EXAIR’s Super Air Knives Add Benefit to Drying Process for Automotive Parts

EXAIR’s Super Air Knife is THE best solution for compressed air blowoff operations that necessitate a wide sheet of compressed air. We’ve been manufacturing Air Knives for over 37 years, with the Super Air Knife making its first appearance back in 1997. Since then, the Super Air Knife has undergone a few enhancements over the years as we’re constantly trying to not only introduce new products but also improve on the ones we have. We’ve added new materials, longer single piece knives, as well as additional accessories. But, by and large, the basic design has remained the same. As the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.

The Super Air Knife utilizes a source of compressed air to create a laminar sheet of high velocity air. This supplied compressed air mixes with ambient air that is entrained into the primary airstream. The Super Air Knife entrains ambient air at a rate of 40:1, making it VERY effective in a variety of drying, cleaning, and cooling applications. Available in lengths ranging from 3”-108” and in a variety of different materials of construction, there’s a Super Air Knife available for just about any application. Any time you have product moving along a conveyor that needs to be cleaned, dried, or cooled off, a Super Air Knife is the ideal fit.

Recently I worked with a customer in Mexico that manufactures automotive components. They had a part they needed some help with in their drying process. Before contacting EXAIR, they were placing the parts on racks to let them air dry. They would leave them to sit throughout the shift and dry. The next shift would then come in and gather up the parts, check to make sure they were dried, and then organize them before gearing up to begin production for their shift. In some cases, there was some residual moisture and they would either be dried with a blow gun or with a dry cloth.

This entire process was causing them to lose at least an hour of production per shift. They began looking for something that would allow them to dry the parts immediately at the exit of the washer. They came across EXAIR’s Super Air Knives and implemented of them on the conveyor, immediately at the outlet of the washer to dry both sides of the part. Two knives were placed to dry the top as it had some grooves and features that did not completely dry with just one pass. A third knife was placed on the on the underside as the part is removed from the conveyor to dry the bottom. After implementation of the Super Air Knives, they no longer had to allow the parts to sit and dry on a rack and saved an hour per shift in lost time.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to staff a complete shift with qualified personnel, so don’t have your operators wasting time in a drying process that can be achieved with something like the Super Air Knife. EXAIR has all models of Super Air Knife available to ship same day from stock and backed by our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. If you’d like to talk about how we can help improve a process in your plant, give us a call.

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

Air Knives! Air Knives! Choosing the best one for your application

EXAIR Air Knives are amazing. You simply supply them with compressed air, and they are designed to entrain the ambient air around them to generate much more SCFM than is being fed to them at a 30:1 or a 40:1 ratio. They are much quieter, more efficient and a much lower cost (see chart) than any option we know of to blowoff, dry, clean or cool. The Air Knives all produce a nice laminar flow of air that is dependable to consistently handle each application.

There are so many applications, from drying, cooling, cleaning, opening bags, floating webs, and keeping environments separate, to many very unique and creative applications such as; floating tortillas from one belt to another, keeping camera lens covers clean when filming (even on a boat in the ocean), and one application documented on Nat Geo that is, well let’s say extremely unique (find out more here). As there are so many possible applications, there are of course multiple Air Knives to choose from. Our catalogue has 17 pages dedicated just to Air Knives. How do you choose which is best for your application? Let’s take a look and see.

At EXAIR we offer 3 types of Air Knives, Super, Standard, and Full-Flow. All of these are great Knives, and have their own strengths. We also can help If your application requires a special shape, design, or material, we will be happy to work with you to design the best solution for your unique application.

The column on the above left shows you a solid difference of the 3 Air knives. The chart below shows you the most efficient and the quietest Air Knife. You will see that the Super Air knife is our most versatile, by far the most popular purchased Air Knife. Even with a slightly higher purchase price, it doesn’t take long to understand the overall value and long term cost saving makes the Super Air Knife, not only the best choice for nearly all applications, but also the the best value.

All 3 types of Air Knives are stock items, and can typically be shipped the same day. The standard lengths in stock are 3″,6″,9″,12″, 18″ and then every 6″ up to 48″ — The Super Air Knife will go up to 108″ (in stock) with the previous mentioned lengths, plus 54″ and then every 12″ up to 108″ long (yes 9 feet). We can also customize sizes if that is what you need.

As you can see the Super Air Knife is the clear winner of the 3 options and is the most recommended. But there are a few reasons to purchase the Standard and the Full Flow Air Knives. The Standard is generally purchased for the lower price point. The Full-Flow is generally purchased for the small envelope. Here is great way to look at the three options. The Super Air Knife is like a Tesla – it’s arguably the best vehicle on the road today. It is the most efficient with a slightly higher cost than it’s similarly sized counterparts. But when you factor in the cost of gas, the Tesla is actually one of the least expensive option over a lifetime. The Standard Air Knife is more like the family van. It is dependable and it gets the job done, it has a lower sticker price than the Tesla, but each time you fill that gas tank you begin to realize how affordable the Tesla actually was, and you end up having a little regret. Lastly we have the Full-Flow Air Knife that is most comparable to the compact car. Sometimes you need that small car so that you can park in the “compact only” parking places in the parking garages in the city. All of these cars get you from point A to point B, and they all have a purpose and a demand. There is not a bad choice, but there is a best choice, and the best choice is 100% dependent on your needs.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss in more detail, please reach out to me, or any of our application engineers.

Application Engineer
Brian Wages
EXAIR Corporation
Email me: BrianWages@exair.com
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ROI: Super Air Knife vs. Drilled Pipe

Super Air Knife Drilled Pipe

Return on Investment, or ROI, is the ratio of profit over total investment.  Many people use it to check investment stocks, financial markets, capital equipment, etc.  It is a quantitative way in determining the validity for an investment or project.   You can use this ROI value to give a measurable rate in looking at your investment, no matter how big or small.  In this blog, I will compare the ROI between an EXAIR Super Air Knife to a home-made drilled pipe.  Let’s start by looking at Equation 1 to calculate the Return on Investment.  For a positive ROI value, the project will pay for itself in less than one year.  Any negative values would represent a high-risk investment. 

Equation 1:  ROI = (Total Annual Savings – Total Project Cost) / Total Project Cost * 100

The Total Project Cost is the cost of the product with the labor to install.  In our example, we will use a 36” (914mm) blow-off device to cover the width of a conveyor.  One device will be an inexpensive drilled pipe and the other will be a high-efficiency EXAIR Super Air Knife.  The drilled pipe had (72) 1/16” (1.6mm) diameter holes spaced ½” (13mm) apart.  EXAIR manufactures the model 110036 36” Aluminum Super Air Knife with a .002” (.05mm) shim along the entire length.  The model 110036 has a retail price of $802.00 each.  The cost of the home-made drilled pipe was around $70.00 for material and labor.  What a difference in price!  It seems like the ROI should be in the negative, but is it?

Let’s continue on with the Return on Investment.  The amount of time required to install the Super Air Knife across the conveyor only took a maintenance staff about one hour to mount.  The labor rate that I will use in this example is $80.00 per hour (you can change this to your current labor rate).  The labor cost to install the knife is $80.00.   The Total Project Cost can be calculated as follows: $802 + $80.00 = $882.00.  The next part of the equation, Total Annual Savings, is a bit more in-depth, but the calculation is below.

To calculate the Total Annual Savings, the amount of compressed air used by the drilled pipe is around 261 SCFM (7,389 SLPM) at 60 PSIG (4.1 Bar).  The model 110036 Super Air Knife has an air consumption of 82.8 SCFM (2,344 SLPM) at 60 PSIG (4.1 Bar).  With an electrical rate of $0.08 per Kilowatt-hour, the electrical cost is near $0.25 per 1000 standard cubic feet or compressed air, or $0.25/1000SCF.  To calculate an annual savings, let’s use a blow-off operation of 8 hours/day for 250 days a year.   Replacing the drilled pipe with the model 110036 Super Air Knife, it will save you (261 SCFM – 82.8 SCFM) = 178.2 SCFM of compressed air.  To put this into a monetary value, the annual savings will be 178.2 SCFM *$0.25/1000SCF * 60 Min/hr * 8hr/day * 250 day/yr = $5,346.00 per year.

With the Total Annual Cost and the Project Cost known, we can insert these values into Equation 1 to calculate the ROI:

ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Project Cost * 100

ROI = ($5,346.00 – $882.00) / $882.00 * 100

ROI = 506%

With a percentage value that high, we are looking at a payback period of only 40 days.  You may look at the initial cost and be discouraged; but in a little over a month, the model 110036 will have paid for itself.  And after using it for one year, it will save your company $5,346.00. 

In my experience, a loud blowing noise from your equipment is generally coming from an inefficient and safety-concerned product.  With these “cheap” ways to blow compressed air, it will cost your company a lot of money to use as shown in the example above.  EXAIR has an Air Savings Calculator on our website to calculate the savings by replacing your inefficient blow-off devices. And, if you would like to team up with EXAIR to find ways to increase savings, improve productivity, and promote safety, you can contact an Application Engineer.  We can help you get started by defining your Return on Investment with EXAIR products.

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

Super Air Knife Helps to Remove Slip Hazards

A door manufacturer was having some issues in containing the sawdust within their CNC machine.  Their operation used two rotary saw blades on a mill arm to cut two grooves in the bottom of a standard 36” (91.4cm) wide door.  The grooves were used to hold a Kerf door sweep; a mechanical barrier to keep water, air, and dirt from getting into the house.  After the grooving operation, dust was getting on the door and around the conveyor.  It was becoming a safety issue as the saw dust would collect on the shop floor.  The CNC mill did have a dust collection system, but it needed a little help to keep the material within the collection area. 

Model: 110236DX

I recommended the model 110236DX Super Air Knife Deluxe Kit.  This model included a 36” (914 mm) Super Air Knife, a filter, a regulator, a shim set, a Universal Mounting System, and an Electronic Flow Control.  The filter would capture any contamination from the compressed air line to keep the door surface clean.  The regulator and shim set would be used to control the amount of force required to remove the debris and keep the dust from migrating.  The Universal Mounting System securely attached to the Super Air Knife to give flexibility in mounting.  It uses articulated arms to maneuver the Super Air Knife to the best position for blowing.  The Electronic Flow Control, or EFC, is an optimization product that uses a photoelectric eye to turn on and off the compressed air with a timing circuit.  When the mill arm passes by the photoelectric eye, the timing circuit would start blowing; and it would turn off after the door has been processed and left the milling area. The EFC is great tool to save on compressed air. 

The Super Air Knife was placed underneath the aluminum extrusion guard in front of the door (reference photo above).  It was placed to increase contact time and to blow back toward the dust collection system.  The force of the air would clear the surface of the door in a non-contact way.   As a result, the wood chips and debris stayed inside the CNC machine and removed the slip hazards in other areas of the plant. As an additional note, since the dust collection system was now optimized with the Super Air Knife, the housekeeping within the plant was not needed which saved them time and money.

If you want to have a safer environment for your workers, EXAIR has a line of products that can help.  Whether it is for noise, dead-end pressure, or removing slip hazards as above; EXAIR has engineered solutions that can help.  You can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR for assistance.

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