Halloween Level Application: EXAIR Super Air Knife and Atomizing Nozzle Assist Human Body Milling Process

In the spirit of Halloween we are going to keep the creepiness alive one more day and here is an unusual application…Every once in a while, a unique application involving an EXAIR product comes to our attention. EXAIR had the pleasure of speaking with a customer who was working on a project involving the milling of a human body. Yes, you read that correctly. With Halloween right around the corner, this is the ideal time to discuss a somewhat “morbid” application. Try not to think about this as you’re enjoying your favorite Halloween Treat…

I must admit I was a bit taken aback upon the initial description of the process, but was very intrigued about the concept. Susan Potter, a medical education activist and cancer survivor, signed on to a project in 2000. She had recently been involved in a major car accident and was told her life expectancy would be just one more year. She decided that she would donate her body to science for continual study and education. The study would culminate with a complete dissection of her body, from head to toe, with photos taken after each “cut”. She was well aware of the grisly nature of what would transpire, but wanted to fulfill her dream of making medical students more compassionate doctors.

Instead, she lived on for another 14 years and allowed National Geographic to chronicle her life story and subsequent dissection. All in the name of furthering medical research. The process involved removing 300µ layers at a time, taking a photo after each pass that would be used in a time-lapse video showing the entire dissection of the human body.  So how does EXAIR play into this fascinating story?

In order to get a clean picture, the milled material had to be blown off. An isopropyl alcohol solution was sprayed onto the surface just before they snapped a photo. At about 12:45 in the video, you can see the process begin. The blowoff was performed with an EXAIR Model 110012SS Super Air Knife and the isopropyl alcohol was applied with an EXAIR EB1020SS Atomizing Spray Nozzle.

Model 110012SS performing the blowoff after each pass

You can also see a 9212 12” Stay Set Hose being used to position the spray nozzles just above the ice block. When this particular video was taken, they hadn’t yet implemented the Atomizing Spray Nozzles. They contacted us looking for a better solution to the cheap liquid only nozzles that they were previously using. These used a significant amount of the isopropyl alcohol solution and they couldn’t get an even or repeatable coating prior to the photo. This resulted in some of the images not being quite as clear as they hoped and would have to check each individual image as it was taken. At 300µ at a time, that would’ve taken forever if they had to continuously verify and retake images that didn’t come out clear enough.

The Atomizing Spray Nozzles provided a uniform coating of the solution just prior to taking the photo which resulted in a perfectly clear image each and every time. This way, they could confidently run the machine without having to stop after each pass to check the photo.

While it won’t be every day you encounter something quite like this, you can count on EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products for all your point-of-use compressed air needs. Reach out to an Application Engineer if you need help in any of your processes. And, most importantly, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

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

Video courtesy of:

“How a Woman’s Donated Body Became a Digital … – Youtube.” YouTube, National Geographic, 14 Dec. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-hhQNXQawU.

Super Air Knives Provide Dry Surface for Printing

I’ve always liked Halloween.  My friends and I got to go trick-or-treating together around the neighborhood, under the supervision of a parent or two, until one year when we were deemed old enough to go around the immediate neighborhood (gasp) by OURSELVES!!!

You need to know that, for any of our Moms, that was a HUGE investment in trust they were putting in us. One that, I’m afraid was undeserved. See, we’d all heard rumors of “tricks” from some cool older kids, and were eager to try our hands at it. Now, we were a relatively mild mannered bunch. We certainly weren’t going to break anything or hurt anyone. But the tales of soaping windows had an irresistible appeal…so, after we donned our costumes that evening, we all sneaked a bar of hand soap out of the house, and set about on our great adventure. Which was not so great, for a couple of reasons:

First, Halloween that year fell on a particularly drizzly night.  We weren’t in danger of a rain-out, but there was a layer of “wet” on everything…especially the windows on which we planned to display our art. That didn’t stop us from trying, though…it just wasn’t near as effective, or fun, as we’d hoped.  Basically, we got some weak smudges here and there.

Second, our parents & neighbors were a lot more savvy than we’d expected. I’m not even sure what happened first…the discovery of the missing bars of soap, or the neighbors calling our parents to tell them what we were up to. We were all punished according to our respective families’ customs, and the next year, we were the oldest trick-or-treaters out there under adult supervision.

I think about that night whenever I see one of those “World’s Dumbest Criminals” shows, but it popped into my head recently while discussing a Super Air Knife application with a customer.  The caller worked in facility that produced pizza dough, and had recently implemented a quality tracking system that applied a temporary code to the rims of the plastic trays that carried the loaves of dough along a conveyor.   Thing is, the trays could still be wet from the wash/rinse cycle, and the ink (which is water soluble and is supposed to be removed by the washer anyway) really, really needs a pretty dry surface, or it’s just going to be a weak, smudgy mess, much like the great Window Soap Fail of 1970-something.

They purchased two Model 110003SS 3″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knives and installed one on each side of the conveyor, just after the rinse tunnel.  The Super Air Knives blow off the rims of the trays, leaving a clean, dry surface for the printer.

EXAIR Super Air Knives come in a wide variety of lengths to suit a wide range of applications.

EXAIR Super Air Knives come in a variety of materials, lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet, and are the quietest & most efficient compressed air operated blow off products on the market today.  If you’d like to find out more about they can help you, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Super Air Knife Helps Make More Candy Bars

It’s known in various places as Beggar’s Night, Trick-or-Treat, or just good old Halloween.  Whatever you call it, many of us have fond memories of donning a costume and a mask and roaming the neighborhood in search of candy.  Most of the grownups we encountered were only too happy to oblige our requests, in exchange for the opportunity to spend some time on the porch, enjoying a brisk autumn evening.  We won’t talk about the times when it may have rained, snowed, or been unseasonably hot…like, in the 80F range (yes, I grew up in Ohio.)

As fond as those childhood memories are, I’ve built a solid arsenal of grownup memories too, both passing out candy to neighborhood kids, and escorting my own kids around the neighborhood…of course, I always “suited up” for the occasion…

My neighbors breathed a collective sigh of relief when my sons became old enough to go Trick-or-Treating without Dad.
My neighbors breathed a collective sigh of relief when my sons became old enough to go Trick-or-Treating without Dad.

It’s probably no great secret that candy manufacturers ramp up their production in preparation for the occasion.  I had the pleasure of discussing an application with one of them recently – in fact, it was for some of the bite-size candy bars that they were about to be “Job One.”  This particular treat is produced as a continuous “strand” of nougat that is extruded onto a conveyor.  It’s then covered in peanut pieces and cut to size before being coated in chocolate.  Now, because these are bite-size bars, they’re making 3-4 times as many cuts as their regular candy bars (you know…the ones you got at the “cool houses?”) there’s 3-4 times as many peanut pieces on the belt.

To recover these pieces, they got a Model 110254 54″ Aluminum Super Air Knife Kit, and installed it to blow a light “curtain” of air across the belt in the area where the cutting takes place.  The excess pieces are blown into a trough on the side of the conveyor, where they’re cleanly and neatly recovered & recycled.  They only need about 5psig of compressed air supply pressure to do this, and it’s timed to the indexing of the belt, so not only is it reliable & effective, it’s just about as efficient as they can get.

The EXAIR Super Air Knife – quiet, efficient, and infinitely adjustable to meet the needs of most any blow off situation.

If you’d like to talk about Super Air Knives, Trick or Treating, or Halloween candy, give me a call.  I know a LOT about all of those things.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Don’t BOO Safety

This week is one the favorite times of year of my son..… HALLOWEEN! The haul of candy aside, he loves getting to wear his new costume (this year it’s Jack Skellington from A Nightmare before Christmas), walking through the neighborhood to see all of the decorations,  and enjoying the other costumes.


We get a lot of traffic in our neighborhood, with 6 streets running parallel and it’s all flat. As a result of the high traffic, some of our neighbors treat this as a time to compete and go all out with the decorations. So not to be outdone, one of them has decided to set up a mini haunted maze in their backyard – complete with smoke machines, strobe lights, bales of hay, cobwebs, spiders, skeletons, headstones and even a working guillotine! The kids are going to enter from the side yard and once they work their way through the maze, they pull on the guillotine’s rope to reveal the (skull) bucket of candy! Pretty ingenious and WAY more work than I would have done, but I am sure it will be a huge hit!

As they were showing me their “invention”, I started to wonder how safe this was going to be and could only imagine that some parents are going to be like me, a little concerned. They assured me that everything was going to be fine, they had our Township office inspect the maze and were able to secure a permit. Since the Township is aware that the neighborhood draws a lot of visitors, they even agreed to have volunteer firefighters assist with the operation and provide a safe(r) attraction.

Safety should also be a primary concern when implementing compressed air applications in your workplace. By using open ended pipe or tubing, you are creating an unsafe work environment, risking serious injury due to high pressure and extended exposure to extreme noise levels. All of EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products have been designed and engineered to meet or exceed OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) for 30 psi dead end pressure and OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) for allowable noise exposure.

OSHA Standard 1910.242(b):
Compressed air used for cleaning. Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes except where reduced to less than 30 p.s.i. and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment.

OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a):

OSHA Noise Level

To discuss how EXAIR can help improve your plant’s safety and meet OSHA compliance, please contact an Application Engineer.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer


Halloween Pumpkins image courtesy lobo235Creative Commons License