EXAIR Super Air Knives Provide more Benefit than Blower Air Knives for Green Bean Processing

A customer who was experiencing some issues with a blow off process in their facility contacted EXAIR for a solution. This customer performs post-harvest processing operations on green beans and other vegetables after they’ve been picked. They were having a problem being able to remove excess moisture after the beans had been washed in cold water and keep additional moisture from forming once packaged. The process involved green beans exiting a wash cycle and moving along a belt conveyor. From there, they are dried by a series of blower style air knives. Shortly after being blown off, the beans are weighed and bagged. Once bagged, it was determined that there was too much moisture inside the package and they could not be shipped.

One common issue with blower style knives, and the fundamental issue in this application, is that the air is heated as it moves through the blower. Depending on the type of blower, outlet air temperatures in excess of 180°F are normal. The effect, in this case, was similar to a convection oven where hot air is circulated over the food to cook it. While the beans were not exposed for a long enough time to actually cook, the high temperature air exiting the blower was enough to raise the temperature of the beans. This caused additional moisture to come out from inside the beans after they were bagged and sealed. This is a condition that the customer wanted to avoid because it would lead to the beans drying out and losing their freshness which is a quality issue for the customer.

A second problem was the turbulent airflow from the blower knives causing the beans to be blown all around on the conveyor. The customer effectively had no control over how forcefully the airflow from the blower powered air knives impacted his product. They were either full-on or full-off. This resulted in less than desirable results from a dryness perspective and also caused damage to the product from the high impact disturbance of the blower air knives.

After talking it over with the customer and learning the specifics of the application, we determined that EXAIR’s Super Air Knife Kit Model 110212SS is able to address both of these issues. The airflow would be at ambient temperature, keeping the product at a desired colder temperature. The blowing force could be precisely adjusted with a pressure regulator so as not to cause damage to the product and provide a laminar airflow to strip the water from the product.

EXAIR’s Super Air Knives are available in 303 or 316 grade Stainless Steel to meet the more stringent requirements of many food grade applications. They also operate at a far lower sound level than blower powered air knives, are more compact for easier mounting, and do not involve the purchase of a blower package and associated ducting.

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Model 11006SS Stainless Steel Super Air Knife

Our Application Engineers can work closely with you to resolve any issues you may be having, even if compressed air isn’t currently a part of the process. If your process involves washing, drying, conveying, or packaging food or other products and you can relate to any of the issues above, please keep EXAIR Corporation in mind as a viable solutions provider. Contact an Application Engineer today and we’ll do our best to help you solve your application problems.

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

The Thing About 100 MPH Fastballs

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an awesome Sunday afternoon at the ballpark. Today, dear reader, I want to write about something completely different: An awesome Tuesday evening at the ballpark. My youngest son and I went with his Knothole Baseball team with tickets purchased through The Kid Glove Way, a charitabler organization that has partnered with the Cincinnati Reds since 1949 to ensure that local youth have equipment to play baseball & softball, regardless of their financial situation.

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The weather was perfect, and my Reds got off to a great start: Leadoff batter Billy Hamilton hit one into the left field corner for a triple. Now, this would have been a double for most any other player – proven out by Reds’ sluggers Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips, who both hit balls in almost the exact same location as the night progressed, and both ended up on second base. But not Hamilton…he’s FAST – the fastest runner in Major League Baseball by most accounts. If you have the opportunity to see this guy run in person (he IS coming right along as a hitter, so the odds are increasing), I highly recommend it…television doesn’t do his speed justice.

The rest of the game dragged on in a pitcher’s duel…not the most exciting spectacle in the wide world of sports…but the crowd took notice when Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman started warming up in the bullpen. “The Cuban Missile” caught a line drive in the eye during Spring Training, which fractured his skull…thing about a 100 mph fastball; it goes the other way just as hard if the batter turns on it well. It was cool to be there for his second game back after recovering from that serious of an injury.

So there we were, top of the ninth inning, score tied 1-1, and Chapman strikes out the first two batters. The Padres’ Chase Headley came to the plate, took a ball, fouled one off, and drove the next pitch over the left field fence. Thing about 100 mph fastballs…

The Reds’ offense came up short in the bottom of the ninth, and they lost. It was still an awesome night at the ballpark with my son, though.

The thing about 100 mph fastballs reminded me of the thing about open ended compressed air blow offs: there’s no way to generate an air flow with a higher force, but that’s not always a good thing. They’re loud, unsafe, inefficient, and wasteful of your compressed air. Conversely, EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products, such as our Super Air Nozzles, Super Air Knives and Super Air Amplifiers, are all specifically designed to use MUCH less compressed air, meet OSHA standards for dead end pressure and permissible noise exposure  and still produce a highly effective air flow for blow off, cooling, drying, etc. Sure; the air flow from these products doesn’t have the force of what you get from an open pipe, but the fact that these engineered products entrain so much “free” air from the surrounding environment into a laminar (as opposed to the open pipes’ turbulence), high velocity flow, make them an ideal choice for most any air blowing application. Not to mention, they’re also much quieter, and ensure compliance with OSHA directives concerning the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes.

The Reds will be in and out-of-town for the rest of the season, trying to solve the different equations for beating different opponents. We’re here every day, looking to help you solve your unique compressed air applications. Batter up!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: www.exair.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: www.facebook.com/exair

Cleaning Honeycomb with a Super Ion Air Knife

This week I worked with a gentleman, who was having a problem cleaning a honeycomb web after a sawing operation. The honeycomb was a paper based material, and the sawing operation would create a large amount of dust. This dust filled his honeycomb, which made the product appear inconsistent to his customer on incoming inspections. This was leading to the customer questioning the quality of the product.

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His process featured a blower that was incredibly noisy and still left some material on the product.  During the winter, the problem was further exasperated by the dry air, which led to the dust being statically charged and clinging to the honeycomb even more.  In spite of his quality and production issues, the customer was looking to expand his production to meet demand. The blower he was using had been custom-made for his machine, so he was open to any ideas. Also, the blower had no way of removing static electricity from the material.

I recommended he use an 84″ Super Ion Air Knife to clean his 80″ honeycomb web. The customer mounted the air knife perpendicular to the surface of the honeycomb 4″ away from the surface. One of my concerns with the operation was creating even flow. To do this on a long span, I recommended he use have the plumbing kit installed at EXAIR, which allows the air knife to create an even flow along the length of the knife y preventing any restrictions which may occur from poorly sized inlet fittings, hose or tube.  The Super Ion Air Knife cleaned the honey comb with ease, while maintaining a quiet 69 dBA, and without the expensive maintenance required by the blower.

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Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

Super Air Knife Replaces Blower Driven Knife

This past week I spoke with a customer who had a blower driven air knife.  They had a slot cast extruder line that was making something similar to a plastic cling wrap.  The process had a blower driven knife which was used to blow the product after it was extruded onto a chilled roll in order to cool the product and convey it to the next point in the process.  The blower driven knife did not have laminar flow and was constantly needing adjustment.  To top all things the blower would pick up particulate from the ambient environment and send it onto the part also.

The customer replaced the blower system and the blower driven knife all with a single Super Air Knife.  The Super Air Knife never needs adjustment and has a laminar flow which permits even pushing of the wrap onto the chilled roller.  The other part of this application that helped the customer is the fact that they no longer have particulate that was getting sucked up by the blower and being blown onto the product and causing defects.  The Super Air Knife is also a smaller footprint than the blower driven knife was so they are able to get closer to their application and have an even more precise air flow going onto the product.

If you have an application where space and laminar flow are the issue feel free to give us a call.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF