I was recently working with a process Engineer at a food packaging plant on installing a Super Air Knife to blow excess water off a food product. This product was moving single file on a conveyor belt with about 6 feet between each product. The belt was moving pretty slow so we wanted to turn the air knife on only when the product was in front of the knife, which saves compressed air and energy. To do this we used the ELECTRONIC FLOW CONTROL (EFC). If the knife ran the entire time it would be wasting any air blowing during one of the 6′ long gaps. This would also put an unnecessary strain on their already taxed compressed air system. The EFC let him only supply air to the Knife when it saw a product on the belt. To read more about the EFC click here!
This application worked perfectly, but they had one other issue. Throughout the day it seemed as if they were losing compressed air pressure at the knife. What they found was during peak compressed air usage in the plant the compressor couldn’t keep up with the demand. Fear not, the Super Air Knife was only running for 7 seconds and was off for 20 seconds. This was a perfect application for EXAIR’sReceiver Tank.
Receiver Tanks are great for applications that require an intermittent demand for a volume of compressed air. This can cause fluctuations in pressure and volume throughout the compressed air system with some points being “starved” for compressed air. EXAIR’s Model 9500-60 60 Gallon Receiver Tank can be installed near the point of high demand so there is an additional supply of compressed air available for a short duration. The time between the high volume demand occurrences should be long enough so the compressor has enough time to replenish the receiver tank.
If you have a process that is intermittent, and the times for and between blow-off, drying, or cooling allows, a Receiver Tank can be used to allow you to get the most of your available compressed air system. If you need any assistance calculating the need for a receiver, please let us help.
Note – Lee Evans wrote an easy to follow blog that details the principle and calculations of Receiver Tanks, and it is worth your time to read here.
If you would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
A few weeks back I worked with a customer on an unusual application for one of our Air Knives. The company runs a camp, located in the North-Central part of the United States, complete with their own ski hill for skiing, snowboarding or tubing. They use a conveyor belt ski lift where the skier or snowboarder will stand on the belt and be transported back to the top of the hill for another run. They were starting to see some safety issues arise when the mat would get wet and freeze, causing the skiers to slip and fall back.
In an effort to remedy the situation, the installed a brush to try and help remove some of the snow and ice from the belt and while this helped a little, there was still moisture on the belt that would re-freeze. To aid in the drying process, they tried to use a floor blower aimed at the belt but the turbulent airflow seemed to “push” the water around rather than wipe it clean and dry. Out of ideas, they found EXAIR while doing an internet search and decided to give us call for assistance.
Further reviewing the details of the application, I recommended our 30″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knife for the application. The Super Air Knife provides an high velocity, laminar sheet of air across the length of the knife. The laminar flow from the air knife, would assure an even drying effect across the belt, rather than the turbulent flow from the blower. The stainless steel construction of the knife would hold up to the potentially harsh environmental conditions as well.
After some correspondence back and forth regarding air requirements and installation recommendations, the customer was able to source a rental compressor and ordered the 30″ Super Air Knife to test under our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. After a few weeks of testing, they were able to effectively dry the belt to an acceptable level, increasing the overall safety for their guests.
EXAIR offers the quietest (69 dBA at 80 PSIG) and longest (up to 108″) Air Knives on the market today and we stock them in the most materials (aluminum, 303SS, 316Ss and PVDF) to best suit your application. To see how you might be able to utilize an Air Knife in your unique application, give us a call at 800-903-9247.
Did you ever wonder how that deep brown crust is created on pretzels and bagels? There’s just a little more to it than toasting them under a burner.
A process engineer from a well-known bagel company contacted me about a problem in their operation. They were having issues containing the lye solution in a dip tank that the bagels are run through. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is a very corrosive, alkali substance. When handling this liquid solution, personnel protection equipment (PPE) is required to protect skin and eyes. The engineer found evidence of the lye solution dripping from the conveyor onto other components in the process. For safety, maintenance and cleanliness, he needed to find a way to contain the lye in the dip tank area.
The conveying system used a gear-driven sprocket to move the conveyor. The conveyor was a 30” wide open-mesh belt with chain links attached to the outside for the sprocket. It was used to move the bagel dough into a dipping station which contained the lye solution. As you can imagine, there are plenty of areas for the solution to collect into these voids of the belt and drip downstream. The dough would soak up the solution and then travel into the oven for baking. As the dough is heated, the lye will start to react with the steam and bagel proteins, turning it into something safe to eat. This Maillard reaction creates the browning of the dough and that yummy crust on the outside.
To keep the process safe and clean, they had to keep the lye solution in the dipping area. Because the concentration of the lye was very low, we recommended a stainless steel Super Air Knife. (EXAIR offers a variety of materials for different types of chemicals) The engineer ordered model 110030SS Super Air Knife, mounted it above the conveyor, and aimed it in a counter-flow direction to the conveyor travel. As the belt exited the solution, the Super Air Knife would blow the excess from the mesh and the links back into the dip tank. This kept the area clean and safe from the caustic solution.
If you have similar processes with caustic or corrosive chemicals that need to be contained, we would be glad to discuss your application and determine which of our products would be helpful to keep your processes, personnel and facility safe.