Are you in the pharmaceutical industry? Have you ever had this problem?

In the pharmaceutical industry it would seem that a lot of time and energy is spent on packaging and re-packaging tablets, gels, capsules and other forms of medication. One example that I just became aware of was the need to empty individual container bottles so that the product could be re-packaged due to a mis-print on label applied to the bottle.

In this scenario, the customer has to empty the bottles and get the product back into their packaging machine hopper. Besides being a real pain to have to open each bottle and empty, the customer also has to get these tablets back up into the packaging machine. The tool they decided to use was our 1-1/4″ 316 Stainless Steel Line Vac. The Line Vac had to be made of 316 stainless in order to be considered a normally accepted material for use in applications dealing with medications. The FDA regulates this.

The facts that the 316 stainless Line Vac was a normally stocked item for us and also that it was meant exactly for this type of “bucket and ladder” type conveying application made it a perfect fit for this particular application.

If you are in the pharmaceutical packaging business and can recall where you may have had similar applications for packaging, let us know.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

Pneumatic Cylinder Blow Off

We have a customer who manufactures pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders. The cylinders, of course, are round with some kind of machined end which has threaded holes and/or mounting features.

The manufacturer assembles and machines the parts and then runs them through a mineral spirits bath to remove any cutting fluids and oil.

Now they need to remove the mineral spirits from the cylinder to prepare it for a label. They currently do it by hand with an air gun. The air gun generally move the mineral spirits around the cylinder until it evaporates. The coverage area of the air gun they use is small and it takes too much time to remove the mineral spirits. They were trying to reduce the time necessary to remove the mineral spirits.

After consulting with the customer, EXAIR recommended a 3″ Air Wipe, which covers the product range diameters from 1″-2-1/2″ diameters. The operator is still picking up the cylinders but then simply running them through the Air Wipe which provides a one time 360 degree blow off.

I did also recommend some strategically positioned air nozzles to remove liquid from the holes and mounting features because the Air Wipe will not reach those areas on its own, but the customers needs were only to prepare the cylinder surface for a label.

The reduction in blow off time allows the operator to do additional tasks. Additional tasks which have become necessary to remain competitive today.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com

Ionizer to blow debris out of deep pockets on thermoforming application

Thermoformed parts are an all too familiar sight in industry. They are used for everything from making the inside shells of refrigerators and dishwashers to in process fixtures to transport delicate items such as flat screen TV’s.  We had one customer who had a thermoformed part that had a particularly deep draw of about 16″ by about 6″ square. He was having a lot of trouble with the debris from a router application getting down into these pockets and creating problem for his parts nesting properly within one another. It also left a trail of debris everywhere these parts went.

So, to clean up his process, the customer ordered an ion air gun for his operator to blow the parts down prior to stacking which eliminated the static and debris issues they had with the finished product.

We are in the middle of static season right now, so if you find yourself in a low humidity room dealing with insulating materials and cannot seem to keep debris from clinging to your parts, or you are receiving the dreaded static discharge, think about having an active static eliminator (ionizer) in hand to take care of the problem. I used to work in plastic injection molding industry and wish I had known about ionizers much sooner than now.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

Air Filters are Important for Compressed Air Products

You may notice that EXAIR offers most of our products in a kit form. These kits always contain a filter and pressure regulator with any other associated parts for a specific product. A filter is always a good addition to an end use compressed air application to keep the application running clean and effective.

A compressed air filter/separator is available with filter elements in different micron sizes to remove smaller or larger particles depending on the end use product you are using. All of EXAIR filters have 5 micron elements to remove solid contaminants and water condensate prior to running through the end use product.

It is first important to make sure the filter is sized properly for the peak flow demand of the compressed air product. We make sure all of the filters in our kits are sized properly for peak demand of the individual product. If multiple products are ordered and only one filter is desired for multiple end use products, make sure to consult an Application Engineer for the right size filter.

Filters also generally come with a clear polycarbonate bowl or a metal bowl to hold the condensate and/or contaminants. polycarbonate bowls can be damaged by some lubricants and chemicals therefore should have a metal bowl guard to protect people. Metal bowls provide much greater protection for applications of higher temperature, pressure and where chemicals may be present. If you are uncertain of the environmental conditions, a metal bowl is the best bet.

Keeping the filter bowls drained is important. EXAIR’s filters are automatic drain, which have a float mechanism to open a drain valve and release the liquid and contaminants. This keeps the filters low maintenance.

Since the filter elements trap contaminants, they will need to be changed as part of a regular maintenance program. Keeping the elements clean minimizes pressure drops in the compressed air system which keeps your end use application working properly. EXAIR also supplies replacement elements for all of our filters so we may assist in keeping your system running optimally.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com

Hello Anyone Home?

How many times have you gone into a department store, home improvement center, or grocery needing some help but could not find any store associates? You almost want to yell out “Anybody home!”

I will share with you one of my experiences. My wife sent me out to the grocery store to pick up some chipotle mustard. First of all I had no clue about what this stuff was let alone know where to look for it. With the word mustard in its name, I assumed it would be on the shelf where the mustards were. I looked high and low with no success so I looked for a store associate. Nada!

Giving up I bought a cappuccino at the in store Kiosk and returned home empty-handed. Not a good choice.  My wife excoriated me and sent me back out to the store. She said that I would find it in the international foods section.

Back to square one, I had to find the International food section. Not too challenging, but what nationality! I looked up and down the rows of shelving with no luck. Have you ever seen a grown man cry out of desperation? Well I was almost there if I hadn’t asked another shopper if she could help me. She got a chuckle out of my story, walked over to the Mexican section and pulled a bottle of chipotle mustard from the shelf.

This same scenario plays out in our business lives. How many times have you tried to find a part or the specifications on a part only to be frustrated with no one knowing the answer? Calling the factory is akin to finding a store associate. They know how to make the stuff but do not know how to communicate with those who use the stuff.

While EXAIR is the manufacturer of its products it knows how to communicate with its customers. Specifications, drawings, and sample applications are downloadable from our website [link]. You can talk with one of our engineers by an online chat [ link], by email techelp@exair.com by phone 1-800-903-9247 or Fax 1-513-671-3363. We are also on twitter [link], and Facebook [link].

That’s it for this week. Now I need to go out and shovel some snow.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
joepanfalone@exair.com

Some Important Things To Know When Solving Your Static Problem

Static electricity problems usually come out of the blue. It’s one of those situations that when it happens, you need to fix it fast. Most people end up surfing the internet to learn more about static and how to prevent it. I hope I can help you out by answering some of the most common questions that come up.

Ionizing bars that connect to a high voltage power supply have been around for a long time. The limitation with an ionizing bar is that you have to mount the ionizing bar within an inch or two of the surface for them to be effective. Back in late 1987, EXAIR had a “eureka” moment. We tried something different by putting an ordinary ionizing bar and air knife together. We found that it provided superior static elimination over long distances. Tests showed that an EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife positioned two feet away from a charged surface to be as effective as an ionizing bar that’s positioned a half inch away from the surface.

It’s not the ionizing bar that makes all the difference – but the Super Air Knife that acts as the ion delivery system. The lack of turbulence makes the Super Air Knife capable of pushing the static eliminating ions out over a longer distance and keeps the positive and negative charges from re-combining before it reaches the charged surface.

Does the power supply voltage matter? The construction of the ionizing bar needs to match the power supply. Higher voltage doesn’t mean that it works better. Every component of that power supply and bar has a specific “dielectric strength”. If a single component is under rated for the voltage, the power supply or bar can fail. The higher the voltage, the higher the voltage rating required for every component.

When designing our ionizing bar, we wanted it to be compact yet powerful. EXAIR’s ionizing bar has an extremely low profile which is great when it comes to fitting it in tight spaces. We increased the life expectancy by insertion molding the stainless steel emitters into a durable engineered plastic resin. There are no grooves or openings to accumulate dust or dirt that could cause shorting or arcing. It is shockless and a perfect match for our 5kV power supply.

EXAIR power supplies are built here in the U.S., are UL Listed and CE compliant. They work in conjunction with the ionizing bar tolerances. There are no user serviceable parts – which is actually a good thing. The critical spacing of the components inside the metal power supply case are all maintained and sealed in place by using potting compound. This eliminates the chance of movement or arcing of those components – which keeps the unit safe. EXAIR power supplies are available with a choice of two or four high voltage outputs. They use standard bayonet electrical connectors (an industry standard) where the electrical connection is made deep in the power supply for safe operation.

EXAIR offers a wide variety of static eliminators that are suited to specific applications. We are not resellers! Our static eliminators have been designed, manufactured, and tested right here in our building located in Cincinnati, OH. The products and the people that help you understand and apply them have been around for decades! And, new products are always being developed. We’ll be glad to help you out if you have a static electricity problem. Just give us a call, chat or e-mail!

Gary Gunkel
garygunkel@exair.com

Strive Together, Thrive Together

EXAIR has a customer who strives to improve the quality of their product. They are a manufacturer of flat rolled aluminum product and they have recently focused upon removing more lubricating oil from their aluminum roll stock. I learned that they already have a product of excellent reputation but that they were setting themselves apart from any competition if they were able to further improve the product quality.

That kind of philosophy is one EXAIR can relate to and contribute to, simply because we also subscribe to the same philosophy. In fact since the beginning of EXAIR in 1983, we have strived to reduce air consumption on first generation Air Knives, Air Nozzles, and Air Amplifiers. We now know our second generation products as Super Air Knives, Engineered Air Nozzles and Super Air Amplifiers because of all of the performance  improvements we have made.

So now we can provide a product which results from our striving for quality and performance to a customer with the same goal. The result is a thriving business relationship.

The Super Air Knife is a great example of a second generation product which uses 15% less air than our first generation Standard Air Knife. The Super Air Knife is still able to produce the force necessary to improve our customers product which will give them an advantage in a competitive market.

This particular application is as straight forward as they come; we outfitted his web with a 60″ Super Air Knife. The knife was mounted 6″ from the surface of his web at a 45 degree angle to the web, blowing upstream. It is as simple as that.

If your company also strives for improvement in order to thrive in today’s market, please let us help.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com

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