Top Ten Reasons Why EXAIR’s Super Air Knife Is So Super

1. Efficiency – With an air entrainment ratio of 40:1 (literally means it pulls in 40 SCFM of “free” air from the surrounding environment for every 1 SCFM of consumption), compressed air consumption is dramatically lower than any other blow off device.

EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products such as (left to right) the Air Wipe, Super Air Knife, Super Air Nozzle, and Air Amplifier are engineered to entrain enormous amounts of air from the surrounding environment.

2. Laminar air flow – My colleague John Ball did a bang-up job in a video blog explaining the fluid mechanics theory behind this. Operationally, laminar flow is is beneficial because it’s particularly conducive to generating a stripping or sweeping action, as opposed to the turbulent flow from an open blow off, a blower, or a fan.

3. Quiet operation – The high entrainment ratio that makes the Super Air Knife so efficient also makes for amazingly low sound levels. The outermost entrained air creates a boundary layer that attenuates the sound level of the higher velocity, hard hitting center flow.

4. Lengths available – Super Air Knives are stocked in lengths from 3″ to 9ft. Custom lengths can be made if you’re space-limited for installation, and custom shims can be installed if you want to shorten the curtain width of a stock Super Air Knife. Super Air Knives can also be coupled together for even longer lengths.

Air Knife Coupling Bracket Kits are available from stock for Aluminum, 303SS, and 316SS Super Air Knives.

5. Material of construction – No matter how aggressive the environment is, odds are, EXAIR has a Super Air Knife that’ll hold up to it. Durable aluminum models are good to 180°F (82°C). There are also two Types of Stainless Steel to choose from: 303SS for high strength, and 316SS for protection from chloride pitting corrosion & higher strength. Both 303SS & 316SS are good to 800°F (427°C). For exceptionally harsh environments, PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride) constructed Super Air Knives have Hastelloy C-276 hardware & PTFE shims, which are resistant to UV light, inorganic chemicals, solvents, ozone, weather, fungi, chlorinated hydrocarbons, highly corrosive acids, weak bases, and salts. They’re good to 275°F (135°C).

6. Easy installation – Like all of our products, the Super Air Knives – from the 3″ to the 9ft models – are “user friendly” as far as mounting & installation goes. The Model 9060 Universal Air Knife Mounting System makes for quick installation and easy positioning. 24″ to 42″ Super Air Knives need to be plumbed to both ends…if you hard pipe the air supply, the Super Air Knife itself will essentially be as well supported as the piping. The same holds true for longer Super Air Knives with Plumbing Kits installed. 3″ Super Air Knives can even be fitted with Stay Set Hoses, and Magnetic Bases. And the 1/4″-20 tapped holes on the bottom of the body allow for a wide range of mounting solutions…anything you can put a bolt through, really.

The 9060 Universal Air Knife Mounting Systems are perfect for simple, fast installation and positioning.
Yes, that’s a door hinge. No, it wasn’t my idea ( but I kind of wish it was.)

7. Low maintenance – With no moving parts, they’ll run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free, as long as you supply them with clean, moisture free compressed air. Oh, and keep them clean, externally, if they’re in an area where environmental contaminants can build up on the precision finished surfaces that are essential to their air entrainment.

8. Reliability – Hand in hand with #7, no moving parts also means there’s not much that can stop them from working. They can operate continuously, if needed, or you can cycle them on & off as frequently as necessary to keep from using valuable compressed air, except when needed.

EXAIR’s award winning EFC Electronic Flow Control can be set to operate a Super Air Knife (or any of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products) in cycles as low as 0.1 seconds.

9. Static Eliminator option -The laminar, high velocity air flow is ideal for many blow off applications, but if static charge is a problem, an Ionizing Bar can be installed, turning the Super Air Knife into a Super Ion Air Knife:

10. Free stuff – OK; this last one is “super” for a limited time. Order a Super Air Knife between 11/1/22 and 12/31/2022, and get a FREE Safety Air Gun. Click here for details.

If you’d like to find out how the Super Air Knife – or any of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products can help you get the most out of your compressed air system, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Clean Room Certification – ISO 14644

The number of clean room certifications are vast and vary tremendously. ISO 14644 is the most used standard when looking at electronics and pharma manufacturing controlled environments. With this popularity, it has also undergone revisions within the past five years.

No matter the standard, each is divided into classes. The classes are rated from 1 to 9. The class identifies the maximum limit for particulate size and quantity per cubic meter of air. The chart below showcases the size and the quantity breakdown.

Cleanroom Classification Allowable Maximums.

ISO 9 as you can see is the loosest standard. This standard is equivalent to air quality within a city environment. These environments can fit a multitude of manufacturing and are some of the easiest to achieve and abide by. The opposite end of the spectrum, ISO 1 is the strictest and hardest to maintain. There are three main factors when designing for a clean room. These are surfaces, airflow, and employee access.

When selecting surfaces that will be within the environment it is best to choose a surface that will hold up to the level of use as well as not be damaged by the cleaners or solvents being used to ensure the surface is clean. This should carry over into part fixturing and even machine materials of construction as well. This is not always easy and should be a design element to the process and environment.

Airflow within the room is what helps maintain the concentration levels of particulates. Generally, a clean room is positively pressurized to where the pressure within the room is higher than that outside of the room. This results in a positive air exchange, generally this is provided by the HVAC system. Having a system that does not recirculate the air from inside of the room and a substantial filtration system is key. Another type of airflow that can be found within these environments is a blowoff operation for the part or process. When installing a blowoff within a clean room environment it should be confirmed that the materials of construction are compatible with the environment and cleaning processes and that the airflow will not be introducing particulate into the environment which can result in contamination.

Lastly, employee access should be limited to those employees who are trained and necessary to be within the environment. Sometimes if an employee wears the wrong type of deodorant it can effect an entire environment. Even the wrong type of clothing or soap can alter the state of an environment, let alone using a blowoff incorrectly or bringing the incorrect cleaner inside the cleanroom. Access to these areas should be limited and individuals should be well trained to meet the demands of the clean room.

If you would like to discuss your production environment or blowoff application within a clean room, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

What’s So Super About EXAIR’s Super Air Wipe?

When you’re blowing something off with compressed air, one of the first things you want to consider is the size, and shape, of the air flow that’s going to be needed to get the job done. If you’re blowing off individual small parts, we’ve got a variety of Super Air Nozzles that will do the job quietly and efficiently. If it’s a flat plate, sheet, or film, the laminar flow from a Super Air Knife is particularly conducive to creating a stripping/sweeping flow of air, ideal from blowing moisture or debris from flat surfaces.

Let’s say you need to blow off an object from all sides…like a length of hose, tube or pipe, or even an extruded shape. You could position an array of Air Nozzles, Air Knives, or Air Amplifiers around it (there ARE times when that makes sense, but that’s a subject for another day)…or, you could pass it through an Air Wipe.

EXAIR Air Wipe products come in a range of sizes – 3/8″ to 11″ – all of which have a split design, which unlatches easily to eliminate the hassle of having to thread the product through them. Air Wipes up to the 4″ size come with a hose assembly that connects the two halves, so you just need to run one air line to them. If you want to make gross adjustments to the flow & force generated, we offer additional shims, which are easily installed to put the Air Wipe into a whole new range of performance.

These also come in two types: Super, and Standard, Air Wipes. Size for size, performance & dimensions are identical. The difference is all about the materials of construction and temperature ratings. Which one we specify will largely come down to the nature of the environment in which they’ll be installed. In the absence of high heat, or corrosive elements in the environment, the Standard Air Wipe is my recommendation all day, every day. If you need something that’ll stand up to a bit more aggressive conditions, the Super Air Wipes are certainly worth a look.

Additionally, the Super Air Wipes can be fitted with emitter points for static elimination…we call those Super Ion Air Wipes, and they come in 2″ and 4″ sizes.

360° blow off AND fast, efficient static dissipation: EXAIR Super Ion Air Wipe.

EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products are the best choice for quiet, safe, and efficient use of your compressed air. If you’ve got a blow off application you’d like to discuss, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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EXAIR Corporation Puts The “Safety” In Safety Air Guns

One of the most dangerous things you can do is depressurize a line full of a pressurized gas. If the charge pressure is high enough, it’s going to come roaring out, with tremendous force and velocity. Anything in its path is subject to that force & velocity. Objects small enough to become entrained in its flow can become hazardous projectiles. The noise it creates can be literally deafening. If the point of discharge is accidentally jammed against your body, the pressure can get through your skin. As if that wasn’t scary enough, the gas then has a free path inside your body…they call that an embolism, and it can kill you.

Why on earth would anyone want to do that on purpose? Well, it happens every day, in factories, businesses, and homes all over the world, when people operate compressed air operated blow off devices. Of course, there are numerous factors that can drastically reduce the risk of injury associated with compressed air blow off devices.

One of these is mandated by the government. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the outlet pressure of any compressed air device used in industry for cleaning purposes. Keeping the outlet pressure low mitigates the risk of puncturing the skin. There are various methods of compliance with this regulation:

  • Regulate the supply pressure to less than 30psig. This absolutely complies, but it severely hampers your ability to get much done, as the air flow will be too weak to blow off anything but lightweight debris, from a smooth, dry surface, with the device pretty much right up on top of it.
  • Use a device that provides a relief path for the air flow if it was to become blocked or obstructed. EXAIR engineered Air Nozzles are designed to do this…you can supply them with higher pressures but they provide a relief path for the air, meaning they can’t be blocked or dead-ended.
Regardless of the compressed air supply pressure, the design of EXAIR Super Air Nozzles prevents a dangerous pressure from developing at the outlet.

The same regulation – OSHA 1910.242(b) – also addresses the airborne projectile problem by mandating the use of appropriate chip guarding. There are a number of ways to do this as well…chief among these is personnel protective equipment (PPE). At a minimum, you absolutely, positively should be wearing safety glasses with side shields whenever you have a blow off device in your hand (and so should anyone working near you, for that matter). If an operator is blowing off small, sharp shards, an OSHA inspector is probably going to get grumpy if they’re not wearing a full face shield, long sleeves, and maybe even a durable apron. Alternately, the blow off device could also be fitted with guarding as well…something like the Chip Shields that are available for most EXAIR Safety Air Guns. These polycarbonate dish-shaped shields fit on a rigid extension between the Safety Air Gun and the Super Air Nozzle, and can be positioned at an optimal distance to keep solid debris and liquid being blown off away from the operator.

Chip Shields are available for most EXAIR Safety Air Guns (left to right): VariBlast Precision & Compact, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns…
…and others. These are just a few examples of blow off devices that can be successfully fitted with an EXAIR Chip Shield.

Another OSHA Standard – 1910.95(a) is there to protect operators against that literally deafening roar associated with unregulated discharge of compressed air. While cross-drilled nozzles (most easily seen in the lower left hand image above) provide a relief path to keep the outlet pressure at a safe level if they’re dead-ended, they’re still for all intents & purposes, an open-ended blow off…and quite loud. EXAIR Super Air Nozzles reduce the sound level of their air flow by design…the entrained air (which makes them so efficient) also forms a lower velocity barrier layer in the flow, which makes them extraordinarily quiet. In fact, all EXAIR Super Air Nozzles except our largest High Force models comply with OSHA limits for 8 hour noise exposure limits. Most callers that we talk to about applications for those are in areas where hearing protection is mandated anyway…if you need more than 4 pounds of blowing force, you’re probably wearing ear plugs already.

If you use compressed air for cleaning, drying, blow off, etc., you really need to do it safely, and in compliance with published & established safety standards. OSHA WILL fine you otherwise, and, even worse, someone could get hurt. EXAIR Corporation is devoted to helping you get the most out of your compressed air usage, and safe use is key to that. If you have any questions about it, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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