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