Application Database: Compressed Air Use in the Food & Beverage Industry

EXAIR uses many different methods to connect with our customers.  We have our website, social media, blogs, publications etc. We like to share solutions for some of the most common pneumatic problems in the industry.  EXAIR generated a large collection of application information where EXAIR products have already solved problems and improved processes.  We organized them by Application and by Industry.  In this blog, I will show you how to use the Application database; specifically, for the Food and Beverage Industry.

Compressed Air Systems are considered to be a fourth utility within industries because they use a large amount of energy.  Whether an air compressor uses fuel for portable units or electricity, it is important to use this system as efficiently as possible.  This would apply to the Food and Beverage industry.  EXAIR has a library of different processes in which we already improved these areas safely and efficiently.  If you are in the Food and Beverage industry, it would benefit you to take a peek at the implementations where we already improved, establish OSHA safety, and saved money.

Here is how you can find this library.  First, you will have to sign into EXAIR.  Click here: Log In.  Once you fill in the proper information, you can then retrieve a great amount of resources about EXAIR products that we manufacture.   The Application Database is under the Knowledge Base tab.  (Reference photo below).

At the Application Search Library, we have over one thousand application that we reference.  In the left selection pane, we organized then in alphabetical order under two categories, Applications and Industry.   (Reference photo below).

Scroll down in the selection pane until you come to the sub-category: Industry.  Under this Sub-category, you will find three selections that are related to this blog: Food and Beverage, Food Packaging, and Food Processing.  We have other applications that may relate to your process like; Beverage Bottling and Beverage.  You will find many applications that EXAIR has already helped to improve and it is documented.

Why is this important?  If you are a plant manager or owner, the value of the Application Database can improve your current processes with pre-qualified results.  Within the Food and Beverage industry, simple solutions can be found to address those “nagging” issues that you see every day.  For crisis situations and shutdowns, EXAIR categorized these applications in a way to reference quickly and easily.  And since EXAIR has a high volume of stocked quality items, we can get the parts to you very fast; minimizing downtime.

In today’s market, companies are always looking for ways to cut cost, increase productivity, and improve safety.  EXAIR can offer engineered products to do exactly that.  With the “been there and done that” solutions already described in the Application Database; you can have confidence in finding a way in solving pneumatic issues.  If you do not sign up at www.EXAIR.com and take advantage of these offerings, you will be missing out on a great tool in optimizing your compressed air system.

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

 

 

Building an E-Vac Vacuum Generator System

EXAIR’s In-Line and Adjustable E-Vacs are a powerful compressed air powered vacuum generator. They’re a low-cost way to create a vacuum for a variety of different applications: pick and place, clamping, chucking, lifting, surface mounting, and vacuum forming are just some of the possibilities. Both the In-Line and Adjustable E-Vacs are available in a variety of different sizes and flows and can accommodate a wide range of applications.

With no moving parts to wear out, EXAIR’s E-Vacs are virtually maintenance free when supplied with clean, dry compressed air. In-Line E-Vacs are available in two different styles: High Volume, Low Vacuum for use with porous materials and Low Volume, High Vacuum for use with non-porous materials.

For pick and place or lifting applications, vacuum cups will be necessary. With a wide variety of different vacuum cups available: Small Round, Large Round, Oval, and Bellows, we can accommodate nearly any size or shape material. For heavier materials, round cups with cleats provide rigidity and ensure that the load remains stable. For applications on textured or uneven surfaces, Bellows style cups have convolutions that allow for the cup to quickly decompress when it touches the surface of an uneven part or material. To determine the most suitable cup, we must consider the weight of the material and the orientation it will be lifted.

Vacuum cups

If it is being lifted with the vacuum cups positioned horizontally, use a safety factor of 2. For applications where the part or material will be lifted vertically, use a safety factor of 4. This safety factor is then multiplied by the weight of the material. You’ll then need to determine how many vacuum cups are needed. No more than 4 vacuum cups should be used with any one E-Vac. Consider the size/shape of the material to be lifted and place vacuum cups accordingly to evenly distribute the weight. Heavier and larger materials may necessitate the use of more than one E-Vac.

The weight a particular cup can hold at a given pressure is shown in the chart below. Once you’ve determined a suitable cup based on the weight and orientation of the lift, a variety of other accessories are also available.

vacuum cup weights

The vacuum port of the E-Vac has an NPT thread, vacuum cups can be installed directly in this inlet. For applications where the vacuum cup(s) are remotely located, we offer polyurethane vacuum tubing as well as a variety of different fittings to connect them. Both 1/4” and 3/8” O.D. sizes are available in 10’ lengths up to 50’. Simply indicate the model number of the tubing and add the length with a “-“ at the suffix. In addition to fittings and tubing, vacuum check valves are also available. These can be beneficial if there is potential for fluctuations in the compressed air pressure or supply. In the event that there is a significant drop in pressure or loss of compressed air supply, the check valve will ensure that the load remains stable.

To minimize the sound level and ensure you’re adhering to OSHA 1910.95, we have Standard Mufflers as well as Straight Through Mufflers. The Straight Through Mufflers offer the best level of sound reduction, up to 26 dBA!!

E-Vac Mufflers

With all of the different options making a selection can seem like a daunting task. If you’re struggling to determine the most suitable E-Vac and Accessories for your application, give an Application Engineer a call today!

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

The EXAIR Vac-u-Gun: The Ultimate Utility Player

Baseball season was supposed to be underway, and with all the excitement that comes from being a lifelong fan, this is one of my favorite times of the year. As a kid, I idolized the Big Red Machine – the starting lineup of my hometown Cincinnati Reds in the mid-1970’s – and none of them more than Pete Rose…unless it was Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion, Ken Griffey, Cesar Geronimo, or George Foster.

But Pete, man…they called him Charlie Hustle, and he earned the nickname every time he took the field. He RAN to first base when he got WALKED. And Pete was the consummate utility player too.  He won Golden Glove awards, and set records for career fielding percentages in both right & left field, was Rookie of the Year (1963) second baseman, spent the Big Red Machine years at third base, and still managed to play most of his career games at first base.  Oh, and he held his own in the batter’s box too.

Now, many EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products have a variety of uses, but the Vac-u-Gun is the one that we can call a true utility player:

  • Looking for a handy, ergonomic, portable vacuum?  Model 6192 Vac-u-Gun Collection System comes with a reusable bag with a shoulder strap, extension wands & tools to make for quick, on the spot cleanup anywhere in your shop.
  • Already have a receptacle to put what you’re vacuuming up into?  Model 6292 Vac-u-Gun Transfer System has a 10ft hose instead of the bag that you can run to your receptacle.  The hose, in fact, can be fitted to either end of the Vac-u-Gun, which works in both directions (more on that in a minute.)
  • Have a need for both?  No problem – the Model 6392 Vac-u-Gun All Purpose System comes with both the bag and the hose.
  • Need a blow gun too?  Just reverse the direction of the Vac-u-Gun’s Generator.  The 1-1/4″ diameter of the Vac-u-Gun means you’ll cover more space, more quickly, than ordinary air guns.
  • Want to quickly remove chips and contaminants from grooves, containers, or blind holes?  The Deep Hole Vac-u-Gun is fitted with a suction tube and small blow tube that directs a tight blast of air into the void, dislodging debris, so the Vac-u-Gun can suction it away.
  • What about transferring bulk materials?  With the 10ft hose that comes with the Transfer & All Purpose Systems, you can move material either way (remember the reversible Generator?) to or from any location the hose will reach to.
Regardless of your portable vacuum needs, EXAIR has a Vac-u-Gun System for you.

Right now, we’ll GIVE you a Vac-u-Gun with the purchase of any qualifying Industrial Vaccum, through April 30, 2020.  Or, if you just want the Vac-u-Gun System, they’re priced for most any budget.  If you’d like to find out if the Vac-u-Gun is right for your application, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

 

Air Savings Calculator

I received an email from an engineer that was looking at our Super Air Nozzles.  They currently were using four blow-off lines that were made from 6mm ID copper tubes. The system was designed to blow out holes after machining.  The engineer was in charge of the task of optimizing 25 machining stations similar to this one.  He was familiar with EXAIR products from his previous employment, and he recognized the waste of compressed air by using open pipe.  He purchased four Nano Super Air Nozzle, model 1110SS, for a trial.  He was impressed with the performance, the low sound level, and the engineered design in safety.  But, for upper management in his company, he had to show a cost savings in order to change all the stations in the facility.  He asked me to help him in calculating the compressed air savings.

nano nozzle

He gave me some additional details about their application.  He was using the compressed air about 30% of the time throughout an 8 hour day at a pressure of 80 PISG.  He wanted to present the savings per day, week, and year as well as the payback period in his evaluation.  I have performed many of these calculations for other customers and was happy to help.  It is sometimes easier to speak in terms of savings, as everyone can relate to money, especially management.

Knowns:

Flow: 1110SS Nano Super Air Nozzle – 8.3 SCFM at 80 PSIG

Flow:  6mm ID copper tube – 42 SCFM at 80 PSIG

This is where the COST SAVINGS CALCULATOR on our website shines!

The Calculator tells us you will see a ROI (Return on investment) is less than 5 days! And will save you $3,033.00 over a full year on compressed air generation cost alone!

Don’t be fooled by the initial cost of a tube, pipe, drilled holes, or a substandard nozzle.  You can see by the facts above, if you use any additional compressed air in your blow-off application, it will cost you a lot of money in the long run.  If you need any help in calculating how much money EXAIR products can save you, you can use our Air Savings Calculator from our website, or you contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to help you.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Heavy-Duty Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors Climbing to New Heights

During this COVID-19 shelter in place circumstance, as an avid outdoors man (specifically I do a lot of rock climbing), things have been frustrating to say the least. In the Cincinnati area with all the climbing gyms closed down climbers are flocking to their local crag to get that last climb in for the foreseeable future. My local crag is Red River Gorge in Rodgers, KY. As the climbing season has now ended due to this pandemic the season of indoor (aka at home) training has began to ramp up with everyone hitting their hang boards and starting harder work out routines in their free time. It came to my mind that now is the time to also check out my old gear and see what needs to be replaced.

Climbing gear needs to be strong, durable and light weight so that the gear does not fail you in your time of need. If properly set up, a climbing rated carabiner can withstand a force of 24 kN or 5395 lbs. Every bit of climbing material needs to be taken care of and replaced when the time comes. When your life is hanging by the gear that you use durability and maintenance is the difference from dropping or not dropping from a cliff. But climbing equipment isn’t the only thing that you want to be strong and durable; you also want your material handling equipment as well.

Climbing a 5.10d “Return of Manimal” at the Bruise Brothers Wall in Muir Valley

At EXAIR we strive to make strong, durable, and maintenance free compressed air products. One such product is our Heavy Duty Line Vac air operated conveyor; the Heavy Duty Line Vac is a stronger and more durable version of the standard aluminum Line Vacs. The body and cap of the Heavy Duty Line Vac is made out of a hardened alloy which provides abrasion resistance. This means that it can withstand materials such as sand, salts, steel shavings, tumbling and blast media, etc. They are available from 3/4″ through 3″ and are used with identical sized hose, tube or pipe. 

Heavy Duty Line Vac

The Heavy Duty Line Vac is also designed to lift heavier material and move it farther and/or higher. Materials such as steel shot, garnet and ground glass are common. More power also increases the distance materials can be conveyed. Heavy Duty Line Vacs convey 6 times farther than standard Line Vacs. 

Male NPT Threads make permanent and rigid installation into a piping system a breeze

The Heavy Duty Line Vac also comes with either smooth connections or threaded connections. The smooth connections allow for our reinforced PVC conveyance hose to attach to the ends using a standard hose clamp. If a flexible hose is not appropriate for your application the threaded connections allow the line vac to connect to a hard pipe. Both types of connections are interchangeable to fit your conveyance needs.

If you have questions about our Heavy Duty Line Vacs, or would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Teamwork, Leadership, Problem Solving, and History

A few weeks ago I participated in a series of three events that spanned the course of three days.  Each of these events was through a company called GORUCK which manufactures American made gear and conducts endurance events led by Special Forces Cadre that use some of the training methods they have experienced throughout their career in the armed forces. GORUCK also works alongside service projects that help to better and empower veterans as well as their communities. I believe this tag from their page says it best. “So, yes we build gear. Yes, we lead events, build teams, and strengthen communities. But only because if we didn’t, we’d have to find some other way to change the world, one day at a time.” (GORUCK,2020)

 

The events that weekend were to commemorate and tell the story of a battle from Vietnam, specifically the battles for A Shau Valley.  This is where the battle that became known as Hamburger Hill took place.  The valley was an unforgiving place that came with many disadvantages to try and overtake. For example, the elevation goes from 2,000 feet above sea level in the valley to 5,000 ft and anywhere in between thanks to the surrounding mountain ridges.

The valley is also a triple canopy jungle making air support and recon extremely difficult.  This valley was a supply chain during the war and there is still turmoil as to whether the battles were necessary as there were many lives lost and several other options that would have achieved a similar supply chain disruption.  In the end, there were 17 Americans involved in a battle with a constantly changing number of support forces.  100% of the soldiers became casualties, 5 paid the ultimate sacrifice during the battle and there were 2 Congressional Medals of Honor given due to actions during the battle for Hamburger Hill.

Taking roll call and getting the lay of the land for the event.

To learn all of this we started out Friday evening at 2100 hr. in a park here in Cincinnati, on a basketball court.  There were 23 of us total participating in the event as well as Cadre Steve our leader and then a great friend of mine who shadowed and photographed a great portion of the events. After some administration, we did a quick warmup where we quickly learned what it meant to be in sync and to move as a team.  When doing physical exercises, in the dark, with 23 people from all walks of life and varying physical ability it can get interesting. With a team leader assigned by the Cadre, we made around a 1-mile movement as a group carrying with us an American Flag, GORUCK flag, six empty sandbags, and a team weight that weighed in at 25 lbs.

The movement was to a public sand volleyball court where the sandbags quickly went from empty to filled.  Thus adding around 650 lbs of extra weight to the team.  Each movement, from the point we stepped off to filling the bags became a task as we had to stay within a certain distance of each other, everyone wanted to go different speeds and the urban terrain was an added obstacle. Adding in the weight and suddenly the team will quickly realize how important communication as well as cooperative work and supporting one another is.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We then moved to a small secluded area where the Cadre had done some excellent recon to locate a downed communication device that needed relocation. This was a downed telephone pole that we are estimating weighed in at well over 300 lbs and was around 20′ long.  6 people were assigned from the team to carry that and continued our movement to another park within the city limits that had no easy way to reach other than up and over several of the hills our great city offers.  Around 5 miles later and 5 hours later we reached our destination to get some more history on the events that took place during the war.

Along the way, our tactics for the weight continued to vary and we eventually placed 9 people tripping over each other on the heavy communication device, then an additional six on the sandbags, two people on flags, one on the team weight, and the rest just falling in line. By the time we got to the park, everyone on the team had become exhausted, some believed they were carrying more of the load than others, people carrying sandbags would want to not carry weight and have to go under the log then back to a sandbag all because communications were breaking down and the team was beginning to fray at the seams.

At some point it is human nature to look outside rather than inside and begin to focus on what others aren’t doing rather than what you can personally do in order to improve the situation of everyone. The rhythm that the team had been keeping broke down with mental and physical fatigue.  Once we had received some more knowledge on the battles the Cadre asked how we were doing and what could be done better. We gave the team leader at each of these sessions three items they did well and three items to improve on then they are removed from their position and another is placed before the next movement.  This also helps those that were leaders to understand their importance when placed in a support role.

At this stop, we were able to pay out through exercises leaving the communications pole at a safe location and have a better understanding of how to better move as a team and be congruent even in the middle of the night.  We were able to move faster and get to the last stopping point for more education then off to where we started everything at to finish out the event.  From this point on we had constant communication, we were working fluidly as a team and everyone from the front to the back of the pack was in the know of what our goal was, our time, and what was needed to get there.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

During these events, every single person gets to fight their own minds and questions whether or not they are being an asset to the team or being a liability.  It is when you are feeling weak, have pain, see others not struggling, or just get tired that this simple question can become devastating.  That’s when everyone has to be willing to communicate and expose their weakness to their team in order for their team to support and help them overcome these internal hurdles.  Not everyone gets there and not everyone can overcome.  The team as a whole will grow closer and become far more effective if the members all experience this.

Experiencing this throughout the course of the night and seeing the kinds of opportunities that the team here at EXAIR has made possible for me to grow goes hand in hand.  When someone here has not experienced an application, or we are weak within a certain area of knowledge or ability, the rest of the team will support, strengthen and ensure everyone makes it through.  This is one reason that communication will always be one of the most important traits I can find in a team member.  It is also one reason EXAIR continues to progress and continue forward even through trying times.

We communicate from the front all the way to the back of the building fluently and concisely.  When something doesn’t happen then we know there is a problem and rather than focusing on blame or what went wrong the teams here all focus on the solution and then we can debrief once the issue is resolved.  This leads to on-time and shipping accuracy percentages that continue to improve over the past decade.  We place our team’s focus on being able to take care of our customers, give them a safe and efficient way to utilize compressed air and be easy to do business with throughout the entire process.

If you would like to discuss any compressed air application you may have or if you would like to discuss an interaction that you have had with us and share anything good or bad, please feel free to contact me directly.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer / GRT
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Why Use EXAIR Super Air Knives: Return on Investment

Return on Investment, or ROI, is the ratio of profit over total investment.  Many people use it to check stocks, financial markets, capital equipment, etc.  It is a quantitative way in determining the validity for an investment or project.   You can use the ROI value to give a measurable rate in looking at your investment.  For a positive ROI value, the project will pay for itself in less than one year.  Any negative values would represent a high-risk investment.  In this blog, I will compare the ROI between an EXAIR Super Air Knife to a common drilled pipe.  Let’s start by looking at Equation 1 to calculate the Return on Investment:

Equation 1:  ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Total Project Cost * 100

The Total Project Cost is the cost of the product with the labor to install.  In our example, we will use a 24” (610mm) wide blow-off device.  One device will be an inexpensive drilled pipe and the other will be a high-efficiency EXAIR Super Air Knife.  The drilled pipe had (48) 1/16” (1.6mm) diameter holes spaced ½” (13mm) apart.  EXAIR manufactures the model 110024 Super Air Knife with a .002” (.05mm) slot along the entire length.  Both have a blowing width of 24” to cover the conveyor.  The model 110024 has a retail price of $491.00 each.  The cost of the drilled pipe was around $50.00.  What a difference in price!  But, how could EXAIR remain a leader in this industry for over 35 years?

Let’s continue on with the Return on Investment.  The amount of time required to install the Super Air Knife across the conveyor only took a maintenance staff about one hour to mount.  The labor rate that I will use in this example is $75.00 per hour (you can change this to your current labor rate).  The labor cost to install the knife is $75.00.   The Total Project Cost can be calculated as follows: ($491 – $50) + $75.00 = $516.00.  The next part of the equation, Total annual savings, is a bit more in-depth, but the calculation is shown below.

Super Air Knife

EXAIR manufactures engineered products to be efficient and safe.  The Super Air Knife has a 40:1 amplification ratio which means that 40 parts of “free” ambient air is entrained for every 1 part of compressed air.  For comparison, the Super Air Knives are to compressed air systems as LED lightbulbs are to electricity.  In that same way, the drilled pipe would represent an incandescent lightbulb.  The reason for this analogy is because of the amount of energy that the EXAIR Super Air Knives can save.  While LED lightbulbs are a bit more expensive than the incandescent lightbulbs, the value for the Return on Investment is at a higher percentage, or in other words, a short payback period.  On the other hand, the drilled pipe is less expensive to make, but the overall cost for using it in your compressed air system is much higher.  I will explain how below.

To calculate the Total Annual Savings, we will use the same blow-off scenario as above.  The amount of compressed air used by the drilled pipe is around 174 SCFM (4,924 SLPM) at 60 PSIG (4.1 Bar).  The model 110024 Super Air Knife has an air consumption of 55.2 SCFM (1,563 SLPM) at 60 PSIG (4.1 Bar).  At an electrical rate of $0.08 per Kilowatt-hour, we can figure the cost to make compressed air.   Based on 4 SCFM per horsepower of air compressor, the electrical cost is $0.25 per 1000 standard cubic feet, or $0.25/1000SCF.  To calculate an annual savings, let’s use a blow-off operation of 8 hours/day for 250 days a year.   Replacing the drilled pipe with the model 110024 Super Air Knife, it will save you (174 SCFM – 55.2 SCFM) = 121.8 SCFM of compressed air.  To put this into a monetary value, the annual savings will be 121.8 SCFM *$0.25/1000SCF * 60 Min/hr * 8hr/day * 250 day/yr = $3,654 per year.

With the Total Annual Cost and the Project Cost known, we can insert these values into Equation 1 to calculate the ROI:

ROI = (Total annual savings – Total Project Cost) / Project Cost * 100

ROI = ($3,654 – $516.00) / $516.00 * 100

ROI = 608%

With a percentage value that high, we are looking at a payback period of only 52 days.  You may look at the initial cost and be discouraged; but in a little over a month, the model 110024 will have paid for itself.  And after using it for one year, it will save your company $3,654.00.  Some things that may be overlooked are safety issues.  With some inexpensive blow-off devices, the noise levels are over the OSHA limits.  The drilled pipe had a noise level of 91 dBA while the Super Air Knife only had a noise level of 65 dBA.

In my experience, a loud blowing noise from your equipment is generally coming from an inefficient and safety-concerned product.  With these “cheap” ways to blow compressed air, it will cost your company a lot of money to use as shown in the example above.  If you would like to team up with EXAIR to set up ways to increase savings, improve productivity, and promote safety, an Application Engineer can help you to get started.

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