A Super Air Knife Benefits Aerospace Manufacturing

The aerospace industry has a high demand for high quality materials and can often be the leading users of high-quality materials. Since these sort of materials are typically very expensive it should be no surprise that manufacturers of aerospace parts are always looking for ways to gain efficiency within their processes. Today’s blog offers insight into how one aerospace company optimized its performance.

1 – Airplane Interior

A manufacturer of passenger plane interiors contacted us looking to improve their feed of material in and out of presses. They manufactured aircraft plywood and struggled with a hands-free way to help “float” the sheets during loading and unloading. They also spent a good amount of time waiting for the sheet to cool enough to handle for removal. These presses opened a minimal amount and were pressing the layers of the sheet together and then needed to be slid out of the press and moved on to the next process. The operators would use a handheld blowgun to try and blow under the sheet to move and adjust its positioning however they were then left with only one hand to do the positioning which became cumbersome. After the sheet was pressed they would blow with the same gun again and attempt to cool down the handling location and then drag it back out of the press. This was not a safe or efficient method to handle these sheets.

To improve the process this manufacturer installed a Super Air Knife. The opening on the press was 6′ wide, so they used a 72″ Super Air Knife w/ Plumbing Kit Installed Kit on one press as a test run. The knife was fed from a line that was outfitted with a solenoid valve that tied into a sensor already existing on their press so the air would only be fired when called for by the operator. While the knife did consume more air per minute of operation they were able to reduce the overall time air was being used for loading because the operator now had both hands to work with the sheet.

A 72″ Super Air Knife w/ Plumbing Kit Installed blowing debris off a part being laser cut.

Once the process was completed and the press opened the knife would turn on again to cool the sheet, then within a few seconds, the operator would reach in and again be able to easily float the sheet out. This was all made possible by the low profile design of the Super Air Knife not inhibiting the range of motion the operators had and not having to block the limited work envelope they had at the machine.

With this test machine improving production time, operator satisfaction, and enabling safer machine operation the company elected to implement a program installing the 72″ Super Air Knives on each one of their presses. If you would like to discuss any point of use compressed air application that needs improvement or isn’t as safe or efficient as you would like in your facility, contact an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – Timofejev, Aleksandrs – Turkish Airlines, TK015, Instanbul- Sao Paulo- Buenos Aires – 16 June 2013, retrieved from commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Turkish_Airlines,TK015,_Istanbul-_Sao_Paulo-_Buenos_Aires-_panoramio.jpg

Compressed Air Use in the Aerospace Industry

EXAIR’s products have been used for a very large selection of applications in almost every industry.  Today I want to highlight a few that pertain to the Aerospace Industry.

First – a quick lesson on how to access the Applications database– Be sure to Register and then Log In

From the main page, hover the mouse pointer over ‘KNOWLEDGE BASE‘ and the pop-up menu will appear as seen below.  Select ‘APPLICATIONS’ Website Applications.png

On the left hand side of the screen you will see a gray navigation pane that shows Application with a list underneath.  Scroll down the main page and you will see a second heading in the navigation pane labeled “Industry”.  You can select your industry from the list provided.  For today’s example we will select Aerospace.

Industry_App_Database
The Industry section of the Application Database is found on the left hand side of the screen in the navigation pane.

Once the industry is selected there will be a new list of applications that are displayed in the center of the page.   Simply select the application you would like more information on and the details will display.

Below, we showcase the application from a machine manufacturer for the Aerospace industry.   This customer manufactured the production equipment of a flexible, porous material that is continuously passed through a wash tank prior to cutting to length.  They were interested in speeding the drying process of this strand, and considered blowing hot air onto it.  It was not feasible to install an electrically powered hot air blower or gun.  They needed an air flow of approximately 15 SCFM at 200°F, and had 70 psig air supply with a large volume available.  They utilized a Vortex Tube installed over the strand after it exited the dip tank.   The Vortex Tube was oriented with the hot air exhaust blowing on to the strand to dry the strand.  The customer stated that they not only met their expectations but exceeded the original hopes and were able to dry the product quicker and safer than expected.

Vortex_Tube_Drying_Material
Selecting any of the listed applications in the center of the screen will display the details of that particular application.

This is just one of many applications that are showcased in the Application Database for the Aerospace industry.   Those are just a small sampling of the thousands of applications that can be researched through the database.  If you would like to share your application to the database, feel free to contact an Application Engineer.

If you have questions about any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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The Value Of Knowing

One of my many favorite shows as a child was the animated series G.I. Joe.  Through the main story line, they tried to teach a life lesson at the end of every episode.   Then the famous saying would come out.   “Knowing is half the battle.”  This has proved to be extremely true and helpful throughout my life and my career.

The biggest lesson that I believe I have learned is that when you don’t know the answer, ask for help.  Knowing the right person to ask is quite often just as good as knowing the information yourself.   This is why the Application Engineering team here at EXAIR is comprised of people from such diverse backgrounds.

If one of us is unfamiliar with your application there is most likely someone nearby who has been exposed to your industry or specific process.  For instance, I have a machine tool background, and you call to discuss discharge of our Reversible Drum Vac versus some other mechanical pump, then I may ask Justin Nicholl or Russ Bowman about the mechanical pump for help with understanding your situation.  This also showcases just how much of a team effort goes into solving problems for our customers.

Fortunately for us, the company also backs us up when we run across an unfamiliar process or problem. EXAIR’s 30 day guarantee allows us to get the product into your hands so you may test it risk free for 30 days. Test it within your facility under your conditions for a real world result. We enjoy learning about new processes and problems, plus we get to add this knowledge to our diverse experience.

Just in case you were wondering what kind of experience we have at our disposal, here is a brief listing of our core knowledge. If we were to include our internships, educations, field experience and people who are still at EXAIR but were once in the Application Engineering department, this list would go on and on:

  • Machine Tool
  • Injection Molding
  • Industrial Pumps
  • Natural Gas Regulators
  • Petroleum Nozzles
  • Compressed Air Hand Tools
  • Industrial Supply
  • Electronic Sensors / Transducers
  • Aerospace
  • Mechanical Power Transmission

So as you can see, if we don’t know about it or haven’t seen something like it,  chances are you have a unique application that we are still going to do our best to help with.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss one of our compressed air applications, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF