EXAIR’s Air Operated Conveyor product line just expanded, making it easier than ever for a wide range of industries to solve an ever growing range of bulk conveyance applications. Before we get to that, let’s look at just how versatile the Line Vacs are:
The standard Line Vac has been making bulk conveyance as easy as it could get for years now. They come in sizes from 3/8″ to 5″, and all you need is a hose to move material from point A to point B.
If you need high power for higher conveyance rates, longer distances, or very dense material, the Heavy Duty Line Vacs are what you’re looking for.
Light Duty Line Vacs are aimed at applications implied by the name…when smaller volumes of low density material don’t require all the head & flow generated by the standard or Heavy Duty models, these are as quick & convenient as the rest, and come in sizes from 3/4″ to 6″.
The newest additions to the Line Vac family are the Type 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange models:
These are especially popular in pharmaceutical, food, and brewing applications.
If you’d like to find out more about how to move bulk product quickly, easily, safely, and cleanly, give me a call.
The other day I was talking to an operation manager about his fixed-bed reactors. These reactors are large tanks filled with different layers of material. The main component of the bed consisted of catalyst pellets which were placed in a centralized layer in the middle of the tank. Above and below the catalyst pellets, they used different sizes of ceramic balls to create a gradient buffer. This was important to disperse the gas to utilize the entire catalyst bed and reduce the possibility of channeling. The tanks were designed with a dump flange mounted at the bottom; so, when the catalyst material was used up, they could dump all the material from the tank and replenish. In recycling the reactors, they could reuse the ceramic balls after they have been reconditioned.
As we discussed the details further about the reconditioning process, the material from the reactor was dumped into drums and separated manually. The catalyst material was discarded; leaving the ceramic balls. The ceramic balls came in three different diameters, 6mm, 13mm, and 25mm. To separate these, they would slide three empty wire-meshed trays into the oven, and placed a specific diameter into a corresponding tray. Once the oven was filled with the ceramic balls, they would heat the oven to 400 deg. C. This would burn off any dangerous material that was collected on the surface from the process within the reactors. After the heat cycle, they would have to wait approximately one hour until the ceramic balls were cool enough to handle. After the cooling period, they would use a shovel to remove the ceramic balls from the trays.
The reconditioned ceramic balls were placed in storage drums and kept until they had to recycle another reactor. The removal of the ceramic balls from the oven would take an additional half hour to complete. The entire reconditioning process was labor intensive, time consuming, and ergonomically a safety issue. For each oven, they were only getting two cycles per day to recondition the ceramic balls. With the number of reactors that they had, they needed to either decrease the downtime for the oven, or purchase another batch oven.
After discovering the EXAIR website, they were intrigued with the Air Operated Conveyors (Line Vacs). If they could remove the ceramic balls at a much higher temperature, then this would allow them to reduce the cycle time. The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor is a great product for moving bulk items over a short distance without manually having to shovel it, transfer it, or lift it. With the customer’s goal to minimize the downtime with the batch oven, I recommended the EXAIR model HT6064 2” Stainless Steel High Temperature Line Vac. With some standard PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), they could remove the ceramic balls from the oven without waiting for it to cool. The model HT6064 has a maximum temperature rating of 482 deg. C and a throat diameter of 45mm; large enough to move all three sizes of the ceramic balls.
The Line Vac, or Air Operated Conveyor, operates by using compressed air to generate a vacuum. It does not have any motors or moving parts to wear, and the inline design makes it easy to attach a transfer hose to the vacuum and exhaust ports. Personnel could now stand near the oven; stick the high temperature duct into the tray, remove all the ceramic balls, and transfer them to a nearby drum. By using the High Temperature Line Vac, they were able to reduce the oven down-time to only 15 minutes. This was plenty enough to reach the goal of increasing the cycles per day. As an added benefit, the back-breaking work of shoveling was removed; thus, increasing the health and safety of the workers.
If your company manually moves dry bulk products from point A to point B, you can contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to see if an Air Operated Conveyor could improve your process. For my customer, the HT6064 Line Vac improved the speed of their reconditioning process, and it took away the pain of shoveling which made this process undesirable for the personnel.
Our distributor in Poland recently emailed me about an application in need of a method to collect plastic chips from the CNC router tables shown above. These machines are used for precision cutting, but face a problem when the cutting edge of the machine comes into contact with the chips and debris created during normal use.
The end user had considered a blow off device such as a nozzle or Air Knife, but this raised concerns with material collection. Ideally, the customer wanted to be able to capture the chips and debris for recycling.
So, we looked into a method of removing the chips with a Line Vac, conveying the debris to a stationary drum for collection and recycling. This type of solution has proven to be effective many times in the past, as shown in the image below. A Line Vac can be mounted at the cutting head to vacuum chips and debris as they are created by the cutting process.
Using the model 6081 Line Vac we can remove the plastic debris from the plotter as it is generated, and convey it to a drum located within the workspace. And, to facilitate collection of the plastics for recycling, we can use our model 6850 drum cover to separate the conveyed chips from the air used to move the materials.
By providing a dynamic solution for this application, the Line Vac is able to lessen the workload of machine operators, allowing them more time to perform value added tasks rather than cleaning. And, the solution is easy to install, requires little to no maintenance, and provides instantaneous vacuum only when needed.
If you have a similar application or would like to discuss problems facing your facilities, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer. We’re available by phone, email, and online chat.
Recently, I worked with a customer that was looking for a way to make a difficult job easier, reducing stress and strain on the body and preventing injury. The customer was in the Environmental Services & Hazardous Waste Management area and regularly was called out to service acid neutralization tanks. These are commonly found in hospitals, laboratories, and schools, to neutralize lab wastewater before it is discharged to the sanitary sewer. The systems typically utilize limestone chips to aid the in process.
Periodic maintenance includes the removal and disposal of the spent limestone chips, tank cleaning and replenishment with new limestone chips. Some of the tanks are tall and narrow, making access to the limestone chips difficult, especially near the tank bottom. Current procedures involved small shovels and unnatural body positions to try to reach the bottom-most material. A better way had to be found.
The customer came across the EXAIR website and found the Line Vac product line. After watching the demonstration video, he knew he had found his solution! The Line Vac is a compressed air operated device that turns any hose or tube into a powerful in-line conveyor. Based on the height of the tanks and the size and weight of the limestone, we agreed the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac would provide the power and durability to empty the tanks in a timely manner, and safely and efficiently. The customer would use a tow behind compressor so that a reliable source of compressed air would always be available.
The Heavy Duty Line Vacs are available in sizes from 3/4″ up to 3″ in both smooth end and threaded connections for use with hose or pipe for conveyance.
To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Line Vac can make your transfer process easier and safer, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
There are many curious sayings from history that are still part of our vernacular, and whose origins are debated. Examples are ‘Spill the Beans’ and ‘Bite the Bullet.’ One of my first supervisors liked to use the expression ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.’ Initially, I didn’t quite understand what was meant by this, and then wasn’t sure it was relevant in some instances. Fast forward many years, I hadn’t thought too much about it, but for some reason, the phrase recently came back into my thinking.
Today the phrase generally means not to get rid of something good when getting rid of something bad (when throwing out the dirty bath water, you don’t want to throw out the baby, too!) As I look back to the supervisor that used it, it was for situations where the solution was within grasp, but due to recent shortcomings it may seemed out of reach. Scrapping the whole thing (the baby and the bathwater) and trying something new would not be the favorable way to proceed.
I remembered this phrase when recently a customer called in about the 3″ Line Vac they were using. It was performing OK, but just was’t doing what they had hoped. They asked if it was still returnable under the 30 day guarantee (it was) and how to start the return process.
While we aim to make the return procedure simple and efficient, we will most likely ask a few questions. We’ll ask ‘what are trying to do?’ ‘Can you send in any photos of the installation’ (we solve lots of issues by seeing something that can be easily remedied) and certainly we will ask ‘about the compressed air supply.’ In the recent customer call, the customer was trying to convey dog food, a distance of 25′ vertical and 18′ horizontal – a fairly challenging distance, but not impossible. A photo could be sent in if needed and then the discussion turned to the compressed air supply. It was determined that the compressed air supply line was undersized for the 68.5 SCFM of 80 PSIG compressed air needed to for the Line Vac to operate to its full capability. We reviewed the Installation and Maintenance Guide and suggested the proper pipe and air hose sizing for this installation. Armed with this new knowledge, the customer set about to modify the installation.
I got an email later that day from the customer. Results were dramatically improved! Average of first measured trials yielded 50 lbs of material in 46 seconds, one of the fastest conveyance rates recorded for those types of distances. Customer was pleased and was looking forward to keeping the unit and getting the benefit that was expected.
In this case, the baby was not thrown out with the bath water.
To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can be a benefit at your facility, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Just released, we are now stocking four different pipe sizes of Sanitary Flange 316 Stainless Steel Line Vacs. We are offering these in the following sizes, 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, and 3″ Sanitary Flange. The performance is the same as our Stainless Steel Line Vacs, but now it is even easier to install in sanitary flanged piping systems. No need to get adapters or have specialty shops weld flanges on.
The new Line Vacs are available for purchase on their own or in a kit which includes the Line Vac, a mounting bracket for the Line Vac, pressure regulator and filter separator. The only parts you provide are the clamps, gaskets and compressed air supply.
These are the latest four additions to our already extensive line of in-line pneumatic conveyors. If we do not offer a stock Line Vac that will fit your needs, we also offer custom Line Vacs to fit virtually any need you may have, just contact us and we will help you determine what will work!
A packaging company was looking to convey the plastic handle grips commonly found on plastic buckets (see below pic for reference). The grips are roughly 3″ long and about a 1/2″ in diameter and they currently have an operator manually load the hopper on their vibratory feeder which is located on the 2nd floor, about 12′ away from the receiving area. The hopper is level controlled and the machine uses 3 grips per minute so as the level dropped, the operator would have to stop the process, go down and load the parts in a box, then go back up the stairs and dump the box into the hopper. This was a very tedious process, which wasted a lot of time so they reached out to EXAIR for a more effective way to get the job done.
After further discussion, I recommended our 1-1/4″ Line Vac Kit for the application as this unit has a 1″ inside throat diameter that would easily pass 1/2″ diameter parts and deliver them to the overhead hopper. Since they were only needing to load a few parts at a time, I proposed they have the operator simply feed the parts in to the Line Vac suction line to avoid any potential blockages. Additionally, I suggested they incorporate our Model# 9040 foot valve into the process to simplify the operation and provide additional control so they are only using their compressed air supply when needed to move the parts. The foot pedal will allow the operator to activate the Line Vac each time they feed parts moving in to the hopper. Among the items this kit includes is a pressure regulator which would allow them to adjust the supply pressure to the unit, providing control over the conveyance rate and velocity at which the parts are ejected.
EXAIR’s Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors are able to convey light materials, like plastic pellets, to more abrasive materials like steel shot blasting media. To see how a Line Vac might fit into your process or for help selecting the best EXAIR product for your needs, give me a call, I’d be glad to help.