This week I worked with a candy company who was looking to improve their overflow product recovery. When their bulk bagging machine is inoperable, the wrapped candy bars are sent to an overflow container where they are manually scooped out by an operator. This process was causing damage to the bars and wrappers, as well as presenting an ergonomic hazard to the employee, so they called EXAIR for a solution.
I recommended using our Line Vac Air Operated Conveyor. The Line Vac connects to hose or pipe to create an inline conveyor and is able to move large amounts of material over long distances, requires no electricity, has no moving parts, and provides maintenance free operation, making it the ideal choice for this application.
After discussing the details with the customer, they were concerned that the candy bars and wrappers, getting picked up by the airflow and transported through the hose, might continue to be damaged. I advised that by using a pressure regulator they could control the vacuum/conveying rate by increasing or decreasing the supply pressure, but their concern remained. I then offered to perform a conveyance test at our facility, if they were willing to send product. The customer agreed and was kind enough to send some of the candy, with some extra bags inside for the staff here at EXAIR. (Which is pretty awesome! I mean, FREE candy? Who doesn’t love that?!)
Our set up included our 3″ Line Vac with a 10′ section of 3” conveyance hose on the vacuum side and a horizontal conveyance run of approximately 35′, with a 13′ vertical run into a soft sided hopper. We were successful in conveying approximately 9.9 lbs. per minute, when operating at 80 PSIG, with no broken candy bars and no damage to the wrappers. We also determined that 40 PSIG inlet pressure was the lowest they could run the operation, if they were okay with a lower convey rate.
We provided the results to the customer and included a short video of our testing. Intrigued by the results, they are now looking in to other possible applications throughout their facility.