EXAIR Super Air Knives Improve Efficiency For Beer Bottling Application

As summer begins to wind down, we’re seeing some “slight” reprieve (at least this week) from the intensely hot summer we’ve had thus far in 2022. Fall will be here before we know it, which for me means a return to weekends on the couch watching football! What goes better with football than an ice cold beer?

In a recent application, I worked alongside a beverage manufacturer to help improve on the efficiency of their beer bottling process. You know the saying, “you get what you pay for”. For this customer it was made quite evident as we replaced some rather inefficient nozzles they were using in the facility with our Super Air Knives.

In the process, the customer had (4) sets of inefficient nozzles to dry the bottles off. (2) sets were located just after their wash/rinse cycle, with another two placed just prior to labeling. After washing, the bottles are taken to the fill station where they perform a cold fill process. Their location is hot and humid year-round, so immediately after filling condensation would form on the outside of the bottle.

Once filled, they need to apply a label to the outside of the bottle. If there’s any condensation present, this leads to many of the labels not adhering properly. The issue they were having was that when all of the nozzles were running simultaneously, they were experiencing a pressure drop that led to insufficient drying of the bottles in both stages of the process. Their solution was a rather expensive one: (8) operators were staged at the end of the line to inspect, dry, and fix any of the labels that didn’t adhere well while boxing them up.

Since we knew compressed air consumption was a critical aspect of this application, we offered (2) of our Model 110006-.001 6” Super Air Knives with a .001” thick shim installed. Super Air Knives are shipped directly from stock with a .002” shim, so this thinner shim helped to further reduce the air consumption from the knife. The knives produce a laminar curtain of air that’s far more effective at drying than the turbulent airflow from these flat nozzles. Rather than having (4) sets of knives, they were able to use just (2) effectively eliminating two of the blowoff stations they were using with the cheap nozzles.

With the knives in place the pressure in their system was no longer dropping and the laminar airflow from the Super Air Knives was much more effective at drying the bottles. Now, at the end of the conveyor they only needed (2) operators to unload the bottles and begin to box them. This dramatically reduced their labor costs for this operation as they were able to utilize those employees for other tasks instead of tying them up standing around, drying bottles, and fixing labels.

If you’re tired of experiencing issues with an inefficient blowoff device, EXAIR has a solution that can ship out today from stock. Contact an Application Engineer today and we’ll be happy to help you to determine the best solution based on your application.

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

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

beer image courtesy of RawPixel Ltd via Flickr Creative Commons License

Full Flow Air Knife Creates “Smoke Screen” In Haunted House Attraction

EXAIR Corporation’s engineered Air Knife products have a number of uses in industry. The laminar, even flow is conducive to generating a stripping/sweeping action that is particularly effective for blowing off, cooling, cleaning, drying, etc. The way that they entrain enormous amounts of air from the surrounding environment makes them incredibly efficient. This entrainment also makes them very quiet, as it forms a boundary layer that attenuates the sound level of the high velocity flow of the compressed air exiting the Air Knife. These two features have a distinct benefit in a rather unique application in a decidedly non-industrial setting, though.

A company that services amusement parks & carnivals was making a “haunted house” type attraction. At one point, the victims visitors are to be surprised by animated figures “floating” in the air. Their idea was to project the animation on a wall/screen of smoke…spooky, right? They tried discharging the smoke through a series of holes, and even a thin slot, but could not get the effect they wanted, so they called EXAIR to talk about Air Knives.

Smoke escaping small holes or a thin slot doesn’t have much velocity, so it didn’t make a great ‘curtain’ for projection. It’s also turbulent in nature, so it tends to billow & plume (like the top graphic). Engineered compressed air products like EXAIR’s Air Knives generate a laminar flow (like the bottom graphic) whose velocity can be precisely controlled by regulating the air supply pressure.

They found their solution for this application in a Model 2836SS 36″ Stainless Steel Full Flow Air Knife Kit. The Full Flow Air Knife is the most compact design for any given length, and with rear ports for the compressed air supply, it was easy to conceal from the visitors’ sight. When smoke is introduced from behind, it gets pulled in (entrained), and discharges in a laminar, even curtain that the animated figures magically appear on. The extraordinarily low sound level contributes to the magic, as it can’t be heard over the din of eerie sound effects & music that are synonymous with the haunted house experience.

Compressed air flows through the inlet (1) to the Full Flow (left) or Standard (right) Air Knife, into the internal plenum. It then discharges through a thin gap (2), adhering to the Coanda profile (3) which directs it down the face of the Air Knife. The precision engineered & finished surfaces optimize entrainment of air (4) from the surrounding environment.

EXAIR Corporation has been in the business of providing quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products for all kinds of applications for almost 39 years now. If you want to find out more about introducing more quietness, safety, efficiency…or magic…into your operation, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Stainless Steel Super Air Knives Boost Productivity in Drying Process for Medical Device Manufacturer

I’m a big proponent of investing in devices that help to improve on efficiency in a variety of tasks around the household. At the onset of this year’s pool season, I was reminded exactly why I made the investment several years ago in a robotic pool vacuum cleaner. If you have a pool, you’ll know just how time consuming it is to keep it maintained perfectly. That I have 4 large maple trees ready to drop a bunch of helicopters into my pool each spring only adds fuel to the fire. After enduring my first full season as a pool owner using the old-school manual vacuum, I immediately purchased a new robotic vacuum for the following season.

Things had been great ever since as I opened up the pool each year. I’d toss Scuba Steve in (yes, we named him Scuba Steve) and let him do his thing. Clean out the filters after he’s done and we’re ready to swim. This year, however, he had other plans in mind. After years of functioning well, it was time for several replacement parts to get him back to operating in peak condition. Since seemingly everything you need is out of stock at the moment, I had to resort to the old, trusty manual vacuum as I opened up my pool this year. After weeks of dealing with the uncharacteristically stormy May we’ve had in 2022, I was happy to finally get the parts in and get it repaired right before we got into swimming season this summer.

At EXAIR, we often have cases where we’re contacted by a customer who’s looking to improve in their efficiency in a particular process or application. Recently I worked with a customer in Pakistan who was looking to improve on a process for drying medical instruments that they manufactured.

Instruments just prior to drying

At present, they would dip the instruments into a series of washing tanks followed by a last dip in a rinse tank. Upon completing the final rinse, they’d manually dry the rack with an air gun. In some cases, they wouldn’t get completely dry and would end up with water spots that would require them to start the cleaning process all over again.

Another issue with their present setup was cross contamination between the different tanks. With no drying in between, they were getting detergent in their rinse tank. After a few cleaning cycles, they’d have to drain the tanks and fill them back up again before continuing.

The solution was to install (2) Model 110018SS Super Air Knives on either side of the two tanks. As the instruments are lifted out, the high-velocity laminar airflow from the Super Air Knife dries them off quickly while blowing the residual moisture back down into the tank. The detergent solution stayed in its own tank, keeping the rinse water free from contaminants. As the parts are brought up from both the cleaning tank and the rinse tank, they’re sufficiently dried without having to do a manual process with an air gun. By preventing cross-contamination, they were also able to maintain the same solution for an entire shift rather than frequently having to drain the tanks and replace them. This alone represented about a 10% boost in productivity over the course of a full day.

If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your cleaning operations, give us a call. With a variety of different products suitable for compressed air blowoff available from stock, you won’t be stuck waiting for weeks for the parts to arrive. We have them ready to ship as soon as today!

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

Pool image courtesy of southbay poolservices via Pixabay, Pixabay License

Super Air Knives Provide Fast ROI when Replacing Drilled Pipe

EXAIR proves often that we’re able to work with you to create a customized solution that best serves your application. Recently I had the pleasure of working with a customer who wanted a better solution on their tissue paper converting machine. What they currently had was too loud, too inefficient, and they knew there was a better way.

The machine was an old rewinder used to convert webs of tissue paper ranging from 99-115” in width. Installed on the old machine was a 115” drilled pipe with 1/16” drilled holes spaced out every ½” along the length of the pipe. This was using a substantial amount of compressed air and was significantly louder than they would’ve liked. They purchased a new machine that had an EXAIR Super Air Knife already installed and working great, so they reached out to us for some help.

The customer conducted some time studies to determine exactly how much air this application required. The air blast ran for 500 seconds per hour, equating to 8.3min/hr of air usage. The operation runs 24/7, but with time spent doing changeovers the actual run time is closer to 20hrs.

20hrs x 8.2min = 166 min/day of air usage

166min x 365 = 60,590 min per year

A 1/16” unpolished, drilled hole will consume 2.58 SCFM at a pressure of 60 PSIG. With a total of 228 holes across the full pipe, this is quite a bit of compressed air.

2.58 SCFM x 228 = 588 SCFM of compressed air

588 x 60,590 min = 35,626,920 SCF

Considering the lightweight nature of the material, we recommended that the customer use our .001” shim to cut the flow from our stock Super Air Knives to their minimum. We recommended our Model 110054-.001 and Model 110060-.001. At 60 PSIG, a Super Air Knife with .001 shim installed will consume 1.15 SCFM/inch of knife length.

114 x 1.15 SCFM = 131 SCFM of compressed air

131 x 60,590 min = 7,937,290 SCF

Installing the Super Air Knives with .001” shim reduced their air consumption by 77% for a total air savings of 27,689,630 SCF each year. But, what does this mean in terms of money? To determine the cost of compressed air, we use the approximate value of $0.25/1000 SCF.

27,689,630 SCF x $0.25/1000 = $6,922.41

Super Air Knife Shims

In just one year, on this one single machine, this customer was able to save almost $7k per year. These knives quickly pay for themselves, then begin to contribute to your bottom line. All of this in addition to lowering the sound level and providing a safer working environment for their operators. So how quickly did this customer end up seeing the payback on their two knives?

2022 list prices:

Model 110054-.001 – $1,315.00

Model 110060-.001 – $1,411.00

Total investment: $2,726.00

Based on an operation of 166 min, the customer was saving $18.90 per day. To recoup the initial purchase costs, these would only need to be operated for 145 days. On the 145th day, they’ve already saved enough compressed air to account for their initial costs. Moving forward, that savings does not go away but continues to add to the bottom line.

If you have areas in your facility that are using air inefficiently, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer today.

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