The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors with Stonewashed Jeans.

Stonewashed Jeans

Blue Jeans have been around for centuries.  They are made from denim which is durable, comfortable, and fashionable cotton material; and, on casual Fridays, I get to wear them at EXAIR.  Over the years, the denim companies started to create different styles.  For one international denim company, they were making stonewashed jeans.   This process, like the name states, uses stones to wash with the blue jeans to get that “worn-out” look.

The stone-washing process consisted of dumping a 50 Kg (110 lbs.) bag of pumice stones inside a large washer with many blue jeans.  The stones were between 20 – 35 mm (¾” to 1 3/8”) in size.  During the wash cycle, the stones would scrape off bits of the blue dye particles to give that worn appearance.  They would wash the jeans for a specified time, and once finished, they would empty the washer into a bin with the jeans and the rocks.  They would move the bin over to a dryer tumbler where they could separate the rocks from the jeans.  The rocks would get collected in 50 Kg containers and reuse them for another wash cycle.

Their current system had the washer door opening roughly 3.3 feet (1 meter) from the ground.  The manual operation of handling each bag or bin of rocks was “back-breaking”.  The idea for safety was a concern for this denim manufacturer.  So, they contacted EXAIR to see if we can help.

Threaded Heavy Duty Family

The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors, or Line Vacs, are the perfect product for this type of application.  They are compact, inexpensive, and simple conveyors that only need compressed air to move material from point A to point B.  They do not have any moving parts or motor bearings to wear, making them very reliable and long-lasting.  I recommended a model 152200 Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit as it was able to convey the stones to the washer.  This kit comes with a 2” hardened alloy Line Vac to resist wear, a mounting bracket, a filter separator, and a pressure regulator.  The filter separator will clean the compressed air as it moves the stones to its destination.  The pressure regulator is used to “dial in” the desired conveyance rates making it simple to control.  The Line Vac is an easy-to-use product that can improve health and safety for your operators.

For the company above, the managers and operators were extremely happy with the safety features that the Air Operated Conveyors provide.  The bags and bins of pumice stone could stay on the floor, while the Line Vac was able to move them into the washers.  EXAIR offers a large range of Line Vacs to work in many types of applications.  If your company has safety issues for your operators while moving material, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see if we have a better way.

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

 

Photo: Stonewash Jeans by realworkhardPixabay License.

Heavy-Duty Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors Climbing to New Heights

During this COVID-19 shelter in place circumstance, as an avid outdoors man (specifically I do a lot of rock climbing), things have been frustrating to say the least. In the Cincinnati area with all the climbing gyms closed down climbers are flocking to their local crag to get that last climb in for the foreseeable future. My local crag is Red River Gorge in Rodgers, KY. As the climbing season has now ended due to this pandemic the season of indoor (aka at home) training has began to ramp up with everyone hitting their hang boards and starting harder work out routines in their free time. It came to my mind that now is the time to also check out my old gear and see what needs to be replaced.

Climbing gear needs to be strong, durable and light weight so that the gear does not fail you in your time of need. If properly set up, a climbing rated carabiner can withstand a force of 24 kN or 5395 lbs. Every bit of climbing material needs to be taken care of and replaced when the time comes. When your life is hanging by the gear that you use durability and maintenance is the difference from dropping or not dropping from a cliff. But climbing equipment isn’t the only thing that you want to be strong and durable; you also want your material handling equipment as well.

Climbing a 5.10d “Return of Manimal” at the Bruise Brothers Wall in Muir Valley

At EXAIR we strive to make strong, durable, and maintenance free compressed air products. One such product is our Heavy Duty Line Vac air operated conveyor; the Heavy Duty Line Vac is a stronger and more durable version of the standard aluminum Line Vacs. The body and cap of the Heavy Duty Line Vac is made out of a hardened alloy which provides abrasion resistance. This means that it can withstand materials such as sand, salts, steel shavings, tumbling and blast media, etc. They are available from 3/4″ through 3″ and are used with identical sized hose, tube or pipe. 

Heavy Duty Line Vac

The Heavy Duty Line Vac is also designed to lift heavier material and move it farther and/or higher. Materials such as steel shot, garnet and ground glass are common. More power also increases the distance materials can be conveyed. Heavy Duty Line Vacs convey 6 times farther than standard Line Vacs. 

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

The Heavy Duty Line Vac also comes with either smooth connections or threaded connections. The smooth connections allow for our reinforced PVC conveyance hose to attach to the ends using a standard hose clamp. If a flexible hose is not appropriate for your application the threaded connections allow the line vac to connect to a hard pipe. Both types of connections are interchangeable to fit your conveyance needs.

If you have questions about our Heavy Duty 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.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Line Vac Video: Air Operated Conveyor Conveying Raw Coffee Beans

At EXAIR we’re committed to providing customers with as much information as possible to ensure an application will work the way it’s intended. If it happens to be something we’ve dealt with before, it’s easy enough to make a recommendation. If it’s not, with EXAIR’s 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee getting something in-house to test comes with no risk at all. If it doesn’t work, just send it back, simple as that!

coffee-1291656_960_720

If it is something that we can test ourselves, we’re more than happy to. We recently have taken several requests from customers in the coffee industry, all looking for a similar solution: conveying raw coffee beans. While we were confident in the ability of the Line Vac to transfer those beans, it wasn’t a material that we had ever actually tested here in our shop. A quick trip down the road to a local coffee roaster, and we had some raw coffee beans that we could use for a quick conveyance test. Check out the video below of my colleague John Ball and I conducting a test with our Model 6084 2” Line Vac:

If you’re looking to convey bulk materials using the Line Vac, but have reservations regarding the performance, you can also send a sample of your material in for testing here at EXAIR. We’ll be happy to put the conditions of your application to the test and share the results with you. If you’ve been manually transferring bulk material and are looking for a safer, reliable, and efficient solution the Line Vac is the right tool for the job. With a variety of sizes and materials all available from stock, we’re able to address countless applications and achieve a wide variety of conveyance rates.

The conveyance rate of the Line Vac is easily adjusted. By regulating the input pressure supplied to the Line Vac, not only can you reduce the necessary compressed air demand but you can also control the amount of material flow. Higher pressures will move material, while lower pressures will reduce compressed air consumption. If you need help determining which size and material is most suitable for your application don’t hesitate to get in touch with an EXAIR Application Engineer today. Stop having your operators climbing up and down that ladder to dump material!

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

The Life of a Coffee Bean

Many of us get up in the morning, and start our day with a fresh cup of coffee.  I do.  I enjoy the taste of that warm beverage as it hits my lips.  But, have you ever thought about the journey of a coffee bean from the fields to your cupboard?   I would like to share a little insight on this journey and how the EXAIR Line Vacs could be a helpful tool for coffee production.

There are over 70 countries that pick coffee beans for export.  In 2018, the International Coffee Organization reported almost 170 million bags of coffee had been exported around the world.  That is a lot of coffee.  Each bag of coffee beans weighs 60 Kilograms (132 lbs.) and is difficult to handle manually.  Line Vacs could be that vital instrument to help speed up the processes and reduce that back-breaking work.

Let’s start at the beginning.  Coffee beans are seeds that are produced on small trees or bushes.  During harvest time, the cherries (coffee seeds) are picked when ripe, and they need to be dried.  This can be done in two ways; the dry method or the wet method.  Each process has to be done quickly to prevent spoilage.  With the dry method, the beans are spread out on a table or grate to be dried by the sun.  In most cases, the beans will have to be stored in bins at night or during rain.  This drying process can last for several weeks, and the continuous movement of the beans is labor intensive.  For the wet method, this process uses water channels to isolate the heavier ripe beans, so that they can be separated by size in rotating drums.   They are then placed into large fermentation tanks to remove the outer skin layer.  The wet beans are then placed inside large driers to remove the excess water content.  In both methods, the green coffee beans are packed into sacks for exportation.

When the green coffee beans arrive to their destination, they will have to be roasted.  This will convert the green coffee beans into the aromatic brown beans that are sold at your favorite market or coffee shop.  In large operations, the green coffee beans are screened and stored in bins waiting to be roasted.  The roasting process uses hot air to “cook” the green coffee beans.  The temperature range and time will create your different types of roasts; light roast, medium roast, and dark roast.  Industrial roasting machines have loaders on top to drop the green beans into a preheated rotating drum.  Some machines can roast 100 kg (220 lbs.) of beans at one time.  The time for roasting is between 12 – 15 minutes, depending on the type of roast.  At this frequency, you can tell the “need for speed” to keep the coffee roasters operating.  Once finished, the roasted beans are dumped into a cooling tray until they can be handled.  From there, the beans are tested, qualified, and packaged for sale.

For coffee brewing, the roasted beans will need to be ground.  Grinding is an important process to get the most flavor from your coffee beans.   Commercial sized grinders will blend multiple kinds of roasted coffee beans and grind them to a desired grain size.  The grind size is very important and has to match your type of brewing.  For example, espresso uses fine grinds, drip-type coffee uses medium grinds, and cold brews and French presses use coarse grinds.  Grinding is an art as you have to match the coarseness with the contact time in hot water.  As a rule, if your coffee tastes too bitter, then the grinds are too fine.  If your coffee tastes flat, then the grinds are too coarse.  You have to experiment with different blends of roasted coffee beans, grind particle sizes, and brewing types to get that perfect cup of java for you.

Line Vacs can convey many things.

So, if you are reading this article while sipping on a cup of coffee, let me tell you a secret about the journey of the coffee bean.  For every stage above, an EXAIR Line Vac has been sold and used to transport the coffee beans.  From the coffee fields to the grinding house, Line Vacs are a great device for companies to move beans quickly and safely without manual labor.  The life of a coffee bean is only successful if it is able to reach your cupboard.  And Line Vacs can be beneficial with that success.  If you would like to discuss the types of materials that we stock, the sizes, connections types and conveyance rates, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to help you.

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

 

Photo:  Coffee Beans Cafe Roasted Caffeine Brown by Alexas_Fotos.  Pixabay License.

Photo: Still Life Coffee Beans Coffee Powder Coffee Cup by Myriams-Fotos.  Pixabay License.