For decades, children and adults (really cool ones, anyway) have enjoyed the popular board game, Mouse Trap:
The fun of the game is that it exaggerates the notion of providing an overly complicated solution to a simple problem – a notion made famous by Rube Goldberg, whose namesake machines are as thought-provoking as they are entertaining to watch.
As fun as Rube Goldberg machines are, there are actually ways to engineer something “just enough” – that’s what automation engineers strive to do every day; and EXAIR is here to help.
Probably the most popular feature, for automated applications, of engineered compressed air products is instantaneous performance. For example:
- When an electric motor-powered blower is used for a blow off, cooling, or drying application, there’s going to be a “ramp-up” period to reach full rated flow. Not so with an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product, like a Super Air Wipe, Super Air Knife, Super Air Nozzle, Super Air Amplifier, etc. They are generating their rated flow as fast as you can open the supply valve.
- Likewise, vacuum pumps necessarily take some time to develop their rated vacuum level. But the venturi in an EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generator draws its full rated vacuum flow as soon as the compressed air is turned on. The peak vacuum level is achieved in the amount of time it takes to pull the air out of the lines or vessel.
- All EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles can be fitted with a No Drip feature, which allows instant on/off control, simply by opening/closing a valve in the compressed air supply line. This is often done with a solenoid valve tied in to the machine controls, or with an EXAIR EFC, Electronic Flow Control (more on that in a minute.) They can handle up to 180 cycles per minute, for quick bursts of atomized mist, on demand. No other method of liquid flow control can match that kind of performance.
- EXAIR Spot Cooling Products, Cold Guns, and Cabinet Cooler Systems all use Vortex Tube technology. This “splits” a supply of compressed air into a hot, and cold air flow. Unlike refrigerant, chilled water, or cryogenic gas methods, they don’t rely on conduction or convection heat transfer between materials, so cold (and hot) air is produced, at rated flow and temperature, instantly. They, too, can be turned on & off as often as needed…there are no moving parts to wear or damage.
Automation projects often incorporate existing logic, controls, timers, etc. to actuate the process. For example, if you wanted to use a Chip Vac to vacuum debris from a chop saw, you can simply wire a solenoid valve into the power switch of the saw…it’ll run while the saw runs, and stop when the saw is turned off.
If there are no existing logic, controls, timers, etc., EXAIR has a solution for those cases too: the EFC Electronic Flow Control. We have four models to accommodate up to 350 SCFM of compressed air flow – that’s ten feet worth of Super Air Knives. The EFC consists of a photoelectric sensor that opens/closes a solenoid valve, based on the programming of the integral timer. It’s a stand alone system that doesn’t require input from, nor is it affected by, any external factors.