Using Air Knives With Robots

My favorite class in college was a robotics course taught by a brilliant professor who invented the first laser eye surgery chair.  He was incredibly thorough, had more knowledge of robotics and the robotics industry than anyone I’ve met since, and in general was a pretty cool guy.  The robots in class were basic pick-and-place ABB devices that we would program to move, count, stack, or perform any possible function within the work envelope.  I’ve seen plenty of robots since then, as recently as this afternoon when I watched an engineer plug in a 3D printed robot to his laptop to perform a simple pick-and-place function. But for some reason, whenever I work through a robotics application I go back to the same class where we would code and recode the machines until the operations were perfect.

Recently, I worked through an application in which robotic arms were pulling gears out of a hobbing process.  During the transfer, an additional blow off was needed to remove cutting oil so that it didn’t fall on to walkways and pose a danger to personnel.  The end user in this case wanted to know whether it would be possible to pass the gear/arm assembly through an air curtain to remove the oil and remove the hazard.

Inline oil remover
The blow off area – designed to remove cutting oil from the gears and direct oil back into the suitable work area

We came to the design above, which uses two Super Air Knives to create opposing blow off forces for the gear/arm assembly.  The gears pass through this blow off after being removed from the previous stage in the process, and the oil which is blown off of the gears is fed right back into the previous stage.  This not only allows for a high force blow off, but saves wasted cutting oil.

If you have an application that could benefit from an engineered solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer