EXAIR Super Air Knives: Customized for You

In a recent blog “EXAIR Super Air Knives: Overview”, I shared the features and benefits that puts the “Super” in the Super Air Knives.  But, let’s not define ourselves by our widest range of lengths and materials that we stock.  EXAIR can also customize the Super Air Knives to fit your requirements.  Many manufacturers like to make their standard items and expect the customers to adapt to their design.  But at EXAIR, customer service is our primary focus.

EXAIR manufactures our products at one location in Cincinnati, Ohio.  So, this gives us the flexibility to do many things like making adaptive configurations with our Super Air Knives.  Here are some examples that our customers requested.

  • Special lengths: EXAIR stocks standard incremental lengths from 3” (76mm) up to 108” (2.74 meters) in aluminum, 303SS, and 316SS materials; or 3” (76mm) to 54” (1,372mm) for PDVF Super Air Knives. But sometimes, the Super Air Knife has to fit into a specific area where a standard length will not work.  This is where EXAIR exceeds, and we can make any length metric or imperial between the ranges above.

    PVC Super Air Knife
  • Other materials: There isn’t a single material that is inert to all chemicals. In some rare cases, the environment can chemically attack our Stainless Steel or PVDF Super Air Knives.  So, a different material may have to be used.  For the customer above, they required a PVC material for a phosphorous environment.

    Curved and Thin Super Air Knives
  • Critical Dimensions: When the Super Air Knives have to adapt inside machines or in tight areas, we can modify the profile.  We have two special applications (reference above) that needed a design change for fit and function.  A curved Super Air Knife was used to hold tubes on a rotary table; and a thin Super Air Knife that was only 11/16” (17.5mm) thick cleaned a mold for circuit chips.

    Super Air Knife special mounting
  • Add-ons: EXAIR understands the importance of connecting to our Super Air Knives to get the greatest performance.  Our stock product has ¼” NPT inlet air ports along the bottom and one at each end.  We have ¼” – 20 threaded holes for mounting along the bottom as well.  But if you want threaded holes in a specific location for mounting or need the inlet air ports to be metric threads, EXAIR can accommodate these features.

    Double-sided Super Air Knife
  • Situational Applications:  Super Air Knives can have complex or simple changes depending on the application.  As an example, EXAIR created a design for a double-sided Super Air Knife to blow a laminar stream of air 180 degrees apart (reference photo above).   A simpler proposal was to replace the cap screws in a 316SS Super Air Knife with hygienic screws for food applications to remove crevices for bacterial growth.
  • OE Protection: In today’s market, it is important to protect your business.  At EXAIR, we can make a special Super Air Knife to blow, dry, or cool in your custom machines.  With a unique model number, EXAIR can help support and protect your business for future and replacement business.

Remember, your imagination is the beginning of creation.  If you cannot find a specific design to be used in your compressed air application, don’t give up.  Contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see if we can help you.  We have a team of engineers that can evaluate the fit and function to create a “Super” blow-off solution.  For the customers above, we were able to propose a unique Super Air Knife to work in their application; not the other way around.

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

Custom Products Designed Just for Your Application

Because EXAIR designs and manufactures our own products, if you need something a little different we can probably help. This is true throughout our entire product line, the following examples are of our Line Vac products.

Do you have an application that may not be best served by one of our stock Line Vac products? While we have quite a variety of both materials, sizes, and connection types sometimes a special application requires a special solution. For this reason,  EXAIR manufactures special Line Vacs suited EXACTLY for the type of application or environment that it’ll be operating in.

This special Miniature Line Vac was manufactured with barb fittings and designed for a manufacturer of integrated circuit chips. It was used to remove microscopic debris during the chip making process. It’s small overall footprint makes it ideal for applications requiring tight mounting conditions. It has also been used by other manufacturers to vacuum liquid and chips from small drilled holes. While the Line Vac isn’t typically suitable for liquids, the higher vacuum level associated with the smaller Line Vacs makes it a possibility.

ldlvspec1

This next special Line Vac was used to convey fine powders or granulated materials from a hopper. While this is a pretty straight-forward application for a standard Line Vac, their material could sometimes be moist which would pack the tube and restrict the flow of material. The funnel-shaped design created a suction on the existing tube that permitted a continuous product flow.

ldlvspec5

This flanged Line Vac was used to retrofit existing machinery to remove acidic vapors resulting from surface etching of a silicon wafer. Where this would typically be a nice fit for a Stainless Steel Air Amplifier, the existing exhaust piping was lengthy with many bends that would have caused back pressure on any Air Amplifiers. In this case, they needed the high velocity airflow from the directed nozzles of the Line Vac to overcome this downstream resistance.

ldlvspec3

In addition to making Line Vacs in different shapes and sizes, we can also use special materials. In this instance, the special flanged Line Vac was manufactured out of PVDF (Polyvinylidene Flouride) due to its superior corrosive resistance. The Line Vac would be regularly exposed to a chloride wash that would corrode even stainless steel. It was also manufactured with special QF flanges to allow for easy assembly and removal of the conveying hoses for cleaning purposes.

ldlvspec4

As you can see the sky is the limit when it comes to potential styles of Line Vacs. Don’t think just because you don’t find something you need in the catalog that EXAIR can’t do it! We’ll create special manufactured products for just about anything that you can find in the catalog, not just the Line Vacs. Whether it’s custom-length Super Air Knives or special Air Amplifiers we can make it happen. Reach out to an Application Engineer today for help designing a solution, just for YOU!

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

 

Custom Shims – Literally A Breeze For EXAIR

As proud as we are of being able to ship most any catalog product, same day, from stock (99.9831% of the time for on-time shipping in 2017…22 years straight for 99.9% or better,) we take a certain amount of pride in our ability to offer custom solutions for challenging applications as well. Our Engineering and Production teams have a deep well of resources (knowledge, experience, and capability) to draw from, which allows us to meet those challenging applications head-on, in short order.

The one I’m writing about today isn’t exactly one of those challenging ones…

A machine fabricator had a special need for an Air Knife. It had to be Stainless Steel, and it had to be 30″ long. No problem so far…that’s a Model 110030SS 30″ Stainless Steel Air Knife, and it’s on the shelf. Thing is, they only needed 26″ worth of air flow; a full 30″ width was going to disturb, and maybe damage, the edges of the sheet of material that the air was being blown onto.

So we made a custom shim for the Air Knife.  Now, we make these all the time, in all kinds of configurations…hence the term “custom.”  Since this one was blowing onto a web where they didn’t want to disturb the material on the far edges, we made this shim to provide 26″ of flow, on center.  We could just as easily made it to provide 26″ of flow starting at one end or the other, or a specified distance from one end or the other.  Or 13″ of flow on both ends, with 4″ of no flow in the middle, for a total of 26″.

If your application is more challenging than a custom shim, we’ve also made Air Knives with (left to right) curved radius, special material (glass filled PEEK shown here,) flat, double-sided, and even one with end-mount threaded holes.

Regardless of how challenging (or not) your compressed air product application is, we’re here to discuss, any time you’re ready.  Call us.

 

Shared Details Equal Better Solutions

Fortunately for us, and our customers, we manufacture custom parts to meet their application if our cataloged products do not meet their requirements. Just look at these blogs. Customers often come to us to know if our products can be used in a corrosive environment, or if they are suitable within a high temperature, or within a small envelope.  Shortly after I started working in the Application Engineering department, I have found that the answers to these questions are generally “Yes, but why?”

Our marketing department does a great job of displaying our capabilities.  Just look at the special pages: Air Knives, Line Vacs, Air Amplifiers, or Cabinet Coolers. We can make a great variety of products and materials, but we always will ask the next question. Why?

Some customers are surprised at how emphatic we can be about knowing why you need a special part or process. We are only asking to best serve you. For instance, I had a customer come to me today after seeing our Special Air Knife page and seeing our flat Super Air Knife that is only 11/16″ thick.  This is a great product for its application, but when compared to our stock Super Air Knife, it is more expensive and carries and cannot be shipped until 2-3 weeks after it is ordered since we would build it from scratch.  Customers first look at the Super Air Knife and see that the overall height of the product is 1.44″, which is too large to fit in their machine.  When they see that the Super Air Knife is too big they assume they need something special.  This is generally, when I get a call like this.

“I need your Flat Super Air Knife. What is the part number and price?”

Flat Super

“We don’t have a standing part number for that unit. It was a special part that we created for a specific customer. Why do you need that model?” I reply.

“It is thinner than the Super Air Knife.” – customer

“Have you looked at the Full Flow Air Knife?” – my reply

“No, What is that?” – customer

This is where the reasoning behind the request is so important. Purchasing one piece of a custom made thin Super Air Knife pictured above is significantly more expensive than the production run and in stock Full Flow Air Knife.  The Special thin Super Air Knife is 0.688″ thick. The Full Flow Super Air Knife is 1.03″ thick. And in this case case, the Full Flow Air Knife worked for this customer.  This is just one example of finding out why a customer needs a special product is so important.  If the machine envelope is 1.25″ the Full Flow Air Knife will fit just fine. If the machining envelope is 0.75″, a Special thin Super Air Knife will be the solution. When we share the details together, it is easier to produce the best solution for our customers.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW