Factors in Selecting an Air Knife – Size, Materials, Stock Levels, Accessories

Super Air Knife Family

EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air® products since 1983.  In the beginning, the Standard Air Knives and Full Flow Air Knives were very effective at that time.  But as leaders in this market, EXAIR did not want to stop there.  We were able to engineer a more efficient, more powerful, and much safer air knife, the Super Air Knife.  In this blog, I will discuss the features and benefits that the Super Air Knives can offer.

Bernoulli’s principle explains how a high velocity fluid can generate a low pressure.  The EXAIR Super Air Knife creates a high velocity air stream to produce a low pressure to entrain ambient air.   What does this mean for you?  It will save you much money by using less compressed air.  The mass of the ambient air is added into the air stream to give a strong blowing force.  The Super Air Knife has an amplification ratio of 40:1. For every 1 part of compressed air, 40 parts of ambient air is drawn into the blowing air stream.  Ambient air is free, and compressed air is expensive.  EXAIR was able to engineer a design to use the Bernoulli’s principle to make one of the most efficient air knives in the market place.

EXAIR Super Air Knife model 1100108

What else makes EXAIR unchallenged?  We manufacture and stock the widest range in lengths and materials.  To start, EXAIR has Super Air Knives ranging from 3” to 108” (76mm to 2,743mm) in three different materials; aluminum, 303 stainless steel, and 316/316L stainless steel.  There is no-one else in this industry that can manufacture to those lengths.  EXAIR also offers Super Air Knives in PVDF material with Hastelloy hardware for chemical resistant applications from 3” to 54” (76mm to 1,372mm).  Depending on the temperature requirement, chemical resistance, OSHA and FDA regulations, or application details, we probably will have one on the shelf for you.  If EXAIR does not have it, we can make special air knives in different lengths and materials to best fit your application.

Some interesting features for the Super Air Knives are as follows.  They have a compact design that can fit into tight places for blowing and cooling.  The footprint is very small compared to blower-air knife system.  They do not have any moving parts to wear or maintenance to do.  They only need clean compressed air to work.  They blow a laminar air stream which reduces noise levels and create a consistent force along the entire length.  An even force will give you tighter control for blowing applications which will cut compressed air usage unlike the inconsistent and turbulent air flows caused by drilled pipes.

To adjust the force and air usage, this can be easily controlled with a regulator.  The advantage that EXAIR Super Air Knives have is the replaceable shims.  So, you can increase or decrease the gap to get a variety of force ratings.  The Aluminum version uses colored plastic shims for visual verification.  They come stock with a 0.002” (0.05mm) red shim installed.  We have other thicknesses in our Shim Sets which includes a 0.001” (0.03mm), 0.003” (0.08mm), and a 0.004” (0.10mm) colored as amber, green, and tan respectively.  The Stainless Steel Super Air Knives come with a stainless steel shim for higher temperatures and chemical resistance.  Stock units have the 0.002” (0.05mm) thickness as well.  The Shim Sets come with three additional 0.002” (0.05mm) shims to stack.  Similarly, the PVDF Super Air Knives use a PTFE shim for maximum chemical resistance.  It is also 0.002” (0.05mm) thick, and there are three more shims in the Shim Set.  This unique feature of using shims allows for the most flexibility in creating forces for different applications ranging from a blast to remove rocks from a conveyor to a breeze for light duty work.

Super Air Knife Kit

We also offer the Super Air Knives in kits as a more complete system.  The kit includes a filter, regulator and the above-mentioned Shim Set.  The filter removes the debris and water from the compressed air line to optimize the performance of the air knife as well as keeping your product clean.  The regulator is used to make the “fine” adjustment to the blowing force while the shim set is used as the “coarse” adjustment.  EXAIR sells this kit as one model number for simple ordering, and the accessories are properly sized to not hinder the performance of the Super Air Knife.

To optimize the system even more, EXAIR offers a Deluxe Kit for the Aluminum and Stainless Steel models.  This includes the accessories in the kit above, plus an Electronic Flow Control, or EFC.  This exclusive instrument uses a photoelectric eye to start a timing sequence to control a solenoid valve.  So, when a part is not in front of the Super Air Knife for cleaning or cooling, the compressed air is turned off.  This will save you even more money and maximize your efficiency to only blow air when needed.

Plumbing Kits

For the longer Super Air Knives, EXAIR can install a Plumbing Kit, or PKI, to help attach your compressed air to the Air Knife.  They are designed to help lessen the time for install as well as to properly supply compressed air equally along the entire length, specifically for 24” (610mm) and longer.  We can offer the Plumbing Kit separately if you find that it could benefit your fabricators during installation.  EXAIR also offers a Coupling Kit for the Aluminum and Stainless Steel versions.  If you need to extend past the 108” (2,743 mm) width, the Coupling Kit is designed to mount Super Air Knives together at the ends.  You will still get that consistent blowing force along the multiple of Air Knives.  Another helpful accessory is the Universal Air Knife Mounting System.  It has a bracket and an articulated arm that can reach up to 30” (762mm).  With this system, you can position your air knife securely and precisely in any orientation.  It attaches easily to your Super Air Knife and gives you the flexibility to maximize the blowing effect at your target.

Universal Mounting System

With the today’s cost in making compressed air, it is important to use it as efficiently as possible.  The Standard and Full Flow Air Knives would be good options to use.  But the best way to conserve is with the Super Air Knife.  If you have any questions about the Super Air Knife or if you would like to discuss an application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.   We will be glad to help you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Flat Super Air Nozzle: Build Your Own System Overview

Flat Nozzle Blow-off Kit

EXAIR manufactures a variety of nozzles that are OSHA safe, high quality, and very efficient.  In this blog, I would like to discuss the features and benefits of the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles and how to build a system to fit your application.

The EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles are manufactured to blow a wide forceful stream of air.  Their patented design creates a high velocity, laminar air stream with minimal air consumption and low noise.  They come in two sizes; 1” (25mm) and 2” (51mm), and EXAIR stocks them in two different materials, zinc-aluminum alloy and 316 stainless steel.  With a metal construction, breakage is not a concern and performance is not sacrificed even in the harshest of environments.  I have seen many plastic flat nozzles that were broken in applications.  The noise level was loud, and compressed air was wasted.  The unique patented shims inside the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles give three improvements to the design and function.   First, they come in different thicknesses to create a wide range of forces.  In conjunction with a regulator, you can “dial” in the correct amount of force from a breeze to a hurricane without overusing your air compressor.  The patented design also allows an even force across the entire width of the air nozzle.  Lastly, they help to entrain the free ambient air; so that less compressed air is required.  The high efficiency design will save you money.  The EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles are effective in uniform blowing; efficient; and superior in quality and durability.  You can watch a video blog on the importance of using our patented shim.

(Click on photo to go to blog)

To show the different types and styles of Flat Super Air Nozzles that EXAIR stocks, you can correspond to the model number make-up sheet below.

To give force adjustments to the individual Flat Super Air Nozzles, EXAIR offers a way to change the thickness of the shim to better suit your application.  You can increase or decrease the force of the nozzle by just removing two screws and changing the shim inside.  This is a unique feature as most competitive flat nozzles do not allow you to do this.  EXAIR offers different thicknesses of the patented shims in our Shim Sets.  The chart below corresponds the appropriate Shim Set to the Flat Super Air Nozzle.

Flat Super Air Nozzle to Shim Set Chart

What can make the Flat Super Air Nozzles even better?  More flexibility.  The Stay Set Hoses can add that flexibility to the Flat Super Air Nozzles.  They are designed to manually position the Flat Super Air Nozzle to accurately target the air stream.  They allow maneuverability to locate the nozzle at different heights or angles; and once positioned, the Stay Set Hose will hold the nozzle in place.  They come in different lengths from 6” (152mm) to 36” (914mm).  We carry two different styles of connections to adapt to any of the Flat Super Air Nozzles.  You can select the different lengths of Stay Set Hoses (SSH) to the Flat Super Air Nozzle by the model number make-up sheet below.

To build your system even further, EXAIR also can offer a Magnetic Base to your Stay Set Hoses and Flat Super Air Nozzles.  The Magnetic Base has a powerful magnet on the bottom to securely attach the blow-off nozzles vertically or horizontally.  This feature is great if you need to move the nozzles to different areas in your application.  EXAIR manufactures a one-outlet and a two-outlet design.  Each outlet has a ¼ turn valve to manually turn on or off the nozzle and only require one air supply inlet.  To add this product to the Flat Super Air Nozzle with the Stay Set Hose, you can use the model number make-up sheet below.

With the EXAIR Flat Super Air Nozzles, you can take advantage of the durability, safety, and efficiency for your blow-off device.  In addition, you can build a system that will best suit your requirements.  You can add different lengths of Stay Set Hoses and/or different Magnetic Bases.  With these combinations grouped into one model number and in stock for quick shipments, it makes it simple to purchase from EXAIR.  Just to let you know, they also come with a 30-day unconditional guarantee to try them out.  If you need any help in building your optimum blow-off system, you can speak to an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  They will be happy to assist you.

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

EXAIR Super Air Knives Offer Infinitely Adjustable Force and Flow!

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EXAIR’s industry leading Super Air Knife dramatically reduces compressed air usage and noise when compared to other blowoff methods. The Super Air Knife is available in lengths ranging from 3”-108” and in Aluminum, 303 Stainless Steel, 316 Stainless Steel, and PVDF for corrosive applications. Even at high pressures of 80 psig, the Super Air Knife is able to maintain a sound level of just 69 dBA for most applications! Air is entrained from the ambient environment at a rate of 40:1, maximizing the force and flow from the Super Air Knife. In addition, these knives meet or exceed OSHA maximum dead-end pressure and noise requirements.

completeAirknifesets
From left to right – plastic shims, SS shims, PTFE shims included in the shim sets

Adjustability of both the force and flow from the Super Air Knife is infinitely adjustable. Right out of the box from the factory the Super Air Knife comes stock with a .002” thick shim installed. This sets the gap between the body and cap of the knife and determines how much compressed air can flow through the precise, slotted orifice. An accessory that EXAIR has available for the Super Air Knife is the shim set. For the aluminum knives, a .001”, .003”, and .004” plastic shims come in the shim set. To reduce the flow and force, a .001” can be used. If more force is required, a thicker shim can be installed. For the stainless steel and PVDF knives, (3) .002” shims are included in the set. Stainless steel shims for the stainless knives and a PTFE shim for the PVDF. These, as well as the plastic shims, can be stacked on top of one another to create an even larger gap. One thing that is important to keep in mind however, the larger the air gap the greater the air consumption. Installing a .004” shim in a Super Air Knife will double the flow and consumption of the knife when compared to the stock .002” shim.

Installing a new shim in your Super Air Knife is very simple to do. Check out this quick video from Neal Raker that walks you through the steps:

While the different shims are available for you to make gross adjustments to the force and flow of your Super Air Knife, there is one additional method. By using a pressure regulator, you can fine-tune the input pressure that is supplied to the Super Air Knife. This will also greatly impact the force and flow. At 40 psig, the Super Air Knife will consume 1.7 scfm/inch and provide 1.1 oz/inch of force. At 80 psig, it will consume 2.9 scfm/inch and provide 2.5 oz/inch of force. EXAIR offers pressure regulators in a variety of different sizes to accommodate any of our Super Air Knives from 3” all the way up to 108”.

If you’re wasting air in your facility using cheap nozzles, drilled pipes, or any other inefficient solution give us a call. An Application Engineer will gladly investigate your application and help to design a better, safer, and more cost-effective solution!

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