Super Air Knives Save The Day, a Saw Blade, and Production Schedule

A large manufacturing shop recently purchased a high speed band saw to cut aluminum. It was equipped with a mechanical rotating brush system to clean the blade as it ran, but this was unable to keep up with the volume of coolant-soaked chips that were produced at higher speeds. They had two options:

*Run the saw at a slower speed (and actually, their production schedule would not allow this, so technically there was only one option…)
*Come up with a reliable method of cleaning the saw blade (this is where EXAIR comes in.)

The Maintenance Supervisor was familiar with the capabilities of the Super Air Knife from past career experience, so he got two Model 110003 3″ Aluminum Super Air Knives installed:

Super Air Knives remove chips and coolant from high speed band saw blade.

Super Air Knives remove chips and coolant from high speed band saw blade.

This has made a “night-and-day” difference for this sawing operation:
*In the first week they had the saw, they went through four saw blades…when the teeth get clogged with chips, they don’t cut right; they get hot; and they fail.
*The inability of the brush system to remove the chips caused them to accumulate in the belt pulley housings…operators were spending 2-3 hours A DAY just to shut down the saw and clean them out.
*The excess of chips also caused the blade’s guide bearings to fail, which caused almost a day’s worth of down time to replace.
*The Maintenance Supervisor was called to the saw repeatedly during the work day to address these, and many other minor, malfunctions due to the inability to remove the chips.

This saw is now operating at the capacity they intended when they purchased it.  All for about $400, and that includes the door hinge they used to install it and allow for precise positioning (how cool is that?)

EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products have a long reputation for saving the day…thirty-three years and counting.  How can we help you?  Give me a call and let’s find out.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Mini Cooler Provides Cooling Solution In Induction Heating Process

I was recently contacted by an automation company using an induction heating process to heat the flared end of 2 nickel alloy parts, less than 1″ long with a 7/8″ flared end. The parts are only a few inches apart and they are heating the flared end to around 170°C and holding the temperature for about 1 second. They then cool the flared ends by using compressed air blowing through a homemade manifold with drilled holes directing the air across the parts to cool them to room temperature. The homemade manifolds were being used because they were behind schedule on the original project and needed a “quick fix”. While the current setup was working, they were using approximately 30 SCFM of compressed air with a cooling time of around 10 seconds and the operation was very loud. Looking to make some improvements to reduce the amount of air they were using, decrease the cooling cycle and lower the sound level, they turned to EXAIR for assistance.

I recommended they use our Model # 3308 Mini Cooler System with two cold outlets. The Mini Cooler incorporates a Vortex Tube and provides a 50°F temperature drop from compressed air supply temperature – in this case the outlet temperature from the Mini Cooler will be about 30°F. The dual point hose kit splits the cold airflow into two separate airstreams, allowing for a wider treatment area, or in this particular application, the ability to cool two separate parts with just one device. The unit consumes only 8 SCFM @ 100 PSIG, much less than the current 30 SCFM the customer is using now, and produces a low sound level of only 76 dBA. It also incorporates a swivel magnetic base, so installation is simple, making it easy to replace the existing setup.

Mini Cooler

Model 3308 Mini Cooler System – includes Mini Cooler, Dual Point Hose Kit, Swivel Mag Base and Filter Separator.

If you have a cooling application you would like to discuss, please contact one of our application engineers at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

E-vac and Vacuum Cups for Lifting Saw Cut Aluminum Bar Stock

E-vac brick

E-vac and vacuum cups lift, large, heavy objects!

Our Chinese distributor had a customer who was producing the aluminum pieces that are formed into wheels for the automotive industry. Their process involved saw cutting large diameter, aluminum bar stock so it could be further processed.

The problem was once the parts were saw cut, they were slippery and difficult to handle. So, the customer was looking for a good way to handle these parts that was safe and effective for the operator as well. Our distributor offered the idea of using vacuum cups and an EXAIR E-vac for the project.

We determined that the aluminum raw stock that would be picked up would have an effective diameter of 254 mm on which vacuum cups could pick up the part for transfer. Also, the parts could weigh up to 45 kilos. So, we needed to find a vacuum cup (or cups) that could pick up that much weight with the surface area allotted to us. After reviewing our options, we came to the conclusions that (3) model 900759 vacuum cups would have a combined lifting capacity of 100 kilos when powered at -71 kPa vacuum. These vacuum cups have a 108 mm diameter and so can fit nicely in a triangular orientation on the saw cut area of the aluminum part.

Then came the part where we recommend which E-vac generator to use. We already calculated in our usual 2X safety factor for weight being lifted. So we are quite confident that the cups can do their job as long as sufficient vacuum could be maintained. We are lifting solid aluminum, so we know the material is non-porous. So, that’s the version of the E-vacs we will take into consideration for the project.

The part about determining which E-vac to recommend is not as clear cut and well defined as picking the vacuum cups is. So we must use our best judgement based on the weight of the item, the size and number of vacuum cups being used, and the surface finish of the material. Since the material will be somewhat on the heavy side and it would be a real problem if it were dropped, I recommended our distributor go with one E-vac vacuum generator per each vacuum cup. The vacuum generator I recommended was from the middle of the available models from a performance standpoint. That was model 810008M (8.4 SCFM Non-porous E-vac with straight through muffler). In this way, if one cup were to lose vacuum for whatever unforeseen reason, the other two could still support the full weight of the object as it is being lifted and moved.

Once the customer had their lifting fixture fabricated and the E-vacs with vacuum cups mounted, the lifting unit worked very well to address the customer’s concerns about worker productivity and safety.

E-vacs can be used for a variety of tasks, but lifting and placing applications tend to be the more prevalent ones. If you have a lifting or moving application of your own and think that vacuum technology might be useful, contact us with your questions. We thrive on helping folks like you solve such problems in industry.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR

A Super Air Knife Improves Bagel Operations

Plain Bagel

Plain Bagel

Did you ever wonder how that deep brown crust is created on pretzels and bagels? There’s just a little more to it than toasting them under a burner.

A process engineer from a well-known bagel company contacted me about a problem in their operation. They were having issues containing the lye solution in a dip tank that the bagels are run through. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is a very corrosive, alkali substance.  When handling this liquid solution,  personnel protection equipment (PPE) is required to protect skin and eyes.  The engineer found evidence of the lye solution dripping from the conveyor onto other components in the process.  For safety, maintenance and cleanliness, he needed to find a way to contain the lye in the dip tank area.

The conveying system used a gear-driven sprocket to move the conveyor. The conveyor was a 30” wide open-mesh belt with chain links attached to the outside for the sprocket.  It was used to move the bagel dough into a dipping station which contained the lye solution.  As you can imagine, there are plenty of areas for the solution to collect into these voids of the belt and drip downstream.  The dough would soak up the solution and then travel into the oven for baking.  As the dough is heated, the lye will start to react with the steam and bagel proteins, turning it into something safe to eat. This Maillard reaction creates the browning of the dough and that yummy crust on the outside.

SS Super Air Knife

SS Super Air Knife

To keep the process safe and clean, they had to keep the lye solution in the dipping area. Because the concentration of the lye was very low, we recommended a stainless steel Super Air Knife.  (EXAIR offers a variety of materials for different types of chemicals)  The engineer ordered model 110030SS Super Air Knife, mounted it above the conveyor, and aimed it in a counter-flow direction to the conveyor travel.  As the belt exited the solution, the Super Air Knife would blow the excess from the mesh and the links back into the dip tank.  This kept the area clean and safe from the caustic solution.

If you have similar processes with caustic or corrosive chemicals that need to be contained, we would be glad to discuss your application and determine which of our products would be helpful to keep your processes, personnel and facility safe.

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

 

“Plain bagel” image courtesy of dreamcatt115Creative Commons License

Using Ion Air Cannons To Help Assemble Motorcycles

15573308242_b8e0966e93_k

The body panels on motorcycles can carry a static charge, shocking personnel assembling the bikes

One of the more fun applications I’ve worked through involving the Ion Air Cannon, was for a major motorcycle manufacturer.  In their assembly plant, motorcycles would transition from bare frames to complete bikes ready for the road.

In one stage of this transformation, the body panels were installed onto the motorcycles, fully painted and ready to go.  But, there was a problem with static in the assembly area, causing shocks to the assembly personnel and slowing down the process.  Multiple solutions had been tried, such as grounding straps and anti-static floor mats, but they didn’t work.

What did work was an Ion Air Cannon mounted above each installation area, with the ionized air “raining” down from atop the bikes.  As the bikes entered into this ionized airflow, they were treated for static and completely neutralized.  And, with a low operating pressure, low compressed air consumption, and low noise levels, the solution was a welcome one for the manufacturer.

I’ve helped our customers with Ion Air Cannons time and time again, but this application always stands out to me.  It highlights the versatility of the product, the ease of use, and the immediate results available for our customers when they implement EXAIR solutions.

If you’re facing a static problem, we’re here to help discuss solutions.  Feel free to contact an EXAIR Application Engineer with application specifics.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

 

Photo courtesy of David RosenCreative Commons License.  Image reference here.

Another “Bucket And Ladder” Operation, Foiled By The Line Vac

Let me start by saying that EXAIR Corporation has nothing against buckets. Or ladders. We use them both here for a variety of tasks, and are very satisfied with them. But when they’re used together…that’s where we’re going to take exception. And we’re not the only ones.

I had the pleasure of speaking to an expert technician with a company that provides world class water recycling equipment & services. They use our Model 140200 2″ NPT Threaded Aluminum Line Vacs to move bentonite clay (an amazingly versatile purification & absorption media) from 50 lb bags into a hopper. It is then dispersed into a holding tank of oily water, where it removes the pollutants and impurities, allowing for clean recycling.  And, since they no longer have to carry it up a ladder and pour it in, it’s also safer and more efficient.

Model 140200 2" NPT Aluminum Threaded Line Vac moves bentonite clay into water recycling tank.

Model 140200 2″ NPT Aluminum Threaded Line Vac moves bentonite clay into water recycling tank.

EXAIR Corporation is committed to being proactive about the way we impact the environment. Our Sustainability Plan details the way we do this in regards to our responsible consumption of resources, our conscientious waste recycling measures, and the comprehensive impact of our products…everything from materials & design, to their efficient usage, to packaging. So, when our products are used in  application geared toward like-minded goals, it’s a win-win-win. For EXAIR, our customers, and the environment.

This is one of many ways that EXAIR’s diverse line of compressed air products are not only making processes more efficient, but making the world a better place through dedication to being “clean and green.” If you’d like to know more, please give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Vortex Tube Cold Fractions

Vortex Tubes are the perfect solution when dealing with a variety of spot cooling applications. They use compressed air to produce a cold air stream and a hot air stream, with temperatures ranging from as low as -50°F  up to +260°F (based on ambient supply temperature) and providing as much as 10,200 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity. By simply adjusting the valve in the hot end of the Vortex Tube, you are able to control the “cold fraction” which is the percentage of air consumed by the vortex tube that is exhausted as cold air versus the amount of air exhausted as hot air. Our small, medium and large Vortex Tubes provide the same temperature drop and rise, it’s the volume of air that changes with the various sizes.

Vortex Tubes

Vortex Tubes are available in small, medium and large sizes with various flows and cooling capacities.

When looking at the below performance chart, you will see that “Pressure Supply” and “Cold Fraction %” setting all play a part in changing the performance of the Vortex Tubes. Take for example, an operating pressure of 100 PSIG and cold fraction setting of 20%, you will see a 123°F drop on the cold side versus a 26°F temperature rise on the hot side. By the using the same Vortex Tube and keeping the operating pressure at 100 PSIG but changing the cold fraction to 80%, you will now see a 54°F temperature drop on the cold side and a 191° rise at the hot end.

Vortex Tube Performance Data

Vortex Tube Performance Chart

We’ve looked at how the cold fraction changes the temperature, but how does it change the flow for the various Models?

Say you are using a Model # 3240 Medium Vortex Tube which consumes 40 SCFM @ 100 PSIG. Again with the cold fraction set at 80% (80% of the consumed compressed air out of the cold end), you would flow 32 SCFM at the cold air exhaust.

40 SCFM x 0.8 (80% CF) = 32 SCFM

Using the same Model # 3240 Medium Vortex Tube but now with a 20% cold fraction (20% of consumed compressed air out of the cold end), you would flow 8 SCFM at the cold exhaust.

40 SCFM x 0.20 (20% CF) = 8 SCFM

As you can see, to achieve the colder air temperatures, the volume of cold air being exhausted is reduced as well. This is important to consider when making a Model selection. Some other considerations would be the operating pressure which you can see also has a significant effect on performance. Also the compressed air supply temperature because the above temperatures are temperature differentials, so in the example of the 80% cold fraction there is a 115F temperature drop from your inlet compressed air temperature.

If you need additional assistance, you can always contact myself or another application engineer and we would be happy to make the best selection to fit your specific need.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

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