Slick Application for a Super Air Knife

A few weeks back I worked with a customer on an unusual application for one of our Air Knives. The company runs a camp, located in the North-Central part of the United States, complete with their own ski hill for skiing, snowboarding or tubing. They use a conveyor belt ski lift where the skier or snowboarder will stand on the belt and be transported back to the top of the hill for another run. They were starting to see some safety issues arise when the mat would get wet and freeze, causing the skiers to slip and fall back.

Photo of the ski belt conveyor

In an effort to remedy the situation, the installed a brush to try and help remove some of the snow and ice from the belt and while this helped a little, there was still moisture on the belt that would re-freeze. To aid in the drying process, they tried to use a floor blower aimed at the belt but the turbulent airflow seemed to “push” the water around rather than wipe it clean and dry. Out of ideas, they found EXAIR while doing an internet search and decided to give us call for assistance.

Further reviewing the details of the application, I recommended our 30″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knife for the application. The Super Air Knife provides an high velocity, laminar sheet of air across the length of the knife. The laminar flow from the air knife, would assure an even drying effect across the belt, rather than the turbulent flow from the blower. The stainless steel construction of the knife would hold up to the potentially harsh environmental conditions as well.

Super Air Knife available in aluminum, 303ss, or 316ss construction in lengths from 3″ up to 108″.

After some correspondence back and forth regarding air requirements and installation recommendations, the customer was able to source a rental compressor and ordered the 30″ Super Air Knife to test under our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. After a few weeks of testing, they were able to effectively dry the belt to an acceptable level, increasing the overall safety for their guests.

30″ SS Super Air Knife mounted under the belt on the “return” side.

 

Clever installation allowed for easy angle adjustment to ensure the airflow contacted the belt for optimal blowoff/drying.

EXAIR offers the quietest (69 dBA at 80 PSIG) and longest (up to 108″) Air Knives on the market today and we stock them in the most materials (aluminum, 303SS, 316Ss and PVDF) to best suit your application. To see how you might be able to utilize an Air Knife in your unique application, give us a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

Super Air Knives Used as a Non-Contact Barrier in a Non-Woven Application

An overseas customer manufactures a 2.2 meter wide non-woven material.  In one of their processes, the media would travel through a spray booth to apply a water-based surfactant.  The surfactant was atomized and blown onto the top and bottom of the material.  The spray booth was equipped with a fume hood to capture any excess mist.  The material would then travel out of the spray booth and into the oven to dry.

Area between Spray Booth and Oven

Area between Spray Booth and Oven

Because they were running at a speed of 160 m/min, a draft was being created as the media was exiting the spray booth.  This draft was strong enough to overcome the vacuum pressure from the fume collection system.  This would allow the excess mist to escape the spray booth.  It was then collecting on the surface of the oven and floor outside the containment area.  This created a safety issue as well as a large mess.

In looking at the problem area, the dimension of the opening of the spray booth was 2.65 meters by 300 mm.  To blow a good curtain of air to contain the mist, we needed to have a laminar flow to create that “wall”.  I recommended two pieces of a model 1102108 Super Air Knife Kits.  At 108” (or 2.74m) long, they are the longest Super Air Knives in the market.  With a steady flow of air along the entire 2.74 meter length, it can generate that curtain of air across the entire opening of the spray booth.  The laminar flow was key as they did not want to disturb the spraying nozzles inside the booth.

The Super Air Knife Kit also comes with a filter, a regulator, and a shim set.  With the included shim set, the force can be changed dramatically by using a different thickness of shim.  Since they did not need much force to keep the mist inside the spray booth, they opted to put a thinner shim inside the Super Air Knife.  This would reduce the amount of compressed air needed, and with a regulator, the customer could “dial” in the correct amount of force to create the proper air barrier.  The Super Air Knives were mounted above and below the material to blow directly across the opening of the spray booth.  Any fine mist that would come in contact with the air would be deflected back into the spray booth.  With the extra mist removed from the process, the fume extraction system could then perform its duties the way it was intended. With air being used to create that barrier, it did not disrupt the structure of the material or the surfactant on its surface.

Super Air Knife

Super Air Knife

If you require a non-contact barrier for your application, EXAIR Super Air Knives could be your solution.  For this customer, we were able keep the work place safe and mess-free.

 John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Super Air Knives Replace Manifold Of Flat Nozzles, Saves Air, Saves Money

Last week I fielded a call from a steel plant who was using a manifold of 50 stainless steel, flat nozzles evenly spaced across a 130″ area, to blow off light scale and cooling water from steel sheets. The nozzles were working somewhat but they were seeing some “streaks” of scale and water remain after the initial blow off point. They were considering adding another manifold of nozzles as a secondary treatment but were concerned with the amount of air a setup like that would require, as well as the cost as each nozzle cost nearly $250.00 each. Operating at close to 80 PSI, they determined that each of the nozzles was using around 35 SCFM or roughly 1,750 SCFM for the manifold. Adding another manifold would obviously double that figure to 3,500 SCFM which would be a TON of compressed air to blow off water and light material.

Competitor Nozzle

Example of similar nozzle to what the customer is currently using.

After some further discussion, I recommended using (1) of our 60″ and (1) of our 72″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knives, coupled together, to provide a 132” laminar sheet of airflow. The laminar flow of air would be even across the entire 132″ length, eliminating any weak or dead areas like they are seeing with the existing setup, which is causing the streaking. The Super Air Knife uses only 2.9 SCFM per inch of knife when operated at the same 80 PSIG supply, so for 132″ of Super Air Knife, they would be using approximately 383 SCFM, much less than the current 1,750 SCFM, alleviating their concern for increased air demand. With the amount of air they would be saving, they could purchase the 60″ and 72″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knives, and the coupling kit to REPLACE their existing manifold system, eliminating the need of adding another manifold.

sak-coupled-together

Coupling brackets used to join Super Air Knives together end to end, providing a seamless, uninterrupted flow for wider than 108″ applications.

To discuss how an EXAIR product can help you decrease your air usage while providing superior results, contact one of our application engineers at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

30′ Long Super Air Knife

Earlier this month, I got a call on a Wednesday afternoon from a gentlemen at a sawmill in the Pacific Northwest. He indicated that they had a saw machine that was 30′ long, and it had a special scanner system to detect problems with the cutting which ran the full 30′ length.  In a sawing operation, there is sawdust and chips, and they can adhere to any surface including the scanner window.  When the debris would build up, the scanner system would give off false detection signals and cause issues with the operation.  We discussed the Super Air Knives as a way to blow off the scanner window, and be able to cover the entire 30′ length.  He asked for a quotation for a 30′ long Super Air Knife (and that doesn’t happen very often!)  And oh, by the way, delivery was needed on Friday (in 2 days!)

EXAIR manufactures Super Air Knives in lengths up to 108″.  To get to 30′, we looked at using (3) 108″ and (1) 36″ length.  Due to the length, the 108″ have to ship by freight truck, while all of the other lengths can ship via UPS or Fed Ex.  Since the customer was needing an overnight shipment, we had to take this into account.

We settled in on a system of (6) 54″ and (1) 36″ Super Air Knife. An added benefit to this arrangement was to allow the individual control of operation of the units, with each length blowing for a short duration, on down the line, until each had cycled.  This kept the instantaneous air consumption to a reasonable level, instead of 1 very large demand for cleaning the whole 30′ at once.  A quotation was sent out Thursday morning.

bracket-sak-2

Coupling Bracket Kit – Used to Join (2) Super Air Knives

We received the order Thursday afternoon, shipped it later that day, and it delivered to the customer the next day on Friday. Installation occurred over the weekend.

The following Tuesday, I got an email – first to thank us for working so quickly from inquiry through to delivery for the 30′ of Air Knives, and then to ask to place another order for exactly the same set.  Turns out, there is a right edge scanner and a left edge scanner, and they were ready to do the other side.  We had a little extra time, and shipped out the full set a couple days later, and standard shipping still got to them before they were ready to install.

To discuss your application and how the EXAIR Air Knives can benefit your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

 

 

 

 

Compressed Air Has Tremendous Power! Use It Safely

Just the other day, not far from here, a demolition crew at a shuttered factory and a local homeowner got this message, loud & clear, when the crew inadvertently cut into a still-pressurized compressed air cylinder.  It launched, like a missile (an apt description, given the fact that real missiles operate on this exact same principle) some 1,500 feet, across the neighborhood, and into the bedroom of a house, three blocks away.  Here’s what the local news reported on it:

Now, before you go turn your air compressor off and vent your system, let’s look at just a couple of other incredible dangers we place ourselves in close proximity to every day:

Driving a car: I came to work this morning in a 3,500lb mass of metal, plastic, and glass, hurtling at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)  This would be an insane thing to do, were it not for:

*The engineering, design, and maintenance that makes the vehicle safe to operate,

*The training, experience, and periodic re-licensing required to maintain driving privileges,

*The upkeep of roadways, bridges, traffic signals, etc., and

*The monitoring and enforcement of traffic safety measures by our law enforcement officers.

Operating electrically powered devices:  if you’re reading this on a computer screen, you’re likely surrounded by objects that are connected directly to 120 volts of alternating current electricity.  That stuff will stop your heart.  Thank goodness all that current is contained, isolated, and grounded to keep it out of our bodies, even when we have to touch the controls to turn those devices on & off.

Food: Don’t even get me started on the hazards of ingesting plant & animal product that used to live outside and was processed for transport hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of miles away.  It’s a wonder any of us have made it this long.  Well, except for the development and rigorous implementation of food safety and sanitation practices & policy.

Working with compressed air is no different.  A typical plant compressed air system will operate at about 100psig.  That literally means that there is ONE HUNDRED POUNDS OF FORCE being exerted on EACH AND EVERY SQUARE INCH of the inside of the pipes, hoses, tanks, etc., in the system.  If you don’t keep it under control, you can have some serious problems.  Fortunately, there are simple, straightforward, and easily accessible ways to do that.

This is not going to be a comprehensive guide, but let’s start with:

Design: Your piping and components have to be the proper pressure rating.  We’ve got some good piping information on our websiteAlso, keep your vehicle well maintained, periodically check your electric devices for frayed cables, and look at your meat packages’ labels for a USDA stamp and “use by” date.

Our Compressed Air Piping web page is a valuable resource for safety AND efficiency (left.) Don't rely on smell or color; food package labels are your best indication of food safety (right.)

Our Compressed Air Piping web page is a valuable resource for safety AND efficiency (left.) Don’t rely on smell or color; package labels are your best indication of food safety (right.)

Controls: Make sure you’re using your compressed air safely.  OSHA Regulation 1910.242(b) governs the use of compressed air when used for cleaning purposes…it limits you to no more than 30psi of downstream, static pressure at the discharge of your blow off device.  EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products comply with this regulation, by design.  Also, watch your speed on the highway, don’t plug too many strands of Christmas tree lights in to one outlet, and always cook chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165F (73.9C)

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are fully OSHA Compliant - certificated available upon request (left.) Your power strip and Christmas tree light strands should both be labeled with their amperage ratings. Check these to make sure you don't overload the circuit (right.)

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are fully OSHA Compliant – certificate available upon request (left.) Your power strip and Christmas tree light strands should both be labeled with their amperage ratings. Check these to make sure you don’t overload the circuit (right.)

Personal Protective Equipment: Any time you’re working with compressed air, you should be wearing eye protection and using appropriate chip guards to keep flying debris from coming back at you.  Certain applications may require more safeguards…check with your compliance coordinator or supervisor to make sure.  Also, don’t shift out of ‘park’ without your seat belt fastened, take care to unplug any appliance before servicing it, and don’t skimp on a decent pair of oven mitts if you plan on making a lot of baked goods.

EXAIR Safety Air Guns can be fitted with Chip Shields for OSHA Compliance (left.) Oven mitts come in all shapes & sizes - it would be illogical to reach for that lasagna without them (right.)

EXAIR Safety Air Guns can be fitted with Chip Shields for OSHA Compliance (left.) Oven mitts come in all shapes & sizes – it would be illogical to reach for that lasagna without them (right.)

EXAIR has been making quiet, efficient, and safe compressed air products for 34 years now.  If you ever have any questions about the safe use of compressed air, give us a call and ask for an Application Engineer.  No; compressed air isn’t safe, in and of itself…but it CAN be used safely…and that’s the important part.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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ef2d_star_trek_oven_mitt picture courtesy of Cozinhando Fantasias

d2590-1 picture courtesy of US Department of Agriculture

Holiday fire safety – Power strip overloaded picture courtesy of State Farm

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Proper Air Supply Is Key To Optimal Performance

I recently worked with a customer who was using our 36″ aluminum Super Air Knife to remove dust and light debris from a conveyor but wasn’t seeing good performance. They initially called because they read in their catalog that increasing the shim gap would increase their force and flow and wanted to know what kind of increase in performance they would see.

The Super Air Knives are shipped from EXAIR with a .002″ shim installed and the performance data shown in the catalog reflects this gap setting. The shim sets, for aluminum knives, include a .001″, .003″ and .004″ shim and by changing to the .003″ shim, the force and flow would be 1.5 times as great and using the .004″ shim would double these amounts. While some applications do require the additional force and flow, trying to blow off dust or light materials typically wouldn’t fall into this category.

sak-shims

Replaceable shims provide varying levels of force and flow.

Switching our focus to the supply side of things, it turns out they were using 1/4″ hose and only plumbing one end of the unit. This poses 2 concerns that relate directly to the mentioned poor performance. The first would be the 1/4″ hose is severely undersized for a 36″ Super Air Knife. We recommend 3/4″ Schedule 40 pipe if the length of supply from a main header is 10′ or less and a 1″ pipe up to 50′ of supply run. It is possible to use hose but that hose needs to be at least 1″ ID to be able to carry enough volume to support a 36″ unit. Secondly, for knives that are 24″ in length or longer, you need to plumb air to both ends to maintain an even, laminar flow across the length of the knife.

With the proper supply, the Super Air Knife is going to produce an exhaust air velocity of 11,800 feet per minute when operated at 80 PSIG, which is more than enough to eject lightweight material from a flat surface (in fact you could most likely clean dust and light debris at a lower pressure). If the customer did increase the shim gap dimension, the increase in  air demand would only worsen the problem of undersized supply lines.

Pipe sizes

Recommended supply line sizes per the IOM – Installation and Operation Manual.

This is just one example of how proper supply line size and installation is key to achieving optimal performance. If you are experiencing similar issues or need any assistance with a product or application, give me a call, I am glad to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

How Do You Make Cement? Start with Clinkers

Last week I wrote about the use of the Atomizing Nozzles to create a fog for wet room curing of concrete samples poured during road construction.  This week, I had the opportunity to work with another customer about concrete, but this time it was regarding the the manufacturing process.  Invariably, I always learn something new , and for this interaction, it was the term ‘clinkers.’

Concrete is a composite material composed of coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens over time.  The customer I was working with was a cement manufacturer.  Cement production is basically a 2 step process – 1) clinker is produced from raw materials and 2) cement is produced from cement clinker.

clinkers

Typical Cement Clinkers

To make the clinker (step one), several powder raw materials are fed into a rotary kiln.  The kiln is heated to very high temperatures, and when the materials are mixed and heated, new compounds are formed and hydraulic hardening occurs resulting in the formation of the clinker.

My customer needed a way to clean off the residual dust left on the transport belts, after the clinkers were transported to storage silos.  Due to the high temperatures in the area, we focused in on the EXAIR Type 303 Stainless Steel model of the Super Air Knife, as it can withstand temperatures up to 800°F.  The customer went with (3) of the Super Air Knife Kits, which include the Shim Set, Auto Drain Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator w/ Gauge, for easiest installation with maximum functionality.

The Super Air Knife is a tried and true product for cleaning, drying, cooling and general blowoff for conveyors.  And with widths up to 108″ available, any size conveyor can be handled.

To make cement (step two), the clinker is ground into fine powder with other ingredients including gypsum (calcium sulphates) and possibly additional cementitious (such as blastfurnace slag, coal fly ash, natural pozzolanas, etc.) or inert materials (limestone). It is then stored or packaged and ready to be made into concrete.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Super Air Knife can benefit your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

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