I recently worked on an application with a manufacturer who was having issues with their labeling process. The sticker label is applied to the side of their container by a print roller and then passes by a 6” homemade manifold system with 3 nozzles to help permanently affix it n(see below). They were experiencing irregularities/air bubbles in the label and realized they were getting an uneven airflow which was stronger at each end nozzle but the middle nozzle had very little flow. They were operating at around 80 PSIG and previously tried to lower the pressure but the label would start peeling off. If they increased the pressure they were experiencing tearing and ripping in certain areas of the label. Another issue was the loud noise level. They were having to stop the line and turn off the air so an operator could manually replace the label. They emailed me a picture of the manifold and asked if EXAIR could improve their process.
After reviewing the picture and further discussing their application, I recommended using one of our 6” Aluminum Super Air Knives. The Super Air Knife , with a 40:1 amplification rate (surrounding ambient air to compressed air), provides a high velocity laminar sheet of airflow the entire length of the knife. By continuing to operate at 80 PSIG, the Super Air Knife will produce a velocity of 11,800 feet per minute (6” away from target object) and consume only 17.4 SCFM (2.9 SCFM per inch of knife) with a low noise level of only 69 dBA.
By replacing the manifold, the customer was able to improve their process, decrease their air consumption and increase their personnel’s safety.
If you are experiencing a similar issue or need help with a different compressed air application, please give us a call.
Over the past week I visited a local company here in Cincinnati that utilized a decent number of flat plastic air nozzles on their production lines. This style nozzle had been used for many years but were the reason their engineering department contacted EXAIR. The nozzles they had in place were used in many different applications from ejecting bad parts, holding up box flaps, and even positioning product correctly on the production line. Every nozzle was tied to a regulator somewhere on the machine and all of the regulators were tuned to different pressures.
The customer was experiencing, at certain points during the day, a pressure drop throughout the entire system that would cause packaging lines to shut down due to low air pressure faults. The customer called EXAIR because they determined the plastic nozzles were using too much compressed air and were also a constant maintenance problem. Primarily, they wanted to see if we had a solution to lower compressed air while still achieving the desired production results.
Being local we were able to visit the customer and after discussing the applications we set out through the manufacturing area to discover if we could offer solutions for the problematic areas. We got about 10′ away from a casing machine and I heard a loud hiss of compressed air. This was even with my foam ear plugs in. Once we reached the edge of the machine I was quickly able to trace the sound down to a plastic flat nozzle that had been mounted to the machine, broken and held back in place by a large C clamp like seen below.
As we went through the rest of this production line and the rest of the packaging facility, it was clear the customer had settled on using flat plastic nozzles throughout the plant. Generally we see this because the nozzles are cheap – when you forget to consider operating and maintenance costs. This was not the only broken nozzle being held in place by a clamp and it is also the not the only one that was using more compressed air than necessary.
After finishing the tour and performing some tests here in our lab I recommended that they utilize our 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with a .005″ thick shim installed. By installing the 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle they are going to be able to mount the metal nozzles with minimal modification to their existing setup as well as lower air consumption and noise level. The metal construction makes them more durable and long lasting in an industrial environment. These nozzles will not break when an operator bumps it and the maintenance department will be able to reclaim all the C clamps that are distributed throughout the facility.
Once we have final numbers on how many nozzles have been replaced and what pressures each nozzle is operated at we will provide the customer the air consumption savings as well as the noise level reduction that they are seeing throughout the plant.
The above title proved very true in a work experience of my father’s. After working in the mill for several years, he drew up a new piece of process equipment which would eventually turn in to something that they put in place on the production line. This was all done from his idea that he was able to place on a scrap piece of paper as a drawing. While he wasn’t the decision maker in the process, he was the person who saw what kind of impact this device could have and knew the people he had to get the information to.
That brings me to the topic of this blog, don’t ever think an idea is too small to warrant a reward. This can ring true throughout any type of application, including compressed air. There have been instances where a maintenance worker, or even a new operator, have called in to speak to me here asking what can they do to lower the noise in the work area when they are using the hand held blow gun the company supplies. After talking to them about what they are trying to achieve with the blow gun and how much air they are currently using, we generally find that they can save a good amount of compressed air, lower the noise level, and become OSHA compliant, all by changing this one simple tool. Once they have all the benefits that their company will see from implementing our engineered solution, they can then propose this to the decision makers.
For the most part, companies will at the very least entertain ideas like this. When you back that idea up with some relevant data on how much money the company will save, or the fact that is will make the work environment safer and more enjoyable, then you will more than likely get a little more attention. The main point is to ensure that you are getting that information to the correct person and that you have the correct information. That is one of the many reasons that EXAIR has a full team of Application Engineers who can help you identify how much air you might be using, what products will fit the need, and what kind of benefits your company will see. On top of all the information that we have available for free, we even offer the chance to get compensation for sharing application data with us.
That’s right, we will compensate you for sharing your cost savings, sound level reductions or application improvements, with us. This is all possible through our Case Study program. All you have to do to find out more is contact any Application Engineer. We simply need some photographs of the application and some quantitative data for the benefits you have gained. Don’t know what your current device is using, take advantage of our EXAIR Efficiency Lab, that will give us a good amount of information we need to then, help you solve a problem as well as produce a Case Study.
If you would like to discuss your compressed air systems or how we can help you, please contact us.