Super Air Wipes can Help to Protect a Camera Lens

2403SS

An oil and gas company was using a camera to watch a drilling rig.  During the operation, water and mud could be slung toward the camera lens, and create spots.  An operator would have to leave their position to clean the lens.  Since they were looking for a way to force the water and mud away from the lens, but it had to be clear.  Since air is transparent, they contacted EXAIR for our expertise. 

As an air barrier, customers have used the Super Air Knives to separate material/heat/gases from different areas in similar applications.   But, for this customer, they were interested in the Super Air Wipe; and at EXAIR, we state that there is more than one way to solve a riddle.  With the speed of the water and mud, I was not keen on the ability of how well the Super Air Wipe could work.  So, I decided to test it. 

At EXAIR, we offer customers the option for us to test our products in different applications.  This could also include testing your items with our products.  EXAIR offers an Application Assistance form to help get this started.  If we have the capabilities, we can setup a “mock” system to test and verify, and we can shoot a short video to present the information to you.  This can include conveyance testing, product comparisons, cleaning, cooling; and, for the customer above, air barrier testing. 

Their current operation was using a wiper to clean the glass.  Like with any wiper, material can get wedged under the wiper and cause streaks, and it could scratch the glass lens.  To stop replacing the wiper blade or in some instances, the glass lens; they were looking for a non-contact way to keep the water, sand, mud from the camera lens.  Since it was difficult for them to determine the velocity of the material that would be heading toward the camera, they requested that I use water for my test.  With a 1/4” (6 mm) O.D. tubing, they believed that it could represent a good velocity with a pressure of 20 PSIG (1.4 Bar) and a flow of 30 GPH (113.6 LPH).  This would create a velocity of 9.3 mph (15 kph).  Since the lens had a diameter of 2” (51mm), I recommended the model 2403SS, 3” Stainless Steel Super Air Wipe.  Here is a video of the results with the inlet air pressure at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar).

Water Test

To expand a bit more on the Super Air Wipe, it is designed to blow compressed air in a 360-degree flow pattern.  This air pattern is directed at a 30-degree angle toward the center to blow the debris back away from the camera lens, just like a cone.  The Coanda effect maximizes the entrainment of ambient air into the compressed air.  This makes the unit very efficient and very powerful.  The model 2403SS Super Air Wipe has an I.D. of 3” (76 mm) which gives it enough clearance away from the view of the camera.  It is constructed of 303 stainless steel construction for corrosion resistance with a stainless-steel braided hose that connects the two halves together.  The design is very rugged for outdoor use. 

At EXAIR, we offer a 30-day unconditional guarantee on our stock products for US and Canadian customers to try things out.  But sometimes this may not be enough.  For the customer above, we were able to try something different to verify the effectiveness in keeping the camera lens clean.  And at EXAIR, we will take that extra step to help our customers.  If you have a pneumatic application that requires some additional service, you can fill out the Application Assistance form or contact an Application Engineer.  We will be happy to help you, and perhaps we can put some “focus” on a solution. 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Super Air Knife Protects IR Camera Lens

2016-02-25 10.24.50
The blue compressed air line feeds the Super Air Knife used to keep a camera lens clean.

Our German distributor, Eputec Gmbh contacted me the other day regarding a customer they have been working with to supply 3” Aluminum Super Air Knives for keeping an infrared camera lens clear. The mentioned cameras were supplied with an “air ring” of sorts from the manufacturer, but they consumed a good deal of air and were not effective for the task of keeping the lens area with a clear view of the process it was intended to monitor.

With that, the end customer wanted to improve on this characteristic of their equipment. And so they contacted the technical specialist at Eputec Gmbh to discuss options. After determining the need, they chose a Model BP110003 (3” Aluminum Super Air Knife) to blow away the smoke and other light debris that can tend to float into the view of the camera. A photo of one of the IR cameras with Model 110003 fitted along with a heat shield and an automated lens cap to keep the lens clean when not in use.

Blowing lenses of cameras, sensors, lasers and other similar devices used to monitor process and provide feedback has been one of the more common uses for the Super Air Knife over the years. If you have a similar process that could benefit from using Super Air Knives, contact us and we will be glad to render the same quick service to help you through your application.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR

2” Flat Super Air Nozzle Keeps Lens Clean

camera lens1Camera lens with 1122

Many times we will be contacted by clients who provide vision inspection systems for a variety of industries. These companies are involved in applications to inspect everything from part conformance to product counting to processes to filling applications.

In the first photo above a customer had their vision inspection system set to inspect the filling of a powder material into its container. The problem is that the fine, dusty nature of the product would cause a small cloud to form near the filling point which would end up settling onto the lens area. Over time, so much build up would occur that the vision inspection system was rendered useless.

The customer had a small air jet set up as shown in the photo on the left, above. The problem with their air jet was that it did not provide full coverage across the width of the lens and allowed dust to still settle there. You can see it in the photo. After the customer contacted us and described the situation and the size of their lens, we recommended model 1122 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle with the thinnest shim available which is .005” thick.  The 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle was able to provide an airflow that covered the full diameter of the lens and blast any debris away. In the end, they removed the homemade small air jet assembly and simply blew air across the lens with EXAIR’s nozzle. See photo on the right above.

Vision inspection cameras, lasers, and sensors are found in a variety of dusty and messy environments. Inspection systems on filling lines, sawing applications, weighing machines and grinding applications are just some of the notoriously problematic processes. If you are involved in a process that has trouble keeping the vision inspection lenses clean, the 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle is a great way to mount an engineered solution that won’t run you out of house and home on your compressed air usage. And best of all, it actually does a good job. If your application is slightly bigger, smaller, dirtier etc., EXAIR’s unmatched selection of nozzle and blowoff products can likely provide a solution.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

How to Keep Water Off Your Camera Lens

Over the year that I have worked at EXAIR so far I have had a fair share of calls come in from movie production / filming crews that are looking for ways to keep the camera lenses clean and clear of water during the wet shoots they are doing.  Several film houses and production crews have had exceptional results using our Air Knives.

Let’s say you are shooting a film in the rain, or a pool shot, anything involving liquid flying toward the lens of the camera.  You will probably already have your camera in a protective case, or poncho, to keep it from getting wet but you can’t put anything over the lens to protect it from getting droplets on the lens which will ruin the shot. (Similar to this video of a not so fun track day.)

What the crews will do is mount our Air Knife across the top of the camera lens blowing downward to create a barrier of air for the lens.   This won’t disturb the shot or the focus like a protective sheet of Lexan or glass could.  What the air stream will do is help keep all the droplets off the lens and blow the water away from it. A Super Air Knife or Full Flow Air Knife typically works just fine and doesn’t consume a lot of compressed air or nitrogen.  Which is generally present on most shots or you can get it very easily from a rented compressor.  If the video above would have been a filmed shot from a stationary point the film would have been nice and clear if an EXAIR Air Knife would have been present to blow off the rain.   It could have even turned out something like this.

So if you are filming a movie and debris or water on the lens is a problem just give us a call.  We’ll help you size the appropriate Air Knife for the lens you are using.

Oh yeah. That second video is me.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF