Sanitary Flange Air Conveyor Doubles Output for Coffee Bean Roaster

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For me there’s nothing better than a hot, fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Particularly during the colder mornings like we’ve had as of late, but even in the summer sitting out on the porch sipping on a cup while the sun comes up is a great way to start the day. Just typing this first paragraph has me making my way to the break room for a cup!

We’ve talked about the life of a coffee bean and the processes that it must go through from the fields as a bean all the way through the roasting, grinding, and packaging process. At just about every stage in the production of coffee, EXAIR has a way to help. Just like craft breweries that have taken the world by storm, small-batch coffee companies are beginning to see a similar boom in their business as the market shifts away from large corporate entities and supports small or locally owned businesses.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with one of these “craft” coffee producers. They’ve been in business for a little while, but as of late have really seen an increase in their sales. To increase production, they invested in a second roasting machine at a substantial capital investment. They’re a small company with less than 10 employees from the front-end to the back-end. While initially they thought all that was needed was to buy a second roaster, they quickly found out that they weren’t getting double the output like they had thought. The problem was that the time spent moving the bulk bags of raw beans into the hopper of the roaster was too time consuming for one person to feasibly handle. They either needed to hire a second person (another substantial investment), or they needed to find a better way of transporting the beans.

After searching online, they came across the EXAIR Line Vac. EXAIR’s Line Vacs are the ideal low-cost solution for bulk material transfer. Available with smooth, NPT threads, and sanitary flange connections, it allows you to convert ordinary pipe or hose into a powerful conveying system for parts, scrap, trim, and other bulk materials. Available in a variety of different sizes and materials, we can achieve wide range of conveyance rates.

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In this particular application, food grade materials were necessary. EXAIR’s model 161200-316 2” Sanitary Flange Line Vac allowed them to maintain a clean environment while keeping it easy to remove and clean when necessary. With the Line Vac in place, they were able to double their output as they’d desired when purchasing the new machine without having to hire another operator. A much easier, cheaper, and cost-effective solution. That Line Vac isn’t going to ask for a raise, request time off for summer vacation, or wander into the break-room to make itself a cup of coffee 😊.

If you have an application where you’re manually transferring bulk materials, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to help evaluate your process and recommend a solution that’ll save you time, energy, and money!

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

Leaks and Their Impact on Your Compressed Air System

Leaks are one of the major wastes of compressed air that could happen in a system. But what affect can leaks have on your system and how can these leaks be found? Total leaks in a compressed air line can account for wasting almost 20-30% of a compressors output. These leaks can commonly be found in areas were a pipe comes in contact with a joint, connections to devices that use the compressed air, and storage tanks.

There are four main affects that a leak in your compressed air system can have and they are as follows; 1) cause in pressure drop across the system, 2) shorten the life of almost all supply system equipment, 3) increased running time of the compressor, and 4) unnecessary compressor capacity.

  • A pressure drop across your compressed air system can lead to a decreased in efficiency of the end use equipment (i.e. an EXAIR Air Knife or Air Nozzle). This adversely effects production as it may take longer to blow off or cool a product or not blow off the product well enough to meet quality standards.
  • Leaks can shorten the life of almost all supply system components such as air compressors, this is because the compressor has to continuously run to make up for the air loss from the leak. By forcing the equipment to continuously run or cycle more frequently means that the moving parts in the compressor will wear down faster.
  • An increased run time due to leaks can also lead to more maintenance on supply equipment for the same reasons as to why the life of the compressor is shortened. The increase stress on the compressor due to unnecessary running of the compressor.
  • Leaks can also lead to adding unnecessary compressor size. The wasted air that is being expelled from the leak is an additional demand in your system. If leaks are not fixed it may require a larger compressor to make up for the loss of air in your system.
EXAIR’s Ultrasonic Leak Detector

All of these effects are an additional cost that is tacked onto the already existing utility cost of your compressed air. But luckily there are ways to find these leaks and patch them up before it can get to out of control. One of the ways to help find leaks in your system is the EXAIR’s affordable Ultrasonic Leak Detector. This leak detector uses ultrasonic waves to detect were costly leaks can be found so that they can be patched or fixed.

If you have questions about a Leak Prevention Program or any of the 16 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.    

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Dollar Savings: Open Pipes vs EXAIR Air Nozzle

Early one morning we received a call from a local metal stamping company that had a problem. They had outstripped the volumetric capacity of their (2) 50 HP air compressors.

They were using open copper tubes to facilitate separating the part from the die on the upstroke and then blow the part backwards into the collection chute. The (5) 1/4” copper tubes were all connected to a single manifold with a valve to control each tube.  Compounding their compressed air shortage was that this setup was duplicated on approximately (8) presses.  Per the plant they run the presses for approximately (4) hours per day.  The volume of air required for one press was calculated as:

One 1/4” open copper pipe consumes 33 SCFM @ 80 PSIG, therefore:

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Due to the award winning design of EXAIR’s engineered air nozzles the plant achieved faster separation of the part from the die and greater efficiency moving the part to the collection chute, while averting the need to purchase a larger air compressor. They are saving air, reducing energy costs and lowering the noise level in their facility.

If you would like to discuss saving air and/or reducing noise, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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Line Loss: What It Means To Your Compressed Air Supply Pipe, Tubing, And Hose

“Leave the gun. Take the canolli.”

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

“I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!”

“This EXAIR 42 inch Super Air Knife has ¼ NPT ports, but the Installation and Operation Instructions recommend feeding it with, at a minimum, a ¾ inch pipe…”

If you’re a movie buff like me, you probably recognize 75% of those quotes from famous movies. The OTHER one, dear reader, is from a production that strikes at the heart of this blog, and we’ll watch it soon enough. But first…

It is indeed a common question, especially with our Air Knives: if they have 1/4 NPT ports, why is such a large infeed supply pipe needed?  It all comes down to friction, which slows the velocity of the fluid all by itself, and also causes turbulence, which further hampers the flow.  This means you won’t have as much pressure at the end of the line as you do at the start, and the longer the line, the greater this drop will be.

This is from the Installation & Operation Guide that ships with your Super Air Knife. It’s also available from our PDF Library (registration required.)

If you want to do the math, here’s the empirical formula.  Like all good scientific work, it’s in metric units, so you may have to use some unit conversions, which I’ve put below, in blue (you’re welcome):

dp = 7.57 q1.85 L 104 / (d5 p)

where:

dp = pressure drop (kg/cm2) 1 kg/cm2=14.22psi

q = air volume flow at atmospheric conditions (FAD, or ‘free air delivery’) (m3/min) 1 m3/min = 35.31 CFM

L = length of pipe (m) 1m = 3.28ft

d = inside diameter of pipe (mm) 1mm = 0.039”

p = initial pressure – abs (kg/cm2) 1 kg/cm2=14.22psi

Let’s solve a problem:  What’s the pressure drop going to be from a header @80psig, through 10ft of 1″ pipe, feeding a Model 110084 84″ Aluminum Super Air Knife (243.6 SCFM compressed air consumption @80psig)…so…

q = 243.6 SCFM, or 6.9 m3/min

L = 10ft, or 3.0 m

d = 1″, or 25.6 mm

p = 80psig, or 94.7psia, or 6.7 kg/cm2

1.5 psi is a perfectly acceptable drop…but what if the pipe was actually 50 feet long?

Again, 1.5 psi isn’t bad at all.  8.2 psi, however, is going to be noticeable.  That’s why we’re going to recommend a 1-1/4″ pipe for this length (d=1.25″, or 32.1 mm):

I’m feeling much better now!  Oh, I said we were going to watch a movie earlier…here it is:

If you have questions about compressed air, we’re eager to hear them.   Call us.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Finding Leaks and Saving Money with the Ultrasonic Leak Detector

Locate costly leaks in your compressed air system!  Sounds like the right thing to do.

The EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector is a hand-held, high quality instrument that is used to locate costly leaks in a compressed air system.

Ultrasonic sound is the term applied to sound that is above the frequencies of normal human hearing capacity.  This typically begins at sounds over 20,000 Hz in frequency.  The Ultrasonic Leak Detector can detect sounds in this upper range and convert them to a range that is audible to people.

When a leak is present, the compressed air moves from the high pressure condition through the opening to the low pressure environment.  As the air passes through the opening, it speeds up and becomes turbulent in flow, and generates ultrasonic sound components. Because the audible sound of a small leak is very low and quiet, it typically gets drowned out by by surrounding plant noises, making leak detection by the human ear difficult if not impossible.

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Detecting a Leak with the Ultrasonic Leak Detector

By using the Ultrasonic Leak Detector, the background noise can be filtered out and the ultrasonic noises can be detected, thus locating a leakage in the compressed air system. There are (3) sensitivity settings, x1, x10, and x100 along with an on/off thumb-wheel for fine sensitivity.  The unit comes with a parabola and tubular extension for added flexibility.

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Model 9061 – Ultrasonic Leak Detector and Included Accessories

Finding just one small leak can pay for the unit-

A small leak equivalent to a 1/16″ diameter hole will leak approx 3.8 SCFM at 80 PSIG of line pressure.  Using a reasonable average cost of $0.25 per 1000 SCF of compressed air generation, we can calculate the cost of the leak as follows-

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It is easy to see that utilizing the Ultrasonic Leak Detector, and identifying and fixing leaks is the right thing to do.  It is possible to find and fix enough leaks that a new compressor purchase can be avoided or an auxiliary back-up is not needed any more.

If you have questions regarding the Ultrasonic Leak Detector, or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, 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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Intelligent Compressed Air: Save $$ With a Leak Prevention Program

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Don’t let leaks drive up your utility bill

The generation of compressed air accounts for approximately 1/3 of all energy costs in an industrial facility. According to the Compressed Air Challenge, about 30% of that compressed air is lost through leaks. This means nearly 10% of your facility’s energy costs are simply wasted through poor connections, faulty air valves, improper installation, etc. In addition to simply wasting money, compressed air leaks can also contribute to a variety of other operating losses. A leak can cause a drop in system pressure. When this occurs, end users may not operate as efficiently, having an adverse effect on production. This same drop in system pressure will also cause the equipment to cycle on/off more often, shortening the life of your compressor and other equipment. If the leaks cause an issue in supply volume, it may lead to the belief that more compressor capacity is necessary, further increasing your operating costs.

To put leaks in perspective (assuming energy costs of .10/ kWh), the Compressed Air Challenge states this:

  • A $200/year leak cannot be felt or heard
  • A $800/year leak can be felt, but not heard
  • A $1,400/year leak can be felt and heard.

If you walk through your facility, how many leaks can you hear?

We know that a large portion of the compressed air is being wasted, but what do we do about it? A proper leak prevention plan is the key to success. Since these leaks are impossible to see and some cannot even be heard, you need a tool to help assist you. EXAIR’s model 9061 Ultrasonic Leak Detector is the right tool for the job. When compressed air leaks through a pipe, it creates an ultrasonic signature due to turbulence. While this sound is not always detectable by the human ear, this meter will allow you to locate leaks up to 20’ away.

 

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Model 9061 with parabola attachment

The first step will be locating the leaks using an Ultrasonic Leak Detector and tagging them throughout the facility. Don’t let this overwhelm you!! If you have a larger facility, break it up into sections that can be completed in 1 day. This will allow you to decide which areas of the plant should be looked at first. Once you’ve located and tagged all of the leaks, rate them under two separate criteria so that you can prioritize what to fix first. Rate them based on the difficulty that it will take to fix them and also by the severity of the leak. Those that are severe yet easy to fix would make sense to begin fixing first. Those that may require a period of shutdown can be planned to fix at a more appropriate time.

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Accessories that come with the Ultrasonic Leak Detector

When you’ve had the opportunity to fix them, don’t just forget about it. When new piping is installed, new lines are added, or anything involving compressed air is installed there is the potential for new leaks to develop. Set this as one of your regular PM activities and complete your own compressed air audit once a year. Implementing the process and maintaining it are the keys to your success.

If you have questions about developing a leak program or how to use the Ultrasonic Leak Detector, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to help with the process and recommend additional methods to save on your compressed air supply.

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

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I think we have all heard the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – a phrase that is thought to have originated back in 70’s when environmental protection became a governmental policy.

We at EXAIR can help your company follow this important principle and help to keep your costs down as well.

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Reduce – Reduce the number of times you change out your coolant, reduce your wastewater. Our Reversible Drum VAcs and Chip Trappers help keep your coolant clean by providing a simple and effective method to remove and/or strain your coolant.

Also, remember this – they are VERY hard to break or ruin. If you have one of our liquid handling Reversible Drum Vacs or Chip Trapper units, and the performance isn’t quite as you remember it to be, give us a call.   We can help to trouble shoot and narrow in on the root cause.  Most of the time, it is a simple fix, such as a air leak or a change to the air supply system that has caused a drop in performance. If we have eliminated all of those possible causes, we can offer the RDVREFURB option. Simply send in your Reversible Drum Vac pump unit, and we will do a free evaluation. Then we’ll let you know what we find, and provide a quote for the repair.  The repair typically involves a thorough cleaning, replacement of a few basic parts, and then setting and testing to original factory specification.  Because the unit has no moving parts, there isn’t much that can break down or go wrong.  Don’t throw away that unit, REDUCE the amount of waste you create.

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Reuse – Maybe you have a Super Air Knife in storage that is not in use, and you come up with a need, but the Knife doesn’t quite match the application.  We can provide new custom shim to change the air flow pattern.  Perhaps you have a 24″ Super Air Knife, but the new application requires only 18″ of airflow.  You can send the knife in and we can clean it up and install a new custom shim to provide the exact airflow pattern that meets your requirements.  Or, we can send the new shim directly to you for your team to install. Don’t let the unused product lie around, REUSE it for another process or application.

Super Air Knife

Recycle – If for what ever reason a product has been deemed to be no-longer viable and cannot be reused, the time comes to dispose of it.  We hope that you would take the time to recycle it properly. With materials of construction including brass, aluminum and type 303 and type 316 stainless steels, most EXAIR products can be RECYCLED as common metals and you may even get a little money back!

To discuss your processes and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can provide a beneficial service, 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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Photo Credit – “Recycling” by Andy Arthur is licensed under CC BY 2.0