EXAIR Super Air Knives Blast Away the Competition

When a wide area is in need of cleaning, cooling, or drying there isn’t a better option available on the market than EXAIR’s Super Air Knife. It’s laminar and even airflow across the length has solved process problems and provided manufacturing solutions for thousands of customers. We’ve been manufacturing Air Knives for over 30 years now, 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.

What sets EXAIR’s Super Air Knife above the competition is the ability to maintain a consistent laminar flow across the full length of the knife, particularly when compared against blower operated knives or even fans. A fan “slaps” the air, resulting in a turbulent airflow where the airflow particles are irregular and will interfere with each other. A laminar airflow, by contrast, will maintain smooth paths that will never interfere with one another.

Blower Style air knife

Blower knives are commonly seen in industry that also cannot provide a laminar airflow. Additionally, they are expensive to purchase, produce a high sound level, and require periodic maintenance. Costly maintenance that results to downtime, as well as the physical space the system takes on the shop floor are all eliminated when using the Super Air Knife.

One of the simplest alternatives to the Super Air Knife is a homemade drilled pipe. While it’s quite easy to put together with materials that are likely already available to you, the true hidden cost here is the operating cost. The high energy use related to the total compressed air consumption makes this “seemingly economic” solution into an expensive one quickly. Not to mention, these devices are not considered to be safe per OSHA 1910.242(b).

The effectiveness of a laminar airflow vs turbulent airflow is particularly evident in the case of a cooling application. The chart below shows the time to cool computers to ambient temperatures for an automotive electronics manufacturer. They used a total of (32) 6” axial fans, (16) across the top and (16) across the bottom as the computers traveled along a conveyor. The computers needed to be cooled down before they could begin the testing process. By replacing the fans with just (3) Model 110012 Super Air Knives at a pressure of just 40 psig, the fans were cooled from 194°F down to 81° in just 90 seconds. The fans, even after 300 seconds still couldn’t remove enough heat to allow them to test.

While the fans no doubt made for large volume air movement, the laminar flow of the Super Air Knife resulted in a much faster heat transfer rate.

Utilizing a laminar airflow is also critical when the airflow is being used to carry static eliminating ions further to the surface. Static charges can be both positive or negative. In order to eliminate them, we need to deliver an ion of the opposite charge to neutralize it. Since opposite charges attract, having a product that produces a laminar airflow to carry the ions makes the net effect much more effective. As you can see from the graphic above showing a turbulent airflow pattern vs a laminar one, a turbulent airflow is going to cause these ions to come into contact with one another. This neutralizes them before they’re even delivered to the surface needing to be treated. With a product such as the Super Ion Air Knife, we’re using a laminar airflow pattern to deliver the positive and negative ions. Since the flow is laminar, the total quantity of ions that we’re able to deliver to the surface of the material becomes greater. This allows the charge to be neutralized quickly, rather than having to sit and “dwell” under the ionized airflow.

With lengths from 3”-108” and (4) four different materials all available from stock, EXAIR has the right Super Air Knife for your application. In addition to shipping from stock, it’ll also come with our unconditional 30-day guarantee. Test one out for yourself to see just how effective the Super Air Knife is on a wide variety of cooling, cleaning, or drying applications.

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

EXAIR Super Air Knives: Controlling the Force

EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air® products since 1983.  In the beginning, the Standard Air Knives and Full Flow Air Knives were very effective at that time.  But as leaders in this market, EXAIR did not want to stop there.  We were able to engineer a more efficient and more powerful air knife, the Super Air Knife.

Super Air Knife has 40:1 Amplification Ratio

Bernoulli’s principle explains how a high velocity fluid can generate a low pressure.  The EXAIR Super Air Knife creates a high velocity air stream to produce a low pressure to entrain ambient air.   What does this mean for you?  It will save you much money by using less compressed air.  The mass of the ambient air is added into the air stream to give a strong blowing force.  The Super Air Knife has an amplification ratio of 40:1. For every 1 part of compressed air, 40 parts of ambient air is drawn into the blowing air stream.  Ambient air is free, and compressed air is expensive.  EXAIR was able to engineer a design to use the Bernoulli’s principle to make one of the most efficient air knives in the market place.    In this blog, I will discuss how you can change the air usage and force of the EXAIR Super Air Knives.

We manufacture and stock the widest range in lengths and materials.  To start, EXAIR has Super Air Knives ranging from 3” to 108” (76mm to 2,743mm) in three different materials; aluminum, 303 stainless steel, and 316/316L stainless steel.  There is no-one else in this industry that can manufacture to those lengths.  EXAIR also offers Super Air Knives in PVDF material with Hastelloy hardware for chemical resistant applications from 3” to 54” (76mm to 1,372mm).  Depending on the application requirement, temperature, chemical resistance, and OSHA and FDA regulations, we probably will have one on the shelf for you.  If EXAIR does not have it, we can make special air knives in different lengths and materials to best fit your application.

Pressure Regulators

To adjust the force and air usage a Pressure Regulator is a very helpful tool. The regulator would be considered a fine adjustment for the Super Air Knife.  With the laminar flow, the force is very consistent across the entire length; so, you can “dial” in the exact force.  EXAIR always recommends to use the least amount of pressure to “do the job” because this will save you even more money.  For the coarse adjustment, EXAIR Super Air Knives have replaceable shims.  So, you can increase or decrease the gap to get a variety of force ratings.  The Aluminum version uses colored plastic shims for visual verification.  They come stock with a 0.002” (0.05mm) red shim installed.  We have other thicknesses in our Shim Sets which includes a 0.001” (0.03mm), 0.003” (0.08mm), and a 0.004” (0.10mm) colored as amber, green, and tan respectively.

The Stainless Steel Super Air Knives come with a stainless steel shim for higher temperatures and chemical resistance.  Stock units have the 0.002” (0.05mm) thickness as well.  The Shim Sets come with three additional 0.002” (0.05mm) shims to stack.  EXAIR does have the ability to manufacture other thicknesses in stainless steel.  Similarly, the PVDF Super Air Knives use a PTFE shim for maximum chemical resistance.  It is also 0.002” (0.05mm) thick, and there are three more shims in the Shim Set.

This unique feature of using shims allows for the most flexibility in creating forces for different applications ranging from a blast to remove rocks from a conveyor to a breeze for light duty work.

We can include the pressure regulator, filter, and Shim Sets in our standard kits.  It will make our Super Air Knives a more complete system that is properly sized.  With the today’s cost in making compressed air, it is important to do it as efficiently as possible.  And with the Pressure Regulator and Shim Sets available, you can control the blowing force and air usage.  From now until December 31st, EXAIR is having a promotion.  You will receive a model 1210 Safety Air Gun for free, a $91.00 value, with qualified purchases.  (Check it out HERE).  If you have any questions about the Super Air Knife or if you would like to discuss an application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.   We will be glad to help you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Why You Should Replace Homemade Blowoffs with Engineered Solutions – ROI

 

The cheapest and easiest solution isn’t always necessarily the best. The best example I like to use to highlight this is the incandescent light bulb. They’re definitely the cheapest to buy, but over the useful life it will cost more in electricity to operate and it won’t last nearly as long as an LED light bulb. When you compare the costs of electricity as well as the lifespan of an incandescent bulb, it becomes quite clear that the initial price difference between the two will be quickly recouped over the lifetime of the LED bulb. Once it pays for itself, it doesn’t just stop saving you electricity. These savings continue to compound.

The same can be said when comparing the Super Air Knife to a commonly seen homemade alternative, drilled pipe. While it only takes a matter of minutes to drill a few holes into a section of pipe, the operating costs (electricity required to generate the compressed air) are significantly higher than that of the Super Air Knife. In addition, it’s not nearly as effective and is considered unsafe under OSHA 29 CFR 1910.242 (b) and depending on operating pressure is likely also considered dangerous due to the high sound levels as outlined in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95(a).

Air exiting out of drilled holes in a pipe will create a turbulent airstream. This turbulence not only contributes to the high sound level but it’s ability to entrain surrounding ambient air is minuscule. The air entrainment ratio of a compressed air solution refers to the relationship between supplied compressed air and the free ambient air that is brought into the primary airstream. The higher the amplification ratio, the less compressed air necessary to complete a similar task. For a drilled pipe, the amplification ratio is generally around 3:1. With the Super Air Knife, this is dramatically increased with an amplification ratio of 40:1.

SAK vs drilled pipe

The Super Air Knife has a precisely set air gap across the full length of the knife, allowing for an efficient and quiet laminar airstream. When compared to a drilled pipe, the air consumption is dramatically reduced as is the sound level. For example, let’s take an 18” section of drilled pipe, with 1/16” diameter holes spaced out every ½”. At 80 PSIG, each hole consumes 3.8 SCFM. With a total of 37 holes, this equates to a total of 140.6 SCFM.

3.8 SCFM x 37 = 140.6 SCFM

A Super Air Knife, operated at 80 PSIG with .002” stock shim installed will consume a total of 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife. An 18” SAK would then consume just 52.2 SCFM.

2.9 SCFM x 18 = 52.2 SCFM

140.6 SCFM – 52.2 SCFM = 88.4 SCFM saved 

Replacing an 18” drilled pipe with a Super Air Knife represents a total reduction in compressed air consumption of 63%! How much does this equate to in $$$? A reasonable average of cost to generate compressed air is about $0.25/ 1000 SCF. Let’s assume just a 40hr workweek:

88.4 SCFM x 60 mins x $0.25/1000 SCF = $1.33/hr

$1.33 x 40hr workweek = $53.20 USD

$53.20 x 52 weeks/year = $2,766.40 USD in yearly savings

The 2019 list price on a Model 110018 Super Air Knife is $397.00. By replacing the homemade solution with an 18” Super Air Knife, the return on investment is just over 38 working days of an 8-hr shift. If your plant runs multiple shifts, or works on weekends, it pays for itself even quicker.

exairsak_colormedia_600x

Once the knife has paid for itself, it doesn’t just simply stop saving you money. That savings continues to compound and add to your bottom line. Don’t waste unnecessary air (and money) by using solutions that aren’t engineered to do the job in a safe and efficient manner. Reach out to an Application Engineer and get yourself an Intelligent Compressed Air Product that’s Built to Last.

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

 

Light bulb photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Ease Installation Woes With The Super Air Knife Plumbing Kits

When I am working on a project around my home, my wife often starts with a guess as to how many trips to the home improvement or plumbing supply store this project is going to take. (The Gif above is me trying to determine how many choice words will be used.) I try to foil her plans by either already having the first trip done before I start the project, or by buying a surplus of anything and everything I could possibly need on that first trip then returning what I don’t use.

In all actuality, the problem normally comes from working on a house that was built in 1951 and building codes were not the same back then. Whenever it is a new project, say installing a garden fence or building a trampoline platform, I can plan everything out and know all of the variables ahead of time. This results in a single trip to the store per project and more often than not a project that is on budget. That’s why we strive to help our customers here at EXAIR to be prepared for their upcoming projects.

When you are trying to implement a new Super Air Knife into your process, whether it be to cool, clean, or dry a process or product off, we don’t want you to have to go to another vendor, or even have to run back and forth to the tool crib 15 times just to get the knife hooked up to compressed air. To help simplify this, we offer Super Air Knives w/ Plumbing Kit Installed.  Whenever a Super Air Knife is 24″ or longer is installed, the compressed air should be supplied to both ends of the knife.  When lengths reach 48″ and higher even more ports will need to be plumbed along the length of the knife. This ensures even distribution of compressed air for the full length of the knife.  While EXAIR does offer all the information on supplying air to the proper inlets for every given length of Super Air Knife, we also offer to simplify it even further by offering an installed plumbing kit to further simplify installation in the field.

This feature leaves the installation team with minimal points to plumb compressed air  once the knife is in your facility. The  Aluminum Super Air Knife uses general duty air hose with brass fittings and the 303 and 316 Stainless Steel Super Air Knives use 316SS tube and fittings. An additional pressure gauge is included with longer lengths to install at halfway points in the plumbing kit to verify the operating pressure of the knife.

Model 9078 PKI Kit

Even when purchasing the Plumbing Kit Installed option we still offer detailed CAD models as well as PDF and 2D drawings of the knives to make it possible for an installation to be planned out and facilitate an easy, quick, and efficient installation.

If you would like to discuss what Super Air Knife w/ Plumbing Kit Installed would best suit your application, contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

1 – Calculate Figure It Out GIF – https://giphy.com/gifs/math-3tEFVAbfzzcwo