The EXAIRSuper Air Knives are used in many applications ranging from part drying, to web cleaning, to conveyor blowoff, and many other uses. For most processes, the aluminum models provide the performance required and withstand the environmental conditions present.
Ambient temperature limits for the aluminum models is 180°F (82°C). EXAIR also offers the air knives in types 303 and 316 Stainless Steel, which increase the temperature limit to 800°F (427°C) and provides a great degree of corrosion resistance. For the harshest, most corrosive environments, an air knife constructed of Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) with a temperature limit to 275°F (135°C) is available.
But what can we do about those applications where the increased corrosion resistance isn’t needed and the temperatures do not approach anywhere near to 800°F (427°C)?
The solution to this situation is an aluminum air knife with a custom stainless steel shim. The aluminum material is rated to 400°F (204°C) and the shim is good to 800°F (427°C) so this knife can be used in those hotter environments up to 400°F (204°C). This option helps to keep the cost of the knife low, by utilizing the lower cost aluminum for the body and cap.
The table below details the materials of construction options for the Super Air Knife – a wide array of material offerings to suit even the hottest, harshest conditions.
We recommend consulting with an Application Engineer to review the application, process, and environmental conditions, and we can present best options.
And don’t forget, the shims can be further customized for special blowoff requirements. See the blog that my colleague, Russ Bowman, posted here.
If you have questions about Super Air Knives or any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
The EXAIRAir Amplifiers are a powerful, efficient and quiet air mover, whose power can be harnessed for blowoff, cooling and ventilation applications. Using a small amount of compressed air, air amplifiers pull in large amounts of surrounding air to produce a high volume, high velocity outlet flow. Quiet and efficient, output flows with amplification ratios of up to 25 times are possible. There are two types, the Super Air Amplifier and the Adjustable Air Amplifier.
The Super Air Amplifier, with sizes ranging from 3/4″ to 8″, has a patented design (patent #5402938) that uses a special shim to maintain critical position of the components parts. It is through this critical gap setting that a precise amount of compressed air is passed at exact intervals controlled by the shim toward the center of the of the Super Air Amplifier. The jets of air create a high velocity flow across the entire cross sectional area, which in turn pulls in large amounts surrounding air, resulting in the amplified outlet flow. Because the outlet flow remains balanced and minimizes wind shear, sound levels are typically three times lower than other types of air movers. The shims are available in thicknesses of 0.003″ (supplied as standard), 0.006″ and 0.009″, and changing to a larger shim will increase the force and flow of the outlet air. The 8″ Super Air Amplifier is supplied with a 0.009″ shim, with a 0.015″ shim available.
2″ Super Air Amplifier and Patented Shim Design
For high temperature applications (up to 700°F/374°C) a special 1-1/4″ High Temperature Air Amplifier is available, with performance equal to the 1-1/4″ Super Air Amplifier. Its surfaces are protected from heat stress by a mil-spec coating process. The High Temperature Air Amplifier is highly effective at pushing large amounts of hot air to areas that typically remain cool.
The Adjustable Air Amplifier, with sizes ranging from 3/4″ to 4″, does not use a shim, and has an infinitely adjustable air gap, which regulates the air consumption and outlet flow from a light breeze to a powerful blast. A highly effective air mover, it can be tailored to meet the exact air flow and force of your specific application. They are available in aluminum and in stainless steel (Type 303) for food service, higher temperatures (400°F/204°C) and corrosive environments.
Force and flow of the Adjustable Air Amplifier is changed by loosening the knurled lock ring and turning the exhaust end to open or close the gap. Once the desired force and flow is achieved, the knurled ring can be tightened to lock the device at the current setting. Typically, an air gap of 0.002″ to 0.004″ provides the required performance.
The table below summarizes the key features of the Super Air Amplifier and Adjustable Air Amplifier. Please contact an Application Engineer if you need assistance in making a selection.
Note that EXAIR can manufacture special Air Amplifiers to your specification including special flanged mounting style or with a PTFE plug to avoid sticky material build up.
To discuss your application and how a Super or Adjustable Air Amplifier or any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can improve your process, feel free to contact EXAIR, myself, or one of our other Application Engineers. We can help you determine the best solution!
Recently, one of the world’s largest producers of aluminum initiated a study to determine the costs associated with material spillage in their facilities. The purpose of their internal investigation was to quantify the time, money, and production losses derived from material spillage and accumulation in their rodding shop (the portion of the aluminum making process in which the anode rods are recycled). Their findings were astounding.
Underneath the conveyors in the rodding shop were mountains of spilled material. This material would accumulate to dangerous levels, causing safety hazards for workers to potentially slip or trip, interference with conveyor belt operation, an inability to service the conveyors, and a constant cleaning requirement. Essentially, the accumulation of material would reduce the lifespan of conveyor components while simultaneously preventing maintenance personnel from being able to service the failed components.
So, the spilled material would be vacuumed from the affected area, conveyor maintenance would be performed, and then the (vicious) cycle would repeat.
Overall, these spills cost over $85,000 per year in cleaning costs (vacuuming spilled material weekly at a cost of $1,650.00), 7100 minutes of unscheduled downtime loss (the process must be stopped during vacuuming and repair to the conveyors), an increased safety risk due to slips and trips on the spilled material, and reduced life of their conveyor belting, rollers, and pulleys due to operating in bath of rubble and dust.
Finding a solution for this problem was no small matter. This customer needed a permanent and reliable solution to eliminate the mountains of material underneath their conveyors. And that solution was to install EXAIR Super Air Knives on the underside of the belts, aimed opposite the direction of belt travel, and aimed toward the dust collection system, as shown below. Before and after photos of the installation are shown below as well.
The images above show how the Super Air Knives perfectly solve this problem. They prevent the accumulation of material underneath the conveyors, eliminating $85,000/year in cleaning costs and 7100 minutes of unscheduled downtime, removing the safety and maintenance concern, and adding longevity to the conveyor components.
Cleaning intervals were revised from daily requirements to an interval up to 12 weeks in some locations. (The shortest interval was revised from daily to every 3 weeks.)
So, the burning question is “How much did this solution cost the end user?”
Total costs to implement this solution were $16,000.00. Based on the cleaning costs alone, the return on investment for this project was under three months. When the downtime and additional conveyor maintenance is factored in, ROI is realized even faster, perhaps in under two months.
For EXAIR Application Engineers, thoroughly identifying customer problems and integrating an optimal solution is one of our specialties. In this case we were able to see the benefits our products can have on a single process, saving the customer tens of thousands of dollars per year.
If you have a problem plaguing your facility and would like to discuss potential solutions using EXAIR products, contact one of our Application Engineers. We’ll be happy to help.
A large manufacturing shop recently purchased a high speed band saw to cut aluminum. It was equipped with a mechanical rotating brush system to clean the blade as it ran, but this was unable to keep up with the volume of coolant-soaked chips that were produced at higher speeds. They had two options:
*Run the saw at a slower speed (and actually, their production schedule would not allow this, so technically there was only one option…)
*Come up with a reliable method of cleaning the saw blade (this is where EXAIR comes in.)
This has made a “night-and-day” difference for this sawing operation:
*In the first week they had the saw, they went through four saw blades…when the teeth get clogged with chips, they don’t cut right; they get hot; and they fail.
*The inability of the brush system to remove the chips caused them to accumulate in the belt pulley housings…operators were spending 2-3 hours A DAY just to shut down the saw and clean them out.
*The excess of chips also caused the blade’s guide bearings to fail, which caused almost a day’s worth of down time to replace.
*The Maintenance Supervisor was called to the saw repeatedly during the work day to address these, and many other minor, malfunctions due to the inability to remove the chips.
This saw is now operating at the capacity they intended when they purchased it. All for about $400, and that includes the door hinge they used to install it and allow for precise positioning (how cool is that?)
The EXAIR Super Air Knife has a prominent place near the front of our catalog, and THIRTEEN pages of photos, application details, performance data & specifications. It’s the most efficient and quietest product of its kind on the market, and our most diverse product offering in terms of size range, operational adjustability, materials of construction, and accessories available. For almost any general industrial air blow off application, the EXAIR Super Air Knife is the superior choice in terms of air usage, sound level, and capability.
As tireless champions of the causes of reducing air consumption and noise, we’re always going to promote these benefits of the Super Air Knife. Still, a caller asked me the other day, “Well, why do you still make the others?”…meaning, of course, our Standard and Full Flow Air Knives. Why, indeed:
*Given the same air supply pressure, the Standard Air Knife generates the highest force of our three styles. The amount of force applied isn’t always a prime consideration…if you think about one of the more “textbook” applications for an Air Knife, it doesn’t take a great amount of force to blow off dust and light debris from a conveyor belt…certainly this is a case where efficiency factors in: the lower air consumption of a Super Air Knife can pay for the cost difference between it and a Standard Air Knife in as little as three months of operation.
Of course, if you’re blowing stubborn debris out of tight spaces, like gummy, greasy dirt that’s accumulating in the recesses of a finned tube heat exchanger, that extra force can make all the difference. No; the Standard Air Knife isn’t as efficient or quiet as the Super Air Knife, but it’s still a far cry better than a drilled pipe.
*While the Super Air Knife is pretty compact – you only need a few square inches of profile area to successfully mount it – the Full Flow Air Knife is even smaller, requiring not much more than one square inch of profile for mounting. With ports on the rear face (instead of the ends & bottom for the Super Air Knife,) they can fit in very tight quarters.
The Full Flow Air Knife is also the lightest weight for a given length. A 36” Aluminum Super Air Knife, for instance, weighs about 8lbs. The 36” Aluminum Full Flow Air Knife weighs less than 4lbs. Most of the time, 8lbs is a very manageable amount of mass to support, but there are situations where every ounce matters, and if yours is one of them, you’re looking at the Full Flow Air Knife all the way.
*The biggest (in the most literal sense) factor in Air Knife selection is, well…size. We make the Standard Air Knives in lengths to 48”, and the Full Flow Air Knives come as long as 36”. The Super Air Knives, however, are stocked in lengths from 3” to 108”, and can be coupled together for as long of an uninterrupted, steady, laminar air flow as you need.
At the end of the day, a majority of blow off applications can be handled just fine with any of our Air Knives. If you’d like to discuss your application and see which one is best for you, give us a call.
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