Super Air Knife Shim Design Reduces Operation Costs

A customer of ours had an application where they needed to cool and dry parts on two conveyors that ran side by side.  A single 36″ Super Air Knife was chosen to provide coverage over the full width and to simplify the air plumbing and installation.  As we learned more about the application, it was discovered that there was 10″ section in the center where the the two conveyors butted up, where no parts would pass through, and hence no air was needed.

Fortunately, the EXAIR Super Air Knives can be supplied with custom shim designs to match the air flow requirements of the application.  These shims can be of various thicknesses to increase/decrease the air flow, of alternate materials such as a stainless steel shim in an aluminum air knife to increase the temperature range, or as in this case, designed to provide specific air flow patterns.

By utilizing the special shim design, it is estimated to save $865 per shift per year in compressed air costs versus the standard configuration.  That is a significant savings, and using less compressed air is high on everyone’s priority list.

Check out the video below to learn more about the EXAIR Air Knives.

akvideo

EXAIR manufactures 3 different types of air knives, in 4 different materials, up to 108″ in length.

To discuss your application and see how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

 

 

The Sweet Taste of Floss – Part 1

Floss Stick

Floss Stick

A popular way to floss or clean between your teeth is with floss sticks. The floss sticks have a string of dental floss that is stretched between two posts and is attached to a handle.  This helps to get into those hard-to-reach areas.  A manufacturer of these floss sticks was wanting to put cherry flavoring onto the floss string.  They were not able to dip them, as the concentration of the flavor was too strong.  They needed a better way to apply a light coating of flavor.  In their research, they came across the EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles.

As we discussed their setup, they explained that a mini conveyor that would carry a 24” rod that was filled with many floss sticks. The floss sticks would dangle on the rod, as they traveled through two separate compartments.  One compartment would spray the flavoring onto the floss sticks, and the other would dry the solution in an oven.  They gave me some details of the solution that they were using.  It was mainly water, some cherry flavoring, and an alcohol base to aid in drying.  So, the viscosity was very near water.  They did not have a liquid pump to move the solution to their spraying compartment.  This would not be a problem, as EXAIR has Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzles.  It uses compressed air to create a vacuum to lift fluid up to 36” high and to shear the fluid into a very fine mist.  This was key to the customer as they did not want to create any droplets on the handle of the floss sticks.

No Drip Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzle

No Drip Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzle

To determine the correct model, we had to dive a bit more into their application. They mentioned that they did some preliminary testing to find the correct amount of flavoring.  If it was too much, it would be overbearing, and if it was not enough then you would not taste it.  With the conveyor speed and the amount of flavor required, they determined that they needed a liquid flow rate between 1.2 to 1.4 GPH (gallons per hour).   From all the information that they gave me, I recommended 3 pieces of the model SF2020SS.  This is our No-Drip Flat Fan Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzle.  The flat fan pattern was able to reach across the entire rod and hit all the floss sticks evenly.  With it being gravity fed at about 6” above the nozzles, the liquid flow rate of the model SF2020SS has a maximum of 0.5 GPH.  Thus the reason for 3 pieces in parallel. With a slight pressure adjustment, they could dial in the correct amount of liquid flow rate to get the perfect cherry flavoring.

The No-Drip option for the Atomizing Nozzles is a very nice accessory.  It will stop the liquid solution from dripping when not in use.  When the air pressure is shut off, a positive seal is created to not allow any liquid to bypass.  This was important in this application as the container holding the flavor solution was above the Atomizing Nozzles.  They set up one unit for demonstration, and they were amazed at how easy it was to use and how fine the particle spray was.  They did not have to worry about drips, lost solution, or inconsistent flavoring.

If you have a liquid that you would like to spray evenly, efficiently, and effectively; EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles can do that for you. As for the customer above, the Atomizing Nozzles were cherry in applying the cherry flavoring.

 

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

 

Photo by homejobsbymom with Creative Commons license.

Solving a Printing Problem with EXAIR Static Eliminators

img_5724

Unrolling plastic into this machine created a static charge throughout the process

One of the most common sources of static electricity in automated processes is friction.  As two (or more) materials move against each other, static is produced due to the triboelectric effect.  By definition, the triboelectric effect is a type of contact electrification in which certain materials become electrically charged after they come into frictional contact with a different material.  If these materials are non-conductive, or if they are not grounded, the static charge will remain.  This was the case for the machine shown above.

img_5723

Multiple stations of this machine, all experiencing static problems

This machine is a Chesnut 150 Gravure Print Station.  It is used for printing, coating, laminating, and sometimes die cutting of paper, light paperboard, films, polyester, flexible packaging and aluminum foil.

In this application, a roll of plastic is dispensed, but a static charge is preventing proper printing on the plastic as it travels from roll to roll.  As the film is separated from the roll, a static charge is produced, and this charge is carried through the process at values ranging from 3,000 – 20,000 volts.  The manager for this production area contacted EXAIR to see if there’s a viable EXAIR solution to remove this static charge.  They were interested in a solution that could eliminate static on the full width of the plastic, could be mounted 200-300mm away from the rollers, and could be replicated at multiple places along the machine.

With this in mind, the best solution was to use a series of 18” Super Ion Air Knives installed periodically along the path of plastic within the machine.  Operating at a low pressure of 1-2 BARG (14.5 – 29 PSIG), the Super Ion Air Knives create an evenly dispersed, quiet airflow of static eliminating ions with a low compressed air consumption.  Using the laminar, static eliminating airflow from the Super Ion Air Knife, this solution can be mounted away from the static charge, allowing the ions to “rain” down on the affected areas.

For this application finding a solution meant finding a method to keep production on schedule.  Without static elimination this machine faced defects, downtime, and decreased efficiency.  Using EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives brought this application back up to optimal operating speeds, keeping the revenue generating process of this manufacturer ongoing.

Colder weather is here and static comes along with it.  If you’re experiencing a static related problem in your facility, contact one of our Application Engineers.  We’d love to help you find a solution.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

How To Solve A Problem with Compressed Air

In my (almost) six years as an EXAIR Application Engineer, I’ve learned a great many things about the capabilities of our products.  The way we do business sure does make it easy:

  • We readily share application information, as a team.  If you ask me a question, you’re asking all of us.  It does neither of us any good if I tell you something MIGHT work if one of my team knows it WON’T – or if someone knows what else DOES work.  If we can offer a solution, we will.
  • We’ll test your product, free of charge.  This is a popular way of finding out which Line Vac is best for conveying a particular product, for example.
  • If you’re considering a quiet, safe, and efficient EXAIR product as an upgrade, we’ll test your current product in our award winning Efficiency Lab, so you can compare accurate performance data and analyze the expected benefits…which can be dramatic.  Try us on that.
exair-testin

Line Vac conveyance rate testing (left;) Efficiency Lab testing (right.)

 

  • We’ll let YOU test our product, risk-free.  All catalog products come with a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee.  We invite you to put it through its paces for up to a month.  If it’s not working out, we’ll arrange return for full credit.
  • We’ll do the math.  But first, a disclaimer: strictly comparing the force or flow of an engineered product to an open-end blow off won’t always tell the tale.  Our Intelligent Compressed Air Products are creating a laminar flow which won’t generate as high of a force/thrust as open-end blowing (which is turbulent by nature,) but is MUCH more conducive to efficiency and noise reduction, as well as similar (if not improved) performance.  But back to the math: if you know the metrics you need to meet for spot cooling (like a Vortex Tube, Adjustable Spot Cooler, Cold Gun, etc.) or for liquid spraying (the liquid flow rate and/or pattern size & shape from an Atomizing Spray Nozzle, for instance,) or the heat load that a Cabinet Cooler System can handle, we’ll do the calculations and specify the appropriate product.

Regardless of the application, if it can be solved with compressed air, it’s very likely that we have a great solution.  Call me to find out how we can help.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Ion Bars Eliminate Jam In Fiberglass Production

Last week I worked with a specialty glass manufacturer who was experiencing a static issue in their fiberglass mat production. Their particular production cycle consists of a rotary spinning process where molten glass exits a furnace and goes into a cylinder with several holes that rotates at high speed, causing the glass to be “pushed” through the holes. Upon exiting the cylinder, the fibers are blown down on to a conveyor belt underneath, treated with a binder and pressed together, then sent to an oven to cure. After the sheets exit the oven, they are air cooled, cut to the desired length, then sent to a sorter that directs the material to collection bins, based on thickness and length. It is at this point that they were seeing the parts start to “bunch” up, which caused the system to be shut down so an operator could manually clear the jam and sort the mats. The customer has experienced static issues before in other parts of their plant and took some readings and were seeing a 4 kV charge on the surface of the mats.

After discussing the details of the application, I recommended they use our 24″ Ionizing Bar, the width of their widest mat. The Ionizing Bars produce a high concentration of positive and negative ions to eliminate the surface static of an object when mounted within 2″ of the surface of the material. At 2″ away, the units are capable of dissipating a 5kV charge in less than half a second. By placing a unit above and below the exit point of the sorter, they would effectively remove the surface charge and eliminate the potential jam.

Ionizing Bars Work

Ionizing Bars are effective up to 2″ away and require no compressed air to operate.

Our Ionizing Bars are available in lengths from 3″ up to 108″ for a variety of small or wide surface treatment applications. For assistance selecting the best product for your specific requirements, please contact one of our application engineers at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Video Blog: Meet Brian Bergmann, Application Engineer

Here is a brief video that provides a few details about my background and interests.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your 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

Mini Cooler Increases Production and Revenue in a Sewing Process

Big and small companies are always looking to increase revenue. One way to do this for manufacturers is to speed up the manufacturing process.

carpet

Carpets hanging for sale

A small company had a carpet whipping business. They would take off-cuts of carpet and stitch a binding tape around the outside edge.  They used nylon thread to attach the binding tape with an industrial sewing machine.  They had to be careful with the feed rate into the sewing machine, as the nylon thread would heat up and become stretchy or even break. Either way, it would not have a professional look, and they would have to start over.  They came across the Vortex Tubes by EXAIR, and they were intrigued.

With plastics, I like to describe the importance of the glass transition temperature, or Tg. This is the temperature when the plastic material starts to become soft.  Below the Tg, the plastic acts “normal”, keeping its typical mechanical properties.  But, once you are above this temperature, the plastic will start to become very flexible, soft, and rubbery.  The glass transition temperature is much different than the melting temperature, as the plastic is able to keep its compound structure.  The plastic will return to its natural state after cooling below the Tg.  For the nylon material that they were using, the glass transition temperature, Tg, was 117 deg. F.  The heat in their process was being generated from friction.  As the needle was being poked through the binding tape and carpet, the temperature would rise.  So, the faster this process was occurring, the hotter the needle would get and begin to stretch the nylon thread. To keep the process operating normally, they had to keep the feed rate at a speed not to generate too much heat.

In explaining the concept of the Vortex Tube, these devices will take ordinary compressed air and reduce the blowing temperature on the cold end. For this customer, I suggested the Mini Cooler as it works great for small components, in this instance, a sewing needle.  The EXAIR Mini Cooler is a “dressed up” version of the Vortex Tube for easy utilization.  I recommended the model 3808 Mini Cooler System as it comes with a single point hose to direct the cold air, a swivel magnetic base to mount it near the needle, and a filter to keep the compressed air clean.  It only uses 8 SCFM of compressed air at 100 PSIG to generate a blowing temperature of 20 deg. F.  This mighty Mini Cooler was able to remove the heat from the needle.  After installing, they were able to increase the feed rate by 20% without affecting the sewing process.

Mini Cooler

Mini Cooler

For this customer, the Mini Cooler  was able to increase the speed of their operation, and in turn increase their revenue. If heat related process issues are slowing your process down, EXAIR has many products that can cool things down.  You can always contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to see if we can provide a solution to increase the speed of your process.

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

 

Photo: Carpets by Moyan Brenn under Creative Commons License

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