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Choose the Right Air Knife for your Application

Featured Product from Paxton Products, an ITW company

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Air Knives, the most common form of air delivery, feature an uninterrupted air slot design that delivers a flat sheet of amplified air to a targeted surface. No matter your application, Air Knives are designed to give maximum efficiency for high velocity drying, blow off, and air rinsing applications.

Choosing the right Air Knife for your application is critical to system performance and carrying out your packaging and processing needs effectively and efficiently. If not selected carefully, you could see an increase in product quality rejects and downtime for your plant, on top of losing the money you previously spent on the incorrect Air Knife. When selecting an Air Knife for your plant's specific application, it's important to consider the use frequency, investment, speed, bottle and can drying needs, and the conveyor speed. 

Both ITW Air Management Brands, Paxton Products and Vortec, offer Air Knives and Knife Systems designed for can and bottle drying applications. Let's take a look at the difference between a Paxton Products Air Knife and a Vortec Air Knife.

Paxton Products Air Knives
Available in 304 Stainless Steel and Aluminum, Paxton's Air Knives featured a continuous, uninterrupted air slot design with a standard gap setting of 0.055 inches (1.397 mm) designed to deliver maximum efficiency for high velocity drying, blow off, and air rinsing applications. Powered by Paxton's own high efficiency PX-Series Centrifugal Blowers, Paxton Air Knives don't require any compressed air - significantly reducing energy costs required for operation. Custom-engineered to meet your exact specifications, Paxton's Air Knives are used to shear water off of bottles, cans, food packages, industrial products, and other packaging, immediately after washdown. In addition to this, they can be ised to remove debris, scrap, chemicals, and excess coating from a variety of products. The durable 304 Stainless Steel construction of Paxton's Air Knives also allows them to stand up to the harsh detergents used in washdown facilities.

The main differentiator between Paxton Products and Vortec Air Knives is that while Vortec Air Knives are compressed air driven, Paxton Air Knives are blower-driven - meaning no compressed air is required for operation. Despite having to purchase a blower with your Paxton Products Air Knife System, Paxton Air Knives typically have a higher initial cost than Vortec Air Knives, but lower operating costs once they're up and running. Paxton Air Knives are also ideal for more continuous drying applications as Paxton blowers should not be cycled on/off more than six times in an hour. For can drying, a Paxton Products Air Knife located on the top and sides of your conveyor will dry the entire can, while a combination of Air Knices and Paxton's Spyder Manifold are required for complete bottle drying. 

Vortec Air Knives
Because Vortec Air Knives are compressed air driven, they require filtered compressed air for operation - which can increase your operating costs in the long run depending on your usage. The compressed air is used to deliver a powerful, high velocity, laminar sheet of air over wide areas such as moving webs, film, sheets, strips, auto bodies, and other large assemblies and objects. Available in lengths 6, 12, 18, and 24 inches (152, 305, 457, and 610 mm), Vortec's Air Knives deliver a flat sheet of amplified air designed to efficiently blow off water and debris from surfaces, as well as provide high-speed drying and/or cooling. Vortec's patented design produces increased thrust and velocity, reduced noise, and excellent uniformity. In addition to this, Vortec's Air Knives are quiet and don't involve any moving parts - ultimately meeting OSHA noise specifications and reducing the need for maintenance. 

Because Vortec's Air Knives can be cycled on and off as frequently as needed, they should be used for applications requiring shorter bursts of drying. Without the need to purchase a centrifugal blower to power your Air Knives, Vortec's Air Knives also have a lower initial cost compared to Paxton's Air Knives. But because they require compressed air to operate, the operating cost ends up being more expensive in the long run. Vortec Air Knives are also used to improve date coding applications through effective bottle and can drying. For can drying, a top Air Knife is ideal, while spot drying of the bottle neck recommended for bottle drying. 


  Paxton Products Air Knives Vortec Air Knives
Use Frequency
For more continuous drying, blowers shouldn't be cycled on/off more than 6 times/hour
For shorter bursts of drying, can be cycled on and off as frequently as needed
Higher initial cost, lower operating cost
Lower initial cost, higher operating cost
Can Drying
Top and side Air Knives dry the entire can
Top Air Knife is ideal for date coding applications
Bottle Drying
Combination of Air Knives and Paxton's Spyder Manifold for complete bottle drying
Spot drying of the bottle neck for date coding
Conveyor Speed
For faster conveyors, longer Air Knives are needed
For slower conveyors, shorter Air Knives are needed



How can Paxton Products Help?
To learn more about Paxton's high efficiency Air Knives and Knife Drying Systems, contact us today and our team will work to answer all of your questions and concerns. The Paxton Products team of Application Engineers and Sales Representatives are willing to work alongside you to find and build the perfect, custom-engineered Air Knife System for your plant's operations, contact us at sales@paxtonproducts.com for more help. To get started with your Paxton Products Air Knife System, click here to get a quote today. 

If you are interested in learning more about Vortec's Air Knives, click here, or contact us at sales@vortec.com