EXAIR Super Air Knives Helps Keep Labels on the Bottles.

Super Air Knife Blower Air Knife

Sometimes you need more power.  I received a phone call from a bottling facility that was currently using a blower style type of air knives.  They increased their production rate from 220 bottles/min to 300 bottles/minute, and they started to see issues in the labeling process.  Their operation consisted of a wash cycle, rinse cycle, drying cycle, then labeling.  They determined that the bottles were not getting dry enough during the drying cycle before the labels were applied.  They had a VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) for the blower system, and they reached the maximum rate.  Still the bottles were not getting dry enough to allow the label to stick to the surface properly.  This meant that they would have to increase the size of their blower system.  With the capital cost of a blower system, they decided to call EXAIR to see if we could help them with the drying application.

Compressed air is the best way for establishing a strong blowing force.  Instead of air pressures in the range of inches of water, the compressed air system can generate over 40 times the amount of pressure than a typical blower system.  EXAIR products uses this power of the compressed air to give you a wide range of blowing forces for drying, cooling, or moving products.  For the above application, I recommended two model 110212 Super Air Knife kits.  The kit includes the Super Air Knife, a filter, a regulator, and a shim set.  They mounted one knife on each side of the bottles to blow off and remove the liquid after the rinse cycle.  Even at the increased bottle speeds, the EXAIR Super Air Knives had no issues in keeping the bottles dry.  With the regulator and the shim, it was easy for them to dial in the correct amount of force without using excess compressed air.  The labels remained glued and the bottling process ran smoothly.  Because the company was impressed by the Super Air Knives, they wanted to comment on the comparisons between the blower knife and the Super Air Knife.

  1. Cost:
    1. Blower System – The reason for contacting EXAIR. Blower-type air knives are an expensive set up.  They require a blower, ducting, and a knife.  To have any flexibility, a control panel with a VFD will be needed.
    2. Super Air Knife – It is a fraction of the cost. With their system, we were roughly 1/10 the cost; even with the kit.  No capital expense report would be needed for the two air knives.
  2. Installation:
    1. Blower System – They stated that it took them a week to install the entire system before they were able to operate. They had to run electrical wires, controls, ducting, and they even had to change the conveying system slightly to accommodate the blower size.
    2. Super Air Knife – They mounted the filter and the regulator on the conveyor, and ran tubing to the Super Air Knives. Even with a fabricator making a bracket to fit into their system, they had the system up and running is less than two hours.
  3. Size:
    1. Blower System – The foot print of the blower is large and it takes up floor space. The 3” ducting had to be ran to an oversized air knife.  With the congestion of the bottle system, it made it difficult to optimize the position and the blowing angle to adequately dry the bottles.
    2. Super Air Knife – With the compact design, the Super Air Knife packs a large force in a small package. It has a footprint of 1 ¾” X 1 ½” X 12” long.  The air knife only required a ¼” NPT compressed air line to supply the compressed air.  It opened up the floor space as well as the bottling area.
  4. Maintenance:
    1. Blower System – The blower filter had to be changed regularly, and system had to be checked. Being that the blower motor is a mechanical device, the bearings will wear and the motor will fail over time.  These items should be checked quarterly as a PM which increase the cost to run the system.
    2. Super Air Knife – No moving parts to wear out. The only maintenance would be to change the filter once a year.
  5. Versatility:
    1. Blower System – They did have a VFD to control the blowing force. But it was still very limited.  With a 36% increase in the bottle speed, they went beyond the maximum capacity of the blower.
    2. Super Air Knife – With a regulator and the shim set, the blowing force can be controlled easily from a breeze to a blast. With their application, the customer only required 40 psig with a standard 0.002” shim to clean and dry the bottles.  They had the option to adjust the regulator or change the shim to get the appropriate amount of blowing force.  So, with any changes in the bottling operations, the Super Air Knife could easily be adjusted.  Also, with the blowing force being optimal from a distance of 3” to 12” from the target, they had more flexibility in angle and distance to hit the moving target.
  6. Quiet:
    1. Blower System – With the blower and turbulent air flow, the units are very loud. It had a sound level near 93 dBA, and with the operators working around the system, they needed PPE to protect them from the high potential of noise induced hearing loss.
    2. Super Air Knife – These units are very quiet. At 40 PSIG, the sound level is only at 61 dBA.  (Even operating at a pressure of 100 PSIG, the sound level is only 72 dBA).  This was very nice for the operators to work around as it wasn’t a constant noise nuisance.

In using the compressed air, the Super Air Knives are engineered to be very efficient.  The design creates a 40:1 amplification ratio which means that for every 1 part of compressed air, 40 parts of the ambient air is entrained.  But, even with the use of compressed air, the customer still wanted to share the ease of installing, the effectiveness of blowing, and the improvements to their process.  With the 6 points noted above, the customer wished that they would have contacted EXAIR at the beginning.

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

Two Birds With One Stone (and A Shim)

Blowing off bottles is such a popular application for the EXAIR Super Air Knife, it’s been featured on the cover of our Catalog…several times…and is the “banner” pictures on the Super Air Knives page on our website:

This always makes me thirsty for orange soda.

I had the pleasure of helping a caller from a bottling plant recently with just such an application.  Thing is, they run a couple of different size bottles, and it’s not a very big facility…they didn’t want to, or have room to, install different lengths of Air Knives, and also didn’t want to waste air flow when they were running the shorter bottles.

9″ Air Knives were required for the taller bottles, but their shorter bottles were a little under 6″ tall.  They had considered buying both 6″ and 9″ Air Knives, but called me to see if there was a less expensive, and possibly, easier way.  (There is!)

EXAIR makes, and stocks, every product in our 208 page catalog right here in this building in Cincinnati, Ohio.  We also make custom parts when the need arises…and custom Air Knife shims were the solution to this customer’s application.

By installing two Model 110009 9″ Aluminum Super Air Knives, one on either side of the conveyor (just like the photo above,) they’re able to blow off the taller bottles.  When they run the shorter bottles, they change out the shims for ones that limit the flow to a 6″ curtain.

So…for a little under $50.00 (2017 cost for those custom shims,) they’re going to save almost $550.00 per year in compressed air costs – AND make sure that their compressed air system is optimized & available for other loads throughout the plant.

EXAIR offers the Super Air Knife in lengths from 3″ to 108″, with a 0.002″ shim installed.  They’re ideal for most industrial and commercial blow off applications, right out of the package.  If your application calls for something a little “outside the box,” you may only be a shim away from success.  If you have such an application, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

EXAIR Standard Air Knife: Overview

Standard Air Knife

EXAIR manufactures three different styles of Air Knives; Super, Standard, and the Full Flow.  In this excerpt, I am going to discuss the Standard Air Knives.

The Standard Air Knife uses a Coanda profile for blowing.  The Coanda effect was named after a Romanian aerodynamic pioneer, Henri Coanda where he found a fluid phenomenon.  He stated that “a jet of fluid emerging from an orifice to follow an adjacent flat or curved surface and to entrain fluid from the surroundings so that a region of lower pressure develops” (1).  Being that air is a fluid, it will react in the same manner.

How the Standard Air Knife Works

The EXAIR Standard Air Knife creates a high velocity air stream along an engineered profile.  So, as the air “hugs” the profile, a low pressure is created which will draw in ambient air.  What does this mean for you?  It will use less compressed air to save you money.  For the Standard Air Knife, it has an amplification ratio of 30:1.  (For every 1 part of compressed air, 30 parts of ambient air is drawn into the stream).  This design makes the product very efficient.  We can use less compressed air and bring in more of the free ambient air to create a strong blowing force.

We make the Standard Air Knife in various lengths from 3” to 48” (76mm to 1219mm).  We make the air knives in two different materials, aluminum and stainless steel.  The unique design is very compact; so, it can fit into tight places for blowing and cooling.  The aluminum version uses plastic shims to set the gap.  They come standard with a 0.002” shim installed.  We have additional shims to make the Standard Air Knife more versatile.  The shim set includes a 0.001”, 0.003”, and a 0.004” thickness shim for applications that may require a small breeze up to a strong blast of air.  The shims are color coded for easy verification.  The stainless steel Standard Air Knife comes with a stainless steel shim for higher temperatures or chemical resistance.

Standard Air Knife Kit

We do offer the Standard Air Knives in kits for a more complete package.  It comes with a filter, regulator and the above mentioned shim kit.  The filter removes the debris and water from the compressed air line to optimize the performance of the air knife as well as keeping your product clean.  The regulator is used to make “fine” adjustments to the blowing force.  The shim set is used as a “coarse” adjustment to the blowing force.  Together, you can “dial” in the right amount of air required to do the job without wasting compressed air.

Universal Mounting System

For easy mounting, we do offer a Universal Air Knife Mounting System.  This kit is used to position your air knife securely and precisely.  It comes with a bracket and an articulated arm that can reach up to 30” (762mm).  You can orient the Standard Air Knife in any position to maximize the effectiveness.

With the today’s cost to make compressed air, it is important to do it as efficiently as possible.  The Standard Air Knife has the ability to give you the effective blowing for removing debris, drying parts, or cooling objects without using a large amount of compressed air.  As an additional feature, the Standard Air Knife only has a sound level of 83 dBA at 80 psig (5.5 bar).  So, in using this EXAIR product, you are not creating a noise nuisance in the work environment.  If you have any questions about the Standard Air Knife or if you would like to discuss an application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.

 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

(1) from Wikipedia

Super Air Knife Removes Excess Water from Produce Totes

I recently worked with a customer that had an issue with residual moisture left on the outside of some plastic totes used to house produce. The produce went through a washing station and some of the residual water was ending up on the outside of the crate, most notably the top. After the totes were filled and weighed, they were placed on a conveyor to be labeled and processed. The residual water on top of the crate was causing an issue when the machine applied the label. These labels would slide off further down the line, resulting in an inability to recognize the tote. This causes a halt in production and the contents must be identified and relabeled before resuming. They stumbled upon the EXAIR website and reached out to us for assistance.

20151229_121008

Top of the plastic tote

The solution was to install a Model 110018SS Super Air Knife, positioned above the totes against the direction of travel. The term we use for this is counter-flow. By having opposite directions of travel between the airflow and the tote, the Super Air Knife is able to blow the water back into the direction from which it came. This led to the totes being dried and labels had no problem sticking to the dry surface of the plastic tote. They needed a quick resolution as this was causing major headaches and slowing their production. EXAIR ships stock products same day for domestic orders received by 3:00 pm EDT. They were able to place an order that day and have the knife installed just days later.

gh_Stainless Steel Super Air Knife 750x696

EXAIR’s Model 110006SS 6″ SS SAK

EXAIR manufactures the Super Air Knife in lengths from 3”-108” to solve any of your application needs. If lengths longer than that are required, our Model 110900 Coupling Kit will allow you to couple multiple knives together to achieve the desired length. No matter the blowoff, no matter the size, EXAIR has a Super Air Knife that can suit your needs. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to take a look at your application and determine the most suitable solution.

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

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.

 

Glass Filled PEEK Super Air Knife w/ Brass Hardware & PTFE Shim? No Problem!

That’s right folks, we’ve gone and done it again.  When a customer calls for custom product because their environment calls for it or due to dimensional requirements, EXAIR has the ability and flexibility to meet those needs!

This time around it was a customer with specific material requirements due to their environment. I had a customer contact me recently that was using an aluminum Super Air Knife near a high voltage operation and was getting ground interference due to the aluminum air knife.  They asked if it was possible to make them a custom knife out of PEEK plastic.  After some light discussions about the form of the knife and what other materials are safe for their environment we settled on a 30% glass filled PEEK plastic for the knife, brass bolts and pipe plugs, with a PTFE shim installed.   The form factor of the knife would follow the same shape as our PVDF Super Air Knives that are available from stock.   The customer could not use PVDF due to high temperature and potential off-gassing in the process.

The results are shown below.

IMG_6590

EXAIR 6″ Super Air Knife in 30% Glass Filled PEEK Plastic w/ Brass Hardware and PTFE Shim

End View – 6″ Super Air Knife in 30% Glass Filled PEEK Plastic w/ Brass Hardware & PTFE Shim

Whether you are looking for a one off product that is tailor made to your application or want to have a simple feature like hardware material changed in a stock EXAIR product that you are incorporating into thousands of machines, we have the solution for you.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: