Super Air Wipes For Reliable Blow Off In Harsh Environments

I saw a fake ad on a humor/satire website for a “wood fireplace” recently. The photo showed what looked like a typical home fireplace, except the whole thing – the frame, grill, flue, and chimney – was made of 2×4’s and plywood. It looked to be well crafted and expertly built, and I bet it would have worked great…once.

It was definitely funny…here I am, a week or so later, still getting (and sharing with you, dear reader) a chuckle out of it. There were two takeaways for me: One, I’m easily amused. And two, there is DEFINITELY a reason why many products are made of certain materials. Like, how the fireplace in MY house is made of iron & brick.

…and not just any old bricks, but specially made ones called refractory (or fire) bricks. Because specific material of construction can be VERY important.

Then there’s the EXAIR Air Wipe product line. Our Standard Air Wipes are made of aluminum. They’re fitted with steel hardware, polyester shims, and have a PVC/rubber & brass connector hose assembly. As long as they’re not exposed to anything that’s particularly corrosive, or in a hot environment – they’re rated to 150°F (66°C) – they’re going to work just fine.

EXAIR Standard Air Wipe family. Sizes up to 4″ (102mm) come with a connector hose. Larger sizes must be plumbed with compressed air to the supply port on each half.

For more aggressive conditions in the Air Wipe’s area of installation, though, we’ll consider the Super Air Wipe:

  • We offer the body in two different materials: aluminum is good for up to 400°F (204°C), stainless steel is good to 800°F (427°C).
  • Either way, it comes with stainless steel hardware & shims, and a braided SS connector hose.
EXAIR Super Air Wipe Family. Sizes up to 4″ (102mm) come with a SS braided connector hose. Same as the Standard Air Wipes, 5″ (127mm) and larger Models are individually plumbed to each half. Aluminum bodies come in sizes from 3/8″ (10mm) to 11″ (279mm), and Stainless Steel bodies go from 3/8″ (10mm) to 4″ (102mm).

Here are some prime examples of the “more aggressive conditions” that are great fits for the Super Air Wipe:

  • Blowing off seawater from mooring cables on oceangoing vessels:
Reeling in this cable through an unprotected hatch carried seawater into the reel compartment. A Model 2404SS 4″ SS Super Air Wipe now dries the cable as it enters, solving a number of corrosion & maintenance problems.
  • Removing cutting oil from machined parts:
EXAIR Model 2407 7″ Aluminum Super Air Wipes remove cutting fluid from CNC machined parts. The oil-based fluid was contaminating robotic welders’ cover windows & lenses, which cost a lot of time (in cleaning the windows & lenses), and money (to replace the windows as the fluid attacked them, causing them to cloud & haze).
  • Cooling extruded tubing:
Tubing coming out of extruder was hot & pliable, and would slump or sag upon exit. An EXAIR Model 2401 1″ Aluminum Super Air Wipe cools it to prevent it from slumping, which made it so crooked it had to be tossed out as defective.
  • Blow off AND creating an environmental barrier:
An EXAIR Model 2404 4″ Aluminum Super Air Wipe not only blows off a steel rod during processing, it also contains smoke and oil mist from the machinery.

Super Air Wipes come in sizes from 3/8″ (10mm) to 11″ (279mm) with the Aluminum bodies, and 3/8″ (10mm) to 4″ (102mm) in Stainless Steel. Kits include a Shim Set to make gross adjustments to the flow & force, an Automatic Drain Filter Separator to keep the air supply clean & moisture free, and a Pressure Regulator to “dial in” the performance. If you have a particular application you’d like to discuss, or to find out more about our Air Wipes (or any of our engineered compressed air products, for that matter,) give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
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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

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

Line Vac Cleans Up a CNC Sawing Application

A machine shop facility contacted me about an issue they were having with metal chips. Their operation used CNC saw machines to cut metal products of various types and sizes to specific lengths.  They used belt conveyors that were fitting inside the CNC machines to remove the excess chips to a recycle bin.  The cut pieces were then ejected from the CNC machine for the next operation.  The issue was when they would cut tubing.  For the solid pieces, the conveyors inside the CNC machines would work great to remove the chips.  But with hollow stock, the inside of the tube would catch majority of the chips.  So, when the part was ejected, chips would accumulate on the outside of the CNC saw machine.

To solve this problem, I recommended a model 151150 Threaded Heavy Duty Line Vac with a model 9034 solenoid. The reason for the Heavy Duty Line Vac is because it is made of a hardened alloy that is resistant to the abrasion of the metal chips.  The 1 ½” NPT threaded ends made it easy to attach rigid pipe to both ends.  The vacuum end would remove the chips from inside the tube, and the transfer end would send the chips to the recycle bin.  Also, with the controls on the CNC machine, the user could send a signal to the solenoid valve to only operate during cutting operations.  (An added benefit to save on compressed air.)  In his setup, we attached the Heavy Duty Line Vac to the CNC saw machine.  It would ride along with the motion of the saw.  As the saw was cutting, the Heavy Duty Line Vac vacuumed the chips from inside of the tube.  As the saw blade retracted, the Heavy Duty Line Vac would retract as well.  This opened the area for the part to be ejected except now there were no chips accumulating outside of the machine.

Heavy Duty Line Vac
Heavy Duty Line Vac

Keeping work areas clean and recovering debris as it is produced results in a more efficient process and a safer environment. If you every need to bounce some ideas for solving problems like with the customer above, you can always contact an Application Engineer to see if we can help you resolve the issue.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_JB

Here’s what the Freon-based Air Conditioner Manufacturers Won’t Tell You

Many times when we are asked to make a comparison of our Cabinet Cooler Systems to Freon-based Cooling Systems for electrical panels, the customer only wants to know what the energy consumption will be as this is their only focus.

But what most Freon cooling system owners don’t seem to be concerned about, until it is too late, is the maintenance headache that Freon-based cooling systems present to their maintenance schedule, personnel and production schedule.  Below is just one example of what a typical industrial Freon-based Cabinet Cooling system user must go through each month just to keep their panels cool enough to keep production going.

A Freon cooling system user contacted me about a problem they have with their existing units. The setting is a machine shop located somewhere in Indonesia where the temperatures can exceed 40°C and Relative Humidity Levels around 85%. They have 4 units keeping a bank of panels cool for a transfer line which includes CNC machining centers. Photo showing coolers installed below.

AC 3 and 4 Cleaning (6)
Freon Panel Coolers on Transfer Line

The problem they have is that the dirt, dust and coolant which are present, deposit on the internal workings of the Freon Coolers, reducing their cooling efficiency to a point where over-heat condition becomes a problem. This occurs so frequently that the customer is having to completely remove and clean all 4 Freon cooling units for a full 8 hour shift, 1 day every month. That’s almost 3 weeks of lost production per year!  Obviously, that is a huge drag on the customer’s productivity.

Dirt and Coolant collect on inside reducing cooling efficiency

And so, a certain amount of buyer’s remorse pervades for those folks who own and have to maintain Freon system just to keep their production up and running.

So, what does EXAIR offer?  EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler Systems offer the customer freedom from all of this downtime, maintenance and loss of productivity. How?

  1. We are selling reliability with our Cabinet Cooler systems. No maintenance is required on the cooler system or on the cabinet to which it is installed. Because there are no moving parts to wear out. A simple, periodic check on a compressed air filter element is all that is necessary.
  2. We are selling the fact that our Cabinet Cooler Systems maintain a positive pressure on the customer’s panel. This condition keeps all of this dirt, coolant spray and any other contamination out due to the positive pressure that is placed on the panel while the Cabinet Cooler System is operating. Air is always moving from inside the panel to the outside, so dust, dirt and other debris never has a chance to enter through vents or other openings.
  3. We are selling longevity with our Cabinet Cooler Systems. Because there are no moving parts, the life span of EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems is in the range of 20+ years. The Freon based systems operating under these mildly harsh conditions will last 5 years at most. So in the life span of one EXAIR Cabinet Cooler, the Freon cooling system user will have been through at least 4 different units during that time. And still have all the monthly maintenance hassle come along with it.

The general point I wish to make with this real-world example is to think about the total cost of ownership when considering your next panel cooling system purchase. It is not all about energy consumption. Energy use is important, but by no means should that be your only consideration when deciding on what type of panel cooling system is right for you as the person charged with keeping the overall production line up and running.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager