Slick Application for a Super Air Knife

A few weeks back I worked with a customer on an unusual application for one of our Air Knives. The company runs a camp, located in the North-Central part of the United States, complete with their own ski hill for skiing, snowboarding or tubing. They use a conveyor belt ski lift where the skier or snowboarder will stand on the belt and be transported back to the top of the hill for another run. They were starting to see some safety issues arise when the mat would get wet and freeze, causing the skiers to slip and fall back.

Photo of the ski belt conveyor

In an effort to remedy the situation, the installed a brush to try and help remove some of the snow and ice from the belt and while this helped a little, there was still moisture on the belt that would re-freeze. To aid in the drying process, they tried to use a floor blower aimed at the belt but the turbulent airflow seemed to “push” the water around rather than wipe it clean and dry. Out of ideas, they found EXAIR while doing an internet search and decided to give us call for assistance.

Further reviewing the details of the application, I recommended our 30″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knife for the application. The Super Air Knife provides an high velocity, laminar sheet of air across the length of the knife. The laminar flow from the air knife, would assure an even drying effect across the belt, rather than the turbulent flow from the blower. The stainless steel construction of the knife would hold up to the potentially harsh environmental conditions as well.

Super Air Knife available in aluminum, 303ss, or 316ss construction in lengths from 3″ up to 108″.

After some correspondence back and forth regarding air requirements and installation recommendations, the customer was able to source a rental compressor and ordered the 30″ Super Air Knife to test under our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. After a few weeks of testing, they were able to effectively dry the belt to an acceptable level, increasing the overall safety for their guests.

30″ SS Super Air Knife mounted under the belt on the “return” side.

 

Clever installation allowed for easy angle adjustment to ensure the airflow contacted the belt for optimal blowoff/drying.

EXAIR offers the quietest (69 dBA at 80 PSIG) and longest (up to 108″) Air Knives on the market today and we stock them in the most materials (aluminum, 303SS, 316Ss and PVDF) to best suit your application. To see how you might be able to utilize an Air Knife in your unique application, give us a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

Super Air Knives Used as a Non-Contact Barrier in a Non-Woven Application

An overseas customer manufactures a 2.2 meter wide non-woven material.  In one of their processes, the media would travel through a spray booth to apply a water-based surfactant.  The surfactant was atomized and blown onto the top and bottom of the material.  The spray booth was equipped with a fume hood to capture any excess mist.  The material would then travel out of the spray booth and into the oven to dry.

Area between Spray Booth and Oven

Area between Spray Booth and Oven

Because they were running at a speed of 160 m/min, a draft was being created as the media was exiting the spray booth.  This draft was strong enough to overcome the vacuum pressure from the fume collection system.  This would allow the excess mist to escape the spray booth.  It was then collecting on the surface of the oven and floor outside the containment area.  This created a safety issue as well as a large mess.

In looking at the problem area, the dimension of the opening of the spray booth was 2.65 meters by 300 mm.  To blow a good curtain of air to contain the mist, we needed to have a laminar flow to create that “wall”.  I recommended two pieces of a model 1102108 Super Air Knife Kits.  At 108” (or 2.74m) long, they are the longest Super Air Knives in the market.  With a steady flow of air along the entire 2.74 meter length, it can generate that curtain of air across the entire opening of the spray booth.  The laminar flow was key as they did not want to disturb the spraying nozzles inside the booth.

The Super Air Knife Kit also comes with a filter, a regulator, and a shim set.  With the included shim set, the force can be changed dramatically by using a different thickness of shim.  Since they did not need much force to keep the mist inside the spray booth, they opted to put a thinner shim inside the Super Air Knife.  This would reduce the amount of compressed air needed, and with a regulator, the customer could “dial” in the correct amount of force to create the proper air barrier.  The Super Air Knives were mounted above and below the material to blow directly across the opening of the spray booth.  Any fine mist that would come in contact with the air would be deflected back into the spray booth.  With the extra mist removed from the process, the fume extraction system could then perform its duties the way it was intended. With air being used to create that barrier, it did not disrupt the structure of the material or the surfactant on its surface.

Super Air Knife

Super Air Knife

If you require a non-contact barrier for your application, EXAIR Super Air Knives could be your solution.  For this customer, we were able keep the work place safe and mess-free.

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

Super Air Knives Replace Manifold Of Flat Nozzles, Saves Air, Saves Money

Last week I fielded a call from a steel plant who was using a manifold of 50 stainless steel, flat nozzles evenly spaced across a 130″ area, to blow off light scale and cooling water from steel sheets. The nozzles were working somewhat but they were seeing some “streaks” of scale and water remain after the initial blow off point. They were considering adding another manifold of nozzles as a secondary treatment but were concerned with the amount of air a setup like that would require, as well as the cost as each nozzle cost nearly $250.00 each. Operating at close to 80 PSI, they determined that each of the nozzles was using around 35 SCFM or roughly 1,750 SCFM for the manifold. Adding another manifold would obviously double that figure to 3,500 SCFM which would be a TON of compressed air to blow off water and light material.

Competitor Nozzle

Example of similar nozzle to what the customer is currently using.

After some further discussion, I recommended using (1) of our 60″ and (1) of our 72″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knives, coupled together, to provide a 132” laminar sheet of airflow. The laminar flow of air would be even across the entire 132″ length, eliminating any weak or dead areas like they are seeing with the existing setup, which is causing the streaking. The Super Air Knife uses only 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife when operated at the same 80 PSIG supply, so for 132″ of Super Air Knife, they would be using approximately 383 SCFM, much less than the current 1,750 SCFM, alleviating their concern for increased air demand. With the amount of air they would be saving, they could purchase the 60″ and 72″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knives, and the coupling kit to REPLACE their existing manifold system, eliminating the need of adding another manifold.

sak-coupled-together

Coupling brackets used to join Super Air Knives together end to end, providing a seamless, uninterrupted flow for wider than 108″ applications.

To discuss how an EXAIR product can help you decrease your air usage while providing superior results, contact one of our application engineers at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

30′ Long Super Air Knife

Earlier this month, I got a call on a Wednesday afternoon from a gentlemen at a sawmill in the Pacific Northwest. He indicated that they had a saw machine that was 30′ long, and it had a special scanner system to detect problems with the cutting which ran the full 30′ length.  In a sawing operation, there is sawdust and chips, and they can adhere to any surface including the scanner window.  When the debris would build up, the scanner system would give off false detection signals and cause issues with the operation.  We discussed the Super Air Knives as a way to blow off the scanner window, and be able to cover the entire 30′ length.  He asked for a quotation for a 30′ long Super Air Knife (and that doesn’t happen very often!)  And oh, by the way, delivery was needed on Friday (in 2 days!)

EXAIR manufactures Super Air Knives in lengths up to 108″.  To get to 30′, we looked at using (3) 108″ and (1) 36″ length.  Due to the length, the 108″ have to ship by freight truck, while all of the other lengths can ship via UPS or Fed Ex.  Since the customer was needing an overnight shipment, we had to take this into account.

We settled in on a system of (6) 54″ and (1) 36″ Super Air Knife. An added benefit to this arrangement was to allow the individual control of operation of the units, with each length blowing for a short duration, on down the line, until each had cycled.  This kept the instantaneous air consumption to a reasonable level, instead of 1 very large demand for cleaning the whole 30′ at once.  A quotation was sent out Thursday morning.

bracket-sak-2

Coupling Bracket Kit – Used to Join (2) Super Air Knives

We received the order Thursday afternoon, shipped it later that day, and it delivered to the customer the next day on Friday. Installation occurred over the weekend.

The following Tuesday, I got an email – first to thank us for working so quickly from inquiry through to delivery for the 30′ of Air Knives, and then to ask to place another order for exactly the same set.  Turns out, there is a right edge scanner and a left edge scanner, and they were ready to do the other side.  We had a little extra time, and shipped out the full set a couple days later, and standard shipping still got to them before they were ready to install.

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

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

 

 

 

 

Proper Air Supply Is Key To Optimal Performance

I recently worked with a customer who was using our 36″ aluminum Super Air Knife to remove dust and light debris from a conveyor but wasn’t seeing good performance. They initially called because they read in their catalog that increasing the shim gap would increase their force and flow and wanted to know what kind of increase in performance they would see.

The Super Air Knives are shipped from EXAIR with a .002″ shim installed and the performance data shown in the catalog reflects this gap setting. The shim sets, for aluminum knives, include a .001″, .003″ and .004″ shim and by changing to the .003″ shim, the force and flow would be 1.5 times as great and using the .004″ shim would double these amounts. While some applications do require the additional force and flow, trying to blow off dust or light materials typically wouldn’t fall into this category.

sak-shims

Replaceable shims provide varying levels of force and flow.

Switching our focus to the supply side of things, it turns out they were using 1/4″ hose and only plumbing one end of the unit. This poses 2 concerns that relate directly to the mentioned poor performance. The first would be the 1/4″ hose is severely undersized for a 36″ Super Air Knife. We recommend 3/4″ Schedule 40 pipe if the length of supply from a main header is 10′ or less and a 1″ pipe up to 50′ of supply run. It is possible to use hose but that hose needs to be at least 1″ ID to be able to carry enough volume to support a 36″ unit. Secondly, for knives that are 24″ in length or longer, you need to plumb air to both ends to maintain an even, laminar flow across the length of the knife.

With the proper supply, the Super Air Knife is going to produce an exhaust air velocity of 11,800 feet per minute when operated at 80 PSIG, which is more than enough to eject lightweight material from a flat surface (in fact you could most likely clean dust and light debris at a lower pressure). If the customer did increase the shim gap dimension, the increase in  air demand would only worsen the problem of undersized supply lines.

Pipe sizes

Recommended supply line sizes per the IOM – Installation and Operation Manual.

This is just one example of how proper supply line size and installation is key to achieving optimal performance. If you are experiencing similar issues or need any assistance with a product or application, give me a call, I am glad to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

Finding The Right Solution Through Dedicated Engineering Support

crate

Plastic crate in need of blow off after washing

An OEM of crate washing equipment in Lebanon recently contacted me about an application on one of their conveyors.  The conveyor carries a plastic crate out of a washer and excess water on the crate was presenting a problem in the application.  In order for the crate to move on to the next step in the machine, a blow off solution was needed, but the exit rate from the washer was inconsistent.  In a given minute there could be 5 crates exit the washer, or there could be 20.  So, the ideal solution needed to have intermittent control options with instantaneous on/off functionality.

We immediately began discussing Super Air Knives, not only because we show plastic crate blow off in one of our many videos, but also because these units are instant on/off with full compatibility with a flow control device.  Utilizing a flow controller, such as the EXAIR Electronic Flow Controller or PLC device, will allow for precise control of the blow off solution, limiting compressed air use to a minimum.

2016-12-07_164322

The first blow off system design

2016-12-07_164342

This layout utilizes Air Knives on each side of the blow off as well as the top

After discussing application details we came to the design shown above, using one 24” Air Knife on the top of the crate and two 9” Air Knives on the sides.  However, this OEM had purchased numerous 2” Flat Stainless Steel Super Air Nozzles in the past (model 1122SS) and had a number available on site.  Modifying the system to utilize the nozzles already on-site, we came to this design:

system-layout

The finalized layout for this blow off system. Click for a larger view.

This layout utilizes (1) 24” Stainless Steel Super Air Knife on the top of the crate and (2) sets of (3) 2” Flat Stainless Steel Super Air Nozzles on the sides, held in place with EXAIR Stay Set HosesNotice the independent pressure regulators for the nozzles and the knife.  This is to allow the customer to balance the air flows, because the 2” flat nozzles will create a higher force than the Air Knife when operating at the same pressure.

In this application we were able to help a returning OEM solve their problem with the right mix of needed products.  Exploring the problem and discussing numerous viable solutions led to the best fit for the application and customer.  That’s precisely why EXAIR Application Engineers are available for any application call or question.  If you’d like to explore an EXAIR solution we’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

 

Cookie Blowoff Using The Full-Flow Air Knife

A machine manufacturer was working with a food company who was looking to design a blowoff station for their cookie making process. During the production cycle, the cookie dough is put into a former that pushes the dough through round dyes that forms several rows of cookies across a conveyor. As the cookies travel down the conveyor, they are topped with ground peanut bits and sent through a flash freezing process. It was after this process, the company was looking to install the blowoff station to remove any excess peanut bits but were concerned if the air velocity was too high, they may remove too much of the ground peanuts or possibly blow the cookies themselves off of the conveyor. Another area of concern was the amount of space available to install the station was limited, so they were needing something “compact” so they could design the machine to take the least amount of real estate as possible.

The machine designer was somewhat familiar with our Air Knives, but was unsure which design would best fit the customer’s needs so they decided to reach out for assistance. After discussing the particulars, I recommended our 36″ Stainless Steel Full-Flow Air Knife Kit. Of the 3 designs of Air Knife we offer, the Super, Standard and Full-Flow, the Full-Flow Air Knife produces the lowest outlet velocities, it is also our smallest profile offering at only 1.25″ x 1″  for stainless steel construction. The Full-Flow Air Knife provides a laminar flow of air the entire length of the knife and uses a 30:1 amplification rate (entrained air to compressed air) for efficient compressed air usage. By incorporating the pressure regulator included in the kit, they would be able to easily control the exiting air velocity to effectively remove the excess peanut bits without ejecting the cookies from the line.

Full-Flow

The Full-Flow Air Knife is the ideal choice where mounting space is limited. Lengths available up to 36″ in aluminum or stainless steel construction.

For assistance in selecting the best Air Knife to fit your needs or for additional support with another application or EXAIR product, give me a call at 800-903-9247, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

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