Today I wanted to start a series about installing EXAIR products, so I figured starting with our selection of hard hitting air knives was the best place to start!
We talk to users, and potential users all the time about how to install an Air Knives. And the answer is…it depends. But, it’s almost always quick and easy.
The EXAIR Super Air Knife. There are a few ways to hold one in place: *There are 1/4″-20 tapped holes, every 2″ along the bottom. These can be used to bolt it to just about anything you want to bolt it to. *The 1/4″-20 cap screws can also be replaced with fasteners of sufficient length to allow use of a bracket. In fact, this is what we use for… *The Universal Air Knife Mounting System – it’s a quick and convenient way to support an Air Knife. It’s especially beneficial to precisely position the Super Air Knife for optimum performance. *Last but not least, Super Air Knives 24″ and longer need to be plumbed to both ends for proper performance. If you hard pipe it in, it’ll be as well supported as the piping.
The best way to mount a Super Air Knife in a blowing application so that you achieve the maximum force, time in contact and of course, effectiveness.
There is a term we use, “counter-flow”, to describe the opposing travel of target material/conveyor (red arrow) and the airflow coming from an Air Knife (blue arrow). By having opposing flows, the Air Knife is able to blow the debris, contamination, water or other fluid back into the direction from which it came. Sometimes a catch pan can be used to collect and re-use the fluid.
Finally, in the photo above, note that the Super Air Knife is mounted up-side down. We generally recommend this kind of orientation with the cap of the Super Air Knife being closest to the material being blown off. This allows you to get the air knife a bit lower and closer to the target material. The lower the angle, the better. This allows for a longer time in contact between the Super Air Knife and the target material. When the target material spends more time in the high velocity flow, the more likely you are able to impart the desired effect whether that be drying, cooling, blowoff or static elimination. To find a good mounting angle to start, I recommend customers use the front, angled edge of the Super Air Knife cap as a guide for what part of the Super Air Knife to keep parallel to the moving surface. This is a great reference from which blowing angle can be optimized.
If you’d like to find out more about how easy it is to install an EXAIR Compressed Air Product, give me a call.
I went to the auto parts store to replace my brakes on my vehicle. They asked me if I needed some Anti-squeak grease for my brake hardware. It made me think about the accessories that EXAIR sells. I could have used my own kind of grease which may not be able to hold up to the heat, but for a few dollars more, I wanted to go with the item that the experts would suggest.
In this blog, I would like to turn your attention to the accessories that support our Intelligent Compressed Air® Products. EXAIR products use compressed air to coat, conserve, cool, convey and clean. To maximize the performance and/or ease installation it is important to have the controls and options, and EXAIR offers these items as Accessories.
Pneumatic applications come in many variations and forms, and Accessories can help you to adapt to your application and to remove “guess work”. They can make installation easier, add flexibility, and give you peace of mind.
Here are the different categories and explanations for each item that EXAIR recommends for our products with their defined functions. They can help you in different areas to enhance your EXAIR product experience.
Filter Separators remove bulk liquid and contamination from the compressed air stream. EXAIR stocks a range of sizes from ¼” NPT ports to 1 ¼” NPT ports. They use a 5-micron filter and a mechanical baffle to remove slugs of liquid from your compressed air system. Most Filter Separators have an auto-drain to automatically remove the buildup of liquid inside the bowl. I would consider the Filter Separator as a minimum level of protection required to protect your EXAIR product installations.
Oil Removal Filters remove very small particles of dirt and oil from the compressed air; making it even cleaner. The 0.03-micron media of the Oil Removal Filter will “coalesce” the fine liquid particles into large droplets. Thus, allowing gravity to remove oil vapor from the compressed air stream. EXAIR offers different sizes ranging from ¼” NPT to 1 ½” NPT ports. As a note, Oil Removal Filters are great for removing very fine particles, but if you have a system with lots of water, I would recommend a Filter Separator upstream of the Oil Removal Filter for optimal filtration.
Regulators control the amount of air pressure being supplied to your EXAIR product. This is important if you are trying to save compressed air, control the force produced by an Air Knife, or convey material slowly. EXAIR, being a leader in compressed air savings, recommends to use the minimum amount of air pressure to do the job. This will save compressed air and save you money. Regulators have a characteristic called “droop”. Droop is the amount of air pressure that it drops downstream when you start flowing compressed air. If the regulator is not sized properly, you can “starve” your pneumatic components, causing loss of function. EXAIR properly sizes our regulators in our kits to make sure that you won’t “starve” your application.
Mounting Brackets for the regulators and the filters to help support them to a wall or structure are available. To connect filters and regulators together without a pipe nipple, we also have Coupling Kits for sizes up to ¾” NPT. And for combination kits which includes a filter and a regulator, we offer the Mounting Bracket and Coupling Kit together for a set.
Reclassifying Mufflers are designed to have two functions. They can cut noise levels by 35 dB and remove oil mist from the exhaust air. Cylinders and valves that exhaust pressurized air may have oil in the line to keep the seals from sticking. When exhausted, it can create a fine mist which is dangerous for operators. The Reclassifying Mufflers can reduce the loud noise as well as collect any contamination from the exhaust air.
Sintered Bronze Mufflers are simple in design, cost effective, and easy to install. They have a minimal back pressure to not restrict operations of the pneumatic device. They come in sizes from #10-32 thread to 1-1/2 NPT. For a quick and simple way to reduce noise, the Sintered Bronze Mufflers are in stock for fast delivery.
Straight-Through Mufflers offer a way to reduce noise levels without worrying about clogging. They have an aluminum shell lined with sound absorbing foam, and they can reduce the noise level by 20 dB. EXAIR offers them with two ports from ¼” NPT to ¾” NPT. This can allow you to connect other items like blowing hose kits while reducing noise.
Heavy Duty Mufflers have an outer aluminum shell with an internal stainless steel screen that can protect the components from environmental contamination, and can also keep contaminant like rust from being ejected at high speed into the work area. They have a typical noise reduction of 14 dB.
Manual Valves allow for operators to turn on and off their system by hand. The full-flow ball valves range from ¼” NPT to 1 1/4” NPT in size and will not restrict flow. EXAIR also offers a manual foot pedal valve for hands-free operations. This ¼” NPT foot valve has a 3-way operation and works great if the operator has to use both hands in their process.
Solenoid Valves are a way to turn on and off the supply of compressed air electrically for automated systems. We offer solenoids in three different voltages; 110Vac, 240Vac, and 24Vdc. EXAIR has a large range of flows with ports ranging from ¼” NPT to 1” NPT. All models are UL listed and are CE and RoHS compliant.
Swivel Fittings are a great way to securely install and aim EXAIR nozzles. They are dynamic as they can be adjusted and set to a flow direction with 50-degrees of movement. They are made from 303SS or 316SS for corrosion resistance with ports ranging from 4mm to 1” NPT.
Compressed Air Fittings are a nice arrangement to connect different compressed air items together. We offer a range of hex and close nipples, couplings, reducers, tees, elbows, crosses and bulk head fittings. If you need a quick way to connect directly to your pneumatic system, we may have it on the shelf.
Magnetic Bases are designed for a solid mount to steel surfaces and for easy portability of your blow-off system to different locations. It has a 100 lb. (45.5Kg) pulling force to keep the blowing device attached firmly until you want to move it. They can be mounted in a vertical or horizontal position. EXAIR offers a single outlet Magnetic Base (for one blow-off device); a dual outlet Magnetic Base (for multiple blowing products); and a single outlet Swivel Magnetic Base (to offer more flexibility to orientation). The bases come with a ¼ turn shut-off valve to easily turn on and off the compressed air to the EXAIR products.
Receiver Tanks are used to store compressed air. They can be used at the air compressor or as secondary reservoirs for intermittent demand. They help your compressed air system with pressure variations and high demand loads. EXAIR offers a model 9500-60 Receiver Tank that has a 60 gallon capacity and is rated to 200 PSIG. It meets the ASME pressure vessel code.
Universal Air Knife Mounting System gives you a way to mount the EXAIR Super Air Knife, Full-Flow Air Knife, and Standard Air Knife. This kit is used to position your air knife securely and precisely. It comes with a bracket and an articulated arm that can reach up to 30” (762mm). You can orientate the air knives in any position to maximize the effectiveness.
Plumbing Kit, or PKI, is a great tool for longer Super Air Knives to help attach your compressed air system. They are designed to help lessen the time for install as well as to properly supply compressed air equally along the entire length, specifically for 24” (610mm) and longer. We can offer the Plumbing Kit separately if you find that it could benefit your fabricators during installation.
Coupling Kits are designed to attach Aluminum and Stainless Steel Super Air Knives if you need to extend past the 108” (2,743 mm) width. Coupling Kits will mount the air knives together end to end.
Conveying Hoses are used with our Air Operated Conveyors or Line Vacs. The hoses are made from a durable PVC semi-flexible hose with six different diameters from ¾” I.D. up to 3” I.D. The conveyance hoses can slip easily to the ends of the Line Vacs or to tubes for an easy transition. EXAIR can cut-to-length Conveying Hoses up to 50 feet (15m); in increments of 10 feet (3m).
Coiled Hoses get compressed air from the piping system to the EXAIR product. They are made of a durable abrasion-resistant nylon material that is 12 feet long (3.6 meters). They have swivel fittings at the end to allow for easy uncoiling, and a spring strain relief to keep the hose from kinking. The coiled design makes it easy to reach around the work area and retract back to the substation. This will help to keep the hose off the ground where potential dangers could occur. We offer 3 different connection sizes; 1/8” NPT, ¼” NPT, and 3/8” NPT.
Compressed Air Hoses is another way to supply EXAIR products. They are useful if you need to reach from overhead sources or around equipment. They are made from a reinforced synthetic rubber in 3/8” I.D. and 1/2” I.D. diameters. We can make specific lengths up to 50 feet (15m). They are rated for 250 PSIG (17 bar) air pressure, and the hose material works well for long-lasting protection against ozone, weathering and temperatures up to 158oF (70oC). They come standard with two male ends in ¼” NPT or ½” NPT.
Stay Set Hoses give you that possibility of manually adjusting or re-adjusting Super Air Nozzles. The hose has a “memory” function; so, it will not creep or droop until you physically move it. They work well to direct air flows in unique ways at specific target areas. They can be used with Super Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns and Blow-off Kits. The Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6” (15cm) to 36” (91cm), and they are offered with ¼” NPT male on both ends or with a 1/8” NPT female and a ¼” NPT male connections. These hoses are rated for 250 PSIG (17 bar) and are made from reinforced synthetic rubber.
The ETC, or Electronic Temperature Control, is a digital temperature controller with a LED screen for precision monitoring and adjusting temperatures in a Cabinet Cooler System. The controller has easy-to-use buttons to raise or lower the desired internal cabinet temperature. Once set, the ETC will hold the temperature to +/- 1 oF (+/- 0.5 oC). The LED displays the internal temperature for continuous monitoring. The ETC comes complete with the controller and a solenoid valve in two different voltages, 120Vac and 240Vac.
The thermostat is a way to control a solenoid valve electrically to turn on/off a Cabinet Cooler System at a set temperature. It is preset at 95°F (35°C), but it can be adjusted to other desired temperatures. It has an accuracy to hold the set temperature within +/- 2 °F (1 °C). It can handle voltages from 24V to 240V, AC (50/60 Hz) or DC. They are UL Recognized and CSA certified.
In today’s fast-paced world, there is a need to get your devices operating correctly and as quickly as possible. EXAIR Accessories can do that. Not only will you have confidence, as you are using the items recommended by the EXAIR experts, but you won’t have to worry about your system “squeaking” to a halt. Like with my brakes above; I was happy to use the recommended grease to end any annoyance with my braking. If you would like to discuss the proper options with your EXAIR products, an Application Engineer will be happy to help you.
EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air® products since 1983. In the beginning, the Standard Air Knives and Full Flow Air Knives were very effective at that time. But as leaders in this market, EXAIR did not want to stop there. We were able to engineer a more efficient, more powerful, and much safer air knife, the Super Air Knife. In this blog, I will discuss the features and benefits that the Super Air Knives can offer.
Bernoulli’s principle explains how a high velocity fluid can generate a low pressure. The EXAIR Super Air Knife creates a high velocity air stream to produce a low pressure to entrain ambient air. What does this mean for you? It will save you much money by using less compressed air. The mass of the ambient air is added into the air stream to give a strong blowing force. The Super Air Knife has an amplification ratio of 40:1. For every 1 part of compressed air, 40 parts of ambient air is drawn into the blowing air stream. Ambient air is free, and compressed air is expensive. EXAIR was able to engineer a design to use the Bernoulli’s principle to make one of the most efficient air knives in the market place.
What else makes EXAIR unchallenged? We manufacture and stock the widest range in lengths and materials. To start, EXAIR has Super Air Knives ranging from 3” to 108” (76mm to 2,743mm) in three different materials; aluminum, 303 stainless steel, and 316/316L stainless steel. There is no-one else in this industry that can manufacture to those lengths. EXAIR also offers Super Air Knives in PVDF material with Hastelloy hardware for chemical resistant applications from 3” to 54” (76mm to 1,372mm). Depending on the temperature requirement, chemical resistance, OSHA and FDA regulations, or application details, we probably will have one on the shelf for you. If EXAIR does not have it, we can make special air knives in different lengths and materials to best fit your application.
Some interesting features for the Super Air Knives are as follows. They have a compact design that can fit into tight places for blowing and cooling. The footprint is very small compared to blower-air knife system. They do not have any moving parts to wear or maintenance to do. They only need clean compressed air to work. They blow a laminar air stream which reduces noise levels and create a consistent force along the entire length. An even force will give you tighter control for blowing applications which will cut compressed air usage unlike the inconsistent and turbulent air flows caused by drilled pipes.
To adjust the force and air usage, this can be easily controlled with a regulator. The advantage that EXAIR Super Air Knives have is the replaceable shims. So, you can increase or decrease the gap to get a variety of force ratings. The Aluminum version uses colored plastic shims for visual verification. They come stock with a 0.002” (0.05mm) red shim installed. We have other thicknesses in our Shim Sets which includes a 0.001” (0.03mm), 0.003” (0.08mm), and a 0.004” (0.10mm) colored as amber, green, and tan respectively. The Stainless Steel Super Air Knives come with a stainless steel shim for higher temperatures and chemical resistance. Stock units have the 0.002” (0.05mm) thickness as well. The Shim Sets come with three additional 0.002” (0.05mm) shims to stack. Similarly, the PVDF Super Air Knives use a PTFE shim for maximum chemical resistance. It is also 0.002” (0.05mm) thick, and there are three more shims in the Shim Set. This unique feature of using shims allows for the most flexibility in creating forces for different applications ranging from a blast to remove rocks from a conveyor to a breeze for light duty work.
We also offer the Super Air Knives in kits as a more complete system. The kit includes a filter, regulator and the above-mentioned Shim Set. The filter removes the debris and water from the compressed air line to optimize the performance of the air knife as well as keeping your product clean. The regulator is used to make the “fine” adjustment to the blowing force while the shim set is used as the “coarse” adjustment. EXAIR sells this kit as one model number for simple ordering, and the accessories are properly sized to not hinder the performance of the Super Air Knife.
To optimize the system even more, EXAIR offers a Deluxe Kit for the Aluminum and Stainless Steel models. This includes the accessories in the kit above, plus an Electronic Flow Control, or EFC. This exclusive instrument uses a photoelectric eye to start a timing sequence to control a solenoid valve. So, when a part is not in front of the Super Air Knife for cleaning or cooling, the compressed air is turned off. This will save you even more money and maximize your efficiency to only blow air when needed.
For the longer Super Air Knives, EXAIR can install a Plumbing Kit, or PKI, to help attach your compressed air to the Air Knife. They are designed to help lessen the time for install as well as to properly supply compressed air equally along the entire length, specifically for 24” (610mm) and longer. We can offer the Plumbing Kit separately if you find that it could benefit your fabricators during installation. EXAIR also offers a Coupling Kit for the Aluminum and Stainless Steel versions. If you need to extend past the 108” (2,743 mm) width, the Coupling Kit is designed to mount Super Air Knives together at the ends. You will still get that consistent blowing force along the multiple of Air Knives. Another helpful accessory is the Universal Air Knife Mounting System. It has a bracket and an articulated arm that can reach up to 30” (762mm). With this system, you can position your air knife securely and precisely in any orientation. It attaches easily to your Super Air Knife and gives you the flexibility to maximize the blowing effect at your target.
With the today’s cost in making compressed air, it is important to use it as efficiently as possible. The Standard and Full Flow Air Knives would be good options to use. But the best way to conserve is with the Super Air Knife. If you have any questions about the Super Air Knife or if you would like to discuss an application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be glad to help you.
The key towards a successful Super Air Knife application is making sure it’s installed properly. Using the chart on the installation & maintenance guide to ensure your plumbing is properly sized is the first step. This ensures that an adequate volume of compressed air is able to reach the knife, without causing an unnecessary pressure drop.
Once you’ve planned out the distribution of compressed air to the Super Air Knife you must consider how to mount it in your application. Across the bottom of the knife are ¼-20 tapped holes spaced out evenly every 2” along the knife. A 30” Model 110030 will have (15) holes, a 60” 110060 (30), and so on. These holes are tapped through to allow you to mount the knife to best suit the application.
If you’d rather have a more “out of the box” solution, EXAIR offers our Universal Mounting System. It gives you the ability to mount onto a conveyor rail or machine frame and provide precise positioning for all of EXAIR’s Super Air Knives, Standard Air Knives, Full-Flow Air Knives, as well as the Standard and Super Ion Air Knives. Each system comes with (2) 1/2-13 x 5” long bolts, 2’ long stainless steel rod, mounting hardware, angle bracket, and adjustable swivel clamps. Check out the video below for a demonstration of the adjustability you can achieve with the Model 9060 Universal Mounting System.
Another critical factor to consider is the mounting position of the knife. If the material is moving along a conveyor, the knife should be positioned as closely as possible with the airflow oriented against the direction of travel of the material. By doing so, we increase the amount of time that the material is in contact with the airflow. We call this term counter-flow. Maximizing the time in contact with the laminar airflow from the Super Air Knife gives us the best chance at a successful result. Whether we’re talking about cooling, drying, or cleaning, the longer that the material is in contact with the laminar airflow the better the results will be.
In this photo, the Super Air Knife is positioned upside down at an angle above a conveyor belt, against the direction of travel. We recommend installing the Super Air Knife in this orientation as it allows the airflow to get closest to the material being blown off. They’ve used their own brackets to allow the knife to be adjusted when blowing residual dust off of a conveyor for a mining application. The dust on the belt would build up over time and was difficult to remove. By installing a Super Air Knife, they’re able to continuously remove the dust from the conveyor belt before it becomes a problem.
If you have an application that would be better served with one of EXAIR’s Super Air Knives, give us a call. An Application Engineer is ready to assist you in selecting the proper material, length, and mounting method.