As proud as we are of being able to ship most any catalog product, same day, from stock (99.9831% of the time for on-time shipping in 2017…22 years straight for 99.9% or better,) we take a certain amount of pride in our ability to offer custom solutions for challenging applications as well. Our Engineering and Production teams have a deep well of resources (knowledge, experience, and capability) to draw from, which allows us to meet those challenging applications head-on, in short order.
The one I’m writing about today isn’t exactly one of those challenging ones…
A machine fabricator had a special need for an Air Knife. It had to be Stainless Steel, and it had to be 30″ long. No problem so far…that’s a Model 110030SS 30″ Stainless Steel Air Knife, and it’s on the shelf. Thing is, they only needed 26″ worth of air flow; a full 30″ width was going to disturb, and maybe damage, the edges of the sheet of material that the air was being blown onto.
So we made a custom shim for the Air Knife. Now, we make these all the time, in all kinds of configurations…hence the term “custom.” Since this one was blowing onto a web where they didn’t want to disturb the material on the far edges, we made this shim to provide 26″ of flow, on center. We could just as easily made it to provide 26″ of flow starting at one end or the other, or a specified distance from one end or the other. Or 13″ of flow on both ends, with 4″ of no flow in the middle, for a total of 26″.
Regardless of how challenging (or not) your compressed air product application is, we’re here to discuss, any time you’re ready. Call us.
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.
EXAIR is based in Cincinnati, OH and it is where we design and manufacture our products. Since we are the manufacturer, we can design and build custom product when your application demands particular features. Vortex Tubes are the foundation of our cooling products and can be customized to suit your needs in many ways…
The EXAIR Vortex Tube uses compressed air to generate a cold air stream at one end and a hot air stream at the other end. This phenomenon in physics is also known as the Ranque-Hilsch tube. It can generate very cold or very hot air without any moving parts, motors, or Freon. Thus; making it low cost, reliable, and maintenance free. The EXAIR Vortex Tube can generate
Air temperatures from -50 to +260 deg. F (-46 to +127 deg. C).
Flow rates from 1 to 150 SCFM (28 to 4,248 SLPM)
Refrigeration up to 10,200 BTU/hr (2,570 Kcal/hr)
With a wide range of cooling and heating applications, the EXAIR Vortex Tubes can be an ideal product for you. They are used for cooling electronics, CCTV cameras, and soldered parts. They are also useful for setting hot melts, gas sampling, and environmental chambers. With its very compact and versatile design, it can be mounted in tight places to apply heated or cold air to your process. The Vortex Tubes are used for improving process times in cooling, protecting equipment, or setting specific temperature requirements. If you need a Vortex Tube to be more specific to your application, EXAIR can manufacture a proprietary product in the following ways:
Preset Vortex Tubes – the standard Vortex Tube has a screw on the hot end to adjust the cold and hot air temperatures. To make the Vortex Tube tamper-resistant, EXAIR can replace the screw with a preset hot valve. If you can supply the temperature and flow requirements for your application, EXAIR can determine the correct diameter hole to give you a consistent temperature and flow from the Vortex Tube.
Materials – The standard Vortex Tubes has a maximum temperature rating of 125 deg. F (52 deg. C). For elevated ambient temperature, we offer a brass generator which will increase the temperature rating to 200 deg. F (93 deg. C). If other materials are needed for food, pharmaceutical, or chemical exposure, we can also offer stainless steel for the hot plug, cold cap, and generator. I have seen Vortex Tubes made entirely from 316SS and even one made with a brass body. There are EXAIR Vortex Tubes with special material o-rings and hot valves or with customized muffler assemblies.
Fittings – Our standard units have threaded connections on the Vortex Tube to connect fittings and tubing. In certain applications to improve mounting and assembly, special fittings may be required for ease of installation. EXAIR can attach or modify these parts to the Vortex Tube to meet your requirements.
At EXAIR, we pride ourselves with excellent customer service and quality products. To take this one step further, we offer specials to accommodate your applications. As a manufacturer of the Vortex Tubes, we can work with our customers to generate a custom product with high quality, fast delivery, and a competitive price. So, if you do need a special Vortex Tube to give you a specific temperature, ease of mounting, or a proprietary product for your OEM design, you can discuss your requirements with an Application Engineer. We will be happy to help you.
The EXAIR Super Air Knife is the best compressed air operated blow off product ever made. That’s a bold statement, but we can stand behind it:
*They’re the quietest and most efficient on the market. We’ve tested them rigorously, and have verified data from actual users who have replaced competitors’ product with them.
*They come in (16) sizes, from 3 inches to 9 feet in length. And they can be coupled together for even greater lengths.
*We make them in different materials:
Durable, lightweight aluminum for a variety of general purpose applications
Type 303 Stainless Steel for environments subject to chemically corrosive elements; also good for temperatures to 800F (427C)
Type 316 Stainless Steel for even higher corrosion resistance and strength. Ideal for food, pharmaceutical and surgical product applications.
PVDF (with PTFE shims & Hastelloy hardware) for the most aggressive environments: electroplating, solar cell manufacturing, lithium ion batters, caustics, brines, etc.
*We have them in inventory, ready to ship quickly. All of them.
As the title intimates, calls regarding “unique applications” are fairly common, and the Super Air Knife provides a great solution to many of them. Consider these situations:
*A machine builder had to fit an air knife in a 43″ channel. We had it covered: we made them a custom (non-stock) 43″ 303SS Super Air Knife and shipped it in three days.
*A user needed 15″ (and only 15″) of air flow. A Model 110018 18″ Aluminum Super Air Knife, off the shelf, would provide an “overflow” which would disturb product in the vicinity of the blow off. We had it covered…a custom shim can be made to provide 15″ (and only 15″) of air flow out of an 18″ Super Air Knife. It only takes a couple of days to get the special shim. We can make shims to center the airflow, keep it all on one side of the knife, have it come out two separate areas etc.
We’ve also made a variety of special Air Knives, when more than just length is a consideration. So, even if your application is “Unique” (with a capital “U”,) it’s very likely that we still have you Covered (with a capital “C”.) If you don’t believe me, give us a call. We’ve got you covered.
One of the interesting things about working with a variety of applications on a daily basis, is realizing every answer isn’t cut-and-dry. There are, of course, times when we can specify the exact amount of compressed air required, or the air volume needed to maintain a specific temperature, but conveying applications tend to be a bit different.
A reseller contacted me with an application in need of moving bedding material for dog beds. The end user needed a reliable way to move the cotton fill for the beds, and wanted to find a way to limit handling by employees, while maintaining a reliability in the amount of material conveyed.
Due to the light weight and density of the cotton, we considered a Light Duty Line Vac, which has an option of sizes up to 6” in diameter – a benefit to this application because the cotton can cluster in groups up to 5” wide. So, the end user decided to test a Light Duty Line Vac and fell in love with the concept and results. But, the conveyance capacity of the Light Duty Line Vac was below the needs of the application, meaning we needed to consider a revision to our initial solution.
Finding a new solution meant exploring a number of different options. We looked into the standard Line Vacs available from stock, threaded Line Vacs, and custom-made Line Vacs with cam lock fittings. All the while we kept an eye on the throat diameter of each size, the related compressed air requirements, connection options, and lead time.
An initial concern at EXAIR was the cotton “clumping” and being delivered in a the form of a ball. The “clumping” of the cotton was of relatively little concern to the customer, their bigger indicator of success in this application was in how quickly the bedding material could be conveyed. Having this as the decision driver led us away from the Light Duty Line Vacs we originally sought, and towards a modified version of our stock model 6087 (4″ aluminum Line Vac) with an additional compressed air inlet machined into the body of the unit. The additional compressed air inlet was introduced by request from the customer, to provide guaranteed air delivery during higher compressed air flow conditions, brought about through higher operating pressures (not to exceed 250 PSIG).
Finding this custom solution wouldn’t have been possible without the Light Duty Line Vac, its large size availability, attractive compressed air usage, and ability to chip from stock. We never would have explored this special solution, which the end user went on to implement in 12 locations! If you’re considering a Line Vac for an application in your facility, consider a Light Duty Line Vac, standard Line Vac, or even a custom solution. No matter the solution, we’ll be happy to help.
We’ve got a lot to be proud of at EXAIR. Over 32 years of experience in providing superior engineered compressed air products for demanding applications worldwide. A 19 year track record (we can only claim 19 years because it’s when we started keeping track) of over 99.9% on-time shipments. 35 Industry Awards (and counting) for new product excellence.
The thing I want to brag on today is…well, me. OK; not just me, but the whole Engineering staff at EXAIR. See, in addition to knowing the ins & outs of 192 pages of compressed air products and accessories in our catalog, EXAIR Application Engineers are well-versed in the situations where our products will…and won’t provide a successful solution.
Sometimes, a user is looking for something different. Same principle of operation, functionality, method, etc., but in a different size. Or shape. Or material of construction. And that’s where the Design Engineers come in…we’ll work together to determine the best way to apply all those years of experience and successful track record and solve your application. And usually, pretty darn quickly.
Case in point: I had the pleasure of discussing an application requiring a special Super Air Knife yesterday afternoon with a caller. Seems they had a tight spot that they needed to fit the Air Knife into, and saw that we had made a special flat Super Air Knife:
This design goes back about 16 years, and has been No, at times, for other applications as the need arises. Because of the large variety of these simulations, we’re probably already pretty close to the next simulation. I realized this was the case when, within 5 minutes of submitting my request to Design Engineering, the office printer (which sits next to my desk) started up, and one of our Design Engineers was on his way over to retrieve the print…of an approval drawing for my caller. Not to swell any heads around here (past our current level of well-deserved swagger, that is,) but this was just about the same amount of time that it took the caller to communicate the requirements to me, and for me to transcribe them into my inter-departmental request.
There’s always a first time for everything…and we look forward to each one of them. If you need help with a compressed air solution, give us a call.
I wrote a while back about ordering off the menu, in regard to technical data on EXAIR products. I’d like to share another example of how we can help, if you don’t find just what you’re looking for in our catalog.
I recently had the pleasure of helping a new Line Vac customer – a machinery builder – who needed a combination of properties of two different products: the stainless steel construction of the 2” NPT Threaded Line Vac, but the performance of the 2” Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vac. The Installation & Operation Guide actually gives you instructions on drilling out the generator holes for increased air flow & performance, but they didn’t want to disassemble, modify, and reassemble the units if they didn’t have to. Which was fine with us – we were able to perform these modifications in assembly, and ship them, surprisingly quickly (surprising to our “new” customer anyway…) and they were quite pleased with the results. So much so, that the modified Line Vac is now standard equipment on this new machine.
We get a fair number of calls about products or applications that don’t EXACTLY fit the parameters, specifications, and performance ratings of our catalog products. Some of them simply won’t work…and we’ll tell you. Other times, though, we’re able to put our Design, Production, and Application Engineering skills to the task, and hit one out of the ballpark. And we’re set up to do it better than anyone else.
If you’d like to discuss a compressed air products application that’s a little (or a lot) “off the menu,” give us a call.
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