More Power May Not Be The Solution

I can’t tell you how much it pains me to write this after last week’s blog. But, if we’re being honest here, every Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor (“More Power!”) does indeed need an Al Borland (“I don’t think so, Tim.”) As evidence of this, I had an opportunity to provide reasoned advice to a caller on the tech support line this week:

They had just purchased a Model 110224 24″ Aluminum Super Air Knife Kit. The flow it produced wasn’t powerful enough for their needs, so they installed extra shims from the Shim Set (which comes with the Kit) – increasing the shim gap to 0.009″ (which can produce a great deal more air flow and force)…more power, right?

Super Air Knife Kits include a Shim Set, Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator.
Super Air Knife Kits include a Shim Set, Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator.

Unfortunately, not. The Super Air Knife makes a hard hitting curtain of air when supplied properly…but it’s going to need a 1/2″ pipe (ID of ~5/8″) to carry enough compressed air flow to make that happen. Turns out, they were using 1/4″ tubing, which wasn’t even getting enough compressed air flow to the unit with just the 0.002″ shim installed. Putting in the extra shims actually made that worse. Once they ran a 3/4″ hose to the Air Knife (and took out those extra shims,) they were actually able to regulate the air supply back to about 60psig, which provided a strong enough air flow to solve the application.

This table comes directly from the Installation & Operation Instructions for the Super Air Knife.
This table comes directly from the Installation & Operation Instructions for the Super Air Knife.

Sometimes, though, compressed air product applications DO come down to a need for more power.  Next week, I’ll tell you about a caller who said he needed “the biggest and most powerful” Safety Air Gun we had – and unlike the last time I wrote a blog about that – he was RIGHT.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Darn Right, More Power

“Home Improvement” was one of the more popular TV shows of the 1990’s – the lead Character (I capitalized that on purpose,) Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, hosted a handyman show with his skilled & more sensible sidekick, Al Borland. Tim’s mantra, “More Power,” was often tempered by Al’s quintessential retort of “I don’t think so, Tim.” For your viewing pleasure, here’s a collection of (more than) a few times when Al’s warning went unheeded.

When discussing compressed air product applications, I’m often asked if EXAIR has something with “more power” than what the caller is currently using.  Sometimes, it’s even an EXAIR product that’s not giving the results they want.  Regardless, the answer is usually “darn right, we do!”

This was the case recently, when I had the pleasure of actually doing a conveyance test in our shop for a customer.  The product was broken glass, and they wanted to move a fair amount of it, in a hurry.

Last year about this time, I wouldn’t have even recommended a test of the product; our Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac was our epitome of “More Power.”  Then, earlier this year, we introduced the Model 150300 3″ Heavy Duty Line Vac (also a 2-1/2″ model).

Yeah, we really don't have an "Al Borland" character on the EXAIR team...2" Heavy Duty Line Vac (left;) the new 3" model (right.)
2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac (left;) the new 3″ model (right.) Yeah, we really don’t have an “Al Borland” character on the EXAIR team…

The results were conclusive, and dramatic.  The 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac moved the broken glass at a rate of 10.8 lb/min. Considering that included a 15 foot vertical rise, that’s not bad at all.  Based on the difference in conveyance air flow alone (which we use as a VERY rough estimation,) I expected an increase of 40-50% with the new 3″ model.  Instead, I could almost hear Tim Allen’s signature grunt as the 3″ Heavy Duty Line Vac reached a conveyance rate of 24 lb/min.  More power, indeed.

If you’d like to discuss an air operated conveyor application, or 1990’s sitcoms, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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