Super Air Wipes Help a Swiss CNC Machine to be More Accurate

Precision Required

As machined parts require tighter tolerances, machine shops are starting to look at Swiss-type CNC machines.  These types of machines are extremely accurate and very fast in producing small parts.  But in order to reach that level of accuracy, the bar stock may have to be pre-treated by a centerless grinder.

Our customer was using Swiss-type CNC machines with guide bushings to produce a very tight-tolerance part.  Because they were using guide bushings, the outside diameter of the bar stock had to be smooth and concentric.  This helps to reduce any vibration when machining.  A centerless grinder was used to accomplish this.  The bar stock that they used was 10 feet long and it was placed into a bar feeder.  They had to grind the bar to an outer diameter of 30mm with a surface finish of 32Ra.  As they were loading the bar stock, they noticed that the surface finish was scuffed and marred.  This was enough to affect the machining process and not meet the tolerance standard.

As they reviewed the possible causes, they found that after the bar was ground, some grinding remnants were sticking to the outside of the bar.  As the rods were leaving the grinder and placed onto a roller-type conveyor, the oily film and metal shavings were sticking to the rollers.  This would scrape and mark the rods as they traveled along the conveyor toward the Swiss-type machining center.  As an attempt to remove this debris, they attached two copper tubes to blow compressed air onto the top and bottom of the bar.   Not only was this loud and inefficient, it was not effective.  They still had a dirty line along the sides of the rod that remained.  They contacted EXAIR to see if we could help them with this dilemma.

In order to get a consistent blow-off force around the entire circumference of the rod, EXAIR Air Wipes were engineered to be an ideal solution for this kind of problem.  I recommended the model 2482 Standard Air Wipe Kit.  The Standard Air Wipe is designed to blow compressed air in a 360 degree flow pattern.  This air pattern is directed at a 30 degree angle toward the center to blow the debris off of the bar stock.  The Coanda effect maximizes the entrainment of ambient air into the compressed air.  This makes the unit very efficient and powerful.  The model 2482 Standard Air Wipe has an I.D. of 2” (51mm) which gives it enough clearance for the 30mm bar stock.  It can be mounted easily near the exit of the centerless grinder to keep the grinding remnants inside the machine.  The kit includes a filter, regulator, and shim set.  The filter will remove contaminants from the compressed air system to keep from introducing any new grime and to keep the inside of the Air Wipe clean and functional.  The shim set and regulator provide the ability to adjust the air to the ideal force level and remove any debris from the surface of the bar.

Standard Air Wipe with Shim Set

As they removed their home-made copper tubes and attached the Standard Air Wipe, they noticed some great improvements.  The dark lines of debris previously along the sides of the bar stock were gone.  The surface was clean around the entire circumference of the bar.  The customer also noticed that the Standard Air Wipe was much quieter than their home-made solution, as it only has a decibel rating of 77 dBA.  As an added benefit, the Standard Air Wipe was using much less compressed air than the copper tubes.  This is due to its design to maximize the amplification ratio.  With more of the “free” ambient air than the compressed air being moved over the target area, it will save money in compressed air usage.  The ROI could be less than four months.

If you have any items that need to have a 360 degree blowing pattern, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see if a Standard Air Wipe could work for you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb
Picture: External-Micrometer-Screw-Gauge by Emilian Robert Vicol.  Creative Commons license

Super Air Wipe Cools, Cleans and Dries Extruded Shapes

We have many customers that use the manufacturing process of extrusion to make their various type of products.  EXAIR has an Intelligent Compressed Air Product that works very well with these processes to provide a drying, blowoff and cooling function.

Many types of products are produced via the process of extrusion, which is to shape (as metal or plastic) by forcing through a die.  There are many advantages to the extrusion process, including it being a continuous operation, it runs at high speeds, is good for high volume and low production costs, as well as many other factors.

The extrusion process typically requires heating of the metal billet or melting of the plastic to a high enough temperature to allow it to flow and be shaped as it it forced through the die. After the product has passed through the die and has been shaped it must be cooled and this is usually achieved by passing the it through a water bath.  Once the material has been cooled, it needs to be dried to remove the moisture, before the extrusion enters the next stage of processing, like getting cut to length or printed upon.

The EXAIR Super Air Wipe is ideal for blowoff, drying, cleaning and cooling of continuous materials such as extrusions, pipe, cable and more.

saw_2-2

The Super Air Wipe has a split design which offers easy clamping around the surface of the material, eliminating the need for threading. All Super Air Wipe models include stainless steel screws and shims.  Stainless Steel wire braided hose which is plumbed to each half, is included on sizes up to 4″ to simplify installation and plumbing. Aluminum models are rated to 400°F and the stainless steel models for temperatures up to 800°F.  Models are available in size from 1/2″ to 11″ Throat Diameters.

The Super Air Wipe provides a uniform, 360° air stream that is ideal for drying and cooling of extruded materials.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Super Air Wipe can benefit you extrusion process, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

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
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook

Super Air Wipe Helps in Testing Wire Insulation

A cable manufacturer sent me videos of his operation as they needed to improve their efficiency in removing water from the surface of the insulation. Their system began with the insulation being applied to the outside of the wire cable, being dipped into a water trough to harden the insulation, travel through the blow-off device, then into a spark tester.  The spark tester checks the insulation for imperfections.  Also called a hi-pot tester (high-potential), a high voltage is used to create a large potential across the insulation.  Any defects in the insulation can be detected, but it is very sensitive to surface contamination.  Being that the water is very conductive, it had to be removed or it would give a false result.  They were using a home-made circular blowing device (photo below) to blow the water off after dipping.  When they were at the higher line speeds, the blow-off device was not removing the water completely from the insulation.  This would cause the spark tester to alarm and stop production.

Home-made Air Wipe
Home-made Air Wipe

This company makes cables ranging from 10mm to 25mm in diameter. With various types of voltage ratings on the wire, the insulation was made with different types of materials and thicknesses.  So, the line speeds could range from 20 to 200 meter/minute.  Being that they needed a better way to remove the wire, they searched for wire and cable blow-off devices. They came across the Super Air Wipe from EXAIR.  The design of the Super Air Wipe blows compressed air at a 30 degree angle toward the center in a 360 degree air pattern, just like a cone.  It uses the Coanda effect to entrain as much ambient air into your compressed air to maximize force and efficiency.  Because of the variations in diameters and speeds, I suggested two different sizes, the model 2401 and model 2402.  The model 2401 has an I.D. of 1” (25mm), and it would work best with the cable diameters of 15mm and under.  The model 2402 has an I.D. of 2” (51mm), and it can handle the cables that are above 15mm in size. This pair of Super Air Wipes would give the customer the most consistent results no matter what line speeds that they ran.  With the split design of the Super Air Wipe, it makes it easy to clamp around the cable and change from one size to the other.

Super Air Wipe
Super Air Wipe

As they removed their home-made unit and attached the Super Air Wipes, they noticed a few things. The spark tester stopped getting false alarms.  This made the production process run smoother; even at the faster line speeds.  They noticed that the Super Air Wipe was much quieter.  With a decibel rating of 77 dBA, the nearby operators were very happy with this choice.  Also, they noticed that the Super Air Wipes used much less compressed air.  Because the design utilizes the “free” ambient air, less compressed air is required.  This would save them a lot of money in their electric bill and the stress on the compressed air system.  If your company needs to blow off cables, hoses, pipes, or any cylindrical type parts, the Super Air Wipe could be a great product for you.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Super Air Wipe Exceeds Expectations

20160714_155430L
This forming application needed a way to remove excess oil (currently being collected by paper towels)

In the application shown above the end user needed to remove excess lubricant from the outside of a tube after a forming process.  The existing setup offered no removal of the excess oil, and as the tubes exited the machine, oil would fall from the tubes and drip onto the floor.  To prevent these oil drops from reaching the floor and accumulating into a potential safety hazard, paper towels were placed at the exit of the machine to catch the oil and replaced as needed.

Considering that a blow off solution was needed to provide coverage to the full OD of the formed tubes, this application was an excellent candidate for a Super Air Wipe.  The Super Air Wipe provides 360° blowoff for the tubes, removing excess oil as the tubes pass through the air stream of the Super Air Wipe.

20160714_155422L
The “wet” side of the application

An added benefit for this application in blowing the excess oil back into the machine was the need for lubrication on the machine components on the “leading” side of this application.  As the tubes exit the machine, no oil is desired; but on the preceding side of the machine, oil is very much needed.  Using the Air Wipe to remove excess oil from the tubes and simultaneously blow this oil back into a needed workspace made this product the perfect fit.

The exact model chosen for this application was the 2404, 4” Super Air Wipe.  Available from stock with same-day shipping, we were able to meet the needs of this application while exceeding customer expectations.

If you have a similar application or would like to discuss your application needs with us, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Will Water Move Through EXAIR Air Knives and Air Wipes? (Images included)

Today, I would like to discuss a question that comes up time and time again over the years.  “What happens when I put water through a Super Air Knife?” That raised another question from myself of what about a Super Air Wipe?

The answer is quite simple, it will come out, just not as good as compressed air does.   The engineering and design for Super Air Knives were all based around compressed air use.  With any good product of course comes the question in time, how else can we use this?   A number of applications for the Super Air Knife is blowing moisture off a part that has been applied through a series of wash/rinse nozzles.  What if the knife could apply the liquid and then a second knife could remove the liquid.  Below are some images from testing that was done on a Stainless Steel Super Air Knife at various gap sizes and various pressures.    The “best” performance visually was from operating the air knife with .004″ gap and approximately  a 17 PSIG inlet pressure (this is for a 12″ Super Air Knife).

Water flowing through a 12" Stainless Steel Super Air Knife
Water flowing through a 12″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knife

As you can see in the photos, the water does flow fairly well immediately out of the knife, and becomes more turbulent as it gets further away from the knife.   The stream actually begins to break up and thus the effective distance of the knife may be reduced when using it to flow liquids.   This is not going to perform like a pressure washer, the maximum distance for the stream of liquid before it completely fell off was around 10′ from the discharge point.   If this were to be used to remove loose debris or to cover a part in water to help cool the part the stream would be more than enough to perform.

As noted above the operating pressure was fairly low, and the gap was at a .004″ thickness.  I recently tested a 1″ Stainless Steel Super Air Wipe as well.  The shim gap was once again set to .004″ thick to permit a better flow and a low pressure, approximately 10-12 psig inlet pressure.  As you can see the flow of water is not as smooth as the air flow out of a Super Air Wipe but if a light rinsing process was needed, or a water cooling process, this would work well.

1" Stainless Steel Super Air Wipe w/ Water
1″ Stainless Steel Super Air Wipe w/ Water

 

So the answer to the main question at hand is yes, a Super Air Knife and Super Air Wipe will both operate with a pressurized liquid source under the correct circumstances.   While they do not operate exactly like they do with compressed air, the results still prove useful in certain applications.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Use The Force…Or Not…It’s Up To You, Really

The month of May, in 1977, was a great time to be ten years old. I was finishing up my fifth grade year, a pivotal one, thanks to Miss Walker, who ended up being my favorite teacher ever. She had a pet rat named A.J. that we took turns taking home for the weekend. She rewarded us for class performance by taking us outside to play softball on warm & sunny spring afternoons. I trace my love for math (and hence, my inspiration for a career in engineering) to the excitement she instilled in me for the subject…I was among the first to master the multiplication tables.

And then there was Star Wars. There were commercials for the movie and the toys and the merchandise on TV; I swear they ran every five minutes. A fast food chain released a series of posters (free with purchase) and every time a new one came out, Miss Walker promptly hung it on the classroom wall. None of us, her included, could hardly wait until the premiere. I could go on (and on and on and on,) but suffice it to say (for the purposes of this blog,) I’ve been a BIG fan ever since.

Which brings us to today…opening day for “Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” The first time, by the way, a Star Wars movie hasn’t premiered in the month of May, but I digress. The 10 year old inside me wants to go see it RIGHT NOW, but the grownup I have to be has a company Christmas party, two Boy Scout events, and a pre-holiday “honey-do” list to attend to first.

Of course, the “other” epic space movie series couldn’t resist launching THEIR new trailer this week…

All this talk about The Force (capital “F”) and the fact that I write this blog on company time has me thinking about compressed air applications that involve force (lower case “f”) and how using force (unlike “The Force”) is not always prudent.

This is the case in just about any blow off application that uses air under pressure. Open ended copper tubing, drilled pipes, etc., are common and easy ways to discharge compressed air for debris removal, drying, or cooling a part. But the fact is, they waste a LOT of the energy devoted to compressing the air by simply turning it into brute force and noise.

This is where EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products(r) come in: by using the energy of the compressed air to entrain air from the surrounding environment, the total air flow is amplified, resulting in a high velocity blast, at minimal consumption. No; it doesn’t have the same amount of force as an open ended discharge device, but most blow off applications don’t need all that much force anyway.

Of course, there ARE situations where you need to use the force, and we’ve got efficient and OSHA compliant ways to do that too: additional shims in Air Knives, Air Wipes & Air Amplifiers, or larger Super Air Nozzles.

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” the continuing theme of the Star Wars saga is to use The Force properly. For the past 32 years, the continuing theme at EXAIR is to help you use the force (of your compressed air) properly. Let me know how we can help.

May The Force be with us all…this weekend, and always.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook