Super Air Knife Reduces Defects and Lowers Freight Costs

The EXAIR Super Air Knife – high force with precision flow

An Argentine food manufacturer recently reached out to our distributor in Buenos Aires (AYRFUL) to discuss a potential application for EXAIR products.  The need became clear when a packaging line for soon-to-be-frozen food began experiencing problems with excessive water on the surface of the packages.  In this process, the packages are rinsed to remove any unwanted debris, and then sent into a large freezer before distribution to local groceries.

The excessive water on the packages would become ice, which would fuse the packages together when stacked in boxes for transporting to retail centers.  This fusing caused rips in the packaging when they were separated, thereby creating unsellable goods, ultimately leading to returns for this manufacturer.  And, the residual water also increased the total weight of the packed packages, enough to increase the actual weight when bulk packed.  This increase in actual weight led to an increase in freight costs from their courier.  So, this manufacturer needed a way to remove the residual water, reduce defects and returns, and simultaneously lessen the freight cost.

Model 110048 Super Air Knife (inside red box) blowing off residual water after rinsing and before freezing. See note on plumbing below.

The solution they found was a 48” EXAIR Super Air Knife, model 110048, mounted using (2) Universal Air Knife Mounting Kits.  The Super Air Knife in this application provided a precision airflow to blow off the water from the top of the packages, after rinsing and before freezing.  Removing the water at this stage, as shown above, eliminated the problem of fused packages, rejected products, returns, and increased freight.  And, the Super Air Knife was able to do this at a low operating pressure, fed from a single compressed air inlet.

(Note – EXAIR recommends plumbing multiple compressed air inlets for Air Knives longer than 18”.  For this model, 110048, we recommend compressed air be supplied to (3) compressed air inlets.  Plumbing less inlets will reduce the compressed air flow into the knife, which reduces possible operating pressure.  In this case, the lower operating pressure was acceptable, however, we still recommend to plumb (3) compressed air inlets on a 48” Super Air Knife.)

Plumbing specifics aside, this solution still brought tremendous value for the customer.  They were able to solve the root cause of a multi-faceted problem with an engineered solution.  If you have an application in need of an engineered solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

Testing A Freeze Out Valve

I recently had a customer contact me about an application where they were testing freeze out valves that go on the exterior of a locomotive.  The valve would be holding back about 45 psi of water in the pipe, and should open when the valve temperature reaches 35°F.  This would be used to keep any of the coolant / water lines from freezing during outdoor storage.

Mechanical Thermostat

The customer was using a chemical spray to freeze the mechanical thermostat and test that the valve opens.  Recently, an operator that was testing the valve used the wrong chemical and was hospitalized due to exposure so they decided it was time to change their testing method.

The customer purchased a Cold Gun Aircoolant System from our website, however, their compressed air temperature was 85-90°F and the Cold Gun is preset for a 50°F temperature drop at 100 PSIG inlet pressure. This means it wouldn’t quite reach the 35°F target reliably. Fortunately, EXAIR has a number of cooling products to cover an wide array of applications and our Adjustable Spot Cooler fit the application well since it can be adjusted to achieve much colder temperatures, up to a 100°F temperature drop from compressed air temperature.

EXAIR performed a test for the customer with the 25 SCFM generator installed and operated at 100 psig inlet pressure.   The valve was kept at a room temperature of 71°F and the compressed air inlet temperature was approximately 72°F.  The result was the valve would open in just under a minute.  This was even faster than the chemical test and it is adjustable to allow for the variance in the ambient temps. Success!

If you have any questions about how to use an Adjustable Spot Cooler in your application, please let me know.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer