EXAIR’s Super Air Knives Add Benefit to Drying Process for Automotive Parts

EXAIR’s Super Air Knife is THE best solution for compressed air blowoff operations that necessitate a wide sheet of compressed air. We’ve been manufacturing Air Knives for over 37 years, with the Super Air Knife making its first appearance back in 1997. Since then, the Super Air Knife has undergone a few enhancements over the years as we’re constantly trying to not only introduce new products but also improve on the ones we have. We’ve added new materials, longer single piece knives, as well as additional accessories. But, by and large, the basic design has remained the same. As the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.

The Super Air Knife utilizes a source of compressed air to create a laminar sheet of high velocity air. This supplied compressed air mixes with ambient air that is entrained into the primary airstream. The Super Air Knife entrains ambient air at a rate of 40:1, making it VERY effective in a variety of drying, cleaning, and cooling applications. Available in lengths ranging from 3”-108” and in a variety of different materials of construction, there’s a Super Air Knife available for just about any application. Any time you have product moving along a conveyor that needs to be cleaned, dried, or cooled off, a Super Air Knife is the ideal fit.

Recently I worked with a customer in Mexico that manufactures automotive components. They had a part they needed some help with in their drying process. Before contacting EXAIR, they were placing the parts on racks to let them air dry. They would leave them to sit throughout the shift and dry. The next shift would then come in and gather up the parts, check to make sure they were dried, and then organize them before gearing up to begin production for their shift. In some cases, there was some residual moisture and they would either be dried with a blow gun or with a dry cloth.

This entire process was causing them to lose at least an hour of production per shift. They began looking for something that would allow them to dry the parts immediately at the exit of the washer. They came across EXAIR’s Super Air Knives and implemented of them on the conveyor, immediately at the outlet of the washer to dry both sides of the part. Two knives were placed to dry the top as it had some grooves and features that did not completely dry with just one pass. A third knife was placed on the on the underside as the part is removed from the conveyor to dry the bottom. After implementation of the Super Air Knives, they no longer had to allow the parts to sit and dry on a rack and saved an hour per shift in lost time.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to staff a complete shift with qualified personnel, so don’t have your operators wasting time in a drying process that can be achieved with something like the Super Air Knife. EXAIR has all models of Super Air Knife available to ship same day from stock and backed by our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. If you’d like to talk about how we can help improve a process in your plant, give us a call.

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

Air Knives! Air Knives! Choosing the best one for your application

EXAIR Air Knives are amazing. You simply supply them with compressed air, and they are designed to entrain the ambient air around them to generate much more SCFM than is being fed to them at a 30:1 or a 40:1 ratio. They are much quieter, more efficient and a much lower cost (see chart) than any option we know of to blowoff, dry, clean or cool. The Air Knives all produce a nice laminar flow of air that is dependable to consistently handle each application.

There are so many applications, from drying, cooling, cleaning, opening bags, floating webs, and keeping environments separate, to many very unique and creative applications such as; floating tortillas from one belt to another, keeping camera lens covers clean when filming (even on a boat in the ocean), and one application documented on Nat Geo that is, well let’s say extremely unique (find out more here). As there are so many possible applications, there are of course multiple Air Knives to choose from. Our catalogue has 17 pages dedicated just to Air Knives. How do you choose which is best for your application? Let’s take a look and see.

At EXAIR we offer 3 types of Air Knives, Super, Standard, and Full-Flow. All of these are great Knives, and have their own strengths. We also can help If your application requires a special shape, design, or material, we will be happy to work with you to design the best solution for your unique application.

The column on the above left shows you a solid difference of the 3 Air knives. The chart below shows you the most efficient and the quietest Air Knife. You will see that the Super Air knife is our most versatile, by far the most popular purchased Air Knife. Even with a slightly higher purchase price, it doesn’t take long to understand the overall value and long term cost saving makes the Super Air Knife, not only the best choice for nearly all applications, but also the the best value.

All 3 types of Air Knives are stock items, and can typically be shipped the same day. The standard lengths in stock are 3″,6″,9″,12″, 18″ and then every 6″ up to 48″ — The Super Air Knife will go up to 108″ (in stock) with the previous mentioned lengths, plus 54″ and then every 12″ up to 108″ long (yes 9 feet). We can also customize sizes if that is what you need.

As you can see the Super Air Knife is the clear winner of the 3 options and is the most recommended. But there are a few reasons to purchase the Standard and the Full Flow Air Knives. The Standard is generally purchased for the lower price point. The Full-Flow is generally purchased for the small envelope. Here is great way to look at the three options. The Super Air Knife is like a Tesla – it’s arguably the best vehicle on the road today. It is the most efficient with a slightly higher cost than it’s similarly sized counterparts. But when you factor in the cost of gas, the Tesla is actually one of the least expensive option over a lifetime. The Standard Air Knife is more like the family van. It is dependable and it gets the job done, it has a lower sticker price than the Tesla, but each time you fill that gas tank you begin to realize how affordable the Tesla actually was, and you end up having a little regret. Lastly we have the Full-Flow Air Knife that is most comparable to the compact car. Sometimes you need that small car so that you can park in the “compact only” parking places in the parking garages in the city. All of these cars get you from point A to point B, and they all have a purpose and a demand. There is not a bad choice, but there is a best choice, and the best choice is 100% dependent on your needs.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss in more detail, please reach out to me, or any of our application engineers.

Application Engineer
Brian Wages
EXAIR Corporation
Email me: BrianWages@exair.com
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Super Air Knife Helps to Remove Slip Hazards

A door manufacturer was having some issues in containing the sawdust within their CNC machine.  Their operation used two rotary saw blades on a mill arm to cut two grooves in the bottom of a standard 36” (91.4cm) wide door.  The grooves were used to hold a Kerf door sweep; a mechanical barrier to keep water, air, and dirt from getting into the house.  After the grooving operation, dust was getting on the door and around the conveyor.  It was becoming a safety issue as the saw dust would collect on the shop floor.  The CNC mill did have a dust collection system, but it needed a little help to keep the material within the collection area. 

Model: 110236DX

I recommended the model 110236DX Super Air Knife Deluxe Kit.  This model included a 36” (914 mm) Super Air Knife, a filter, a regulator, a shim set, a Universal Mounting System, and an Electronic Flow Control.  The filter would capture any contamination from the compressed air line to keep the door surface clean.  The regulator and shim set would be used to control the amount of force required to remove the debris and keep the dust from migrating.  The Universal Mounting System securely attached to the Super Air Knife to give flexibility in mounting.  It uses articulated arms to maneuver the Super Air Knife to the best position for blowing.  The Electronic Flow Control, or EFC, is an optimization product that uses a photoelectric eye to turn on and off the compressed air with a timing circuit.  When the mill arm passes by the photoelectric eye, the timing circuit would start blowing; and it would turn off after the door has been processed and left the milling area. The EFC is great tool to save on compressed air. 

The Super Air Knife was placed underneath the aluminum extrusion guard in front of the door (reference photo above).  It was placed to increase contact time and to blow back toward the dust collection system.  The force of the air would clear the surface of the door in a non-contact way.   As a result, the wood chips and debris stayed inside the CNC machine and removed the slip hazards in other areas of the plant. As an additional note, since the dust collection system was now optimized with the Super Air Knife, the housekeeping within the plant was not needed which saved them time and money.

If you want to have a safer environment for your workers, EXAIR has a line of products that can help.  Whether it is for noise, dead-end pressure, or removing slip hazards as above; EXAIR has engineered solutions that can help.  You can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR for assistance.

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

Super Air Knife to the Rescue in Machining

Home-made blow-off device

As machined parts require tighter tolerances, the surface has to stay clear during turning operations.  A customer that had a CNC machine needed to make a metal tube with a specific diameter.  The metal tube was 17 ½” (445mm) long.  They made their own blow-off “tree” to keep the surface clean from shavings.  They used five open ports to blow at the part surface (reference photo above).  When they started using their home-made device, they were not getting a consistent cleaning during operation.  They wanted to speak to an expert in this type of area, and they contacted EXAIR to see if we could improve their process.

With a series of open nozzles, it is very difficult to get a consistent force along a linear line.  The air becomes very turbulent, which has changing directions of air flow.  It creates a hazardous noise exposure to the operators, and it also wastes compressed air which costs the company a large amount of money to use.  With laminar air, the path flows in the same direction.  This creates a very consistent force with less noise.  Since air is invisible, I like to use water to show the difference.  The photo below shows turbulent and laminar flows. 

Turbulent to Laminar Water

For linear blow-offs, EXAIR offers a wide range of Super Air Knives.  They give a laminar flow pattern along the entire length.  We have stocked lengths from 3” (76mm) up to 108” (2.74 meters) in different materials.  A benefit of the Super Air Knife is the high amplification ratio of 40:1.  This means that for every 1 part of compressed air, it will entrain 40 parts of ambient air.  So, they are very efficient, safe, and effective.  For the application above, I recommended the model 110218 18” Super Air Knife Kit to cover the length of the metal tube.  It has an 18” (457mm) wide air stream that is very powerful to remove chips during the turning operation.  The kit includes a filter, regulator, and shim set.  The filter will remove contaminants from the compressed air system to keep the surface clean.  The shim set and regulator provide the ability to adjust the air to the ideal force level to remove the debris from the surface of the tube. 

Super Air Knife Kits include a Shim Set, Filter Separator, and Pressure Regulator.

One of the biggest attributes that the EXAIR Super Air Knives can offer is that they use much less compressed air than a series of open nozzles. With the engineered design, it can entrain large amounts of ambient air which means that less compressed air is required.  For the nozzle tree, it was using 105 SCFM of air at 80 PSIG.  The model 110218 only requires 52.2 SCFM at 80 PSIG. That is a difference of 52.8 SCFM; half the amount of compressed air as the home-made nozzles. 

Once they installed the Super Air Knife, the first thing that they noticed was the reduction of noise. The model 110218 Super Air Knife only has a noise level of 69 dBA at 80 PSIG, compared to a noise level of an open port which was over 100 dBA. By replacing the nozzle tree with the Super Air Knife, this company…

1. reduced air consumption

2. saved money

3. reduced noise levels

4. increased the effective blowing force

If you find yourself using a home-made blow-off device, you can be creating a hazardous, costly, ineffective method to “do a job”.  Since precision was needed for the company above, they were delighted to contact an expert in this area.  You can also improve your blow-off device by contacting an Application Engineer at EXAIR for assistance.  We would be glad to help. 

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