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

EXAIR Operational Status re: COVID-19 Coronavirus – update 04/03/2020

To all of our valued partners-

The US is just entering the most crucial phase of this outbreak, if the lessons of other countries are any guide.  Many of our distributor partners around the world have told us that they are facing social and business restrictions for the next 2-4 weeks as well.

The state of Ohio issued an amended order yesterday requiring most people to stay at home except for exempt activities through May 1st, 2020.  In large part, it simply extends the original stay at home order that was set to expire on Monday, April 6th.

After reading the amended order, EXAIR continues to be exempt from it as we were from the original order.  EXAIR is involved in nearly every industry listed by the Department of Homeland Security as critical industries, and those guidelines were part of the basis for the details of the order by the state of Ohio.

Many industries that we support like food, pharmaceutical, medical equipment and the like are absolutely critical right now.  Just in the past week, we have had orders and requests for technical help from customers making surgical masks, face shields and neutralizing contamination on personnel when entering a building.  At least one long-standing customer is involved with making COVID-19 test kits.  This is real and it affects all of us.

If they need us, we need to be there for them.  The Governor’s press conferences have stressed how important it is for everyone to keep supply chains moving, especially for critical industries.  EXAIR is part of that chain and will continue to do our part to the best of our collective abilities and we know our distributors around the world will continue to do the same.  Anything we can do to help with this crisis is worth doing.

At the same time, we take our responsibility to try to keep our employees healthy and safe very seriously.  We have modified our operations significantly in order to remain open to serve those who need us in a responsible manner.

  • We have divided our workforce into two different shifts, with another group working remotely.
  • Our two on-premises shifts are not in our facility at the same time
  • Common areas of our facility are sanitized between shifts and again at night
  • Personal work spaces are sanitized at the end of each shift
  • Our workstations are spread out to make sure we observe social distancing
  • We are screening all employee temperatures every day before their shifts

EXAIR operations will remain ongoing for the foreseeable future unless local conditions or government mandates require other actions.  As always, we will keep you up to date if those events occur.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

Bryan Peters

President
EXAIR Corporation

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

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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
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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

EXAIR’s Chip Trapper Improves Material Recovery for Recycling

I recently worked with our Peruvian Distributor to help one of their customers solve an issue they were having with material recovery after a polishing operation. The company manufactures security locks for doors. During the manufacturing, one of the processes involves polishing the parts to a nice finish to ensure proper fit and provide a nice appearance for the finished product. Coolant is used to keep the temperature down during the polishing process. This coolant is then contaminated with leftover bronze debris that the company recycles.

The problem was that the process to filter the leftover bronze from the coolant was done by hand. This process, taking almost one hour to complete, was too time consuming and they were not able to recover 100% of the material. In looking for a better way to perform this process, they came across the EXAIR Chip Trapper.

The Chip Trapper was able to allow them to empty the entire coolant sump in less than 90 seconds. The bronze material contained within the coolant was trapped by the 5 micron filter bag inside of the drum, while the coolant passed through. They could then pump the clean coolant back into the drum and recycle the bronze trapped in the filter bag. Not only were they able to dramatically reduce the time it took to complete the process, but it also resulted in a much more effective method of reclaiming the material. No longer were they stuck with an inferior process and more time could be freed up to be spent on production.

Using either a standard or High Lift Reversible Drum Vac to provide the vacuum source, the Chip Trapper is capable of filling or emptying a 55 gallon drum in less than two minutes. It is able to pick up both the liquid coolant as well as any chips or shavings that are suspended in the coolant. The liquid is forced through a filter bag inside of the drum which contains any solid materials while allowing the coolant to filter out into the drum. Switching the knob on the Reversible Drum Vac and the directional flow valve to empty will allow the clean coolant to be pumped back out of the drum and reused.

chiptrapperfamily

After implementing the Chip Trapper in our own shop, we were able to increase the life of the coolant by 6x. In addition to the increased coolant life, a process that used to take up to 2 hours per machine now takes less than 10 minutes. The Chip Trapper quickly and easily pays for itself.

The Chip Trapper is available in either 30, 55, and 110 gallon systems. It’ll also come with (2) 5 micron filter bags, other filter bags are also available ranging from 1 micron up to 200 micron filtration. Using a simple detergent, the filter bags can be washed out, cleaned, and reused multiple times. With no motors or impellers to clog or wear out, as well as no electricity requirement or shock hazard, the Chip Trapper comes with our standard 5-year Built to Last Warranty. Do yourself (and your machine operators) a favor and get a Chip Trapper on order today. They’re in stock, ready to ship and start saving you time and money!

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