Improved Safety Benefits Employees & the Company

“Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility” is a slogan that companies around the world have adopted.

A refinery that processes palm oil from palm seeds had pipes throughout their facility to transport the oil. They would periodically have to clean the 10” diameter pipes as part of a maintenance program.  To do this, they would use a rubber plunger-like device called a pig to move through the pipe lines.  When they opened the piping system to install the pig, palm oil would leak onto the floor.  In their safety protocol, they would place adsorbent barriers around the spills and use a wet/dry vacuum to pick up the waste oil.  They would discard the liquid in a vat for disposal.  The wet/dry vacuum was limited in size to only hold 5 gallons because the operators would have to lift the container to dump the oil in the vat.  If the oil spills exceeded 5 gallons, then they would have to make multiple trips.  They wanted to get a better system as time was of the essence when you have oil on the floor.

6296 Deluxe RDV System

In speaking about their operations, they were needing to improve on their process and safety. I recommended the model 6296 Deluxe Reversible Drum Vac System.  This system uses a two-way pump and siphon tube that mounts into a 55 gallon drum easily without any modifications.  The pump uses compressed air, not electricity, to quietly generate a vacuum to a level of 96” of water. It does not have any moving parts, no motor or bearings to wear out, so it is very reliable and maintenance free.  The deluxe system comes with our Spill Recovery Kit for complete liquid pickup, a drum dolly, vacuum hose, and tool accessories with a holder.  In replacing their current system with the EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac, they could now vacuum a larger volume of liquid during excessive spillage without stopping.  Once the waste oil was vacuumed and contained, they could then just push their drum to the disposal vat.  With a simple turn of the knob, the two-way pump changes from a vacuum system to dispensing the waste oil into the vat.  This removed the need to lift any containers which could cause back damage to the operator.

Easy to change the operation

Easy to change the operation

As stated in the OSHA website, “Businesses spend $170 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses — expenditures that come straight out of company profits. But workplaces that establish safety and health management systems can reduce their injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent. In today’s business environment, these costs can be the difference between operating in the black and running in the red.” Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and in using EXAIR products, you can do your part like the refinery above.

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

Solving Static Problems with an Ion Point

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An Ion Point can provide static elimination with a small footprint and easy installation

I came into the office today to find an interesting application in my inbox.  A small plastic parts manufacturer was facing a problem when sealing their items inside of plastic bags.  The problem arose from an inability to properly place a small strip of glue on the bags, resulting in unwanted glue on the parts and, at times, the exterior of the bags.  What should have been a small strip of glue ended up as a random spread of adhesive due to a static charge on the plastic bags. So, they contacted EXAIR for a static solution.

In this application the first important parameter to check was the type of glue in use.  Some glues are flammable and the vapors from them can be potentially ignitable, so making sure there was no risk for explosion was our first priority as our products are not recommended for use in potentially flammable or combustible applications.

After determining there was no risk for explosion, we then considered the application in more detail.  The static solution needed to be small, effective, and there was an important aspect for this application – the solution could not have any airflow.  The parts which are placed into these bags have low weights, and even a small airflow could remove them from the bags.  So, we needed an airless solution that was compact and effective.

The solution was an Ion Point.

An Ion Point creates a small ionizing “zone” of approximately 2” x 2” (51mm x 51mm) without any airflow.  At this distance, the static elimination from an Ion Point can dissipate a 5kV charge in 0.24 seconds.  The small footprint and airless operation of the Ion Point made it an ideal candidate for this application.

By installing an Ion Point between the bag opener and the glue applicator, the static charge was eliminated and the process disturbance was removed.  We were able to solve this problem, offering a readily available solution (from stock) that fit the specifics of the application.

As the temperature and humidity in the northern hemisphere drop, static problems become more prevalent.  (Click here or here to read about why this happens.)  If static problems arise in your facilities, consider an EXAIR solution.  We’re available to discuss applications and solutions M-F, 8-5 EST.

 

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Finding What You Want – A Black Friday Blog

In the United States, today is the day that we traditionally call “Black Friday” – the retail industry’s unofficial “start of Christmas gift shopping season” – where stores made a habit of opening up early with deep discounts on select items. Here’s the deal: these are SELECT items (that THEY select) and the hopes are, you’ll buy more stuff (that may or may not be on sale) while you’re there. If you know exactly what you want, it can be a good deal for you. If you don’t, it can be a good deal…for the store.

Although we don’t have Black Friday sales events (in fact, we – and I believe most others in the industry, are closed today,) it still makes good sense to know what you’re looking for before you start shopping.  Let’s consider something basic, like an air gun.

Left-right: Precision, Soft Grip w/Stay Set Hose, Heavy Duty w/Rigid Extension, & Super Blast Safety Air Guns. With so many to choose from, we've got the one you're looking for.

Left-right: Precision, Soft Grip w/Stay Set Hose, Heavy Duty w/Rigid Extension, & Super Blast Safety Air Guns. With so many to choose from, we’ve got the one you’re looking for.

Price: this can be a real two-edged sword…not much is cheaper than a commercial grade air gun that you can buy at just about any hardware store. But, they can use upwards of 50 SCFM.  By comparison, our Model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun uses only 14 SCFM (@80psig supply pressure.)  And in any typical industrial blow off application, it’ll do the exact same thing, and cost WAY less to operate.  Use this calculator to find out.

Sound level:  you won’t find a quieter blow off product on the market.  At 80psig, the 1210 Safety Air Gun is only running at 74dBA.  Others can be well over 100dBA…that’s up to 3 times as loud, and well in excess of OSHA’s limits published in Standard 29CFR1910.95(a).

Safety: OSHA also limits the dead-end pressure of compressed air blow off devices used for cleaning purposes, to 30psig.  Unless it’s fitted, or designed, with a relief feature, you can’t supply it with any more than 30psig compressed air…which won’t really do a lot, when you think about the jobs you want to use an air gun for.  Ours can’t be dead ended, so you can supply them with 80-100psig for strong performance AND safety…by design.

Durability: You get what you pay for.  Normally, I would say “’nuff said,” but for further proof of this, I submit this blog, from the archives, on our Durable, Safe, and Efficient Safety Air Guns.  ‘Nuff said (now, anyway.)

If you’d like to talk about your compressed air product application, and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product might be the solution you’re looking for, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Knowing many of you may be distracted by the thought of Mom’s (or Dad’s) home cooking – we would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy any time off, and your families and friends.

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Enjoy,
The EXAIR team
1-800-903-9247

Stretch Wrap Static Solution

Recently a customer called in to EXAIR to discuss a static issue in a stretch wrap process in the plant. Stretch wrap is a highly stretchable plastic film.  The elastic recovery keeps the wrapped load tightly bound. The most common stretch wrap material is a linear low-density polyethylene or LLDPE.  The combination of the stretching of the plastic film and the sliding of the film on the cardboard boxes as it is being wrapped causes a build up of static. This static can cause serious havoc and issues in the process including personnel shocks, zapping counters and other sensors causing failures, and preventing marking systems from delivering good information on to the stratch wrap.

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Stretch Wrap Operation

The discussion started with minimum and maximum load sizes and how to design a system that would work with all configurations and be as flexible as possible.  We spoke of dimensions and where we could we could mount on 3 sides, and so forth.

Then came the question that we invariably get to and that is ‘what issue does the static cause and how does it affect the rest of the process?’  The answer here simple, ‘an operator has to write a code number on the side and affix a label, and in doing so, receives a shock.’ When it was determined that only a small section of one side of the load needed to be treated, the solution was simple.  We proposed an 18″ Ionizing Bar and Power Supply. Because the machine had a fixed datum, all loads would pass within 1-2″ of a vertically installed Ionizing Bar, so no adjustment is needed for different load sizes.

Ion Bar

Ionizing Bars Treating Top and Bottom Surfaces

The Ionizing Bar quickly dissipates a strong static charge as shown in the chart below.

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EXAIR offers many systems for total static control. When static is a problem on moving webs, sheet stock, three dimensional parts, extrusions or packaging, EXAIR has a solution.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Static Eliminator would help out, feel free to contact EXAIR and one our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

A Glass Company Needed a Vortex Tube to Keep Their Pyrometer Reading Accurately

Cooling with the Vortex Tube

Cooling with the Vortex Tube

A glass company was using a pyrometer to measure the temperature of the glass. As with many instruments, it is important to keep the electronics cool for proper operations.  In this case, they were having issues with the accuracy of the measurement.  They contacted EXAIR for a solution.

With their pyrometer, it was designed with a “cooling” device already. This was basically compressed air that would blow around the instrument.  Because of the surrounding area, the compressed air was heating up to 50 deg. C.  This additional heat would not cool the pyrometer properly, and it was causing unreliable readings.  He gave me the design specifications for cooling, and it was 40 liters per minute of compressed air at a maximum of 25 deg. C.  I told him that we had the perfect solution to keep his instrument cool, and it is the EXAIR Vortex Tube. Vortex Tubes are a low cost, reliable, maintenance-free solution that uses compressed air to power the Vortex Tube to produce cold air as low as -46 deg. C. They thrive in remote locations, high temperature environments, and harsh conditions with little to no worry about maintenance (other than providing a source of clean air). With a range of cooling capacities from 135 BTU/hr to 10,200 BTU/hr, I was sure that we could meet the requirements for proper cooling.

To determine the correct size, I had to look at the temperature drop and the flow requirement. The Vortex Tube would have to decrease the incoming temperature from 50 deg. C to at least 25 deg. C.  This would equate to a minimum temperature drop of 25 deg. C.  With the chart below, I see that we are able to get a 29.7 deg. C temperature drop at a 70% Cold Fraction and 3 bar inlet pressure.  EXAIR Vortex Tubes are very adjustable to get different outlet temperatures by adjusting the inlet pressure and the Cold Fraction.  The Cold Fraction (CF) is the volume of cold air flow that will be coming out the cold end.  By adjusting a screw on the hot end of the Vortex Tube, the cold flow can be change to the desired CF.

Vortex Performance Chart

Vortex Performance Chart

The other requirement was the amount of air flow, 40 SLPM (Standard Liters per Minute).  In comparing the above information to the catalog data at 6.9 bar, we have to consider the difference in absolute pressures. With an atmospheric pressure of 1 bar, the equation looks like this:

VTflow = CAF/CF * (Catalog Pressure + 1 bar)/(Supply Pressure + 1 bar)

VTflow – Catalog Vortex Tube flow

CAF – Cold Air Flow

CF – Cold Fraction

Catalog Pressure – 6.9 bar

Supply Pressure – Chart above

From this equation, we can solve for the required Vortex Tube:

VTflow = 40 SLPM/0.7 * (6.9 bar + 1 bar) / (3 bar + 1 bar) = 112.9 SLPM.

In looking at the catalog information, this would equate to our model 3204 Vortex Tube which uses 113 SLPM of compressed air at 6.9 bar. So, after installing, the Vortex Tube was able to supply 20.3 deg. C air at a flow of 40 SLPM; keeping the pyrometer reading correctly and accurately.

Sometimes compressed air by itself is not enough to “cool” your instruments. The EXAIR Vortex Tubes can reduce the temperature of your compressed air to the desired requirement.  If you believe that your measuring equipment is being affected by temperature, please contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to find the correct product for you.

 

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

Conveying Plastic Chips Using Only Compressed Air

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Plastic chips and pellets in need of an efficient means to convey from point A to point B

One of our distributors in Europe recently contacted me about an application to move plastic chips and pellets (shown above).  In this application the customer needed to move the material 6m vertically (upward), 10m horizontally, and then 4m vertically (downward) at the fastest rate possible using an EXAIR Line Vac.  So, we needed to determine the most suitable model number.

When determining the proper model Line Vac for pneumatic conveying applications, we investigate specifics such as:

Bulk density of the material

Shape/size of the material

Conveying distance

Conveying height

Required conveyance rate

Available compressed air supply

Using this information we can make a recommendation as to the best Line Vac for the application.  For this application, the bulk density of the material was between 10-15 pounds per cubic foot, the size was relatively small, our distances were given, and the required conveyance rate was “as much as possible”.  With a sufficient compressed air volume and pressure of 80 PSIG, we knew everything we needed to make a model number recommendation.

Due to the significant height as well as the considerable horizontal distance, the best solution for this application was a Heavy Duty Line Vac.  Given the small size of the material, several options “could” move the chips/pellets, but we needed to determine which Line Vac would move the most volume.  Our recommendation was to use the Heavy Duty 2” Line Vac, model 150200, which we estimate could move ~400 pounds per hour (or more) in this application.

Conveying materials pneumatically removes worker interaction with the movement of the product, allows for controlled ON/OFF cycling of material transfer, and eliminates fatigue related to physical handling of the material.

If these aspects could benefit your facility or application, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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