Stories From The Field: Automotive Plant Tour

Throughout my years I have been in many manufacturing facilities. Oddly enough, I have seen nearly every part of a passenger car manufactured and then fully assembled. The amount of compressed air applications in automotive supplier and manufacturing facilities are tremendous. Here are some stories from just a few we have encountered over the years, and all of them can be found in our Application Database.

Air Wipe – How it works
  1. A component manufacturer, specifically a steering and transmission component manufacturer was having issues with machined parts coming out of a CNC machine with too much oil based cutting fluid on them and not passing inspection process because the oil would throw off the automated measuring system. The part was a splined shaft that the high surface tension oil stayed in the splines. The part was removed from the machine via robotic loader and set onto a fixture. The path to the fixture was outfitted with a Super Air Wipe so the robotic loader could move the part into and out of the air wipes’s airflow and remove the oil. The converging airflow of the Super Air Wipe was ideal to keep the peaks and valleys of the shaft clean of oil and they were able to direct oil back into the cutting machine so no separate collection system was needed.
Robotic Welder fitted with EXAIR Super Air Wipe

2. A seat bracket manufacturer had issues protecting the lenses on their vision systems from welding spatter. They were again able to reduce the replacement / repair downtime by installing a 9″ Super Air Wipe in front of the robotic mounted lens and keep the spatter / fumes from ever making it to the lens, resulting in expanded run times between repair / downtime.

Cooling with Air Amplifiers

3. A forging company manufacturing the pistons was having issues reducing the temperature of the pistons as they were assembled to the connecting rods. The solution for them was to install a series of Super Air Amplifiers over the fixtured, indexing line and at each dwell station a Super Air Amplifier would activate and cool down the assembly by moving large volumes of ambient air mixed with small amounts of compressed air onto the surfaces.

4. An automotive manufacturer had issues with stamping shavings and welding debris staying on the surface of parts and fixtures resulting in rework and defective parts. Implementing a series of Super Air Nozzles, and Super Air Knives resulted in debris removal that saved tooling rework as well as production reject parts.

5. Another automotive / recreational vehicle manufacturer needed help with their torture test machine for suspension components. They were utilizing fans to try and keep shock sensors cool and replicate air movement. electric fans were not able to provide a focused airflow and so enter the Super Air Amplifiers. These have also been utilized on engine torture test machines.

1 – Chevrolet Corvette C7 2014 – LT1 Engine Testing on Dyno

These are just a select few of the actual applications that I have actually help with over the course of the years. As a whole, we have helped endless number of automotive industry applications. It doesn’t matter if you are in the automotive industry or just a garage tinkerer, contact and Application Engineer and let us help you with your point of use compressed air application today.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – Autoblog_gr; Chevrolet Corvette C7 2014 – LT1 Engine Testing on Dyno – retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3h8imnOPwU on 8/31/2022

Super Air Wipes can Help to Protect a Camera Lens

2403SS

An oil and gas company was using a camera to watch a drilling rig.  During the operation, water and mud could be slung toward the camera lens, and create spots.  An operator would have to leave their position to clean the lens.  Since they were looking for a way to force the water and mud away from the lens, but it had to be clear.  Since air is transparent, they contacted EXAIR for our expertise. 

As an air barrier, customers have used the Super Air Knives to separate material/heat/gases from different areas in similar applications.   But, for this customer, they were interested in the Super Air Wipe; and at EXAIR, we state that there is more than one way to solve a riddle.  With the speed of the water and mud, I was not keen on the ability of how well the Super Air Wipe could work.  So, I decided to test it. 

At EXAIR, we offer customers the option for us to test our products in different applications.  This could also include testing your items with our products.  EXAIR offers an Application Assistance form to help get this started.  If we have the capabilities, we can setup a “mock” system to test and verify, and we can shoot a short video to present the information to you.  This can include conveyance testing, product comparisons, cleaning, cooling; and, for the customer above, air barrier testing. 

Their current operation was using a wiper to clean the glass.  Like with any wiper, material can get wedged under the wiper and cause streaks, and it could scratch the glass lens.  To stop replacing the wiper blade or in some instances, the glass lens; they were looking for a non-contact way to keep the water, sand, mud from the camera lens.  Since it was difficult for them to determine the velocity of the material that would be heading toward the camera, they requested that I use water for my test.  With a 1/4” (6 mm) O.D. tubing, they believed that it could represent a good velocity with a pressure of 20 PSIG (1.4 Bar) and a flow of 30 GPH (113.6 LPH).  This would create a velocity of 9.3 mph (15 kph).  Since the lens had a diameter of 2” (51mm), I recommended the model 2403SS, 3” Stainless Steel Super Air Wipe.  Here is a video of the results with the inlet air pressure at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar).

Water Test

To expand a bit more on the Super Air Wipe, it is designed to blow compressed air in a 360-degree flow pattern.  This air pattern is directed at a 30-degree angle toward the center to blow the debris back away from the camera lens, just like a cone.  The Coanda effect maximizes the entrainment of ambient air into the compressed air.  This makes the unit very efficient and very powerful.  The model 2403SS Super Air Wipe has an I.D. of 3” (76 mm) which gives it enough clearance away from the view of the camera.  It is constructed of 303 stainless steel construction for corrosion resistance with a stainless-steel braided hose that connects the two halves together.  The design is very rugged for outdoor use. 

At EXAIR, we offer a 30-day unconditional guarantee on our stock products for US and Canadian customers to try things out.  But sometimes this may not be enough.  For the customer above, we were able to try something different to verify the effectiveness in keeping the camera lens clean.  And at EXAIR, we will take that extra step to help our customers.  If you have a pneumatic application that requires some additional service, you can fill out the Application Assistance form or contact an Application Engineer.  We will be happy to help you, and perhaps we can put some “focus” on a solution. 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Super Air Wipes Cleaning Rubber Cables

A rubber cable manufacturer was looking for a better way to clean water from the surface of their product.  Their process entailed extruding a rubber cable from the machine through a cooling water bath to harden the material.  This machine was able to make eight lines at a time.  After the water bath, the cables would pass through homemade blow-off devices to remove the liquid water from the outside surface.  From here, the cables would move through an inkjet printing machine.  They were having issues with the inkjet markings as they were not able to remove enough water.  They decided to contact EXAIR to see if we could help. 

The extruded rubber cables were close to ½” (13mm) in diameter.  So, I recommended the model 2401 1” (25mm) Super Air Wipe.  This would give enough clearance to remove the water in a non-contact way.  I challenged them to compare their home-made devices with our engineered design.  With our 30-day unconditional guarantee for U.S. and Canadian customers, they took me up on that challenge.  They ran a test and videoed the results. 

Super Air Wipe cleaning the rubber cable

The test was a bit crude as the Super Air Wipe was not aligned correctly.  But, with a short trial run, they were quite impressed.  In the photo below, you can see the dryness of the conveyor belt after the Super Air Wipe as compared to the home-made devices.  They were fascinated on how effective the Super Air Wipe was able to remove the water.  They replaced all eight units and noticed an improvement right away in reducing their visual defects in the printing process. 

Besides reducing defects, they noticed a few more things.  The production process ran smoother; even at faster line speeds.  They also observed that the Super Air Wipes were much quieter.  With a decibel rating of 80 dBA at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar), the nearby operators were very happy with this choice during operations.  The biggest thing that they saw after a few weeks was the reduction in compressed air use as compared to their home-made devices.  Because the design utilizes the Coanda effect, “free” ambient air is drawn into the air stream, reducing the compressed air requirement.  They were using 30% less compressed air, which saved them a lot of money on their electric bill and operational costs. 

EXAIR offers a line of Super Air Wipes available to ship the same day from stock. The Super Air Wipe is available in aluminum construction in sizes ranging from 3/8” to 11” (10 to 279mm) in inner diameters.  All Super Air Wipes come with stainless steel hardware and stainless steel shims.  Sizes up to 4” (102mm) include a cross-over stainless wire braided hose to supply the other half of the Super Air Wipe.  In addition to the aluminum construction, the Super Air Wipe is also available in 303 stainless steel for corrosive or high temperature applications. The Stainless Steel Super Air Wipe can withstand temperatures up to 800°F and is available in sizes from ½”-4” (13mm – 102mm) from stock.

If you’re processing any type of hose, pipe, wire, or extruded shapes, the Super Air Wipe could benefit you in your process.  The customer above was able to reduce defects, decrease the noise level, and save compressed air with a simple replacement.  And if you wish to challenge your blow-off devices with an engineered EXAIR product, you can contact an Application Engineer for additional information.

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

Super Air Wipes Clean Wire, Hose, Tube, Cable and Extrusions

Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe

EXAIR has a wide variety of Intelligent Compressed Air Products® which are designed and engineered to improve manufacturing processes. Our Super Air Wipes provide a uniform 360 degree airstream that is ideal for blow-off, drying, cleaning and cooling of pipe, cable, extruded shapes, hose, wire and more. The split design offers easy clamping around the surface of the material moving through it, eliminating the need for threading. Sizes range from 3/8″ (10mm) up to 11″ (279mm) diameters.

Prior to the introducing the Super Air Wipes, the only way to blow-off, dry, clean and cool cylindrical, round or extruded surfaces was to use a ring of air nozzles. The nozzle option typically had higher air consumption and noise levels along with inconsistent air velocity, which produced inferior results compared to an Air Wipe. The Super Air Wipe provides a high volume, high velocity airflow that is uniformly ejected from the 360 degree of its inner diameter. The airstream attaches itself to the material running through it to effectively wipe, clean, cool or dry surfaces. Velocity can be varied from a “blast” to a “breeze”.

There is a 1/4 NPT female inlet on each half of the Super Air Wipe on sizes up to 7″ (178mm). Sizes 9″ (229mm) and larger include two 1/4 NPT female inlets on each half in order to maintain proper air volume and performance. Aluminum Super Air Wipes up to 4″ (102mm) include a brass tee that supplies one half directly and a stainless steel wire braided coupling hose rated at 400F (204C) to supply the other half. Stainless steel Super Air Wipes up to 4″ (102mm) include a stainless steel tee and stainless steel wire braided coupling hose rated at 800F (427C). Larger sizes should be piped directly.

Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe

Tapped holes on the downstream side are provided for permanent mounting if the Super Air Wipe is not held in place with rigid pipe. Coupling brackets that hold each half of the Super Air Wipe together are provided which can be installed or removed quickly if required.

The Super Air Wipes come standard with a .002″ (0.05mm) gap setting. The compressed air exhausts through a gap which is set with a stainless steel shim positioned between the cap and body of the Super Air Wipe. Force and flow through the Super Air Wipe may be easily increased by adding shims to open the gap. Kits include a shim set. Shim sets include 92) .002″ (0.05mm) thick stainless steel shims.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about EXAIR Super Air Wipes or any of our “Intelligent Compressed Air Products” please contact any or our Application Engineers.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_EK