How to Choose the Right Air Knife for Can Drying

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Both Vortec and our sister brand – Paxton Products – offer air knife solutions for can and bottle drying applications. We understand your solution is as unique as your application, so whether your production line is large or small we have an air knife solution for you.  

Before we get started, it is important to understand the differences between Vortec Air Knives and Paxton Products Air Knives.

  • Vortec Air Knives are air amplifiers that utilize a small amount of filtered compressed air to deliver a powerful, high velocity, laminar sheet of air.
  • Paxton Products Air Knives utilize centrifugal blowers to give maximum efficiency for high velocity air drying and blow off.

When deciding which type of air knife is best for your canning or bottling line there are multiple scenarios to take into consideration. To best decide which air knife to use, we need to take a look at:

  • Use frequency
  • Investment
  • Can and bottle drying needs
  • Conveyor speed



One of the first aspects to consider when choosing which air knife solution is best for your application is use frequency. How often the air knife is operating can drastically impact which type of solution you should choose. If more continuous drying is needed, Paxton Air Knives would be best. For best performance, Paxton Air Knives should not be cycled on and off more than 6 times an hour. If your canning or bottling line needs shorter bursts of drying, Vortec Air Knives would be more ideal as they can be cycled on and off frequently as needed.



Paxton Air Knife systems require purchasing a blower in addition to the Air Knives, which results in a higher initial cost for your project, but lower operating costs once the system is up and running. Vortec Air Knives can be purchased and installed for a lower initial cost than Paxton Air Knives, but depending on usage can result in higher operating costs down the line as a result of using compressed air.



Whether you choose a blower driven air knife or an air knife that runs on compressed air, the quantity and mounting orientation of your air knives depends on your application needs. In a can drying application, top and side mounted air knives will dry the entire can, whereas a top mounted air knife is ideal for date coding applications. In bottle drying, it can be more difficult to fully dry the bottle neck especially for date coding applications. For these applications a combination of Paxton Air Knives and a Paxton Spyder Manifold is the most effective way to dry the entire bottle.  



Lastly, the speed at which your conveyor operates can affect which type of air knife is needed for your application. For faster conveyors, longer air knives are needed, and for slower conveyors, shorter air knives are needed. Vortec Air Knives are produced in lengths of 3”, 6”, 12”, 18” and 24”. Paxton Air Knives can range in length from 4” to 145”. Therefore, typically Paxton Air Knives would be more ideal for faster conveying speeds.

If you have any questions about which type of air knife system is best for your can or bottle drying application, reach out to Vortec technical support at Our team will work with you and suggest which air knife solution is best for your canning or bottling line.