Super Air Knives Remove Water from Knee Replacement Parts

EXAIR’s Super Air Knives are the go to when you need to dry your parts as they’re traveling along a conveyor. The high velocity, laminar airflow from the Super Air Knife does a fantastic job of stripping away moisture, leaving your part dry for the next stage of the process. With models available in both 303 & 316 Stainless Steel, Aluminum, and polyvinylidene fluoride and at lengths ranging from 3″-108″, there’s a knife for every application.

I was recently working with a customer that manufactures knee replacement devices. He was designing a new blowoff station to eliminate having to have operators manually dry the parts after a washing operation. He created a test rig to test out his theory of using Super Air Knives. While conducting his tests, he was having issues completely removing the water from the parts. Due to some of the grooves and pockets, the underside was not drying in one pass. This led to him having to manually blow the parts off after they exited the basket. This would not be acceptable as the purpose was to remove the operator from this part of the process. After taking a look at some photos of the setup, I noticed that he had the knives angled so that the airflow was blowing perpendicular to the parts. In doing this, the amount of time that the part is exposed to the airflow is greatly reduced. In any blowoff application, maximizing the time & contact that the part has with the airflow is critical in maximizing effectiveness. By angling the knives so that the parts were exposed to the airstream just as they exited washing, he was effectively able to dry the parts in one pass.

Optimized-IMG_20170313_133531

Improper Positioning of Super Air Knives

We’re frequently contacted by customers who may have the right product for the application, but are not seeing the results they expected. EXAIR has a highly trained team of Application Engineers that are ready and waiting to help you optimize your installation. In addition, EXAIR offers an unconditional 30 Day Guarantee on all stock products. We want you to have an opportunity to test the product out in your application before committing to the purchase. In doing this, we have the unique opportunity to work with you as you troubleshoot the application. If you have an EXAIR product installed and still aren’t seeing the results you expect, give us a call. We’d be happy to look into your setup and determine if there’s anything that can be done to enhance the performance.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer

E-mail: tylerdaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Cleaning A Cookie Cutter Die Using A 24″ 316SS Super Air Knife

I recently worked with a food manufacturer who was looking for a way to clean the die roller in their cookie cutting process.The cutting machine is fed by a ribbon of extruded dough that is cut into various shapes as it passes by a 24″ wide roller. After the cookies are cut, the finished product then travels down a chute to a feed tray where it is conveyed to a packaging area. They were starting to see an increase in rejects as some cookies were being “double stamped” as a result of residual dough sticking to the die. They tried to install a brush traveling the span of the roller in an effort to wipe it clean but this wasn’t very effective and also caused some contamination as some of the bristles would break loose. They then tried having an operator use an air gun to manually clean the roller and while this did work, it severely slowed the process down, reducing production and negatively affecting their bottom line.

That’s a lot of cookie cutters!

After discussing the details of the application, I recommended the customer use our 24″ 316ss Super Air Knife in the application. The Super Air Knife produces a laminar sheet of air across the length of the knife and consumes only 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife length when operated at 80 PSIG. The 316ss construction resists pitting and is the preferred choice when being applied to a food process as it minimizes the potential for metal contamination.

SS Super Air Knife available in lengths from 3″ up to 108″

When it comes to wide area treatment, an Air Knife is the optimal choice. If you have a similar application that requires assistance, please contact an Application Engineer at 1-800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Largest collection of cookie cutters I’ve ever seen image courtesy of Steven-L-Johnson via Creative Commons license.

 

If at First You Don’t Succeed Try, Try Again!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going back and forth with my phone provider over some technical issues I’ve been having with the device. After some troubleshooting, we were able to conclude that the antenna has likely become loose, leading to the phone periodically not receiving service. Naturally, we’re outside of the 1-Year “Warranty” period that covers a defective device. I paid my insurance deductible and received a “refurbished” phone the following day. Unfortunately, this refurbished phone was unable to take pictures with the front-facing camera. I know what you’re thinking, how on Earth can I take selfies without a front-facing camera? So it was back to the phone provider to get another replacement, fortunately this time they sent a brand new device.

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get something to work right out of the box, only to experience issues. Whenever a customer is having an issue with a particular product, there’s a certain progression that we go through in order to assess the problem and determine the root cause. In some cases it is something simple, others it can be a few individual problems that are compounding each other. I recently assisted a customer that was having problems with his 110 Gallon Reversible Drum Vac System. He was having difficulty pumping water out of a container and into the 110 gallon drum. He stated that he just received the unit and was unable to get it to work.

RDV pic

EXAIR’s Reversible Drum Vac installed on a 110 Gallon Drum

This is a call that we get from time to time, and is generally remedied pretty quickly. Our first step is to check the air pressure at the inlet of the Reversible Drum Vac while it is operating. We recommend an inlet pressure of at least 80 PSIG for proper operation. By installing a pipe tee with a pressure gauge directly at the unit, we can not only verify the inlet pressure but also that the Reversible Drum Vac is being supplied with an adequate volume of compressed air. If the pressure on the gauge begins to decrease once the unit is in operation, we can conclude that the volume of compressed air to the Reversible Drum Vac is insufficient. This can be due to the use of restrictive quick disconnect fittings, improper line size, or a compressor that is undersized.

If the air supply is sufficient, we then inspect the system for vacuum leaks. If the drum does not have a complete seal, the system will not function. If there’s no vacuum leak and there is an adequate supply of compressed air, the Reversible Drum Vac likely needs to be cleaned. It took us a few tries to get there but through a little bit of trial and error, we were able to determine that this was exactly the case in this scenario. Even though the system was new, it had been supplied with compressed air that was not properly filtered. Some scale, rust and debris from the customer’s supply lines made its way into the body of the Reversible Drum Vac, impeding the flow of air. Here is a video that shows the cleaning procedure for the Reversible Drum Vac. Over time the Reversible Drum Vac can accumulate debris inside of the plenum chamber. Regular maintenance of the unit will ensure that it stays within specifications for when it’s needed most!

If you have an EXAIR product that’s not performing as well as it used to, give us a call. One of the Application Engineers will be able to walk you through the steps to ensure that you’re getting the most out of our products!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: tylerdaniel@exair.com
LinkedIn: @EXAIR_TD

Super Air Wipes Help a Swiss CNC Machine to be More Accurate

Precision Required

As machined parts require tighter tolerances, machine shops are starting to look at Swiss-type CNC machines.  These types of machines are extremely accurate and very fast in producing small parts.  But in order to reach that level of accuracy, the bar stock may have to be pre-treated by a centerless grinder.

Our customer was using Swiss-type CNC machines with guide bushings to produce a very tight-tolerance part.  Because they were using guide bushings, the outside diameter of the bar stock had to be smooth and concentric.  This helps to reduce any vibration when machining.  A centerless grinder was used to accomplish this.  The bar stock that they used was 10 feet long and it was placed into a bar feeder.  They had to grind the bar to an outer diameter of 30mm with a surface finish of 32Ra.  As they were loading the bar stock, they noticed that the surface finish was scuffed and marred.  This was enough to affect the machining process and not meet the tolerance standard.

As they reviewed the possible causes, they found that after the bar was ground, some grinding remnants were sticking to the outside of the bar.  As the rods were leaving the grinder and placed onto a roller-type conveyor, the oily film and metal shavings were sticking to the rollers.  This would scrape and mark the rods as they traveled along the conveyor toward the Swiss-type machining center.  As an attempt to remove this debris, they attached two copper tubes to blow compressed air onto the top and bottom of the bar.   Not only was this loud and inefficient, it was not effective.  They still had a dirty line along the sides of the rod that remained.  They contacted EXAIR to see if we could help them with this dilemma.

In order to get a consistent blow-off force around the entire circumference of the rod, EXAIR Air Wipes were engineered to be an ideal solution for this kind of problem.  I recommended the model 2482 Standard Air Wipe Kit.  The Standard Air Wipe 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 off of the bar stock.  The Coanda effect maximizes the entrainment of ambient air into the compressed air.  This makes the unit very efficient and powerful.  The model 2482 Standard Air Wipe has an I.D. of 2” (51mm) which gives it enough clearance for the 30mm bar stock.  It can be mounted easily near the exit of the centerless grinder to keep the grinding remnants inside the machine.  The kit includes a filter, regulator, and shim set.  The filter will remove contaminants from the compressed air system to keep from introducing any new grime and to keep the inside of the Air Wipe clean and functional.  The shim set and regulator provide the ability to adjust the air to the ideal force level and remove any debris from the surface of the bar.

Standard Air Wipe with Shim Set

As they removed their home-made copper tubes and attached the Standard Air Wipe, they noticed some great improvements.  The dark lines of debris previously along the sides of the bar stock were gone.  The surface was clean around the entire circumference of the bar.  The customer also noticed that the Standard Air Wipe was much quieter than their home-made solution, as it only has a decibel rating of 77 dBA.  As an added benefit, the Standard Air Wipe was using much less compressed air than the copper tubes.  This is due to its design to maximize the amplification ratio.  With more of the “free” ambient air than the compressed air being moved over the target area, it will save money in compressed air usage.  The ROI could be less than four months.

If you have any items that need to have a 360 degree blowing pattern, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see if a Standard Air Wipe could work for you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb
Picture: External-Micrometer-Screw-Gauge by Emilian Robert Vicol.  Creative Commons license

Maintenance Free And Proud Of It

Caller: Do you sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, but…why?

This is a WAY oversimplified summary of the start of a popular conversation that an EXAIR Application Engineer might have with a caller looking to restore a particular product to proper operation. Truth is, most of our products have no moving parts, and if you supply them with clean, dry air, they’ll run maintenance free, darn near indefinitely. We’ve documented this in specific cases regarding a Reversible Drum Vac from 1999, a Vortex Tube from 1987, and a Cold Gun from 1985.

Product & year of manufacture, from top left: Reversible Drum Vac (1999,) Cold Gun (1985,) Vortex Tube (1987.) All still performing within factory specifications.

Product & year of manufacture, from top left: Reversible Drum Vac (1999,) Cold Gun (1985,) Vortex Tube (1987.) All still performing within factory specifications.

Caller: So…DO you sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, but…only when necessary.

It’s important to note that none of the products mentioned above needed any parts replaced to return to service. Sometimes, a good cleaning is all that’s required. We can help you with a video tutorial if you want to know how to restore a Reversible Drum Vac, an Air Knife, or an Atomizing Spray Nozzle, for instance.  And we’re making new videos all the time for product maintenance, operation, tips & tricks, etc.

Caller (again): So…you DO sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, of course!  I mean, who wouldn’t sell rebuild kits for their products?

Take our Safety Air Guns, for example. We offer Service Kits, if the trigger and/or internal valve of a Soft Grip or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun starts to wear or leak, it’s super easy to replace. We’ve also got replacement springs for the “fail shut” feature of the ball valve of a Super Blast Safety Air Gun. Just about anything else that could be wrong with a Safety Air Gun’s performance can be addressed by cleaning the nozzle.

We also recently added Rebuild Kits for our Atomizing Spray Nozzles to inventory. These contain all of the seals (and moving parts, for the No-Drip models) to restore an EXAIR Spray Nozzle to rated performance.

Keep your EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzle (left) in perfect working order with a simple & inexpensive Rebuilt Kit (right of the nozzle.) Contact an Application Engineer to select the one for your product.

For other products, we can also provide replacement gaskets & seals for the Reversible Drum Vac & Chip Trapper products, O-rings for the Line Vacs, Chip Vacs, and Heavy Duty Dry Vacs, new elements for Filter Separators & Oil Removal Filters…just to name a few.

Bottom line: if your EXAIR product isn’t performing the way it used to, give me a call.  It will be my pleasure to help you get it working like new, so that you can continue to get the most out of it.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Stainless Steel Line Vac turns Super Sack into a Large Vacuum Bag

LV PE pellet application2

I had an interesting application from a guy in Kuwait who worked at a plastics plant. They worked with polyethylene pellets for molding processes. In his introduction, the customer said he was looking for something like our Chip Vac product but he wanted to use it with a super sack platform that they elevate up to a high position to allow for cleaning in and around their silos. I mentioned to him that we do have the Chip Vac available to work with a 110 gallon drum. His response was that he knew about that but was not interested as they were set up to move the larger super sacks around their plant. You can see one such set-up in the above photo.

His problem was that he needed a quick and easy way to get the loose PE pellets into his super sack without using a broom and shovel. We had just the solution.

Many years ago when we introduced the Chip Vac product, we did so as a result of customers who knew about our Line Vac but wanted it to be used on a drum. So, we adapted the Line Vac to have the proper, 2 NPT threads necessary to screw into the larger of the two holes in the top of a typical drum. In this situation, we were working the development that we did so long ago in reverse. So, it was a very easy recommendation to set the customer up with a Line Vac to aid in the vacuuming up of the polyethylene pellets and do so in the manner the customer wanted.

After a little discussion to sort out the type of material and the size Line Vac that the customer wanted, we ended up settling on a 1-1/2” Stainless Steel Line Vac Kit, model 6963. The 1-1/2” size allowed for easy connection of a standard size vacuum hose for easy manipulation around the clean-up area. The customer opted for the stainless steel over an aluminum unit as they wanted to be absolutely certain that the product could stand up to their typically rough conditions. He also wanted the kit so he could mount the Line Vac to his platform and have clean, dry air going to the Line Vac to keep it running well for a longer time. Below is a rough sketch of the customer’s idea about how to marry the Line Vac to his super sack platform.

 

LV setup

You can notice from the sketch that the customer already had his filtration system thought out to allow the conveying airflow back out of the bag.

The key to this application and the feature that I want to point out is the adaptability of the Line Vac to fit into just about any application. We do have the Industrial Housekeeping products available for ready to use solutions. But, if you have a similar situation where you have part of your “system” that you like for one reason or another, we’re more than willing to discuss what you have at your facility to help you best determine how we can implement a solution that you are happy with. Likewise, if we feel that there is a better way to approach your application, we will be sure to let you know that too!

Give us a ring or send us an e-mail to discuss the specifics of your application today. We’re here to help.

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

Thank You For The Video Ideas

Over the past month or so I have been doing some update projects at home.  Tearing out wood paneling, drywalling, and even tearing out some old tile to install new inside of an entryway.  While I have helped with drywall before it was when I was 16 and let’s just say that the details are a little fuzzy on the right way to do quality drywalling.  Instead of calling a professional in, I looked to my readily available options on where to find information.  I reached out to friends and family that I knew had experience with it and then I turned to the internet.

One simple search for “How to tape and mud drywall” or any combination of those words and I was spoon fed hundreds of videos that showcase how many different people go about the process. (Some professional, some not so professional.)   I never like to watch just one so I checked out a dozen or so and decided to give it a go.  The point is, I didn’t spend time reading through instructions or finding books on the matter,  I went to people that I knew had the knowledge then straight to videos for help.  This is why I want to thank all of our customers who have ever asked the question “do you have a video on that?”.

Customer inquiries and FAQs are where a good number of our video topics on our blog and YouTube channel are generated.   A simple search on our blog for video will show all of the tips and tricks videos that the EXAIR Application Engineers have released over the past handful of years.   This count continues to go up as a new video is released every month since 2011. We currently have 54 EXAIR product related videos on our blog. Our YouTube channel features additional videos for product categories and some humorous (subjective, we know) videos from Professor Penurious.

Blog Search.PNG

Click on the image above to see all of our “Video Blog” entries. 

If you have a topic you would like to discuss or something you think would make a good how to video for us, contact us and tell us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

 

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