Line Vacs- Air Operated Conveyors, and Much More

The EXAIR Line Vac is a tried and true device for conveying parts, materials, and waste – with no moving parts. The list of successfully conveyed materials in the application database is far reaching – including plastic pellets, scrap/trim, chips, pills/tablets, shavings, sawdust and granules.

The Line Vacs can be used for more than conveying large amounts of material from A to B. Recently, one of our automation customers found an application for the Line Vac in the design and manufacture of a custom fill machine.  The machine was commissioned to fill small, plastic cups.  To move the cups from the material staging area to the filler processing area, (10) of the 2″ aluminum Line Vacs were used.  Using a sensor to measure the stack height in each tube, the compressed air is triggered on/off to transfer a group of cups over to the filling area.  See photo below-

Line Vac Transporter

Other types of applications that Line Vacs have been used for include pick and place, small space ventilation, fine powder dispersion and light vacuum generation. Another popular use is to integrate into a machining process for waste removal of chips, shavings, and waste removal.

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1-1/4″ (32mm) Line Vac Mounted to Remove Plastic Shavings and Transport to Waste Container

The Line Vacs come in (3) types- Standard, Light Duty and Heavy Duty.  Also, (3) different end connections are available including smooth bore, threaded, and the new sanitary flanged. Depending on the model type, materials of construction may include aluminum, type 303 and 316 stainless steels, and a hardened alloy.  Special high temperature versions are available with temperature ratings up to 900°F (482°C.)

LVfamily_300x

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

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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The Case For The Heavy Duty Line Vac

When it comes to conveying bulk materials like pellets, grains, powders, etc., you’ve got plenty of choices:  Mechanical conveyor types, like bucket, auger, and cleated belt conveyors can move product as far as you want, and as quickly as you want…they can be made as long as you want, and as big & fast as you want.  “Fast” as in conveyance rate, that is.  Lead time, including engineering, design, fabrication, and installation, can be months.

Large mechanical conveyors can move tons of material over great distances.

Air operated conveyors are quite popular too, and the dense phase models can move a lot of material a great distance, and quickly.  Like the mechanical types, they have a wide range of economy to scale…and the price tags to prove it.  Medium- and dilute-phase pneumatic conveyors are less complicated in design, which brings us to the heart of today’s blog.

EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors, or Line Vacs, are the simplest of all:  the Line Vac itself used compressed air to generate a “pull/push” to draw material into the suction, and propel it through the discharge.  We have a variety of models to choose from, but our focus today will be the Heavy Duty Line Vac.

EXAIR Heavy Duty Line Vacs are the workhorse of our Air Operated Conveyors product line.  Consider their advantages:

*Made of a proprietary hardened alloy, they offer superior abrasion resistance & durability.  They’re ideal for shot blast and tumbling media…the very stuff that’s MADE to wear metal surfaces down…and it’s no problem for the Heavy Duty Line Vac.

Heavy Duty Line Vac: Hardened Alloy Construction and High Performance

*Heavy Duty also means higher power, which means higher suction heads (up to 2-1/2 times increase) and conveyance rates (up to 11 times greater.)  Oh, and that blasting shot & tumbling media I mentioned?  Standard dilute-phase conveyors may have trouble moving that at all.

*Like our Standard Line Vacs, the Heavy Duty models’ Kits come with a Mounting Bracket for ease of installation, an Automatic Drain Filter Separator to keep the air clean & dry, and a Pressure Regulator so you can ‘dial in’ the performance you need.

Line Vac Kits come with a Mounting Bracket (not shown,) an Automatic Drain Filter Separator (left,) and a Pressure Regulator (right.) Oil Removal Filters (optional; center) are also available if needed.

*Also like our Standard Line Vacs, the Heavy Duty models use common sized conveyance hose (3/4″ to 3″ ID) and are also available with male NPT threads (3/4″ to 3″ as well) if you want to hard pipe them.

Male NPT Threads make permanent and rigid installation into a piping system a breeze.

If you’re looking for a simple, durable, and powerful conveyor system, look no further than the Heavy Duty Line Vac Give me a call if you’d like to discuss your application and/or product selection.

Russ Bowman

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Stockpile Conveyor photo courtesy of Peter Craven.  Creative Commons License.

Light Duty Line Vac For Paper Trim Removal

Today I worked with a customer that manufactures a wide variety of material handling equipment including coil unwinders.  The engineer was calling because there was a special project for a coil unwinder that could handle a waste piece of paper trim.  As the metal coil is being unwound for delivery to a metal processing machine, the protective paper is pulled off and was to be collected into a waste receptacle for easy handling and disposal/recycling.  The engineer was hoping to replicate an existing system that used a hybrid blower system, with an extra compressed air nozzle, but in a simpler form.

Coil Unwinder

We proposed the use of the 4″ Light Duty Line Vac– shown below.130400The Light Duty Line Vacs offer an effective way to convey small and light materials a short distance. Like the standard Line Vac, the Light Duty Line Vac converts an ordinary hose or tube into a  conveyor for scrap, trim, and bulk materials.

When the process involves moving low volumes of materials over short distances, the Light Duty Line Vac is a great choice. The simplified (2) piece design offers effective conveying at a lower cost. As an added plus, the compressed air consumption is lowered to levels commensurate with handling the lighter materials, at lower volumes and short distances.  Using a pressure regulator to control the supply air allows for tuning of the transfer rate, and keeps air usage to the minimum amount needed.

The Light Duty Line Vacs are available with inlet/outlet diameters from 3/4″ up to 6″.  With no moving parts, maintenance free operation is assured.

ldlvsz
Light Duty Line Vacs – Available in 3/4″, 1″, 1.25″, 1.5″, 2″, 3″, 4″ and 6″ Diameters. All in Stock!

For other larger materials, higher transfer rates, corrosive environments, or abrasive materials, take a look at the other EXAIR Line Vac offerings including the aluminum, 303 and 316 stainless standard Line Vacs, the aluminum, 303 and 316 stainless steel Threaded Line Vacs, high temperature models, standard and threaded Heavy Duty Line Vacs, and lastly the new Sanitary Flanged 316 stainless steel type.

If you would like to talk about Light Duty Line Vacs or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, 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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Threaded Line Vacs: Low Cost Conveyor Uses Ordinary Pipe!

EXAIR’s Threaded Line Vac air operated conveyor takes an ordinary pipe and converts it into a powerful conveying system.  A fast, low cost way to convey items such as pellets, scrap trim, bulk solids, chips, paper, small parts, sawdust, granules, and so much more. The Threaded Line Vac attached easily to plumbing pipe couplers, like PVC or iron, making it easy to build a complete system with parts readily available from your local supply house or hardware store.

The Threaded Line Vac are ideally suited for conveying large volumes of materials over long distances.  Like the standard, smooth bore ended Line Vacs, the unit works by ejecting a small amount of compressed air to produce a vacuum suction on the inlet side and a high output flow from the outlet side.  By using a pressure regulator to control the compressed air supply pressure, the rate of conveyance can be controlled to match the application needs, while minimizing the compressed air usage.

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Models are available from 3/8 NPT to 3 NPT with materials of construction of aluminum and types 313 and 316 stainless steels (excellent corrosion resistance.)  High temperature versions of the stainless steel Threaded Line Vacs are available as well, for temperatures up to 900°F.

For those processes requiring the highest rates of conveyance over the longest distances and/or the most abrasive of materials, the Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vac is the right choice.  Designed with the most rugged industrial processes and applications in mind, the special hardened alloy construction helps prevent premature wear that could occur with standard aluminum or stainless steel models, under the harshest of conditions.  The performance has been boosted, to be able to convey more material, over longer distances and higher vertical rises.

HDLV

To select the right model, information regarding these criteria is helpful-

  • Size of parts and bulk density of material being conveyed
  • What size hose, tube, or pipe is desired
  • Target conveyance rate
  • Distance of conveyance, both horizontal and vertical legs
  • Preferred material of construction

For another look, please see the video available that provides more details about the Line Vac family.

If you would like to talk about Line Vacs or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, 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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Line Vac – Air Operated Conveyors

Convey parts, materials, and waste – with no moving parts!

The Line Vac is a fast, low cost way to convey pellets, scrap trim, textiles, bulk solids, food products, chips, and much more.  Simply connect to a standard hose, tube, or pipe and a powerful in-line conveyor is created.

Available in (4) materials – aluminum, 303 and 316 stainless steels, and a special hardened alloy, and (3) end connection types – NPT threaded, smooth bore, and the new sanitary flanged. Sizes range from 3/8″ up to a 6″. It is certain that an available Line Vac option will meet your process criteria.

For lighter materials and short conveyance distances, the Light Duty model is ideal, and for the most abrasive and heaviest materials over longer distances, the Heavy Duty style is available.

The Line Vacs offer many safety benefits, including eliminating the dangers of lifting heavy sacks and climbing ladders to fill hoppers, and with the 316 stainless steel sanitary flanged Line Vacs, food materials are kept enclosed and and separated and provides ease of cleaning.

Check out the video by clicking the photo below

Capture

The Line Vac works by having a small amount of compressed air injected through directed nozzles to produce a vacuum on one end and high output air flow on the other, with instantaneous response.  By using a pressure regulator, available as part of a kit or separately, the flow of the material transfer can be easily controlled. No moving parts or electricity assures maintenance free operation!

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Trim Scrap Removal

Conveyance rates are determined by the material bulk density, typical particle size, total distance of conveyance, including vertical rise, and the targeted transfer rate.  An EXAIR Application Engineer can assist you, and with the above information, recommend the right size and type of Line Vac to meet the desired results.

All catalog models are in stock and we ship same day with an order received by 3 pm EDT in the US and 2 pm EDT for orders shipping to Canada.

Our team of engineers can design a special Line Vac to meet many applications special requirements, from special materials such as PVC and PVDF to special end connections such as pipe flanges and barbed hose connections.  Let us know the special requirements of your process and we’ll design a solution.

Special Flanged LV
This special 3/4″ Line Vac was designed to evacuate fumes from a silicone wafer etching operation

To go with the Line Vac, we can provide a reinforced, heavy wall, clear PVC conveyance hose in lengths up to 50′.  Additionally, the Line Vac Drum Cover is a fine mesh, non-woven cover built to fit on the top of a 30 or 55 gallon drum.  It is designed to contain the material to the drum and allow the air from the Line Vac to escape.

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Drum Cover, for 30 and 55 Gallon Drums

If you have questions regarding the Line Vac, 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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Compressed Air Uses In Industry

From pneumatic hand tools like impact wrenches or nail guns to larger scale industrial applications like stamping presses, the use of compressed air can be found in almost any industry. In fact, it is often referred to as a “fourth utility” next to water, gas and electric.

Compressed air is used in virtually every industry!

 

Take for example in construction, workers will use a pneumatic riveter to join steel framing because of the power generated by the tool over an electrically powered device, not to mention it provides for a safer operation by removing an electrical hazard. Many companies use compressed air operated diaphragm pumps or air motor driven pumps to move expensive or viscous liquid from one location to another. These types of pumps are self priming drawing the liquid in and provide positive displacement meaning they fill and empty the liquid chamber with the same amount of liquid through a common inlet and outlet.

Amusement parks have used compressed air in some capacity in the operation of thrill rides like roller coasters or to enhance the effect of certain attractions. Compressed air can be found in hospitals where it is used for specialized breathing treatments or to power surgical instruments in an operating room. Educational facilities use compressed air for laboratory testing. You can even find compressed air in the tires on your car. Basically, when you think about it, compressed air is being used just about anywhere.

Here at EXAIR, we manufacture Intelligent Compressed Air Products to help improve the efficiency in a wide variety of industrial operations. Whether you are looking to coat a surface with an atomized mist of liquid, conserve compressed air use and energy, cool an electrical enclosure, convey parts or dry material from one location to another or clean a conveyor belt or web, chances are we have a product that will fit your specific need.

EXAIR has been providing engineered solutions since 1983.

 

To discuss your particular application or for help selecting the best product, contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Compressed Air Valves image courtesy of Shane Gorski via creative commons license.

Line Vac Alleviates Back Breaking Work in Drying Cocoa Beans

An overseas plant had a large operation processing cocoa beans.  They would pick the pods off the cocoa trees, remove the beans from the pod, and place them on a large screened table to dry in the sun.  The drying process may seem primitive, but with the natural energy of the sun, it is free.  To completely remove the moisture from the cocoa beans, they would have to keep the beans exposed to the sun for close to a week.  As a daily operation, the workers would have to carry beans to and from a storage container by shovel and bucket.  In the morning when the sun was rising, they would shovel the beans from the storage container and spread them onto the table.  Before evening came, they would shovel the beans from the table back into the storage containers.  This back and forth was very hard work and time consuming.

In discussing their setup, the storage containers were a maximum of 10 meters away from the drying tables.  The bulk density of cocoa beans are roughly 980 kg/m^3.  So, with 19L buckets used to carry the beans, each one would weigh a bit over 18Kg each.  The operators would carry two buckets, multiple times during the day to load the tables (reference the photo below).  Then they would remove the beans in the evening to put them back into the storage containers.  The reason that they had to store the cocoa beans at night was because of dew.  When the temperature drops during the night, dew would settle onto the beans and rehydrate them.  So, to keep the beans drying at a moderate rate, they had to store them during the night.  This was very hard work on the workers’ backs, and they were also losing sunlight hours as this was a long tedious operation.  In trying to find a better solution to improve their operation, they searched and found the EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors.

Cocoa beans being dried
Cocoa beans being dried

The EXAIR Line Vac fit very well into their operation. I suggested the model 152200 Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit as this unit has our highest conveyance rate.  It can convey the cocoa beans at a rate of nearly 900kg/hr.  It is very compact and easy to use.  This plantation placed a 10 meter length of hose in between the storage containers and the drying tables.  They attached a 1 meter section of hose to the vacuum end of the Heavy Duty Line Vac.  Because the Line Vac pushes the product much better than it pulls, we recommend the vacuum hose to be 1 meter or less for optimum conveyance.  So, in the morning, they would go to the storage container and attach the 10 meter hose to the exhaust end of the Line Vac.  They would open the compressed air line to the Line Vac and watch the cocoa beans being conveyed to the drying tables.  In the evening, they would reverse the procedure and attach the Line Vac to the 10 meter hose near the drying tables.  They would watch the beans being conveyed back into the storage containers.  Not only did this save the backs of their workers, it also increased the amount of drying time.  With their new operation, the cocoa beans now had an additional 1 hour of drying each day in the sun.  This helped tremendously in getting the dried cocoa beans to the processing factory more quickly.

Line Vacs can convey many things.
Line Vacs can convey many things.

If your company has a strenuous operation in moving dry bulk products like this, you may want to consider an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor. They are very reliable, easy to use, and long lasting.  If you need help in finding the correct model for your application, please contact us today.

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