What do you need to put together a useful air knife system? A basic system requires the following 5 component parts.
1. Air knife or air knives sized for application and blower.
2. Blower sized to air knives and application.
3. Connecting hose or tube to connect to blower.
4. Mount for air knives used to position and adjust at work stations.
5. Filter to protect blower and product.
Blower – Since we deal with many blower manufactures we have choices for the performance we need. We predominantly use centrifugal or regenerative types for most applications. These provide the volume and pressure necessary for our systems. Fan type blowers normally do not have enough pressure and compressors have more pressure than we typically need. The majority of applications require only 30″ to 80″ inches water column (1-3 psi).
Hose – Our standard is 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6″ id hose that will tolerate 275° F and 30 psi pressure. It is flexible and easy to work with. We also have FDA approved hose, solid PVC, stainless steel, and aluminum in all sizes to 16″ in diameter.The diameter is selected to make sure blower performance maintained and losses through the hose are kept to a minimum. Like all of our products, there are options available to meet specific application requirements.
Adjustable mount – We have a system of 1″ to 4″ cross clamps and tube that works very well to allow for full adjustability and stability. We can also make up special mounts or provide additional tabs or threaded holes on the sir knives for customer designed systemsFittings and adapters are supplied complete so everything needed to connect all components is on hand.
Filter – Beyond standard 10-micron filters open filters we can provide HEPA and ULPA elements, combination filter/silencers, closed system filters and more.
Application-Specific Accessories for Air Knives
Noise control can be approached on several levels. Smaller low velocity systems seldom require additional silencing while our larger systems producing high velocity air often do need noise suppression. All of our systems are supplied with silencing and filters on the blowers, but sometimes this is not enough for an environment requiring less than 85 d.b.a. We can provide sound enclosures for the blowers or cabinets for the blow-off area and can assist by providing suggestions the customer may implement.
Most systems in the low and medium operating range are below 85 d.b.a. High velocity systems can exceed 85 d.b.a. and it is normal for us to provide noise abatement accessories. We are normally able to accommodate the environments that require less noise with enclosures or baffle panels that reduce the noise to an acceptable level. Sound enclosures are even available for even the smallest systems but are more typically used on systems above 40 HP.
Anti-static attachments can be very helpful when dust clings to plastic parts or they stick together or to reduce the shock workers receive handling product. These provide a shower of ions, which allows the built up static charge to dissipate without arcing to the first good conductor along the line.
Flow control of the system can be managed if necessary by many different devices. The simplest would be a blast gate to divert or reduce the airflow to the air knife. More precise gate valves may be used, or automatically actuated valves. Finer control can be managed with a frequency controller connected to the blower motor. This provides the ability to change the blower speed over a wide range and control the airflow and velocity very precisely.
Heaters can enhance the drying performance by raising the temperature of the air applied to a product. They can also prolong or reduce cure time. Heaters can be arranged to provide a fixed temperature or be adjustable from just a few degrees up to 1000°F. Coolers can also be arranged for a system if needed.
Gauges are often recommend as an addition to most systems as a way to monitor performance and trigger maintenance. A pressure gauge between the blower and air knives will show when a system is not operating at design level. A vacuum gauge connected to the filter shows when it needs changed. Using both gauges provides a way to monitor system performance and avoid down time.
There are many other accessories we have applied to particular systems to meet the customer’s particular needs.
For example pressure or vacuum relief valves, complete systems mounted on a cart with wheels that can be easily moved, or turn key systems with motor starters, mounts, automated operation or movement and including every nut and bolt. Your application is unique to your process and needs full consideration to be both process effective and cost effective. Our experience can help whether for one simple airknife or a completely automated turnkey system.