Compressed Air Use in the Food and Beverage Industry

On our Website we have a comprehensive database of applications we have worked on with our products. These are pretty easy to find, Johns Blog will walk you through the process on how to access these applications.  While John covered Compressed Air Use in the Construction Industry, I will be covering Compressed Air Use in Food and Beverage Industry.

Appdata2
Application Database

EXAIR products are very commonly used in the food and beverage industry, from blowing water off cans before labeling, to conveying food products to hoppers for processing.  See three examples from our application data base;

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Super Air Knife in meat processing
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EXAIR Line Vac used in almond packaging process
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Super Air Knife clean excess flour off belt

Use our Application Assistance Worksheet to submit information about your application. When you submit this information, we will respond with our recommendation for the EXAIR product best suited for the application. Please complete the Application Assistance Worksheet and click submit or print the completed .pdf file and fax it to us at (513) 671-3363. For immediate help, call our Application Engineering Department at 1 800 903-9247.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Video Blog: What to Expect From EXAIR

Here’s our latest video.

It doesn’t say things like we have 99.9% on time shipping for 23 years in a row, or that we constantly add new products to our 15 product lines which help you solve even more problems in your facility. It doesn’t say order by 3pm and you can expect same day shipping or any of the nice things our customers say about their experience with us:

  • “Great Service!!!” – Carlos H., metal packaging manufacturer
  • “Very prompt and answered all of my questions!” – Michael W., connector and sensor manufacturer
  • “Very professional, knowledgeable” – Jose P., CNC machining and metal services
  • “Great info about [the] product I asked about…..very very helpful” – Joe O., home air conditioner manufacturer

But it does say a lot of other things you can expect when doing business with EXAIR.

Watch it now…

 

Meet EXAIR’s Newest Application Engineer, Jordan Shouse

Hello Everyone, my name is Jordan Shouse and I’m the newest addition to the Application Engineering group here at the EXAIR Corporation! I may be new to the team here at EXAIR, but I am not new to helping my customers save money and better their process.

me

My background is in Metrology, I’ve worked with countless sectors of manufacturing including Automotive, Aerospace and Pharma to examine their quality processes then design and implement a strategy to better the quality, reduce scrap and improve the product ship rate to their customer. Working as an Application Engineer is really my bread and butter, as I enjoy digging into the hardest cases and finding a solution that even surprises myself sometimes!
While I do enjoy my work, I also enjoy my personal life. I consider myself a bit of a outdoorsman, anything from camping and hiking to just exploring new areas of this amazing earth! The past few years I’ve really gotten into the ocean, so much that I started a Salt Water Reef Aquarium about a year ago and it amazes me every day. Watching a little ecosystem that’s so complex in a 100 gallon tank grow and progress is at times breathtaking! (A lot of work, but breathtaking)

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To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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Super Air Wipe Overview

What do you do when you need to cool, blowoff, or dry extruded objects? How will you support the products to do these tasks, and how will you get your extrusions through them? Consider using engineered compressed air products air for these applications to provide instant on/off capability, fine tuning adjustment of the air flow, low noise levels and OSHA safety. The EXAIR Super Air Wipe is designed to work well with continuous production products like extrusions, wire and cable.

Super Air Wipe extrusion save
Implementing a Super Air Wipe salvaged a $30,000 job for this customer. Read all about it in our Case Study Library (registration required)

The Super Air Wipe is a highly efficient compressed air powered device that provides a uniform 360° air stream that is ideal for blowoff, drying, cleaning and/or cooling of pipe, cable, extruded shapes, hose, wire and more.

The clam shell design of EXAIR’s Super Air Wipe offers easy clamping around the surface of the material moving through it that eliminates the need for time-consuming and cumbersome threading.  All models utilize stainless steel screws and shims and for sizes up to 4″ (102mm) a Stainless Steel wire braided connecting hose is included.  Aluminum models are rated for temperatures up to 400°F (204°C) and stainless steel models for temperatures up to 800°F (427°C).

Mounting the EXAIR Super Air Wipe is very easy, it can be accomplished by using either the 1/4 – 20 tapped holes on the downstream side or by utilizing a hard pipe compressed air supply line.  Connecting the EXAIR Super Air Wipe to your compressed air supply is straightforward, there are (2) 1/4 FNPT compressed air inlets on throat sizes up to  7″ (178mm) diameter (one on each half), while the 9″ (229mm) & 11″ (279mm) diameters have a total of (4) 1/4 FNPT compressed air inlets (two per half) to ensure proper air volume for maximum performance.

Prior to the introduction of the Super Air Wipe, one way to blow off, dry, or clean extruded objects was to use a ring of air nozzles. The high air consumption and noise levels of the nozzles along with inconsistent air velocity often delivered poor results.

 

ring nozzle blow off

The Super Air Wipe, which is similar to the construction of EXAIR Super Air Knife provides a high volume, high velocity airflow that is uniformly ejected from the entire 360° of its inner diameter. The airstream adheres to the surface of the material running through it (Coanda Effect) to effectively wipe, clean or dry surfaces.

To further explain how the EXAIR Super Air Wipes work, reference the animation below: Compressed air flows through the inlet (1) of the Air Wipe into the annular chamber (2).  It is then throttled through a small ring nozzle (3) at high velocity.  This primary airstream adheres to the Coanda profile (4), which directs down the angled surface of the Air Wipe.  A low pressure is created at the center (5) inducing a high volume flow of surrounding air into the primary airstream.  As the airflow exits the slot, it creates a conical 360° ring of air that will attach to the surface of the material running through it (6) uniformly wiping the entire surface with the high velocity airflow.

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How The Super Air Wipe Works

The EXAIR Super Air Wipe is 1.13″ (29mm) thick on all (11) Aluminum models that range in size from 3/8″ (10mm) to 11″ (279mm) throat diameter and all (5) Stainless Steel models that range in size from 1/2″ (50mm) to 4″ (102mm).   The performance can be altered by changing the inlet air pressure or by adding an additional shim, which will nearly double the force!

Super Air Wipe Family Photo
The Aluminum Super Air Wipe is available in 11 sizes 3/8″, 1/2″, 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″, 5″, 6″, 7″, 9″ & 11″; the Stainless Steel Super Air Wipe comes in 5 sizes, 1/2″, 1″, 2″, 3″ & 4″…all from stock!

So when you need to cool, blow off or dry extruded objects or are looking for expert advice on safe, quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products, give us a call.  We would enjoy hearing from you!

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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Intelligent Compressed Air: Single Acting Reciprocating Air Compressors

Of all the types of air compressors on the market, you can’t beat the single acting reciprocating air compressor for simplicity:

Piston goes down: air is pulled in. Piston goes up: air is pushed out.

This simplicity is key to a couple of major advantages:

  • Price: they can cost 20-40% less than a similar rated (but more efficient) rotary screw model, up to about 5HP sizes.  This makes them great choices for home hobbyists and small industrial or commercial settings.
  • High pressure: It’s common to see reciprocating compressors that are capable of generating up to 3,000 psig.  Because the power is transmitted in the same direction as the fluid flow, they can handle the mechanical stresses necessary for this much better than other types of air compressors, which may need special modifications for that kind of performance.
  • Durability: out of necessity, their construction is very robust and rugged.  A good regimen of preventive maintenance will keep them running for a good, long time.  Speaking of which…
  • Maintenance (preventive): if you change your car’s oil and brake pads yourself, you have most of the know-how – and tools – to perform regular upkeep on a reciprocating air compressor.  There’s really not that much to them:

    The internals of a single acting reciprocating compressor.

Those advantages are buffered, though, by certain drawbacks:

  • Efficiency, part 1: The real work (compressing the air) only happens on the upstroke.  They’re less efficient than their dual acting counterparts, which compress on the downstroke too.
  • Efficiency, part 2: As size increases, efficiency decreases.  As stated above, smaller sizes usually cost appreciably less than more efficient (rotary screw, vane, centrifugal, etc.) types, but as you approach 25HP or higher, the cost difference just isn’t there, and the benefits of those other types start to weigh heavier in the decision.
  •  Maintenance (corrective):  Whereas they’re easy to maintain, if/when something does break, the parts (robust and rugged as they are) can get pretty pricey.
  • Noise: No way around it; these things are LOUD.  Most of the time, you’ll find them in a remote area of the facility, and/or in their own (usually sound-insulated) room.
  • High temperature:  When air is compressed, the temperature rises due to all the friction of those molecules getting shoved together…that’s going to happen with any air compressor.  All the metal moving parts in constant contact with each other, in a reciprocating model, add even more heat.
  • Oil in the air: If you’re moving a piston back & forth in a cylinder, you have to keep it lubed properly, which means you have oil adjacent to the air chamber.  Which means, no matter how well it’s built, you’re likely going to have oil IN the air chamber.

All that said, the benefits certainly do sell a good number of these compressors, quite often into situations where it just wouldn’t make sense to use any other type.  If you’re in the market for an air compressor,  you’ll want to find a local reputable air compressor dealer, and discuss your needs with them.  If those needs entail the use of engineered compressed air products, though, please feel free to give me a call to discuss.  We can make sure you’re going to ask your compressor folks the right questions.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Standard Ion Air Knife Keeps Viewing Cover Clean

A manufacturer of high speed industrial machinery makes a sorting machine for seeds.  There’s a clear plastic cover for operators to see the seeds as they pass through the machine.  Many seeds are dense enough to move right on through, but some lower density seeds (canola, lettuce, and flax seed, specifically) bounce around a bit, and even the slight static charge that builds up as they move through causes them to cling to the inside of that viewing window.

This was a great fit for our Model 8406 6″ Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife Kit…”fit” being the operative word.  While the Super Ion Air Knives are more efficient and quieter, there simply wasn’t very much room at all for mounting inside, so the smaller profile of the Standard Ion Air Knife made all the difference in the world.  Also, since they just need static dissipation of such a small area, and not much flow at all is required to blow off these lightweight seeds, the differences in compressed air consumption and sound level were not very much at all.

Profile-wise, a Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife takes up less than half the space of a Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife.

For performance, efficiency, and dependability, look no further than EXAIR’s Gen4 Static Eliminator Products.  If you have a problem with static, we’ve got a solution.  Give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Wet Receivers and Condensate Drains

Receiver Tank

For properly designed compressed air systems, air compressors will use primary storage tanks, or receivers.  They are necessary to accommodate for fluctuations in airflow demand and to help prevent rapid cycling of the air compressor.  (Reference: Advanced Management of Compressed Air – Storage and Capacitance)  There are two types of primary receivers, a wet receiver tank and a dry receiver tank.  The wet receiver is located between the air compressor and the compressed air dryer where humid air and water will be stored.  The dry receiver is located after the compressed air dryer.  In this blog, I will be reviewing the wet receivers and their requirements as a storage tank.

Air compressors discharge hot humid air created by the internal compression.  A byproduct of this compression is water.  By placing a wet receiver on the discharge side of the air compressor, this will create a low velocity area to allow the excess water to fall out.  It will also give the hot air time to cool, allowing the compressed air dryers to be more effective.  With wet receivers, it will reduce cycle rates of your air compressors for less wear and store compressed air to accommodate for flow fluctuations in your pneumatic system.

But, there are some disadvantages with a wet receiver.  For compressed air dryers, it is possible to exceed the specified flow ratings.   If the demand side draws a large volume of air from the supply side, the efficiency of the compressed air dryers will be sacrificed, allowing moisture to go downstream.  Another issue with the wet receiver is the amount of water that the air compressor is pumping into it. As an example, a 60 HP air compressor can produce as much as 17 gallons of water per day.  As you can see, it would not take long to fill a wet receiver.  So, a condensate drain is required to get rid of the excess water.

Condensate drains come in different types and styles.  They are connected to a port at the bottom of the wet receiver where the water will collect.  I will cover the most common condensate drains and explain the pros and cons of each one.

  • Manual Drain – A ball valve or twist drain are the least efficient and the least expensive of all the condensate drains. The idea of having personnel draining the receiver tanks periodically is not the most reliable.  In some cases, people will “crack” the valve open to continuously drain the tank.  This is very inefficient and costly as compressed air is being wasted.
  • Timer Drain Valves – These valves have an electric timer on a solenoid to open and close a two-way valve or a ball valve. The issue comes in trying to set the correct time for the open and close intervals.  During seasonal changes, the amount of water going into the wet receiver will change.  If the timer is not set frequent enough, water can build up inside the receiver.  If too frequent, then compressed air is wasted.  Compared to the manual valve, they are more reliable and efficient; but there is still potential for compressed air waste.

    Timer Relay
  • No-waste Drains – Just like the name, these drains are the most efficient. They are designed with a float inside to open and close a drain vent.  What is unique about the float mechanism is that the drain vent is always under water.  So, when the no-waste drain is operating, no compressed air is being lost or wasted; only water is being drained.  The most common problem comes with rust, sludge, and debris that can plug the drain vent.

All wet receivers require a condensate drain to remove liquid water.  But, the importance for removing water without wasting compressed air is significant for saving money and compressed air.  EXAIR also has a line of Intelligent Compressed Air® products that can reduce your compressed air waste and save you money.  You can contact an Application Engineer for more details.

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

 

Photo: Timer Relay by connectors distribution box.  Attribution – CC BY-SA 2.0

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