Knife using any steel surface with a Mag Base & Stay Set Hose.

If you’ve got an application for a Super Air Knife, we can help you get in installed, in a snap. Call me; let’s talk!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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A Great Application For…Something Else

Some applications just sound like textbook situations – a caller wants to remove static charge from, and blow off a large, flat surface. That’s PERFECT for the laminar, high velocity ionized air curtain produced by a Super Ion Air Knife. All you have to do is pick the length, and we have them from 3 inches to 9 feet long.

Large, flat surfaces - perfect for a Super Ion Air Knife, right?

Large, flat surfaces – perfect for a Super Ion Air Knife, right?

Twice in the past week, I’ve been interrupted in my zeal to present the Super Ion Air Knife in these ideal situations by:

“…but I can’t move the product – I need to have something portable.”

And that’s OK. This is where it’s good to have a variety of offerings, including the portable, versatile, high performance Ion Air Gun. It’s durable and lightweight, so, if you can’t move the part, you can easily move the Ion Air Gun AROUND the part.

While it might be a "perfect" application for a Super Ion Air Knife, the Ion Air Gun works better if the product is stationary.

While it might be a “perfect” application for a Super Ion Air Knife, the Ion Air Gun works better if the product is stationary.

EXAIR Application Engineers are trained, and focused on, providing solutions. Even when something sounds “textbook,” there’s usually another way (or several) to look at it. And we’re really good at that. If you’d like to find out how to fit an EXAIR product into your compressed air needs, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Stainless Steel Super Air Knife Used in Mango Processing

SS SAK mango

303 Stainless Super Air Knife in Mango de-watering process

Recently, I was working with a customer who specializes in post-harvest fruit processing. In this case, they were processing mangos from complete fruit down into cubes which are subsequently cleaned and packaged into plastic bags and then cardboard boxes for use in other food products.

When the customer contacted me, they were using a stainless steel pipe with holes drilled into it to de-water the fruit chunks after being sprayed to clean the individual pieces. They were using stainless steel pipe as they had a requirement for stainless steel construction due to being food grade facility. The problem with the pipe was that the airflow didn’t provide an even blowing force across the full, 30 inch width of the vibratory conveyor. The pipe solution also used quite a lot of compressed air. Unfortunately the customer could not measure what it was, but they gave me the number and size of the holes drilled into it. From that information, we could determine that they were using about 150 SCFM of compressed air at this one location.

And so, with the ineffectiveness of the pipe as well as the high air consumption, the customer went looking for something better. That’s when they found EXAIR Stainless Steel Super Air Knives on our web site. After some quick discussion to sort out the width of the conveyor and to establish what the need was, we settled on model 110030SS (30” 303 Stainless Steel Super Air Knife) to be mounted across the width of the conveyor (see photo above).

With the Super Air Knife installed, the customer was able to achieve the effectiveness he needed for the de-watering and at an airflow rate that was 42% less compressed air use than what he had before. Some of the other benefits that they were able to achieve without even being conscious of it were the enhanced safety of the OSHA compliant Super Air Knife and the sound level was cut dramatically as well.

EXAIR’s Super Air Knives are used many times in processing and packaging applications to provide a non-contact method for de-watering, blowing off dust, moving product off to one side, drying, ejecting and many more applications like these.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager


Stainless Steel Super Air Knife Solves Problem In Molding Application


These stainless steel molds have residual material after forming which needs to be blown off



The table of this machine spins, with identical mold setups in the front and rear

The images above show a molding machine process with a spinning table.  The “front” side of the setup is used to remove finished product, while the “back” side forms new product over the stainless steel mold.  Each side of the table uses an identical setup with application temperatures as high as 140°F.

The end user of this machine contacted EXAIR in search of a blowoff solution to be permanently installed and operated automatically.  Any solution offered needed to use minimal compressed air, meet OSHA safety standards for dead end pressure (OSHA CFR 1910.242(b)), and be suitable for installation in a 140°F workspace.

The purpose of the blowoff would be to remove any debris/residual material left on the stainless steel mold after the finished product is removed.  So, as the mold spins back into the machine, they wanted a way to remove any burrs or residual debris.  The current process is to stop the machine and have a machine operator blow off the molds by hand (shown below).  This reduces the efficiency of the machine and reduces the throughput of the process.


The current process is to stop the machine and blow off the molds by hand

With the full scope of the application uncovered and discussed, we found the perfect solution for this application in a stainless steel Super Air Knife.  The stainless steel Super Air Knife can provide an efficient and repeatable blowoff solution, all while meeting OSHA safety standards and the temperature needs of the application.  Plus, the Super Air Knife can be configured alongside a PLC or Electronic Flow Controller to allow for a “trigger-on” installation in which blowoff is only provided when needed.  This setup saves compressed air, reducing operational cost and further increasing efficiency in the application.

The exact product used in this application was the model 110012SS, which provides a laminar blowoff 12” wide using a 303 grade stainless steel Super Air Knife.  But, we also have knives ranging from 3” to 108” with the ability to machine custom lengths upon request.  So, if you have an application in need of an efficient and laminar blowoff solution, reach out to us.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

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