Another Label Problem, Another Super Air Knife Solution

Last week, I used this space to brag on our Super Air Knives, and how they solve a common problem in bottling applications: label adhesion. This week, I have another opportunity to brag on the Super Air Knife. AND it’s another solution to a labeling problem.

Self-adhesive labels are commonly applied to goods are they travel on high speed conveyors. If they’re going onto a flat, smooth surface (like a box,) it’s pretty easy…they come right off a timed roller with a wheel that presses them in place. This can even work with round containers (like drums, jars, or bottles) by putting an idler on the wheel to take up the slack as it rolls over the rounded surface.

Sometimes, the label needs to go around the corner of a box. This requires the roller to turn that corner. Or two rollers to pull the old “one-two” on the label. Either way, that’s going to slow down the speed at which the conveyor can be run. And time is money.

Enter the Super Air Knife…mount it so it’s blowing at the corner. The laminar, high velocity air flow will then press the label in place on each adjacent surface.

With a laminar curtain of air traveling as fast as 13,500 feet per minute, an EXAIR Super Air Knife is the ideal solution for corner labels.

Another benefit: when supplied with clean, dry air, the Super Air Knife will run darn near indefinitely, maintenance-free. Those rollers get dirty, and the bearings will fail eventually. Same with the idlers, and they’ll need adjusted from time to time.

Super Air Knife Kits include a Shim Set, Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator…everything you need for long term operation & performance.

The Super Air Knives come in lengths from 3″ to 108″ – if you’d like to discuss how these, or any of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products, can make a difference in your processes, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Super Ion Air Knife Removes Foil Dots In Lid Cutting Operation

I recently received an inquiry from a food manufacturer about a packaging line they were having issues with.  The plant fills continuous rows of thermo-formed cups which is then sealed with a single foil lid. Once sealed, a machine cuts the row to separate the cups, which creates small scrap pieces of foil. After the cutting operation, they try to collect as much of the waste trim as possible but some small pieces of foil, they call “dots”, cling to the surface of the cup and cutter due to static charge.  The company installed a vacuum collection hood in this area, to try and help keep the foil pieces or any dust from falling onto the cup during the process. While this did help somewhat, some dots would remain and eventually fall off further down the line, making small piles that needed to be manually cleaned to avoid potential jams, which slowed down their production cycle.

The cups are filled and separated on a 44″ wide, mesh-screen conveyor with individual lanes to process multiple rows of cups. After being cut, the cups are moved to the inspection area and then packaged for shipment.  I recommended they mount a 48″ Super Ion Air Knife above and below the cups and direct the airflow to the end where the vacuum collection hood is located. The idea is, as the ions eliminate the charge, the small foil dots will release and the laminar airflow would keep the parts moving toward the vacuum hood, thus removing all foil trim and preventing any piling of trim further down the production line.

The Super Ion Air Knife produces a sheet of ionized air capable of dissipating 5 kV in just a fraction of a second!

EXAIR offers a wide selection of Static Eliminators for use in a variety of industrial processes. If you are experiencing static concerns in a particular area or to discuss a specific process, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Removing Chips from a Plastic CNC Router

These CNC routers needed a viable solution to remove and collect plastic chips and debris created during machine operation.

Our distributor in Poland recently emailed me about an application in need of a method to collect plastic chips from the CNC router tables shown above.  These machines are used for precision cutting, but face a problem when the cutting edge of the machine comes into contact with the chips and debris created during normal use.

The end user had considered a blow off device such as a nozzle or Air Knife, but this raised concerns with material collection.  Ideally, the customer wanted to be able to capture the chips and debris for recycling.

So, we looked into a method of removing the chips with a Line Vac, conveying the debris to a stationary drum for collection and recycling.  This type of solution has proven to be effective many times in the past, as shown in the image below. A Line Vac can be mounted at the cutting head to vacuum chips and debris as they are created by the cutting process.

This Line Vac provides vacuum to a drill head to remove debris.

Using the model 6081 Line Vac we can remove the plastic debris from the plotter as it is generated, and convey it to a drum located within the workspace.  And, to facilitate collection of the plastics for recycling, we can use our model 6850 drum cover to separate the conveyed chips from the air used to move the materials.

By providing a dynamic solution for this application, the Line Vac is able to lessen the workload of machine operators, allowing them more time to perform value added tasks rather than cleaning.  And, the solution is easy to install, requires little to no maintenance, and provides instantaneous vacuum only when needed.

If you have a similar application or would like to discuss problems facing your facilities, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’re available by phone, email, and online chat.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Heavy Duty Line Vac Saves Backs and Shoulders!

Recently, I worked with a customer that was looking for a way to make a difficult job easier, reducing stress and strain on the body and preventing injury.  The customer was in the Environmental Services & Hazardous Waste Management area and regularly was called out to service acid neutralization tanks. These are commonly found in hospitals, laboratories, and schools, to neutralize lab wastewater before it is discharged to the sanitary sewer.  The systems typically utilize limestone chips to aid the in process.

Acid Neutralization Tank

                       Typical Acid Neutralization Tank Layout Sketch

Periodic maintenance includes the removal and disposal of the spent limestone chips, tank cleaning and replenishment with new limestone chips.  Some of the tanks are tall and narrow, making access to the limestone chips difficult, especially near the tank bottom. Current procedures involved small shovels and unnatural body positions to try to reach the bottom-most material.  A better way had to be found.

The customer came across the EXAIR website and found the Line Vac product line. After watching the demonstration video, he knew he had found his solution!  The Line Vac is a compressed air operated device that turns any hose or tube into a powerful in-line conveyor. Based on the height of the tanks and the size and weight of the limestone, we agreed the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac would provide the power and durability to empty the tanks in a timely manner, and safely and efficiently.  The customer would use a tow behind compressor so that a reliable source of compressed air would always be available.

hdlvkit (2)

Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit – Includes Auto Drain Filter Separator and Pressure Regulator

The Heavy Duty Line Vacs are available in sizes from 3/4″ up to 3″ in both smooth end and threaded connections for use with hose or pipe for conveyance.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Line Vac can make your transfer process easier and safer, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

An Ultrasonic Leak Detector can also help to improve your monthly electric bill

Leaks cost you money

In my blog last week, “A Digital Flowmeter can help to improve your monthly electric bill”, I wrote about a company that was being charged for compressed air that was being used in the facility.  To give you the short version, a Digital Flowmeter determined that the power supply company was not miscalculating the amount of compressed air usage, but the facility had compressed air leaks.

Now that he found the issue, he focused on the next step; to find and fix the leaks in his compressed air system.  Being that EXAIR already helped him in measuring the air flow, he wondered if we could also help him to find the leaks.  And we can.  I recommended the model 9061 Ultrasonic Leak Detector.

Ultrasonic Leak Detector

Whenever a leak occurs, it will generate an ultrasonic noise.  These noises have a range of frequencies from audible to inaudible.  The frequencies in the range of 20 Khz to 100 Khz are above human hearing.  The Ultrasonic Leak Detector can pick up these high frequencies, and make the inaudible leaks, audible.  The model 9061 has three sensitivity ranges and LED display; so, you can find very small leaks at a great distance away.  This unit comes with two attachments.  The parabola attachment can locate leaks up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) away.  This was great for locating leaks in pipes that ran in the ceiling.  Once you find an area with a leak, the tube attachment could define the exact location.  When he started using it, he was amazed with the performance.  The Ultrasonic Leak Detector found 44 leaks in his facility.  He tagged all the locations for the maintenance crew to fix.

As an example for how much compressed air costs, a 1/16” diameter leak in a compressed air line will lose roughly 4 SCFM of air at 100 psig.  An air compressor needs 1 horsepower of energy to make roughly 4 SCFM of compressed air.   As you can see, it take a lot of energy to supply a small leak.  If we go one step further to equate a cost to this leak, it costs roughly $0.25/1000 SCF (SCF is Standard Cubic Foot).  Being that this company was operating 5 days per week at 24 hours, this one small hole in a compressed air line would cost him $43.20/month.  With 44 leaks throughout his plant, you can see how this could add up to be a large amount of money at the end of each month.

The EXAIR Optimization line uses different devices to help you to get the most out of your compressed air system.  With this customer, he was “throwing” money away each month.  With the Ultrasonic Leak Detector, he could now put that excess money back into the company’s “pocket” for future use.

 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Trouble Identifying an EXAIR part? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

3240VT

EXAIR Model 3240H Vortex Tube with Hot Muffler Installed

 

Not a day goes by that we don’t receive a call from a customer that is having trouble identifying an EXAIR part. Due to the robust nature of our Vortex Tubes, they can be installed in applications for several years without any maintenance. When the time comes to expand that line, the labels may have worn off, the unit may be covered in grime or oil, or the personnel that originally ordered the product may no longer be with the company. In any case, one of the Application Engineers here at EXAIR will certainly be able to help!

I recently received an e-mail from a gentlemen in Indonesia who was suffering from that very problem. They had a Model 3240 Vortex Tube installed in a camera cooling application near a boiler. The engineer who designed the project was no longer with the company and they could not determine a Model number or when they had purchased it. They saw the EXAIR sticker, along with our contact information, and reached out for help. Vortex Tube’s come in different sizes, based on the available compressed air supply as well as the level of refrigeration needed. They’re available in (3) different sizes as well as Vortex Tubes for max refrigeration (R style generators) and Vortex Tubes for a maximum cold temperature (C style generators). In order to identify the Model number, you must look on the shoulder of the Vortex Tube generator. On it, there will be a stamp that indicates the generator style that is installed. In this case, the customer stated that there was a “40-R”, indicating to me that he had our Model 3240 Vortex Tube.

Our team of highly trained Application Engineers is here ready to assist you with any needs you may have regarding EXAIR products. With a little bit of investigative work, a quick discussion about the dimensions or a photo; we’re able to identify any of our products. If you’re considering expanding a current line into other parts of your facility, or perhaps adding a new location and need help identifying your EXAIR products; give an Application Engineer a call and we’ll be sure you get the right products on order!

Tyler Daniel

Application Engineer

Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

E-mail: tylerdaniel@exair.com

Super Air Knives Make Beer Bottle Labels Stick; EFC Optimizes Efficiency

The Super Air Knife has been featured as the cover photo of every EXAIR Compressed Air Products catalog since I got here in 2011…except for Catalog #26 in 2013, which featured the Super Ion Air Knife. BIG difference, right there.

The highlighted application photos may change from catalog to catalog, but one that always remains is the iconic (I think, anyway) image of the Super Air Knives blowing off the orange soda bottles:

This is a darn-near ‘textbook’ application for the Super Air Knives…the even, laminar flow wraps around the bottles, stripping moisture away. Among other reason why this is important, it improves the next step in the process – the labels stick better.

One of the many simple and effective ways an EXAIR Super Air Knife is commonly used.

In my younger, intemperate days, I’d join my friends at a popular watering hole to celebrate special occasions like…well, Tuesday, for example. Sometimes, there’d be a ballgame on the TV, or lively conversation, to entertain us. Other times, we’d make a game out of trying to separate the labels from the beer bottles, in one piece.

Some years later, I tried to teach my young sons this game…except with root beer bottles. It didn’t work near as well, because these labels adhered much tighter to the root beer bottles in my dining room than the ones on the beer bottles at the bar.

Some years after that (those boys are teenagers now,) I became an Application Engineer at EXAIR, and found out that this drying-the-bottles-to-make-the-labels-stick-better thing was for real, because I got to talk to folks in the bottling business who told me that the Super Air Knives had made all the difference in the world for their operation.

Just the other day, I had the pleasure of helping a caller who operates a micro-brewery, and had just installed a set of 110009 9″ Aluminum Super Air Knives for the express purpose of (you guessed it, I hope…) making their labels stick better. The only thing that could make it better, according to them, was if they could use less compressed air, and they were interested in what the EFC Electronic Flow Control could do for them.

Click here to calculate how much you can save with an EXAIR EFC Electronic Flow Control.

As a micro-brewery, their production lines don’t run near as fast…nor do they want them to…as some of the Big Names in the business. As such, there’s some space between the bottles on the filling lines, and they thought that turning the air off, if even for a fraction of a second, so they weren’t blowing air into those empty spaces, would make a difference. And they’re right…it’s a simple matter of math:

Two 9″ Super Air Knives, supplied at 80psig, will consume 26.1 SCFM each (52.2 SCFM total). This microbrew was running two 8 hour shifts, 5 days per week. That equates to:

52.2 SCFM X 60 minutes/hour X 16 hours/day X 5 days/week X 52 weeks/yr = 13,029,120 standard cubic feet of compressed air, annually.  Using a Department of Energy thumbrule which estimates compressed air cost at $0.25 per 1,000 SCF, that’s an annual cost of $3257.00*

Let’s say, though, that the micro-brewery finds that it takes one second to blow off the bottle, and there’s 1/2 second between the bottles.  The EFC is actually adjustable to 1/10th of a second, so it can be quite precisely set.  But, using these relatively round numbers of 1 second on/0.5 seconds off, that’s going to save 1/3 of the air usage…and the cost…which brings the annual cost down to $2171.00*

*As a friendly reminder that the deadline to file our USA income tax returns is closing fast, I’ve rounded down to the nearest dollar.  You’re welcome.

That means that the Model 9055 EFC Electronic Flow Control (1/4 NPT Solenoid Valve; 40 SCFM) with a current 2017 List Price of $1,078.00 (that’s exact, so you know) will have paid for itself just short of one year. After that, it’s all savings in their pocket.

If you’d like to find out how much you can save with EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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