Air Knife System Sizing & Development

There is a tremendous difference between providing a light curtain of air to remove dust, reduce static charge, versus removal of oil based coolant, or sand from sand-blasted metal. In addition, it is important to select the correct combination of components for long maintenance-free life. Finally, proper sizing gives you economical initial cost and long term operating costs. Use our handy air volume calculator to determine how much air is required for your application. Our experience will help you select a system that is both cost effective and process effective.

Air knife applications can be divided into the following 3 broad categories based on the air velocity needed to accomplish the task.

Low velocity applications (5,000 – 18,000 FPM)

  • Light blow-off of dust and 50%+ of beaded water on smooth flat surfaces
  • Static control by adding a blanket of ionized air to discharge a surface
  • Control of coating thickness or spread
  • Heating or cooling of surface
  • Slow production line speeds

Medium velocity applications (16,000 – 32,000 FPM)

  • Water removal from bottles and cans on most current production lines.
  • Ink drying on labels.
  • 80 – 95%+ water (light liquid) removal on production lines.
  • Removal of excess coolant or rust inhibitors from production line parts.
  • Control of coating thickness or spread.
  • Preventing or limiting carry-over between tanks.
  • Most used category for current production line speeds and a wide variety of applications.
  • Often multiple sets of air knives are used for higher line speeds, challenging products, or more complete drying.

High velocity applications (30,000 – 40,000+ FPM)

  • Usually requires multiple sets of air knives for high-speed production lines, difficult applications and for more thorough results.
  • Complex shaped parts.
  • Clearing holes of debris.
  • Water/coolant removal from machined parts like engine blocks, transmission cases, engine heads, or components.
  • Heavy liquids or particulate removal on high-speed lines.
  • Applications where air knife more than 3″ from parts.
  • Removal of excess coolant or rust inhibitors from production line parts.
  • Control of higher viscosity coating thickness or spread.

All air knife system includes these components whether supplied by us or other sources.

1. The Blower is sized for the air knife(s).

2. Mounts for air knives used to position them at work stations. Some clients prefer to do this themselves.

3. Connecting hose or tube to connect to blower, plus other plumbing.

4. Blower sized to air knives and application. Client may even have one we can use.

5. Filter to protect blower and product; (from 10 Micron to ULPA.)

6. Motor Starter sized to match blower motor. Many clients have in-house electrical staff and parts and can supply this themselves

Beyond these basic components there are numerous accessories that may be necessary to optimize a system based on your application:

  • Adjustable mounts to correctly position multiple air knives.
  • Wyes and plenums for distribution of air supply to several air knives.
  • Nozzles to address places where water puddles.
  • Custom air knife designs to handle unique or challenging parts.
  • Improved or different filtration to protect blowers, reduce noise and provide cleaner air.
  • Controls, Variable Frequency Drives, and Valves to adjust performance.
  • Gauges to monitor and set performance.
  • Enclosures for sound control, blow-off containment, wash down, or as protection.
  • Accessories and controls to provide heat, anti-static.
  • Even articulated systems tied into PLC controls.

The specific accessories are chosen to tailor the system to your needs or enhance the operation based on the application environment.  We are happy to provide individual components or complete turnkey set-up.