Years ago I was working with a pet food manufacturer who was having issues with their bag opening machine. The problem they had with their existing setup was the dust from manufacturing processes would get sucked into the venturi and start to decrease their performance. Hence, they needed a better solution that wouldn’t need to be replaced and could be cleaned.
The bags were empty, and this vacuum generator was positioned to pull the bag open. The bags were made of a non-porous material as they had a coating on them and thus the actual action of opening the bag was not difficult. Enter dust through the throat of a small venturi, and it caused several downtimes that were not scheduled. When looking at the performance characteristics of their existing system I crossed that over to an EXAIR model 840008M – Adjustable E-Vac w/ Straight Through Muffler. This unit was able to open the bag and hold it open for their machine needs. The throat passage of the unit was also larger than their existing generator and the biggest benefit, the Adjustable E-Vac could easily be taken apart and cleaned. To see how easy they are adjusted, which is the same method used to take them apart, check out this previous video blog linked in the image below.
The process changed from changing an existing vacuum generator out, scrapping the old one, and putting in a new one to keeping two on hand. One (EXAIR Adjustable E-vac) that is in operation and functioning, then after a designated amount of time (predictive maintenance), they change it out for the spare (EXAIR Adjustable E-vac) vacuum generator. The second part of the process involves breaking the used one down (without the need for any specialized tools), to clean each of the three pieces on the unit. The refurbished unit is then reassembled, benchmarked for performance, and put on the shelf for the next maintenance cycle.
While this system uses the same volume of compressed air as their previous solution, we still save money in the amount of unusable replacements they were ordering with repairable units, allowing them to keep a working spare on hand. So it saves the customer money on the life of the product. A further benefit is the customer can also get the EXAIR Adjustable E-Vacs quickly as they are standard stock item for us at EXAIR and can ship the same day on orders received by 2 PM ET.
If you want to discuss how an Adjustable E Vac makes sense for you and your team, contact an Application Engineer today!
There are a number of ways to pick something up from where it is, move it to where you want it, and put it down. If it’s on a skid, you can use a forklift. If it’s got an eyebolt – or if you can get a strap or chain around it, you can use a crane…or a forklift, provided you can safely secure the strap or chain to one of the forks. Or, if there’s enough surface area for a suction cup to sit on, you can use vacuum.
The two most popular methods of that are vacuum pumps, and venturi-type vacuum generators. Both are capable of creating a high vacuum for secure attachment of the vacuum cup to the object, and both can generate enough vacuum flow, under moderate vacuum levels, to overcome vacuum leakage when picking up objects with porous or slightly irregular surfaces. In a facility with multiple ‘pick and place’ stations or operations that are some distance from each other, vacuum generators are an inexpensive and easy solution, as they can be installed right at the point of use. If the points of use are relatively close together, though, it can make sense to consider a centralized vacuum pump from an operating cost standpoint…the electricity to run the vacuum pump’s motor is oftentimes cheaper than the compressed air to run the vacuum generators. Vacuum pumps still require a lot of maintenance, and when they break, they’re notoriously expensive to fix, so maintenance cost and reliability are important considerations as well.
EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generators are compact, single-stage venturi products that generate rated vacuum on demand. With no moving parts to wear, or electrical components to burn out, they address the concerns I just mentioned about maintenance costs and reliability of electric-driven vacuum pumps. E-Vacs are available in three basic configurations:
High Vacuum: These are capable of generating up to 27″Hg vacuum levels, and are specified went the object to be lifted has a smooth, non-porous surface for the Vacuum Cups to pull down on. With that kind of tight seal and high vacuum level, they’re effective, safe, and reliable.
Low Vacuum: Why would you not want the vacuum to be as high as possible? Well, if you’re picking up something with an irregular surface, or if the material is porous, you’re going to have leakage past the lip of the Vacuum Cup, or through the pores of the material, meaning you won’t be able to get that high of a vacuum in any case. EXAIR Low Vacuum E-Vacs are specified for lifting objects like this. They generate sufficient vacuum (up to 21″Hg) and enough vacuum flow at those levels to overcome the leakage for the same effective, safe, and reliable operation as their High Vacuum counterparts.
Adjustable: These offer a combination of the benefits of the High and Low Vacuum Generators. By threading the plug in or out of the body, you can control the amount of vacuum – and vacuum flow – that they generate. This can be particularly beneficial if your system needs to pick up a variety of loads. They also have a larger throat diameter, so if you’re picking up something with dust or other contamination on the surface, it won’t clog up like an In-Line model (with a much smaller throat) would. These are commonly used for work holding tables as well, since those are almost always pulling in particulate from the surface.
Once we’ve determined the appropriate style of E-Vac Vacuum Generator for the application, we’ll move on to specifying the correct Vacuum Cup(s). EXAIR offers a wide variety of these, from small Bellows style Cups as small as 3/4″ in diameter, to round Vacuum Cups ranging in diameter from 1″ to 6″. We use this table from our catalog to determine how many of which Vacuum Cup to use. They’re rated for the amount of weight each Cup is capable of lifting, at specific vacuum levels.
For example, let’s say we need to pick up a solid object with a flat, smooth top that weighs 5 pounds. We’re going to apply a 2x safety factor, so we’re going to select a Vacuum Cup rated for at least 10 pounds, and since the surface is flat & smooth, we don’t expect a need to overcome any vacuum leakage, so we’ll use the rating at 27″Hg. In this case, we can use a Model 900764 Oval Vacuum Cup, which are rated for 10 pounds at 27″Hg.
If it’s a small-to-medium sized object with a round or square top, you can usually just use one Vacuum Cup to pick it up. For larger objects, you’ll want to use multiple Vacuum Cups to keep it balanced. Let’s say our 5 pound object is a thin plate that’s long and narrow. For that, we can use two Model 900752 1″ Small Round, or two Model 900767 1″ Round Bellows Vacuum Cups (both rated for 5.2 pounds each at 27″Hg), spaced out appropriately for the length, to safely pick and place the object.
If the object’s top surface isn’t smooth & flat, and/or if the material is porous, we’re going to select Vacuum Cup(s) that are rated for the weight (again applying a 2x safety factor) at a lower vacuum level. Let’s say our 5 pound object is a cardboard box. We know a Low Vacuum (Porous) E-Vac can create a vacuum of up to 21″Hg (with no vacuum flow) or 15″Hg with a moderate amount of vacuum flow to overcome leakage. We can use one Model 900754 2″ Round or Model 900769 2″ Bellows Vacuum Cup, which are both rated for at least 10 pounds at 15″Hg. We could also use two Model 900764 Oval Vacuum Cups, since they’re rated for 5.5 pounds each at 15″Hg.
If you’d like to find out more about generating vacuum with compressed air, or if you’d like help in specifying the right E-Vac(s) and Vacuum Cup(s) for your application, give me a call.
When I hear “Built to Last” ads come to mind such as Ford Trucks and Craftsman tools. Advertising promoting product integrity will always get my attention. Although I have not owned a Ford truck, I have many friends that have and swear by them, so I’m thinking my next truck might be a Ford. I have owned a lot of Craftsman tools and put them through rigorous use and I never had to use the “Lifetime Warranty“. They were designed and built to last and this is how EXAIR designs and manufactures their Intelligent Compressed Air Tooling.
EXAIR Design and Engineering team designs our items with performance and repeat manufacture ability in mind.EXAIR products have no moving parts so very little maintenance is required. As long as a source of clean dry compressed air is supplied to the product and following our recommended Installation instructions not much can go wrong,
EXAIR has a “5 Year Built to Last” Warranty against defects in workmanship and materials on all compressed air products. This warranty applies under conditions of normal use, but does not apply to defects that result from intentional damage, negligence, unreasonable use, wear or exposure. An example of a non warranty situation would be using an abrasive material such as sand with our Aluminum Line Vacs. The abrasive nature of the sand will wear the aluminum Line Vac out well before the 5 years. Our application engineers will discuss your application and recommend products that fit your project and our 5 Year Built to Last Warranty.
EXAIR also has a 30-Day Guarantee that allows you to make a purchase and run trials to see the effectiveness of our product and how they meet your expectations. If the item provides desired results then great we are both happy but if you do not see the desired results then you have 30 Days from purchase to return the product. An Application Engineer can discuss your findings and issue a “Return Authorization” if needed. You will receive a full credit without any restocking fees.
EXAIR has confidence in our products to last and perform standing behind our products. Our confidence is why we offer both 5 Year Built to Last Warranty and the 30-Day Unconditional Guarantee. If you have any questions as to what EXAIR product will provide the best result for your application, please contact one of our qualified Application Engineers, so we can review this with you and make the best recommendation for your project(s).
I used to work for a plastic injection molding facility that also had several different types of secondary added value processes. We used compressed air in our paint rooms, assembly areas, molding room and other various processes. I don’t recall what our compressed air usage was as we had 7 total manufacturing facilities in 5 different states. I tracked our electric bills, phone bills, water bills and all of our vending billing but, I never took the time to realize the importance and cost of compressed air.
I was successful in cost reduction activity in all those ares and so proud of the accomplishments but not once did I take the time to realize what I could save with our compressed air systems and the tooling we used with compressed air. The illustration below shows what can be saved when looking at just one air nozzle:
This is just one air nozzle. We used about 100 Air Nozzles, 20 paint nozzles, 50 Line Vacs and other various compressed air products. If I was able to calculate savings for all the products we used and focused on fixing air leaks in the system I would have been a real hero. Well guess what? EXAIR can help you calculate and determine the best products to help you generate these savings. We can even help you calculate your savings.
The other benefits included with EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® products will be the noticeable noise reduction and compliance with OSHA Standards 29 CFR-1910.95(a) Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure and 29 CFR-1910.242(b) Harmful Dead End Pressure. EXAIR meets or exceeds these OSHA Standards providing you with a peace of mind for conformance.
EXAIR has a great catalog showing our products, capabilities and performance information. Our website www.EXAIR.com offers catalog information, prices, performance, drawings, videos, blogs, air savings calculator and much more information. If you are unable to find what you need you can conveniently call one of our Application Engineers for assistance.