Atomization: What is it?

Atomization is a word that can be seen throughout the industry in rinsing, coating, painting, lubricating, and cooling applications. The act of atomization is simple, we often refer to it when looking at liquids and it means to break up the liquid stream and form fine droplets.  This is essentially a transfer of energy. There are two mainstream methods to atomize liquids for an application, both with their own advantages.

142 distinct models. 8 different patterns. Liquid flow rates from 0.1 to 303 gallons per hour. If you’ve got a spraying application, EXAIR has an Atomizing Nozzle for you!

The first is air atomizing. This action is done by combining a stream of compressed air with either a pressurized fluid or a siphon/gravity fed liquid.  The air stream can be combined with the liquid internally to the nozzle, hence Internal Mix Atomizing Nozzles. It can also combine outside of the nozzle, like the External Mix Atomizing Nozzles. We have blogged before on where to use each of these as the reason to select between Internal Mix or External Mix is its own topic.

Benefits to air atomization are, smaller droplet/particulate size is achievable.  The compressed air atomization gives the ability to break up more viscous fluids to get better coverage or thinner layers of spray.  Air atomization also gives the ability to use smaller amounts of liquid because the air takes up a portion of the total flow exiting any nozzle.

The second type of atomizing nozzles are hydraulic atomization. This uses the energy from the liquid being pressurized to break up the liquid stream.  Sometimes there are physical impacts within the nozzle that cause the atomization, other times it is just the liquid leaving an orifice that causes the atomization. This gives the ability to still spray a liquid into droplets of various shapes, dimensions, and flow rates. The lack of compressed air often results in larger droplet sizes as well as higher liquid flow rates. Because the liquid has to be pressurized to certain levels it also becomes difficult to spray higher viscosity fluids through hydraulically atomized nozzles.

Benefits to hydraulically atomized spray nozzles range from stronger spray force for rinsing, ease of installation from not needing to plumb compressed air, ability to flow slurries, or other liquids that may clog or dry due to the design of air atomized spray nozzles.

If you would like to discuss the correct nozzle for your spray application, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Air Atomizing Nozzles for Blue Jean Manufacturing

Acid washed Jeans

I wrote an earlier blog on how a blue jean manufacturer used EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors to help transport pumice stones into washers for stonewashed jeans.  You can find it here, “The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors with stonewashed jeans.”  This same company contacted EXAIR again for another application.  With great customer service and thousands of products in stock, this customer stated it was an easy decision to come back to us.  This time it was for a spraying application.  I was happy to help them again.

Beside stone-washing, there are other ways to give that “worn out” look to blue jeans.  In this operation, they would scuff areas on the denim material with sandpaper.  To brighten that area, they would manually spray Potassium Permanganate over the jeans.  This reaction would fade the blue in the scuffed areas during the washing cycle.  They wanted to automate this process and move away from the manual operation (reference photo above).  So, I recommended our Air Atomizing Nozzles.

No Drip Atomizing Family

To tell you about EXAIR Air Atomizing Nozzles, they use compressed air to shear liquid into very fine particles.  The smaller the particles, the more surface area is produced.  Thus, less liquid material is required which will save money on the expense of the liquid.  EXAIR offers three different body sizes in NPT or BSP conversions; 1/8”, 1/4”, and 1/2”.  They are made from stainless steel for corrosion resistance.  We have an Internal Mix and an External Mix for use with pressurized liquid, and a Siphon Fed for open containers.

With each body style, we have a variety of liquid caps for different flow amounts, and an assortment of air caps to direct the fine mist.  For the Atomizing Nozzles, EXAIR can offer a No-Drip option and brackets.  The No-Drip option will stop liquid flow when the compressed air is turned off which will not allow the liquid to drip from the nozzle.  The brackets fit snugly around the body to support the Atomizing Nozzles for precise spraying.

For this application, I recommended the model AW9010SS.  This is a 1/8” NPT No-Drip Internal mix Atomizing Nozzle with a wide-angle round pattern.  The liquid flow rate fit their application with a maximum of 3.5 GPH (13.2 LPH).  The wide spray angle was able to cover the patterns on the denim material.  The potassium permanganate was delivered to the Atomizing Nozzle with a liquid pump, and with the No-Drip Option, they could start and stop spraying accurately and quickly with a simple compressed air solenoid valve.  Also, the model AW9010SS is a durable lightweight nozzle; and with the model 901786 bracket, the Atomizing Nozzles were easily mounted to the end of a robot arm for automation.

The EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles were able to replace the manual operation.  The amount of liquid material that this denim manufacturer was able to save was near 20%.  Depending on the expense of the fluid that you use, this can be quite a savings.  Also, they found that the “worn” areas were more consistent with accurate spraying and an even amount of potassium permanganate.

And as an added note with the safety issues in spraying potassium permanganate, the Atomizing Nozzles were a more effective way to reduce the hazard as a substitution control.  The operator with personal protective equipment, or PPE, is the least effective way for controlling occupational hazards.  The automated system with EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles was able to remove the operator from the hazard.

If you have a liquid that you would like to spray evenly, efficiently, and effectively; EXAIR Atomizing Nozzles can do that for you.  As with the customer above with the Air Operated Conveyors or Atomizing Nozzles, the quality of the products and the great customer service was what caused this customer to use EXAIR.  If you would like to experience the EXAIR way, you can contact an Application Engineer.  We will be happy to help you.

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

 

Photo: Stonewash Jeans by realworkhardPixabay License.

Siphon Fed No-Drip Atomizing Spray Nozzles

With 142 distinct models in stock, the Atomizing Spray Nozzles are easily EXAIR Corporation’s most diverse product line. If you need a reliable method of creating a fine mist of liquid flow with a flow rate as high as 303 gallons per hour (or as low as 0.1 gallons per hour,) with a spray pattern as large as 13 feet (or as small as 2-1/2 inches) in diameter, look no further – we have a spray nozzle for you, on the shelf and ready to go.

Siphon Fed models are the subject of today’s blog – they don’t require that the liquid be under pressure; you can feed them from the vessel the liquid comes in from a siphon height of up to 36 inches, or, for higher flows, from a gravity height of as low as 6 inches.

EXAIR Siphon Fed Nozzles work with non-pressurized liquids, either siphoned (left) or gravity fed (right.)

All Atomizing Spray Nozzles are available with EXAIR’s patented No-Drip option, which positively shuts off liquid flow when the compressed air supply is shut off.  One benefit of this is realized in coating applications, where an errant droplet of liquid would mar an otherwise smooth, even coating.  Operationally, though, it also means you can precisely turn the liquid flow on & off, in short, quick bursts, up to 180 times a second.

By far, the simplest way to do this is with a valve installed in the air supply line to the Atomizing Spray Nozzle.  A manual 1/4 turn ball valve works fine if you want the operator to control it.  Solenoid valves are often used to automate the process, and if you’ve got something to open & close the valve, you’re all set.  For example, if you want to spray coolant onto a cutting tool, just wire the solenoid valve into the on-off switch of the machine, like in the example shown to the right.

Alternately, our EFC Electronic Flow Control System provides a ready-to-go solution.  It comes pre-wired; all you have to do is plumb the valve into the air supply line and plug it in to a 120VAC grounded wall outlet.  When the photoelectric sensor “sees” the part you want to spray, it opens the valve.  When the part passes, it shuts the valve.  Easy as that.

I like this whole video, but if you just want to see the EFC Electronic Flow Control & Atomizing Spray Nozzle in action, skip to the 4:05 mark.

If you have a need to spray a fine, controllable liquid mist, EXAIR has a wide range of solutions.  Give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Atomizing Nozzles – No Drip Deflected Flat Fan and 360° Hollow Circular

EXAIR manufactures three types of Atomizing Nozzles – Internal Mix, External Mix, and Siphon Fed.  Within the Internal Mix family, there are two specialty nozzles, the Deflected Flat Fan and the 360° Hollow Circular patterns.

Internal Mix nozzles are for pressure fed applications not requiring independent air and liquid control.

The model AD2010SS is the No Drip version of the Deflected Flat Fan and is shown below. Our patented No Drip design prevents unwanted post spray drips from wasting expensive fluids or ruining product finishes. The benefit to this design is that no secondary compressed air line is necessary to activate the on/off valve for the liquid, which is the case for competitive nozzles.

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Model AD2010SS – No Drip Internal Mix Deflected Flat Atomizing Nozzle

The Deflected Flat Fan patterned nozzle is designed for applications where space is a limited.  The spray pattern is at a right angle to the orientation of the nozzle, allowing the spray to be placed precisely where it is needed in tight quarters.  They are ideal for coating the insides of enclosures and ductwork.

NoDripIMDF

The model AT2010SS is the No Drip version of the 360° Hollow Circular and is shown below.

AT2010SS
AT2010SS – No Drip Internal Mix 360° Hollow Circular Atomizing Nozzle

The 360° Hollow Circular patterned nozzle is designed for applications where the spray pattern is to be orientated away form the nozzle in all directions.  They are ideal where a smooth and even coating is needed on the internal surface of a pipe or duct.  They are also good for processed where a mist is needed over a large area, including dust suppression, humidification, and cooling.

NoDripIM360HC-Pattern

The No Drip feature is a patented† design that has the added benefit of positively stopping the liquid flow when the compressed air is shut off. Post spray liquid flow can cause quality issues from unwanted drips on painted or coated surfaces.  Also, the No Drip feature helps to conserve and save on liquid use, reducing costs of expensive coatings or chemicals.

When the compressed air supply is shut off, the No Drip nozzle positively seals off the flow of liquid, eliminating over spray and drips. The design allows for just one compressed air line, there is no need for an additional to control the No Drip mechanism.

If you have questions about Atomizing Spray Nozzles, or would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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† Patent #9156045