Super Air Knives Provide Dry Surface for Printing

I’ve always liked Halloween.  My friends and I got to go trick-or-treating together around the neighborhood, under the supervision of a parent or two, until one year when we were deemed old enough to go around the immediate neighborhood (gasp) by OURSELVES!!!

You need to know that, for any of our Moms, that was a HUGE investment in trust they were putting in us. One that, I’m afraid was undeserved. See, we’d all heard rumors of “tricks” from some cool older kids, and were eager to try our hands at it. Now, we were a relatively mild mannered bunch. We certainly weren’t going to break anything or hurt anyone. But the tales of soaping windows had an irresistible appeal…so, after we donned our costumes that evening, we all sneaked a bar of hand soap out of the house, and set about on our great adventure. Which was not so great, for a couple of reasons:

First, Halloween that year fell on a particularly drizzly night.  We weren’t in danger of a rain-out, but there was a layer of “wet” on everything…especially the windows on which we planned to display our art. That didn’t stop us from trying, though…it just wasn’t near as effective, or fun, as we’d hoped.  Basically, we got some weak smudges here and there.

Second, our parents & neighbors were a lot more savvy than we’d expected. I’m not even sure what happened first…the discovery of the missing bars of soap, or the neighbors calling our parents to tell them what we were up to. We were all punished according to our respective families’ customs, and the next year, we were the oldest trick-or-treaters out there under adult supervision.

I think about that night whenever I see one of those “World’s Dumbest Criminals” shows, but it popped into my head recently while discussing a Super Air Knife application with a customer.  The caller worked in facility that produced pizza dough, and had recently implemented a quality tracking system that applied a temporary code to the rims of the plastic trays that carried the loaves of dough along a conveyor.   Thing is, the trays could still be wet from the wash/rinse cycle, and the ink (which is water soluble and is supposed to be removed by the washer anyway) really, really needs a pretty dry surface, or it’s just going to be a weak, smudgy mess, much like the great Window Soap Fail of 1970-something.

They purchased two Model 110003SS 3″ Stainless Steel Super Air Knives and installed one on each side of the conveyor, just after the rinse tunnel.  The Super Air Knives blow off the rims of the trays, leaving a clean, dry surface for the printer.

EXAIR Super Air Knives come in a wide variety of lengths to suit a wide range of applications.

EXAIR Super Air Knives come in a variety of materials, lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet, and are the quietest & most efficient compressed air operated blow off products on the market today.  If you’d like to find out more about they can help you, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Super Air Knife Helps Make More Candy Bars

It’s known in various places as Beggar’s Night, Trick-or-Treat, or just good old Halloween.  Whatever you call it, many of us have fond memories of donning a costume and a mask and roaming the neighborhood in search of candy.  Most of the grownups we encountered were only too happy to oblige our requests, in exchange for the opportunity to spend some time on the porch, enjoying a brisk autumn evening.  We won’t talk about the times when it may have rained, snowed, or been unseasonably hot…like, in the 80F range (yes, I grew up in Ohio.)

As fond as those childhood memories are, I’ve built a solid arsenal of grownup memories too, both passing out candy to neighborhood kids, and escorting my own kids around the neighborhood…of course, I always “suited up” for the occasion…

My neighbors breathed a collective sigh of relief when my sons became old enough to go Trick-or-Treating without Dad.
My neighbors breathed a collective sigh of relief when my sons became old enough to go Trick-or-Treating without Dad.

It’s probably no great secret that candy manufacturers ramp up their production in preparation for the occasion.  I had the pleasure of discussing an application with one of them recently – in fact, it was for some of the bite-size candy bars that they were about to be “Job One.”  This particular treat is produced as a continuous “strand” of nougat that is extruded onto a conveyor.  It’s then covered in peanut pieces and cut to size before being coated in chocolate.  Now, because these are bite-size bars, they’re making 3-4 times as many cuts as their regular candy bars (you know…the ones you got at the “cool houses?”) there’s 3-4 times as many peanut pieces on the belt.

To recover these pieces, they got a Model 110254 54″ Aluminum Super Air Knife Kit, and installed it to blow a light “curtain” of air across the belt in the area where the cutting takes place.  The excess pieces are blown into a trough on the side of the conveyor, where they’re cleanly and neatly recovered & recycled.  They only need about 5psig of compressed air supply pressure to do this, and it’s timed to the indexing of the belt, so not only is it reliable & effective, it’s just about as efficient as they can get.

The EXAIR Super Air Knife – quiet, efficient, and infinitely adjustable to meet the needs of most any blow off situation.

If you’d like to talk about Super Air Knives, Trick or Treating, or Halloween candy, give me a call.  I know a LOT about all of those things.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Compressed Air and Halloween Candy

Tomorrow night is Halloween. I live in a suburban subdivision with a high ratio of young families, which makes for a target-rich environment for Trick or Treaters…my boys included. We’ll allow them to enjoy a sensible portion of their haul tomorrow night, and the rest will go into the cabinet over the stove for rationing out over the next week or so.

First to disappear will be the brand name chocolates, candy bars, peanut butter cups, etc. The occasional bags of pretzels/salty snacks will find their way into school lunch bags quickly. Novelty lollipops – the kind with candy or gum in the middle – go fast in my house, but only after the chocolate has been completely exhausted. Individual hard candies linger at the bottom until they’re forgotten about, and eventually get thrown away the next time we need one of those pans we keep in that cabinet…usually when we’re preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

One of the trade publications I read regularly is “Compressed Air Best Practices” Magazine. Every month, there are featured articles that highlight how someone just saved a TON of compressed air by applying various methods and fixes to their systems. Understandably, the opportunities for the largest savings are the most popular…let’s call these the “brand name chocolates.” Common examples of this are:

  • Fixing leaks – I know of a company that saved a million SCF per year this way. (Spoiler alert: it was us.)
  • Replacing open ended blow offs with engineered products. (Spoiler alert again: we’re the undisputed industry leader for this.)

Of course, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. If you’re serious about efficiency, you’ve already got flow meters in place. If not, it’s time for a look at what’s available, and how much of a benefit you’ll get from knowing what your usage is at any given time. Continuing with my candy surplus analogy, these could be considered the novelty lollipops. Departing from the analogy, though, this should be done first (OK; it’s not a perfect analogy). An EXAIR Digital Flowmeter will give you instant, accurate indication of your air usage, and you can make a “before/after” comparison, once those leaks are fixed and your blow offs are upgraded.

Lastly, don’t forget about regular maintenance. Our USB Data Logger is a great addition to the Digital Flowmeter – it allows you to track your usage over time. Those leaks you just fixed weren’t there when the system was new. If you start to see your usage creeping up, you’ll want to find out why. Our Ultrasonic Leak Detector is a great tool for periodic checks. Use it to find any new leaks that pop up, and you’ll stop throwing away compressed air like it was candy.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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