Super Air Knife Helps to Remove Slip Hazards

A door manufacturer was having some issues in containing the sawdust within their CNC machine.  Their operation used two rotary saw blades on a mill arm to cut two grooves in the bottom of a standard 36” (91.4cm) wide door.  The grooves were used to hold a Kerf door sweep; a mechanical barrier to keep water, air, and dirt from getting into the house.  After the grooving operation, dust was getting on the door and around the conveyor.  It was becoming a safety issue as the saw dust would collect on the shop floor.  The CNC mill did have a dust collection system, but it needed a little help to keep the material within the collection area. 

Model: 110236DX

I recommended the model 110236DX Super Air Knife Deluxe Kit.  This model included a 36” (914 mm) Super Air Knife, a filter, a regulator, a shim set, a Universal Mounting System, and an Electronic Flow Control.  The filter would capture any contamination from the compressed air line to keep the door surface clean.  The regulator and shim set would be used to control the amount of force required to remove the debris and keep the dust from migrating.  The Universal Mounting System securely attached to the Super Air Knife to give flexibility in mounting.  It uses articulated arms to maneuver the Super Air Knife to the best position for blowing.  The Electronic Flow Control, or EFC, is an optimization product that uses a photoelectric eye to turn on and off the compressed air with a timing circuit.  When the mill arm passes by the photoelectric eye, the timing circuit would start blowing; and it would turn off after the door has been processed and left the milling area. The EFC is great tool to save on compressed air. 

The Super Air Knife was placed underneath the aluminum extrusion guard in front of the door (reference photo above).  It was placed to increase contact time and to blow back toward the dust collection system.  The force of the air would clear the surface of the door in a non-contact way.   As a result, the wood chips and debris stayed inside the CNC machine and removed the slip hazards in other areas of the plant. As an additional note, since the dust collection system was now optimized with the Super Air Knife, the housekeeping within the plant was not needed which saved them time and money.

If you want to have a safer environment for your workers, EXAIR has a line of products that can help.  Whether it is for noise, dead-end pressure, or removing slip hazards as above; EXAIR has engineered solutions that can help.  You can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR for assistance.

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

A Burst of Air From Our Super Air Nozzles Keeps Vacuum System Pipes Clean

Bales of cotton and polyester fibers
Bales of cotton and polyester fibers

An overseas textile company had many automated spinning machines to manufacture yarn from raw cotton and polyester fibers. They used a vacuum collection system to remove any floating fibers from within their spinning machines for safety reasons.  In this facility, they had three rows of ten spinning machines.  Above each row, a collection duct, ranging for 8” to 30” in diameter, would collect the fibers and transport them to a baghouse.  The difference in diameters was to keep the vacuum pressure the same in each spinning machine.  The machine that was the farthest from the baghouse had the smallest diameter pipe, and the machine that was closest to the vacuum system had the largest.  They needed to keep an optimum vacuum pressure inside each machine because too much would affect the production of the yarn and too little would allow the fibers to migrate into the production area.  The concern with fibers migrating in the production area was a fire hazard, a big safety issue.  In order to have each row of machines performing effectively, they needed to keep the static pressure as low as possible.

Blending Machine (Note: the spinning machines are behind this)
Blending Machine (Note: the spinning machines are behind this)

The issue that they had was the discarded fibers would gather and collect in the ductwork. Each machine had a 4” duct that would draw the fiber from the spinning machine into the bottom of the collection duct overhead.  The velocity profile inside the main line was being disrupted by each feed duct, as it allowed a “dead” spot for the fibers to gather.  As fibers would entangle with each other and become larger, the static pressure would increase.  This would cause the vacuum pressures to change inside the spinning machines, affecting production.  They would have to shut the row down, open the ductwork, and clean the entire piping system.  This was time consuming and costly as it stopped production.

The customer tried a homemade nozzle made of a copper tube. He flattened one end and placed it in the bottom of the ductwork just upstream of the problem area.  He triggered it intermittently, and after a while he noticed that he still had the fibers collecting in the pipes, but in different areas.  In knowing how the velocity profile is very sensitive in dust collection systems, any additional obstructions could cause the problem to change to another location within the system.  He contacted EXAIR to see if we could help him.

I put on my engineering hat to help solve this issue. I suggested our model 1104 Super Air Nozzles because it had enough force to reach the other side within the range of diameters.  The EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are very powerful and efficient nozzles.  It is designed to entrain the ambient air.  This gives it a powerful force without using a lot of compressed air.  My suggestion was to place them along the top of the collection pipe as we needed to keep the profile smooth along the bottom section of the pipe.  As a recommendation, I suggested for them to use an angled extraction port (not made by EXAIR).

Extraction Port (Not sold by EXAIR)
Extraction Port (Not sold by EXAIR)

It screws to the outside of the ductwork, and it has a 2” opening with a 45 degree angle (reference photo above).  They could aim the Super Air Nozzles at the “dead” spots to lift the fibers off the bottom; allowing the system to pull them toward the baghouse.  Without having to redo their entire collection system, they were able to cut an opening in the top of the duct and mount the Super Air Nozzles.  As an added benefit, the nozzles were not in the air stream; so, there was no additional static pressure in the system.  The customer was able to design a solenoid triggering system to have only one Super Air Nozzle to operate at one time.  It would start from the farthest point, and trigger one at a time toward the bag house.  With a short burst of air, it would keep the fibers in the air stream without affecting the operations of the spinning machines.  This customer was very happy as they were able to keep their operation running without a buildup of static pressure in the vacuum system and without allowing fibers to escape into the work area.

EXAIR Nozzles
EXAIR Nozzles

If you have contamination that gets stuck in your system, and you need a powerful burst of air to break it up, EXAIR may have the right nozzle for you. It can save you from much frustration, headaches, and waste of time in making your own blow off devices.

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

Ionizing Points: A Good Solution in an Air Ducting System for Textile Processing

Model 8299 Ionizing Point
Model 8299 Ionizing Point

Static is all around us. It is caused by non-conductive materials having their electrons “rubbed” from one atom onto another.  With the proliferation of engineered plastics throughout industry static is generated more readily and issues will start to appear when the static voltage gets large enough.  EXAIR has a Static Eliminator product line with many solutions to help solve process issues.

Companies build systems using blowers and fans to generate air flows for various processes. Because of the high noise level normally associated with blowers and fans, they are generally mounted outside or away from the production floor.  To bring the air to the work area, they use ductwork. Systems that involve plastic, wood, glass, or other types of non-conductive material, have a potential for developing static problems.  The Ionizing Points are designed to remove static in small tight areas as well as in air duct systems that already have air moving through them.

I spoke to a customer recently who had a dust collection system in a room where an adhesive is applied to a fabric. The “openness” of the fabric allowed some adhesive to penetrate and land on a 36 inch (0.9 meter) wide conveyor belt.  After the fabric was sprayed, it was conveyed into another room for further processing.  The conveyor belt had to be cleaned continuously to support new fabric as it was being brought in.  The conveying system was long enough to allow the adhesive to dry before it was to receive the next round of material.  The conveyor belt material was such that the adhesive did not stick to it.  (Or so they thought!).  As the adhesive dried, it would “ball up” and harden on the belt and would need to be removed.  To remove the particles, they used a push-pull cleaning method, blowing air through the duct and onto the belt surface to push the dried adhesive into a vacuum hood which pulled the particles into the dust collection system.

The customer started having issues with the contamination level within their fabric. From the nature of how the contamination was acting within the application, the customer had a strong suspicion that static  was causing the contamination issue. The air through the duct could not generate enough lift on the particles for the vacuum system to remove them.  The result was that dried adhesive was transferring onto the fabric.  The customer was concerned that he would have to upgrade his complete push-pull system to continue his production.  He contacted EXAIR for a solution.

Duct mounting
Duct mounting

In reviewing his room parameters, the customer did not have any compressed air lines going into this room.  This narrowed my search in our Static Eliminator product line to our Ionizing Points, which do not require compressed air. He could place them along the end of the duct to generate ions which will eliminate any static charge present and release the adhesive particles.  He purchased eight Ionizing Points and mounted them 4 inches (10 cm) apart.  As the air was exiting the 36 inch (0.9 meter) wide ductwork, it would pick up the ions, remove the static from the conveyor belt and adhesive, and allow the vacuum flow to lift the particles.  The adhesive remnants could then be picked up by the vacuum system as designed.

If your application already has blower or fan systems and you need to remove static, inserting one or more of the Ionizing Points through the duct wall could be a low cost solution to enable reasonable static elimination. If you have an application that you would like to discuss, contact an Application Engineer for help.

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

Super Air Knife Keeps Saw Shavings Contained

A customer called me to help solve an issue with his dust collection system. They manufacture steel pipe in the range from ½” (13mm) to 6” (152mm) diameter.  An operation was to cut the pipes to length and blow out the shavings.  The pipe was laying flat, and they would slide one end of the pipe into an 8” (203mm) wide slot.  This slot was located on the side of a sheet metal plenum.  The plenum was the containment area and the entrance to their dust collection system.  An operator would blow compressed air into the opposite end of the pipe to remove all the small shavings from inside the pipe and into the containment area.  The slot had vinyl slats to help keep the metal shavings inside the plenum.  The issue occurred with the larger diameter pipes.  Because of the volume of air required to blow out the larger pipes, it would overcome the vacuum level and the metal shavings would migrate out.  Thus affecting the integrity of the dust collection system.

Super Air Knife
Super Air Knife

The slot was 60” (1.5 meters) long and 8” (203mm) wide. I suggested our Super Air Knife kit, model 110260.  The customer mounted the Super Air Knife above the slot to shoot air across the opening.  It was roughly 3″ (76mm) away from the side and aimed slightly back toward the bottom of the slot.  This would ensure any contamination to remain inside the plenum. When the customer had a batch of larger pipe, he would turn on the Super Air Knife.  The air curtain barrier had enough force to keep the debris inside the plenum.  The metal shavings remained inside the containment area, and it kept the area clean and safe.

Instead of purchasing a larger vacuum or dust collection system, a quick and simple solution was to use the EXAIR Super Air Knife. If you ever come across a situation where you need help with process challenges, you can always call EXAIR and speak to one of our Application Engineers.

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