Air Knife Systems
How Does it Work?
Air Knife Specs
Vortron Air Power
VT Gear Drive
- Engineered Air Management Solutions
1650 Pacific Ave.
Oxnard, CA 93033
Blower Air Knife Systems: Fast Facts
What is an Air Knife?
An air knife is a slotted air manifold used to discharge a high-velocity curtain
of air for drying or cleaning conveyorized product.
What is a Blower Air Knife System?
An air knife system consists of a blower, air knives, and accessories to connect
the blower to the air knives (flex hose, clamps, dividers, etc.)
|Why Use a Blower Air Knife System?
#1 - Energy Savings - through replacement of compressed air usage.
#2 - Higher Productivity - through more effective drying and cleaning.
|Common Air Knife System Applications:|
Metal Finishing Lines - powder coating pretreatment drying and other applications.
Food and Beverage Packaging - bottles, cans, pouches, and other packages must be dried prior to packaging.
Parts Washing / Drying - removal of cleaning solutions and/or water after washing stations.
Continuous Strip / Web Material - removal of water from materials such as plastics or wire mesh.
Please Request a Quote:
Request a quote to be referred to your nearest distributor:
option 1: Call 805-240-2516
option 2: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
option 3: Submit the Quote Request Form:
A Vortron distributor will provide you with a quote
and help answer any questions that you may have, including:
- Will this work for my application?
- What size air knives do I need?
- What kind of blower should I use?
- What accessories do I need?
- How much energy will I save?
- How soon can I get one?
Also In this Section:
- Save on Compressed Air Energy Costs by Switching to a Blower Air-Knife System.
- How Does an Blower Air Knife System Work?
- Air Knife Dimensions & Inlet Orientations
- PDF Literature
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Save on Compressed Air Energy Costs
by Switching to a Blower Air Knife System
Blower Air Knife Systems are becoming the industry standard tool for
applications such as blow-off, drying, and cleaning in industrial facilities.
The primary reason is energy cost. The cost of running a compressed air blow-off
system on a single conveyor line can easily reach $100,000 per year in
electricity alone, depending on factors such as the quantity and size of nozzles
used, hours of operation, and local energy cost. In a typical application, a
well designed blower air knife system can replace a compressed air blow-off
system using only 10-20% of the energy. This means that a plant using $100,000
worth of compressed air to dry parts on a conveyor line has the
opportunity to save $90,000 per year by switching to a blower air knife system.
This is not an exaggeration but a typical scenario that is seen on a daily
basis by those in involved in the business of plant air audits and related
Sounds too good to be true? You are probably asking the question: How can it
be possible for a blower air knife system to replace my compressed air equipment
at only 10% of the energy cost? One of the reasons is that a large portion of
the energy used by your compressed air system is actually being wasted. You may
think that your air knives or drilled pipe are putting out 100 psi of compressed
air, but this is not true; due to the pressure losses that occur throughout your
piping system, your pressure is much lower than 100 psi by the time the air
travels from your compressor to your blow-off station. You are paying for 100
psi but you are not getting 100 psi - hence the wasted money. A blower air knife
system clearly has the advantage here because the blower can be installed at the
point of use - the air does not have to be piped across the plant to to get to
the air knives, thus the pressure drop is much lower than what you see with
Another reason is the difference in pressure and volume: Compressed air
provides high pressure, low volume air, while a blower provides low-pressure, high
volume air. Since volume is much cheaper than pressure, a blower air knife
system has the advantage. You do not need any more than 3-4 psi from an air
knife system to dry or clean parts. In fact, most air knife system applications
require only 2.5 psi or less for effective performance. It should be common
sense that, if you are using any more pressure than you need, you are wasting
money. Low-pressure, high-volume air is a much more effective and much more
efficient way to perform drying and cleaning. Vortron's blowers and air knives
have been designed specifically for drying and cleaning, and have
been sized to provide the optimum amount of pressure and volume for these
applications. A 100 psi air compressor was never seriously intended to blow
through wide open copper pipe onto a conveyor line; this is only done because it
is assumed to be cheap, although a plant air audit will clearly show that this
Vortron's master distributors have extensive
experience providing complete plant air audits to end users in many different
areas of manufacturing, and are available to do the same for you. They will
perform a complete analysis of your plant air system and provide a report
informing you of any and all inefficiencies that exist and how to fix them. They
will analyze the performance of any compressed air blow-off and/or air knife
systems that you may be using, and show you where you have the opportunity to
save energy and exactly how much you can save. If your distributor is not
able to perform the audit themselves, they will refer you to a local distributor
within their network who will be happy to perform the service. You will receive
reliable and unbiased information from a distributor who has had extensive
experience with both compressed air and blower air knife systems.
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How Does a Blower Air Knife System Work?
A Blower Air-Knife System is still a relatively new type of machinery to most
individuals in plant engineering and maintenance today. Air Knives have become
commonplace only within the last 15 years as an alternative to the costly
process of using compressed air for applications such as drying, blow-off,
debris removal and others. In addition to energy savings, the effectiveness of
an optimized air knife system is the second reason why air knives are now
becoming more widely used. How is a blower air knife system able to perform
effectively in applications where compressed air and other solutions have
The key to effective drying and debris removal is to have enough velocity and
airflow (volume). In order for air knives to function properly, they must be sized, along
with a blower, with these two important parameters in mind. A compressed air
blow-off system will usually provide insufficient volume for adequate
drying. A plant air compressor is capable of producing high-velocity air, but
due to the extraordinarily small gap size (often less than 0.005") of most air
knives that are designed for use with compressed air, there is not sufficient
volume to sustain the velocity all the way to the surface of the product being
dried. At the other extreme, fan-type blowers that produce less than 20"H20
pressure are often mistakenly used in air knife applications, often with
"home-made" air knives or slotted PVC pipe. This type of blower is capable of
producing a high volume of airflow, but insufficient pressure and
velocity, thus the air curtain from the air knives is not powerful enough to
force water or other debris away from the surface of a product.
Air velocity for a Vortron blower air knife system can range from 25,000 to
40,000 ft/min, which equates to approximately 1.5 to 4 psi and 40 to 110" H20.
Our experice has shown that the optimum range of velocity and pressure for the
majority of air knife applications (mostly water removal) lies in the range of
30,000 to 35,000 ft/min. Higher velocity is required for more difficult
material, such as metal shavings and oil, while lower velocity is required for
removal of lighter material such as dust. Each Vortron air knife system is
designed with great care to ensure that not only is the proper amount of
velocity produced, but also that there is sufficient volume to sustain the
velocity from the air knives to the surface of your product.
Vortron does this by selecting the following: (1) an air knife gap size that will
allow for sufficient airflow, typically 0.045", or greater if the air knives will
be placed at a considerable distance from the surface of your product; (2) an
air knife length (and quantity of air knives) that will cover the necessary
surfaces and force debris away from the product; (3) an
Air Power® centrifugal
blower configured at the appropriate speed (RPM) to produce the desired pressure
when used in conjunction with the particular air knife system.
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Air Knife Dimensions and Inlet Orientations
Gap Size: Standard air knife gaps: 0.035", 0.045" - Custom sizes from 0.020" to 0.070" are possible.
Finish: Both stainless steel and aluminum air knives are polished.
|Air Knife Inlet Length: Standard length is 8" - Optional lengths up to 18".|
|Available Inlet Orientations|
|Right Hand ||Vertical Middle ||90° Option|
|Left Hand ||Dual, |
|Dual ||Dual, Vertical Middle ||Dual, Dual Vertical|
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Air Knife Data Sheet
Discharge Dividers (Wye, Tri, Quad) Data Sheet
Air Power Butterfly Valves Data Sheet
Standard Filters Data Sheet
Vortron Silencer Filter (1000 CFM) Data Sheet
Air Power Blower Enclosure Data Sheet
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