A glass cutting facility was having issues with small shards of glass leaving the cutting machine. After scribing and breaking individual panes, small pieces of glass would come apart from the edges of the glass. These glass fragments would go downstream causing cuts on transport wheels as well as creating blemishes in the surface of the glass. They needed a non-contact way to clean the glass as the panes left the cutting machine.
Their operation started with a 156” (3.96m) wide sheet of glass placed at the front of the cutting machine. The glass was moved into the machine where it would scribe different dimensions and sizes to minimize any scrap. As the machine was scribing, a protective separator would close off the cutting machine to protect the operators. Once finished, the protective separator would open, allowing the glass sheet to exit on the other side of the machine. As the glass was coming out, a break device would “crack” the glass panes on the scribed lines. They wanted to clean the surface as the glass sheet was coming out to keep the fragments in the machine.
EXAIR has always been the leader in manufacturing the longest air knives in the industry. The EXAIR Super Air Knives can be manufactured up to 108” (2.74m) long in one continuous length. But, for this application, we had to tackle it in a different manner to reach across the entire width of 156” (3.96m). EXAIR had a solution, the model 110900 Coupling Bracket Kit. This can combine aluminum Super Air Knives for additional length. It has all the hardware to securely attach the Super Air Knives end-to-end to get a continuous air flow along the entire length. With the Coupling Bracket Kit, I recommended a model 110072, 72” (1.83m) long aluminum Super Air Knife with a model 110084, 84” (2.13m) aluminum Super Air Knife. The customer was now able to clean the entire section of glass just in front of the exit of the cutting machine. With the air knives directed to blow at a slight angle in the counter-flow direction, this non-contact form of cleaning was able to keep the shards inside the machine without scratching the surfaces.
The Super Air Knives are designed to be the most efficient air knives in the market place. It has a 40:1 amplification ratio which entrains 40 parts of ambient air to every 1 part of compressed air. So, it will save you compressed air which in turn, will save you money. Here at EXAIR, we like to go one step further for our customers. EXAIR offers an Optimization product line to save the customer even more money, to reduce even more waste, and to become even more energy efficient. For this customer above, I recommended an Electronic Flow Control, EFC. This uses a photoelectric sensor to turn on a system only when compressed air is needed. It is a small PLC unit with a timer control. I recommended the model 9064-2 which has two solenoid valves to operate each Super Air Knife. The photoelectric sensor can be adjusted for light and dark object, but for glass, we had to look for an alternative way. I was able to have the customer place it on the protective separator. Now, the Super Air Knives will remain turned off until after the scribing was completed. When the separator moved up, it would trigger the timing operation of the EFC. By adding the EFC to their system, they were able to reduce the amount of compressed air by one-half.
If you have a wide area that needs to be blown off, cooled, or dried; EXAIR may have a solution for you. For the customer above, EXAIR was able to combine Super Air Knives with optimization for an efficient and effective way to clean a wide surface. If you would like to discuss a solution for your “wide” application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to discuss.