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Reduce Costs by Optimizing Compressed Air Use

 This article covers the substantial cost savings and operational enhancements achievable in industrial plants by optimizing or substituting compressed air usage in drying and blow-off operations. It emphasizes the advantages of implementing WindJet® air products, draws comparisons with alternative techniques, and shares several success stories. 

air knife application


Jun 23

Optimizing Compressed Air Usage in Drying and Blow-Off Processes

Compressed air can account for up to 1/3 of a plant’s total electricity usage.  However, it's frequently viewed as a fixed cost and overlooked during process optimization. If this sounds like your operations, it's time to rethink this approach.

By optimizing compressed air usage in drying and blow-off operations, customers have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.  By making some relatively simple changes, you can start saving and achieve some additional benefits as well:

  • • More Precise and repeatable drying and blow-off
  • • Enhanced worker safety
  • • Noise reduction

If your plant uses open pipes, pipes with drilled holes, or pipes with slits for drying and blow-off, it's time to consider WindJet® compressed air or blower air products. While open pipe systems are quick, simple, and cheap to fabricate, they come with several

  • • High air and electrical consumption
  • • High noise levels, which can lead to compliance issues
  • • Potential worker safety issues due to high noise levels and the risk of injury if a worker accidentally blocks the pipe opening

How Can WindJet® Air Products Help?

WindJet Blower Air Products offer an alternative to eliminate compressed air completely for many customers.  Regenerative blowers equipped with specially designed air knives and air cannons can reduce operating costs by 95% or more when compared to using compressed air.

For applications where blower air won’t work, WindJet Compressed Air Products provide more efficient use of compressed air than open pipes and many other commercially available options.  A wide variety of compressed air nozzles and low flow air knives are available for your drying and blow-off applications.

Effective Drying and Blow-Off – Without Compressed Air

Regenerative blowers equipped with air knives and air cannons are well-suited for specific drying and blow-off applications. Unlike other blower types, regenerative blowers are rugged, reliable and require infrequent, minimal maintenance.

Using blower air instead of compressed air can result in significant savings and add thousands of dollars annually to your bottom line. In addition to cost reduction, air knife/blower packages

  • • Clean, heated air
  • • Low operating noise, eliminating the need for sound enclosures
  • • Easy installation and operation

The following application are ideal for WindJet blower air knife systems:

  • • Applications where air knives can be placed close to the target surface – 4” (10 cm) or less
  • • Applications where the oil in compressed air is causing quality issues
  • • Applications where velocity is more important than impact
  • • Large application areas – typically greater than 2 feet (60 cm) long
  • • Applications where heated air is needed

How Multiple Companies Have Benefited

Here are some examples of applications WindJet Blower Air Products have helped customers in improve their operations:

WindJet Compressed Air Nozzles

Where blower air isn’t practical, WindJet Compressed Air Products are available.  WindJet air nozzles come in a variety of configurations and convert a low-pressure volume of compressed air into a targeted high-velocity concentrated air stream, flat fan, or curtain of high-impact air for applications such as moving materials, cleaning, drying, and cooling parts.

The benefits WindJet air nozzles bring to every operation include:

  • Significant reduction in compressed air consumption. When compared to open pipes, WindJet air nozzles will reduce air consumption at least 25%, as shown below.
 Open Pipe Equivalent Impact Using Flat Fan or Round Spray Pattern Air Nozzles
 Air Consumption Rate %  Annual Air Cost Savings* (USD)
Size in. (mm)  Air Consumption SCFM (NIpm)
 5/32 (4) 19 (538)  1  25% $593
1/4 (6) 41 (1161) 2 28% $1,432
5/16 (8) 94 (2662) 4 33% $3,872
 1/2 (12) 177 (5012) 7 35% $7,731
5/8 (16) 309 (8750)  12 36% $13,833

  • Up to 60% reduction in perceived noise level. This is dependent on the air pressure which you can find more details below.
 Air Pressure psig (bar) Noise Level Noise Reduction  Perceived Noise Reduction
 5/32" (4 mm) open pipe at a distance of 5 ft. (1.5 m) Flat Fan or Round Spray Pattern Air Nozzles
15 (1) 70 dBa  63 dBa 7 dBa 38%
 30 (2) 80 dBa 70 dBa  10 dBa   50% 
 60 (4)  88 dBa 76 dBa  12 dBa   56%
 70 (5)  92 dBa  80 dBa  12 dBa   56% 
 100 (7)  98 dBa  85 dBa 13 dBa   60%

  • Improved safety. The design of WindJet air nozzles prevents dead-ending should the nozzle accidentally be placed against a flat surface.
  • More complete drying. The targeted air stream delivered by the nozzles can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of drying and blow-off. More complete drying, even in cracks and crevices, is commonly achieved.

WindJet Low Flow Air Knives

Designed for small areas and processes that cannot tolerate any increase in temperature, WindJet low flow air knives are typically mounted close to the target.  Maximum knife length is limited to less than 2’ (61 cm).

Low flow air knives have high velocity, uniform air flows across the entire length of the knife. Drying and blow-off are fast and efficient and minimal air is used. Compared to a pipe with three drilled holes, a WindJet low flow air knife will use about 90% less air.  

 Open Pipe/Drilled Holes in Pipe Equivalent Impact Using Low-Flow Air Knives Air Consumption Reduction % Annual Air Cost Savings (USD)
Quantity  Size in. (mm) Air Consumption scfm (NI/min)
5/32 (4) 57 (1614)  1 (57070-3) 92%  $6,544 
6 5/32 (4) 114 (3228) 1 (57070-6) $13,090
12 5/32 (4) 228 (6456) 1 (57070-12) $26,178
18 5/32 (4) 342 (9684) 1 (57070-18) $39,268
 6 1/4 (6) 246 (6966) 1 (57070-6) 89% $27,324
12 1/4 (6) 492 (13932) 1 (57070-12) $54,648


Additional benefits of low flow air knives include:

  • • High velocity, uniform air flow.
  • • Noise level under 70 dBa in many applications – lower than many compressed air options.
  • • Low profile for ease of mounting.

How Can You Benefit from a Free Facility Evaluation?

Any operation using a drying or blow-off operation can benefit from an evaluation to determine the potential savings and efficiency gains by making simple changes. If open pipes are currently used, reductions in compressed air consumption are possible and quickly offset the cost of any new equipment. If air nozzles are already in use, evaluating alternatives such as variable air amplifiers, low flow air knives, or air knife/blower packages is a good idea for additional savings.

Our spray technology experts can help you evaluate essential applications throughout the plant and suggest solutions to reduce air consumption and energy use on every shift.

To learn how our spray technology can help you, contact us now. Talk to an Expert