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.
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.
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.