December 20, 2021
PREDICTIONS FOR 2022
PREDICTIONS FOR 2022:
We all agree that 2021 has been a rather interesting year.
What can we expect for 2022 is anyone’s guess but here are mine….
- Worsening labor shortages from a lot of factors such as lower population growth and as a result a lack of available youth to enter many of the needed positons, especially at lower or entry levels, along with a lower desirability to do some of those jobs
- Continued revolutionary developments in automation and improvement of manufacturing processes especially to reduce labor requirements
- Worsening supply chains as the international situation continues to deteriorate and politics as well as the continued pandemic continues to negatively influence the supply chain while adjusting for changes can take years as resourcing continues.
- Inflation to continue throughout the year at a relatively high level as the direction to deglobalize continues offsetting the low inflation that occurred due to deglobalization in the past, ie: we catch up to where inflation would have been if there was no globaliziation in the first place
- Demand for quality, certifications, and security of supply will be paramount
- Innovation will be important especially if related to labor reduction
- Worker safety will receive greater importance as the work force demands not only more income, but also a better working environment
- There will be a move to a new balance between remote work and onsite work although I have no idea what that balance is
- In person sales calls will continue to become a thing of the past due to dramatically increased cost and due to retiring older generations with much less expectation and demand from newer entries (albeit fewer numbers) into the workforce
- Online support will increase in importance dramatically and companies will be judged by the level and quality of support they can provide
- Taxes will be higher
- Paperwork will increase
- Travel will not be as much fun (if fun at all)
- Covid will finally wind down to be an endemic situation although government policies will remain somewhat restrictive and no one will be happy about it, whether anyone thinks it to be too much or too little.
- The world will go on and will be the same but different and we will all binge watch Netfliks.
December 13, 2021
Flexibility Required in the Age of the Supply Chain Disruption
Flexibility Required in the Age of the Supply Chain Disruption:
One of the most difficult things a company has to adjust for is the current supply chain disruption.
What is more upsetting when you get a response like “we cannot do anything about it. “
We have had such responses from some of our suppliers but have learned to act quickly and continue to develop alternate backup as needed and avoid that kind of a response – ie: we try!.
To rest on laurels is not something we accept.
Supply chain disruptions affect everything that requires even one small part, whether it’s a microchip or a certain length screw, since one lacking part can stop everything.
Nex Flow® has been hit occasionally with supply issues but fortunately, 99% of the time we have managed through them although there was this one time when we ran out of – all things! – compressed air filters and that was a big headache until we finally got them!)
With the entire manufacturing sector under pressure from supply chain issues, plus Covid mandates and labor shortages it’s important to stay focused (and sane).
We continue to focus on innovation and special designs, along with competent support, good service and staying flexible and maintaining stock.
Nex Flow® maintains its determination to improve and develop new products (new, not copies), and retains a healthy research and development program that will continue into 2022 and beyond.
We pay special attention to orders that require an innovative design and to provide special engineered versions of our pneumatic technologies when asked, in a reasonable time at a fair and equitable cost.
For our regular products, while not 100% perfect, inventory has been dramatically increased to provide the much demanded quick, expedited delivery while many other companies keep inventories “tight” to the detriment of delivery times to the customer.
We stay focused on innovation, support and continued product development and competent engineered assistance with the utmost flexibility when required.
Comments and questions on any compressed air topic are appreciated: email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 6, 2021
MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT ACCIDENTLY BREAKING THE LAW
MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT ACCIDENTLY BREAKING THE LAW:
These days we have to be so careful about all sorts of protocols and it can be confusing as these protocols seem to be increasing on a regular basis.
One area in which to be very careful is to be sure you are using equipment that is legal.
For example, electrical starters have to be wired a particular way in different jurisdictions, and even whether you use fuses or circuit breakers can become issues during electrical inspections since equipment, even today, assuming you can get delivery, can come from anywhere in the world!
Some companies however still try to skirt requirements, often by omission, ie: they just do not tell you.
For example, we make certain that our Nex Flow® Frigid-X® Panel Coolers meet UL, ULC and international standards while others supplying similar technology simply omit the mention of any certification and redirects attention to an accessory with approval rather than the unit itself that actually can be even more important.
If approval or certification is necessary in the applicable jurisdiction it should be confirmed.
Tampering with an approved product such as a solenoid valve can also negate its certification.
For example, Nex Flow® has an optional bypass system for Panel Coolers to keep a small flow of air for constant control cabinet purging (to keep out a nasty factory environment) that is installed around a solenoid valve which goes on and off as cooling is needed and which is controlled by a thermostat.
Instead of a bypass, another way to achieve some constant flow would be to take that solenoid and drill a hole through the inside when in closed position.
But, that would be tampering with the unit.
Once tampered with, it changes the product and subject to an otherwise electrical inspection, may potentially negate its certification for use rendering it illegal in some jurisdictions.
The drilling may or may not negatively affect a component, but how can you be sure especially if everything else meets certification in the package?
There is a reason even small changes in previously certified products often require a re-evaluation of any certification given.
In the end it’s about reliability and security of operation and of course, keeping it legal.
If interested to know about Nex Flow® Panel Cooler Certification click here.
November 29, 2021
REMOVING STATIC CHARGE AT 10 FEET AWAY AND CLEANING? ANOTHER MYTH BUSTED!!
REMOVING STATIC CHARGE AT 10 FEET AWAY AND CLEANING? ANOTHER MYTH BUSTED!!
Again a problem created due to misleading information!
Customer was using an air knife with a standard ionizing bar which was supposed to remove static from a distance of at least 10 feet away – a claim we do not subscribe to.
The problem was solved by using a more powerful static bar with our air knife (The Nex Flow® Triple X Air Blade® Ionizer)
Removing static charge takes time – it’s in milliseconds but it still takes time.
The further away you are, the longer it takes as ions recombine as they travel to the statically charged target.
If the target is highly charged or moving fast, you need a strong static bar to remove the charge – it’s that simple.
Laminar flow from compressed air operated air knives do carry the static removing ions with less ion recombination over a longer distance but, the ions still do recombine and weaken so the time required to remove the charge will increase the further away you get – period!
So only a more concentrated “ion cloud” with a stronger bar offers a possible solution.
When considering the use of compressed air operated air knives for cleaning statically charged surfaces, consider the specifications of the static bar (ionizing bar) used with the air knife.
For more information see our video on cleaning statically charged surfaces:
November 22, 2021
Oh No Not Again! Another Explanation We Had to Make on Air Amplification!!
Oh No Not Again! Another Explanation We Had to Make on Air Amplification!!
Sometimes is it so frustrating when this question comes up – and recently it has again after a customer came to Nex Flow® due to a failure with a similar looking product from a competitor.
We sometimes get calls asking about our published figures on “air amplification.”
The term most often gets used and abused in relation to air amplifiers or air movers, air nozzles and sometimes air knives.
Air amplification is the ratio of entrained air along with output compressed air divided by the compressed air consumed at standard conditions and while the point of measurement should be defined it usually is not, and even if defined some figures provided are questionable.
For example, is we measure the air amplification at the exit of Nex Flow® Model FX40 air amplifier, we get a “mean average” of 15 to one. That means right at that point, if the compressed air in at 80 PSIG is 20 SCFM, you get 15 times the output (or 300 SCFM) which should be measured.
This result is a combination of high velocity compressed air exiting mixing with “still” atmospheric air and for this product represents a balance between high volume out and adequate force and velocity.
Yes, we have seen “others” offer similar looking equivalent claiming as much as 25 but if so, after combining this moving air with the still air, one would logically measure significantly less force and velocity – it’s simple physics.
Hence the calls we get in particular when the output volume is important in a given application so a more accurate value really is important.
In fact, even the published figure we provide will vary depending in the density and temperature of the atmospheric air and the compressed air itself as to temperature and supply pressure but we use a mean to be useful for engineering purposes.
For other product like air knives and nozzles the air amplification is assumed to be measured at about 6” from the exit and for the air amplifier example give, at six inches from the exit the ratio would be three times.
The means for the Nex Flow® FX40 it would be 15 X 3 = 45 at six inches from the exit “assuming” standard atmospheric air and this can even vary significantly in real life.
The amplification ratio also depends on geometry and size. The smaller the product the less the figure should be.
For air knives, any figure over 40 should be suspect.
For air nozzles, any figure over 30 would be suspect.
Yet in both cases, we see some companies publish figures as high as fifty which makes absolutely no sense.
It’s quite humorous when the creator of those figures is questioned as the most common explanation given is that the results are laboratory results and not necessarily reflective of the application condition.
Personally, I would like to see that laboratory.
The point is this – if volume is important in an application, do question published figures on air amplification.
Simple examination of easily verifiable items like force and velocity can help determine how accurate that figure can be.
More on Nex Flow® Air Amplifiers here:
And do contact Nex Flow® if you need quality and competent assistance.
November 15, 2021
IMPROVED AGAIN – BLIND HOLE CLEANER, BETTER AND MORE POWERFUL THAN EVER
IMPROVED AGAIN – BLIND HOLE CLEANER, BETTER AND MORE POWERFUL THAN EVER:
The Nex Flow® Blind Hole Cleaner is a popular item for both manual operation and for semi-automatic use on automated machine that do deep hole drilling.
The two recent improvement are:
- Safety seal
- An additional nozzle length option
The new safety seal provides a tighter and more secure seal of the unit against the part that needs to be cleaned.
This extra seal provides additional security against any particulate escaping from the cleaning process and with better sealing allows the unit to clean a deep, blind hole as deep as 27 inches (69 cm).
The cleaning of deep holes or blind holes can be very difficult because of the depth and the possibility of material stocking inside the part.
Simply blowing the hole can be very messy but also dangerous, especially if there is no eye or skim protection from flying debris.
The Nex Flow® Blind Hole Cleaning System addresses these concerns to keep the workplace safe and clean.
A full kit (either Manual or Semi-automatic) is available with the various hole diameter adaptors and range of nozzle lengths is available or units can be supplied for the particular range required for the operation.
November 8, 2021
Research Projects Using Nex Flow continue to Validate Quality
One research project in Europe this past year involved the use of the Nex Flow® X-Stream® Air Blade® air knife.
A description of the application in the solar cell industry can be found in our blog.
There are have been other special projects where Nex Flow® products are used, some of them X-stream® Air Blade® air knives but also other products.
These projects are very important to use for several reasons:
- They are ideal to validiate our quality
- We often receive useful data to help us improve our products and develop new ones
- It keeps us abreast of market developments to help provide direction in planning
It’s one thing to claim quality as anyone can read on web sites claiming to be a “leader” with nothing to truly back it up. Validation from use by others, especially in research provides true validation.
Sometimes Nex Flow® received very interesting data which can provide a basis fro product improvement and even new products.
There are two new products in development now because of such data provided.
Nex Flow® takes serious note of the research done in all markets where our products are tested to assist in our planning to maintain our growth and to solidify our position as a serious partner in new and developing markets as well as existing ones.
Research is also something important to Nex Flow® internally as we work with several educational institutes to explore new ideas while testing and developing and improved products.
We continue to welcome the opportunity to partake in research projects offered.
November 1, 2021
WE WERE CHOSEN FOR A REASON!!!!
One of the most popular products by Nex Flow® is our Ring Blade® air wipes.
They are used for drying, cleaning and sometimes even for cooling wire, rope and cable to pultrusions and other continuously extruded products.
There have been several knockoffs but we have been proven superior consistently by the customer.
One major company in Asia has specified Nex Flow® Ring Blades ONLY for an important reason – consistent quality and performance.
Copies rarely identify the small things that make Nex Flow® products superior.
It’s not just the Ring Blade® air wipes – it carries over to other products like our air knives, amplifiers, and nozzles.
Even two similar household items may look identical with one being of better quality and one of lesser or possibly poor quality. The poor quality version will always wear out first or otherwise not work as well.
Poor quality rarely gets a second purchase, never mind being specified within a company!
This really is a reflection of our values as exemplified in this link: youtube.com/watch?v=HqXC0X5p3lo
Paying attention to detail is important as such positive customer response and consistently coming to us is the feedback we recognize as important.
This keeps us focused on continual improvement and maintaining not only good quality at a fair price, but to also respond and be supportive when needed.
Nex Flow® has several research projects always in play to improve existing and develop new and better products to reduce noise, save energy, enhance safety and increase plant productivity.
To know more about our Ring Blade® air wipes click on the link: youtube.com/watch?v=VucUmY_pOm8
October 25, 2021
IT LOOKS THE SAME BUT NOT THE SAME – QUALITY IN A NAME
IT LOOKS THE SAME BUT NOT THE SAME – QUALITY IN A NAME:
Recently a customer contacted us with a quality issue when they purchased a product that looked like ours, thought it was ours, but was actually a knockoff.
This was a second time in the last year as another incident occured in another country.
In this recent case, the product was an air knife like the X-stream® Air Blade® air knife, but a look alike which appeared the same on the outside, but when hooked up had uneven flow from bad internal design.
It was extremely important for the application to have this even flow.
We actually did a video comparing our X-Stream® Air Blade® air knife to a recent copy:
The customer of course, subsequently ordered from Nex Flow® although not certain if they could return the other poor copy, but hopefully could so they do not lose money.
In the previous instance, the customer saw clearly the poor quality in the appearance of a stainless steel X-stream® Air Blade® air knife copy as soon as it arrived and contacted Nex Flow® immediately. He was able to return the poor product and then purchased the original from Nex Flow® direct, and surprisingly, it was even less cost from us for a quality original!
The focus of Nex Flow® is quality at a fair price.
The balance of highest quality at a fair price to maintain adequate customer support, available stock and product security is always a challenge, especially with supply chain issues.
This balanced focus is the consistent aim of Nex Flow® which attaches a certain quality reputation to the company name.
Every company name has a reputation attached.
Some clues would be web site content and quality, product approvals where appropriate, timing of response to inquiries, competence (or not) in responses, customer service and of course, the product should look good.
It may indeed be wise to question the reputation of a name that may not be clear on its goals.
October 18, 2021
Ring Blade® Air Wipes reduce number of total air wipes needed in High Speed Extruded Processes
Ring Blade® Air Wipes reduce number of total air wipes needed in High Speed Extruded Processes:
There are many different approaches to drying extruded materials such as wire, cable and profiles.
There are those that provide costly systems to address each application and those that provide blower operated systems.
Today, productivity is ever more important and for extrusions it usually means faster output.
Faster output challenges drying of extruded parts so compressed air blow off is typically what is needed to obtain the necessary drying result as the greater output normally offsets any increased energy costs.
High speed small diameter wire production in particular can be a challenge.
The Nex Flow® Ring Blade® air wipe design is used successfully in very high speed small wire production because of its quality manufacturing and design.
In fact, where multiple units are used, they have replaced more costly air wipes of special and costly design with a lower total number to achieve the same drying effect.
As the Nex Flow® Ring Blade® air wipes are mass produced the initial cost is also low compared to many others creating a win-win situation for buyer and seller alike.
Another benefit with the Nex Flow® design is the use of air amplification not only to better dry, but also reduce overall energy use in compressed air with lower exhaust air noise levels.
Often less number of units are required further reducing energy cost and noise levels.
Video describing the units for high speed wire drying can be viewed here:
October 11, 2021
New Air Nozzle and Hose Package
New Air Nozzle and Hose Package:
Due to demand we have made available our popular ¼” air nozzles c/w our Extra Stiff Rigid-Flex Hoses in easy to purchase packages.
The Nex Flow® stainless steel flexible hoses are popular with nozzles to direct and secure the direction desired for blow off in any given application.
One popular option to the air nozzle and rigid-flex hose package is a mini shutoff valve in either brass or stainless steel.
Another option is a magnetic base to secure the assembly to a surface that will accept a magnet. The magnetic base is available in either a fixed or swivel option.
If other nozzles or blow off are required Nex Flow® can put together a complete package for your particular application.
October 4, 2021
MEASURING NOISE LEVELS IN COMPRESSED AIR BLOW OFF
MEASURING NOISE LEVELS IN COMPRESSED AIR BLOW OFF:
Apart from energy saving one of the main arguments for utilizing engineered nozzles such as the Nex Flow® Air mag® and Standard Nozzles is simply to reduce noise.
Impact noise is difficult to address but a significant amount of the noise from any compressed air source is actually the exhaust noise itself and properly engineered nozzles can reduce the noise level by 10 dBA.
That is significant.
Air knives, especially ones like the Nex Flow® X-Stream Air Blade® air knife can reduce these noise levels even further.
Many apps now can be added to smart phones to measure decibel level, and while the accuracy of these apps can vary significantly, they can still provide a qualitative indication of noise level in a manufacturing facility.
What is more accurate however is a simple low cost hand held sound meter and units with data logging are also available which can record data to help determine what needs to be done to lower sound levels in a facility.
High sound levels impact the health and well-being of employees in any working environment and possibly even insurance costs.
If compressed air is used extensively, especially for blow off, cleaning and cooling, an accurate assessment of noise level in the factory would be useful to determine if engineered nozzles, amplifiers or air knives would be an appropriate solution to reduce noise levels and improve the work environment.
It has been shown repeatedly that a less noisy environment will improve productivity as well as the health and well-being of everyone in that area.
It all starts with measuring the level.
September 27, 2021
NEW ¼” FEMALE FITTING AIR NOZZLE
NEW ¼” FEMALE FITTING AIR NOZZLE:
One of the most popular air nozzles we offer is the ¼” male Model 47004.
This particular size fitting size is quite prevalent in the industry.
We have had requests for a female fitting version of the same design and performance and is now available in all standard materials – anodized aluminum, 303/304 stainless and 316L stainless steel, the equivalent part numbers respectively 47004F, 47004FS and 47004FS-316L.
This nozzle design is very economical and is ideal for most light blow off applications as well as for cooling due to high flow amplification.
We normally recommend the Model 47004AMF (cast zinc) or Model 47004AMFS (stainless ) Air Mag® Nozzle if more concentrated force is required as it can address more difficult blow off applications with a higher force/SCFM ratio. This model comes with a ¼” female connection.
There are many types of air nozzles on the market, even with the same fitting size and choosing the one for a particular application can be overly complicated since any nozzles that may look the same, can perform quite differently and with varying efficiencies.
In fact, this may be a reason engineered air nozzles are one of those products many still ignore even though they can be beneficial to the company in several ways.
It is not as important for small numbers but if the quantity of applications and nozzles gets large it can make a big difference in both overall production efficiency, noise level and compressed air consumption.
Our article Why Does No One Pay Attention to Engineered Air Nozzles – Mostly! is suggested reading.
When sorting through the quagmire of nozzles, Nex Flow® can offer consultation to insure you obtain the best product that meets the criteria you need in any pneumatic blow off, cleaning and/or cooling application.
September 20, 2021
KEEPING ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC CONTROL PANELS CLEAN AND DRY – LEGALLY
KEEPING ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC CONTROL PANELS CLEAN AND DRY – LEGALLY:
Electrical and electronic cabinets are prevalent in manufacturing facilities and many are in environments that can be wet (such as in bottling facilities) or very dusty (carbon black production and insulation manufacturing).
Such conditions expose the interior of the control cabinets to a situation that can reduce the life expectancy of expensive controls dramatically.
Vortex tube operated air conditioners such as the Nex Flow® Panel Coolers provide a distinct advantage over traditional air conditioners and fans or blowers in such environments.
These units while operating, create a slightly positive pressure inside the electrical enclosure to keep out any hot, humid, wet and/or dirty and dusty contaminated air.
For more details see our BLOG with video at: When Do Vortex Tube Operated Panel Coolers Make Sense
But what if the Panel Cooler does not always need to cool? ie: has a solenoid and thermostat system to turn if off when not needed. When off, the panel may be subject to entrainment from the factory environment.
In some cases, the solenoid supplied will have a small hole drilled thru it so, while in the off position a small amount of air still flows to keep the panel at a slightly positive pressure.
The problem with this rather simple approach is that, while effective, it null and voids any official approvals and warranty for that solenoid and in some areas may actually be illegal.
A more elegant solution is to install a small bypass line across the solenoid valve so that this small amount of air will continue to slightly pressurize the cabinet enclosure.
The Nex Flow® optional bypass system does this and even incorporates a small valve to set the flow to the level required for the particular size of control cabinet.
It is legal, does not affect the integrity of the solenoid valve and gives the customer better control over how much air is used to “purge” the control panel.
And of course, any Panel Cooler of any type should have the proper approvals such as UL to insure quality of material and safety in performance.
September 13, 2021
Hose for Ring Vac Air Operated Conveyors
Hose for Ring Vac® Air Operated Conveyors:
Our popular Ring vac® air operated conveyors are used for conveying of materials long distances using only compressed air.
They are ideal for hopper loading of plastic pellets, loading caps and all sorts of materials.
They are also used for venting applications including corrosive gases. For such applications we can even supply special materials and special flanged versions.
In many applications customers simply need to add vacuum hose to each end of the Ring Vac® unit.
With time becoming an increasingly valuable commodity in manufacturing applications, Nex Flow® offers vacuum hose as an accessory at various lengths from the 1/2” to 2” sizes saving time to source from a separate location.
Nex Flow® continues to look for ways to make it easier for our customers.
September 6, 2021
COMPRESSED AIR OR FANS FOR COOLING?
COMPRESSED AIR OR FANS FOR COOLING?
The conflict between using compressed air to cool with compressed Air Amplifiers or Air Knives verses fans is not new and typically the only argument against compressed air is the energy cost.
Fans of course can cool using less energy but they require more maintenance and are generally more capital intensive.
But the most economical method can be based on production efficiency.
Nex Flow® Air knifes were used by IMAX to cool mirrors used in the old style projectors prior to digital systems.
Nex Flow® compressed air operated Air Amplifiers are still used in a casting application to cool the casting on a production line to cool the casting “quickly” in order to go to the next step in the production process.
In both these applications fans would not work as well reasons being:
- Compressed air amplification is more compact than fans
- Compressed air amplification cooled faster than fans
- Minimal or no maintenance cost was a factor for the compressed air units
- Lower noise level was less of a factor but nevertheless of some importance
Another major factor to utilize compressed air, is that fans actually heat up the air supplied because if the motor and rotation of the fan itself.
Compressed air actually supplies slightly cooled air and this can be very important in some applications.
Another recent application was on cooling plastic and the fan air did not work because of that very reason of the fan air being too warm so the compressed air option was adopted.
So a fifth and important factor to consider is:
- Outlet air from a compressed air amplification product is slightly cooler.
So what would be the general guide for choosing compressed air verses fans?
- In general, the more costly the product produced is, the more advantageous to use compressed air amplification for cooling.
- Somewhat related to the above, is that the faster the production line needs to be, the more advantageous it is to use compressed air amplification
- If warm air is an issue for whatever reason such as being detrimental to the product (the plastic example aforementioned, and the cooling of packaged meat as another example), the compressed air amplification has the advantage.
And of course the other reasons of being compact, more quiet, with minimal or no maintenance and the faster rate of cooling may be important to the decision maker.
It’s not just the energy cost.
A detailed cost-benefit analysis should always be performed with the aforementioned considerations along with other considerations particular to the specific application to determine which approach is most appropriate.
Nex Flow® offers consulting services if any detailed consultation is required.
August 30, 2021
EMPLOYEE COMFORT IS IMPORTANT
EMPLOYEE COMFORT IS IMPORTANT:
A factory environment does not in general offer the most enjoyable atmosphere in which to spend a day. An unpleasant environment will always make a person more tired at the end of a work day.
Worker comfort is therefore important. Anything to make a manufacturing environment more hospitable and much easier for work enhances employee satisfaction and results in a higher level of productivity.
Apart from the surrounding environment, another way improve comfort is to utilize ergonometric designed products.
Nex Flow® constantly looks to redesign and improve existing products that may be used directly by an employee to make it more comfortable.
Recently Nex Flow® has upgraded the Heavy Duty Air Guns that are used with our ½” Model 47006AMF cast zinc and Model 47006AMFS stainless steel Airmag® nozzles. An improved ergonometric design and lighter weight were major considerations.
Various extensions and extensions with swivels to angle the nozzles to get into difficult areas will be available in the next few weeks. These too will insure lighter weight, and easier handling to maximize comfort.
Nex Flow® has a wide range of air guns with energy saving/exhaust noise reducing nozzles that are safe to use for light to more difficult applications. Noise reduction is major on-going goal with Nex Flow® research and continually improved designs.
Comfort in handling, safety in use and a low noise environment are important factors to consider when choosing an air gun along with the necessary ruggedness for the environment of its use.
August 16, 2021
Can You Still Hear the Noise?
See original Video : Air Amplifiers Demonstration
Can You Still Hear the Noise?
There is a great of deal of stress at the workplace due to the pandemic, with often a lack of personnel who are shouldering high demands for performance.
A high noise level environment adds to that stress and is also damaging physically.
Nex Flow® engineered blow off products such as nozzles, jets and air knives are designed to meet the recommended OSHA standards for compressed air exhaust noise as well as equivalent standards in other countries.
It is expedient to evaluate any current use of open tube and pipe used for compressed air blow off applications not only to reduce noise, but also for the other benefits the technology offers in energy reduction and in safety.
Even a few pieces of bent copper tube blowing air can produce an annoying level of exhaust noise that can be addressed at a very low cost and with a payback in energy saving that can be as short as a few weeks.
It’s very cheap to just bend some pipe and tube, or drill a pipe with holes and run some compressed air thru it.
But it’s not wise when a minor investment in engineered blow off can improve not only the work environment, but also improve machine safety, and reduce energy cost.
Can you still hear the noise? If so, might be time to do something about it.
August 9, 2021
What about the other (water) side?
What about the other (water) side? :
Much of our work deals with the cleanliness of compressed air that is necessary for an efficient and optimum compressed air system and especially for the operation of blow off products and vortex tube technology.
For example, to address compressed air filtration we have the Super Separator.
Many large operations utilize water cooled air compressors.
It’s not just the air side but also the water side which is important.
Even a moderately scaled up water side reduces the energy efficiency of a system that involves heat transfer with water, including water cooled air compressors which often also includes chillers, condensers and/or cooling towers.
Dirty water is piping also can cause rust and other problems for the water operating system.
A product worth investigating to remove built up water scale and rust is an acid replacement called Alpha Descaler.
Unlike traditional inorganic acids like hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid and others, this product is so safe it is even approved and shipped as non-hazardous and is 100% biodegradable in under 10 days.
It has a high LD50 rating so is non-toxic. One version is NSF60 approved for food contact.
Plant safety and the environment are of increasing focus and importance.
Nex Flow® is committed to strong partnerships to provide the best technology available to improve both plant safety and the environment.
August 2, 2021
NOW YOU CAN ORDER ONLINE FROM ALMOST ANYWHERE
NOW YOU CAN ORDER ONLINE FROM ALMOST ANYWHERE:
Due to customer feedback and the requests to extend the number countries allowed to order online, the Nex Flow® estore has been expanded to be able to order online from anywhere and to be able to ship to almost anywhere in the world.
Because of several free trade agreements between the shipping point in Canada and several countries around the globe, direct ordering and shipment is more streamlined than ever before.
The Nex Flow® estore lists all the products and accessories available.
This change is not meant to replace, but to supplement local sourcing which you may prefer and this will not change.
We strongly support our worldwide partners who can provide the local support you may want.
But for those who prefer online interaction, it is now available almost anywhere.
July 26, 2021
ADJUSTABLE OR NOT ADJUSTABLE SPOT COOLING
ADJUSTABLE OR NOT ADJUSTABLE SPOT COOLING:
There is a reason that Nex Flow® makes their vortex tubes with a hot end that requires a screwdriver to adjust (although we do offer a hand adjustable unit) for changing cold end and hot end flow rates.
In a production application you do not necessarily want to make product used for a specific action easily adjustable.
As an example – many years ago there was a customer that was using several Adjustable Spot Coolers (which is simply a packaged vortex tube and similar to the Nex Flow® Adjustable Spot Cooler) on their production line from a competitive supplier.
From one shift to that next whoever was in charge at the time kept adjusting the units – one person maybe believed it was not cold enough while another maybe felt there was not enough flow.
Over time every single setup operated at different flow rate and different temperature.
The fact is, that there is an optimal setting for either maximum cooling effect, or maximum cold temperature for a vortex tube.
These different adjustments made no station optimally set for maximum cooling which was the desired result.
All the adjustable units were replaced with Nex Flow® Tool Coolers. The Tool Coolers are all preset for maximum cooling and cannot be adjusted.
This returned the operation back to optimum production rate!
Nex Flow® can set the Tool Coolers to a set cold temperature as well but this was not what the factory needed – they needed the best cooling rate which depends on BOTH temperature and flow.
This is why we always question when an Adjustable Spot Cooler is ordered to determine if it better to have a non-adjustable unit.
July 19, 2021
Dry or Wet Cool with Vortex Tube Technology
Dry or Wet Cool with Vortex Tube Technology:
Nex Flow® Has two versions for Tool Cooling (actually three): The Frigid-X® Tool Cooler, and an adjustable version called the Adjustable Spot Cooler and the Frigid-X® Sub-Zero Vortex® Tool Cooling Mist System
These products are popular to help replace flood coolant to improve the environment for workers as well as reduce coolant costs that continually increase due to disposal costs and hence the move to dry machining and micro lubrication systems.
We normally do not recommend the Adjustable Spot Cooler except in lab conditions so personnel do not keep adjusting in production processes unnecessarily.
That leaves two products normally used for spot cooling on a production line or spot cooling application.
So which to use?
The Frigid-X® Tool Cooler is best for where dry machining is necessary and any lubricant or any liquid would be a detriment to the product cooled.
Examples are cutting glass, drilling or routing plastic, and slitting sheets of paper or plastic.
On the other hand there are applications where cooling is required but some lubrication is necessary.
One example include deep hole drilling in metals like aluminum where chattering can occur without lubrication.
There was one application however where either option could work.
One customer required spot cooling of a weld to keep the temperature below a certain level due to being in an explosion proof environment and both the Frigid-X® Tool Cooler, and the Frigid-X® Sub-Zero Vortex® Tool Cooling Mist System could work.
Both were tested – a 25 SCFM version of the Frigid-X® Tool Cooler, and the 8 SCFM Frigid-X® Sub-Zero Vortex® Tool Cooling Mist System with water misted thru the unit for cooling.
Both worked but the Frigid-X® Sub-Zero Vortex® Tool Cooling Mist System was chosen as several stations were involved with several units and this made the most sense due to limited compressed air capacity although they also had to hook up a small water source for each station.
Sometimes what you use just depends on the resources available.
July 12, 2021
Vortex Tubes for Special Applications and Avoiding False Design Claims
Vortex Tubes for Special Applications and Avoiding False Design Claims:
Vortex tubes that are on the market are essentially the same basic design with slight variations in performance depending on machine quality, and slight variations in internal design.
The one negative result is often poor quality knockoffs from companies that have no idea what they are offering so buyers should always be wary for many obvious reasons.
Many knockoffs such as panel cooler copies do not even have proper electrical certifications.
An abundance of studies done with vortex tubes at universities around the globe exist on what happens when you vary lengths, change straight tubes to convergent or divergent ones, change generator shapes and many other changes.
But when you change one thing, it affects another and few changes provide much, if any, added benefit in overall efficiency in cooling or even cold temperature.
Many of these research results have also been contradictory and few, if any have been repeated or are repeatable to verify the results.
This is understandable because as simple as the technology seems, the entire concept needs to be more deeply understood and few organizations of which Nex Flow® is fortunately one, are capable of providing that understanding.
Many years ago we worked with a retired scientist and inventor who was adamant about some ideas to improve the vortex tube performance and after one year of cooperation the ideas were abandoned as there was no real benefit.
We also worked with a young designer on vortex tube technology and nozzle technology and again, many ideas were simply not useful or even valid when properly vetted.
There should always be an abundance of caution when approached or when you find excessive claims but no validated results from a reputable organization as personal bias of the claimer can offset reality.
Innovation is very important, especially in these changing times but it’s too easy to fall for claims that may not be true, whether it’s a fake Covid 19 cure, a super food that takes off 40 pounds or a revolutionary but unverified claim of a vortex tube or air nozzle (and there are quite a few dubious claims out there even now!).
The benefit to Nex Flow® has been a more holistic understanding of blow off and well as vortex tube technology and to be able to make real improvements and to apply the knowledge to real life applications of benefit.
We provide consultation for many special requirements.
One recent application was to supply a new vortex tube design to get temperatures colder than standard versions (below -50C) that was required for a very small “spot” area.
Some years back a special high pressure unit was designed made for use with natural gas.
Most companies will not, and cannot do these applications because they do not have that necesaary deeper understanding and experience to build upon.
We can, and we do.
July 5, 2021
SPECIAL MANIFOLD SYSTEMS
SPECIAL MANIFOLD SYSTEMS:
Nex Flow®’s manifold systems are popular especially with the Air Edger® flat jet nozzles but also with air nozzles.
But did you know we do special manifolds?
We have supplied one system with over 24 Air Edger® nozzles for a mining application for conveyor cleaning to eliminate the use of costly, high maintenance scrapers.
We also provide special mounting for our regular manifolds and special systems as well as other accessories to create a system for your particular installation requirements.
Our expert application engineering team is available to assist you in any application to provide a cost effective and complete solution.
For complex design requirements where special expertise in pneumatics is required, our low cost online consulting can support and supplement your in house efforts to reduce time and overall cost for your particular project that involves blow off, cooling, or conveying.
It’s not just the product.
It’s not just the application.
It’s the optimum product and package for the application.
June 28, 2021
ONLINE HEAT LOAD CALCULATOR for Vortex Coolers (Panel Coolers or Cabinet Enclosure Coolers)
ONLINE HEAT LOAD CALCULATOR for Vortex Coolers (Panel Coolers or Cabinet Enclosure Coolers)
Save time sending in forms and waiting for a reply or use to check your own calculations for BTU/hr or Wattage heat load of any control panel so you know what capacity and model you need of to choose for a Nex Flow® Frigid-X® Panel Cooler.
This method should not be your guide in choosing standard air conditions as their capacity is also dependent upon ambient temperatures.
The performance of vortex coolers are only dependent on the compressed air temperature so the calculated result is the minimum BTU/hr (wattage) requirement the chosen panel Cooler must produce.
Ideal for especially harsh factory environments as they not only cool and control humidity, but also keep control panels at a slightly positive pressure to keep our nasty environments and helps keep your panels clean and dry, with potentially large savings in downtime and repair costs.
All Nex Flow® Frigid-X® Panel Coolers are tested and approved by Underwriters laboratory for Type NEMA 12 (IP54), Type NEMA 3R (IP14), and Type NEMA 4-4X (IP66) ratings and meet or exceed international standards.
June 21, 2021
PRODUCT COST - ENERGY COST - MAINTENANCE – All Important concerns in choosing compressed air verses blowers
PRODUCT COST – ENERGY COST – MAINTENANCE – All Important concerns in choosing compressed air verses blowers
Manufacturing operations have to make the best decision in utilizing either blower technology or compressed air technology for blow off and cooling depending on many factors.
We have an interactive Infographic that can offer a starting point for this choice.
Apart from applications which naturally lends itself to one or the other (for example compressed air is necessary if high pressure is required despite any other factors and vortex tube technology is limited to spot cooling or enclosure cooling), the concerns that come up the most often is overall product (equipment) cost, energy cost, and maintenance cost (including the negative effect on downtime).
Which concern is most important is of course up to the individual and any mandated corporate guidelines that will determine the final choice.
These concerns may vary in importance such as maintenance cost in times of rising labor cost or labor shortages.
The interactive Infographic provides qualitative assistance to compare the cost of each of these three factors, and the total cost, in choosing among compressed air knives, blower air knives and vortex tube technology where applicable.
Results are based on usage, pressure level required for the application, and one of the three technologies.
This may help some who need a starting point to determine the best solution for a particular application.
June 14, 2021
Why Use Vortex Tube Operated panel Coolers for Panel Cooling?
Energy cost is the main factor that makes factories hesitate against using vortex tube operated Cabinet Enclosure Coolers and it is certainly not an unreasonable concern.
However, what tends to be lost with a singular focus on energy are the many cost reductions that offset this energy cost:
- Virtually no maintenance. As long as the air supply is kept clean these units require no maintenance.
- Longer electrical component life. Vortex coolers keep cabinets at a slightly positive pressure to keep out potentially nasty factory environments keeping components clean which can extend their life saving on costly replacements.
- No filters to replace-ever! That means labor saving, filter cost saving, and old filter disposal saving.
- No condensate which in some areas may be an added cost for removal.
- Safety and reliability – no risk of any motor to burn out or refrigerant leak.
- No carbon footprint- no refrigerants which are getting more costly and more reactive and some even are flammable!
- Long Life – as much as 20 years – much longer than any refrigerant type air conditioner.
- Some applications as in variable frequency drives (VFD’s) may only operate infrequently significantly minimizing energy cost.
Add it all up …. It is a very cost effective air conditioner for control panels, especially in dirty environments.
For further information see: Panel Coolers.
June 7, 2021
Cooling Industrial Cameras and Sensors in Hot Areas
Cooling Industrial Cameras and Sensors in Hot Areas:
As automation and remote monitoring increases in manufacturing the use of sensors and industrial cameras is accelerating.
These products are all designed to be used in an industrial environment and use materials to be able to hold up to the environment to which they are exposed, many at elevated temperatures that can still negatively affect their operation.
Cooling sensors and cameras can be done using either compressed air or water.
Fans are not normally considered due to the very hot and compact environment and will not cool well and their ease of breakage.
The problem with water cooling is the use of small water lines that can easily plug up with dirt and sale over time. The smaller the water line, and higher the temperature dealt with, the more often scale deposits can form.
Small water lines are also the most difficult to descale and if necessary a very low foaming and safe solution should be used such as Alpha Descaler
Compressed air can also be used to cool a sensor and a camera housing but because it is a hot environment, compressed air alone can be costly.
In such applications using Vortex Tubes or Panel Coolers which are packaged vortex tubes) will greater lower the amount of compressed air necessary to cool the device and also cool faster and better.
For very small sensors and small cameras typically small vortex tubes in the 8 SCFM operation range address the heat load.
Older, larger cameras with big housings may require larger vortex tube capacities.
A Nex Flow Application Engineer can assist in the size required.
May 31, 2021
New MAXI Mounting Systems for X-stream® Air Blade® Air knives
New MAXI Mounting Systems for X-stream® Air Blade® Air knives
Nex Flow’s new long and short flexible MAXI mounting system is a rugged and secure means to mount the Nex Flow® X-stream® air blade® air knives easily and securely.
These mounting systems greatly simplify the installation of air knives where you require a lot of flexibility in their orientation and placement for different production runs.
The units are suitable for both the X-stream® aluminum (including the hard anodized aluminum) and the stainless steel versions.
They can also be modified to use with other Nex Flow® blow off an cooling products.
The base of the mounting system can be threaded to a base to secure the system. The short unit has an optional magnetic base that may be used instead for securing the mounting system.
May 24, 2021
SHOULD YOU WORRY ABOUT COVID 19 IN YOUR COMPRESSED AIR SYSTEM?
SHOULD YOU WORRY ABOUT COVID 19 IN YOUR COMPRESSED AIR SYSTEM?
Early in the pandemic there were concerns that compressed air may be a potential source of COVID-19, requiring the installation of sterile air filters (or more frequent filter sterilizations and element changes) to prevent the contamination of food, beverage or pharmaceutical products in their production and of course the working environment in general.
However, any air drawn into an air compressor is compressed and subjected to heat and pressure that can destroy any virus. It is documented that heat at 56°C kills the coronavirus which is well below the compression temperature.
What IS important is the cleanliness of any compressed air delivery system downstream of the air compressor and in food and pharmaceutical production there are stringent filtration guidelines to prevent dangerous bacterial buildup.
But viruses are different from bacteria in that they need a living host in order to reproduce and therefore do not demonstrate the behavior of multiplying in warm, wet, under-treated compressed air should that be the case in a compressed air system.
So at this time there is no scientific evidence to support any possibility that compressed air is a potential source of COVID-19 or that compressed air used in the manufacture of food, beverage or pharmaceutical products can contaminate these products with the virus.
This certainly does not mean that you should not follow proper guidelines in working with compressed air of course as with any “outside surfaces”, the virus might be present, whether it is a machine or a door knob.
The use of compressed air for such applications as part ejection (as opposed to a mechanical method) may have a safety advantage as there is less surface area where the virus might linger and such compressed air applications require far less maintenance and cleaning than do mechanical devices, reducing risk.
Any applications using compressed air for blowing, cooling, drying typically use equipment that has far less maintenance and tends to be smaller in size and footprint. Apart from downtime savings, there is enhanced safety by reducing contact time for equipment maintenance and cleaning.
Compressed air does have an additional energy cost but, in addition to reduced maintenance, downtime, lower capital cost and lower replacement cost, there is now the addition of personnel safety to consider, and the risk of losing key personnel if there is a corona virus incident.
Something to consider…
May 17, 2021
Hose lengths for our Ring Vac air operated conveyors.
Hose lengths for our Ring Vac® air operated conveyors.
Our popular Ring Vac® Air Operated Conveyors used for conveying of all sort do materials as well as for the venting of gasses (Ring Vac®) can now be purchased with various standard hose lengths as an accessory (Hose for Standard Ring Vac®) in the most popular sizes from ½” to 2”
Various standard lengths will be 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 foot lengths which the customer can then cut to size locally as required.
The hose can be inserted over the inlet and out ends of the standard or X-stream® version Ring Vac® for conveying applications.
Ring Vacs are available in anodized aluminum for most applications and in both 304 and 316L stainless steel for food and pharmaceutical applications with high temperature versions up to 1200 degrees F.
Units can be produced in special sizes and with different materials (including Teflon) for special applications (one version was used for gas venting in a scrubber), and even with special threads and flanges and required.
- Hopper loading of plastic pellets, granules and other items
- Trim removal in paper film and foil
- Gas venting including corrosive gasses by using special materials
- Small part collection and conveying
For a description of the units please see Ring Vacs on Youtube at two popular links:
May 10, 2021
Does Cold Air Always Mean Better Cooling?
Does Cold Air Always Mean Better Cooling?
One of the most common applications we have to address with compressed air next to cleaning and drying is: …. cooling.
When searching our web site the tendency is to go to the vortex tubes which create very cold temperatures for a cooling application.
However, applications that require vortex tubes. while many, are limited to spot cooling and enclosure cooling. Typically, although there are exceptions, for an open area the limit is about a square inch of area with the small vortex tube, medium vortex tube about two square inches and for the large vortex tube about three square inches. Enclosure cooling is common and can be quite a large volume since it is enclosed area. But even in such cases there is a limit.
Cooling rate using a vortex tube or anything else can vary due to many factors: material, thickness, rate of cooling required, initial temperature, and other things to consider.
One analogy I like to use is a bowl of hot soup.
If I put that bowl of hot soup in a refrigerator for 1 minute and then take it out, it will still be hot. So cold air temperature is not enough.
However, if I just leave it on the table and blow on it for a minute, I can actually cool it better!
The point is, it’s not just the temperature it’s also flow.
This example has also made me hungry.
For cooling, options to consider are products that increase flow such as air knives and air amplifiers, especially the air amplifiers which are extremely efficient for cooling down from high initial temperatures.
Using air amplification can often cool much more effectively, faster and with less energy than using vortex tube technology.
But when sub-zero temperatures are required and when the need is to cool significantly below ambient temperatures, then the vortex tubes are necessary.
We strongly recommend to contact our application engineer for any cooling application for the best use of the appropriate technology.
May 3, 2021
Kigali Agreement and Vortex Cooling in 2021 and Beyond
Kigali Agreement and Vortex Cooling in 2021 and Beyond
The Kigali Agreement is a legally binding agreement between the signatory parties with non-compliance measures and a 2016 amendment to the Montreal Protocol which is an international environmental treaty to phase out the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) from the atmosphere that came into force in 1989.
It was effective from 1st January 2019
The signatory parties are in three groups-
- The first group consists of rich and developed economies like USA, UK and EU countries who will start to phase down HFCs by 2019 and reduce it to 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.
- The second group consists of emerging economies like China, Brazil as well as some African countries who will start phase down by 2024 and reduce it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2045.
- The third group consists of developing economies and some of the hottest climatic countries like India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia who will start phasing down HFCs by 2028 and reduce it to 15% of 2024-2026 levels till 2047.
Already there is a phasing out of CFC’s and HCFC’s due to ozone depleting effects. HFC’s in turn due not harm the ozone layer but negatively impact climate change.
The replacement chemicals are tending to be more costly, have some issues on their own (including flammability issues which may be important in instances such as automobile use and in factory use requiring redesign to assure the chemical is not exposed above it flammability level).
As replacement chemicals do have different chemistry and are more reactive to materials some items like o-rings and other materials will require changes and upgrades along with some equipment redesign and raise costs.
Maintenance may be required more often effecting downtime and raising costs as well.
For this reason the use of vortex tube technology such as our Frigid-X Panel Coolers become much more attractive due to extremely low maintenance requirement and zero use of chemicals.
While limited to factory production applications as they do need a significant source of compressed air, as time progresses, the added costs of materials and design change, new chemicals and increased downtime, begin to offset the compressed air cost.
This is further accelerated as the cost of compressed air goes down with more efficient compressors and compressed air control systems.
Security of continuing plant operation is increasingly important as labor availability and time decreases while cost increases.
Very little can go wrong with a vortex tube operated Panel Cooler with no moving parts.
So when a control panel overheats, it is wise to consider these types of systems as existing traditional air conditioners age and require a significant upgrade.
Any improvements in vortex tube efficiency will certainly accelerate demand for such systems in the future.
April 26, 2021
Our Most Watched Videos
Our Most Watched Videos
Our three most watched videos on Youtube to date are:
- Vortex Tube Demonstration: https://youtu.be/BcDuugTof2A
- Standard Air Amplifiers How it Works: https://youtu.be/eeqGWTEF2r0
- Ring Vac® Air Operated Conveyors How it Works: https://youtu.be/u84hm4Jc1Ho
It is interesting that the main one is an introduction to the vortex tube cooling technology and the other two direct illustrations of how Air Amplifiers and how Air Operated Conveyors work.
There are many other videos as well that demonstrates and introduces each technology, others that are straight into how they work, and many others with tips and advice on installation, maintenance and applications.
Please subscribe to our youtube channel for other useful videos.
April 19, 2021
CAN COMPRESSED AIR AMPLIFICATION BE TOO MUCH??
CAN COMPRESSED AIR AMPLIFICATION BE TOO MUCH??
In short – yes!!
When compressed air exists an air nozzle hole or gap, or a slot in an air knives an amplifier, it has a velocity and a mass flow.
The velocity and mass flow has energy.
As this compressed exits the product it entrains surrounding still air converting pressure into flow, including pressure that would normally lost as pressure drop and noise (if the device is properly designed). This amplifies the flow.
The way to maximize this flow amplification is to minimize turbulence inside and outside of the unit and is the only way to do so.
This is done by properly engineered aerodynamic design.
Any restrictions to this exiting flow such as with jagged shims or gaps actually will add to pressure drop and negatively affect amplification.
But there is also a limit to the effectiveness of air amplification because the more still air you draw in, the less the velocity.
This reduces the force and even cooling effect if used for cooling.
So be very wary of exorbitant claims of air amplification because even if true, it can actually be a negative.
Realistic amplification ratio’s at the exist and 6” from the unit should realistically be as follows with the 6” figure a typical 3 times multiplier from downstream entrainment:
– Air nozzles and air jets: 6 to 10 times at exit. 18 to 30 times at 6”
– Air Amplifiers: 8 to 16 times at exit. 24 to 48 times at 6”
– Air Knives: 10 to 13 times at exit. 30 to 40 times at 6”
Any claims beyond those figures, we would question.
For more information on the term “Air Amplification” please refer to our Blog
April 12, 2021
WHY WAIT TILL SPRING – DO IT NOW!!!!
WHY WAIT TILL SPRING – DO IT NOW!!!!
In many parts of the world, or at least in the Northern Hemisphere, hot weather will be returning in the next few months and control panels may start to overheat in such hot days.
In other places its always hot and same problems may occur suddenly.
In times as these there may be a lack of resources for regularly checking to make sure the temperatures inside control panels are at safe operating levels.
One qualitative check would be to use an external sticker with temperature change indication to advise if and when the interior of the panels might be getting too high.
Nex Flow® offers this type of indication with ever cooler but may be purchased separately.
When there is little time, this low cost visual indicator can sometimes help prevent serious damage from overheating as the color change can be easily seen by anyone walking by the control panel.
See this link: TEMPERATURE INDICATOR STICKER
April 5, 2021
Why Does No One Pay Attention to Engineered Air Nozzles – Mostly!
Why Does No One Pay Attention to Engineered Air Nozzles – Mostly!
New Blog Posted today on “Why Does No One Pay Attention to Engineered Air Nozzles – Mostly!”
The blog delves into four possible, primary reasons that we have identified:
- Perception that the Improvement is not worth the cost:
- Engineered Air Nozzles Plug up and Stop Working:
- Engineered nozzles are not strong enough.
- All Engineered Air Nozzles are the same:
There are still a plethora of machines that still use open tube, drilled pipe and crimped tubing – all potentially unsafe, loud and wasteful of energy.
So why do they not have engineered air nozzles?
See: “Why Does No One Pay Attention to Engineered Air Nozzles – Mostly!”
March 29, 2021
Keeping Shrimp Dry and other Cold Food Products in Packaging
Keeping Shrimp Dry and other Cold Food Products in Packaging:
The next time you buy frozen vegetables, or meat, or shrimp you will notice that the food is encrusted with some crushed ice. But you want to buy food, and not buy ice when you purchase these packaged products.
Much of frozen or refrigerated food is processed by conveying the products and the products need to be dried as much as possible prior to the packaging area.
While blowers are one option for drying it is not desirable to add heat to many food products for health reasons.
Also, some products are conveyed and piled up or bunched together so you need some force to move the products around and dry as much of the surface as possible.
One interesting application involved the use of two Model 10024XS, 24 inch X-stream® Air Blade® air knives in SE Asia for shrimp processing.
The first air knife was angled slightly against the flow and the second angled slightly with the flow.
That orientation flipped the shrimp after the first air knife to dry the opposite side as the conveyor moved.
It only needed 50 PSIG to dry and flip minimizing energy use and yet providing the needed force to dry, flip and dry again.
As compressed air was used, no heat was added to the process.
The same application applies to other food products from other seafood and meats to vegetables.
People have become far more mindful of health and this will continue.
The big advantage of compressed air in this kind of application is the lower energy cost by using at lower pressure while having the force needed, and without any heat being added to the product dried, a critical factor especially with meats and seafood.
For further readings see our links:
Which to Use – Compressed Air or Blowers (Article)
Which to Use – Compressed Air or Blower- Ask Les: (Video)
March 22, 2021
Beware Of Misleading Claims In Static Removal
BEWARE OF MISLEADING CLAIMS IN STATIC REMOVAL:
This seems to come up every year!
There is a misconception that by using compressed air amplifiers or air knives with static control can eliminate static and clean charged parts at a great distance instantly.
That is patently false.
Even with laminar flow to carry “static eliminating” ions to the charged target slowing the recombination of positive and negative particles, the “ion cloud” still weakens as it travels to the target and increases contact time necessary to remove a static charge.
A static bar close to the target almost instantly can remove a charge without any air flow, but when far away, even with laminar air flow, the time to dissipate simply increases.
If 20 feet to the target it may take many seconds and even minutes to dissipate.
Claims of removing static charge at 20 feet away will only be true if enough “contact time” of the ions generated is made at the charged surface.
That is obviously not going to work on fast moving charged targets.
The rate at which a charge can dissipate will depend on the strength of the ionizer, the level of charge on the ionizer and the distance from the ionizer to the target.
The best way to remove and clean a highly charged surface at a distance is to simply use a more powerful static bar.
We have many times replaced traditional AC static bars with more powerful AC bars (or even special DC bars designed for long distance neutralization) to make an application work properly, all because of the misconception if instant static removal at a distance.
For additional information on static control please see our White Paper
For more information on the distance effect with video please see our Blog
March 15, 2021
Coupling Hose Kits for Large Ring Blade® Air Wipes
Coupling Hose Kits for Large Ring Blade® Air Wipes:
Nex Flow® as a standard provides a hose assembly to connect the two halves of the Ring blade® air wipes.
This is normally done to insure that the air supply connections are large enough to avoid excess pressure drop.
There has been the occasional contact where customers advised of a lack of power from the large 9” and 11” units and in virtually every case, it was an air supply line to each part that was too small a diameter.
With this option, that possibility is now minimized and also saves the customer installation cost and time.
Whenever there is a question or concern over lack of power from a blow off product, the first thing to always check is the possibility of a large pressure loss due to an undersized air supply line.
March 8, 2021
Setting Our Air Nozzles Apart From Others
SETTING OUR AIR NOZZLES APART FROM OTHERS:
As customers become more aware that noise levels and energy can be reduced, and that safety can be improved with the use of engineered nozzles, more companies appear to be adding their own air nozzles to their product line even though their expertise and business is in other pneumatic products like solenoid valves, and cylinders.
Many air nozzles have either not been engineered very well while some are knock off designs (not always well made either by the way) of other companies that originally designed them. Copies and copies of copied copies abound when attempted without the expertise for that kind of product.
Nex Flow® made a conscious decision to set itself apart from others, in particular with their patented Air Mag® range, and to apply their focused expertise.
Nex Flow® will not make liquid spray nozzles for that reason. Our expertise is “air”.
Ask the deeper questions in our choices – an air nozzle is not just any nozzle, its where it comes from, who it’s from, the design, the performance, the material, the quality of manufacturer, etc.
A good air nozzle has minimal turbulence both inside and outside to keep noise levels at a minimum and is able to perform at a greater distance with a strong flow profile over other designs.
The Air Mag® design is complicated to produce so it’s doubtful you will see a knockoff soon.
Our guiding principle is to match or exceed anyone else’s force to air consumption ratio. The reason is that even a single SCFM (standard cubic feet/minute) higher air use difference for any equal force value from another air nozzle manufacturer, can and does make a difference.
Engineered Air nozzles are notorious for being highly sensitive to performance change from pressure loss in delivery piping.
For example – if two nozzles are specified to provide 500 grams of force at 80 PSIG, but one uses even 1 SCFM more air at 80 PSIG, the nozzle using more air will deliver less force just because of extra pressure loss in the system.
This is the reason it is difficult to change from one brand to another once a particular make is chosen – a concern that the replacement will not work as well.
The mandate for Nex Flow® is to use less or at least the same compressed air as any competitor so an easy switch can be made with the security that it will work, often with cost savings to the buyer.
Be wary of obvious design copies, near copies or knock-offs of an original because of even a small air consumption difference. Unless quality and care is taken, the performance, even if higher by a small amount, can invalidate its performance in a critical application.
If the supplier lacks technical support, or weak web site information, be also wary of their performance claims. (We have had a few product not only copied, but technical data copied with embellished performance data, some which even defies science).
More air nozzles are being developed as market needs are identified but the commitment is to always match or exceed performance of any existing product because “air” is our business.
So when you choose an air nozzle, take notice of the force and related pressure for that force PLUS the air consumption. With multiple nozzles the energy costs can add up, even with small differences.
March 1, 2021
Safety Safety Safety with Compressed Air
Safety Safety Safety with Compressed Air:
The effect of the pandemic has highlighted the importance of safety.
Back in 2019 we posted a Blog on safety with compressed air (Read the article).
There is increasing interest in reducing noise and safety on equipment which improves the work environment. Quality machine builders appear to be addressing compressed air safety issues more.
Adding safety nozzles for example improves safety in two ways – reduces potential injury to personnel from contact with air exhaust and reduces noise levels that can seriously impair hearing.
In the past the main focus was on performance at the lowest cost. Cheapest but acceptable materials from the lowest cost source were used and if it did the job, that was acceptable.
But now reliability and safety has moved up in importance AND value – reliability in supply – reliability in performance coupled with safety.
Certain approvals and backup certificates and written guarantees have become more important and demanded, along with competent support.
Purchasers are becoming much more particular from whom they work with.
Nex Flow® has increased resources towards product improvement and development due to customer demand for innovation into high quality products that are reliable and safe and at a fair price.
We thank all our quality customers from around the world and expect much more in 2021 from Nex Flow®.
February 22, 2021
Even Flow is Important in Air Knives
Even Flow is Important in Air Knives:
We had feedback from a customer recently on our X-Stream® Air Blade® air knives. It was on a relatively long length.
They had some issues with product they purchased from another supplier with regard to even flow along the full length of the air knife, especially at relatively low input compressed air pressures.
That particular brand was not anodized. Nex Flow® aluminum air knives are anodized.
The Nex Flow® X-Stream® Air Blade® air knives have connections at either the ends and at the back.
The longer the air knife, the more important to have more than one connection to insure that the inside plenum can build enough pressure so that when the air flow exits, the flow remains even across the entire length.
As simple as an air knife looks it is extremely difficult to manufacture.
You have to keep mating parts and the shim which controls the air exit gap at extremely high tolerance. With stainless steel versions work hardening has to be considered in the machining process.
Anodizing to give proper material protection on aluminum versions must be done properly and carefully to maintain a high degree of flatness.
Most competitors do not anodize their air knives.
Spacing of. and number of the back and the end compressed air inlets is important especially at low inlet pressures.
Strict quality control tests are done on every unit produced and spot testing with compressed air to detect any possible deviations from the high degree of performance, that Nex Flow® and our customers expect.
Many applications require a blow off force that produces very even outlet flow along the entire length of the air knife, even with a wide range of inlet pressure.
It is the design, the manufacturing process and the testing which is all important to create a good product.
To be told that our product had more even flow at very low inlet pressures when tested against another supplier reinforces the importance of quality control in all aspects of the production process.
February 15, 2021
Making it Easier for you at Nex Flow
Making it Easier for you at Nex Flow :
The pandemic has already changed the world significantly and 2021 will still be affected.
Nex Flow has made changes to the web site to make it easier to purchase for more countries to order direct.
Apart from the USA and Canada you may now order direct from Mexico, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Malta, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
Nex Flow has committed to continually improve our web site for navigation and for ease of search, further improving existing products and to develop new ones.
While it is difficult to predict which industries will thrive both in the near term and long term, we recognize a craving for innovation.
We recognize safety is important.
We want to reduce noise levels even further.
We want to improve the efficiency of our products and expand the range.
We strive to provide for easier online analysis by the customer to choose easily, quickly and economically.
We strive to maintain adequate stock, rapid delivery and followup service.
Please check this section often for announcements.
February 8, 2021
Abuse of the Term "Air Amplification"
Abuse of the Term “Air Amplification”:
One of the terms bandied about in the compressed air blow off industry is “air amplification”. In fact we have a Nex Flow article written on it (Read the article).
Air amplification is an estimated figure indicating how many times the volume of the compressed air leaving the device is “amplified”, either at the exist of the unit but more usually downstream of the device. At best it is an estimated average or mean as this figure depends on the compressed air pressure and the density and temperature of the entrained air, all which vary significantly.
When customers take an “air amplification” figure at face value, it can become an issue. This usually happens with annular Air Amplifiers but also Air Knives and other blow off products.
There are differences between manufacturers and differences between even fixed versions and adjustable versions of products utilizing air amplification. But when some firms claim to improve air amplification by any significant figure by some special piece, or with some vague, and unidentified design change it should be critically evaluated and clarity demanded.
Such claims, when taken at face value may be used in designs where the flow volumes are important and can cause problems if the results do not match claims.
A customer did some tests with a competitor’s annular air amplifier (which had, we believe, an exaggerated value of air amplification at the output) and found that it only had an outlet flow of 1/3rd the value of the “air amplified figure”.
The customer subsequently contacted Nex Flow and was assisted to his satisfaction and of course, had a lesson in reality. If any figure seems exaggerated, one should always be suspicious.
In air amplifiers, the larger the air amplification, if at all accurate, means that more “still” air is drawn in and mixed with moving supply air. That means output velocity should go down significantly – it’s physics. And low velocity means less and even poor cooling (if used for cooling) or lower force (if used for blow off) and if velocity is so slow, operation could be very highly subject to back pressure.
When someone sees a very high “air amplification” figure it gives an impression of greater energy savings when in fact it can be the opposite. You do not create energy – you convert energy by mixing the moving compressed air with still entrained air. Too much and the product does not work well.
If amplification is too high, you sacrifice velocity and force. Again, its basic physics.
As a suggestion, if you see claims of air amplification greater than 16 times at an air exit or greater than 60 times downstream from an annular air amplifier or, more than 40 times downstream of a linear air knife product, you should demand an explanation.
But what is most reliable, and useful for a proper engineering evaluation is not the nebulous air amplification figure. It is the air consumption, velocity and force produced from the product and in the case of an annular amplifier, the venting volume that can actually be moved by the device.
We deal with enough misinformation every day without having to deal with a term which has no clearly defined standard definition.
Hard measurable data is where the focus should be and any reputable organization should be able to provide and back up that data. That would be the actual air consumption, velocity and force and in the case of venting, actual volume that can be practically moved for the given conditions.
February 1, 2021
Knockoffs hurt Everyone as well as Yourself
Knockoffs hurt Everyone as well as Yourself: Imitation is presumably a form of flattery but the plethora of all sorts of copies on the market, from consumer brand names to industrial parts and products are not only illegal in many cases but should be purchased with a great deal of caution.
Copies of replacement parts for all types of mechanical equipment have been around for some time. Sometimes they are made by people previously connected to the original.
But, one thing for certain is that they are never the same in quality. That is usually obvious in price differential, yet they may look very similar on the “outside” and even copy the technical data, or worse alter it without any means of creating or confirming a data change which may even be erroneous.
Some months back we received a call from a company in Canada that purchased a Nema 4X Panel Cooler that looked strikingly like a Nex Flow unit.
We were contacted when the connection to the air line, a male fitting, broke off. Welding or brazing was of very poor quality.
What was more disturbing was an attempt by this company to infringe on a Nex Flow patent. Without going into boring details a settlement was made.
In addition to the poor workmanship (the compressed air connection snapped off much too easily) the infringement was also poorly done such that the product would unlikely work properly. Also, product surface finish was inconsistent.
It is a lesson to always stay with a proven and trusted brand. like Nex Flow®
Moving forward, it is our goal to stamp out copies, even some occasionaly claiming to be Nex Flow or, as good as Nex Flow.
If you ever see a Nex Flow copy or knockoff please contact us. We offer rewards in the form of cash or a credit towards purchase.
January 25, 2021
Anodizing is good
Anodizing is good: We have a great deal of respect to our serious competitors who make quality product and provide good customer service. But, we also need to point out possible errors in advice or potentially incorrect impressions when appropriate.
A customer of a competitor called us to ask if the anodizing on our aluminum air amplifying products negatively affects performance.
Aluminum Silent X-Stream® Air Blade® Air Knives
One of the extra steps Nex Flow® performs on our aluminum material products is to anodize them. In fact our X-Stream® Air Blade®Air Knives are gold color anodized.
When one does this process you need to be sure that the anodizing is properly done to maintain even thickness although the anodizing is extremely thin, in order to maintain the consistency of the air exit gap between mating parts.
Nex Flow® has strict quality control to insure quality anodizing to maintain optimum product performance.
We had one customer tell us that the air flow from our long air knives is very “even” when compared to a major competitor which we attribute to our high degree of testing during the assembly process. Items that do not pass certain criteria are rejected.
The individual who asked about anodizing was apparently given the impression that anodizing deteriorates the performance of the Coanda profile. Actually – it does not.
Anodizing is an extra step in production AND an extra cost of course but one which we demand and perform so the material holds up longer in an often nasty environment. (See our Blog on Anodizing)
Ring Blade® Air Wipe Blowoff Systems
Our quality control checks after assembly of parts is an extra step and an extra cost our higher priced competitors may wish to avoid. But then, that is why we believe Nex Flow® has the best quality. We will let our growing customer base be the judge of that.
We vehemently disagree with any claim that anodizing in harmful to the Coanda profile and product performance. All one has to do is take a look at a non-anodized product after one year of operation in a factory environment to understand its net benefit.
Air Plan Wings Are Anodized And They Still Fly
Anodizing gives material protection for longer life. And besides – the Coanda profile is an important factor in what makes airplanes fly. And guess what … airplane aluminum wings are indeed anodized.
We rest our case.
January 18, 2021
New Improved Blind Hole Cleaner and Version for Automated Systems
New Improved Blind Hole Cleaner and Version for Automated Systems: The popular Nex Flow® Blind Hole Cleaner has been improved for better ergonometric use with a superior air gun attachment and redesigned adaptors and nozzles for more powerful cleaning action.
We have had many requests for special nozzles to clean very small diameter and shallow blind holes so a special nozzle for that operation has been standardized.
There have also been requests for a non-manual system to use with automated systems that drill deep holes which then need effective cleaning and removal of debris while maintaining cleanliness on the product after cleaning.
So this unit for automated systems has also been developed and now available to be integrated into automated systems.
The collected debris can be taken away by a customer supplied collection system or Nex Flow® can suggest a system utilizing our Nex Flow® Ring vac® air operated conveyors.