Stack’em Up

Pick and Place Robot Arm

Pick and Place Robot Arm

A customer was having a problem with stacking plastic parts after an injection molding process.  The robotic arm removes the part from the mold, trims the part by a die cutter, and then stacks the part into a tote.  The problem occurred when stacking the plastic part into multiple columns inside a tote for shipping.  Static was generated and became strong enough to “slide” the part out of position.  They needed a solution to reduce the downtime required to realign the stacks.

Knowing that non-conductive materials can generate static from rubbing, sliding, and trimming, we focused on the best area for elimination.  With this application, we went after the trimming process.

When it comes to static elimination, EXAIR has multiple products for multiple applications.  Due to the process, we were dealing with varying distances between the static eliminator and the stacked parts.  Two Super Ion Air Knives (SIAK) were chosen to both cover the area properly and to provide a static eliminating air stream over the necessary distance. Being that the ions will not pass through the product, we had to use one SIAK for the top of the target and another SIAK for the bottom of the target.  The idea was to hit both sides of the target to completely neutralize the parts.

We were able to locate one SIAK about 12” (30 cm) from the bottom surface of the part.  The robot arm was able to carry the part across the ion air stream from the die cutter to the tote.  We located the second SIAK near the tote to neutralize the top of the parts.  The tote was 36” (91.5 cm) deep and we had to accommodate for the variation in distance caused by the stacking height, we used a longer SIAK to “shoot” the entire area inside the tote with ionized air.  As the parts were placed in each column, the top surfaces of the parts were now neutralized.  The parts were able to be stacked onto each other as originally designed.

With a variety of static elimination products, EXAIR is able to accomplish many more solutions for difficult applications.  If you feel that static is an issue, you can always contact one of our application engineers to help you.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @exair_jb

 

Image courtesy of Nick O’Neill Creative Commons License

There Must Be A Better Way To Save…

 

I’m writing this blog at almost the top-dead-center midpoint of Spring Break week. My teenage sons have been “enjoying” their time off thus far with the housekeeping duties their mother has been assigning them, and the labor they’ve been providing their uncle, as he installs a new garage door for us…the one my mother-in-law paid for. I definitely married out of my league.

The last half of Spring Break, though, we’re taking a little vacation. We looked at the activities and attractions at our destination, came up with a plan on what to do and when (including an analysis of the 10 day weather forecast…which prompted me to find our rain ponchos) and have even purchased some tickets in advance, because advertising “5% SAVINGS!” on stuff really works on me, even when it’s on a $20 ticket. Before you grab your calculator, yeah…that’s a dollar. But since there are four of us, I’ve multiplied our savings by 400%! Yes; I know…four bucks.  Still, I’ll take it.

We talk to folks almost every day who want, like I do, to save money on goods and services they’re going to purchase anyway. Some have performed comprehensive energy audits, and identified opportunities to lower their compressed air generation and/or consumption rates. Others have just been looking at the bent copper tubes that are blowing off their parts and thinking there has to be a better way.

(Full disclosure: I’ve had these two exact conversations so far this week.)

Today, I want to tell you about the latter: It’s an aluminum casting plant with about a dozen lines where a robot grabs a fresh casting from the machine, dips it in a quench tank, and holds it in front of an array of copper tube blow offs for a few seconds before placing it in a bin, bound for the machine shop. Not only were they blowing at it from both sides with the copper tubes, but they were also blowing continuously…including the majority of the cycle time that did NOT include holding the part in the air flow.  Dear reader, if you’re familiar AT ALL with the EXAIR blog, you’ll know that we simply cannot abide that. Continuous flow when flow is only needed a fraction of the time is wasteful and expensive. Not to mention blowing air out of open tubes is dangerous, loud and requires and unneccessary volume of compressed air.

It's like they WANT to upset us.  What's up with that?

It’s like they WANT to upset us. What’s up with that?

They installed (2) Model 110018 18” Aluminum Super Air Knives, in place of the copper tubing, which cut down on their air consumption…and noise levels…considerably. I gave them some further recommendations on reprogramming the robot to turn the part in front of one Air Knife, and using an EFC Electronic Flow Control to turn the air off when a part was not present.

EXAIR's EFC automatically turns the air off when a part is not present.

EXAIR’s EFC automatically turns the air off when a part is not present.

Is there a better way to use the compressed air in your facility? Whether you’ve got comprehensive data from a detailed audit, or if that open pipe is just too darn loud, all the time – give me a call…we’ll find out.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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FREE Vac-U-Gun Offer!

A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog titled, Spring Cleaning All Around, outlining just a few of the many  features of our Industrial Housekeeping Products. All of these products are compressed air operated, have no moving parts and require no electricity, making them a safe and virtually maintenance free option for industrial clean up.

We are currently running a promotional offer, where if you purchase one of these products by May 31, 2015, we will include a FREE Vac-U-Gun, a $98 Value!!! (Use the promotional model number within the promo to receive the offer).

Vac-U-Gun Promo

Just click the photo for the promotional Model #

The Vac-u-Gun can be used as a blow gun, vacuum or for product transfer. Using only 13 SCFM @ 80 PSIG of compressed air, the unit produces a high output airflow on one end and creates a vacuum on the other end. In blow off mode, the unit provides 9 ounces of high velocity, forceful airflow. By changing the orientation of the nozzle insert, the unit can be converted into vacuum mode, producing -29.5″ H20 vacuum, use the bag attachment for general clean up. The output end can be connected to an 1-1/4″ smooth bore hose, allowing for the transferring of dry media. Again, there are no moving parts or electricity required to operate, so you get the convenience of 3 separate tools all in one single, safe hand held device!

Vac-u-Gun orientation

Simply change the nozzle insert orientation to quickly change between blowoff mode or vacuum mode.

Of course, if you need any assistance with selecting the right Industrial Housekeeping Product, you can always contact an application engineer.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Informal Videos

video capture 2

Air Wipes, How They Work Video

A customer from the Czech Republic contacted me earlier today and was interested in our Super Air Wipe product. They produce vacuum hoses and need to blow water from one of their extruded profiles. They asked me if they could get come catalog data and a video showing one of the Super Air Wipes in action.

The catalog data was no problem. All of that information is contained on our web site under our PDF Library as Catalog product sections. It is easy enough to go there and download whatever you might need whether it be the catalog, our Blowoff Guide, Installation & Maintenance Guides or our price list. They are all arranged there in tidy PDF files that can be downloaded at a moment’s notice. Very convenient.

The part I was wondering about was whether we had a video showing our Super Air Wipe in action. I knew we haven’t produced an official EXAIR video on them yet. But I wondered whether we had an informal video showing one in action. Turns out my colleague Dave Woerner put together a concise video showing available types and sizes of the Air Wipe and showed how a wetted pipe was blown completely dry by one of the Super Air Wipes.  Awesome!  I enjoy answering customer inquiries about our products, but I really love it when we are able to leverage each other’s efforts to produce such good and informational videos about the products to make our replies back to our customers that much more engaging.

So, if you need to know how to operate our Ultrasonic Leak Detector, change a shim in a Super Air Knife, or perhaps you need to know how to clean and rebuild your Reversible Drum Vac to get it up and running again, don’t hesitate to search the EXAIR Blog for these highly useful videos. They help us every day. They can help you too.

Searching the phrase “video blog” and the name of the product will be the first step toward finding the helpful video.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com

Air Knives – What Are They Good For?

It is rare that a week goes by without a unique application of an EXAIR product…

This week I was speaking with a DJ who wished to use an air knife to create a blast of air that would add emphasis to the musical experience had by his fans. He wanted a small burst of air that would last less than a second, but would add an additional element to an already very complicated setup. My initial reaction was that no DJ I have ever seen would possibly be able to supply an air compressor big enough to feed the air knives, but over the course of our conversation, I found out that the DJ travels with 2 semi trucks of equipment, so he had some space.

SAK

An Aluminum EXAIR Super Air Knife

Another topic that came up in our conversation was how air knives were generally used. I have been asked this in a number of ways: What are they designed to do? Where do they work best? or What are they for?

I never have a succinct answer… The air knives create a flat laminar sheet of air in various sizes from 3″ up to 108″. This laminar sheet of air can be used to move, open, float, or separate. It can be used to clean, dry, or cool. I try to categorize these applications as best I can when speaking to customers, but then you talk to a DJ, and he wants an air knife to make a crowd cheer. I never thought that would be an application for an air knife. Knowing this, how do you convey all the air knife can do in a succinct answer?

Well, I can’t, so please be patient when you ask me the same question and I run through applications from cleaning surfaces to entertaining DJ crowds.

Here is a rundown of air knife applications. In case you don’t believe me.

Move: Air Knives are used around to world to move product from a conveyor to another location.

Open: Air Knives uniform air flow is perfect for opening bags or other packaging on a packaging machine.

Float: If you need to bridge a gap between two conveyors, the air knife has done this for products from pizza dough to sheets of veneer.

Clean: Blowing products off after removing them from a CNC machine is an easy air knife application.

Dry: One of my tastiest applications was to use an air knife to blow water from a potato chip after washing, but before frying.

Cool: Extrusion, molds, and baked goods have all been cooled with an air knife.

Just because it isn’t on this list though, doesn’t mean it is not possible.  This is why we will stand behind our stock product with our 30 day guarantee.   So if you want to try an EXAIR Air Knife in your application, give us a call.

30 Day Guarantee

30 Day Guarantee

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

John Ball is Our Latest International Application Engineer – Video

Meet John Ball and learn a bit more about him. John can help you with any product application and technical information. He is available to help you solve problems, keep your compressed air use efficient and increase safety for your personnel.

Have a great day,
EXAIR Application Engineers
techelp@exair.com
@EXAIR

The Compressor Whisperer

(Whisperer, Whisperer, Whisperer…)

Professor Penurious is determined to break into television…we hope you enjoy the following trailer for his latest attempt.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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