The image above shows one step in the process of disposable diaper manufacturing. In this step of the process, the absorbent material is ground through a mill on the top of the “bunker” where it falls down a shaft and onto a mesh screen. Once on the mesh screen, the material is repressed into the proper size and shape for placing into the diapers.
This manufacturer contacted one of our Russian distributors about the application because the milling of the absorbent material was creating static. This static caused the material to adhere to the walls of the bunker chute and to unevenly distribute onto the mesh. This unevenness leads to holes in the pressed/shaped absorbent material which translates to a reject rate of ~1 out of every 20 diapers.
The ideal solution in this case needed to eliminate the static within the chute to allow for proper distribution on the mesh below and proper material placement into the diapers. An Ion Bar was originally desired by the customer, but material accumulation on the emitter points was a concern so this solution was removed from consideration.
An Ion Air Cannon, however, was able to provide the desired solution by mounting outside of the chute and feeding a low volume of ionized air to remove the static. The ionized airflow from the Ion Air Cannon is strong enough to permeate the full volume of the application, but low enough to not disturb the absorbent material within the process. Using an Ion Air Cannon allowed this manufacturer to eliminate defects and wasted materials, increase their throughput, and improve the quality of their products. Defects dropped from 1/20 diapers to less than 1/1000.
If you have a similar application or similar needs, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.
They say time flies when you’re having fun. Maybe that’s why I found it a little hard to believe it’s been almost two years since we introduced the Back Blow Air Nozzles. They’ve become yet another “textbook” solution to a great many applications:
*Our Model 1006SS 1/4 NPT Back Blow Air Nozzlewon Plant Engineering Magazine’s “Product Of The Year” Bronze Award in 2015, and are successfully employed in a wide range of uses:
Blowing out splined bores by a gear manufacturer
Quickly cleaning out spindles between tool changes by a CNC machinery operator
Removing the last bits of powder from spent toner cartridges by a printing equipment recycler
*The Model 1008SS 1 NPT Back Blow Air Nozzleis becoming famous in hydraulic cylinder repair shops…after a cylinder bore is honed, one quick pass of the powerful blast it produces cleans bores from 2″ to 16″. We can even put it on the Model 1219SS Super Blast Back Blow Safety Air Gun, with a 1ft, 3ft, or 6ft extension.
If you want to see how they work, check out this video:
I could have sworn Lee Evans just made that video, but apparently, it’s over a year old now. Time does indeed fly, and I promise we’re having fun! If you’d like to find out more about how a Back Blow Air Nozzle – or any of our engineered compressed air products (old or new) – can make your operations quieter, more efficient (and hence, probably, more fun,) give me a call.
How do I make our compressed air system efficient?
This is a critical question which plagues facilities maintenance, engineering, and operational personnel. There are concerns over what is most important, how to approach efficiency implementation, and available products/services to assist in implementation. In order to address these concerns (and others), we must first look at what a compressed air system is designed to do and the common disruptions which lead to inefficiency.
The primary object of a compressed air system is to transport the compressed air from its point of production (the compressors) to its point of use (applications) in sufficient quantity and quality, and at adequate pressure for proper operation of air-driven devices. In order for a compressed air system to do so, the compressed air must be able to reach its intended destination in proper volume and pressure. And, in order to do this, pressure drops due to improper plumbing must be eliminated, and compressed air leakage must be eliminated/kept to a minimum.
But, before these can be properly addressed, we must create a pressure profile to determine baseline operating pressures and system needs. After developing a pressure profile and creating a target system operating pressure, we can move on to the items mentioned above – plumbing and leaks.
Proper plumbing and leakage elimination
The transportation of the compressed air happens primarily via piping, fittings, valves, and hoses – each of which must be properly sized for the compressed air-driven device at the point of use. If the compressed air piping/plumbing is undersized, increased system (main line) pressures will be needed, which in-turn create an unnecessary increase in energy costs.
In addition to the increased energy costs mentioned above, operating the system at a higher pressure will cause all end use devices to consume more air and leakage rates to increase. This increase is referred to as artificial demand, and can consume as much as 30% of the compressed air in an inefficient compressed air system.
But, artificial demand isn’t limited to increased consumption due to higher system pressures. Leaks in the compressed air system place a tremendous strain on maintaining proper pressures and end-use performance. The more leaks in the system, the higher the main line pressure must be to provide proper pressure and flow to end use devices. So, if we can reduce leakage in the system, we can reduce the overall system pressure, significantly reducing energy cost.
How to implement solutions
Understanding the impact of an efficient compressed air system is only half of the equation. The other half comes down to implementation of the solutions mentioned above. In order to maintain the desired system pressure we must have proper plumbing in place, reduce leaks, and perhaps most importantly, take advantage of engineered solutions for point-of-use compressed air demand.
Once proper plumbing is confirmed and no artificial demands are occurring due to elevated system pressures, leaks in the system should be addressed. Compressed air leaks are common at connection points and can be found using an ultrasonic noise sensing device such as our Ultrasonic Leak Detector (ULD). The ULD will reduce the ultrasonic sound to an audible level, allowing you to tag leaks and repair them. We have a video showing the function and use of the ULD here, and an excellent writeup about the financial impact of finding and fixing leaks here.
With proper plumbing in place and leaks fixed, we can now turn our attention to the biggest use of compressed air within the system – the intended point of use. This is the end point in the compressed air system where the air is designed to be used. This can be for blow off purposes, cleaning, conveying, cooling, or even static elimination.
These points of use are what we at EXAIR have spent the last 34 years engineering and perfecting. We’ve developed designs which maximize the use of compressed air, reduce consumption to absolute minimums, and add safety for effected personnel. All of our products meet OSHA dead end pressure requirements and are manufactured to RoHS, CE, UL, and REACH compliance.
If you’re interested in maximizing the efficiency of your compressed air system, contact one of our Application Engineers. We’ll help walk you through the pressure profile, leak detection, and point-of-use engineered solutions.
I recently had the pleasure of helping a long-time user of our Super Air Knives with a challenging application. They already use quite a few of our Model 110012SS 12″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knivesto clean & dry their nonwoven material as it’s being rolled for packaging. They like them because they’re quiet and efficient, but also because they’re durable…this particular product off-gasses a mildly corrosive vapor, which used to corrode other equipment in the area. Not only does the Stainless Steel Super Air Knife resist corrosion itself, the air flow keeps these vapors contained. Two birds, one stone.
They have a new product…same kind of material, but much wider…that needed to be blown off, and the identified the Model 110060SS 60″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knife as a “no-brainer” solution. Thing is, it had to be a pretty even air flow across the length, and a 60″ Super Air Knife has to get air to four ports across its length for optimal performance. And, they wanted to install it at a point where it would serve not only as a blow off, but as a vapor barrier, just like the 12″ Super Air Knives they’re already so fond of. The space was a little limited, though, so they opted for the Model 110060SSPKI 60″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knife with Plumbing Kit Installed, which allowed them to simply run an air supply line to both ends.
If you want to find out more about an engineered solution for your compressed air application – cleaning, drying, vapor barrier, or all of the above – give me a call.
An overseas ice cream manufacturer reached out to me recently with a request for assistance. They were in search of a better means to transfer “inclusions” from a storage bin into the blending tanks of their creamery. The “inclusions” in question, shown above, looked familiar. I’ve found identical cookies stashed in my sons’ favorite places around the house, so I’m somewhat familiar with their transfer from one place to another. Fortunately, in this application the cookie transfer is deliberate whereas it is always “magic” or “no one knows how it got there” when it happens at home.
Seeing as how this application involves the transfer of foodstuffs, we immediately explored a 316 grade stainless steel solution, and gathered the necessary data for determining the proper pneumatic conveyor (an EXAIR Line Vac). Our Line Vacs utilize a high velocity airstream which travels along the ID of a conveyance tube to move material. Because of this, application specifics like material/material size, bulk density, conveyance height and distance, and required conveyance rate play a key role in proper sizing. Here’s how the specifics looked for this application:
Material: Dry cookies and cookie crumbs, 8mm-50mm in diameter (5/16” – 2” in diameter)
Bulk density: 0.69 g/cm³ (43 lb./ft.³)
Conveyance height: None
Conveyance distance: 5m (16.5 feet)
Required conveyance rate: As high as possible, preferably in the range of 500kg/hr. (1100 lb./hr.)
Available compressed air supply: 170m³/hr. @ 5.5 BARG (100 SCFM @ 80 PSIG)
Material constraints: 316SS mandatory
With these details well defined, I used our empirical test data to appropriately size a suitable Line Vac. In this case, we had a viable solution in our Heavy Duty Line Vac with regards to conveyance rate, but this solution is not the proper material. So, we matched performance of a Heavy Duty Line Vac in our 316SS Line Vac using model HP6064-316. Model HP6064-316 is not a stock option and not shown on the website, so having a proper dialogue with an Application Engineer was critical to dialing in on the right solution for this application.
Once the solution was confirmed, this customer was all set. We worked with them on every aspect of the application solution and ended up shipping them (3) specialized Line Vacs in 316 stainless steel. The Line Vacs are up and running, helping to make delicious ice cream for expecting customers.
If you have a similar application or are interested in exploring a Line Vac solution, now is the time to act. We have a Line Vac promotion running through the end of October that includes a free 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle with the purchase of any Line Vac. Application Engineers are available for any questions you may have via phone (1-800-903-9247), email (email@example.com), and online chat.
The EXAIR Super Air Knife is THE ideal, efficient, and quiet solution for most any blow off application. We know this for a fact; we’ve been making them for years, folks all around the world have been buying them for years, and they keep coming back for more. They’re popular enough that over the years, we’ve introduced Mounting Systems and Plumbing Kits for ease of installation, and when Coupling Kits (to join multiple Super Air Knives together for greater lengths) became big sellers, we “upped our game” and started making Super Air Knives up to nine feet (108″) long. And certain applications (I’m looking at YOU, lumber and paper industries) order multiples of THOSE, and our Coupling Kits. Quite literally, there’s no job too big for EXAIR Super Air Knives.
No matter how long they are, though, the laminar, high velocity curtain of air they generate only moves in one direction. So, if there are significant geometric features (holes, bosses, recesses, “nooks & crannies,” etc.) to be blown off, we’ll have to look at something supplemental.
Enter the EXAIR Blowoff Systems…it doesn’t get any easier than this: an EXAIR engineered Super Air Nozzle, attached to a flexible, repositionable Stay Set Hose, mounted to a Magnetic Base. Put a hard hitting, high velocity, pointed flow of air right where you want it. If the next piece is different, that’s no problem – just bend the hose to re-aim the air flow.
No matter what the requirements of your blow off application are, we have an efficient, quiet, and safe solution. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.
When I think of “special” in regard to Air Amplifiers, I’m more inclined to think of the applications they can be used in. I mean, the Air Amplifier itself is about as straight-forward as an engineered compressed air product can be:
Considering the simplicity of the product itself, they can be used for a large variety of “typical” applications:
There are no shortage of “special” applications either. They’re used successfully in Air Operated Conveyance applications (when the stronger vacuum head of a Line Vac isn’t required) and we’ve even got a customer who uses one instead of an E-Vac Vacuum Generator for a “pick & place” operation…they’re picking up small, porous fiber discs (sort of like a coffee filter) one at a time, and the E-Vac wanted to pick up a good part of the whole stack, no matter how low they turned the pressure. And of course, I can’t think of anything more special about Air Amplifiers than this:
With fifteen distinct models to choose from in a range of sizes (3/4″ to 8″,) materials (aluminum or Stainless Steel) and even a High Temperature model that’s rated to 700°F (374°C), we’ve still made a fair number of Custom Air Amplifiers too…thirty-four, to be exact, as of this writing.
I won’t bore you with all the details – I can’t, actually, because some of them are proprietary* – but here are some “regular” examples of “special” accommodations:
Connections: EXAIR Air Amplifiers have smooth bores on the inlet & outlet plenums that you can hose clamp a hose (or round duct) to if you need to get air flow from, or to, one place or another. Sometimes, though, they’re going in to an existing system, so we’ve made them with flanges (150#RF and Sanitary Tri-Clamp, for example) or threads (NPT or BSPP.) If you want to use something other than a standard hose or duct line, we can help.
Material of construction: Our durable, lightweight aluminum Super & Adjustable Air Amplifiers are just fine an awful lot of the time. Our type 303 Stainless Steel Adjustable Air Amplifiers will hold up to heat and corrosives. We’ve also in PTFE (Teflon™) as well as a range of metal alloys to meet specific corrosion or wear conditions. If your environment calls for a little something extra, we can help.
Assembly: Super Air Amplifiers are fitted with a stock shim that gives you published performance. We’ve got other thicknesses, though, if you need more (or less) flow, though. Adjustable Air Amplifiers are, well, adjustable…you just thread the plug in/out of the body until you get the results you want. Sometimes the user knows what shim they want in a Super Air Amplifier, or what gap their Adjustable Air Amplifier needs to be set to, and we can assemble it accordingly. If you have a ‘tried-and-true’ performance setting and want it met right out of the box, we can help.
Assembly, part 2: Good engineering practices call for lubrication on O-rings and threaded connections, and we use high quality, general purpose compounds when assembling our Air Amplifiers. These are detrimental, however, in certain situations (silicone exclusion areas, I’m looking at you.) If certain chemicals or compounds are prohibited by your application, we can help.
*Let’s say you’ve done the “heavy lifting” to call out one (or more) of these special design features. If we make a custom product (and that’s not just Air Amplifiers, by the way) using directions based on your time and labor, we’ll treat that product as proprietary to you, and you alone.
EXAIR has 208 catalog pages worth of Intelligent Compressed Air Products on the shelf…8 of those pages are our Air Amplifiers. If you want to talk about customizing one to meet your needs, give me a call.