Slick Application for a Super Air Knife

A few weeks back I worked with a customer on an unusual application for one of our Air Knives. The company runs a camp, located in the North-Central part of the United States, complete with their own ski hill for skiing, snowboarding or tubing. They use a conveyor belt ski lift where the skier or snowboarder will stand on the belt and be transported back to the top of the hill for another run. They were starting to see some safety issues arise when the mat would get wet and freeze, causing the skiers to slip and fall back.

Photo of the ski belt conveyor

In an effort to remedy the situation, the installed a brush to try and help remove some of the snow and ice from the belt and while this helped a little, there was still moisture on the belt that would re-freeze. To aid in the drying process, they tried to use a floor blower aimed at the belt but the turbulent airflow seemed to “push” the water around rather than wipe it clean and dry. Out of ideas, they found EXAIR while doing an internet search and decided to give us call for assistance.

Further reviewing the details of the application, I recommended our 30″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knife for the application. The Super Air Knife provides an high velocity, laminar sheet of air across the length of the knife. The laminar flow from the air knife, would assure an even drying effect across the belt, rather than the turbulent flow from the blower. The stainless steel construction of the knife would hold up to the potentially harsh environmental conditions as well.

Super Air Knife available in aluminum, 303ss, or 316ss construction in lengths from 3″ up to 108″.

After some correspondence back and forth regarding air requirements and installation recommendations, the customer was able to source a rental compressor and ordered the 30″ Super Air Knife to test under our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. After a few weeks of testing, they were able to effectively dry the belt to an acceptable level, increasing the overall safety for their guests.

30″ SS Super Air Knife mounted under the belt on the “return” side.

 

Clever installation allowed for easy angle adjustment to ensure the airflow contacted the belt for optimal blowoff/drying.

EXAIR offers the quietest (69 dBA at 80 PSIG) and longest (up to 108″) Air Knives on the market today and we stock them in the most materials (aluminum, 303SS, 316Ss and PVDF) to best suit your application. To see how you might be able to utilize an Air Knife in your unique application, give us a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

EXAIR Super Air Knives Can Make Everything Better…Even Popcorn!

You know the drill.  In almost any container of popcorn…whether it’s a movie theater bucket, a microwave bag, a stovetop pan (if you’re old school,) or a campfire popper (if you camp with class)…there’s always going to be some un-popped kernels.  And if you don’t pay particular attention to them, they might just activate your dental plan.

This is, unfortunately, an unavoidable inconvenience when dealing with freshly popped popcorn.  For a company that makes pre-packaged popcorn-based snacks, though, un-popped kernels are a real quality issue.  I just had the pleasure of helping a caller with this very issue: although they had a sifter device in place that took care of an awful lot of un-popped kernels, they still had enough getting through to merit a closer look.  Since the popcorn already passed through the sifter on a conveyor, the idea was to “float” the popped kernels across a short break in the conveyor, and let the un-popped kernels fall through.

After a short discussion of their needs, I recommended a Model 110224 24″ Aluminum Super Air Knife Kit. By using the Pressure Regulator (included with the kit) to dial in the air flow, they’re able to keep the popped deliciousness moving on for packaging, and let the dental hazards to fall through, where they’re sent back for another attempt at proper popping. So, they’re not only improving the quality of their product, they’re doing everything possible to make sure no kernel goes un-popped.

Super Air Knife Kits include a Shim Set, Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator…everything you need to solve your application!

At EXAIR, we’re all about safety when it comes to compressed air use in industrial and commercial settings.  Now one of our products is helping protect peoples’ teeth while they’re eating popcorn snacks!  If you’d like to talk about how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product might be able to make things better for you, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Super Air Knives Used as a Non-Contact Barrier in a Non-Woven Application

An overseas customer manufactures a 2.2 meter wide non-woven material.  In one of their processes, the media would travel through a spray booth to apply a water-based surfactant.  The surfactant was atomized and blown onto the top and bottom of the material.  The spray booth was equipped with a fume hood to capture any excess mist.  The material would then travel out of the spray booth and into the oven to dry.

Area between Spray Booth and Oven

Area between Spray Booth and Oven

Because they were running at a speed of 160 m/min, a draft was being created as the media was exiting the spray booth.  This draft was strong enough to overcome the vacuum pressure from the fume collection system.  This would allow the excess mist to escape the spray booth.  It was then collecting on the surface of the oven and floor outside the containment area.  This created a safety issue as well as a large mess.

In looking at the problem area, the dimension of the opening of the spray booth was 2.65 meters by 300 mm.  To blow a good curtain of air to contain the mist, we needed to have a laminar flow to create that “wall”.  I recommended two pieces of a model 1102108 Super Air Knife Kits.  At 108” (or 2.74m) long, they are the longest Super Air Knives in the market.  With a steady flow of air along the entire 2.74 meter length, it can generate that curtain of air across the entire opening of the spray booth.  The laminar flow was key as they did not want to disturb the spraying nozzles inside the booth.

The Super Air Knife Kit also comes with a filter, a regulator, and a shim set.  With the included shim set, the force can be changed dramatically by using a different thickness of shim.  Since they did not need much force to keep the mist inside the spray booth, they opted to put a thinner shim inside the Super Air Knife.  This would reduce the amount of compressed air needed, and with a regulator, the customer could “dial” in the correct amount of force to create the proper air barrier.  The Super Air Knives were mounted above and below the material to blow directly across the opening of the spray booth.  Any fine mist that would come in contact with the air would be deflected back into the spray booth.  With the extra mist removed from the process, the fume extraction system could then perform its duties the way it was intended. With air being used to create that barrier, it did not disrupt the structure of the material or the surfactant on its surface.

Super Air Knife

Super Air Knife

If you require a non-contact barrier for your application, EXAIR Super Air Knives could be your solution.  For this customer, we were able keep the work place safe and mess-free.

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

Super Air Knives Replace Manifold Of Flat Nozzles, Saves Air, Saves Money

Last week I fielded a call from a steel plant who was using a manifold of 50 stainless steel, flat nozzles evenly spaced across a 130″ area, to blow off light scale and cooling water from steel sheets. The nozzles were working somewhat but they were seeing some “streaks” of scale and water remain after the initial blow off point. They were considering adding another manifold of nozzles as a secondary treatment but were concerned with the amount of air a setup like that would require, as well as the cost as each nozzle cost nearly $250.00 each. Operating at close to 80 PSI, they determined that each of the nozzles was using around 35 SCFM or roughly 1,750 SCFM for the manifold. Adding another manifold would obviously double that figure to 3,500 SCFM which would be a TON of compressed air to blow off water and light material.

Competitor Nozzle

Example of similar nozzle to what the customer is currently using.

After some further discussion, I recommended using (1) of our 60″ and (1) of our 72″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knives, coupled together, to provide a 132” laminar sheet of airflow. The laminar flow of air would be even across the entire 132″ length, eliminating any weak or dead areas like they are seeing with the existing setup, which is causing the streaking. The Super Air Knife uses only 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife when operated at the same 80 PSIG supply, so for 132″ of Super Air Knife, they would be using approximately 383 SCFM, much less than the current 1,750 SCFM, alleviating their concern for increased air demand. With the amount of air they would be saving, they could purchase the 60″ and 72″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knives, and the coupling kit to REPLACE their existing manifold system, eliminating the need of adding another manifold.

sak-coupled-together

Coupling brackets used to join Super Air Knives together end to end, providing a seamless, uninterrupted flow for wider than 108″ applications.

To discuss how an EXAIR product can help you decrease your air usage while providing superior results, contact one of our application engineers at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

30′ Long Super Air Knife

Earlier this month, I got a call on a Wednesday afternoon from a gentlemen at a sawmill in the Pacific Northwest. He indicated that they had a saw machine that was 30′ long, and it had a special scanner system to detect problems with the cutting which ran the full 30′ length.  In a sawing operation, there is sawdust and chips, and they can adhere to any surface including the scanner window.  When the debris would build up, the scanner system would give off false detection signals and cause issues with the operation.  We discussed the Super Air Knives as a way to blow off the scanner window, and be able to cover the entire 30′ length.  He asked for a quotation for a 30′ long Super Air Knife (and that doesn’t happen very often!)  And oh, by the way, delivery was needed on Friday (in 2 days!)

EXAIR manufactures Super Air Knives in lengths up to 108″.  To get to 30′, we looked at using (3) 108″ and (1) 36″ length.  Due to the length, the 108″ have to ship by freight truck, while all of the other lengths can ship via UPS or Fed Ex.  Since the customer was needing an overnight shipment, we had to take this into account.

We settled in on a system of (6) 54″ and (1) 36″ Super Air Knife. An added benefit to this arrangement was to allow the individual control of operation of the units, with each length blowing for a short duration, on down the line, until each had cycled.  This kept the instantaneous air consumption to a reasonable level, instead of 1 very large demand for cleaning the whole 30′ at once.  A quotation was sent out Thursday morning.

bracket-sak-2

Coupling Bracket Kit – Used to Join (2) Super Air Knives

We received the order Thursday afternoon, shipped it later that day, and it delivered to the customer the next day on Friday. Installation occurred over the weekend.

The following Tuesday, I got an email – first to thank us for working so quickly from inquiry through to delivery for the 30′ of Air Knives, and then to ask to place another order for exactly the same set.  Turns out, there is a right edge scanner and a left edge scanner, and they were ready to do the other side.  We had a little extra time, and shipped out the full set a couple days later, and standard shipping still got to them before they were ready to install.

To discuss your application and how the EXAIR Air Knives can benefit your process, 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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Proper Air Supply Is Key To Optimal Performance

I recently worked with a customer who was using our 36″ aluminum Super Air Knife to remove dust and light debris from a conveyor but wasn’t seeing good performance. They initially called because they read in their catalog that increasing the shim gap would increase their force and flow and wanted to know what kind of increase in performance they would see.

The Super Air Knives are shipped from EXAIR with a .002″ shim installed and the performance data shown in the catalog reflects this gap setting. The shim sets, for aluminum knives, include a .001″, .003″ and .004″ shim and by changing to the .003″ shim, the force and flow would be 1.5 times as great and using the .004″ shim would double these amounts. While some applications do require the additional force and flow, trying to blow off dust or light materials typically wouldn’t fall into this category.

sak-shims

Replaceable shims provide varying levels of force and flow.

Switching our focus to the supply side of things, it turns out they were using 1/4″ hose and only plumbing one end of the unit. This poses 2 concerns that relate directly to the mentioned poor performance. The first would be the 1/4″ hose is severely undersized for a 36″ Super Air Knife. We recommend 3/4″ Schedule 40 pipe if the length of supply from a main header is 10′ or less and a 1″ pipe up to 50′ of supply run. It is possible to use hose but that hose needs to be at least 1″ ID to be able to carry enough volume to support a 36″ unit. Secondly, for knives that are 24″ in length or longer, you need to plumb air to both ends to maintain an even, laminar flow across the length of the knife.

With the proper supply, the Super Air Knife is going to produce an exhaust air velocity of 11,800 feet per minute when operated at 80 PSIG, which is more than enough to eject lightweight material from a flat surface (in fact you could most likely clean dust and light debris at a lower pressure). If the customer did increase the shim gap dimension, the increase in  air demand would only worsen the problem of undersized supply lines.

Pipe sizes

Recommended supply line sizes per the IOM – Installation and Operation Manual.

This is just one example of how proper supply line size and installation is key to achieving optimal performance. If you are experiencing similar issues or need any assistance with a product or application, give me a call, I am glad to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

How Do You Make Cement? Start with Clinkers

Last week I wrote about the use of the Atomizing Nozzles to create a fog for wet room curing of concrete samples poured during road construction.  This week, I had the opportunity to work with another customer about concrete, but this time it was regarding the the manufacturing process.  Invariably, I always learn something new , and for this interaction, it was the term ‘clinkers.’

Concrete is a composite material composed of coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens over time.  The customer I was working with was a cement manufacturer.  Cement production is basically a 2 step process – 1) clinker is produced from raw materials and 2) cement is produced from cement clinker.

clinkers

Typical Cement Clinkers

To make the clinker (step one), several powder raw materials are fed into a rotary kiln.  The kiln is heated to very high temperatures, and when the materials are mixed and heated, new compounds are formed and hydraulic hardening occurs resulting in the formation of the clinker.

My customer needed a way to clean off the residual dust left on the transport belts, after the clinkers were transported to storage silos.  Due to the high temperatures in the area, we focused in on the EXAIR Type 303 Stainless Steel model of the Super Air Knife, as it can withstand temperatures up to 800°F.  The customer went with (3) of the Super Air Knife Kits, which include the Shim Set, Auto Drain Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator w/ Gauge, for easiest installation with maximum functionality.

The Super Air Knife is a tried and true product for cleaning, drying, cooling and general blowoff for conveyors.  And with widths up to 108″ available, any size conveyor can be handled.

To make cement (step two), the clinker is ground into fine powder with other ingredients including gypsum (calcium sulphates) and possibly additional cementitious (such as blastfurnace slag, coal fly ash, natural pozzolanas, etc.) or inert materials (limestone). It is then stored or packaged and ready to be made into concrete.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Super Air Knife can benefit your process, 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

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