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Much as been said about compressed air and it’s high costs over the years. If a plant is using copper tubing/pipe with holes drilled or open slots and compressed is plumbed to them – either compressed air amplifying systems or a blower type system should be used as both will improve overall productivity and reduce energy costs.

Depending on the company and/or personnel involved, each of the following factors may have a lesser or greater weight overall.

1. System Cost
It’s no secret, Blower Systems are far more expensive than compressed air amplifier systems. Separate locations are often required for blower systems due to their high operating noise levels. Expected system maintenance costs should be closely examined prior to any system purchase.

2. Noise Level
Even with silencers added to Blower Systems, they are still far more noisy when compared to compressed air amplifier systems. The Streamtek compressed air-operated Advanced Air Knife is extremely quiet at well below 80 dBA for 95% of applications.

3. Operating cost & Maintenance
A compressed air operated amplifier blow-off system requires virtually zero maintenance costs, pending a clean dry source of compressed air is given to the unit(s). Compressed air amplifying units are precision designed to use a very small amount of compressed air while utilizing various angles and shapes to entrain the ambient air and convert pressure to useful airflow.

Blower type systems on the other hand have very high energy & maintenance costs. In addition, they simply can’t be turned on/off as required using solenoid valves, switches and sensors.

4. Availability of energy
Sometimes electrical power may not be available due to the extreme costs to bring in power to a facility. These cost must be considered if installing compressed air lines versus and electrical installation.

5. Reliability
When the motor in a blow system goes down, the entire production line grinds to a halt. Spare parts quickly become very important in critical operations. If you have a critical application, compressed air systems (smaller size systems in particular) are far more reliable as a compressed air amplifier systems runs off stored compressed air.

6. Space/Weight
Blower systems can be very heavy and consume far more space than compressed air amplifiers. Size & weight aside, the actual blow-off force is stronger by nature with compressed air amplifiers when compared to standard blower systems. In addition, blowers are notorious for adding heat to the airflow which increases energy use and spots being left on the item(s) being dried.

7. Application particulars
A blower-operated system is constantly running and sucking up costly energy! A compressed air amplifier system is far more economical in situations where blow-off can be cycled on/off when needed. Blowers may be economical in very light blow-off applications, but the horsepower they require is quite marginal when compared to what 12″ and under compressed air-operated air knives consume.

In conclusion, if you are deciding on a drying or blow-off method, don’t just think about the energy cost associated. If you require a high velocity airflow then you may come to realize that a lower cost compressed air drying system may be your best choice.

When you buy a compressed air amplifier system, you don’t have to be too concerned as to which company to purchase from. This is due to the fact that the source is the same – stored compressed air, usually between 80 & 120 PSIG. On the flip side, Blowers will vary drastically in performance depending on model & make.

Jay Patterson
Application Engineer