Air Operated Conveyor helps Aluminum Smelting Process

An aluminum smelting plant had been using our model 150300 Heavy Duty Line Vac for over a year.  They wanted to share how extremely satisfied that they were with this product.  They were expanding their operations, and it was easy for them to contact EXAIR to buy two more units.  In this blog, I will share why they initially contacted EXAIR and why they continue to do so.

This company had a reactor that would melt 10 mm aluminum granules for die casting parts.   They had a portable hopper that was filled with aluminum pellets (reference photo above).  Before they started using the Heavy Duty Line Vac, the operators would have to use shovels to move the aluminum from the catch bin located below the hopper to the crucible inside the reactor.  This operation was tedious, back-breaking, and time-consuming.  After filling the crucible, they would have to do some housekeeping for the granules that fell during transport.  With safety concerns and slow operations, they needed a better way to move the aluminum granules to the reactor.  Hence, the reason for the first purchase of the model 150300 Heavy Duty Line Vac from EXAIR.

To expand a bit more on their operation, the hopper was placed roughly 10 feet (3 meters) away from the reactor, and the reactor used a hatch door that was 2 feet (0.6 meter) in diameter to expose the crucible.  Since the crucible was inside the reactor, they wanted to govern the velocity to feed the aluminum pellets at a controlled rate.  From flow and speed calculations, I found that the model 150300 would work the best for this particular application.  As an added feature to the EXAIR Air-Operated Conveyors, the Heavy Duty Line Vac is easy to control with a simple compressed air regulator to balance the speed and vacuum to move the material in a manageable way.  With the compact design, it worked well to attach a conveyance hose that would move the aluminum pellet directly through the hatch door and right into the crucible.  This was a benefit for quick filling without much manual labor or cleanup.

The reasons that EXAIR continues to grow as a business are the quality of our products, the enormous stock that we carry, and the exceptional customer service.  For these reasons, customers continue to return to EXAIR for solutions to pneumatic applications.  The quality of our products is second to none.  For the Heavy Duty Line Vacs, they are made from a hardened alloy material which makes them resistant to abrasion and wear.  They also do not have any moving parts or motors; so they are reliable and long-lasting.  The smelting company above have used the Heavy Duty Line Vac for over a year, and it is still working.  Can you imagine the number of shovel scoops that was eliminated with the purchase of this air-operated conveyor?  And, the work environment was safer ergonomically by removing the shovel loads and reducing cleanup.  As for customer service, EXAIR is staffed with Application Engineers that are Subject Matter Experts.  We can make recommendations to give you the best EXAIR product for your application.  With our technical support, fast deliveries, and problem-solving products; it was an easy decision for the above company to purchase two more model 150300 Heavy Duty Line Vacs.

If your company relies on moving product from point A to point B, EXAIR has a range of Air Operated Conveyors to do this type of operation for you.  From Threaded Line Vacs to Sanitary Flange Line Vacs to Heavy Duty Line Vacs, EXAIR stocks a variety of materials, types, and sizes to fit into your application.  An Application Engineer is sitting by to help improve your system as we did with the smelting company above.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

The Life of a Coffee Bean

Many of us get up in the morning, and start our day with a fresh cup of coffee.  I do.  I enjoy the taste of that warm beverage as it hits my lips.  But, have you ever thought about the journey of a coffee bean from the fields to your cupboard?   I would like to share a little insight on this journey and how the EXAIR Line Vacs could be a helpful tool for coffee production.

There are over 70 countries that pick coffee beans for export.  In 2018, the International Coffee Organization reported almost 170 million bags of coffee had been exported around the world.  That is a lot of coffee.  Each bag of coffee beans weighs 60 Kilograms (132 lbs.) and is difficult to handle manually.  Line Vacs could be that vital instrument to help speed up the processes and reduce that back-breaking work.

Let’s start at the beginning.  Coffee beans are seeds that are produced on small trees or bushes.  During harvest time, the cherries (coffee seeds) are picked when ripe, and they need to be dried.  This can be done in two ways; the dry method or the wet method.  Each process has to be done quickly to prevent spoilage.  With the dry method, the beans are spread out on a table or grate to be dried by the sun.  In most cases, the beans will have to be stored in bins at night or during rain.  This drying process can last for several weeks, and the continuous movement of the beans is labor intensive.  For the wet method, this process uses water channels to isolate the heavier ripe beans, so that they can be separated by size in rotating drums.   They are then placed into large fermentation tanks to remove the outer skin layer.  The wet beans are then placed inside large driers to remove the excess water content.  In both methods, the green coffee beans are packed into sacks for exportation.

When the green coffee beans arrive to their destination, they will have to be roasted.  This will convert the green coffee beans into the aromatic brown beans that are sold at your favorite market or coffee shop.  In large operations, the green coffee beans are screened and stored in bins waiting to be roasted.  The roasting process uses hot air to “cook” the green coffee beans.  The temperature range and time will create your different types of roasts; light roast, medium roast, and dark roast.  Industrial roasting machines have loaders on top to drop the green beans into a preheated rotating drum.  Some machines can roast 100 kg (220 lbs.) of beans at one time.  The time for roasting is between 12 – 15 minutes, depending on the type of roast.  At this frequency, you can tell the “need for speed” to keep the coffee roasters operating.  Once finished, the roasted beans are dumped into a cooling tray until they can be handled.  From there, the beans are tested, qualified, and packaged for sale.

For coffee brewing, the roasted beans will need to be ground.  Grinding is an important process to get the most flavor from your coffee beans.   Commercial sized grinders will blend multiple kinds of roasted coffee beans and grind them to a desired grain size.  The grind size is very important and has to match your type of brewing.  For example, espresso uses fine grinds, drip-type coffee uses medium grinds, and cold brews and French presses use coarse grinds.  Grinding is an art as you have to match the coarseness with the contact time in hot water.  As a rule, if your coffee tastes too bitter, then the grinds are too fine.  If your coffee tastes flat, then the grinds are too coarse.  You have to experiment with different blends of roasted coffee beans, grind particle sizes, and brewing types to get that perfect cup of java for you.

Line Vacs can convey many things.

So, if you are reading this article while sipping on a cup of coffee, let me tell you a secret about the journey of the coffee bean.  For every stage above, an EXAIR Line Vac has been sold and used to transport the coffee beans.  From the coffee fields to the grinding house, Line Vacs are a great device for companies to move beans quickly and safely without manual labor.  The life of a coffee bean is only successful if it is able to reach your cupboard.  And Line Vacs can be beneficial with that success.  If you would like to discuss the types of materials that we stock, the sizes, connections types and conveyance rates, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to help you.

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

 

Photo:  Coffee Beans Cafe Roasted Caffeine Brown by Alexas_Fotos.  Pixabay License.

Photo: Still Life Coffee Beans Coffee Powder Coffee Cup by Myriams-Fotos.  Pixabay License.

Air Operated Conveyors for a Multitude of Jobs

With 119 distinct Models, EXAIR Line Vacs are used to convey everything from down feather to steel shot.  They’re versatile, reliable, durable, and incredibly easy to install and operate. Most applications can be completed using one of our many stock Line Vacs. Additional applications include part transfer, waste or trim removal, hopper loading, filling operations, chip removal and fiber tensioning.

line vac family
Lightweight and durable aluminum is the most popular choice, but we make them in stainless steel (Types 303 and 316) for heat and corrosion resistance. For extreme heat, the High Temperature option affords protection to 900F (482C) in either 303SS or 316SS.

They are available from 3/8″ to 5″ diameters, for use with hose, tube or pipe. Line VAcs have smooth ends for hose or tube. The threaded models use NPT threads from 3/8 NPT to 3 NPT to turn ordinary pipe into an air conveyor! They can also be bought with sanitary flange ends for easy disassembly when necessary for cleaning or maintenance.

Materials include aluminum, Type 303 and Type 316 stainless steel or a hardened steel alloy for moving abrasive materials like garnet, glass, or blasting media.

With that being said, there are always applications that need a special product. And because of that we do make “special” or custom products when the need arises.

Special PVDF Line Vac

For example this Live Vac has the sanitary flange design, but the customer needed it made from a special material so their product passing through it wouldn’t be contaminated by metal. So we did just that, we designed built and shipped this line vac and it worked amazingly well!

Accessories include the transport hose, mounting brackets, filter and regulators.  A filtering drum cover is very useful to keep material and/or dust inside, when transporting materials into a drum.

No matter what kind of bulk material you need to move, or what type of special conditions you have. EXAIR has a Line Vac product for it.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Heavy Duty Air Conveyors Resist Abrasion, Transfer Heavy Materials

Threaded Heavy Duty Family

As an Application Engineer, I get the pleasure to speak to many companies about trying to find a simple, long-lasting, powerful but quiet transfer systems.  They have operators that climb steps to dump bags of material in hoppers above.  Or they need a compact way to remove scrap from their process.  Or they have budgetary constraints to convey material from point A to point B.

If your company had to tackle any of these issues, EXAIR can help you.  We manufacture Air Operated Conveyors that do not have any moving parts, are very compact in design, and have a high throughput capacity.  They can attach easily to standard hoses, pipes, or sanitary flanges.   These inexpensive conveyors are designed to make conveyance safer and ergonomically better for your operators.  EXAIR calls this product line, Line Vac™.

Line Vacs use a small amount of compressed air to generate a vacuum by a Venturi effect.  The unique design generates a high velocity to create a powerful vacuum on one side.  Once the product reaches the throat area of the Line Vac, the compressed air will carry the product the rest of the way.  The product can reach horizontal distances up to 100 feet (30 meters) and vertical heights up to 20 feet (6 meters).  EXAIR manufactures a variety of Line Vacs in different sizes, styles, and materials.  In this blog, I will cover our most powerful and abrasion resistant type, Threaded Heavy Duty Line Vac.

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

Threaded Heavy Duty Line Vacs are designed to convert regular piping into a powerful conveying system.  They range from ¾” NPT to 3” NPT and can connect easily to PVC and steel pipe fittings.  The construction is made from a hardened alloy steel to resist wear from abrasive bulk products like steel parts, sand, glass, ceramic, etc.  The Threaded Heavy Duty Line Vac can create a higher vacuum level to pick up heavier objects as well as conveying larger volume of material.

When purchased as a kit, the Line Vac will come with a filter, regulator, and a mounting bracket.  This adds overall value in mounting, controlling, and protecting the Line Vac for years to come.  This simple device is a great product to use in rugged industrial applications, and with no moving parts, you will not have to worry about any motors or bearings prematurely wearing out.

If you need to convey heavy materials like 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 help ergonomically in saving the backs and knees of your operators.  If you would like to discuss your conveying application further, please contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We may have a solution for you.

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

 

 

EXAIR Line Vacs: Dozens Of Models; Endless Applications

With 119 distinct Models, EXAIR Line Vacs are used to convey everything from down feather to steel shot.  They’re versatile, reliable, durable, and incredibly easy to install and operate.  Consider this list of uses, starting with our smallest Line Vac, and going to our largest:

  • Model 6058 3/8″ Stainless Steel Line Vacs pull mica from a bulk container and spray it into a mold for making decorative stones, to apply a glittery surface.  They used to do it by hand, but the Line Vacs spread it more consistently.
  • A Model 6079 1/2″ Aluminum Line Vac pulls small metal scraps from a metal trimming operation, as they’re cut, keeping the work area clean.
  • Model 130075 3/4″ Light Duty Line Vacs perform a similar function in a plastic cutting machine, conveying away cut chips and eliminating the need for periodically stopping the machine to clean up.
  • A medical device manufacturer saw a 50% increase in productivity when they went from removing flash by hand from molded silicon parts to using a Model 6061 1″ Stainless Steel Line Vac to suction it away automatically.
  • A mining equipment manufacturer reclaims sand from a secondary operation on their green sand molds with a Model 6062 1-1/4″ Stainless Steel Line Vac.  This keeps their mold area clean, and has eliminated waste in production.
  • Model 140125 1-1/4 MNPT Aluminum Threaded Line Vacs eliminated a  “bucket and ladder” operation where cotton seeds needed to be loaded into 7-foot high hoppers.
  • Model 151150 1-1/2 MNPT Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vacs, fitted into black iron pipe systems, reclaim hot metal chips from a deep channel milling machine, automating the transfer to the recycling hopper.  This eliminated the risk of lifting AND burn injuries from the manual handling of the hot chips.
  • Model 6084 2″ Aluminum Line Vacs vacuum trim scrap from custom label making machines to a central scrap bin, keeping the floor clean, and keeping operators from having to empty individual bins at each machine.
  • A Model 6065 2-1/2″ Stainless Steel Line Vac conveys rejected peanuts (identified and segregated by a vision sorting machine) from the catch pan to a large collection hopper.  This is hauled away at the end of each shift, instead of an operator paying constant attention to the catch pan.
  • Model 161300-316 3″ Sanitary Flange Line Vacs replaced mechanical conveyors in a grain mill, incorporating a totally enclosed Clean In Place (CIP) system.  This greatly reduced contamination controls when the product was openly conveyed, and actually increased their conveyance rates of their bulk grains.
  • A Model 6087 4″ Aluminum Line Vac conveys an additive (in pellet form) into an asphalt mixer, replacing an auger conveyor that left product in the hopper and would clog regularly, resulting in messy spills.
  • A company that recycles spent ammo from gun ranges uses a Model 6088 5″ Aluminum Line Vac to convey the granulated rubber backstop material into their truck.  After the ammo is separated, they use the Line Vac to replenish the granulated rubber into the backstop.
  • A Model 130600 6″ Light Duty Line Vac conveys linen squares (mostly 12″ and 24″ square) through the main header of a sorting operation in a commercial laundry facility.  The system also incorporates several Model 120024 4″ Super Air Amplifiers in individual “pickup” branches.
The EXAIR Line Vac is a fast, low cost way to convey most any bulk material.

No matter what kind of bulk material you need to move, EXAIR has a Line Vac product for it.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Sanitary Flange Air Conveyors in Type 316SS

EXAIR currently offers a multitude of configurations when it comes to the Line Vac – air operated conveyors product line.  One of the easiest to install and best suited for food, pharmaceutical, chemical or other sanitary environments is the Sanitary Flange Line Vac¯.

Model 161200-316 – 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange Line Vac

These are offered in four standard pipe sizes, 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″ and 3″.  The models are only available from stock in 316 stainless steel.   The sanitary flange is designed to be compatible with ISO 2852.  These can easily be used with a “Tri-Clover” clamp and gaskets of varying materials to fit your needs.  They have no internal moving parts and offer a compact, high throughput, quiet conveyance for parts, gases or ingredients.

EXAIR’s Sanitary Flange Line Vacs are offered from stock in four sizes.
Easily install into existing pipe runs for improved process performance.

With the sanitary flange design installation or removal are simplified in order to remove the unit for cleaning or reversing.  If you would like to discuss just how easy these are to upgrade your existing system or to install into a new system, please contact an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Conveyance Testing? We Can Do That!

Over the past month I have spoken with many customers who all had a similar concern.  Will the Line Vac actually convey my product?  Generally, the Application Engineer team can pool our experience together and get a pretty good feeling on if the product will be able to be conveyed the needed vertical and horizontal distance.  We can even give some estimates on what rate of transfer for the product.

In some cases though, the customer prefers to have some hard evidence to showcase to their leadership that the product will work and fill the need they have.  In those cases, as long as the product does not present a disposal hazard or respiratory hazard then we can probably take a small sample and do some testing then provide images, and possibly even some video.

Lightweight and durable aluminum is the most popular choice, but we make them in stainless steel (Types 303 and 316) for heat and corrosion resistance. For extreme heat, the High Temperature option affords protection to 900F (482C) in either 303SS or 316SS.

We may not be able to set up the exact product path that your system will require, we can generally convey a simple vertical with some horizontal.  The list below gives just a few examples of the products we have tested:

  • paper scrap
  • medicine tablets
  • ground rubber
  • dry ice
  • seasoning/spices
  • die cut scraps
  • steel shot
  • tumbling media
  • candy bars (These were delicious, please send more!)
  • nutraceuticals
  • plastic caps
  • plastic parts
  • packing peanuts
  • coffee beans
  • adhesive backing paper
  • cat food additive
  • bolts
  • springs
  • Doo Hickeys (okay, maybe my daughters made me watch Little Mermaid recently.)
  • sand
  • nuts/seeds

The list could go on and on.  The point is, if you are questionable on how well a Line Vac would work with your product, don’t let that deter you from reaching out to us and speaking with an Application Engineer.   We’ve done lots of product testing, and we will all share our experiences with you.  Also, we have conveyed a Cincinnati-Style Chili 3-way.  You can see that in the archives under Will It Launch.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF