Custom Shims – Literally A Breeze For EXAIR

As proud as we are of being able to ship most any catalog product, same day, from stock (99.9831% of the time for on-time shipping in 2017…22 years straight for 99.9% or better,) we take a certain amount of pride in our ability to offer custom solutions for challenging applications as well. Our Engineering and Production teams have a deep well of resources (knowledge, experience, and capability) to draw from, which allows us to meet those challenging applications head-on, in short order.

The one I’m writing about today isn’t exactly one of those challenging ones…

A machine fabricator had a special need for an Air Knife. It had to be Stainless Steel, and it had to be 30″ long. No problem so far…that’s a Model 110030SS 30″ Stainless Steel Air Knife, and it’s on the shelf. Thing is, they only needed 26″ worth of air flow; a full 30″ width was going to disturb, and maybe damage, the edges of the sheet of material that the air was being blown onto.

So we made a custom shim for the Air Knife.  Now, we make these all the time, in all kinds of configurations…hence the term “custom.”  Since this one was blowing onto a web where they didn’t want to disturb the material on the far edges, we made this shim to provide 26″ of flow, on center.  We could just as easily made it to provide 26″ of flow starting at one end or the other, or a specified distance from one end or the other.  Or 13″ of flow on both ends, with 4″ of no flow in the middle, for a total of 26″.

If your application is more challenging than a custom shim, we’ve also made Air Knives with (left to right) curved radius, special material (glass filled PEEK shown here,) flat, double-sided, and even one with end-mount threaded holes.

Regardless of how challenging (or not) your compressed air product application is, we’re here to discuss, any time you’re ready.  Call us.

 

Proper Supply Lines are Key to Air Knife Performance

A few weeks back I chatted with a customer on an Air Knife application where they were using our 48″ aluminum Super Air Knife to remove leftover dough from a baking pan. The knife was working somewhat, but they were seeing some residual dough being left in certain areas on the pans due to what they perceived as “weak” airflow. After reading through our catalog and installation guide, they noticed that there were available shim sets that would allow them to increase the gap setting to get more force and flow out of the knife.

Available in lengths from 3″ to 108″ in aluminum, 303ss or 316ss construction

Our aluminum Super Air Knives are shipped from stock with a .002″ shim installed. The optional shim set includes a .001″, .003″ and .004″ shim that would allow you to decrease or increase the performance. By operating the Super Air Knife with the .003″ shim installed, this would increase the force and flow by 1.5 times and using the .004″ shim would double the performance. Sometimes achieving greater force and flow may be required but with the customer saying they were seeing weak airflow, it seemed there may be a restriction on the supply side.

Super Air Knife with Shim Set

I asked the customer how the knife was plumbed and what size supply lines he was using. He advised that they were plumbing air to all 3 inlets on the bottom of the knife but they were using 3/4″ hose with a run of about 30′. I advised the customer that plumbing air to all 3 inlets is required for a 48″ Super Air Knife but we actually recommend 3/4″ Schedule 40 Pipe up to 10′ or 1″ pipe up to 50′. If using hose, he would need to go up a size to maintain a large enough ID to carry the volume required for the unit. In his case, since the length of the supply is close to 30′, he would need to use 1-1/4″ ID hose.

Improper plumbing line size is a common issue we deal with here at EXAIR. Using undersized supply lines can cause excessive pressure drops because they aren’t able to carry the volume of air necessary to properly supply the compressed air device. In this particular application, if the customer were to install either the .003″ or .004″ shim, while keeping his current plumbing size, the performance would actually be worse as now the lines are even more undersized due to the increased air volume requirement from the larger Super Air Knife gap.

If you are looking to change the performance with one of our Air Knives or if you would like to discuss a particular application or product, please contact one of our application engineers for assistance at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

More Power? I DO Think So…

We occasionally get calls from folks who are looking for “more power” – and it always brings that classic 1990’s sitcom “Home Improvement’s” Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor to mind. Well, not so much Tim’s “more power” mantra, but the ubiquitous response from his long-suffering sidekick, Al Borland:

Al knows it.  George Foreman knows it. Lisa knows it.  Even Tim knows it, this time.

Sometimes, they’re looking for a product to replace what they’re currently using…something they’re not getting desirable results from. Other times, they have an EXAIR product in place, and it’s just not getting the job done.

Our first response is, of course, to make sure they’re getting a sufficient supply of air to their product, no matter whether it’s ours or not. If you’re familiar at all with our blogs, you know we write about this frequently:

The Importance of Proper Compressed Air Supply Lines

Video Blog: Proper Supply Plumbing for Compressed Air Products

Improper Installation and Associated Problems

3 Common Mistakes in Your Compressed Air System

Once we’ve made sure that the product is indeed receiving appropriate air supply, we can look at adding to the flow rate and force of the air stream. We’ve made it easy to do that with a variety of blow off products by designing them with a replaceable shim.

All of our Air Knife products (Super, Standard, and Full Flow) will ship with a 0.002” thick shim installed. These will perform superbly in a wide variety of general industrial blow off applications. If this doesn’t provide the force needed for your application, we carry Shim Sets for any Air Knife that will allow you to double, triple, or even quadruple the air flow for amplified thrust. Some common examples are stubborn debris in tight spaces (like the fins of a fin-and-tube heat exchanger) or removing oil from a corrugated surface.

From left to right: Super, Standard, and Full Flow Air Knives.

 

Like the Air Knives, our Air Wipes (Super and Standard) are built with 0.002” thick shims, which can be easily replaced for additional flow and force. Like when the Air Wipe is getting all the coolant off an extruded & machined part, but some stubborn, hair-like fibers need a little more “oomph” to remove.

 

Super (left) and Standard (right) Air Wipes come in sizes from 1/2" to 11".
Super (left) and Standard (right) Air Wipes come in sizes from 1/2″ to 11″.

Yes, those were real calls I took. Yes, they had sufficient air flow. Yes, the extra shims worked like a champ.

Similar to our Air Knife products, our Flat Super Air Nozzles also incorporate a replaceable shim. In fact, you have your choice of standard Models with a 0.015” thick shim installed, or High Power Models with a 0.025” thick shim. Shim Sets with a variety of thicknesses from 0.005” to 0.030” are available for either of these.

Model 1126 (Zinc Aluminum) or 1126SS (316SS) 1" Flat Super Air Nozzles (left) have replaceable shims (middle), same as Model 1122 (Zinc Aluminum or Model 1122SS 2" Flat Super Air Nozzles (right.)
Model 1126 (Zinc Aluminum) or 1126SS (316SS) 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzles (left) have replaceable shims (middle), same as Model 1122 (Zinc Aluminum or Model 1122SS 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzles (right.)  High Power versions of both are also available from stock.

Our Super Air Amplifiers and High Velocity Air Jets incorporate patented shims that make for the highest amplification flows available, anywhere. These are available, from stock, in Shim Sets or individually.

High Velocity Air Jets and Super Air Amplifiers use patented shims for optimum performance and efficiency.
High Velocity Air Jets and Super Air Amplifiers use patented shims for optimum performance and efficiency.

If you have an air blowing application that you’d like to get a little (or a lot) more out of, give us a call. Prepare for a discussion on proper air supply first (of course,) but we’ll be more than happy to help in any way that we can.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
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