E-Vac Vacuum Generators- For More Than Just Pick and Place

A textbook application for vacuum generators is the ‘pick and place’ function.  With ever increasing automation and robotic cells, more and more opportunities present themselves to utilize the E-Vac Vacuum Generator as a part of the system to ‘pick up’ an object and ‘place’ it in a new position. But the E-Vac’s can be used for many more types of applications.

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In-Line E-Vac

Another popular usage is to hold something in place. One of our customers uses an array of Adjustable E-Vacs to pull a vacuum and hold down various sizes of Styrofoam sheets during a machining operation. The previous system was a 1 hp blower type, and did not offer any flexibility for handling different size sheets. Sheets would slip and produce off quality results. After installing the new design, the system was able to handle any size sheet, and scrap levels went down dramatically.

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Adjustable E-Vac

A unique implication that was solved with an E-Vac was to deflate sporting balls.  The customer printed custom logos, and preferred the items to be flat for the printing operation. Using a commercial grade electric shop vac didn’t completely deflate the balls, and motors burned out often.  Using a low vacuum In-Line E-Vac with a quiet Straight Through Muffler, the customer can now quickly and quietly, fully deflate the balls.

Another popular use for the E-Vac is to pull a vacuum for drawing up liquids or gases. A customer that manufactures automotive seats was having issues with the process, where the expanding foam was producing a gas, and the gas would produce pockets and voids in the foam after setting.  The customer used a model 800017 In-Line E-Vac to create a vacuum inside the mold and draw off the gas, eliminating the pockets and the voids in the final product.

Lastly, as I am big fan of recycling, anything and everything, we worked with a customer that recycles the old CRT style of computer monitor  (remember those?) The housing would be sawed in half, so that access to the internal components could be made. Because of the variability in the size and shape of the monitors, the customer was using an adjustable chuck system, which took time to set-up for every monitor, each being a bit different. To speed up the process, an EXAIR In-Line E-Vac and 5″ Suction Cup was implemented, and the monitor held in place by the screen, which was was very consistent in shape from monitor to monitor. This change reduced the set-up time required.

These and other Applications for the E-VACs and all other EXAIR products can be found on the EXAIR website on the Products page, under the Related Info section toward the bottom of each page.

If you have questions regarding E-Vac Vacuum Generators or 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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EXAIR Mini Chip Vac: Phase 2 for Improving Medical Devices

Medical Anatomy

In my previous blog about the manufacturing facility that machined small plastic components for the medical industry, I explained how the Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit was able to improve the machining process by eliminating static.  (You can read the blog here: EXAIR Ion Air Jets: Phase 1 for improving medical devices).  With their machining center being in a semi-clean room, cleanliness was very important.  So, after each machining operation, they would have to sweep the plastic chips from the machining table and discard.  This extended the cycle time in their machining operation.

Since they had such a great relationship with EXAIR in dealing with their previous application, they contacted us again to improve their cleanup operation.  Non-conductive materials like plastic generates static on the surface when the material is peeled, shifted, or rubbed against another surface.  Since we removed the static from the plastic shavings with the Stay Set Ion Air Jet, we wanted to target that area before static could regenerate and start “sticking” to clean parts.  In getting more details about their setup, they were machining with vertical CNC mills.  The mills had a platform table that had a pneumatic fixture to grab the medical part.  Before machining began, the operators would have to close Plexiglas doors as a safety requirement.  The CNC mills did have an opening at the top of the machine.  (This was where they were supplying the Stay Set Ion Air Jet with compressed air and power supply.)

Mini Chip Vac

With my experience, I had a good suggestion for refining their cleaning operation.  I suggested the model 6193-5 Mini Chip Vac System.  This system uses compressed air to generate a vacuum for picking up chips.  The vacuum generator does not have any moving parts or bearings to wear; so, they are very durable and long-lasting.  The Mini Chip Vac System uses a 5 gallon drum which is very compact and easy to use in tight areas.  The system includes a 0.1 micron filter to keep all the contamination inside the drum and not allowing it to escape back into the room air.  (Very necessary in a semi-clean location.)  Even for its small size, the Mini Chip Vac is very powerful and quiet.  It has a decibel rating of only 77 dBA; so, noise will not be a nuisance when operating the vacuum.  It comes standard with a 10 foot vacuum hose which make it easy to reach into tight areas to clean.

As a suggestion, I recommended that they could collect the plastic shaving during the machining process Instead of waiting until after the operation to clean.  They could mount the Mini Chip Vac drum near the machine, and bring in the vacuum hose through the opening at the top.  The suction end of the vacuum could be placed on the opposite side of the Stay Set Ion Air Jet.  In conjunction, the Stay Set Ion Air Jet would remove the static and swarf from the plastic surface; at the same time, the Mini Chip Vac would collect and remove the plastic shavings from the machining area.  This combination of EXAIR products would keep the parts clean as well as the machining area.  When they installed the Mini Chip Vac System into their process, they almost doubled their production rate.

If you are dealing with messy chips in your machining operation, the EXAIR Chip Vac Systems can be a solution for you.  For the customer above, I was able to find a simple way to use the Mini Chip Vac to keep the area clean and increase their production rates.  If you are spending too much time in cleaning up your area, you can contact an Application Engineer to find the best solution to streamline your operation.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Muscles Anatomy Medical Human by Heblo/64.  CC0 Public Domain

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I think we have all heard the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – a phrase that is thought to have originated back in 70’s when environmental protection became a governmental policy.

We at EXAIR can help your company follow this important principle and help to keep your costs down as well.

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Reduce – Reduce the number of times you change out your coolant, reduce your wastewater. Our Reversible Drum VAcs and Chip Trappers help keep your coolant clean by providing a simple and effective method to remove and/or strain your coolant.

Also, remember this – they are VERY hard to break or ruin. If you have one of our liquid handling Reversible Drum Vacs or Chip Trapper units, and the performance isn’t quite as you remember it to be, give us a call.   We can help to trouble shoot and narrow in on the root cause.  Most of the time, it is a simple fix, such as a air leak or a change to the air supply system that has caused a drop in performance. If we have eliminated all of those possible causes, we can offer the RDVREFURB option. Simply send in your Reversible Drum Vac pump unit, and we will do a free evaluation. Then we’ll let you know what we find, and provide a quote for the repair.  The repair typically involves a thorough cleaning, replacement of a few basic parts, and then setting and testing to original factory specification.  Because the unit has no moving parts, there isn’t much that can break down or go wrong.  Don’t throw away that unit, REDUCE the amount of waste you create.

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Reuse – Maybe you have a Super Air Knife in storage that is not in use, and you come up with a need, but the Knife doesn’t quite match the application.  We can provide new custom shim to change the air flow pattern.  Perhaps you have a 24″ Super Air Knife, but the new application requires only 18″ of airflow.  You can send the knife in and we can clean it up and install a new custom shim to provide the exact airflow pattern that meets your requirements.  Or, we can send the new shim directly to you for your team to install. Don’t let the unused product lie around, REUSE it for another process or application.

Super Air Knife

Recycle – If for what ever reason a product has been deemed to be no-longer viable and cannot be reused, the time comes to dispose of it.  We hope that you would take the time to recycle it properly. With materials of construction including brass, aluminum and type 303 and type 316 stainless steels, most EXAIR products can be RECYCLED as common metals and you may even get a little money back!

To discuss your processes and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can provide a beneficial service, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Photo Credit – “Recycling” by Andy Arthur is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Think Of Quality And Service, Think Of EXAIR

As an Application Engineer at a direct sales manufacturing company, I get to talk to a LOT of people about potential uses for our quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products. And, I’m happy to say, most of them I can even help with…even if the answer is “that’s just not gonna work.” Those are few and far between, however, and we can usually point someone in a better direction in those cases.

By the time we’ve “drilled down” into an application discussion far enough to make a product recommendation, we’ve got a pretty good feeling about it, and a vast majority of the time, our product solves the application in a big way. So big, in fact, that it makes them think of EXAIR again, and again.

Case in point: not long after I started here in 2011, I had the pleasure of helping someone out with some pick-and-place rigs on their packaging line…small products, bulk packaged for shipment to retail outlets. They used our Model 810003M E-Vac High Vacuum Generator and 900762 Small Round Vacuum Cups. Over the years, they’ve added some new products, and some more of the E-Vac pick-and-place rigs. It’s always good to hear from them, and I really believe the feeling is mutual.

EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generators provide a simple and reliable solution to pick-and-place applications.

Now, they want to automate a little clean-up operation where pilot holes are drilled in a plastic part, and are considering an intermittently operated vacuum. The concern is, if they use an electric powered one, the starting & stopping will take a toll on the motor. And they’re right.

So, the Model 6193-5 Mini Chip Vac System is up for consideration. Because it’s compressed air operated, constant starting & stopping is no problem…and, it’s generating vacuum immediately, so it’s ideal for quick bursts of cleanup suction action. No electric motor to burn out, no moving parts to wear – it’s a long term, maintenance-free solution.

Quiet and compact, the Mini Chip Vac is an ideal solution for a variety of industrial housekeeping needs.

If you’re an EXAIR engineered compressed air product user, I want to thank you for your business. If you’d like to discuss a particular compressed air product application (regardless of whether you’re a current user or not!) give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Viscosity – Why it Matters

EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.  We work every day with air properties, such as compressed air pressures and flow rates, when evaluating product performance to provide a solution to a customer problem. We also need to be versed on a certain liquid property, viscosity, as it relates to the operation of (2) of the EXAIR product families, the Atomizing Spray Nozzles and the Industrial Housekeeping liquid vacuums (Reversible Drum Vac and Chip Trapper).

Viscosity is often referred to the thickness of a fluid.  A common example would be water and honey.  Water is a low viscosity fluid, while honey is a high viscosity material.

Dynamic, Shear, or Absolute Viscosity is a measure of the resistance to shearing flow.  If you think of 2 plates (see below) with the bottom one stationary and the top one moving horizontally, and with a fluid between them – this illustrates Absolute Viscosity. When the top plate moves to the right, there will be induced multiple horizontal layers of the fluid, each moving at different speeds (the fluid will be at rest at the bottom, and the top layer will move with the top plate.) The friction generated between the layers will give rise to a force resisting this motion.  The force is proportional to the speed and area of the plate and inversely proportional to the distance between the plates.Capture

In simplest terms, viscosity is the ratio of the shear stress, τ,  to the velocity gradient du/dy.  Of concern to us, it takes more force to cause a very viscous (thick like honey) fluid flow.

Centipoise, cP,  is the common unit of measure for viscosity, and 1 cP is equal to 0.01 g/cm/s.

Water has a viscosity of 1 cP at room temperature and honey ranges from 2,000-10,000 cP.

How does all this relate to EXAIR? It relates to EXAIR because we engineer products to specifically move and use liquids. There are limitations to the viscosity each of these products can handle and still perform well.

The EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles can be used with liquids up to 800 cP. The Internal Mix type nozzles can be used on liquids up to 300 cP. The External Mix nozzles can be used with liquids over 300 cP and up to 800 cP.  Lastly, the Siphon Fed models are good to 200 cP, and do not require a pressure source for the liquid. Each nozzle type will atomize the fluid and provide a very small droplet size, which is ideal for washing,  rinsing, coating, cooling and other applications. Exceeding the cP each of these nozzles are designed to use will result in larger droplet sizes and a more inconsistent fluid flow, which may impact your process.

atomizing nozzle
Atomizing Spray Nozzle

The other EXAIR product family where viscosity is important, is the Industrial Housekeeping Products, especially the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac and High Lift Chip Trapper.  They are capable of moving liquids with viscosities of up to 1400 cP through 20′ of hose.  Simply provide compressed air and turn any closed head drum into a high powered liquid vacuum. Great for coolant, hydraulic oils, waster water, and many other fluids. For these products, as the cP increases, so does the time it will take to move the liquids into or out of the drum.

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High Lift Reversible Drum Vac

To discuss your fluid viscosity and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can make your process better, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Cleaning Motor Fan Covers Using The Vac-u-Gun

Having a background in industrial process pumps prior to my time here at EXAIR, I have become quite familiar with many different  abbreviations used in the selection of a motor for a particular process. Terms like ODP – Open Drip Proof or TENV – Totally Enclosed Non-Vented all refer to the NEMA rating of an electrical motor. Since all of the products we manufacture here at EXAIR are compressed air operated and don’t require any electricity or motors to operate, these terms haven’t been as frequent in my day to day conversations with our customers.

However, last week that changed when I took a call from an industrial motor manufacturer looking for a way to draw cast iron chips out of the fan covers used on their “TEFC” motors or Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled. A TEFC motor,  the most commonly used motor in general duty, industrial processes, has an external fan on the back of the motor and provides cooling by moving air over the outside of the motor housing. After the fan covers are formed, they are sent to a mill where the vent holes are cut, which creates small chips that settle on the inside and outside of the cover. They have been using an air gun to blow the chips away but some of the chips have made their way behind the fan blades and settled on the shaft, resulting in damage to some fans and motors themselves during testing. They wanted some type of small, handheld device that would allow them to treat the individual opening and grooves on the cover to vacuum the chips away and carry them to a scrap recovery bin.

Example of a TEFC fan cover on the back of an industrial motor.

Once again, EXAIR had the perfect solution, the Model # 6292 Vac-u-Gun Transfer System. The Model # 6292 Transfer System includes the Vac-u-Gun, a 10′ transfer hose, extension wands and additional crevice, brush and skimmer tools. A Vac-u-Gun is an air gun which can used as both a blow gun to blow away debris or a hand held vacuum to suck debris into a filter bag or moved through a hose into a collection vessel (drum, tote, garbage can). This would provide them with the desired handheld device that would easily allow them to transfer the scrap chips the to their scrap recovery bin.

Model 6292 Transfer System

The Vac-u-Gun, like most of our products, are IN STOCK, ready to ship. Give me a call for help with product selection or to discuss your particular process.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN
Back of Motor image courtesy of Shane Gorski via Creative Commons license.

If at First You Don’t Succeed Try, Try Again!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going back and forth with my phone provider over some technical issues I’ve been having with the device. After some troubleshooting, we were able to conclude that the antenna has likely become loose, leading to the phone periodically not receiving service. Naturally, we’re outside of the 1-Year “Warranty” period that covers a defective device. I paid my insurance deductible and received a “refurbished” phone the following day. Unfortunately, this refurbished phone was unable to take pictures with the front-facing camera. I know what you’re thinking, how on Earth can I take selfies without a front-facing camera? So it was back to the phone provider to get another replacement, fortunately this time they sent a brand new device.

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get something to work right out of the box, only to experience issues. Whenever a customer is having an issue with a particular product, there’s a certain progression that we go through in order to assess the problem and determine the root cause. In some cases it is something simple, others it can be a few individual problems that are compounding each other. I recently assisted a customer that was having problems with his 110 Gallon Reversible Drum Vac System. He was having difficulty pumping water out of a container and into the 110 gallon drum. He stated that he just received the unit and was unable to get it to work.

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EXAIR’s Reversible Drum Vac installed on a 110 Gallon Drum

This is a call that we get from time to time, and is generally remedied pretty quickly. Our first step is to check the air pressure at the inlet of the Reversible Drum Vac while it is operating. We recommend an inlet pressure of at least 80 PSIG for proper operation. By installing a pipe tee with a pressure gauge directly at the unit, we can not only verify the inlet pressure but also that the Reversible Drum Vac is being supplied with an adequate volume of compressed air. If the pressure on the gauge begins to decrease once the unit is in operation, we can conclude that the volume of compressed air to the Reversible Drum Vac is insufficient. This can be due to the use of restrictive quick disconnect fittings, improper line size, or a compressor that is undersized.

If the air supply is sufficient, we then inspect the system for vacuum leaks. If the drum does not have a complete seal, the system will not function. If there’s no vacuum leak and there is an adequate supply of compressed air, the Reversible Drum Vac likely needs to be cleaned. It took us a few tries to get there but through a little bit of trial and error, we were able to determine that this was exactly the case in this scenario. Even though the system was new, it had been supplied with compressed air that was not properly filtered. Some scale, rust and debris from the customer’s supply lines made its way into the body of the Reversible Drum Vac, impeding the flow of air. Here is a video that shows the cleaning procedure for the Reversible Drum Vac. Over time the Reversible Drum Vac can accumulate debris inside of the plenum chamber. Regular maintenance of the unit will ensure that it stays within specifications for when it’s needed most!

If you have an EXAIR product that’s not performing as well as it used to, give us a call. One of the Application Engineers will be able to walk you through the steps to ensure that you’re getting the most out of our products!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: tylerdaniel@exair.com
LinkedIn: @EXAIR_TD