Can an Air Amplifier Be Used As A Vacuum Generator for a Vacuum Chuck?

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Adjustable Air Amplifier

I had a recent discussion with one of our overseas distributors whose customer buys a lot of the Air Amplifier model 6040 for another application and wanted to know if they could adapt it to a new application as a vacuum generator.

The customer’s need was to produce a vacuum of -400 mbar (-11.81” Hg) for the application. The input pressure at which they needed to produce this vacuum level was 6 BARG. The customer needed a vacuum flow of about 57 liters per minute which is not too high for us to consider.

My colleague at our distributor asked me if I could run a test to see if the model 6040 (3/4” Aluminum Adjustable Air Amplifier) could produce the needed vacuum level with 6 BARG input pressure. This is something I could do rather easily with some fixtures we already had made up in our lab. So, I set up the test and ran the Air Amplifier at 6 BARG input pressure. The unit, at its stock air gap setting was able to produce about -131 mbar(-3.87” Hg) of vacuum. I tried adjusting the input pressure and the air gap setting on the Air Amplifier. The lowest vacuum I was able to achieve was in the range of about -178 mbar (-5.26” Hg). Since this vacuum level was not close to the prescribed need, I advised my colleague of the values and told him that model 6040 would not work for this case.

And so, in the spirit of one of my favorite TV shows, Mythbusters, I then asked the question, “What would it take to produce a vacuum level of at least 400 mbar and 57 liters of vacuum flow?”. After consulting my handy dandy, new EXAIR Catalog 28 I was able to find the data I needed to resolve to a model number recommendation. My search using the data above led me to the Adjustable E-vac model 840015M which is our second smallest out of four possible models available. The designation of the “M” at the end of the model means the unit is included with a straight through muffler for sound attenuation, an all important feature for vacuum generators.

Model 840015M specifications indicate it has ability to produce vacuum flow of 114.7 liters per minute when powered at 5.5 BARG while producing a vacuum of -406 mbar (-12” Hg). This model has capacity to produce vacuum levels all the way to -847 mbar (-25” Hg) if necessary, so having plenty of head room for this recommendation to go higher will be no problem at all.

The morals of the story are: If you think you might have a crazy idea, it probably isn’t so crazy after all. If you have a scenario that you think we might be able to test with our equipment, we’ll sure give it a try if we can. Finally, new Catalog 28 is packed full of good information to help make determinations based on performance characteristics much easier so that we can make what we feel is a firm recommendation. And if we don’t think something is a viable idea or can’t be done, we will be sure to let you know that too.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com

@EXAIR_NR

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