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

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.)

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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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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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Oil Removal Filters – Keeping Compressed Air Clean

Compressed air filters help to keep the air clean and condensate free to protect equipment from dust, dirt, pipe scale, oil and water. Even though the compressed air system will typically have a main dryer, additional treatment is often necessary. For this discussion, we will focus on the oil removal process and filter type.

After the compressed air has passed through a particulate filter, the dirt, dust and water droplets have been removed.  Oil that is present is much smaller in size, and mostly passes though the particulate filter.  The installation of a coalescing filter will provide for the removal of the majority of the fine oil aerosols that remain. The coalescing filter works differently than the particulate filters. The compressed air flows from inside to outside through the coalescing filter media. The term ‘coalesce’ means to ‘come together’ or ‘form one mass.’  The process of coalescing filtration is a continuous process where the small aerosols of oil come in contact with fibers of the filter media. As other aerosols are collected, they will join up and ‘come together’ and grow to become an oil droplet, on the downstream or outside surface of the media.  Gravity will then cause the droplet to drain away and fall off the filter element.

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Example of a 0.03 Micron Coalescing Oil Removal Filter

Some important information to keep in mind –

  • Change the filter regularly, not just when the differential pressures exceeds recommended limits, typically 5 PSI
  • Coalescing filters will remove solids too, at a higher capture rate due to the fine level of filtration, using a pre-filter for solids will extend the life
  • Oil free compressors do not provide oil free air, as the atmospheric air drawn in for compression contains oil vapors that will cool and condense in the compressed air system.

If you would like to talk about oil removal filters 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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