Stainless Steel Super Air Knives Boost Productivity in Drying Process for Medical Device Manufacturer

I’m a big proponent of investing in devices that help to improve on efficiency in a variety of tasks around the household. At the onset of this year’s pool season, I was reminded exactly why I made the investment several years ago in a robotic pool vacuum cleaner. If you have a pool, you’ll know just how time consuming it is to keep it maintained perfectly. That I have 4 large maple trees ready to drop a bunch of helicopters into my pool each spring only adds fuel to the fire. After enduring my first full season as a pool owner using the old-school manual vacuum, I immediately purchased a new robotic vacuum for the following season.

Things had been great ever since as I opened up the pool each year. I’d toss Scuba Steve in (yes, we named him Scuba Steve) and let him do his thing. Clean out the filters after he’s done and we’re ready to swim. This year, however, he had other plans in mind. After years of functioning well, it was time for several replacement parts to get him back to operating in peak condition. Since seemingly everything you need is out of stock at the moment, I had to resort to the old, trusty manual vacuum as I opened up my pool this year. After weeks of dealing with the uncharacteristically stormy May we’ve had in 2022, I was happy to finally get the parts in and get it repaired right before we got into swimming season this summer.

At EXAIR, we often have cases where we’re contacted by a customer who’s looking to improve in their efficiency in a particular process or application. Recently I worked with a customer in Pakistan who was looking to improve on a process for drying medical instruments that they manufactured.

Instruments just prior to drying

At present, they would dip the instruments into a series of washing tanks followed by a last dip in a rinse tank. Upon completing the final rinse, they’d manually dry the rack with an air gun. In some cases, they wouldn’t get completely dry and would end up with water spots that would require them to start the cleaning process all over again.

Another issue with their present setup was cross contamination between the different tanks. With no drying in between, they were getting detergent in their rinse tank. After a few cleaning cycles, they’d have to drain the tanks and fill them back up again before continuing.

The solution was to install (2) Model 110018SS Super Air Knives on either side of the two tanks. As the instruments are lifted out, the high-velocity laminar airflow from the Super Air Knife dries them off quickly while blowing the residual moisture back down into the tank. The detergent solution stayed in its own tank, keeping the rinse water free from contaminants. As the parts are brought up from both the cleaning tank and the rinse tank, they’re sufficiently dried without having to do a manual process with an air gun. By preventing cross-contamination, they were also able to maintain the same solution for an entire shift rather than frequently having to drain the tanks and replace them. This alone represented about a 10% boost in productivity over the course of a full day.

If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your cleaning operations, give us a call. With a variety of different products suitable for compressed air blowoff available from stock, you won’t be stuck waiting for weeks for the parts to arrive. We have them ready to ship as soon as today!

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

Pool image courtesy of southbay poolservices via Pixabay, Pixabay License

Super Air Knives Provide Fast ROI when Replacing Drilled Pipe

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

Super Air Knife Shims

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. So how quickly did this customer end up seeing the payback on their two knives?

2022 list prices:

Model 110054-.001 – $1,315.00

Model 110060-.001 – $1,411.00

Total investment: $2,726.00

Based on an operation of 166 min, the customer was saving $18.90 per day. To recoup the initial purchase costs, these would only need to be operated for 145 days. On the 145th day, they’ve already saved enough compressed air to account for their initial costs. Moving forward, that savings does not go away but continues to add to the bottom line.

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

EXAIR’s Super Air Knives Add Benefit to Drying Process for Automotive Parts

EXAIR’s Super Air Knife is THE best solution for compressed air blowoff operations that necessitate a wide sheet of compressed air. We’ve been manufacturing Air Knives for over 37 years, with the Super Air Knife making its first appearance back in 1997. Since then, the Super Air Knife has undergone a few enhancements over the years as we’re constantly trying to not only introduce new products but also improve on the ones we have. We’ve added new materials, longer single piece knives, as well as additional accessories. But, by and large, the basic design has remained the same. As the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.

The Super Air Knife utilizes a source of compressed air to create a laminar sheet of high velocity air. This supplied compressed air mixes with ambient air that is entrained into the primary airstream. The Super Air Knife entrains ambient air at a rate of 40:1, making it VERY effective in a variety of drying, cleaning, and cooling applications. Available in lengths ranging from 3”-108” and in a variety of different materials of construction, there’s a Super Air Knife available for just about any application. Any time you have product moving along a conveyor that needs to be cleaned, dried, or cooled off, a Super Air Knife is the ideal fit.

Recently I worked with a customer in Mexico that manufactures automotive components. They had a part they needed some help with in their drying process. Before contacting EXAIR, they were placing the parts on racks to let them air dry. They would leave them to sit throughout the shift and dry. The next shift would then come in and gather up the parts, check to make sure they were dried, and then organize them before gearing up to begin production for their shift. In some cases, there was some residual moisture and they would either be dried with a blow gun or with a dry cloth.

This entire process was causing them to lose at least an hour of production per shift. They began looking for something that would allow them to dry the parts immediately at the exit of the washer. They came across EXAIR’s Super Air Knives and implemented of them on the conveyor, immediately at the outlet of the washer to dry both sides of the part. Two knives were placed to dry the top as it had some grooves and features that did not completely dry with just one pass. A third knife was placed on the on the underside as the part is removed from the conveyor to dry the bottom. After implementation of the Super Air Knives, they no longer had to allow the parts to sit and dry on a rack and saved an hour per shift in lost time.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to staff a complete shift with qualified personnel, so don’t have your operators wasting time in a drying process that can be achieved with something like the Super Air Knife. EXAIR has all models of Super Air Knife available to ship same day from stock and backed by our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. If you’d like to talk about how we can help improve a process in your plant, give us a call.

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

Air Knives! Air Knives! Choosing the best one for your application

EXAIR Air Knives are amazing. You simply supply them with compressed air, and they are designed to entrain the ambient air around them to generate much more SCFM than is being fed to them at a 30:1 or a 40:1 ratio. They are much quieter, more efficient and a much lower cost (see chart) than any option we know of to blowoff, dry, clean or cool. The Air Knives all produce a nice laminar flow of air that is dependable to consistently handle each application.

There are so many applications, from drying, cooling, cleaning, opening bags, floating webs, and keeping environments separate, to many very unique and creative applications such as; floating tortillas from one belt to another, keeping camera lens covers clean when filming (even on a boat in the ocean), and one application documented on Nat Geo that is, well let’s say extremely unique (find out more here). As there are so many possible applications, there are of course multiple Air Knives to choose from. Our catalogue has 17 pages dedicated just to Air Knives. How do you choose which is best for your application? Let’s take a look and see.

At EXAIR we offer 3 types of Air Knives, Super, Standard, and Full-Flow. All of these are great Knives, and have their own strengths. We also can help If your application requires a special shape, design, or material, we will be happy to work with you to design the best solution for your unique application.

The column on the above left shows you a solid difference of the 3 Air knives. The chart below shows you the most efficient and the quietest Air Knife. You will see that the Super Air knife is our most versatile, by far the most popular purchased Air Knife. Even with a slightly higher purchase price, it doesn’t take long to understand the overall value and long term cost saving makes the Super Air Knife, not only the best choice for nearly all applications, but also the the best value.

All 3 types of Air Knives are stock items, and can typically be shipped the same day. The standard lengths in stock are 3″,6″,9″,12″, 18″ and then every 6″ up to 48″ — The Super Air Knife will go up to 108″ (in stock) with the previous mentioned lengths, plus 54″ and then every 12″ up to 108″ long (yes 9 feet). We can also customize sizes if that is what you need.

As you can see the Super Air Knife is the clear winner of the 3 options and is the most recommended. But there are a few reasons to purchase the Standard and the Full Flow Air Knives. The Standard is generally purchased for the lower price point. The Full-Flow is generally purchased for the small envelope. Here is great way to look at the three options. The Super Air Knife is like a Tesla – it’s arguably the best vehicle on the road today. It is the most efficient with a slightly higher cost than it’s similarly sized counterparts. But when you factor in the cost of gas, the Tesla is actually one of the least expensive option over a lifetime. The Standard Air Knife is more like the family van. It is dependable and it gets the job done, it has a lower sticker price than the Tesla, but each time you fill that gas tank you begin to realize how affordable the Tesla actually was, and you end up having a little regret. Lastly we have the Full-Flow Air Knife that is most comparable to the compact car. Sometimes you need that small car so that you can park in the “compact only” parking places in the parking garages in the city. All of these cars get you from point A to point B, and they all have a purpose and a demand. There is not a bad choice, but there is a best choice, and the best choice is 100% dependent on your needs.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss in more detail, please reach out to me, or any of our application engineers.

Application Engineer
Brian Wages
EXAIR Corporation
Email me: BrianWages@exair.com
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