Video Blog: VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun Rebuild

VariBlast Compact Safety Air Guns provide a variable flow through the pull of the trigger. A light pull provides a breeze while a heavy pull provides a powerful blast. It has a smaller frame than our Soft Grip or Heavy Duty air guns, is lightweight and designed to utilize any of our 1/8 NPT air nozzles for general duty industrial applications.

This video shows how to install the VariBlast Valve Rebuild Kit, part number 902001 – to rebuild any VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun that, through use, has become worn.

If you have questions about installing the VariBlast Valve Rebuild Kit or to discuss any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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Porous and Non-Porous E-Vac Vacuum Generators

Getting a vacuum from compressed air seems a bit like magic, but it works and it works well. EXAIR’s E-Vac® Vacuum Generators are compressed air powered, single stage vacuum generators. They are a low cost way to create vacuum for pick and place, clamping, lifting, chucking, vacuum forming and other applications.

The Low Vacuum Generators are ideal for ‘porous’ types of applications.  When we say ‘porous’ we are describing those processes where a lighter vacuum level combined with higher vacuum flows are needed. A good example of this is lifting a cardboard box. The cardboard is not air tight, and when you place a vacuum on it, air is able to be pulled through the cardboard. To maintain the vacuum level, the air needs to be able to be pulled through the cardboard and exhausted as fast as it is being pulled through in order to maintain the vacuum level. This requires higher vacuum flow and the design of the Low Vacuum Generator allows for the development of a good vacuum level and a high rate of vacuum flow.

The High Vacuum Generator is ideal for ‘non-porous’ type of applications. ‘Non-porous’ are those processes where the material is air tight, and no or very little air can pass through. Material such as glass, ceramic, and steel are ‘non-porous’. Because little or no air passes through, the need for high vacuum flow is not as important, and the highest of vacuum level can be achieved. A perfect vacuum is 29.92 in-Hg, and the High Vacuum Generator is designed to reach vacuum levels of 27 in-Hg, or a 90% vacuum level.

 

E-Vac Video

 

Click above Image to View the Video

Both the Low Vacuum and High Vacuum Generators come in 7 different sizes, ranging from light to very strong vacuum capabilities, to match any application. Special Kits are  available as a way to experiment with an assortment of vacuum cups to determine the best configuration.

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E-Vac Kit

And for maximum flexibility, EXAIR offers the Adjustable E-Vac Vacuum Generator. Engineered for high efficiency, compressed air can be minimized due to the ability to adjust and tune the vacuum flow and level to perfectly match the application requirements.

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Lifting a Concrete Block with the Adjustable E-Vac Vacuum Generator

If you have questions about vacuum generation and the E-Vac or any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

 

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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Minimize Exposure to Hazards Using the Hierarchy of Controls

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) published a useful guide called “Hierarchy of Controls” that details (5) different types of control methods for exposure to occupational hazards while showing the relative effectiveness of each method.

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CDC Hierarchy of Controls

The least effective methods are Administrative Controls and PPE. Administrative Controls involve making changes to the way people perform the work and promoting safe practices through training. The training could be related to correct operating procedures, keeping the workplace clean, emergency response to incidents, and personal hygiene practices, such as proper hand washing after handling hazardous materials. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is the least effective method because the equipment (ear plugs, gloves, respirators, etc.) can become damaged, may be uncomfortable and not used, or used incorrectly.

In the middle range of effectiveness is Engineering Controls. These controls are implemented by design changes to the equipment or process to reduce or eliminate the hazard. Good engineering controls can be very effective in protecting people regardless of the the actions and behaviors of the workers. While higher in initial cost than Administrative controls or PPE, typically operating costs are lower, and a cost saving may be realized in the long run.

The final two, Elimination and Substitution are the most effective but can be the most difficult to integrate into an existing process. If the process is still in the design phase, it may be easier and less expensive to eliminate or substitute the hazard. Elimination of the hazard would be the ultimate and most effective method, either by removing the hazard altogether, or changing the work process to the hazardous task is no longer performed.

EXAIR can help your company follow the Hierarchy of Controls, and eliminate, or reduce the hazards of compressed air usage.

Engineers can eliminate loud and unsafe pressure nozzles with designs that utilize quiet and pressure safe engineered air products such as Air Nozzles, Air Knives and Air Amplifiers. Also, unsafe existing products such as air guns, can be substituted with EXAIR engineered solutions that meet the OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b) and 29 CFR 1910.95(a).

Nozzles

In summary, Elimination and Substitution are the most effective methods and should be used whenever possible to reduce or eliminate the hazard and keep people safe in the workplace.

If you have questions about the Hierarchy of Controls and safe compressed air usage from any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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Six Steps to Optimization, Step 4 – Turn Off Your Compressed Air When Not in Use

Step 4 of the Six Steps To Optimizing Your Compressed Air System is ‘Turn off the compressed air when it isn’t in use.’  Click on the link above for a good summary of the all the steps.

6 Steps from Catalog

Two basic methods to set up a compressed air operation for turning off is the ball valve and the solenoid valve. Of the two, the simplest is the ball valve. It is a quarter turn, manually operated valve that stops the flow of the compressed air when the handle is rotated 90°. It is best for operations where the compressed air is needed for a long duration, and shut off is infrequent, such as at the end of the shift.

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Manual Ball Valves, from 1/4 NPT to 1-1/4 NPT

The solenoid valve offers more flexibility. A solenoid valve is an electro-mechanical valve that uses electric current to produce a magnetic field which moves a mechanism to control the flow of air. A solenoid can be wired to simple push button station, for turning the air flow on and off – similar to the manual valve in that relies on a person to remember to turn the air off when not needed.

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A Wide Array of Solenoid Valve Offerings for Various Flows and Voltage Requirements

Another way to use a solenoid valve is to wire it in conjunction with a PLC or machine control system. Through simple programming, the solenoid can be set to turn on/off whenever certain parameters are met. An example would be to energize the solenoid to supply an air knife when a conveyor is running to blow off parts when they pass under. When the conveyor is stopped, the solenoid would close and the air would stop blowing.

The EXAIR EFC (Electronic Flow Control) is a stand alone solenoid control system. The EFC combines a photoelectric sensor with a timer control that turns the air on and off based on the presence (or lack of presence) of an object in front of the sensor. There are 8 programmable on/off modes for different process requirements. The use of the EFC provides the highest level of compressed air usage control. The air is turned on only when an object is present and turned off when the object has passed by.

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EFC Used To Control Bin Blow Off Operation

By turning off the air when not needed, whether by a manual ball valve, a solenoid valve integrated into the PLC machine control or the EXAIR EFC, compressed air usage will be minimized and operation costs reduced.

If you have questions about the EFC, solenoid valves, ball valves or any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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Vacuum Generator Accessories

In my last blog, I went over How to Choose/Build an E-Vac system, and you can read about that here–  The E-Vac’s are a compressed air powered, single stage vacuum generator, providing a low cost solution for creating a vacuum for many applications. Today, we will look at the many accessories that are available to complete a vacuum system best suited to your vacuum application.

For pick and place operations and hold down or clamping processes, we offer an array of Vacuum Cups. Available from stock are small and large Round, Oval, and Bellows styles. Round cups are best suited for smooth, flat surfaces.  Oval cups provide the most vacuum due to the larger surface area, making them ideal for lifting heavy loads. The Bellows style is best suited for textured or uneven surfaces, where the folds provide a collapsible area that allows the cup to compress and seal to the uneven surface.

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Small and Large Round, Oval and Bellows Vacuum Cups

For vacuum processes where personnel are nearby, there are two (2) types of mufflers available to reduce the sound level to comply with the limits OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a) has established. The EXAIR E-Vac Mufflers are designed so that the E-Vac exhaust is not impeded, so that the highest and fastest vacuum response is achieved. The Standard Muffler (for use with In-Line E-Vacs only) has a closed end and is best suited for vacuum draws that are free from dust and debris.  The Straight Through Muffler is open all the way through and is recommended for those vacuum draws where there will be dirt and debris, since it will not plug up. The Straight Through style offers the best sound level reduction, up to 26 dBA.

E-Vac Mufflers
Standard and Straight Through Mufflers

The vacuum port of the E-Vacs has an NPT threaded connection and with a suitable connector, a vacuum cup can be closely installed, minimizing the system air volume. When vacuum cups are to be remotely mounted, Push-In Connector Type Fittings of assorted styles are available along with the polyurethane tubing to make the installation and vacuum plumbing a cinch.

E-Vac Fittings
Push-In , Swivel Elbow, Swivel Branch Tee, and Bulkhead Connectors

And finally, to get the best performance and maintenance free operation from your E-Vac, always use a source of clean, dry compressed air. We can help you do that with a wide array of Automatic Drain Filter Separators and Oil Removal Filters sized to pair up with the various E-Vac’s. Also available are Pressure Regulators, Vacuum Gauges, Manual Shut Off Valves, Solenoid Valves, and Compressed Air Hose.

If you have questions about E-Vacs and accessories or any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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How to Choose A Vacuum Generator for Your Application

EXAIR’s compressed air powered E-Vac single stage vacuum generators are a low cost way create vacuum for many operations including- pick and place, clamping, chucking, alignment, lifting, and many others.

The E-Vac provide instantaneous response and are commonly used for pick and place operations.

EXAIR offers the In-Line and Adjustable style of E-Vacs. Both are compact and easy to mount at point of use. With 18 total models available, there is sure to be one that meets any application.

Industrial Robot
An E-Vac in Robotic Lift Operation

How to Build An E-Vac System:

Step 1 – Select E-Vac type:

A – Determine if the part to be lifted is porous (Example, cardboard) or non-porous (Example, plastic sheet)

  • Porous materials require a low vacuum generator which produces a lower vacuum in exchange for higher vacuum flow which is capable of maintaining a good vacuum level through material that aloows air to flow through itself.
  • Non-Porous materials are best suited to use the high vacuum generator which is capable of producing more powerful vacuum for the application.

B – Select a style of E-Vac – In-Line Low Vacuum, In-Line High Vacuum, or Adjustable

  • Porous – low vacuum generator, max vacuum = 21″ Hg (71 kPa)
  • Non-Porous – high vacuum generator, max vacuum = 27″ Hg (91 kPa)
  • Adjustable – max vacuum = 25″ Hg (85 kPa)

Step 2 – Find the weight of the part to be lifted:

Step 3 – Multiply the weight by a vacuum cup safety factor (2 for a horizontal vacuum cup position, and 4 for a sideways vacuum cup position)

Step 4 – Determine the number of cups needed, considering the following:

A – How many cups are needed to evenly distribute the weight for stable lifting and placement.

B – What is the weight that each vacuum cup can lift based on maximum vacuum available?

C – Select the appropriate vacuum cup from the different styles available.

Step 5 – Choose the E-Vac model, considering the entire vacuum system from the E-vac to the part:

A – Number of vacuum cups per E-Vac.

B – Length and size of the vacuum tubing.

C – Vacuum cup size and type.

  • The volume of air to evacuate from your vacuum system and the vacuum flow of the E-Vac selected will determine the time it takes to build the lifting vacuum level.
  • A lower volume of air in the system and/or higher capacity (SCFM/SLPM) E-Vac will result in faster pick-up times.
  • It is difficult to calculate an exact pick-up time.

Example – Sheet of material 3′ x 3′ (0.91m x 0.91 m) that weighs 25 lbs. (11.3 kg). Each sheet is in stack and will be placed on a conveyor.E-Vac Example

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when building an E-Vac system. Feel free to contact us and we can help go through the steps.

If you have questions about E-Vacs or any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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316 Stainless Steel Products- Always in Stock

Metallurgically speaking, stainless steel is a steel alloy with the highest percentage contents of iron, chromium and nickel, with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass, and a maximum of 1.2% of carbon by mass.

Stainless steels are widely regarded for the corrosion resistance that they exhibit. As the chromium content is raised, the corrosion resistance increases as well. The addition of molybdenum also increases the corrosion resistance to reducing acids and against pitting attacks in chloride solutions. By varying the chromium and molybdenum content, different grades of stainless steel are produced with each suited for varying environments. Due to the resistance to corrosion and staining, stainless steel is ideal material for many applications, especially in the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.

The 300 series stainless steels are considered chromium-nickel alloys and is the largest group and most commonly used. Of the different compositions within the 300 series family, Type 304 stainless is the most widely used followed by Type 316, which has 2% molybdenum added to provide greater resistance to acids and to localized corrosion caused by chloride ions.

Table below shows the nominal composition by mass content for 316 stainless steel

316 SS Table

Because 316 stainless steel provides a high level of corrosion resistance, resists pitting, and has good strength properties, EXAIR manufactures many of its products from 316 stainless steel material so that they can be used in the harshest of environments.

Of the EXAIR products these are available off the shelf in 316 stainless steel- Super Air Knife, certain sizes of Adjustable Air Amplifiers, numerous Air Nozzles, Line Vacs including the Sanitary Flanged style, NEMA Type 4X and Hazardous Location Cabinet Coolers. If you need one of our other products such as the Super Air Wipes or Vortex Tubes made in 316 stainless steel, just let us know. Of course we also have them made from Type 303 stainless steel, in stock and ready for shipment (and aluminum, too!)

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316 Stainless Steel Super Air Knife

And, you don’t have to wait months or even weeks, as we keep all of these in stock, ready for shipment.

If you have questions about any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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