Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors: What to Know When Specifying

So you are thinking about using a Line Vac… Is it time to replace that ladder and bucket, and automate? There are many factors involved when deciding to use a conveyor system such as EXAIR Line Vacs. First of all let’s take a look at your product that needs conveyed. Will the integrity of your media be compromised by adding this much air to it? How heavy is it? What type of (how much) surface area does it have?

You know your media better than most. You should be able to answer most of those questions pretty easily, but what about the weight? For the weight, we work best knowing the bulk density, or pounds per cubic foot. If you do not readily know, this is easily found by finding the weight of your media in a box (or container). Then take the total cubic inches of the box (L x W x H) and divide that by 1728 (cubic inches per cubic foot), this will give you the cubic feet of that box. Then you simply divide the weight by the cubic feet, and you now have the density.

Line Vacs can convey many things.

Next we need to focus on your conveyance run. We would like to know what type of container is your product sitting in? A super sack, a hopper, a drum, a box? And where is it going? How far away is the destination hopper, dumpster, assembly station, etc.? This will help us determine the type of fitting or tools necessary to extract or release the media. How high do you need to go? How far horizontally? Our Line Vacs, are amazing, but they do have their limits. We will also need to know if there are any turns, and at what angles. Turns are many times unavoidable, but will have an adverse effect on the conveyance run as the airflow is halted and or deflected. Is there a way to minimize or eliminate the turns?

The final question is; how many pounds per minute do you need to be conveyed?

With the size, mass, and geometry of your parts, along with the vertical lift length, and the horizontal conveyance length, added to the turns and twists, you are just about ready to call one of our our application engineers for recommendations. We have some comparison materials for conveyance rates, to get you close to your actual needs. Here are some published conveyance rates as well:

There is one more part to this equation. What type and size of Line Vac will you need? EXAIR has many types of Line Vacs to choose from. As with most products, we have options that take into consideration the temperature and the abrasiveness of your product. We also have options to fit the type of conveyance hose or pipe you want to use , such as sanitary fittings, or threaded. And since we manufacture these right here in Cincinnati, OH, we can make custom Line Vacs for customers fairly quickly. We have designed and manufactured them with custom bolt on flanges, special materials or inlet sizes to name a few.

EXAIR Line Vacs: For bulk material conveyance through lines from 3/8″ to 6″, in aluminum, 303SS, 316SS, or abrasion resistant hardened alloy, available from stock with the widest variety of connections in the industry.

Please do not hesitate to call. We will be happy to help you with any technical questions about our products.

Application Engineer

Brian Wages

EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter

Yellow Ladder pic from OpenClipart-Vectors / 27385 & Bucket Pic from Jazella / 704 images on a Pixabay License

Sanitary Flange Air Operated Conveyors – The EXAIR Line Vac

The ability to control the flow of materials has been a staple in human civilization since 4000 BCE. This includes the creation of pipes which have appeared as early as 2400 BCE from the Egyptians. These piping systems have since then been improved on to be made stronger, lighter, cheaper,  of various styles, and in a variety of materials. One of these styles is the sanitary flange pipe.

Sanitary flange pipe and fittings is one of the larger milestones in piping innovation. Sanitary flange pipes came about due the stringent cleanliness controls in certain industries such as food and pharmaceutical. Both of these use a highly corrosive and caustic soap to sanitize surfaces and, in most cases, entire rooms. Sanitary flange pipes allow for pipe systems to be taken apart easily so that components can be easily cleaned out on a regular sterilization process, and are generally made of 316 Stainless Steel to withstand the corrosive nature of the cleaning compound.

Type 316 Stainless Steel Line Vac

EXAIR Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors have always been well suited for these applications since the internal components are smooth and can be cleaned out easily and sanitized. They have also been made out of 316 Stainless Steel for years which provides superior corrosion resistance and can withstand most caustic cleaners and oxidants. Type-316 Stainless Steel is the preferred material for many food and pharmaceutical applications. Before EXAIR’s Sanitary Flange Line Vac, we noticed our customers would use the standard smooth Line Vac and weld a sanitary flange onto the ends, or installing adaptors on our Threaded Line Vac.

With that thought we decided to make things easier and developed the Sanitary Line Vac which follows the basic design of the Standard Line Vac and operates with the same performance characteristics. Sanitary Flange Line Vacs come in four sizes: 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, and 3”. These sizes are the most common sizes for Line Vacs and covers the majority of application needs.

Sanitary Flange Line Vacs in increasing sizes: 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, and 3”

If you have any questions about compressed air systems or want more information on any of EXAIR’s products, give us a call, we have a team of Application Engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Desiccant Dryers: Heat of Compression Type

Desiccant Dryers

Desiccant dryers come in different forms.  They are designed for water sensitive areas as they can reach a dew point to -40oF (-40oC) and below.  That means that water will not condense in the compressed air lines until the temperature is below the dew point.  The desiccant inside these units will adsorb the water vapor as compressed air passes through a bed.  Once the desiccant bed is full of water vapor, it will have to be regenerated.

A typical system will use two towers that will switch back and forth.  One tower is used to remove the water from the compressed air system, and the other is used to regenerate the desiccant.  In this blog, I will cover how the desiccant can be regenerated with a Heat of Compression (HOC) type of desiccant dryer.

An air compressor is not an efficient device.  For every eight horsepower of energy to make compressed air, only one horsepower is used as work.  And for compressed air drying, the type of desiccant dryer is important.  Regeneration of desiccant beads can be done either with non-heated or heated means. The non-heated, or heatless version will use 15% of your compressed air to purge through the regeneration tank.  The air escapes into the atmosphere with the water vapor and is wasted.

With the heated type desiccant dryers, they come in three different categories.  One type uses a heater to increase the temperature of the compressed air. At the elevated temperature, the purge requirement can be reduced to 7% for the regeneration of desiccant.  But, still compressed air is wasted.  To cut the purge to zero, a blower-type heated desiccant dryer can be used.  Instead of heating the compressed air, the blower will push ambient air through a heater to regenerate the desiccant bed.  But can you get more efficient than that?

Well, what if you can remove the heater and the blower?  The heat of compression type of desiccant dryers can do that.  Remember above when I mentioned that “for every eight horsepower of energy to make compressed air, only one horsepower is used as work”.  The seven horsepower of energy that is lost is given off as heat.  The HOC dryer uses that heat to regenerate the desiccant bed.  So, the overall energy is reduced even further.  There is a restriction when using this type of dryer.  The air compressor will have to be oil-free because oil will coat the desiccant beads and stop the adsorption rate.

When the air is compressed, heat is generated.  This heated air can reach around 200oF (93oC).  With the higher temperature, air can hold more water vapor.  As the heated air passes through the desiccant bed that needs to be regenerated, the water vapor is picked up from the desiccant beads.  The saturated air would then pass through an aftercooler.  The aftercooler reduces the air temperature below 100oF (38oC) which will cause the water to drop out.  From the aftercooler, the air will then pass through the desiccant bed in the drying tower.   When the cycle time is reached, the towers will switch to regenerate the second tower.

Line Vacs can convey many things.

With these types of dryers, the desiccant beads will start to degrade from regeneration.  To help replace them, EXAIR offers a Line Vac.  Instead of climbing a ladder with many bags of desiccant, the Line Vac can do this safely and ergonomically.   EXAIR Line Vacs use a small amount of compressed air to generate a powerful vacuum by a Venturi effect.  The unique design of the generators creates a high velocity of air to create a low pressure on one side and a powerful thrust on the other.  The Line Vac can pick up and move solid material vertically up to 20 feet (6 meters).  You can watch a video on the operation of a Line Vac HERE.  The EXAIR Line Vacs are very quiet, compact, rugged, and powerful.  To replace the desiccant, it can do it quickly and safely.

If you need to convey solid materials in a quick and easy way, an EXAIR Line Vac could be a solution for you.  We have them in a variety of materials and designs to match your application.  Ergonomically, they can save the back-wrenching labor of picking up bags, climbing stairs, and dumping material into towers.  If you want to know if the EXAIR Line Vac could work for you, an Application Engineer at EXAIR can help to recommend the best unit for you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Heated Desiccant Dryer by Compressor1Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivs 2.0 Generic

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

Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

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