In trying to cut over-all costs, companies are reviewing process flows throughout their plant. A CO2 cartridge manufacturer was following that same strategy. They wanted to move the silk-screening process that marked the outside of the cartridges to a different location. Currently, the operators would have to pick up bins to move them about 50 feet (15 meters) to the packaging area. They currently were using blower-type vacuum systems in other parts of their process to move the cartridges through different stages. But, the bulkiness and noise level of the blower system made them have to find an alternative way; so, they contacted EXAIR.
For their process, they would start with a steel cap. The metal caps would run through a series of different forms where round punches would “redraw” the metal into a final diameter and thickness. Once it is finished through this process, it would look like a test tube. The metal tubes would have the ends heated and pressed with a set of different dies to create the “neck” region. The “neck” section would be cut and lathe to make a sealing edge. The cylinders would then go through a washing and drying system to clean. Once dried, they would travel to the filling station where the cylinders would be partly filled with liquid CO2, and then capped. The bare steel cylinders would move through a zinc-coating process for protection and appearance. The filled cartridges would then be inspected by quality control prior to screen printing on the outer diameter. The finished CO2 cartridges had an outer diameter of ¾” (19mm) (reference photo below). Once they are printed, the shipping staff would carry them to their department for packing.
The process flow change for this company was to move the silk-screening process about 50 feet (15 meters) from the current position. With an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor or Line Vac™, the QC department can transfer the cartridges to the screen printer near the packaging department. This would stop the needless handling of the filled bins between the printing station and the packaging station. Not only did this speed up packaging, but it also ergonomically helped the operators from lifting and carrying.
For the material, distance, and size; I recommended the model 152125 1 ¼” Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit. This Line Vac is made from a hardened alloy material which makes them resistant to abrasion and wear. The throat diameter has a clearance of 1” (25mm) which is enough to carry the ¾” (19mm) diameter cartridges. With a kit, it will also include a filter, regulator and a bracket. The filter will help keep the Line Vac and the cylinders clean. The regulator will allow for flexibility in conveyance rates, distances, and speeds. The bracket helps to mount the Line Vac to a sturdy base for support. With the small footprint and compact design, it was easy to set up and use as a simple conveyor.
After installation, the Production Manager was amazed by the simplicity of the design and the ease of operation. He could also reduce maintenance cost without having to change intake filters, check bearings, monitor electrical controls, and replace any failed motors within the blower-type system. The EXAIR Line Vacs do not have any moving parts to wear; so, they are reliable and long-lasting. Overall, as compared to the blower-type systems; the cost, set-up, and operation were greatly improved with the EXAIR Line Vac. They were so happy in meeting the criteria above; the Production Manager mentioned that he would be replacing their existing blower systems when they fail. And as mentioned above with all the transfers to the different stations, there would be many spots for the EXAIR Line Vac to be used.
If you need to convey materials like cartridges, steel shot or abrasive products, the Heavy Duty Line Vac could be a blessing for you. Not only can they transfer material safely and quickly, but they also will ergonomically help in saving the backs and knees of your operators. How can this get any better? Until the end of October 2020, we are running a promotional ad for our U.S. and Canadian customers. You will receive a 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle, a $72.00 value, free with qualified purchases online. If you would like to discuss any of your conveying application, please contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We may have a solution for you.