Factors in Selecting an Air Knife – Size, Materials, Stock Levels, Accessories

Super Air Knife Family

EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air® products since 1983.  In the beginning, the Standard Air Knives and Full Flow Air Knives were very effective at that time.  But as leaders in this market, EXAIR did not want to stop there.  We were able to engineer a more efficient, more powerful, and much safer air knife, the Super Air Knife.  In this blog, I will discuss the features and benefits that the Super Air Knives can offer.

Bernoulli’s principle explains how a high velocity fluid can generate a low pressure.  The EXAIR Super Air Knife creates a high velocity air stream to produce a low pressure to entrain ambient air.   What does this mean for you?  It will save you much money by using less compressed air.  The mass of the ambient air is added into the air stream to give a strong blowing force.  The Super Air Knife has an amplification ratio of 40:1. For every 1 part of compressed air, 40 parts of ambient air is drawn into the blowing air stream.  Ambient air is free, and compressed air is expensive.  EXAIR was able to engineer a design to use the Bernoulli’s principle to make one of the most efficient air knives in the market place.

EXAIR Super Air Knife model 1100108

What else makes EXAIR unchallenged?  We manufacture and stock the widest range in lengths and materials.  To start, EXAIR has Super Air Knives ranging from 3” to 108” (76mm to 2,743mm) in three different materials; aluminum, 303 stainless steel, and 316/316L stainless steel.  There is no-one else in this industry that can manufacture to those lengths.  EXAIR also offers Super Air Knives in PVDF material with Hastelloy hardware for chemical resistant applications from 3” to 54” (76mm to 1,372mm).  Depending on the temperature requirement, chemical resistance, OSHA and FDA regulations, or application details, we probably will have one on the shelf for you.  If EXAIR does not have it, we can make special air knives in different lengths and materials to best fit your application.

Some interesting features for the Super Air Knives are as follows.  They have a compact design that can fit into tight places for blowing and cooling.  The footprint is very small compared to blower-air knife system.  They do not have any moving parts to wear or maintenance to do.  They only need clean compressed air to work.  They blow a laminar air stream which reduces noise levels and create a consistent force along the entire length.  An even force will give you tighter control for blowing applications which will cut compressed air usage unlike the inconsistent and turbulent air flows caused by drilled pipes.

To adjust the force and air usage, this can be easily controlled with a regulator.  The advantage that EXAIR Super Air Knives have is the replaceable shims.  So, you can increase or decrease the gap to get a variety of force ratings.  The Aluminum version uses colored plastic shims for visual verification.  They come stock with a 0.002” (0.05mm) red shim installed.  We have other thicknesses in our Shim Sets which includes a 0.001” (0.03mm), 0.003” (0.08mm), and a 0.004” (0.10mm) colored as amber, green, and tan respectively.  The Stainless Steel Super Air Knives come with a stainless steel shim for higher temperatures and chemical resistance.  Stock units have the 0.002” (0.05mm) thickness as well.  The Shim Sets come with three additional 0.002” (0.05mm) shims to stack.  Similarly, the PVDF Super Air Knives use a PTFE shim for maximum chemical resistance.  It is also 0.002” (0.05mm) thick, and there are three more shims in the Shim Set.  This unique feature of using shims allows for the most flexibility in creating forces for different applications ranging from a blast to remove rocks from a conveyor to a breeze for light duty work.

Super Air Knife Kit

We also offer the Super Air Knives in kits as a more complete system.  The kit includes a filter, regulator and the above-mentioned Shim Set.  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 the “fine” adjustment to the blowing force while the shim set is used as the “coarse” adjustment.  EXAIR sells this kit as one model number for simple ordering, and the accessories are properly sized to not hinder the performance of the Super Air Knife.

To optimize the system even more, EXAIR offers a Deluxe Kit for the Aluminum and Stainless Steel models.  This includes the accessories in the kit above, plus an Electronic Flow Control, or EFC.  This exclusive instrument uses a photoelectric eye to start a timing sequence to control a solenoid valve.  So, when a part is not in front of the Super Air Knife for cleaning or cooling, the compressed air is turned off.  This will save you even more money and maximize your efficiency to only blow air when needed.

Plumbing Kits

For the longer Super Air Knives, EXAIR can install a Plumbing Kit, or PKI, to help attach your compressed air to the Air Knife.  They are designed to help lessen the time for install as well as to properly supply compressed air equally along the entire length, specifically for 24” (610mm) and longer.  We can offer the Plumbing Kit separately if you find that it could benefit your fabricators during installation.  EXAIR also offers a Coupling Kit for the Aluminum and Stainless Steel versions.  If you need to extend past the 108” (2,743 mm) width, the Coupling Kit is designed to mount Super Air Knives together at the ends.  You will still get that consistent blowing force along the multiple of Air Knives.  Another helpful accessory is the Universal Air Knife Mounting System.  It has a bracket and an articulated arm that can reach up to 30” (762mm).  With this system, you can position your air knife securely and precisely in any orientation.  It attaches easily to your Super Air Knife and gives you the flexibility to maximize the blowing effect at your target.

Universal Mounting System

With the today’s cost in making compressed air, it is important to use it as efficiently as possible.  The Standard and Full Flow Air Knives would be good options to use.  But the best way to conserve is with the Super Air Knife.  If you have any questions about the Super Air Knife or if you would like to discuss an application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.   We will be glad to help you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Compressed Air Accessories for Clean Air, Quiet Air, and Adjustability

In this blog, I would like to turn your attention to our accessories that support our Intelligent Compressed Air® Products.  EXAIR products use compressed air to coat, conserve, cool, convey and clean.  To maximize the performance, it is important to have the controls and options to increase their “flexibility”.  EXAIR offers these items as Accessories.  Pneumatic applications come in many variations and forms, and Accessories can help you to adapt to your application and to remove any “guess work”.

Here are the different categories and explanations of each item that EXAIR recommends for our products.  With their defined functions, they can help you in different areas to enhance your pneumatic experience.

Filters/Regulators:

  • Filter Separators remove bulk liquid and contamination from the compressed air stream. EXAIR stocks a range of sizes from ¼” NPT ports to 1 ¼” NPT ports.  They use a 5-micron filter and a mechanical baffle to remove slugs of liquid from your compressed air system.  Most Filter Separators have an auto-drain to automatically remove the buildup of liquid inside the bowl.   I would consider the Filter Separator as a minimum level of protection required to protect your EXAIR products.
  • The Oil Removal Filters remove very small particles of dirt and oil from the compressed air; making it even cleaner. The 0.03-micron media of the Oil Removal Filter will “coalesce” the fine liquid particles into large droplets.  Thus, allowing gravity to remove it from the compressed air stream.  EXAIR offers different sizes ranging from ¼” NPT to 1 ½” NPT ports.  As a note, Oil Removal Filters are great for removing very fine particles, but if you have a system with lots of water, I would recommend a Filter Separator upstream of the Oil Removal Filter for optimal filtration.
  • Pressure Regulators control the amount of air pressure being supplied to your EXAIR products. This is important if you are trying to save compressed air, control the force, or convey material.  EXAIR, being a leader in compressed air savings, recommends to use the minimum amount of air pressure to do the job.  This will save compressed air and save you money.  Regulators have a characteristic called “droop”.  Droop is the amount of air pressure that it drops downstream when you start flowing compressed air.  If the regulator is not sized properly, you can “starve” your pneumatic component, causing loss of function.  EXAIR properly sizes our regulators in our kits to make sure that you won’t “starve” our product.
  • EXAIR also offers Mounting Brackets for the regulators and the filters to help support them to a wall or structure. To connect filters and regulators together without a pipe nipple, we also have Coupling Kits for sizes up to ¾” NPT.  And for combination kits which includes a filter and a regulator, we offer the Mounting Bracket and Coupling Kit together for a set.

Silencing Mufflers:

  • Reclassifying Mufflers are designed to have two functions. They can reduce noise levels by 35 dB and remove oil mist from the exhaust air.  Cylinders and valves that exhaust pressurized air may have oil in the line to keep the seals from sticking.  When exhausted, it can create a fine mist which is dangerous for operators.  The Reclassifying Mufflers can reduce the loud noise as well as collect any contamination from the exhaust air.
  • Sintered Bronze Mufflers are simple in design, cost effective, and easy to install. They have a minimal back pressure to not restrict operations of the pneumatic device.  They come in sizes from #10-32 thread to 1-1/2 NPT.  For a quick and simple way to reduce noise, the Sintered Bronze Mufflers are in stock for fast delivery.
  • Straight-Through Mufflers offer a way to reduce noise levels without worrying about clogging. They have an aluminum shell lined with sound absorbing foam, and they can reduce the noise level by 20 dB.  EXAIR offers them with two ports from ¼” NPT to ¾” NPT.  This can allow you to connect other items like blowing hose kits while reducing noise.
  • Heavy Duty Mufflers have an outer aluminum shell with an internal stainless steel screen that can protect the components from environmental contamination, and can also keep contaminant like rust from being ejected at high speed into the work area. They have a typical noise reduction of 14 dB.

Pneumatic Valves:

  • Manual Valves allow for operators to turn on and off their system by hand. The full-flow ball valves range from ¼” NPT to 1 1/4” NPT in size and will not restrict flow.  EXAIR also offers a manual foot pedal valve for hands-free operations.  This ¼” NPT Foot Valve has a 3-way operation and works great if the operator has to use both hands in their process.
  • Solenoid Valves are a way to turn on and off the supply of compressed air electrically for automated systems. We offer solenoids in three different voltages; 110Vac, 240Vac, and 24Vdc.  EXAIR has a large range of flows with ports ranging from ¼” NPT to 1” NPT.  All models are UL listed and are CE and RoHS compliant.

Hardware:

  • Swivel Fittings are a great way to securely install and aim EXAIR nozzles. They are dynamic as they can be adjusted and set to a flow direction with 50-degrees of movement.  They are made from 303SS or 316SS for corrosion resistance with ports ranging from 4mm to 1” NPT.
  • Compressed Air Fittings are a nice arrangement to connect different compressed air items together. We offer a range of hex and close nipples, couplings, reducers, tees, elbows, crosses and bulk head fittings.  If you need a quick way to connect directly to your pneumatic system, we may have it on the shelf.
  • Magnetic Bases are designed for a solid mount to steel surfaces and for easy portability of your blow-off system to different locations. It has a 100 lb. (45.5Kg) pulling force to keep the blowing device attached firmly until you want to move it.  They can be mounted in a vertical or horizontal position.  EXAIR offers a single outlet Magnetic Base (for one blow-off device); a dual outlet Magnetic Base (for multiple blowing products); and a single outlet Swivel Magnetic Base (to offer more flexibility to orientation).  The bases come with a ¼ turn shut-off valve to easily turn on and off the compressed air to the EXAIR products.
  • Receiver Tanks are used to store compressed air. They can be used at the air compressor or as secondary reservoirs for intermittent demand.  They help your compressed air system with pressure variations and high demand loads.  EXAIR offers a model 9500-60 Receiver Tank that has a capacity of 60 gallons, is rated to 200 psig, and meets ASME pressure vessel code.

 

Hoses:

  • Conveying Hoses are used with our Air Operated Conveyors or Line Vacs. The hoses are made from a durable PVC semi-flexible hose with six different diameters from ¾” I.D. up to 3” I.D.  The conveyance hoses can slip easily to the ends of the Line Vacs or to tubes for an easy transition.  EXAIR can cut-to-length Conveying Hoses up to 50 feet (15m); in increments of 10 feet (3m).
  • Coiled Hoses get compressed air from the piping system to the EXAIR product. They are made of a durable abrasion-resistant nylon material that is 12 feet long (3.6 meters).  They have swivel fittings at the end to allow for easy uncoiling, and a spring strain relief to keep the hose from kinking.  The coiled design makes it easy to reach around the work area and retract back to the substation.  This will help to keep the hose off the ground where potential dangers could occur.  We offer 3 different connection sizes; 1/8” NPT, ¼” NPT, and 3/8” NPT.
  • Compressed Air Hoses is another way to supply EXAIR products. They are useful if you need to reach from overhead sources or around equipment.   They are made from a reinforced synthetic rubber in 3/8” I.D. and 1/2” I.D. diameters.  We can make specific lengths up to 50 feet (15m).  They are rated for 250 PSIG (17 bar) air pressure, and the hose material works well for long-lasting protection against ozone, weathering and temperatures up to 158oF (70oC).  They come standard with two male ends in ¼” NPT or ½” NPT.

    Flexible and durable, EXAIR Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6″ to 36″.
  • Stay Set Hoses give you that possibility of manually adjusting or re-adjusting Super Air Nozzles. The hose has a “memory” function; so, it will not creep or droop until you physically move it.  They work well to direct air flows in unique ways at specific target areas.  They can be used with Super Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns and Blow-off Kits.  The Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6” (15cm) to 36” (91cm), and they are offered with ¼” NPT male on both ends or with a 1/8” NPT female and a ¼” NPT male connections.  These hoses are rated for 250 PSIG (17 bar) and are made from reinforced synthetic rubber.

Temperature Accessories:

  • The ETC, or Electronic Temperature Control, is a digital temperature controller with a LED screen for precision monitoring and adjusting temperatures in a Cabinet Cooler System. The controller has easy-to-use buttons to raise or lower the desired internal cabinet temperature.  Once set, the ETC will hold the temperature to +/- 1 oF (+/- 0.5 oC).  The LED displays the internal temperature for continuous monitoring.  The ETC comes complete with the controller and a solenoid valve in two different voltages, 120Vac and 240Vac.
  • The thermostat is a way to control a solenoid valve electrically to turn on/off a Cabinet Cooler System at a set temperature. It is preset at 95°F (35°C), but it can be adjusted to other desired temperatures.  It has an accuracy to hold the set temperature within +/- 2 °F (1 °C).  It can handle voltages from 24V to 240V, AC (50/60 Hz) or DC.  They are UL Recognized and CSA certified.

In todays fast-paced world, there is a need to get your devices operating as quickly as possible.  With EXAIR Accessories, they can help you to do that.  Not only will you have confidence, as you are using the items from the manufacturer, but it will minimize downtime, setup, and malfunctions that can occur if using other types of accessories.  If you would like to discuss the proper options with your EXAIR products, an Application Engineer will be happy to help you.

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

Super Air Knife Coupling Kit Helps Customer Save Money and Increase Productivity!

I was recently contacted by a manufacturer of specialty food products that was looking to increase productivity on one of their packaging lines. In order to do so, they needed a longer Super Air Knife.

SS SAK cheese.jpg cropped
Model 110012SS-316 Super Air Knife

They manufacture a variety of different products, but this application was involving small snack-size blocks of cheese. They’re placed into individual plastic containers and before they seal the packaging any residual particles must be blown off or it will affect the seal. Any residual particles of cheese around the container would allow air to come into contact with the product and affect shelf-life.

In the current setup, they were using EXAIR’s Model 110012SS-316 a 12” 316 grade Stainless Steel Super Air Knife and the Model 9060 Universal Mounting System. They wanted to add in an additional two rows of cheese to help increase throughput. To do so, he needed an overall width of 18”. We do have an 18” available from stock, but rather than having a spare 12” model lying around he wanted to try and utilize what he had without having to purchase an entirely new knife.

uakmb
Model 9060 Universal Mounting System

Fortunately, EXAIR’s Super Air Knives can be coupled together to create a wide variety of different lengths. From stock, the Super Air Knife is available from 3”-108”. With the help of a Super Air Knife Coupling kit, we can achieve much longer lengths. In this case, although we did have an 18” knife available, we could also couple the existing 110012SS-316 (12”) with our Model 110006SS-316 (6”). This option was a bit cheaper than going with a new knife, and still allowed them to utilize the 12” that they already had.

gh_Super Air Knife Coupling Kit 750x696
Coupling Kit for Aluminum Super Air Knives

While this isn’t the typical place we’d recommend a coupling kit, it was an option that allowed the customer to save a bit of money but still get the same effect that they’d achieve with the 18” single piece knife. We also manufacture a wide variety of custom knives per customer specifications. If you’ve got an odd application that you don’t think is best served by a stock offering, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to take a look at your application and help recommend the most suitable product.

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

An Overview of EXAIR’s Award Winning Super Air Knife

 

Loud and inefficient homemade blowoff

Drilled pipes, like the one shown above, are all too common in industrial settings for processes where a wide surface area needs to be treated. Their popularity can be attributed to how cheap and easy they are to make but in actuality they are very expensive to operate, as they waste large amounts of compressed air, and are very dangerous to operate.

We frequently take calls from customers looking for a more energy efficient, safer solution to replace these types of blowoffs. EXAIR manufactures 3 different styles of Air Knife – the Super, Standard and Full-Flow – that are the ideal solution for wide coverage applications. Today, I would like to provide an overview of our award wining Super Air Knife.

The Super Air Knife

The Super Air Knife is our most efficient air knife in regards to compressed air usage, using only 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife length @ 80 PSIG. It is also the quietest on the market today at only 69 decibels. The Super Air Knife provides the highest air velocity of the 3 styles offered by EXAIR and produces 2.5 ounces of force per inch at 80 PSIG operating pressure. We offer stock lengths from 3” up to 108” in single piece construction with available materials of aluminum, 303ss and 316ss. We also offer PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride) up to 54” for harsh environments.

The Super Air Knife provides a laminar airflow across the entire length with hard-hitting force. They also give a 40:1 amplification rate meaning they entrain 40 parts of the surrounding room air for every 1 part of compressed air used, producing a large volume outlet flow.

Coupling Kit for the Super Air Knives

For applications requiring an air knife length longer than 108″, we offer a coupling bracket kit that allows you to connect two Super Air Knives together for a seamless, uninterrupted flow. Kits are available in aluminum, 303ss or 316ss to match the construction of the knife.

In addition, we also offer plumbing kits as an accessory item. For aluminum Super Air Knives, we offer cut to length nitrile/PVC hose and brass fittings and for stainless steel and PVDF knives we offer 316ss cut-t0-length pipe and fittings.

If you have any questions on how the Super Air Knife might fit into your process, please contact an Application Engineer.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN