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.

Air Operated Conveyors for a Multitude of Jobs

With 119 distinct Models, EXAIR Line Vacs are used to convey everything from down feather to steel shot.  They’re versatile, reliable, durable, and incredibly easy to install and operate. Most applications can be completed using one of our many stock Line Vacs. Additional applications include part transfer, waste or trim removal, hopper loading, filling operations, chip removal and fiber tensioning.

line vac family
Lightweight and durable aluminum is the most popular choice, but we make them in stainless steel (Types 303 and 316) for heat and corrosion resistance. For extreme heat, the High Temperature option affords protection to 900F (482C) in either 303SS or 316SS.

They are available from 3/8″ to 5″ diameters, for use with hose, tube or pipe. Line VAcs have smooth ends for hose or tube. The threaded models use NPT threads from 3/8 NPT to 3 NPT to turn ordinary pipe into an air conveyor! They can also be bought with sanitary flange ends for easy disassembly when necessary for cleaning or maintenance.

Materials include aluminum, Type 303 and Type 316 stainless steel or a hardened steel alloy for moving abrasive materials like garnet, glass, or blasting media.

With that being said, there are always applications that need a special product. And because of that we do make “special” or custom products when the need arises.

Special PVDF Line Vac

For example this Live Vac has the sanitary flange design, but the customer needed it made from a special material so their product passing through it wouldn’t be contaminated by metal. So we did just that, we designed built and shipped this line vac and it worked amazingly well!

Accessories include the transport hose, mounting brackets, filter and regulators.  A filtering drum cover is very useful to keep material and/or dust inside, when transporting materials into a drum.

No matter what kind of bulk material you need to move, or what type of special conditions you have. EXAIR has a Line Vac product for it.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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EXAIR Line Vacs: Dozens Of Models; Endless Applications

With 119 distinct Models, EXAIR Line Vacs are used to convey everything from down feather to steel shot.  They’re versatile, reliable, durable, and incredibly easy to install and operate.  Consider this list of uses, starting with our smallest Line Vac, and going to our largest:

  • Model 6058 3/8″ Stainless Steel Line Vacs pull mica from a bulk container and spray it into a mold for making decorative stones, to apply a glittery surface.  They used to do it by hand, but the Line Vacs spread it more consistently.
  • A Model 6079 1/2″ Aluminum Line Vac pulls small metal scraps from a metal trimming operation, as they’re cut, keeping the work area clean.
  • Model 130075 3/4″ Light Duty Line Vacs perform a similar function in a plastic cutting machine, conveying away cut chips and eliminating the need for periodically stopping the machine to clean up.
  • A medical device manufacturer saw a 50% increase in productivity when they went from removing flash by hand from molded silicon parts to using a Model 6061 1″ Stainless Steel Line Vac to suction it away automatically.
  • A mining equipment manufacturer reclaims sand from a secondary operation on their green sand molds with a Model 6062 1-1/4″ Stainless Steel Line Vac.  This keeps their mold area clean, and has eliminated waste in production.
  • Model 140125 1-1/4 MNPT Aluminum Threaded Line Vacs eliminated a  “bucket and ladder” operation where cotton seeds needed to be loaded into 7-foot high hoppers.
  • Model 151150 1-1/2 MNPT Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vacs, fitted into black iron pipe systems, reclaim hot metal chips from a deep channel milling machine, automating the transfer to the recycling hopper.  This eliminated the risk of lifting AND burn injuries from the manual handling of the hot chips.
  • Model 6084 2″ Aluminum Line Vacs vacuum trim scrap from custom label making machines to a central scrap bin, keeping the floor clean, and keeping operators from having to empty individual bins at each machine.
  • A Model 6065 2-1/2″ Stainless Steel Line Vac conveys rejected peanuts (identified and segregated by a vision sorting machine) from the catch pan to a large collection hopper.  This is hauled away at the end of each shift, instead of an operator paying constant attention to the catch pan.
  • Model 161300-316 3″ Sanitary Flange Line Vacs replaced mechanical conveyors in a grain mill, incorporating a totally enclosed Clean In Place (CIP) system.  This greatly reduced contamination controls when the product was openly conveyed, and actually increased their conveyance rates of their bulk grains.
  • A Model 6087 4″ Aluminum Line Vac conveys an additive (in pellet form) into an asphalt mixer, replacing an auger conveyor that left product in the hopper and would clog regularly, resulting in messy spills.
  • A company that recycles spent ammo from gun ranges uses a Model 6088 5″ Aluminum Line Vac to convey the granulated rubber backstop material into their truck.  After the ammo is separated, they use the Line Vac to replenish the granulated rubber into the backstop.
  • A Model 130600 6″ Light Duty Line Vac conveys linen squares (mostly 12″ and 24″ square) through the main header of a sorting operation in a commercial laundry facility.  The system also incorporates several Model 120024 4″ Super Air Amplifiers in individual “pickup” branches.
The EXAIR Line Vac is a fast, low cost way to convey most any bulk material.

No matter what kind of bulk material you need to move, EXAIR has a Line Vac product for it.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Video Blog: What to Expect From EXAIR

Here’s our latest video.

It doesn’t say things like we have 99.9% on time shipping for 23 years in a row, or that we constantly add new products to our 15 product lines which help you solve even more problems in your facility. It doesn’t say order by 3pm and you can expect same day shipping or any of the nice things our customers say about their experience with us:

  • “Great Service!!!” – Carlos H., metal packaging manufacturer
  • “Very prompt and answered all of my questions!” – Michael W., connector and sensor manufacturer
  • “Very professional, knowledgeable” – Jose P., CNC machining and metal services
  • “Great info about [the] product I asked about…..very very helpful” – Joe O., home air conditioner manufacturer

But it does say a lot of other things you can expect when doing business with EXAIR.

Watch it now…

 

Line Vac Makes Golf Ball Testing More Efficient

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.

2788771906_6bf60ff265_z
Golf Ball Pyramids

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.

6984
Model 6984 – 2″ Aluminum Line Vac Kit, with Auto Drain Filter Separator, Pressure Regulator, and Mounting/Coupling Kit for the Filter/Regulator

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.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Golf Ball Pyramids by Beau B used under Creative Commons – CC BY 2.0

Video Blog: Sanitary Flange Line Vac

The below video reviews the Sanitary Flange Line Vac, the newest type from the EXAIR family of Line Vacs.

 

Sanitary Line Vac Family
EXAIR offers the Sanitary Line Vacs in diameters from 1-1/2″ (19mm) to 3″ (38mm), all in stock!

 

PowerPoint Sanitary Flanged Line Vacs file

If you have questions about the Sanitary Line Vac, 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.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Sanitary Flange Line Vacs for Bulk Conveying

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.

Air conveying of certain items, like these ammo shell casings, can be prone to clogging or jamming in systems where pipe, hose, and/or fittings are inserted into each other, creating catch-points.

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.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Shells photo courtesy of hydropeek  Creative Commons License