EXAIR, Manufacturing Locally Equals Quick Customizations

Dryer with corn cob material

A manufacturing company contacted EXAIR about their metal tube processing. They made industrial precision tubes from start to finish. This would include turning, cutting, coating, washing and drying metal tubes to specific diameters and lengths.

For one specific problem area, they manufactured a tube with the dimensions of 1” (25.4mm) in diameter and 6” (152mm) in length. They would run a batch of 750 tubes through a wash cycle and then through a vibrating dryer with a drying material made from corn cobs. At the bottom of the vibrating dryer, the tubes would fall to an open mesh shaker table to transfer the tubes to Quality Control. The idea was to remove the excess cob material from the surface of the tubes before inspection and to recycle the drying material. But the problem was static.

When non-conductive materials slide, hit, peel, and vibrate; electrons from the surface can move from one atom to another; thus, creating static. The type of material and the amount of movement governs the positive and negative charges, and the amount of static forces.

The corn cob material is a non-conductive material, but what about the metal tubes? Since the metal tubes were coated for corrosion and abrasion protection, the surface is now a non-conductive area which will contain static. Since opposite charges attract each other, the cob material would cling to the outside surface of the metal tubes (reference photo below). Being a precision tube manufacturer, they did not want to send “dirty” tubes to their customers or allow the drying material to contaminate their measuring equipment. And, with the required quality control, the measurements had to be exact.

Tubes with cob material

The shaker table was 8 feet (2.4 meters) long and 2 feet (0.6 meter) wide with rigid walls. The top of the shaker table was covered with a canvas to allow for a vacuum system to collect the excess material and dust. About half way down, there was a 2” (51mm) drop to help jolt additional cob material off of the tubes as they landed. But the static forces were too strong to release the material. Thus, the static had to be removed from the surface, so they contacted EXAIR to see if we could find a solution.

They sent photos of their setup which always helps us to diagnose and find solutions. The target place that they suggested would be near the 2” (51mm) drop as the tubes would be suspended for just a moment. My recommendation was to use a Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to blow ionized air around the tubes as they fell. By blowing air, we can use the non-contact force to remove the static and the cob material at the same time. But we had two issues to overcome. The width was fixed at 2 feet (0.6 meter), and the operation controls were 10 feet (3 meters) away from the mid-section of the shaker table.

Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives

EXAIR stocks many Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives ranging from 3” (76mm) to 108” (2.74meters) in incremental lengths for quick shipments. But our standard 24″ product was not able to fit inside that area nor was the five foot electrical cable long enough to reach the control panel. (As a note, it was important for the operator to be able to manually turn on and off the unit from the control panel.)

EXAIR uses an electromagnetically shielded cable to carry high voltage from our Gen4 Power Supply to our shockless, non-radioactive Gen4 Ionizing Bar. Our  stocked length for our armored cable is 5 feet (1.5 meter). After discussing the amount of movement with the table and the desired distance to the control panel, EXAIR could not use an item off the shelf. But not to worry… Since we are the manufacturer, we have the ability to make a special design for this customer.

Super Ion Air Knife Part Numbering System

I recommended a model 112220-10 special length Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit. (Reference model numbering system above). Specials are non-returnable and non-cancelable, but for this customer, it was exactly what they needed. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives are engineered to efficiently blow ionized air to the target and remove static charge and debris.

For this special model, it was made to a specific width where the Super Air Knife was manufactured to a length of 20” (508mm), and the high voltage cable was lengthened to 10 feet (3 meters). The kit includes the Gen4 Power Supply to power the Ionizing Bar, a filter to clean the compressed air, a regulator to control the force, and a shim set to change force rates. This complete kit had everything required to begin operations to remove static and cob material from their precision tubes. The customer was able to mount the special length Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife within the shaker table and mount the power supply near the control panel.

Static can be an issue even with coated metal parts. For the customer above, EXAIR was able to make a special length Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to work in their system. If you believe that static is causing issues, EXAIR has a great range of Gen4 Static Eliminators to remove that nuisance. You can discuss further with an Application Engineer as EXAIR for help; even if you need a custom product.

John Ball, Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles for Coating, Cleaning, Cooling

A recent customer in the automation / tool making industry had a need to spray a mold release agent onto some specialized tooling. Originally, the customer had planned to use some sort of pressurized sprayer. After some initial tests to prove the concept, the customer found that the moving mechanical parts of the sprayer became fouled by the release agent. And cleaning the internal parts was not easy to do.

No Drip Atomizing Nozzle
No Drip Atomizing Nozzle

In their search for a more permanent solution, the customer came across EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles. After going through some application type questions to narrow the focus down to one model, we determined that the customer would be best served by model AF1010SS (Internal Mix, Flat Fan Pattern Atomizing Nozzle). The customer had a couple of questions about the nozzle in order test the product.

  1. Is it possible to disassemble the nozzle and clean it completely? The answer is yes, the Atomizing Nozzles can be completely disassembled to allow for cleaning, maintenance or replacement of worn parts.
  2. Are the nozzles solvent resistant? The answer is also yes; the Atomizing Nozzles are made of AISI303 type stainless steel and can be cleaned with any normal solvent based cleaner.

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that we went through some application type questions. Here is a list of general questions that we normally ask a customer about their application in order to determine which in our selection would be best suited.

  1. What is the volume of liquid flow (G/Hr) needed for the application?
  2. What is the viscosity (cP) of the liquid being applied?
  3. What are the required spray pattern, size and shape required?
  4. Is the liquid under pressure (by pump or pressure pot)? If so, what is the liquid pressure?
    1. Side note: we have options for non-pressurized liquid by using our siphon fed nozzles.

If you have an application where you have a liquid that needs to be applied in atomized form to a target, or perhaps a humidification application, please give EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles your consideration.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Gen4 Static Eliminators: Cleaning as a Preventative Maintenance

The Gen4 Static Eliminators have been successful for EXAIR because of our robust design and great performance. They are rugged enough to be used in many industrial areas. EXAIR manufactures two styles; with and without compressed air assistance. For both types, preventative maintenance is still required to keep the Gen4 product line functioning optimally. In this blog, I will describe how to clean the points for years of hassle-free operations.

There are two common ways that an anti-static product will start to drift; contamination buildup and emitter point degradation. The degree of buildup is dependent on the environment. To create an ion, we have to apply a high voltage to a fine point. The high voltage is supplied by our Gen4 Power Supplies which generate 5,000 volts from a selectable 115Vac or 230Vac input. As the high voltage is pushed into a fine point; the energy creates a corona field.

Any contamination near or around that point can collect on its tip. The more contamination in the surrounding area, the faster the buildup will occur. Once the point gets coated, the ion production begins to decrease. Before this happens, the points should be cleaned with a soft-bristled brush as a preventative maintenance. Make sure that the power is turned off to the power supply and please do not use any liquid or cleaners on the points.

The second way is caused when the ionizing tips start to lose its sharpness caused by the cycle rate of ion production. Like a wick in a candle, a bit of material is lost over time. To mitigate this, our resistor-based line has replaceable ion points. This feature makes a cost-effective way to keep the points sharp, and the Static Eliminators like new. The video below shows how to clean and replace the ion points.

For any analysis with the Static Eliminators, EXAIR offers a model 7905 Static Meter. The Static Meter can help to find problem areas for best placement for the Gen4 Static Eliminators. It can also help to diagnose any static issues when cleaning is required and to help decide a preventative maintenance schedule. Whether is it a single point or multiple point product, the video above will help you to keep your machines running smoothly.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”   With a maintenance schedule and a soft-bristled brush, you can protect your equipment from many issues with static. This would include machines jamming, difficult alignments, collection of debris, and hazardous shocks. EXAIR has a large line of Gen4 Static Eliminators to remove these static nuisances, and with the cleaning instructions above, you will have years of effective static removal. If static is affecting your operation, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to help select the correct solution.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Product Discovery: Super Air Wipes

Airflow through the Super Air Wipe

The Super Air Wipes provide a full 360° conical airflow that is used to blow-off, cool, clean and dry products. A Coanda profile is designed into the body of the unit to maximize entrainment of ambient air as well as give the precision angle for the air to exit from. This gives the air stream impacting the target zone a 30° angle to the surface in order to provide a substantial shear force for debris removal. This also ensures the large volume of ambient air entrained will all travel the correct direction and not become turbulent before impinging on the surface.

Easy clam-shell installation

To provide ease of installation, a unique clam-shell design was engineered to provide clamp over installation rather than traditional threading methods. This also permits quick changes in size when needed in the rapid product change environments.

Super Air Wipe Family Photo

To meet all the tasks at hand, the Super Air Wipes are offered in two main materials of construction. Aluminum body with brass air fittings, connected with stainless steel hardware, shim and connecting hose for up to 4” (102mm). As well as 303 stainless steel body with stainless steel bolts, shim, the connecting hose for up to 4” (102mm) and fittings. The stainless-steel components give the units better corrosion resistance, higher temperature ratings, and more durability in harsh industrial environments.

EXAIR stocks the aluminum Super Air Wipes with inner diameters from 3/8” (10 mm) for wire and cables up to 11” (279mm) for large pipes and hoses. The aluminum models have a temperature rating up to 400oF (204oC). We also stock the stainless-steel models from ½” (13mm) to 4” (102mm) inner diameters, and they have a temperature range up to 800oF (427oC). If you require different diameters or materials, we can do that as well easily.

Super Air Wipe Kit

The Super Air Wipe kits to help get the most out of the air wipes. A kit will include the Super Air Wipe, a filter, regulator and shim set. The filter will remove bulk liquids and debris from the compressed air to keep the performance optimal. The regulator is used to fine-tune the force provided by the Super Air Wipe. This helps to not over-use the amount of compressed air required for the job.

With a regulator, you can make fine adjustments to get the proper amount of air. For coarse adjustments, you can add shims to increase the airflow and force. They are easy to install on the Super Air Wipes to allow for applications to have more cooling, faster drying, and better removal for tough debris. For cleanliness and control, the Super Air Wipe Kits would be recommended for your application.

Robotic Welder fitted with EXAIR Super Air Wipe

With the creation of the Super Air Wipe, uniform cleaning, cooling, and blowing around the outside of parts is a simple task. You don’t have to worry about a variety of nozzles to target the circumference or a fabricated blow-off device that will waste air and take much time out of your day. A simple purchase of the Super Air Wipe Kit will solve the problem and keep production going. If you need help in selecting the proper size or want to know what material we would recommend for your application, contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

EXAIR Standard Air Knife Keeps Bottles Free From Contaminants

Recently I worked with a customer on an application to remove contaminants from the inside of glass bottles. During production, dust from the ambient environment was collecting inside of the bottles. They needed a way to remove it prior to filling. The solution was to briefly pause the conveyor, pulsing air into the bottles to free any dust that had accumulated. Their problem was that while the dust was blowing out of the bottle without an issue, some of it was settling back down into the bottles.

P_20190502_123926_vHDR_On

The customer needed a way to mitigate the risk of dust particles resettling into the bottles after it was removed. The solution was to install a Model 2012 12” Standard Air Knife to provide a curtain of air across the top of the bottles, catching any freed dust particles and blowing them away from the conveyor.

After noticing positive results, we wanted to take things one step further and help to reduce overall air consumption in the process. The blowoff was achieved with (8) ¼” open tubes operating at a pressure of 80 PSIG. Although they were only operating for a fraction of a second, they still consume a whopping 33 SCFM! Replacing them with Model 1101 ¼” NPT Super Air Nozzles (14 SCFM at 80 PSIG) resulted in compressed air savings of 58%!!

In addition to saving compressed air, the noise level was also dramatically reduced. At just 74 dBA, we’re below the threshold for an 8-hour exposure time for operators according to OSHA. Where earplugs were necessary before, they’re now able to operate safely without the need for PPE to protect their hearing. The second most effective fundamental method of protecting workers, according to NIOSH, is to substitute or replace the hazard with an engineered solution. It’s not possible to eliminate the hazard as a compressed air blowoff was necessary, but the next best step is to replace it with something safer.

HierarchyControls

In addition to complying with OSHA 1910.95(a), the Super Air Nozzle also cannot be dead-ended. In applications for compressed air blowoff with unsafe nozzles, pipes, or tubes, the pressure must be regulated down to below 30 PSIG according to OSHA 1910.242(b). The installation of an engineered compressed air nozzle by EXAIR allows you to operate safely at much higher pressures.

If you have inefficient blowoff processes in your facility, give one of our Application Engineers a call. We’ll be happy to take a closer look at your application and recommend a safe, reliable, engineered solution!

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

Candy Producer Saves $4600 in Compressed Air with EXAIR’s EFC

A few months ago, I took a phone call from a manufacturing engineer who worked at a large candy production facility here in the United States. Extra chocolate was dripping out of the candy molds onto the conveyor belt below.  Within a few hours the belt was dirty enough they would have to stop the line and clean the residual chocolate off the belt. 

The best solution I found was a 72” 316 Stainless Steel Super Air Knife. It worked great when powered at 60 psig inlet pressure. The laminar flow of the Super Air Knife was perfectly suited for this application.  The knife was mounted between the mold and the belt to help solidify and blowoff the excess drips of chocolate. There was one drawback, the Super Air Knife was not needed to blow the belt continuously and the continuous demand was not desirable during peak production.

The simple solution for this was the EXAIR Electronic Flow Control, the EFC minimizes compressed air use by turning off the air when a sensor is triggered. Since there was a 4.5-minute time gap between each mold set this was a great solution. When the photoelectric eye saw a mold, it then told the solenoid valve to open and supply the knife with compressed air for 30 seconds while the mold was open and the excess chocolate would be dripping. See the Savings calculations below;

efcapp

Without using the EFC

(* Using $ 0.25 per 1000 SCFM used)

  • 72” Super Ion Air Knife = 165.6 SCFM @ 60 PSIG
  • 165.6 SCFM x 60 minutes x $ 0.25 / 1000 SCFM = $ 2.48 per hour
  • $ 2.48 per hour x 8 hours = $ 19.84 per 8-hour day
  • $ 19.84 x 5 days = $ 99.20 per work week
  • $ 99.20 per week x 52 weeks =$5,158.40 per work year without the EFC control

 

With the EFC installed (turning the compressed air off for 4 minutes 30 seconds with a 30 second on time = 6 minutes/hour compressed air usage)

  • 165.6 SCFM x 6 minute x $ 0.25 / 1000 SCFM = $ 0.25 per hour
  • $ 0.25 per hour x 8 hours = $ 2.00 per 8-hour day
  • $ 2.00 x 5 days = $ 10.00 per work week
  • $ 10.00 per week x 52 weeks = $520.00 per work year with the EFC control 

$ 5,158.40 per year (w/o EFC) – $ 520.00 per year (w/ EFC) = $4,638.40 projected savings per year by incorporating the EFC.

EFC287x250

This example illustrates, clearly, why choosing the EFC is a good idea. It has the ability to keep compressed air costs to a minimum and saves compressed air for use within other processes around the plant. With this type of compressed air savings, the unit would pay for itself in less than 3 months.

If you would like to see how we might be able to improve your process or provide a solution for valuable savings, please contact one of our Application Engineers.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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Video Blog: Cleaning Gen4 Ionizing Bars

EXAIR’s Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife and Ionizing Bars are a great way to relieve static charges in your products and/or processes.  They are a very powerful, efficient design that will eliminate static charges and require only minimal maintenance to keep them performing at peak efficiency.

Check out the video below to see just how easy it is!

When you are looking for expert advice on your static relief application or any of our safe, quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products give us a call.   We would enjoy hearing from you!

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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