On our Website we have a comprehensive database of applications we have worked on with our products. These are pretty easy to find, Johns Blog will walk you through the process on how to access these applications. While John covered Compressed Air Use in the Construction Industry, I will be covering Compressed Air Use in Food and Beverage Industry.
EXAIR products are very commonly used in the food and beverage industry, from blowing water off cans before labeling, to conveying food products to hoppers for processing. See three examples from our application data base;
Use our Application Assistance Worksheet to submit information about your application. When you submit this information, we will respond with our recommendation for the EXAIR product best suited for the application. Please complete the Application Assistance Worksheet and click submit or print the completed .pdf file and fax it to us at (513) 671-3363. For immediate help, call our Application Engineering Department at 1 800 903-9247.
I recently worked with a customer that had an issue with residual moisture left on the outside of some plastic totes used to house produce. The produce went through a washing station and some of the residual water was ending up on the outside of the crate, most notably the top. After the totes were filled and weighed, they were placed on a conveyor to be labeled and processed. The residual water on top of the crate was causing an issue when the machine applied the label. These labels would slide off further down the line, resulting in an inability to recognize the tote. This causes a halt in production and the contents must be identified and relabeled before resuming. They stumbled upon the EXAIR website and reached out to us for assistance.
The solution was to install a Model 110018SS Super Air Knife, positioned above the totes against the direction of travel. The term we use for this is counter-flow. By having opposite directions of travel between the airflow and the tote, the Super Air Knife is able to blow the water back into the direction from which it came. This led to the totes being dried and labels had no problem sticking to the dry surface of the plastic tote. They needed a quick resolution as this was causing major headaches and slowing their production. EXAIR ships stock products same day for domestic orders received by 3:00 pm EDT. They were able to place an order that day and have the knife installed just days later.
EXAIR manufactures the Super Air Knife in lengths from 3”-108” to solve any of your application needs. If lengths longer than that are required, our Model 110900 Coupling Kit will allow you to couple multiple knives together to achieve the desired length. No matter the blowoff, no matter the size, EXAIR has a Super Air Knife that can suit your needs. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to take a look at your application and determine the most suitable solution.
I recently worked with a food manufacturer who was looking for a way to clean the die roller in their cookie cutting process.The cutting machine is fed by a ribbon of extruded dough that is cut into various shapes as it passes by a 24″ wide roller. After the cookies are cut, the finished product then travels down a chute to a feed tray where it is conveyed to a packaging area. They were starting to see an increase in rejects as some cookies were being “double stamped” as a result of residual dough sticking to the die. They tried to install a brush traveling the span of the roller in an effort to wipe it clean but this wasn’t very effective and also caused some contamination as some of the bristles would break loose. They then tried having an operator use an air gun to manually clean the roller and while this did work, it severely slowed the process down, reducing production and negatively affecting their bottom line.
After discussing the details of the application, I recommended the customer use our 24″ 316ss Super Air Knife in the application. The Super Air Knife produces a laminar sheet of air across the length of the knife and consumes only 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife length when operated at 80 PSIG. The 316ss construction resists pitting and is the preferred choice when being applied to a food process as it minimizes the potential for metal contamination.
When it comes to wide area treatment, an Air Knife is the optimal choice. If you have a similar application that requires assistance, please contact an Application Engineer at 1-800-903-9247.
A customer who was experiencing some issues with a blow off process in their facility contacted EXAIR for a solution. This customer performs post-harvest processing operations on green beans and other vegetables after they’ve been picked. They were having a problem being able to remove excess moisture after the beans had been washed in cold water and keep additional moisture from forming once packaged. The process involved green beans exiting a wash cycle and moving along a belt conveyor. From there, they are dried by a series of blower style air knives. Shortly after being blown off, the beans are weighed and bagged. Once bagged, it was determined that there was too much moisture inside the package and they could not be shipped.
One common issue with blower style knives, and the fundamental issue in this application, is that the air is heated as it moves through the blower. Depending on the type of blower, outlet air temperatures in excess of 180°F are normal. The effect, in this case, was similar to a convection oven where hot air is circulated over the food to cook it. While the beans were not exposed for a long enough time to actually cook, the high temperature air exiting the blower was enough to raise the temperature of the beans. This caused additional moisture to come out from inside the beans after they were bagged and sealed. This is a condition that the customer wanted to avoid because it would lead to the beans drying out and losing their freshness which is a quality issue for the customer.
A second problem was the turbulent airflow from the blower knives causing the beans to be blown all around on the conveyor. The customer effectively had no control over how forcefully the airflow from the blower powered air knives impacted his product. They were either full-on or full-off. This resulted in less than desirable results from a dryness perspective and also caused damage to the product from the high impact disturbance of the blower air knives.
After talking it over with the customer and learning the specifics of the application, we determined that EXAIR’s Super Air Knife Kit Model 110212SS is able to address both of these issues. The airflow would be at ambient temperature, keeping the product at a desired colder temperature. The blowing force could be precisely adjusted with a pressure regulator so as not to cause damage to the product and provide a laminar airflow to strip the water from the product.
EXAIR’s Super Air Knives are available in 303 or 316 grade Stainless Steel to meet the more stringent requirements of many food grade applications. They also operate at a far lower sound level than blower powered air knives, are more compact for easier mounting, and do not involve the purchase of a blower package and associated ducting.
Our Application Engineers can work closely with you to resolve any issues you may be having, even if compressed air isn’t currently a part of the process. If your process involves washing, drying, conveying, or packaging food or other products and you can relate to any of the issues above, please keep EXAIR Corporation in mind as a viable solutions provider. Contact an Application Engineer today and we’ll do our best to help you solve your application problems.