So Many Holes

I remember the book and movie about a young teenager who gets sent to a prison/ work camp that all they do is dig holes. Yeah, there’s a much deeper story line there and that isn’t the point of this blog. The point is, that movie is all I thought of when I encountered this customer’s nozzle solution. Their ejector nozzle on a recycling conveyor was using too much air and was too noisy.

Upon receiving the nozzle to do a free EXAIR Efficiency Lab, we were absolutely amazed at the level of care taken to make something like this. The nozzle was purpose built and definitely got the job done, it also drained their compressed air system at times and made a lot of noise while it did the work. So what did this nozzle look like, now keep in mind, this was not the customer’s design, it was a solution from the machine manufacturer.

For an idea, the customer nozzle was a 3″ overall length, and had a total of 162 holes in it. There were two inlets for 3/8″ push to connect tubing. The holes were very cleanly drilled and we used a discharge through orifice chart to estimate the consumption before testing. Operating pressure were tested at 80 psig inlet pressure.

Discharge through an orifice table.

Our estimations were taken from the table above. We used a pin gauge to determine the hole size and it came close to a 1/32″ diameter. With the table below we selected the 1.34 CFM per hole and used a 0.61 multiplier as the holes appeared to have crisp edges.

Estimation Calculation

Then, we went to our lab and tested. The volumetric flow came out to be measured at 130.71 SCFM. This reassured us that our level of estimation is correct. We then measured the noise level at 95.3 dBA from 3′ away. Lastly, we tested what could replace the nozzle and came up with a 3″ Super Air Knife with a .004″ thick shim installed. To reach this solution we actually tested in a similar setup to the customer’s for functionality as they sent us some of their material.

Now for the savings, since this customer was focused on air savings, that’s what we focused on. The 3″ Super Air Knife w/ .004″ thick shim installed utilizes 5.8 SCFM per inch of knife length when operated at 80 psig inlet pressure. So the consumption looks like below

That’s an astounding amount of air saved for each nozzle that is replaced on this line. The line has 4 nozzles that they want to immediately change out. For a single nozzle, the savings and simple ROI looks like the table below.

Air Savings / Simple ROI

That’s right, they will save 115.02 SCFM per minute of operation. These units operate for seconds at a time so the amount of actual savings is still to be determined after a time study. In videos shared, there was not many seconds out of a minute where one of the four nozzles was not activated. Once the final operation per minute is received we can rework our calculations and see how many hours of line operation it will take to pay back each knife purchase.

If you have any point of use blowoff or part ejection and even have a “nice looking” blowoff in place, don’t hesitate to reach out. These are still very different from our Engineered Solutions. We will help you as much as we can and provide test data, pictures, and even video of testing when possible.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Quick Disconnects and Push In Fittings are not Ideal for Peak Performance

In order to achieve the best performance of your EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® product, a steady flow of compressed air must be supplied at the optimal pressure. Compressor output pressure, air flow rate, piping ID (inner diameter), the smoothness of the inside of the pipe and connector type all contribute to the performance.

Especially for manufacturing uses, it is important to consider both the air pressure and air flow being produced by the air compressor providing the supply for all tooling. It is possible for an air compressor to produce sufficient supply pressure for an EXAIR product while not having adequate air flow to use the product for very long.

The optimal air pressure for most EXAIR products is 80 PSIG, with the exception of Vortex Tube based products, which are rated at 100 PSIG. Operating EXAIR products at air pressures less than 80 PSIG may lead to lower performance, but EXAIR encourages operating any blow-off product at as low a pressure as possible to achieve your desired result. A simple pressure regulator can lower your pressure and save energy. As a general rule near the 100 PSIG level, lowering air pressure by 2 PSIG will save 1% of energy used by an air compressor. Operating the product at pressures greater than 80 PSIG may produce slightly higher performance, but will require more energy to produce only a small gain.

Make sure that connectors and fittings do not restrict compressed air flow in any manner. Quick connectors can be especially problematic in this area. Because of their construction, quick connections that are rated at the same size as the incoming pipe or hose may actually have a much smaller inner diameter than that associated pipe or hose. This will significantly restrict the amount of air that is being supplied to the tool, starving it of the air flow it needs for best performance. In some cases, if the fitting is too small, the tool may not work at all!

EXAIR products are designed to improve the overall efficiency of your operations. If you need help and have questions please contact any of the Application Engineers. There is no risk to trying our products as we have a 5 year warranty and also a 30 Day Guarantee to all of our US and Canadian customers.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

EXAIR Super Air Knives Improve Efficiency For Beer Bottling Application

As summer begins to wind down, we’re seeing some “slight” reprieve (at least this week) from the intensely hot summer we’ve had thus far in 2022. Fall will be here before we know it, which for me means a return to weekends on the couch watching football! What goes better with football than an ice cold beer?

In a recent application, I worked alongside a beverage manufacturer to help improve on the efficiency of their beer bottling process. You know the saying, “you get what you pay for”. For this customer it was made quite evident as we replaced some rather inefficient nozzles they were using in the facility with our Super Air Knives.

In the process, the customer had (4) sets of inefficient nozzles to dry the bottles off. (2) sets were located just after their wash/rinse cycle, with another two placed just prior to labeling. After washing, the bottles are taken to the fill station where they perform a cold fill process. Their location is hot and humid year-round, so immediately after filling condensation would form on the outside of the bottle.

Once filled, they need to apply a label to the outside of the bottle. If there’s any condensation present, this leads to many of the labels not adhering properly. The issue they were having was that when all of the nozzles were running simultaneously, they were experiencing a pressure drop that led to insufficient drying of the bottles in both stages of the process. Their solution was a rather expensive one: (8) operators were staged at the end of the line to inspect, dry, and fix any of the labels that didn’t adhere well while boxing them up.

Since we knew compressed air consumption was a critical aspect of this application, we offered (2) of our Model 110006-.001 6” Super Air Knives with a .001” thick shim installed. Super Air Knives are shipped directly from stock with a .002” shim, so this thinner shim helped to further reduce the air consumption from the knife. The knives produce a laminar curtain of air that’s far more effective at drying than the turbulent airflow from these flat nozzles. Rather than having (4) sets of knives, they were able to use just (2) effectively eliminating two of the blowoff stations they were using with the cheap nozzles.

With the knives in place the pressure in their system was no longer dropping and the laminar airflow from the Super Air Knives was much more effective at drying the bottles. Now, at the end of the conveyor they only needed (2) operators to unload the bottles and begin to box them. This dramatically reduced their labor costs for this operation as they were able to utilize those employees for other tasks instead of tying them up standing around, drying bottles, and fixing labels.

If you’re tired of experiencing issues with an inefficient blowoff device, EXAIR has a solution that can ship out today from stock. Contact an Application Engineer today and we’ll be happy to help you to determine the best solution based on your application.

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

beer image courtesy of RawPixel Ltd via Flickr Creative Commons License

Full Flow Air Knife Creates “Smoke Screen” In Haunted House Attraction

EXAIR Corporation’s engineered Air Knife products have a number of uses in industry. The laminar, even flow is conducive to generating a stripping/sweeping action that is particularly effective for blowing off, cooling, cleaning, drying, etc. The way that they entrain enormous amounts of air from the surrounding environment makes them incredibly efficient. This entrainment also makes them very quiet, as it forms a boundary layer that attenuates the sound level of the high velocity flow of the compressed air exiting the Air Knife. These two features have a distinct benefit in a rather unique application in a decidedly non-industrial setting, though.

A company that services amusement parks & carnivals was making a “haunted house” type attraction. At one point, the victims visitors are to be surprised by animated figures “floating” in the air. Their idea was to project the animation on a wall/screen of smoke…spooky, right? They tried discharging the smoke through a series of holes, and even a thin slot, but could not get the effect they wanted, so they called EXAIR to talk about Air Knives.

Smoke escaping small holes or a thin slot doesn’t have much velocity, so it didn’t make a great ‘curtain’ for projection. It’s also turbulent in nature, so it tends to billow & plume (like the top graphic). Engineered compressed air products like EXAIR’s Air Knives generate a laminar flow (like the bottom graphic) whose velocity can be precisely controlled by regulating the air supply pressure.

They found their solution for this application in a Model 2836SS 36″ Stainless Steel Full Flow Air Knife Kit. The Full Flow Air Knife is the most compact design for any given length, and with rear ports for the compressed air supply, it was easy to conceal from the visitors’ sight. When smoke is introduced from behind, it gets pulled in (entrained), and discharges in a laminar, even curtain that the animated figures magically appear on. The extraordinarily low sound level contributes to the magic, as it can’t be heard over the din of eerie sound effects & music that are synonymous with the haunted house experience.

Compressed air flows through the inlet (1) to the Full Flow (left) or Standard (right) Air Knife, into the internal plenum. It then discharges through a thin gap (2), adhering to the Coanda profile (3) which directs it down the face of the Air Knife. The precision engineered & finished surfaces optimize entrainment of air (4) from the surrounding environment.

EXAIR Corporation has been in the business of providing quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products for all kinds of applications for almost 39 years now. If you want to find out more about introducing more quietness, safety, efficiency…or magic…into your operation, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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