EXAIR Products Are No Strangers To The Assembly Line

Although most folks think of Henry Ford as the inventor of the assembly line, there’s evidence that “division of labor” was practiced in ancient China, where metal products were mass produced by skilled workers performing a specific evolution and then passing it on to another person for the next step. In fact, Oldsmobile’s assembly line actually predates Ford’s by a few years, but a host of innovations by Henry Ford and his team of engineers reduced the assembly time of a Model T from a day and a half, to an hour and a half. Maybe that’s why he gets so much credit for it.

Through the 20th Century, technological advances continued to revolutionize the process. Automation and robotics have allowed a combination of speed & precision that would have impressed even Henry Ford. The guy was a genius, so he would have caught on pretty quick, I’m sure. If you hadn’t guessed, it, yeah; I’m a big fan.

In addition to all the technological marvels on display, our visit to The Henry Ford museum also allowed my brother and me a cool photo-op with our all-time favorite vehicle.

EXAIR products are used for a variety of applications on assembly lines…blow off, static elimination, painting/coating, and even cleanup. I had the pleasure of assisting a user with that last one recently.

Turns out, they make automobile windows, and in the process of handling the glass windows, the metal & plastic frame pieces, the rubber seals, the protective tape, etc., they end up with a LOT of scrap as these parts go down their assembly conveyor. According to this caller, it looked like “New Year’s Eve at the end of every shift” when they stopped to clean up. By installing EXAIR Model 130200 2″ Light Duty Line Vacs at strategic locations, they’re able to pick up almost all of the debris from the whole process.

EXAIR Light Duty Line Vacs come in sizes from 3/4″ to 6″ to accommodate a wide variety of conveyance needs.

If you’d like to find out more about how EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can make an impact in your facility…safety, noise, efficiency, or otherwise…give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Super Air Knives Provide more Benefit than Blower Air Knives for Green Bean Processing

A customer who was experiencing some issues with a blow off process in their facility contacted EXAIR for a solution. This customer performs post-harvest processing operations on green beans and other vegetables after they’ve been picked. They were having a problem being able to remove excess moisture after the beans had been washed in cold water and keep additional moisture from forming once packaged. The process involved green beans exiting a wash cycle and moving along a belt conveyor. From there, they are dried by a series of blower style air knives. Shortly after being blown off, the beans are weighed and bagged. Once bagged, it was determined that there was too much moisture inside the package and they could not be shipped.

One common issue with blower style knives, and the fundamental issue in this application, is that the air is heated as it moves through the blower. Depending on the type of blower, outlet air temperatures in excess of 180°F are normal. The effect, in this case, was similar to a convection oven where hot air is circulated over the food to cook it. While the beans were not exposed for a long enough time to actually cook, the high temperature air exiting the blower was enough to raise the temperature of the beans. This caused additional moisture to come out from inside the beans after they were bagged and sealed. This is a condition that the customer wanted to avoid because it would lead to the beans drying out and losing their freshness which is a quality issue for the customer.

A second problem was the turbulent airflow from the blower knives causing the beans to be blown all around on the conveyor. The customer effectively had no control over how forcefully the airflow from the blower powered air knives impacted his product. They were either full-on or full-off. This resulted in less than desirable results from a dryness perspective and also caused damage to the product from the high impact disturbance of the blower air knives.

After talking it over with the customer and learning the specifics of the application, we determined that EXAIR’s Super Air Knife Kit Model 110212SS is able to address both of these issues. The airflow would be at ambient temperature, keeping the product at a desired colder temperature. The blowing force could be precisely adjusted with a pressure regulator so as not to cause damage to the product and provide a laminar airflow to strip the water from the product.

EXAIR’s Super Air Knives are available in 303 or 316 grade Stainless Steel to meet the more stringent requirements of many food grade applications. They also operate at a far lower sound level than blower powered air knives, are more compact for easier mounting, and do not involve the purchase of a blower package and associated ducting.

gh_SSSAK_750x696
Model 11006SS Stainless Steel Super Air Knife

Our Application Engineers can work closely with you to resolve any issues you may be having, even if compressed air isn’t currently a part of the process. If your process involves washing, drying, conveying, or packaging food or other products and you can relate to any of the issues above, please keep EXAIR Corporation in mind as a viable solutions provider. Contact an Application Engineer today and we’ll do our best to help you solve your application problems.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Cleaning Motor Fan Covers Using The Vac-u-Gun

Having a background in industrial process pumps prior to my time here at EXAIR, I have become quite familiar with many different  abbreviations used in the selection of a motor for a particular process. Terms like ODP – Open Drip Proof or TENV – Totally Enclosed Non-Vented all refer to the NEMA rating of an electrical motor. Since all of the products we manufacture here at EXAIR are compressed air operated and don’t require any electricity or motors to operate, these terms haven’t been as frequent in my day to day conversations with our customers.

However, last week that changed when I took a call from an industrial motor manufacturer looking for a way to draw cast iron chips out of the fan covers used on their “TEFC” motors or Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled. A TEFC motor,  the most commonly used motor in general duty, industrial processes, has an external fan on the back of the motor and provides cooling by moving air over the outside of the motor housing. After the fan covers are formed, they are sent to a mill where the vent holes are cut, which creates small chips that settle on the inside and outside of the cover. They have been using an air gun to blow the chips away but some of the chips have made their way behind the fan blades and settled on the shaft, resulting in damage to some fans and motors themselves during testing. They wanted some type of small, handheld device that would allow them to treat the individual opening and grooves on the cover to vacuum the chips away and carry them to a scrap recovery bin.

Example of a TEFC fan cover on the back of an industrial motor.

Once again, EXAIR had the perfect solution, the Model # 6292 Vac-u-Gun Transfer System. The Model # 6292 Transfer System includes the Vac-u-Gun, a 10′ transfer hose, extension wands and additional crevice, brush and skimmer tools. A Vac-u-Gun is an air gun which can used as both a blow gun to blow away debris or a hand held vacuum to suck debris into a filter bag or moved through a hose into a collection vessel (drum, tote, garbage can). This would provide them with the desired handheld device that would easily allow them to transfer the scrap chips the to their scrap recovery bin.

Model 6292 Transfer System

The Vac-u-Gun, like most of our products, are IN STOCK, ready to ship. Give me a call for help with product selection or to discuss your particular process.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN
Back of Motor image courtesy of Shane Gorski via Creative Commons license.

Getting A Little More Vacuum and Flow

Last week, a customer called and indicated that he was a long time user of the model 6013 High Velocity Air Jet.

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Model 6013 High Velocity Air Jet

The customer was using the Air Jet to remove light trim scrap from a manufacturing process. The Air Jets utilize the Coanda effect (wall attachment of a high velocity fluid) to produce air motion in their surroundings.  A small amount of compressed air to the Air Jet is throttled through an internal ring nozzle at speeds above sonic velocity.  In the above image, this produces a vacuum at the left side, pulling in large volumes of surrounding air. By utilizing this vacuum pull and ducting the right side exhaust, air and scrap stream to a collection area. The customer assembled a small, efficient, and inexpensive scrap removal system.

The reason the customer had called in was there were some recent changes to the manufacturing process and needed a bit more vacuum force and flow to handle larger scrap and longer travel. We explored using a larger shim, but they were already using the largest size (0.015″.) We talked about the other products that EXAIR offers (Air Amplifiers, Line Vacs) that are used for scrap removal and conveyance.  But with any change, there are usually other modifications and approvals that must be dealt with in order to proceed. So we hit upon the Adjustable Air Jet, which is an adjustable version of the model 6013.

6019
Model 6019 Adjustable Air Jet

The model 6019 Adjustable Air Jet utilizes an adjustable air gap in place of the fixed shim thickness.  This allows for greater air flow, which results in greater vacuum and conveyance distances. As is the case for many customers, we gathered some additional data to help this customer make a decision. We set up each of the units and tested them at maximum capabilities, and the model 6019 was shown to deliver upwards of 50% greater flow.  The customer felt certain this level of performance would handle what the changed process would require, and best of all, no modifications to any part of the set-up would be required, simply install the 6019 where the 6013 was currently placed.

The High Velocity Air Jet is also part of the model 1909 Blowoff Kit, and is also used in the model 8193 Ion Air Gun and model 8194 Ion Air Jet, for Static Elimination applications. Of course, each can be purchased as an individual item.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can make your process better, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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An E-Vac Improves Manufacturing of Contact Lenses

 

Contact Lens

Vacuum pumps have vanes, electric motors, and bearings that can wear out.

A contact lens manufacturer called EXAIR to ask about our E-Vac Vacuum Generators.  Their operation consisted of using a small vacuum cup to grab the contact lens for polishing.  Due to the long hours of operation, their mechanical vacuum pump would start to malfunction.  The vacuum pressure would start to decline, and the contact lens would begin to shift or fall off.  This would affect the clarity of the lens, and it would have to be rejected.

Our company found that the vanes in the vacuum pumps would start to wear. They would have to shut down the process to recondition the vanes, causing down time.  After a few times of refurbishing the pump heads, the bearings in the electric motors would then start to wear.  A loud high pitch noise would be generated, indicating that the motors needed to be replaced.  This would cause even more downtime.

EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generator

After carefully reviewing the customer’s needs, I suggested the model 810002M E-Vac High Vacuum Generator.  This model can create a vacuum level of 27” Hg with only using 2 SCFM of compressed air; perfect for holding the contact lens firm to the vacuum cup for polishing.  The E-Vac has no moving parts or bearing to wear out.  They use compressed air to generate a venturi vacuum, so the only maintenance is to clean or change the compressed air filter yearly.  Its compact size made the E-Vac more versatile than the much larger vacuum pump that it would replace.  The customer could mount the E-Vac much closer reducing the volume of air in the vacuum lines to evacuate.  This gave them an almost instantaneous vacuum at the lens which could improve the speed of the operation.

If you wish to eliminate downtime to fix, change, or recondition motors and pumps, the E-Vac could be the vacuum pump for you.  If you need help to size the correct model for your application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Contact Lens by Andy Simmons.  Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Keeping Sensitive Equipment Cool with an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler

The image above shows a sophisticated microscope used in a highly controlled environment to monitor living cells.  The end user of this microscope recently contacted the Application Engineering department at EXAIR in search of a method to cool the internal temperature of the microscope chamber from 22°C (72°F) to 14°C (57°F).

The small space of this application made the use of a typical refrigerant based air conditioner an impossibility.  But, near to this microscope is a source of very dry, clean, oil free compressed air – perfect for operating a Cabinet Cooler.

The internal heat load of this application was known by the end user, but the effects of external heat load on the application were still unclear.  In order to determine the full heat load of the application a Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide must be used to perform heat load calculations.  This document, once complete, allows EXAIR to determine both internal and external heat loads, which in turn allows us to determine the required Cabinet Cooler model number.

This application was served by the model 4325 Cabinet Cooler, which allowed for a cooling solution in tight spacing where a traditional air conditioning unit wouldn’t work.  The small and compact design of the Cabinet Cooler was the perfect fit for this customer and application need.  If you have an application in need of a cooling solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

It’s Earth Day! Do Your Part Tomorrow and Throughout the Year.

Saturday, April 22nd marks the 47th annual Earth Day and it will be observed in over 193 countries.  For EXAIR, this year marks our 34th year helping compressed air users save compressed air energy and electrical resources. It is also another year that we continue to focus on manufacturing our products with minimal impact and doing our part to help protect our planet. We are proud to manufacture efficient products, implement processes and programs throughout our facility to help use our resources wisely and recycle everything we possibly can. 

First and foremost, we manufacture and sell Intelligent Compressed Air Products that are specifically designed to reduce the use of compressed air throughout facilities.  On top of that, when you purchase an EXAIR product it will arrive in fully recyclable packaging and, in most cases, is made from a material that will be recyclable should it reach a point it is no longer useful.

EXAIR recycles 100% of the metal scrap from our machining processes, which equates to 6.5 tons. Our cardboard and mixed paper products are also recycled 100%. Of the waste we place into our trash dumpsters – 80% is recycled and 20% is sent to the landfill.  The paper products even get down to all of paper towels that are used and all the scratch paper that the office utilizes.   In total, EXAIR recycled tons 36.6 tons of paper and cardboard in 2016 which equates to 80% of the solid waste we produce is recycled.  We focus on more ways to improve this percentage every year (I am still trying to convince everyone to reuse the coffee and filters in the coffee maker).  Something about it got so thick you needed a spoon to “drink” your coffee.

Another waste reducing factor that has proven to work out well for EXAIR is asking every customer if they accept digital invoices rather than requiring them to be printed and mailed.   Thanks to our wonderful customers we have been able to eliminate 91% of all printed and mailed invoices which helps to reduce our resources used as well as the amount of materials that are possibly turned into solid wastes at their facilities. This also prevents the gas and vehicles necessary to deliver all of these invoices by mail. 

We also generate and recycle our wastewater for reclamation – in 2016 we recycled 1008 gallons. 

To get back to what EXAIR products have done to help reduce waste, we were also able to optimize our own compressed air system by eliminating air leaks and have saved 1 million cubic feet of compressed air.  We have also utilized our very own Chip Trapper Systems in our manufacturing areas and extended the water soluble coolant life from 6 weeks per changeover to 6 months per changeover. Keeping our coolant clean allows us to minimize the total amount of wastewater we recycle each year. 

On top of all the efforts above, we also continue to maintain RoHS compliance on all electronic products, as well as actively track our supply chains to ensure no Conflict Minerals are being sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

If you have any questions on how we can help your facility reduce their use of compressed air or why we continue to reduce our wastes and increase our recycling efforts, contact us.

To see our full Sustainability Plan follow this link.

Enjoy Your Weekend,
EXAIR Corporation

Thank you to Kate Ter Haar for the Happy Earth Day image. Creative Commons License.