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 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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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

EXAIR Super Air Knives Increase Production of Jar Labeling Process

When a customer has a problem with a labeling process within their operation, many times they call EXAIR to provide a solution. The company in this example manufactures honey and dispenses it into jars and squeeze bottles. Due to an increase in demand, they were looking to increase their output. To do this, they simply increased the speed of their conveyor to accommodate approximately 70 jars per minute instead of their typical 50 jars per minute. This began to present a problem and they reached out to EXAIR for a solution.

honey SAKs

Honey jars traveling along conveyor and the recommended position of Super Air Knives.

After dispensing the honey, the jars and bottles travel through a washing station. The containers pass through a heated chamber that dries the excess water from the jar. At the higher speed, they were experiencing some residual water left on the containers. This began to pose an issue when they reached the labeling process. With water remaining on the jars, the labels adhesive would not adhere properly. This led to an increased amount of rejections and additional rework time to remove the rest of the label and re-run the defective containers.

They had a point in the conveyor just prior to labeling that the sides of the jar would be exposed. My recommendation was to install (2) 110009 9” Super Air Knives on each side of the conveyor to remove the water that was left after exiting the drying chamber. This worked like a charm and the customer was able to maintain an increased level of output without experiencing any further complications. Their previous rate of production without the Super Air Knives was approximately 50 jars per minute.  By installing the Super Air Knives, they were able fully realize their 70 jars per minute goal and increase their production by 40%!

The laminar flow that exits the Super Air Knife wraps itself around the outside of the jar, stripping away any leftover moisture. Supplied at 80 PSIG, each knife will consume only 26.1 SCFM of compressed air at a sound level of just 69 dBA. The flow and force from the knife are infinitely adjustable by dialing in the operating pressure with a pressure regulator or swapping out the shims with a Super Air Knife Shim Set. If you’re experiencing an issue with residual water or liquid on your product that is causing a problem during production, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to take a look and recommend the most suitable blowoff solution!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer

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

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I think we have all heard the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – a phrase that is thought to have originated back in 70’s when environmental protection became a governmental policy.

We at EXAIR can help your company follow this important principle and help to keep your costs down as well.

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Reduce – Reduce the number of times you change out your coolant, reduce your wastewater. Our Reversible Drum VAcs and Chip Trappers help keep your coolant clean by providing a simple and effective method to remove and/or strain your coolant.

Also, remember this – they are VERY hard to break or ruin. If you have one of our liquid handling Reversible Drum Vacs or Chip Trapper units, and the performance isn’t quite as you remember it to be, give us a call.   We can help to trouble shoot and narrow in on the root cause.  Most of the time, it is a simple fix, such as a air leak or a change to the air supply system that has caused a drop in performance. If we have eliminated all of those possible causes, we can offer the RDVREFURB option. Simply send in your Reversible Drum Vac pump unit, and we will do a free evaluation. Then we’ll let you know what we find, and provide a quote for the repair.  The repair typically involves a thorough cleaning, replacement of a few basic parts, and then setting and testing to original factory specification.  Because the unit has no moving parts, there isn’t much that can break down or go wrong.  Don’t throw away that unit, REDUCE the amount of waste you create.

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Reuse – Maybe you have a Super Air Knife in storage that is not in use, and you come up with a need, but the Knife doesn’t quite match the application.  We can provide new custom shim to change the air flow pattern.  Perhaps you have a 24″ Super Air Knife, but the new application requires only 18″ of airflow.  You can send the knife in and we can clean it up and install a new custom shim to provide the exact airflow pattern that meets your requirements.  Or, we can send the new shim directly to you for your team to install. Don’t let the unused product lie around, REUSE it for another process or application.

Super Air Knife

Recycle – If for what ever reason a product has been deemed to be no-longer viable and cannot be reused, the time comes to dispose of it.  We hope that you would take the time to recycle it properly. With materials of construction including brass, aluminum and type 303 and type 316 stainless steels, most EXAIR products can be RECYCLED as common metals and you may even get a little money back!

To discuss your processes and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can provide a beneficial service, 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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Photo Credit – “Recycling” by Andy Arthur is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Replacing Blowers with Super Air Knives

Chain conveyor application in need of a blow off solution

The image above shows a chain conveyor with coated handles travelling along a production line. At this stage in their production, these handles have just left a washing station and need to be dried.  In order to finalize the drying process, some form of blow off is needed.

The existing blow off solution which could not effectively remove the water.

The existing blow off setup is shown above. This system utilizes two blower driven air knives to remove any excess water from the handles, but it is proving to be ineffective due to the turbulent nature of the airstream from a blower.  To combat this ineffectiveness, this production facility has placed an employee in front of the existing setup, using a compressed air blow off as a pretreatment procedure.

Personnel were added to this stage of production to provide a pre-blow off treatment.

Having a line operator stationed at this point was undesirable for this customer.  What this application needed was an efficient, productive, and repeatable blow off solution that would eliminate the need for redundant personnel at this stage of production and make the process fully automated. That solution was the EXAIR Super Air Knife.

By utilizing Super Air Knives, this customer was able to create an even and laminar sheet of air to dry these handles. The smooth profile of the airflow allows maximum velocity to be maintained at a further distance from the knife than the existing setup.  This translates to higher force at further distances, which in turn translates to proper part blow off and full automation of the process (the line worker was removed from the application), thus saving cost and eliminating an unnecessary safety risk.

With a required blow off width of ~40” in this application, using (2) model 110042 42” Aluminum Super Air Knives was a perfect fit. If you have a similar, redundant blow off operation in place and would like to make it more effective in terms of results and costs, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Video Blog: Which EXAIR Air Knife Is Right For You?

The following short video explains the differences between the 3 styles of Air Knives offered by EXAIR – The Super, Standard and Full-Flow. All of these Models are IN STOCK, ready to ship, with orders received by 3:00 PM Eastern.

If you need additional assistance choosing your EXAIR Air Knife, please contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

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