Customer Saves Nearly $7000 by Installing Super Air Knives on Converting Machine

EXAIR proves often that we’re able to work with you to create a customized solution that best serves your application. Recently I had the pleasure of working with a customer who wanted a better solution on their tissue paper converting machine. What they currently had was too loud, too inefficient, and they knew there was a better way.

The machine was an old rewinder used to convert webs of tissue paper ranging from 99-115” in width. Installed on the old machine was a 115” drilled pipe with 1/16” drilled holes spaced out every ½” along the length of the pipe. This was using a substantial amount of compressed air and was significantly louder than they would’ve liked. They purchased a new machine that had an EXAIR Super Air Knife already installed and working great, so they reached out to us for some help.

The customer conducted some time studies to determine exactly how much air this application required. The air blast ran for 500 seconds per hour, equating to 8.3min/hr of air usage. The operation runs 24/7, but with time spent doing changeovers the actual run time is closer to 20hrs.

20hrs x 8.2min = 166 min/day of air usage

166min x 365 = 60,590 min per year

A 1/16” unpolished, drilled hole will consume 2.58 SCFM at a pressure of 60 PSIG. With a total of 228 holes across the full pipe, this is quite a bit of compressed air.

2.58 SCFM x 228 = 588 SCFM of compressed air

588 x 60,590 min = 35,626,920 SCF

Considering the lightweight nature of the material, we recommended that the customer use our .001” shim to cut the flow from our stock Super Air Knives to their minimum. We recommended our Model 110054-.001 and Model 110060-.001. At 60 PSIG, a Super Air Knife with .001 shim installed will consume 1.15 SCFM/inch of knife length.

114 x 1.15 SCFM = 131 SCFM of compressed air

131 x 60,590 min = 7,937,290 SCF

Installing the Super Air Knives with .001” shim reduced their air consumption by 77% for a total air savings of 27,689,630 SCF each year. But, what does this mean in terms of money? To determine the cost of compressed air, we use the approximate value of $0.25/1000 SCF.

27,689,630 SCF x $0.25/1000 = $6,922.41

In just one year, on this one single machine, this customer was able to save almost $7k per year. These knives quickly pay for themselves, then begin to contribute to your bottom line. All of this in addition to lowering the sound level and providing a safer working environment for their operators.

If you have areas in your facility that are using air inefficiently, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer today.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Stainless Steel Super Air Knife removes lime from conveyor belt.

An aggregate company crushed limestone into powder, and they were having issues in losing falling off of their conveyor belts.  The conveyor moved the lime from their processing plant to an outside silo for storage.  The conveyor was 60” wide and had a “cracked” pattern for gripping and moving the powder.  So, the surface of the belt was very rough.  As the conveyor went around the end to dump the powder in the silo, some of the material would stick in the valleys of the “cracked” pattern.  At the head pulley, as the belt made its return, the material would collect on the floor underneath.  For safety concerns, they would have to stop the operation to clean up the floor.  The customer wondered if the EXAIR Industrial Housekeeping Product would help them in their cleanup efforts.

EXAIR Heavy Duty Dry Vac Family

Yes, it will.   When it comes to industrial vacuums, wouldn’t it be nice to have a durable, long lasting vacuum that is quiet?  There is such a vacuum that has these qualities; the EXAIR Heavy Duty Dry Vac System.  This vacuum system has no moving parts, no motors to fail, or bearings to wear.  They only require compressed air to operate.  The Heavy Duty Dry Vac is used to vacuum solid materials like plastic, sand, and even denser materials like steel shot.  So, it would work great with the lime material.  The vacuum pumps are made from a hardened alloy construction to resist wear and abrasion, and it is designed to generate a strong vacuum level.  This would have been a great solution for cleaning for this company above.  But, as an Application Engineer, I was able to provide a better solution, the EXAIR Super Air Knife System.  Instead of cleaning the mess afterwards, we can stop the mess from happening.

Super Air Knife Kit

EXAIR can create a non-contact wiping process at the dumping end of the conveyor.  We have that ability with our Super Air Knife System.  At EXAIR, we pride ourselves in energy efficiency.  Compressed air is expensive to make, so why not use it as effectively as you can?  The Super Air Knife has a 40:1 amplification ratio which allows 40 parts of ambient “free” air for every 1 part of compressed air.  I recommended a model 110260SSPKI, 60″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knife Kit for this application.  This Super Air Knife is made from Stainless Steel for chemical compatibility with lime. 

EXAIR stocks the Super Air Knife at the 60” size for a continuous even blowing force across the entire length.  The kit included a filter, a regulator, and a shim set to “dial” in the minimum amount of force to remove the material without blowing the lime powder into the ambient air.  The “PKI” suffix at the end of the model number indicates our Plumbing Kit.  This option is Installed on the Super Air Knife to allow for easy installation and to allow for the proper inlet airflow to get a consistent blow-off device.  After installing the model 110260SSPKI, the powder was no longer collecting on the floor underneath.  If we look at the cost of the increase in lime material and the removal of custodial duties, the Return on Investment, ROI, was only 27 days.  The photo below shows the floor before installing the Super Air Knife.

Lime powder collection

Spillage is wasteful, costly, and time consuming to clean up.  If you have excess waste from your conveying system, EXAIR will have the product to help you.  For the aggregate facility above, the Super Air Knife Kit made it possible to increase production efficiencies with a short ROI.  And, since they liked the durability of our Industrial Housekeeping Products, they still purchased the Heavy Duty Dry Vac for cleanup in other areas in their facility.  If you want to improve your aggregate conveying operations with non-contact blowing or housekeeping, you can contact an Application Engineer to review your possibilities.   


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

Managing Pneumatic Sound

I recently took my daughter to a basketball game to watch Xavier University’s Lady Musketeers play. Due to Covid the arena felt empty and we could hear the players on the court and also the the coaches from the opposite side. If this was a regular season game we could barely hear ourselves let alone the teams and coaches. The obvious reason why there was not much noise is that there wasn’t much of a crowd and the crowd makes a lot of sound. So, what is sound?

Sound can be defined as “vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear”. Sounds hit our ears at different pressure levels depending on its strength (“loudness” or volume) and is measured in decibels (dB).

When sound travels and comes into contact with a surface, a portion will be absorbed and another portion will be reflected. Manufacturing environments obviously can be the source of a lot of sound and personnel near the sources should be protected as much as possible. One extremely effective way to do this is to substitute a loud noise source with a quieter one or remove the source all together. PPE can be effective but is much less reliable due to people forgetting to use PPE, using PPE improperly or even deciding for themselves they do not need it.

To substitute or eliminate means something like the strategic placement of air compressor which is not near personnel or recognizing the type of product you choose to use is vital to sound management and the health and safety of people working near the point of use. Many EXAIR products can help you reduce the sound level of your current point-of-use compressed air by replacing commercial air nozzles, open pipes and homemade blowoff solutions with our Engineered Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns, Air Amplifiers, or Super Air Knives. These products are all designed to minimize compressed air noise and can contribute to lowering the overall noise exposure of your personnel. The additional benefit is that you customers will also typically see a reduction in air consumption which saves money on generating compressed air.

EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter is a tool used to identify and quantify the particular noise levels within an area. The source of loud noises can be quickly identified and isolated so corrective measures can be implemented.

Compressed air noise levels often exceed OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) noise level exposure requirements. EXAIR pneumatic products meet or exceed the OSHA Standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a) and can be used to reduce sound levels in your compressed air environment.

EXAIR has has many engineered compressed air products that can help reduce your sound levels. Our Application Engineers are ready and eager to help assist your sound level decrease projects. Please contact us at www.EXAIR.com so we can be a vital part of your successful sound reduction program.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

Compressed Air Super Air Knife vs. Blower-type Air Knife for Plastic Film Manufacturing

A plastic company produced many kinds of films and sheets.  They were having issues with one particular film, an OPS (Polystyrene) film which was 0.012” (300 microns) thick and 30” (762mm) wide.  As the material was extruded into a flat sheet, they would run it over a cold roll drum (Reference photo above).  The cold drum is a large cylinder that has chilled water running through it.  To keep the sheet on the surface of the cold drum, they used a blower air knife system.  With the blower air knife, they were having variation in thickness as well as stretch marks.  They heard about the EXAIR Super Air Knife, and they wanted me to do a comparison.  I was glad to compare the EXAIR 110230 30” Super Air Knife Kit to their blower-type air knife system.

Super Air Knife Kits include a Shim Set, Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator.

  1. “Stretch” marks on the plastic film:
    • Blower System – Hot air is generated by the blower system. When the hot air hits the cool surface, it would cause an uneven hardening of the material, causing stretch marks.
    • Super Air Knife – It has a 40:1 amplification ratio. That means that 40 parts of the ambient air is entrained with 1 part of compressed air.  Being that the ambient air is much cooler than the hot air from the blower system, it actually aides in cooling.  There is no thermal shock to the sheet material, and hardening is consistent and faster.
  2. An even force across the plastic film:
    • Blower System – Their design had one 4” (102mm) line feeding into the side of the blower air knife. This would cause two issues for an even force.  As the velocity of the air hits the opposite side of the knife, the closed end, a turbulent air flow is developed.  Also, there would be a slight negative pressures at the entrance caused by the velocity of the air entering.  This chaotic turbulent flow caused an uneven force on the surface of the film.
    • Super Air Knife – The flow that is delivered from the Super Air Knife is laminar. This means that the force and velocity is consistent across the entire length, even on the target.  With this even force, the film was held evenly and securely on the cold drum.  With a filter, shim set, and regulator that is included in the kit, the force can be easily adjusted to the perfect requirement.
  3. Maintenance requirements:
    • Blower System – Preventative maintenance is a requirement. The blower filters have to be changed regularly, and the mechanical and electrical components have to be checked.  This requires downtime to the system.  In addition to this, blower motors are mechanical devices.  The bearings will wear and the motor will fail.  If a mechanical failure does occur, the downtime can cost days of operation.  These items should be checked quarterly as a PM which increases the cost of ownership.
    • Super Air Knife – No moving parts to wear out. The only maintenance would be to change the compressed air filter once a year.  There is no worry about catastrophic failure.
  4. Noise levels:
    • Blower System – With the blower motor and turbulent air flow, the system makes a lot of noise. They have a sound level near 93 dBA which would need PPE for nearby operators.
    • Super Air Knife – These units are very quiet. At a pressure of 100 PSIG (6.9 bar), the sound level is only 72 dBA.  No additional cost for PPE or the constant nagging disturbance of loud noises.
  5. Compact Design:
    • Blower System – The foot print of the blower is large and it takes up much floor space. The 4” (102mm) duct has to be ran to an oversized air knife (Reference photo below).  With the turbulent flow, the blower air knife has to be mounted close to the film surface.  So, it can make it difficult to optimize the placement.
    • Super Air Knife – With the compact design, the Super Air Knife has a large force in a small package. The model 110230 Super Air Knife has a footprint of 1 ¾” X 1 ½” X 30” long (44 X 38 X 762mm respectively) with only two ¼” NPT compressed air lines feeding it.  The force measurement is the same from 3” (76mm) to 12” (305mm) away from the surface; giving flexibility in placement.

When it comes to using the EXAIR Super Air Knives, it has many benefits over the blower-type air knives.  We can even include the initial purchase price in which the Super Air Knife would be about 1/10 the cost, and the company was able to increase production with a cooler blowing device.  They were delighted to remove the large blower-type system and replace it with a simple Super Air Knife.  If you would like to discuss the advantages of the Super Air Knife against a blower system, an EXAIR Application Engineer will be happy to assist.

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