Cleaning A Cookie Cutter Die Using A 24″ 316SS Super Air Knife

I recently worked with a food manufacturer who was looking for a way to clean the die roller in their cookie cutting process.The cutting machine is fed by a ribbon of extruded dough that is cut into various shapes as it passes by a 24″ wide roller. After the cookies are cut, the finished product then travels down a chute to a feed tray where it is conveyed to a packaging area. They were starting to see an increase in rejects as some cookies were being “double stamped” as a result of residual dough sticking to the die. They tried to install a brush traveling the span of the roller in an effort to wipe it clean but this wasn’t very effective and also caused some contamination as some of the bristles would break loose. They then tried having an operator use an air gun to manually clean the roller and while this did work, it severely slowed the process down, reducing production and negatively affecting their bottom line.

That’s a lot of cookie cutters!

After discussing the details of the application, I recommended the customer use our 24″ 316ss Super Air Knife in the application. The Super Air Knife produces a laminar sheet of air across the length of the knife and consumes only 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife length when operated at 80 PSIG. The 316ss construction resists pitting and is the preferred choice when being applied to a food process as it minimizes the potential for metal contamination.

SS Super Air Knife available in lengths from 3″ up to 108″

When it comes to wide area treatment, an Air Knife is the optimal choice. If you have a similar application that requires assistance, please contact an Application Engineer at 1-800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Largest collection of cookie cutters I’ve ever seen image courtesy of Steven-L-Johnson via Creative Commons license.

 

EXAIR Mini Chip Vac: Phase 2 for Improving Medical Devices

Medical Anatomy

In my previous blog about the manufacturing facility that machined small plastic components for the medical industry, I explained how the Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit was able to improve the machining process by eliminating static.  (You can read the blog here: EXAIR Ion Air Jets: Phase 1 for improving medical devices).  With their machining center being in a semi-clean room, cleanliness was very important.  So, after each machining operation, they would have to sweep the plastic chips from the machining table and discard.  This extended the cycle time in their machining operation.

Since they had such a great relationship with EXAIR in dealing with their previous application, they contacted us again to improve their cleanup operation.  Non-conductive materials like plastic generates static on the surface when the material is peeled, shifted, or rubbed against another surface.  Since we removed the static from the plastic shavings with the Stay Set Ion Air Jet, we wanted to target that area before static could regenerate and start “sticking” to clean parts.  In getting more details about their setup, they were machining with vertical CNC mills.  The mills had a platform table that had a pneumatic fixture to grab the medical part.  Before machining began, the operators would have to close Plexiglas doors as a safety requirement.  The CNC mills did have an opening at the top of the machine.  (This was where they were supplying the Stay Set Ion Air Jet with compressed air and power supply.)

Mini Chip Vac

With my experience, I had a good suggestion for refining their cleaning operation.  I suggested the model 6193-5 Mini Chip Vac System.  This system uses compressed air to generate a vacuum for picking up chips.  The vacuum generator does not have any moving parts or bearings to wear; so, they are very durable and long-lasting.  The Mini Chip Vac System uses a 5 gallon drum which is very compact and easy to use in tight areas.  The system includes a 0.1 micron filter to keep all the contamination inside the drum and not allowing it to escape back into the room air.  (Very necessary in a semi-clean location.)  Even for its small size, the Mini Chip Vac is very powerful and quiet.  It has a decibel rating of only 77 dBA; so, noise will not be a nuisance when operating the vacuum.  It comes standard with a 10 foot vacuum hose which make it easy to reach into tight areas to clean.

As a suggestion, I recommended that they could collect the plastic shaving during the machining process Instead of waiting until after the operation to clean.  They could mount the Mini Chip Vac drum near the machine, and bring in the vacuum hose through the opening at the top.  The suction end of the vacuum could be placed on the opposite side of the Stay Set Ion Air Jet.  In conjunction, the Stay Set Ion Air Jet would remove the static and swarf from the plastic surface; at the same time, the Mini Chip Vac would collect and remove the plastic shavings from the machining area.  This combination of EXAIR products would keep the parts clean as well as the machining area.  When they installed the Mini Chip Vac System into their process, they almost doubled their production rate.

If you are dealing with messy chips in your machining operation, the EXAIR Chip Vac Systems can be a solution for you.  For the customer above, I was able to find a simple way to use the Mini Chip Vac to keep the area clean and increase their production rates.  If you are spending too much time in cleaning up your area, you can contact an Application Engineer to find the best solution to streamline your operation.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Muscles Anatomy Medical Human by Heblo/64.  CC0 Public Domain

Line Vac Brings Additional Solution To Alumina Spill Recovery

Mobile spill recovery unit

In my last blog post I wrote about vacuuming alumina dust in an aluminum manufacturing plant in South America.  In that application we were returning spilled alumina to the original hopper so that processing could continue.

This same customer has an additional application to vacuum spilled material, but the new need is to assist mobile spill recovery vehicles (shown above) in vacuuming spills of varying volume. These mobile vehicles are effective for most of the spillage demands they can access, but there are times where additional vacuum is needed, such as when the spill location is beyond the hose length of the system.  In those scenarios additional vacuum hose can be added, but line losses render the performance too low to produce real results.  With this in mind, the end user looked for a point-of-use vacuum boosting solution, and thought about again using an EXAIR Line Vac.

Considering the potential use of a Line Vac, we approached this in the same way as any other pneumatic conveying application, gathering the required information to allow a proper model number selection.  As with the previous application we confirmed the following:

  •      Bulk density of the material
  •      Size of the material
  •      Conveyance height
  •      Conveyance distance
  •      Required conveyance rate
  •      Available compressed air supply

The spills in this facility are comprised of alumina dust with a bulk density of 1.1g/cm³ (68.7 pounds/ft³).  From the floor to the maximum height of the vehicle is a distance of 3.25m (~11ft), and conveying distances were in a range of 3-10 meters (10-30 feet).  The customer had no required conveyance rate, only a requirement to boost vacuuming capacity when needed.

With this information confirmed we were able to make a model number recommendation, the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac model 150200.  Adding the 150200 Heavy Duty Line Vac to this mobile spill recovery unit brings additional vacuum flow and conveyance of the alumina through a high velocity airstream, making mobile spill recovery efforts more effective.

If you’re in need of a pneumatic conveying solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer (1-800-903-9247).  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

EXAIR Won’t Keep You Waiting For Anything

Have you ever sent an email, or left a voice mail message for someone without knowing they were out of the office? It can be pretty frustrating to not hear back from someone, especially if your needs are urgent.

At EXAIR, we make sure this doesn’t happen:

*For starters, we don’t have an automated attendant…if you call EXAIR during normal business hours, you’re going to talk to a real live human being.

*What’s more, that real live human being is going to be one of our Customer Service Representatives, and they can answer any questions you might have about price and availability of any of our Engineered Compressed Air Products.

*If you need detailed technical information, they’ll transfer you to an Application Engineer…and they are always keenly aware of who’s available & who’s not.  You won’t get anyone’s voice mail unless you specifically ask for it, and if one of us is on vacation (and won’t be able to return your call for a number of days,) you’ll know that before you’re transferred to leave that message.

*Not only that, but we’ve got a system in place to monitor each other’s emails.  Which brings me to the success story that inspired this blog:

It’s vacation season, and another of us took off for some well deserved R&R with the family.  According to The System, I get to check those incoming emails while this co-worker is out.  And he (like the rest of us) gets a LOT of emails.  Some are new requests for application/performance data, and some are continuing conversations of the details of (sometimes) complex applications.  Like the project he was working on with a customer who wanted to use Air Knives to blow off a continuous strip of material exiting a wash/rinse vessel.  After a discussion of the details of the application, they had decided to try (2) Model 110003 3″ Aluminum Super Air Knives, one mounted on either side, to “strip the strip.”  And it worked perfectly.  They just wanted to run the details of this first installation by us before doing the other seven.  Part of my process was to go back through the chain of emails…while this looked pretty straight forward, the devil is indeed in the details, and I hate that guy.  But, try as I might (sorry; I’m an engineer,) I could not find fault, or room to improve, with the setup they designed…it was most pleasantly devil-free.

Compact, efficient and quiet, the EXAIR 3″ Super Air Knife is an ideal blow off solution for a variety of applications.

Anyway, with my agreement that their installation was indeed optimal (it’s exactly what I would have done too, for the record,) they placed an order for the (14) Super Air Knives to outfit the other (7) wash/rinse operations.

If we were keeping score, it would be coworker-2, Russ-14.  But we’re not.  Lest my record suffer when I “break for the Lake” in June.  By then, it’ll be Cabinet Cooler Season, and I almost hate to miss a week of that.  Almost.

Man, I don’t even take long pants with me to the Lake.

If you have questions about compressed air products or applications, we’ve got answers.  Live and in real time, every day.  Call us; let’s talk.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Video Blog: Meet Tyler Daniel, International Application Engineer

Here is a short video that gives you a little insight into my background both personally as well as my time here at EXAIR.

 

If you have any questions about an application, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’ll be happy help recommend a suitable EXAIR Product to help solve your problem!

 

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Glass Filled PEEK Super Air Knife w/ Brass Hardware & PTFE Shim? No Problem!

That’s right folks, we’ve gone and done it again.  When a customer calls for custom product because their environment calls for it or due to dimensional requirements, EXAIR has the ability and flexibility to meet those needs!

This time around it was a customer with specific material requirements due to their environment. I had a customer contact me recently that was using an aluminum Super Air Knife near a high voltage operation and was getting ground interference due to the aluminum air knife.  They asked if it was possible to make them a custom knife out of PEEK plastic.  After some light discussions about the form of the knife and what other materials are safe for their environment we settled on a 30% glass filled PEEK plastic for the knife, brass bolts and pipe plugs, with a PTFE shim installed.   The form factor of the knife would follow the same shape as our PVDF Super Air Knives that are available from stock.   The customer could not use PVDF due to high temperature and potential off-gassing in the process.

The results are shown below.

IMG_6590

EXAIR 6″ Super Air Knife in 30% Glass Filled PEEK Plastic w/ Brass Hardware and PTFE Shim

End View – 6″ Super Air Knife in 30% Glass Filled PEEK Plastic w/ Brass Hardware & PTFE Shim

Whether you are looking for a one off product that is tailor made to your application or want to have a simple feature like hardware material changed in a stock EXAIR product that you are incorporating into thousands of machines, we have the solution for you.

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

 

 

 

 

Reversible Drum Vac Empties Sumps For Demolition Company

A demolition company was looking for a way to remove the liquid from sumps and tanks in the industrial buildings they were contracted to provide their service upon. The liquids in question were mainly coolant and oil that had been left behind when the machinery was removed…anything that could be re-used was already gone; this was the “bitter dregs,” as it were.  Since these buildings are about to be demolished, electricity is rarely available.

They had a pumping system that ran off a diesel engine that they COULD take with them, but they ALWAYS had a large mobile air compressor for the pneumatic tools used in other processes in the demolition of the building. Since they had steel drums in abundance, the Reversible Drum Vac Systems sounded very attractive to them, so they got a Model 6295 Deluxe High Lift Reversible Drum Vac System for 55 Gallon Drum to try out.

The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac System converts a drum and dolly into a mobile pumping system.

Now, instead of committing an additional truck (and driver) to getting the diesel engine driven pumping system to the site, they simply move the Reversible Drum Vac pump unit from 55 gallon drum to 55 gallon drum as they’re filled. Once the drums are returned to their facility, they switch the the Reversible Drum Vac to the “empty drum” configuration, and use it to pump the liquid out into their recycling tanks, where they await collection and processing by their waste handling service.  Even when they have to use a number of drums, the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac Systems still streamline the process over the use of the diesel engine pumping system.

If you’d like to find out more about our Industrial Vacuums, or any of our compressed air operated products, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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