EXAIR GEN 4 Super Ion Air Knife

Super Ion Air Knife

EXAIR GEN 4 Super Ion Air Knives remove static electricity from plastics, webs, sheet stock and other product surfaces where tearing, jamming, debris or hazardous shocks are a problem. The laminar sheet of air sweeps surfaces clean of static, particulate, dust and dirt. Production speed, product quality and surface cleanliness can improve dramatically.

The GEN 4 Super Ion Air Knife floods an area or surface with static eliminating ions – up to 20 feet (6.1 m) away. A uniform airflow across its length will not cause misalignments to critical surfaces such as webs. Force can be adjusted from a “blast” to a “breeze”. The GEN 4 Super Ion Air Knife is electrically powered, shockless and has no moving parts. It also only requires 3.7 SCFM of compressed air per foot of length at 5 PSIG (105 SLPM per 300mm of length at 0.3 BAR). The sound level is also surprisingly quiet at 50dBA for most applications.

Compressed air flows through an inlet (1) into the plenum chamber of the GEN 4 Super Ion Air Knife. The flow is directed to a precise, slotted orifice. The primary air flow exits, it creates a uniform sheet of air across the entire length that immediately pulls in surrounding room air (2). An electrically powered GEN 4 Ionizing Bar (3) fills the curtain of air with positive and negative charge. The airstream delivers these static eliminating ions to the product surface (4) where it instantly neutralizes static and cleans dust and other particulates.

EXAIR’s GEN 4 Super Ion Air Knives offer a convenient, safe and reliable method for eliminating static charge while improving efficiency and quality. If you have questions or need help selecting the right product for your application please contact on of our Application Engineers.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

KPIs & Your Air Compressor

We have blogged about the many types of air compressors, ways to maintain your compressed air system, and how to increase compressed air efficiency by utilizing engineering compressed air products. All of these topics spawn from our knowledge and understanding of what it takes to operate and effectively service the products that we design and sell. When it comes to our products we know exactly what we need to convey how good they are, Key Performance Indicators if you will. To go along with those, I thought it would be good to outline some Key Performance Indicators for the air compressor within a system.

A Rental Tow Behind Air Compressor

So what performance values are critical for an air compressor? Well, power and efficiency are two main KPIs that I would be concerned with. This all connects to the bottom dollar of the cost to operate. So let’s add some more levels in there and get to the list I would list the KPIs as:

Pressure Loss
Leakage Rate
Dew Point
SCFM Output
Cost/Production Unit Output

These are not necessarily in a top to bottom list of priorities, They are however some that can be easy to monitor and will ultimately lead you to understand the current state of your compressor and the air you are supplying to your facility. Now let’s break these down further.

Pressure Loss – This phenomenon can be prevalent in aging air systems or systems that have been rapidly expanded over the years causing higher demand than the original design of the system permits. Think of when a new housing development opens on a two-lane country road and adds another thousand cars to the road in that area. Rather than a 4 way stop you generally start to see routes expand and intersections improve in order to supply the new demand. Losing pressure throughout the system can be caused by too much demand on a section from new equipment or even failure of old equipment that results in artificial load. Understanding where the pressure loss is occurring or when helps to troubleshoot.

Leakage Rate – Leaks can often account for up to 30% of a system’s capacity/demand. This is not only costly, it also ties to the pressure loss variable we discussed previously. Leakage is a constant battle and something that needs to be checked for every so often on systems that are established. This again results in artificial demand on the system and steals supply from other processes.

Dew Point – The amount of moisture within the compressed air system and the temperature at which it will condense at is a critical point to understand and affects the output quality of the compressor. Moisture can cause lots of quality issues and create maintenance nightmares for machinery if not kept in check. A low dew point helps to keep the compressor operating at an efficient level as the moisture content is low. Should you be located in a very high-humidity climate, then post-compressor equipment like refrigerant dryers can help to reduce this and keep your system operating at an optimal level.

SCFM Output – This can easily be measured with a Digital Flowmeter and is very easily one of the most useful data points to monitor your compressor’s output as well as baseline and improve your supply side. Understanding if your air compressor is operating at a higher percentage of output will help to determine when system expansion is needed and when demand side issues need to be addressed, and also help you to determine the ROI on equipment that utilizes compressed air.

Cost/Production Unit Output – Lastly, understanding the cost of using your compressed air and how that correlates to the output of the facility can help to see just how important a small leak is. It gives insight into the importance of using the compressed air that is generated efficiently and keeps the compressor operating at peak performance rather than putting off maintenance or overloading an undersized system.

If you would like to discuss any of these KPIs for your air compressor or to see how you can increase performance within your system, contact an Application Engineer today.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

Marketing Metrics

EXAIR Gen4 Power Supplies

Static Elimination is a big call for us. We have many amazing products that will eliminate your surface static with ease. Static can cause so many issues, we could (and have) write several blogs on this alone. EXAIR’s Gen 4 static eliminators (also called ionizers) can eliminate static charges. These shockless ionizers are electrically powered and produce a plethora of positive and negative ions. The charged surface then attracts the appropriate number of positive and negative ions from the ionizer to become neutral, or discharged.

The key behind this is the high voltage power supplied to the Ion Points. The power supplies that we offer, are the only power supplies that are compatible with our ionizing products. Each outlet supplies 5kV. This high voltage powers the Ion Points in the products to create the Ions mentioned earlier.

The power supply is sold with either 2 or 4 ports to power that many Gen 4 Products. Each one has a selectable input voltage of 115VAC or 230 VAC, an input current of .2/.1 A max, and a frequency of 50/60Hz. They also have a lighted power switch for easy visualization of power. This light is on a rocker switch, and this can be replaced – here is a blog to do this: How to replace the rocker switch on the Gen 4 Power supply.

Each power supply also has an integral fuse to protect against power spikes, and these can be replaced if necessary. Here is a blog link on how to do this: Video blog to change fuse on Gen 4 Power Supply.

The power supplies each come with a 6′ electromagnetically shielded power cord to plug in the wall, or to hardwire into your machine. The power supply cases are shielded as well.

All of our Gen 4 Power Supplies are UL component recognized to US and Canada safety standards, and are CE and RoHS compliant.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about our Gen 4 Power Supplies, any of our Static elimination products, or any of EXAIR’s intelligent compressed air products.

Thank you for stopping by,

Brian Wages

Application Engineer

EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter

What You Can Do With A Vortex Tube…And What You Can’t

Vortex Tubes are near the top of the list of the most interesting uses of compressed air: Cold (and hot) air, generated instantly, from a device with no moving parts. Why don’t we use them for EVERYTHING? It’s not that it CAN’T be done, but it can be impractical to do so. Consider:

While researching our Cabinet Cooler Systems, some callers will ask about using this technology to cool a space larger than an electrical panel, like a server room. I spoke with just such a caller once, who had 7.5kW worth of heat estimated in a server room that was under construction, and had been asked to research cooling solutions…so we did:

  • Since 1 watt equals 3.41 Btu/hr, 7.5 kilowatts equals 25,575 Btu/hr worth of cooling required.
  • Our highest capacity single Cabinet Cooler generates a cooling capacity of 2,800 Btu/hr, so we talked about ten of them, for ~10% safety factor, which was reasonable for the purposes of our discussion.
  • Each 2,800 Btu/hr Cabinet Cooler uses 40 SCFM @100psig, for a total of 28,000 SCFM. Using a common thumbrule that says a typical industrial air compressor generates 4 SCFM per horsepower, that means they’d need a 100HP compressor (or that much capacity from their whole system) just to run these Cabinet Coolers. Adding that cooling capacity to their HVAC requirements made more sense.

Of course, with every rule, there’s an exception: an independent crane operator carries a Model 3250 Large Vortex Tube with him for cab cooling in the tower cranes he’s contracted to operate. While the US Department of Energy considers “personnel cooling” to be an inappropriate use of compressed air, the small fans typically found in these cranes’ cabs offer little comfort to an operator spending all day, 50 feet off the ground, in the summer heat of the Deep South!

EXAIR offers 24 distinct Vortex Tube models with cooling capacities from 135 Btu/hr to 10,200 Btu/hr.

Another common question regards the use of a Vortex Tube with another EXAIR product…the most common being an Air Knife. These callers want to blow cold air onto something, but instead of the conical and relatively small flow pattern the Vortex Tube discharges, they want to blow a curtain of cold air. The design & function of both the Vortex Tube, and the Air Knife, work against this idea:

  • The cold air has to exit the Vortex Tube at, or very near, atmospheric pressure. If it encounters much back pressure at all, performance (as measured by the temperature and flow rate of the cold air) will deteriorate.
  • An Air Knife, by design, is pressurized all the way to the point where the compressed air flow exits the 0.002″ thick gap. That’s far too much back pressure for a Vortex Tube to operate under.
  • Even if the Vortex Tube DID supply cold air, under pressure, to the Air Knife, the tremendous amount of environmental air entrained by the Air Knife would still result in a total developed flow temperature that was much closer to ambient temperature for the area.
Since the Super Air Knife entrains air from the surrounding environment at a rate of 40:1, the resultant air temperature, regardless of the temperature of the air supply, is always going to be pretty close to ambient.

One “workaround” for this is what we informally call a “cold air knife” – that’s when you plumb the cold air from a Vortex Tube into a length of pipe with a series of holes drilled along its length. Let’s say a building products manufacturer wanted to blow cold air across a 10ft wide continuous sheet of roofing material…because they did:

  • I recommended that they take a PVC (because it’s non-conductive and wouldn’t transfer heat from ambient as fast) pipe a little longer than 10ft, cap the ends, drill 1/8″ holes every inch (total of 120 holes).
  • From the table below, we see that a 1/8″ diameter hole can flow as much as 1.1 cubic feet per minute @1psig*, so 120 of those holes will pass ~132 cubic feet per minute worth of air flow.
  • Four Model 3240 Vortex Tubes were specified: when set to an 80% Cold Fraction, 80% of the 40 SCFM that each will consume, or 32 SCFM, is directed to the cold end. 32 SCFM X 4 3240’s = 128 SCFM. Close enough. They plumbed those 4 Vortex Tubes at approximate equal distances along the length.
*I picked 2psig because that’s the maximum back pressure before it starts to change performance. I also assumed we’re not going to round the entrance of the holes, so I applied the 0.61 multiplier from the table notes.

A Model 3215 Medium Vortex Tube supplied @100psig will flow 10 SCFM worth of cold air when set to a 67% Cold Fraction**, which will give us a curtain of cold air that’s a little more than 71°F colder than the compressed air supply:

**When set to a 70% Cold Fraction (that means 70% of the compressed air supply flow is directed to the cold end), the cold flow from a Vortex Tube supplied @100psig will be 71°F colder than the compressed air supply. At a 67% Cold Fraction, it’ll be a little colder than that.

If you’ve got an application involving the need for cold air, on demand, EXAIR has a variety of products that’ll do just that. Give me a call to find out more.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook