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FAQ - Questions & Answers about Air Knife Systems

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  • What is an Air Knife?

    An industrial Air Knife is a tool designed to eject a high-intensity, uniform air flow that cleans, dries and/or protects a wide range of objects.

    An Air Knife is a pressurized air plenum chamber, containing continuous slots, through which air is ejected in a way that creates a high-intensity, uniform and therefore laminar air flow.

    Air Knives are available in a range of shapes, sizes and materials, but are usually made from aluminium or stainless steel. The design means that typically one side is shaped into a point that resembles a knife edge, and this is where Air Knives get their name from.

    Read more about the History of Air Knives and how they work.

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  • How does an Air Knife work?

    Air Knives use a pressurised chamber and slots to create a high-velocity laminar air flow that regulates moisture and/or debris on the surface of objects.

    Air Knives are designed to direct a high-velocity, high flow linear stream of air onto the surface of objects. This air stream is powerful enough to strip moisture, dust/debris, and create an air curtain that protects the object from contamination.

    SolvAir’s systems use Centrifugal Air Blowers to create a constant flow of air. The impact air velocity can range from a gentle breeze to-greater than Mach 0.6 = 454 mph = 731 kph = 40,000 fpm = 203 m/sec.

    Read more about the History of Air Knives and how they work.

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  • What are Air Knives used for?

    Air Knives have a wide range of industrial uses, including removing, spreading or controlling liquids, drying, cooling, cleaning and bonding.

    Air Knives are often the most efficient and effective method of removing or controlling foreign substances on any surface. They are also powerful enough to create sterile environments for objects to pass through, or create a hold down force to assist in mechanical bonding of materials to surfaces.

    The potential that Air Knives provide for many different kinds of industries is therefore enormous. This is why Air Knives are used today in a wide range of industries, including food and beverage, industrial and electronics, automotive and aerospace, rubber and plastics.

    Read more about Air Knife Applications

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  • What is an Air Knife System?

    An Air Knife System includes a high-performance centrifugal blower, connecting pipes and air devices such as Air Knives/Manifold/Nozzles.

    Air Knife Systems are flexible and adaptable systems that are designed, built and installed to meet a wide range of industrial needs, such as cleaning, drying and quality control of objects. Commonly, these objects move along a conveyor, but Air Knife Systems can also be designed for stationary objects.

    SolvAir’s Air Knife Systems generate their own high-velocity air flow by using high-performance centrifugal blowers connected to air devices such as Air Knives or Air Nozzles. They are highly energy efficient, demonstrating significant energy savings in comparison to compressed air, heating or manual interventions.

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  • What makes one Air Knife better than another?

    To create the high-intensity laminar air flow needed to clean/dry/protect the surface of objects, Air Knives must be precision-engineered to meet strict manufacturing tolerances.

    Air Knife performance is affected by a series of variables, including the cross-sectional dimensions, length, gap distance and air inlet connection positions in their design. These measurements are determined by what the system is required to do.

    Poorly designed and built Air Knives, or Air Knives incorrectly configured to the application, will result in poor performance.

    SolvAir test all of our components and systems in our in-house facility. We also collaborate with leading experts, such as our recent SoloJet Air Nozzle study with Cranfield University.

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  • How do I know what which Air Knife blower I require?

    The blower that you need will depend on your Air Knife requirements, including length, gap settings and desired effect. Please consult SolvAir for advice.

    SolvAir offer a range of High-Performance Centrifugal Blowers, suitable for a wide range of industrial uses. Our Blowers are available in a range of power (from 0.75kw to 15kw), flow rate (up to 2378 m³/hr), and pressure (up to 274 mbar).

    SolvAir are the UK and European distribution centre for Paxton blowers. All our Centrifugal Blowers are constructed with the utmost attention to detail using the highest quality parts.

    Each blower unit is rigorously tested for vibration, noise and overall performance, and comes with an industry-leading 3 year warranty.

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  • How many times can I start and stop the blower? Can I run the blower 24/7?

    Blowers are well-suited to 24/7 operation, and start/stops should be ideally kept to a minimum.

    Our blowers are designed to run continuously, and are able to run well at 24/7 operation, delivering air flows to 2,378 cubic metres per hour and pressure to 274 millibar for true high performance.

    In terms of starting and stopping blowers, the frequency that this is done should be kept to a minimum, as each start demands peak power load and places stress on drive components.

    All our Centrifugal Blowers are constructed with the utmost attention to detail using the highest quality parts. Each unit is rigorously tested for vibration, noise and overall performance, and comes with an industry-leading 3 year warranty.

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  • How long does a typical Centrifugal Air Knife blower last?

    A well-maintained blower can last in excess of 10 years. All our blowers are tested in-house prior to installation, and come with an industry-leading 3 year warranty.

    Paxton Blowers are constructed for longer service life, comprising the highest quality parts held to strict tolerances. Each unit is rigorously tested for vibration, noise and overall performance.

    With scheduled maintenance, Paxton blowers last for years, and in the highly unlikely event they fail within the first three years of life, are covered by a 3-year warranty.

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  • How much maintenance does an Air Knife System/blower require?

    Our blowers require low maintenance, with only periodic air filter and drive belt replacement being required.

    Dependant on the site conditions, a blower operating 24/7 will usually require a service interval of 6 months taking around 1 hour by site engineers following our maintenance instructions. Outside intervention by specialist engineers is typically not necessary.

    With scheduled maintenance, your blower can last for years.

    SolvAir offer a free site visit audit to new and existing customers if you would like the status of your blower checked.

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  • If I need replacement parts, what is the availability?

    Replacement parts are all supplied within 24 hours.

    We constantly maintain an onsite stock of all frequently needed parts, including items needed for services such as air filters and belts.

  • What happens if I need a replacement or blower to be repaired?

    SolvAir maintain a stock of replacement blower heads, which are available on a 24 hour service.

    We deal with any client’s system issues as a priority, minimising any disruption to the lowest extent possible.

    SolvAir also offer a maintenance and repair service, providing our clients with a temporary blower, whilst we repair and service their faulty one.

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  • Is on-site service and support available?

    Yes – we offer comprehensive installation services and site audits for existing, and new, customers.

    SolvAir offer site audits, to review our customers’ existing equipment, and advise on any improvements available.

    Our on-site support is targeted at saving energy and money for our clients, whilst maintaining the high performance of their systems across many years.

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  • Does SolvAir offer installation services?

    SolvAir provide installation services, ensuring that your system is optimally configured from day one.

    SolvAir offer the full range of services – from design, through to installation, commissioning, as well as after sales support. Our engineers also fully advise on the optimum set up for your needs and facility.

    We ensure that your installation is completed to the highest standards – this means we guarantee your system is installed so it performs at the highest levels.

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  • How much time does an average system installation take?

    In our experience, the majority of installations can be completed within one day.
    Our aim is to minimise any disruption to production.

    Our engineers plan, build and test your system prior to delivery, so that when we install it, this can be completed within one day.

    We always seek to minimise disruption to your business, and so if necessary, can undertake installations outside of normal working hours.

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  • Can Air Knives be supplied at custom lengths?

    We construct Air Knives to your requirements, and are able to vary in increments of 1mm, up to 4.0m in length.

    Our facility means we have in-house expertise, together with state of the art engineering equipment, to ensure that we build your Air Knives to the precise measurements needed for your facility.

    We are also able to build Air Nozzles and Air Manifolds to your requirements, as well as Circular Air Knives for applications involving tubes for example.

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  • Can you design a bespoke Air Knife systems for me?

    Our team of experts can design and build Air Knife Systems for most applications and facilities.

    Solvair have expertise in designing, building and installing bespoke Air Knife systems for a variety of applications and industries.

    Bespoke Air Knife systems will guarantee the highest performance for your application, meaning less downtime through returns, and fewer disruptions overall. Our expertise ensures your systems see improvements in your outputs, budget and energy efficiency targets.

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  • How are Paxton & SolvAir related?

    SolvAir is the European Sales and Service Centre for Paxton Products (USA).

    We are also a global trading partner of Paxton, servicing regions further afield including the Middle East, Africa and South America.

    SolvAir also has our own range of products that compliment and enhance the Paxton range.

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Have any questions not answered?

For a no-obligation consultation please contact us

Our team of specialists decades of experience in providing innovative air solutions and will contact you within 24 hours to discuss your requirements and arrange your full in-depth consultation free of charge.

Call: +44(0) 1473 280 001

Contact us now

Air Knife System Applications

Our Air Systems are engineered for a variety of industrial applications. By combining the latest centrifugal blowers with custom engineered air delivery devices, we ensure our Air Systems always perform to the highest standards.

Food & Beverage

Well designed, easy to use, energy-efficient solutions for the removal of water, residual product and dust from food and beverage packaging.
Food & Beverage

Industrial & Electrical

Drying, blow-off, cleaning and static neutralisation solutions for manufacturing plants, from heavy industry to more delicate medical or electronic parts.
Industrial & Electrical

Automotive & Aerospace

From individual components to assembled vehicles, our systems dry metal/plastics after rinsing, plus remove coolant emulsion and swarf.
Automotive & Aerospace

Rubber & Plastics

Suitable for extrusion lines to remove water droplets following liquid cooling, prior to further processing, and prevent moisture and corrosion.
Rubber & Plastics

About SolvAir

Our team houses expertise in innovative and technical engineering design and installation, global knowledge and excellent customer service.

As Air Flow Systems experts, we have refined today’s Air Knife designs for “precision drying”, including coating control, air curtains, removing dust and unwanted materials, as well as many other valuable applications.

Our team of specialists work with you to advise, design and install your system, customising it to your exact requirements. We ensure that you see
results from day one – including in your productivity and energy use.

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