Pneumatics & Hydraulics

Innovative air shield keeps lenses clean

April 2007 Pneumatics & Hydraulics

Automotive glass is tempered by subjecting it to a series of heating and quenching operations. To maintain a uniform glass temperature an infrared scanner monitors temperature across the glass surface and sends signals to a PLC, which automatically adjusts conveyor speeds and oven temperatures. Control problems occurred when dust and other airborne particulate coated the sapphire lens of the scanner and caused it to generate false temperature readings. The result was hundreds of metres of rejected glass.

A Model 110006 152 mm Exair super air knife was mounted on one side of the lens, directing a boundary layer of air in front of it. The sheet of air created an invisible barrier that kept contaminants off the surface. Process time was reduced and the waste was eliminated.

The ability to screen the lens without a wiper or other obstruction was the key to success in this application. The uniform airflow produced by the super air knife makes it an ideal way to separate one environment from another. This same arrangement has been used to keep lasers and other lenses clear of smoke and debris. Similar applications include trapping fumes in an open container, retaining heat in an oven or deflecting mist from a machine tool.

For more information contact Rodney Bradley, ETEST, +27 (0)31 702 8302,,


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