Vacuuming Fe2O3 with an EXAIR Heavy Duty HEPA Vac System

In late Fall of 2013 I traveled to Mexico to meet with our Central and South American distributors.  We spent several days together, discussing products, applications, varying business climates in differing countries, marketing, selling, and a variety of other topics.  It was great to meet face-to-face, and after returning to the States, it’s been a pleasure to see these distributors work through applications and solve problems for their customers using EXAIR products.  The problems solved with our products range from blow-off and cooling needs, to scrap removal and vacuuming.

The photos below, taken by our distributor in Colombia, show Ferric Oxide (Fe₂O₃), a fairly benign form of rust, accumulating around large wire spools.  These spools are stored outside, and the rust is not detrimental to any processes, per se, but the accumulation around the spools is problematic.  The end user needed a way to vacuum the debris that was not only effective, but reliable for long-term use – the electrically driven vacuums they had been using on-site were failing after a short time.

steel dust vacuum 1

Large flakes which need to be vacuumed

steel dust vacuum 3

Steel fines which need to be vacuumed

steel dust vacuum 2

Problematic area of this application

As I discussed the application with our distributor, we went over the variables which would ultimately determine the correct system and model number.  The larger, more flakey material (shown in the first photo above) is suitable for use with a Chip Vac, Heavy Duty Dry Vac, or Heavy Duty HEPA Vac system.  But, the second photo showing the finer steel dust led us to refine this list to only the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac.

The reason for omitting our other vacuum systems and focusing solely on the HEPA unit, was the potential for airborne dust and a desire to offer the end user a removable and cleanable component to the vacuum system.

The HEPA filter of our Heavy Duty HEPA Vac system will filter the incoming material to 0.3 micron level with a 99.97% efficiency rate.  Filtration at this level is suitable for small particles such as the steel dust in this application.  And, the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac system uses a serviceable pre-filter which can be cleaned and reused as necessary.

These features, coupled with the longevity found in our vacuum systems (no moving parts = no wear points or components to break down over time), provided an excellent solution for this customer.

If you have an application in need of a compressed air based solution, give us a call.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Cleaning with an Air Wipe

I received a call about a blow-off operation. The customer had an automated machine that would thread, cut, and stack a 1” (25mm) diameter pipe. The operation was ran by a CNC lathe that would thread both ends and cut the pipe to length. An automatic arm would feed the next piece of pipe into the lathe, and at the same time, push the finished piece of pipe through the chuck. Another robot arm would grab the finished pipe and stack it. The reason for his call was that he was losing coolant from his CNC machine. He used the coolant for the cutting and threading operations. When the CNC lathe would cut the pipe to length, the coolant would leak into the center of the pipe. As it was being brought out of the machine, coolant would leak onto the floor. It was a safety issue as well as the cost to replace the coolant. He wanted to keep as much coolant inside his machine during his operation.

Air Wipe blowing off outside of pipe

Air Wipe blowing off outside of pipe

The customer believed that he would need two types of products to solve his problem. He was looking at a Standard Air Wipe to remove the coolant from the outside of the pipe, and a Super Air Nozzle to remove the coolant from inside the pipe. In getting more details about the application, we were able to determine that we could use just the Standard Air Wipe. With the design of the EXAIR Air Wipes, a 30 degree angle of compressed air is directed toward the center in a 360 degree air pattern, just like a cone. This design allowed us to address both problems. The primary function of the Air Wipe would be to blow the coolant from the outside of the pipe. As it passed through the chuck to the robot arm for stacking, the Air Wipe would blow the coolant off the pipe and back into the machine. The second function of the Air Wipe was to keep the coolant from leaking through the center of the pipe. With the finished pipe being stacked, the conical air flow would blow into the open cavity of the chuck and right into the center of the pipe. As the new pipe was being cut, the Air Wipe would increase the pressure inside the pipe, keeping the coolant from seeping into the center.

Air Wipe - How it works

Air Wipe – How it works

I recommended model 2482, 2” (51mm) Standard Air Wipe Kit. The kit included the Air Wipe, shim set, filter separator, and pressure regulator. This would insure long lasting operations with the ability to control the amount of compressed air being used. Here at EXAIR, we enjoy solving problems. I was able to correct his problem with one product item, instead of two or more. It is not just about the amount of sales, but about helping our customer in the most effective way. If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of your applications, you can contact the Application Engineers at EXAIR.

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

Cool Job, Cool Products

I’ve got a pretty cool job. I’ve written about this before…in fact, as recently as last week, in a piece about workplace safety, and how EXAIR is all over it, all the way. Brian Farno also blogged the other day about how EXAIR recognizes, appreciates, and celebrates achievement. Like usual, actually.

So yeah; this is a pretty cool job. And, just to put that into perspective, my first “grown up” job set the bar pretty high: upon completion of Naval Nuclear Power School, I was assigned to the initial manning crew of a new construction Trident submarine. When I got there in the spring of 1987, “tha thirty-five boat,” as the future USS Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) was known, was ON the pier (not NEXT to it) and we boarded through hull cuts in Engine Room Lower Level & the Torpedo Room. For two years, we worked with shipyard personnel to install, test, & certify all ship’s systems, and then took her out in the summer of 1989 for a rigorous series of sea trials. I wish there were words capable of conveying the extent of “job satisfaction” we felt when we submerged for the first time, and the whole ocean stayed outside the boat.

I was reminded of this the other day when I saw a news account of the bow section of a submarine being transported via barge from the shipyard that fabricated this section, to the shipyard that’s assembling the boat. Here’s a video clip of one such transit, from about a year ago:

I’ve written before about how compressed air is (and isn’t) used on board a submarine at sea. Compressed air is also used, for some pretty neat stuff, in their construction & service. And EXAIR Compressed Air Products are in the mix:

*Sometimes during work on a piping system, it’s not possible to isolate a particular section with valves, so a freeze seal is applied: a collar fits around the outside of the pipe, and very cold fluid is circulated through the collar. This freezes the liquid inside the pipe, forming a “plug,” which allows you to work on the piping downstream, just the same as if you had shut a valve there. One method of doing this is with liquid nitrogen…you take a big tank of the stuff to your work site, implement all the safety precautions you need to handle pressurized liquid at -321°F (spoiler alert: it’s complicated,) make up your connections, hope they don’t leak, and activate the system. Depending on the length of the job and the size of the tank, you may need to change it out…which, again, is complicated.  And yes, I’ve done it.

It's a real shame to foul this view with a block & tackle to lower a pressurized nitrogen tank down.

It’s a real shame to foul this view with a block & tackle to lower a pressurized nitrogen tank down.

Or, like several shipyards are doing currently, you can install an EXAIR Maximum Cold Temperature Vortex Tube to the collar, run a compressed air line to it, and you can supply cold air as low as -40°F, which will freeze a plug in that pipe for as long as you keep your air compressor running.

Vortex Tube

EXAIR Vortex Tubes produce cold air, on demand, with no moving parts.

*Another application has to do not with the equipment, but the people working on it. Welding is a hot job – there’s really no way around it – and welding in tight spaces can present real issues for the folks involved. Fans and blowers can provide a good amount of ventilation, but they also take up some room, which there may not be any to spare.

Enter EXAIR Air Amplifiers – they’re compact, lightweight, and use a small amount of compressed air to blow a high flow of cooling air, right where it’s needed.

EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.

EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.

These are just a couple of examples of how a large industry – shipbuilding – is using EXAIR products to capitalize on efficiency in a challenging environment. Regardless of your situation, if you’d like to learn if EXAIR can help out, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Up Ladder courtesy of Russ Bowman  Creative Commons License

Adjustable Spot Cooler Cools Saw Blade

I was recently contacted by a customer looking for a way to cool their band saw blade in a wood cutting operation. They process several different types of wood and when dealing with the more dense products they are seeing the blades heat up, causing them to stop production, change out the blades and scrap the production piece and start the process over. They cannot use a liquid type misting systems as this would contaminate the wood, resulting in more rejects, so they called EXAIR looking for assistance.

I recommended the customer use our Model # 3925 Adjustable Spot Cooler System with Dual Point Hose Kit in the application. The Adjustable Spot Cooler incorporates a Vortex Tube to provide a temperature drop from your supply temperature. By turning the knob on the unit, the temperature control valve allows the user to adjust the temperature range between -30°F up to +70°F, to fit the demand of the application. The flexible tubing is able to hold it’s position, ensuring that the cold airstream is directed towards the critical area(s). The system also features a magnetic base that allows for easy mounting.

3925

Model # 3925 Adjustable Spot Cooler System with Dual Point Hose Kit, providing up to 2,000 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity

With this particular customer, the inherent flexibility of an Adjustable Spot Cooler is a benefit to provide different cooling values depending on the type of wood they are cutting. Using the dual point hose kit they would be able to direct the cold air on each side of the blade to extend the blade’s longevity while decreasing the amount of rejects. Using the filter separator (included with the system), would relieve any concern of fluid contamination by removing any water condensate or particulate in the compressed air supply.

If you are looking to extend the tool life in your operation, give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

A Few Questions about Powering Cabinet Coolers

Dual CC outside

NEMA 4X Dual Cabinet Cooler

Not too long ago, I was contacted by one of our customers regarding the Cabinet Cooler Systems and the quality of the compressed air used to power them.

The specific questions were:

  1. What happens if the compressed air gets dirty with oil or other particles if sufficient filtration is not available at the facility where Cabinet Cooler is being used?
  2. Where does the oil particle go, into the cabinet or out through the hot exhaust or both?
  3. If it goes into the Cabinet Cooler, should one expect a spray or will it simply form small droplets?
  4. Is there a way to filter the cold air outlet?

Dirty, oil laden air would exhaust throughout the Cabinet cooler (both hot and cold flows) as well as into the inside of the attached cabinet if the air were contaminated and there was not any filter located up-stream of the Cabinet Cooler System. This is precisely why we always recommend the use of filter/separator and oil coalescing filters to clean up the compressed air before it goes into the Cabinet Cooler. In fact, we include a five micron, auto-drain, filter/separator with all our stock systems. If oil is a known contaminant in a customer’s system, we will also recommend use of an oil coalescing type filter which we can provide as well. Without a coalescing filter, you can expect any oil in the compressed air supply to be atomized into a vapor which then has possibility of settling on components inside the cabinet.

Filtering the compressed air while it is still in its compressed state and before it goes into the Cabinet Cooler is the only way to make sure that the air is properly cleaned before processing through the Cabinet Cooler System. Filtering the air after it has gone through the Cabinet Cooler System is not possible. Many filtration systems rely on the high velocity of the compressed air for their filtering capability. If it is no longer in its compressed state (a condition that exists at the cold outlet of the Cabinet Cooler), then the right conditions for proper treatment do not exist. Also, by the time the air exits the Cabinet Cooler, your primary need for it is going to be for cooling anyway. Attempting to add filtration to the cold air output will interfere with the cooling function, which negates the purpose for having the Cabinet Cooler.

As compressed air and the systems that produce it become more widely understood, filtering, drying and removing oil from the compressed air stream are tasks that are done on the production side of things.

The best way to proceed is to have the necessary filtration on the compressed air supply, at the point of use, even if the facility has filtered, clean, dry air. It would still be good to employ it just in case any up-stream equipment that is normally used to clean up the air, went down for some reason. I call it the belt and suspenders method. The redundancy is worth the investment.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com

The Best Lunch Is One Prepared For You

This past week was another celebration here at EXAIR, in case you didn’t notice, we like to do that here.  This wasn’t a birthday, anniversary or someone leaving the team, it was another record breaker for the EXAIR team.   I know we have talked about cookouts before and these only happen for special occasions.   Nonetheless when you have the EXAIR management team, including the owner and President, grilling everyone’s lunch –  it is a great day.

You can see our Production Manager doing some quality inspection here.

You can see our Production Manager doing some quality inspection here.

This builds so much camaraderie through the ranks of EXAIR that I don’t know any way to do it better.   The entire time we had the cookout there was still no hiccup in our standard operations either, that means if you called in, you still got to speak to a live person and not a recording.   That is the level of service that we provide every day, every week, every month, and every year.   That is what sets us apart from any of our competition and allows us to continue to reach higher goals than we have ever reached before.

MMMmmmmmmm!!!!!    Steak!

MMMmmmmmmm!!!!! Steak!

Now if you will excuse me,  I need to go take a jog and try to work myself out of this food coma from the steak.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Escape to the Hills

I’m leaving for a short three day vacation this week in Hocking Hills. This is my biannual family reunion of my Great Grandfather’s family the Trouts. This will be our 7th or 8th trip down there, and I still have yet to go hiking at Old Man’s Cave, the local tourist attraction. I have always stuck closer to the pool and the golf course and away from the trail. Russ Bowman puts me to shame. He heads up there every year with his boys to go hiking and camping, and we tend to stay at a cabin which is more like a hotel with some wood paneling. To each their own.

For my parent’s generation the reunion is a chance to catch up with cousins that they spent summers with growing up. For my generation, it is a chance to meet and reconnect with our second cousins that we normally would only see at weddings and funerals. The three day reunion allows a longer more free flowing opportunity to see who people are. It is a different perceptive to get to know people that have a lot of history in common, but you only see once in a while. Most of the weekend is amazingly unscheduled, so you can come and go as you please.

This will be different for me. I’m taking my son who was born last August to meet his third cousins. It is different for a couple reasons. First, now I don’t just have to worry how I behave at the family reunion. I have to make sure my son doesn’t head-butt the other babies like he has been known to do at day care. Second, my family gets to see him grow up and learn stories about me when I was his age through the eyes of the people that were there and knew me best. I hope they stay away from a few stories until he is older, but probably not.

Getting together with the family reminds me of working here at EXAIR. As we witnessed with the Professor’s departure, and Dear Joe’s departure we see that some people might chose to not come into work everyday anymore, but they are always a member of our community. As time passes we are constantly reminded of their impact. With the Professor’s message we constantly drive to safe customers compressed air energy, and Joe always reminded us that we are here for the customer first, and if you can, help them in any way you should.

But, of course, the messages from those two individuals are the result of EXAIR’s company culture, our product’s ability to solve customer problems, and EXAIR’s commitment to customer service.

Contact an Application Engineer today to join our family of customers.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

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