Cleaning with an Air Wipe

I received a call about a blow-off operation. The customer had an automated machine that would thread, cut, and stack a 1” (25mm) diameter pipe. The operation was ran by a CNC lathe that would thread both ends and cut the pipe to length. An automatic arm would feed the next piece of pipe into the lathe, and at the same time, push the finished piece of pipe through the chuck. Another robot arm would grab the finished pipe and stack it. The reason for his call was that he was losing coolant from his CNC machine. He used the coolant for the cutting and threading operations. When the CNC lathe would cut the pipe to length, the coolant would leak into the center of the pipe. As it was being brought out of the machine, coolant would leak onto the floor. It was a safety issue as well as the cost to replace the coolant. He wanted to keep as much coolant inside his machine during his operation.

Air Wipe blowing off outside of pipe
Air Wipe blowing off outside of pipe

The customer believed that he would need two types of products to solve his problem. He was looking at a Standard Air Wipe to remove the coolant from the outside of the pipe, and a Super Air Nozzle to remove the coolant from inside the pipe. In getting more details about the application, we were able to determine that we could use just the Standard Air Wipe. With the design of the EXAIR Air Wipes, a 30 degree angle of compressed air is directed toward the center in a 360 degree air pattern, just like a cone. This design allowed us to address both problems. The primary function of the Air Wipe would be to blow the coolant from the outside of the pipe. As it passed through the chuck to the robot arm for stacking, the Air Wipe would blow the coolant off the pipe and back into the machine. The second function of the Air Wipe was to keep the coolant from leaking through the center of the pipe. With the finished pipe being stacked, the conical air flow would blow into the open cavity of the chuck and right into the center of the pipe. As the new pipe was being cut, the Air Wipe would increase the pressure inside the pipe, keeping the coolant from seeping into the center.

Air Wipe - How it works
Air Wipe – How it works

I recommended model 2482, 2” (51mm) Standard Air Wipe Kit. The kit included the Air Wipe, shim set, filter separator, and pressure regulator. This would insure long lasting operations with the ability to control the amount of compressed air being used. Here at EXAIR, we enjoy solving problems. I was able to correct his problem with one product item, instead of two or more. It is not just about the amount of sales, but about helping our customer in the most effective way. If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of your applications, you can contact the Application Engineers at EXAIR.

John Ball Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

There’s More Than 1 Way To Blow Some Air

Just today I spoke with a customer who is threading the ends of pipes and needs to blow the coolant and chips out of the threads.   The pipes range from 4″ to 9 – 5/8″ Diameters.  They are all threaded then fed into a trough and pushed down line to the next operation.

A machine with an out-feed roller conveyor similar to the pipe threading machine mentioned.

The photo above is not the exact machine but you can see where if this was used to process piping the different diameter pipes would all sit at the same level.  One option could be to use a Super Air Wipe  for this application but then the smaller diameters would not pass through the center of the Air Wipe, instead they would pass through the bottom half of the airflow which may not give optimal performance. Instead, I suggested to use 4 of our 6″ Super Air Knife kits and 2 of our Electronic Flow Control units.


2 - 110006 - 6" Aluminum Super Air Knives coupled together w/  a 110900 SAK Connector Kit
2 – 110006 – 6″ Aluminum Super Air Knives coupled together w/ a 110900 SAK Connector Kit

I  suggested that we make two pairs of knives for this blowoff setup by coupling two of the 6″ Super Air Knives together.  Once they are coupled together like is shown above, we could mount the two coupled air knives vertically along the trough and blowing at a 45° angle toward the center of the conveyor.  The plumbing of the two bottom knives will be to one EFC while the top two knives will be plumbed to the other.    The sensors will then be set up at two different heights, lower knives to sense the bottom of the pipe and the upper knife sensor will be set just above the bottom 6″ knife.

The reason for using 4 – 6″ Super Air Knives and 2 EFCs instead of 2 – 12″ Super Air Knives and 1 EFC is to save the most compressed air possible.   By enabling them to turn the top two 6″ Super Air Knives off automatically when they are running below a 6″ diameter pipe.  Then when a larger pipe is processed the top knives will also kick on with the lower knives and provide a uniform blowoff of the product.

So if you have multiple sizes of product being processed on the same line and don’t think any one solution will work, contact us and see if we can’t come up with our own recipe.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer


Machine image courtesy PEO ACWA Creative Commons