Don’t Throw the Baby Out With The Bath Water – and How it Applies to Manufacturing

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.

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EXAIR Line Vac Family

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.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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New! In Stock! Sanitary Flange 316 Stainless Steel Line Vacs

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.

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

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

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.

With a wide range of sizes and materials of construction, we've got your solution. Call us.

With a wide range of sizes and materials of construction, we’ve got your solution. Call us.

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!

Custom PVDF Line Vac

Custom PVDF Line Vac

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Conveying Plastic Bucket Handles With A Line Vac Saves Time

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.

yellow-bucket

The plastic handles are similar to the black handle shown here.

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.

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The Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors are available with smooth or NPT threaded ends in aluminum, 303ss, 316ss or hardened alloy construction to meet the demand of a wide variety of material transfer needs.

 

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.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

yellow bucket image courtesy of sammydavisdog via Creative Commons license

Light Duty Line Vac For Part Rejection

Today I worked with a long standing customer that was interested in using the Line Vac technology to provide a method for part rejection.  The parts come out of a bin and travel to the next station for final assembly.  There is an accept/reject analysis system along the way, and it was decided that the Line Vac would offer an easy way to remove the part from the conveyor and transport it to a reject bin.

The parts are very small, with 0.093″ to 0.187″ OD and 0.178″ to 0.335″ lengths.  Part weights were 0.27 grams or less, so a very small and light weight item.  Maximum part processing was estimated at less than 6 parts per minute, so low speed and low transfer rates apply.  The final piece of information was the distance for conveyance, and here it was only a few inches up and then 4′ over to the reject bin.

Based on all the information about the parts, the process and the transfer distance, it was determined that the 3/4″ Light Duty Line Vac would be an ideal choice for the application. The unit is available as part of the  model 132075 Light Duty Line Vac Kit, which includes a Automatic Drain Filter Separator and a Pressure Regulator.  The Pressure Regulator is especially important in this application, as it will allow for pressure adjustment to provide the best performance while keeping the compressed air usage to a minimum.

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The EXAIR Family of Line Vacs

 

EXAIR manufactures 3 styles of Line Vac- Light Duty, Standard, and Heavy Duty with either smooth bore hose or NPT threaded ends.  They are offered in 4 types of materials- Aluminum, Type 303 and Type 316 Stainless Steel, and a hardened alloy construction. An important factor in material selection is the abrasiveness of the material to be conveyed.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Even Our Customers Are Sending “Holiday Gifts”

Lately, it certainly has felt like Christmas here at the factory.  Two customers sent in some sample parts  for us to test and provide solutions for their application issues.  Opening the box is like unwrapping a present, what surprise will we find inside?

The first customer currently uses the Line Vac to convey (3) different parts from the floor to a hopper for the assembly process.  (2) of the (3) parts transfer very well, but the third conveys a little too slowly. Having all three parts here at EXAIR allows us to set up testing and determine what the root cause is and recommend a solution that will work equally well for all three parts.

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The second is interested in our vacuum technologies to pick and place some fiber board material products.  Due to the curved surfaces and porous material, getting a good vacuum could be a challenge. By having the sample parts here, we can utilize our Demo Room, and try various E-Vacs with various vacuum cup designs and possibly the Line Vac or Air Amplifiers  to develop a good suction on each item.

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When it isn’t possible to send in samples, we will stand behind the EXAIR Unconditional Guarantee – purchase a stocked catalog item, and you have 30 days to try it your facility, in your process, under your real world conditions.  If after the 30 days you aren’t satisfied, send it back for a full refund – and try something else!

To discuss your application and find out information about sending in material samples to confirm that an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Creative Uses for the Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors

Last week a customer called in looking for some help in solving a minor issue in the plant. The customer is a specialist in the filament winding business making all types of products from many types of fibers, such as Polyester, Nylon, Nomex®, PTFE and Kevlar®.

At the end of a run, there will be a small amount of thread left on several bobbins.   There is not enough thread to save for a future run, and so the customer has to strip the remaining thread off, to be able to reuse the bobbin.

I remembered that an EXAIR Application Engineer had done some testing on thread, using a Line Vac to pull and unwind a spool. See here for that demonstration.

The customer sent me the below photo, helping us to visualize the application better, and then went even further by shipping a couple of sample bobbins with some thread still remaining.

After running a few tests, it was determined that the smallest Line Vac available , the model 6078 – 3/8″ Aluminum Line Vac, produced the fastest results due to the narrow throat diameter in conjunction with the thin thread.  A brief demonstration of the test can be found below.

Using just 5.6 SCFM at 80 PSIG of compressed air, the Line Vac quickly unwound the bobbin, providing a simple, cost-effective way to automate what had been a tedious manual process.

The Line Vac conveyor are ideal for moving large volumes of material over long distances, using a small amount of compressed air. The material flow rate is easily controlled by use of a pressure regulator.  No moving parts or electricity assures maintenance free operation.  EXAIR offers the Line Vac in sizes from 3/8″ up to 5″ in diameter, in materials including aluminum, Type 303 and Type 316 Stainless Steels, and a Heavy Duty model with hardened alloy construction.

To discuss your application and how a Line Vac or another EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Darn Right, More Power

“Home Improvement” was one of the more popular TV shows of the 1990’s – the lead Character (I capitalized that on purpose,) Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, hosted a handyman show with his skilled & more sensible sidekick, Al Borland. Tim’s mantra, “More Power,” was often tempered by Al’s quintessential retort of “I don’t think so, Tim.” For your viewing pleasure, here’s a collection of (more than) a few times when Al’s warning went unheeded.

When discussing compressed air product applications, I’m often asked if EXAIR has something with “more power” than what the caller is currently using.  Sometimes, it’s even an EXAIR product that’s not giving the results they want.  Regardless, the answer is usually “darn right, we do!”

This was the case recently, when I had the pleasure of actually doing a conveyance test in our shop for a customer.  The product was broken glass, and they wanted to move a fair amount of it, in a hurry.

Last year about this time, I wouldn’t have even recommended a test of the product; our Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac was our epitome of “More Power.”  Then, earlier this year, we introduced the Model 150300 3″ Heavy Duty Line Vac (also a 2-1/2″ model).

Yeah, we really don't have an "Al Borland" character on the EXAIR team...2" Heavy Duty Line Vac (left;) the new 3" model (right.)

2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac (left;) the new 3″ model (right.) Yeah, we really don’t have an “Al Borland” character on the EXAIR team…

The results were conclusive, and dramatic.  The 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac moved the broken glass at a rate of 10.8 lb/min. Considering that included a 15 foot vertical rise, that’s not bad at all.  Based on the difference in conveyance air flow alone (which we use as a VERY rough estimation,) I expected an increase of 40-50% with the new 3″ model.  Instead, I could almost hear Tim Allen’s signature grunt as the 3″ Heavy Duty Line Vac reached a conveyance rate of 24 lb/min.  More power, indeed.

If you’d like to discuss an air operated conveyor application, or 1990’s sitcoms, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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