A few months ago, I took a phone call from a manufacturing engineer who worked at a large candy production facility here in the United States. Extra chocolate was dripping out of the candy molds onto the conveyor belt below. Within a few hours the belt was dirty enough they would have to stop the line and clean the residual chocolate off the belt.
The best solution I found was a 72” 316 Stainless Steel Super Air Knife. It worked great when powered at 60 psig inlet pressure. The laminar flow of the Super Air Knife was perfectly suited for this application. The knife was mounted between the mold and the belt to help solidify and blowoff the excess drips of chocolate. There was one drawback, the Super Air Knife was not needed to blow the belt continuously and the continuous demand was not desirable during peak production.
The simple solution for this was the EXAIRElectronic Flow Control, the EFC minimizes compressed air use by turning off the air when a sensor is triggered. Since there was a 4.5-minute time gap between each mold set this was a great solution. When the photoelectric eye saw a mold, it then told the solenoid valve to open and supply the knife with compressed air for 30 seconds while the mold was open and the excess chocolate would be dripping. See the Savings calculations below;
165.6 SCFM x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1000 SCFM = $ 2.48 per hour
$ 2.48 per hour x 8 hours = $ 19.84 per 8-hour day
$ 19.84 x 5 days = $ 99.20 per work week
$ 99.20 per week x 52 weeks =$5,158.40 per work year without the EFC control
With the EFC installed (turning the compressed air off for 4 minutes 30 seconds with a 30 second on time = 6 minutes/hour compressed air usage)
165.6 SCFM x 6 minute x $ 0.25 / 1000 SCFM = $ 0.25 per hour
$ 0.25 per hour x 8 hours = $ 2.00 per 8-hour day
$ 2.00 x 5 days = $ 10.00 per work week
$ 10.00 per week x 52 weeks = $520.00 per work year with the EFC control
$ 5,158.40 per year (w/o EFC) – $ 520.00 per year (w/ EFC) = $4,638.40 projected savings per year by incorporating the EFC.
This example illustrates, clearly, why choosing the EFC is a good idea. It has the ability to keep compressed air costs to a minimum and saves compressed air for use within other processes around the plant. With this type of compressed air savings, the unit would pay for itself in less than 3 months.
From pneumatic hand tools like impact wrenches or nail guns to larger scale industrial applications like stamping presses, the use of compressed air can be found in almost any industry. In fact, it is often referred to as a “fourth utility” next to water, gas and electric.
Take for example in construction, workers will use a pneumatic riveter to join steel framing because of the power generated by the tool over an electrically powered device, not to mention it provides for a safer operation by removing an electrical hazard. Many companies use compressed air operated diaphragm pumps or air motor driven pumps to move expensive or viscous liquid from one location to another. These types of pumps are self priming drawing the liquid in and provide positive displacement meaning they fill and empty the liquid chamber with the same amount of liquid through a common inlet and outlet.
Amusement parks have used compressed air in some capacity in the operation of thrill rides like roller coasters or to enhance the effect of certain attractions. Compressed air can be found in hospitals where it is used for specialized breathing treatments or to power surgical instruments in an operating room. Educational facilities use compressed air for laboratory testing. You can even find compressed air in the tires on your car. Basically, when you think about it, compressed air is being used just about anywhere.
Here at EXAIR, we manufacture Intelligent Compressed Air Products to help improve the efficiency in a wide variety of industrial operations. Whether you are looking to coat a surface with an atomized mist of liquid, conserve compressed air use and energy, cool an electrical enclosure, convey parts or dry material from one location to another or clean a conveyor belt or web, chances are we have a product that will fit your specific need.
To discuss your particular application or for help selecting the best product, contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247 for assistance.
A cement factory was having some issues with spillage of cement powder underneath his conveyor. This 48” wide conveyor system used a cleated belt to carry the cement ingredients up an incline to a mixing chamber. As the conveyor went around the end to dump the mix, some of it would stick to the cleats and corners where the cleats were attached to the belt. At the conveyor return, any ingredients that were sticking to the belt would dislodge and fall to the ground. Spillage is wasteful, costly, unsafe, and time consuming to cleanup. He wondered if I could help him with his application.
I recommended the model 110248PKI Super Air Knife. This model included a 48” (122cm) Super Air Knife, a filter, a regulator, a shim set, and a plumbing kit. The filter would capture any excess water and contamination from the compressed air line that you would not want on the belt or in the cement mix. The regulator and shim set would be used to control the amount of force required to remove the cement mix without creating a dust cloud. The plumbing kit provides all of the necessary fittings and hose to prevent pressure drops and keep our customers from hunting down all the right fittings.
The Super Air Knife would be placed underneath the conveyor on the return side after the mix was dumped. It should be mounted about 6” (15 cm) away from the belt and at a 45 degree angle blowing back toward the end of the conveyor. The force of the air would dislodge any excess mix and push it back to the opening of the mixer. As a result, the cement mix was not being wasted on the ground or creating a dust nuisance, but being used to make cement.
If you have excess waste and believe that we can help, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR at 1-800-903-9247.