Line Vac Application: Hopper Loading for Injection Molding Machine

LV App

Sometimes when we talk about applications for our products, we tend to try and discuss the ones that really stick out in our minds because of some unusual factor. Today, I’m going to do the opposite. By that I mean I ‘m going to discuss one of the most popular Line Vac applications which we generally refer to as hopper loading.

In this scenario, the customer has a machine processing a raw material. In this case, the machine is a plastic injection molding machine and processes plastic pellets. Above you can see how the Line Vac is set to suck the pellets out of a super sack (jumbo bag) and into a raw material use hopper. The hopper then feeds material into a machine feed hopper at a controlled pace that keeps up with the machine’s capability for material use. This kind of application highlights the usefulness of the Line Vac for what we call “bucket and ladder” applications where the Line Vac unit itself replaces the action of an operator climbing a ladder with a bucket of the raw material and dumping manually. The customer has implemented a PLC which controls both the solenoid valve to turn the Line Vac on and off. It also controls the knife gate valve (KGV) to allow material to flow into the machine feeder.

The material is conveyed into the raw material bin with model 6064 (2” Stainless Steel Line Vac) in this case. When the hopper is filled to a pre-determined level, a sensor in the hopper lets the PLC know that it is full and the PLC sends a command to shut the solenoid valve. This action simply repeats itself over and over again, freeing the operator to do other, more important tasks.

And that is the point of the implementation of many of our products: To provide product to our customers, who want to design a system for their processes to allow improved productivity, safety, conserve compressed air, increase force and reduce air noise. The nice thing is that our products do not have any moving parts to wear out. So longevity for these applications is another nice feature our customers can count on.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer


Minor Adjustments, Advice From An Expert Source

It’s not every day that we hear a customer say that our products aren’t consuming ENOUGH air, but that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday. I received a call from one of our long-standing customers who was experiencing reduced air consumption with our Model # 3202 Vortex Tube. The Vortex Tube uses compressed air to create a stream of cold air and a stream of hot air, providing a temperature range from -50°F to +260°F and cooling capacity up to 10,200 Btu/hr. Also, these units have no moving parts and are virtually maintenance free, making them the ideal choice for a variety of industrial spot cooling applications.

Vortex Tubes

This particular customer has been purchasing this model for several years, so they are pretty familiar with the performance and operation of the unit. They advised they were used to seeing air consumption at approximately 60 liters/minute or 2 SCFM (exactly what the Model # 3202 is designed to consume at 100 psig inlet pressure) but were starting to experience about a 50% drop to 30 liter/minute or 1 SCFM. We discussed the common troubleshooting:

  • Low supply pressure? (measuring at the inlet of the Vortex Tube during operation)
  • Compressed air inlet temperature? (warmer than ambient air – reducing performance)
  • Reduced cold flow? (possible clog from contaminants in the compressed air supply)
  • Unit seeing any back pressure? (up to 2 PSIG is acceptable, 5 PSIG will reduce approximately 5°F)
  • Over-tightened Cold Cap or Cold Muffler? (is it too tight?)

The customer advised they were using a push-to-lock fitting, where they drilled out the center and then would install it in the Cold Cap of the Vortex Tube. Their operator would hold the body of the Vortex Tube, by the air inlet, then take a wrench and thread the fitting into the ¼” NPT female opening on the Cold Cap. Without realizing, the operator was also turning the Cold Cap which was causing it to become over-tightened.  This in turn would reduce the consumption of the unit because it would shrink the internal air chamber.

Vortex Tube Exploded View


I made the suggestion to my customer to slightly loosen the Cold Cap and see if that didn’t fix the consumption issue. They called me back about an hour later and were very pleased to advise that now the unit was “working great!”.

We want to help you maximize our products, while optimizing your compressed air system. If you have a similar performance issue or would like to discuss your application, please contact us.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer

Dirty Compressed Air Consequences Are Avoidable

I would like to discuss the importance of clean and dry filtered air.  This all comes from some discussions I have had with customers over my time here at EXAIR, as well as from my time in the machine tool industry. It is notable to state that we simply ask for clean/dry air to run through our products, not “instrument” or “process” air which is typically held at a different pressure, temperature, or volume and can be more expensive to generate. All of EXAIR’s products use general plant air and can be cleaned up with simple point of use filters.

Clean and dry compressed air is essential for ensuring a long and easy life of almost any compressed air product.   One product in particular that I have some data on is the EXAIR Line Vac.  The pictures below show the inside wall of a Stainless Steel Line Vac.  This unit was used in a harsh outdoor environment.   The compressor was not maintained and did not have any form of filtration on the lines feeding the Line Vac unit. The first picture shows where all the dirt and particulate were impacting the internal generator wall as it entered the air chamber.

Damaged Generator

The two dark grey marks are actually the impact points on the unit.   There is only one air inlet on the Line Vac, this means that the unit was taken apart during the two months and actually inspected then put back together and the generator was rotated slightly during this process.  These spots are similar to what sandblasting does to metal, just to illustrate how much particulate was in the air stream. Since the air has not yet reached its full velocity within the Line Vac, it has left only those visible surface blemishes.

As the air begins to exit the array of small generator holes it begins to rapidly increase in velocity while it is trying to expand to atmospheric conditions.  Because of this increased velocity, the wear the generator holes experience is greater and as seen below it is causing some extreme wear.

Worn Generator Holes

To give you an idea of what a new generator should look like is below. Here you can see uniform holes that go precisely through the generator.


To prevent a disaster like this from happening to your end-use compressed air products, all you need are some simple, low maintenance filters.   EXAIR offers dirt / water filter separators that will filter your compressed down to 5 micron particulate size.   The will catch the good majority of rust, water, and dirt within your compressed air system.   Then you can also install an oil removal filter which will filter all oils and particulate out of your compressed air system down to 0.03 micron particulate level.

Each of these units are great point of use filtration to keep any of your processes from experiencing what this Line Vac experienced.   If you have any questions about the quality of your compressed air or why you are seeing failures in product on your compressed air system, contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

Knowledge Is More Powerful than Hardware

Two weeks ago, my wife and I went shopping for a wearable baby carrier for our new son. We had searched on the internet for prices and materials for the carriers, but to make the final purchase, we wanted purchase it from a store. With the rest of our baby purchases, I was able to talk to my brother, sister-in-law, or coworkers to get a feel for brands and products.  For some items, a brand name was well worth the expense, and for other items any version would do.  Some of the great advice we got was that any garbage can with a lid made a good diaper pail, because even the best smell eliminating filtration would not contain the smell that will build up, if you don’t change the bag early and often. However, when it came to a wearable baby carrier, it was a new age item in my family, so no one we knew had one we could try.

Also, we didn’t know anyone who was currently using a brand that gave a good review or had a lot of experience, so we had to rely on what we could put together from the internet. We surfed the internet and found videos put out by several companies and how-to’s done by the DIY folks, but couldn’t determine a clear way we wanted to go, because on the internet everything seems great. So, we pack the 5 day old infant up in the SUV, and head to the store to see what we can find. We went to the big box store and found some inexpensive carriers that came with all sorts of nylon fiber, straps,  and snaps, but no one was there to help us or had any idea, which product might work better for us.

book of knowledge


With the cost of the this carrier in mind, we went to the more boutique shop to see what we might find. The store is a small shop that is known for selling specialty products that are outside of the normal baby shower gifts. Here, we were greeted at the door by a helpful gentleman, who asked how he could help. He promptly pointed us the carriers he stocked and encouraged us to look around and open the packaging to see, if his products would work out for us. He freely admitted that he did not have a lot of experience with the specifics of each brand, but gave us the name and contact number of a clerk who specialized in the field. This clerk also taught classes to better understand how to use the product. The man encouraged us to attend the class and advised us, if we want to get one today, we would be welcome to return it. My wife was able to try the different brands, and see what work for her. With the baby carrier we eventually bought, we found detailed print instructions and a website that we could pull up on our phone with video and photos of several applications. She went ahead and tried out the carrier with the baby, and we browsed through the rest of the store.  After 45 minutes of shopping, my son was sleeping in the carrier and my wife successfully avoiding the women’s clothing section of the store. Whew

We purchased the carrier that day feeling confident that it would work for us, but knowing that if we had a problem that a person would be able to help us, if we returned the item. Though the man minding the store didn’t know the answers to all our questions, he did know how to get the answers to our questions, and encouraged us to try out his products to see, if they would fit our needs. When we got home and looked at what we bought, it really was a simple device – some fabric and a few metal rings that we may have been able to make or source ourselves. In most instances, I would have had a small amount of buyers remorse, because the product I had purchased was more expensive than what we could have purchased at the big box store. But with the confidence I had that the purchase was perfect for us, I would buy the same product again.

Working at EXAIR, I really enjoying sharing our success stories with other customers.  Though we are always going to speak about our products in the best light, we can tell you with confidence whether or not our products are going to work in your application. Having a knowledgeable sales staff that knows our products and its application is not an easy commodity to come by, but one that I value in the businesses from which I purchase. EXAIR’s Application Engineers are available over the phone, through email or with a chat. Don’t hesitate to ask any question about our products or your application.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer


Image from Tessss. Creative Commons License

Cooling Hot Cameras with EXAIR Super Air Amplifiers

Sometimes, the design of an application is a perfect fit for the application purpose until parameters change.  For instance, if ambient temperatures creep a little higher than normal, or workflow increases and machine cycle times are longer than they were planned to be initially, unwanted downtime can become a problematic reality.

Ambient temperatures are sometimes an uncontrollable variable, and increased workflow is a blessing all businesses hope to have.  But, when these, or other, variables change and a process disturbance starts to affect productivity, a viable solution becomes a necessity.

Solving industry problems is the backbone of EXAIR products.  Whether the need is cooling, cleaning, coating, conveying, or conserving (compressed air), there is a good chance we can offer a viable solution.

For example, a global fabrics manufacturer contacted me to discuss a problem with their quality control system.  As they make their proprietary fabrics, they are inspected through a semi-enclosed camera system to ensure the product form is to spec.  As summer temperatures have increased for their U.S. operations, and as demand for their fabrics has increased, the fabric output and the heat within the facility has noticeably increased.  With increased output comes increased use of the quality control camera system, and with increased heat comes the additional heat load upon the cameras components.

This customer was getting by using some air flow generated by a blower to cool the cameras, but blowers heat the output air flow. Ultimately the blowers added too much heat to the higher ambient temperatures and the cameras were failing.

Given the setup of the quality control system, which used (6) cameras atop a semi-enclosed QC station, Super Air Amplifiers were found to present the best solution.  The Air Amplifiers can use large volumes of ambient air to convectively remove the heat building up upon the cameras.  Super Air Knives could also be used, but Super Air Amplifiers were chosen based on airflow pattern (conical vs. laminar airflow).  The Super Air Amplifiers were able to replace the existing, underperforming and problematic blowers to improve production capacity and workflow in this application.

If you have an application in need of increased uptime and think EXAIR products or engineers may be able to help, give us a call.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

The Rate Is Right?

This morning, we played our own little version of a popular segment of the game show “The Price Is Right,” right here in the Application Engineering department. Brian Farno (our manager and host extraordinaire) presented us with a question (that he already knew the answer to after speaking with a current customer):

What would you expect the conveyance rate to be, for an EXAIR Model 6083 1-1/2” Aluminum Line Vac, conveying hot-melt glue pellets, across a total distance of 15 feet vertically & 100 feet horizontally? (And please note we normally have a bulk density in lbs./ft3 and/or other associated information about pipe bends, product shape etc. – but we took our best shot at it anyway).

Our office doesn't look like this.  I kinda wish it did, though...
Our office doesn’t look like this. I kinda wish it did, though…

We didn’t have those cool podiums to stand behind that recorded our answers on the screen, but here’s what we came up with:

Russ Bowman: 5 lbs per minute
Dave Woerner: 10 lbs per minute
Justin Nicholl: 8 lbs per minute
Professor Penurious: 1 lb per minute (Insert $1 bid joke here)

Now, we had all referenced our wealth of data charts for conveyance rates with our Line Vac product series. We used several very different materials over a few different lengths/heights, and use that data to estimate what a user might expect to see, based on how close their application is to our actual test conditions. I actually used this data for my answer – a 1-1/2” Aluminum Line Vac conveyed tumbling media (64 lbs/cu ft; the lowest bulk density material we tested for) at a rate of about 5-1/2 lbs/minute, going 20 feet vertically.

Left: hot-melt glue pellets.  Right: tumbling media
Left: hot-melt glue pellets. Right: tumbling media

Turns out, Dave came the closest without going over: they were actually getting a little over 11 lbs per minute…again, going 15 feet up and 100 feet over. The user was so pleased with the results, they’re incorporating a Line Vac in a similar application, involving hot-melt glue pillows. We’ve now added their data to our database and are pleased with the knew knowledge.

If you have an application involving hopper loading, bulk material conveying, chip removal, parts transfer, etc., and would like to find out how an EXAIR Line Vac can help, give me a call. We might both be impressed with the results. Come on down!

Professor Penurious, by the way, is still concentrating on hosting the game shows.  Stay tuned…

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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New Beginnings

It’s been a big week for the Nicholl family as our 5 year old son started Kindergarten. On Monday night we had orientation where we learned all the new rules/policy changes for the upcoming year and he was able to meet his new teacher and classmates. He was a little nervous at first because there are 19 kids in this year’s Kindergarten class and last year in K-4 there were only 8. But his anxieties were relieved relatively quickly as 4 of his previous classmates were in this year’s class, including his “best bud”. To make things even “more awesomer” (he is only 5), they were all going to be able to sit together – which I kindly advised his new teacher that she may want to reconsider this choice. Five little buddies all sitting together? That may not be the easiest situation to handle! – HAHA.


Wednesday was the big first day so of course it was an event – Mommy, Daddy, Nana and Maw Maw were all there to welcome him to, as he refers to it, “big boy school”. He went straight in to the room, took out his snack then went out in the hallway to hang up his book bag in his locker. Locker? I didn’t have a locker in Kindergarten! That’s when my little guy reminded me – “Dada, this is big boy school, of course I have a locker now!” He then said his goodbyes to us, walked right back in to the room, sat down at his desk and started going through his new supply box. We all left happy and were relieved that he was so excited to start this new chapter in his life. As his father, it is a little bittersweet watching our little man grow up so fast but it is “awesomer” to see him also expand his learning.

At EXAIR we are always striving to grow and expand too. We recently released our new Catalog # 27 which includes some of our exciting new Intelligent Compressed Air Product additions:

One-piece construction Super Air Knives from 3” – 108” – available in Aluminum, 303 and 316 Stainless Steel, and PVDF (PVDF up to 54″) construction.

Internal Mix Deflected Flat Fan Pattern Atomizing Nozzle – designed for tight spaces with spray pattern at a right angle to the nozzle orientation

Internal Mix 360° Hollow Circular Pattern Atomizing Nozzle – designed so the spray pattern is directed away from the nozzle in all directions

No Drip Internal Mix Deflected Flat Fan and Internal Mix 360° Hollow Circular Atomizing Nozzles – the same features as above but also provide the stopping of liquid flow when compressed air is turned off

High Lift Reversible Drum Vac System – with its high powered vacuum, this system is able to vacuum liquids up to 15’. Available in 30, 55 and 110 Gallon

110 Gallon Heavy Duty HEPA Vac – meeting all the HEPA requirements but now available in 110 Gallon capacity

Catalog 27

To discuss how these new products may work with your process(es) or any of our other products may benefit your current system, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer