Super Air Knife Dries Plastic Fence Net

I recently worked with an extruded fence manufacturer who was looking to dry the material after a rinse process. The polyethylene fencing is 48″ wide with cells ranging from .25″ up to 2″ and the web is traveling at 5 meters per minute. After leaving the rinse bath, the web spans a 12′ area before being sent to a winder where they apply a tape before producing the finished rolls. It was in this area the company was looking to add a blow off device to remove the moisture to assure the tape would adhere to the surface.

construction-netting
Example of the fence, which is commonly used at construction sites as safety netting.

After discussing the details with the customer of the area that needed to be covered, I recommended they use our 48″ Super Air Knife for the application. The Super Air Knife produces a high velocity, laminar sheet of airflow across the entire length of the knife. Operating at 80 PSIG, using a 40:1 amplification rate (entrained air to compressed air) the unit produces a velocity of 11,800 feet per minute while maintaining a low sound level of only 69 dBA. Air consumption is 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife when operated at 80 PSIG. Since the customer was looking to treat both sides of the fencing, they would need to mount a unit above and below the web for effective blowoff.

Super Air Knife
The Super Air Knife provides a high velocity curtain of air at minimal compressed air usage.

The Super Air Knife is the most efficient and quietest air knife offered on the market today. Available in lengths from 3″ up to 108″ in single-piece construction and offered in aluminum, 303ss or 316ss construction, they are the perfect choice for small scale or wide coverage blowoff applications. With help selecting the best EXAIR Air Knife for your process or to discuss your application, give me a call, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Plastic orange construction fence-net image courtesy of Jnzl’s Photos via Creative Commons license.

 

Light Duty Line Vac Used To Move Weatherstrip Trim, Eliminates Production Delay

Last week I was contacted by a custom machine builder who was looking to improve their design of a rubber weatherstrip notching machine for an automotive company. As the weatherstrip enters the machine, there are several cuts taken along the length, resulting in excess scrap trim which drops into a collection bin. The operation is then stopped, so the operator can manually empty the bin into a recycle hopper a few feet away. This was causing a few issues, most notably the delay in production, but also the operators were sometimes forgetting to empty the bin which caused jams in the machine and a messy work area. The machine builder was looking at our Line Vac Conveyors as a more reliable, automated option to convey the material instead of relying on the operator, so they reached out for assistance in selecting the best model.

The lightweight, rubber scrap trim varied in size, with the largest being a piece around 3/4″ wide x 13″ long, and they needed to convey it about 3′ – 4′ with the majority of the run begin gravity fed into the recycle bin. They were hoping to place the Line Vac right at the cutting head, so as the part is being processed, the scrap piece would be pulled in to the suction side, lengthwise, to avoid any blockage or build up. After reviewing all of the information and a sketch of the proposed setup, I recommend they use our Model # 130200 2″ Light Duty Line Vac. The Light Duty Line Vac uses less compressed air than our other air operated conveyors and is the ideal choice when looking to move lightweight or smaller volumes of material a short distance. With this particular application being mostly gravity fed, the Light Duty Line Vac would ensure the material was effectively picked up and delivered to the hopper, eliminating the current manual process.

Light Duty Line Vac
Light Duty Line Vacs are available to ship from stock in sizes ranging from 3/4″ up to 6″.

The Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors have no moving parts or motors to wear out, providing a maintenance free way to move dry material. For help selecting the best option to fit your needs or to discuss how another EXAIR product might be suitable for your application, give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Standard Air Knife – 24 Years in an Application and Counting

“I’ve  been using your Model # 2018SS 18″ Stainless Steel Standard Air Knife since 1992 and it’s STILL working great!”. This was the first thing a customer told me last week when we began our conversation. Of course we really appreciate hearing about success stories like this as it just further demonstrates our commitment to provide top quality, energy efficient, compressed air operated products.

Std Air Knife
Standard Air Knife – available in lengths from 3″ up to 48″ in aluminum and 303ss construction.

 

The next part of the conversation was a subject we don’t necessarily like hearing, as the customer was thinking of replacing our unit with a blower driven air knife due to the concern of the amount of compressed air usage and resulting energy costs.  They initially inquired about using the blower to supply our unit but all of our products require high pressure, compressed air to operate and wouldn’t run on a blower type system. They are using the Standard Air Knives on their extrusion operation where they have a unit mounted above and below the part as it exits the machine, to remove the remaining moisture from the part.

I explained that blower systems may seem like a more economical choice due to the lower energy demand compared to a compressor, but in actuality, they require a lot of maintenance hours in the form of replacing bearings, belts, filters, etc. Some of these repairs can’t be performed at the site and require the unit to be taken offline and sent back to the manufacturer for refurbishment, resulting in costly downtime. In addition, these type of systems require a large footprint for installation and large duct for the airflow.

EXAIR actually performed a comparison test putting our 24″ Super Air Knife up against common blowoffs in the form of drilled pipe, a manifold of inefficient flat nozzles and a blower driven air knife. Please note, the Super Air Knife is more efficient than the Standard Air Knife that the customer is using, but as you will see in the chart below, the minimal increase in compressed air requirement for the Standard Air Knife would be quickly offset by the overall bottom line.

Air Knife Blowoff Comparison

While the annual electrical/energy cost was higher for the Super Air Knife, the initial purchase price and annual maintenance costs were significantly lower, making the 1st year of ownership over 3.5 times less than that of the blower driven unit. Also, with the design of our Air Knives entraining large volumes of surrounding air, wind shear is reduced, which decreases the noise level generated. As a result, our units are going to produce sound levels well below the allowable noise exposure levels set forth by OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a) when compared to other devices.

After explaining this information to the customer, they are going to re-evaluate their requirements. As the customer put it, “it is kind of hard to argue against 24 years of successful operation with your product”. I would tend to agree!

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN