EXAIR Products Are No Strangers To The Assembly Line

Although most folks think of Henry Ford as the inventor of the assembly line, there’s evidence that “division of labor” was practiced in ancient China, where metal products were mass produced by skilled workers performing a specific evolution and then passing it on to another person for the next step. In fact, Oldsmobile’s assembly line actually predates Ford’s by a few years, but a host of innovations by Henry Ford and his team of engineers reduced the assembly time of a Model T from a day and a half, to an hour and a half. Maybe that’s why he gets so much credit for it.

Through the 20th Century, technological advances continued to revolutionize the process. Automation and robotics have allowed a combination of speed & precision that would have impressed even Henry Ford. The guy was a genius, so he would have caught on pretty quick, I’m sure. If you hadn’t guessed, it, yeah; I’m a big fan.

In addition to all the technological marvels on display, our visit to The Henry Ford museum also allowed my brother and me a cool photo-op with our all-time favorite vehicle.

EXAIR products are used for a variety of applications on assembly lines…blow off, static elimination, painting/coating, and even cleanup. I had the pleasure of assisting a user with that last one recently.

Turns out, they make automobile windows, and in the process of handling the glass windows, the metal & plastic frame pieces, the rubber seals, the protective tape, etc., they end up with a LOT of scrap as these parts go down their assembly conveyor. According to this caller, it looked like “New Year’s Eve at the end of every shift” when they stopped to clean up. By installing EXAIR Model 130200 2″ Light Duty Line Vacs at strategic locations, they’re able to pick up almost all of the debris from the whole process.

EXAIR Light Duty Line Vacs come in sizes from 3/4″ to 6″ to accommodate a wide variety of conveyance needs.

If you’d like to find out more about how EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can make an impact in your facility…safety, noise, efficiency, or otherwise…give us a call.

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

Slick Application for a Super Air Knife

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.

Photo of the ski belt conveyor

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.

Super Air Knife available in aluminum, 303ss, or 316ss construction in lengths from 3″ up to 108″.

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.

30″ SS Super Air Knife mounted under the belt on the “return” side.

 

Clever installation allowed for easy angle adjustment to ensure the airflow contacted the belt for optimal blowoff/drying.

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.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

Cookie Blowoff Using The Full-Flow Air Knife

A machine manufacturer was working with a food company who was looking to design a blowoff station for their cookie making process. During the production cycle, the cookie dough is put into a former that pushes the dough through round dyes that forms several rows of cookies across a conveyor. As the cookies travel down the conveyor, they are topped with ground peanut bits and sent through a flash freezing process. It was after this process, the company was looking to install the blowoff station to remove any excess peanut bits but were concerned if the air velocity was too high, they may remove too much of the ground peanuts or possibly blow the cookies themselves off of the conveyor. Another area of concern was the amount of space available to install the station was limited, so they were needing something “compact” so they could design the machine to take the least amount of real estate as possible.

The machine designer was somewhat familiar with our Air Knives, but was unsure which design would best fit the customer’s needs so they decided to reach out for assistance. After discussing the particulars, I recommended our 36″ Stainless Steel Full-Flow Air Knife Kit. Of the 3 designs of Air Knife we offer, the Super, Standard and Full-Flow, the Full-Flow Air Knife produces the lowest outlet velocities, it is also our smallest profile offering at only 1.25″ x 1″  for stainless steel construction. The Full-Flow Air Knife provides a laminar flow of air the entire length of the knife and uses a 30:1 amplification rate (entrained air to compressed air) for efficient compressed air usage. By incorporating the pressure regulator included in the kit, they would be able to easily control the exiting air velocity to effectively remove the excess peanut bits without ejecting the cookies from the line.

Full-Flow

The Full-Flow Air Knife is the ideal choice where mounting space is limited. Lengths available up to 36″ in aluminum or stainless steel construction.

For assistance in selecting the best Air Knife to fit your needs or for additional support with another application or EXAIR product, give me a call at 800-903-9247, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Super Air Knife Shim Design Reduces Operation Costs

A customer of ours had an application where they needed to cool and dry parts on two conveyors that ran side by side.  A single 36″ Super Air Knife was chosen to provide coverage over the full width and to simplify the air plumbing and installation.  As we learned more about the application, it was discovered that there was 10″ section in the center where the the two conveyors butted up, where no parts would pass through, and hence no air was needed.

Fortunately, the EXAIR Super Air Knives can be supplied with custom shim designs to match the air flow requirements of the application.  These shims can be of various thicknesses to increase/decrease the air flow, of alternate materials such as a stainless steel shim in an aluminum air knife to increase the temperature range, or as in this case, designed to provide specific air flow patterns.

By utilizing the special shim design, it is estimated to save $865 per shift per year in compressed air costs versus the standard configuration.  That is a significant savings, and using less compressed air is high on everyone’s priority list.

Check out the video below to learn more about the EXAIR Air Knives.

akvideo

EXAIR manufactures 3 different types of air knives, in 4 different materials, up to 108″ in length.

To discuss your application and see how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

 

 

Creative Uses for the Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors

Last week a customer called in looking for some help in solving a minor issue in the plant. The customer is a specialist in the filament winding business making all types of products from many types of fibers, such as Polyester, Nylon, Nomex®, PTFE and Kevlar®.

At the end of a run, there will be a small amount of thread left on several bobbins.   There is not enough thread to save for a future run, and so the customer has to strip the remaining thread off, to be able to reuse the bobbin.

I remembered that an EXAIR Application Engineer had done some testing on thread, using a Line Vac to pull and unwind a spool. See here for that demonstration.

The customer sent me the below photo, helping us to visualize the application better, and then went even further by shipping a couple of sample bobbins with some thread still remaining.

After running a few tests, it was determined that the smallest Line Vac available , the model 6078 – 3/8″ Aluminum Line Vac, produced the fastest results due to the narrow throat diameter in conjunction with the thin thread.  A brief demonstration of the test can be found below.

Using just 5.6 SCFM at 80 PSIG of compressed air, the Line Vac quickly unwound the bobbin, providing a simple, cost-effective way to automate what had been a tedious manual process.

The Line Vac conveyor are ideal for moving large volumes of material over long distances, using a small amount of compressed air. The material flow rate is easily controlled by use of a pressure regulator.  No moving parts or electricity assures maintenance free operation.  EXAIR offers the Line Vac in sizes from 3/8″ up to 5″ in diameter, in materials including aluminum, Type 303 and Type 316 Stainless Steels, and a Heavy Duty model with hardened alloy construction.

To discuss your application and how a Line Vac or another EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Ion Air Cannon

Generally in the winter time, we see an increase in production issues due to static. When the ambient air becomes drier, static ions build more easily on the surface. For this application, the customer was drying a wood based compost with compressed air. His compressed air system used a heated desiccant dryer to remove the moisture to a dew point of -40 deg. F (-40 deg. C). (That means the compressed air system would not see any water unless the temperature was below -40 deg.) He would blow the very dry air into the bed to remove any moisture. This would make the compost very light and reduce decomposing.

Ion Air Cannon

Ion Air Cannon

The problem occurred during shipment. He would convey the compost up a conveyor belt to a chute. The chute had a line to direct the compost inside a rail car. Because of the non-conductive material of the conveyor belt and the extremely dry material of wood, a large amount of static was being generated. With like charges repelling each other, it would create a bridge in the chute, causing it to plug and backup. My suggestion was to use our Super Ion Air Cannon. It would remove the static charges that was being generated, and also create a small positive pressure to keep the compost moving. With the amount of material that he was conveying, he installed 4 Super Ion Air Cannons for each chute. The problem was solved and the operation was not hindered. If you have any issues with your system, you can contact one of our Application Engineers to see if we can help at 800-903-9247.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_jb

Removing Oil From A Conveyor In South Africa

About three years ago, during the summer of 2012, I discussed an application with a palm oil producer who needed to clean and dry palm fruits as part of their oil production process.  I remember the application well because I knew nothing about palm fruits and came to learn of their popularity on other continents.

Now, years later and again from another continent, our South African distributor has a similar need.  However, rather than removing the cleaning residue from the outside of a palm fruit, this application needed to address the control and collection of the extracted palm oil on a production line.

The need in this application is the collection of spilled and residual oil that is filled into large containers and provided to culinary facilities.  The end user needed a way to keep any spilled oil from contaminating the process downstream, and a method to collect the oil once it was within a controlled space/container.

Conveyor with oil 1

Compromised conveyor line

To block the oil from travelling any further into the process, we recommended a series of 316 Stainless Steel Super Air Knives aimed at the conveyor belt, blowing opposite the direction of container travel.  This setup operated at the right pressure can not only keep the oil from any downstream components, but also blow the oil into a specified container.

Once the oil is removed from the conveyor and collected in a hopper, trough, or similar container, it can be removed with a High Lift Reversible Drum Vac.  Our High Lift Reversible Drum Vac is suitable for viscous fluids such as oils, coolants, and paints up to 1400 centipoise.  The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac can then be used to pump the oil into a final container, or back into the process for cleaning and recycling.

Its always great to pull from a previous application when speaking with an EXAIR customer.  And, with our full team of Application Engineers, we have plenty of applications to reference.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

%d bloggers like this: