Over the past month I have spoken with many customers who all had a similar concern. Will the Line Vac actually convey my product? Generally, the Application Engineer team can pool our experience together and get a pretty good feeling on if the product will be able to be conveyed the needed vertical and horizontal distance. We can even give some estimates on what rate of transfer for the product.
In some cases though, the customer prefers to have some hard evidence to showcase to their leadership that the product will work and fill the need they have. In those cases, as long as the product does not present a disposal hazard or respiratory hazard then we can probably take a small sample and do some testing then provide images, and possibly even some video.
We may not be able to set up the exact product path that your system will require, we can generally convey a simple vertical with some horizontal. The list below gives just a few examples of the products we have tested:
die cut scraps
candy bars (These were delicious, please send more!)
adhesive backing paper
cat food additive
Doo Hickeys (okay, maybe my daughters made me watch Little Mermaid recently.)
The list could go on and on. The point is, if you are questionable on how well a Line Vac would work with your product, don’t let that deter you from reaching out to us and speaking with an Application Engineer. We’ve done lots of product testing, and we will all share our experiences with you. Also, we have conveyed a Cincinnati-Style Chili 3-way. You can see that in the archives under Will It Launch.
Recently, we at EXAIR worked with a major player in the golf ball manufacturing world. As an avid golfer myself, this was an application I could really get a ‘grip’ on and I had the ‘drive’ to propose a solution.
The customer was involved in Research & Development, performing testing on the golf balls through robotic hitting, collection, and attribute measurement. The current set up involved the ball being hit, gravity collection into a PVC tube, and then an operator unhooking the tube, walking it over to and unloading the balls onto a rack, in the same order of hitting. The customer wanted to eliminate the manual task of the tube handling and have the balls delivered directly to the rack area. The transfer would need to be 15′ vertically, then 15′ horizontally, before dropping down to table level. A typical rate is only 5 balls per minute. This is a perfect application for the Line Vac, a compressed air operated conveyor.
EXAIR had previously tested golf ball conveyance, as seen in the Line Vac video below (at the 1:53 mark) where golf balls are conveyed 100′, at only 30 PSIG of supply pressure.
To present the best solution to customer, we had 2 dozen golf balls sent to us, and we set-up and simulated the actual conveyance conditions of 15′ vertical and 15′ horizontal travel. We found that the balls could be conveyed at only 20 PSIG of supply pressure, when presented one at a time. When the inlet was flooded with golf balls, simulating a worst case condition, the Line Vac was able to perform the conveyance at 60 PSIG. Operation at 80-100 PSIG is possible providing a operational safety factor.
The customer was impressed with the results and has implemented the model 6984 – 2″ Aluminum Line Vac Kit into the process, making the process more efficient.
We have a team of Application Engineers that are ready to review your process and application, and help to determine if an EXAIR Line Vac can convey your material at the distance and rate desired. We may even have you send in small sample of the material, and we can set-up, test, and share the results with you.
If you have questions about Line Vacs, or would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Generally, when we’re talking about a Line Vac application it involves the transfer of bulk materials from one place to another. Many applications involve replacing what we call a “bucket and ladder” operation. An operator must fill a bucket or container with the material, climb up a ladder, and then deposit it into a hopper. While this is a great example of one way to use them, Line Vacs can also be used in a variety of other applications.
In the past, we’ve blogged about using smaller Line Vacs for conveying yarn or string. At the end of a run there’s often too little thread left on a roll to save for a future run. The customer must strip the yarn off the remaining spool in order to reuse it. Using just a small amount of compressed air, a 3/8” Line Vac makes quick work of any residual thread on the spool.
I recently worked with our distributor in Argentina on another unique Line Vac application. Their customer manufacturers a variety of different types of protective plastic mesh. They come in many different sizes and colors and are used to protect the outsides of parts or products during shipping. Their machine required an operator to keep a close eye and at times manually feed the material into the machine as it would get stuck. Their hopes were to automate this process so that they could increase production and alleviate the need for an operator to worry about feeding the material by hand.
Using a Model 6082 1-1/4” aluminum Line Vac fitted with a funnel on the intake side, they were able to convey the plastic material into the cutter. It was cut to length and deposited in a box below. The video below shows the process.
The material is fed off of the spool and into the cutter without jamming or getting bunched up. Production rates are now consistent and they were even able to increase the feed rate by almost 20%. The 6082 consumes just under 26 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG, making it a low-cost solution to what was an aggravating problem for them. In addition to the ability to increase the feed rate, automating this process freed up an operator to monitor additional processes in the facility.
If you have an outside the box application that you believe could be suitable for a Line Vac Air Operated Conveyor, take advantage of EXAIR’s 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee and test one out for yourself!
EXAIR’sHeavy Duty Threaded Line Vac air operated conveyors can take ordinary threaded pipe and convert it into a powerful conveying system for pellets, scrap trim, bulk solids, chips, paper, small parts, sawdust, granules, and many other bulk materials. The Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vac attaches easily to plumbing pipe couplers, making it easy to build a complete system with parts that are readily available from your local home supply or hardware store.
They are available in 7 different sizes ranging from 3/8 NPT to 3 NPT and are made from a proprietary hardened alloy for superior abrasion resistance and performance. Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vac Air Conveyors are ideally suited for conveying large volumes of materials over long distances. They eject a small amount of compressed air to produce a vacuum on the intake side and a high output flow from the outlet side. Using a regulator to control the compressed air supply pressure, the rate of conveyance can be controlled to match what the application requires all while minimizing your compressed air usage!
The Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vac Kit includes a pressure regulator, filter separator to keep the air clean, modular coupler clamp (connects air regulator to filter separator, not shown below) and the mounting bracket for ease of installation.
Line Vacs are still on promotion through October, so act now to receive a free air nozzle with your purchase.
If you would like to discuss Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vac Air Conveyors or any of EXAIR’s safe, quiet & efficient compressed air products, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.
Piping systems have been a hallmark of human civilization for almost as long as people have been living in community with each other. Evidence of complex earthen pipe systems, with flanged fittings & asphalt sealants, date to 2700 BC. These were used for crop irrigation, potable water distribution, and wastewater removal in ancient civilizations from the Mediterranean to the Far East.
Over the centuries, new ways to use pipe led to new ways to make pipe. Scientists and engineers figured out ways to make pipe stronger, lighter, cheaper, and in a variety of materials. One of the more recent milestones is the development of sanitary piping and fittings. The stringent cleanliness controls in certain industries (food and pharmaceutical, I’m looking at you) require highly corrosion resistant materials of construction. The inside & outside surfaces of the pipe have to be finely finished so that they can be thoroughly and positively cleaned, with no crevices, “nooks & crannies,” etc., for material to gather or cling. And since regular cleaning & sterilization is performed, the fittings must be able to be made & unmade in a manner that still provides for positive sealing when the system is restored to operation.
EXAIR Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors have always been well suited for applications like this. With their open, unobstructed throats and smooth bores, they’re intuitively easy to clean, by design. And we’ve made them, for years, in Type 316 Stainless Steel – the preferred material of construction for many food and pharmaceutical applications. Many users in these industries were able to install them in sanitary piping systems by welding the flanges on our Stainless Steel Line Vacs, or by installing adapters on our Threaded Stainless Steel Line Vacs.
In the spring of 2017, EXAIR released the Sanitary Flange Line Vac with those same users in mind – eliminating the need to weld or thread flanges onto existing products. They feature the same conveyance power as our Stainless Steel Line Vacs, and can even be modified to meet Heavy Duty Line Vac performance, if needed. There are four sizes: 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, and 3″…which covers the most popular size range of sanitary pipe systems.
While the sanitary piping systems are certainly most often found in those cleanliness-critical food & pharma type applications, other users incorporate them because of the smooth, continuous bore of the pipe and fittings, as opposed to a threaded pipe system, where the OD of the pipe threads into the ID of the fittings, causing a “step” in the throughput. Because sanitary fittings mate via face-to-face flange seals, this eliminates that “step” which can make for a catch-point for certain items. It’s for this very reason that a popular ammunition manufacturer uses sanitary pipe systems to convey shell casings…because they tumble with such turbulence in the air flow, they are especially prone to hanging up on any kind of catch-point. So, they use sanitary piping & fittings, long radius elbows, and EXAIR Model 161150-316 1-1/2″ Sanitary Flange Line Vacs.
EXAIR has a wide selection of engineered compressed air products that are “textbook” solutions for certain applications, but also make perfect sense for use in places you might not have thought of. If you have a bulk material conveyance operation you’d like to discuss, give me a call.
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On any given day myself and my Application Engineering Brethren here at EXAIR have discussions with customers on air starvation of any given EXAIR Product. The calls generally start off the same, “The Line Vac is not performing like it should”. We at EXAIR absolutely want to help you get the most out of our products and we certainly want them to perform to your expectation. However they must be supplied with clean/dry compressed air at sufficient pressure and volume.
Just the other day I was discussing a performance issue with a customer on a 1″ Line Vac. The customer thought he needed a larger Line Vac. I asked the questions regarding the diameter of his Supply Line and if he was using Quick Connect or Push Lock connectors. He was attempting to feed this Line Vac with 1/4″ Poly Tubing through a elbow Push to Loc fitting.
This 1″ Line Vac was being severely starved for air and therefore not performing as expected. The 1″ Line Vac require’s 14.7 SCFM @ 80PSI to reach the rated performance of 42″ of water column.
Below is a table for Pipe/Hose sizing from the Line Vac installation manual that you can use as a reference guide. It is recommended that if using hose for the supply air to go up to the next size over the pipe recommendation.
Don’t forget that quick connects and Push Lock fittings are not recommended and could restrict the air flow which will have a negative impact on performance.
EXAIR’s Line Vacs are an ideal solution for bulk conveying over long distances. With just a small amount of compressed air, the Line Vac generates vacuum on one end and high output flows on the other. The conveyance rate is easily adjustable by regulating the pressure supplied to the Line Vac. At higher input pressures the Line Vac will move more material, at lesser pressures the conveyance rate is also reduced.
The Heavy Duty Line Vac looks similar to the standard Line Vac, but packs a more powerful punch. Performance has been boosted with larger holes in the generator. This makes the Heavy Duty Line Vac ideal for heavier materials that must be conveyed over longer vertical and horizontal distances. Standard Line Vacs can also be drilled out to match the performance of a Heavy Duty. In addition to being a more powerful conveying system, the Heavy Duty Line Vac is also constructed of our proprietary hardened alloy steel blend. This material provides exceptionally strong abrasion resistance for applications requiring the transfer of materials such as crushed glass, steel shot, or dry sand.
Where a material such as aluminum or even stainless steel would quickly wear out, the Heavy Duty Line Vac will not. As with all of our stock products, the Heavy Duty Line Vac comes with EXAIR’s Built-To-Last 5 year warranty. We’ve tested these units here ourselves with a variety of different common abrasive materials. Check out the video below to see for yourself just how durable these Line Vacs are!
Just as the Standard Line Vacs, the Heavy Duty Line Vac can come with either smooth of NPT threaded connections to turn ordinary pipe into a powerful conveying system. With sizes from ¾ NPT up to 3” NPT, there’s a size from stock available suitable for your application. If you’re looking to move abrasive materials from one point to another in your shop, look no further than EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Line Vac. Reach out to an EXAIR Application Engineer for help in determining the most suitable sized Line Vac for your requirement.