I recently had the pleasure of talking with a caller from a consulting firm that specializes in improved ergonomics. They work with clients on everything from preventing carpal tunnel syndrome through the use of things like gel-filled mouse pads for office personnel, to preventing injuries in the workplace due to repetitive strain, heavy lifting, and other physically demanding tasks. They called about an operation where workers used buckets to move 150 pounds of dense pellets from a large container into a smaller vessel for weight load testing. After the test, they move the pellets back into the container, where they stay until the next test is to be run. Then they do it again.
This, of course, was a great fit for a 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac and a 10ft length of Conveyance Hose. They simply move the suction & discharge hoses from, and to, the storage container & test vessel. Risk of injury is greatly reduced, as the whole Line Vac conveyance system is less than half the weight of one bucket of the material.
This is just the latest success story in the long history of EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors. They’re on the shelf in a range of sizes and materials of construction to meet most any need. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, though, call me and we can discuss your needs.
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As an Application Engineer, I get the pleasure to speak to many companies about trying to find a simple, long-lasting, powerful but quiet transfer systems. They have operators that climb steps to dump bags of material in hoppers above. Or they need a compact way to remove scrap from their process. Or they have budgetary constraints to convey material from point A to point B.
If your company had to tackle any of these issues, EXAIR can help you. We manufacture Air Operated Conveyors that do not have any moving parts, are very compact in design, and have a high throughput capacity. They can attach easily to standard hoses, pipes, or sanitary flanges. These inexpensive conveyors are designed to make conveyance safer and ergonomically better for your operators. EXAIR calls this product line, Line Vac™.
Line Vacs use a small amount of compressed air to generate a vacuum by a Venturi effect. The unique design generates a high velocity to create a powerful vacuum on one side. Once the product reaches the throat area of the Line Vac, the compressed air will carry the product the rest of the way. The product can reach horizontal distances up to 100 feet (30 meters) and vertical heights up to 20 feet (6 meters). EXAIR manufactures a variety of Line Vacs in different sizes, styles, and materials. In this blog, I will cover our most powerful and abrasion resistant type, Threaded Heavy Duty Line Vac.
Threaded Heavy Duty Line Vacs are designed to convert regular piping into a powerful conveying system. They range from ¾” NPT to 3” NPT and can connect easily to PVC and steel pipe fittings. The construction is made from a hardened alloy steel to resist wear from abrasive bulk products like steel parts, sand, glass, ceramic, etc. The Threaded Heavy Duty Line Vac can create a higher vacuum level to pick up heavier objects as well as conveying larger volume of material.
When purchased as a kit, the Line Vac will come with a filter, regulator, and a mounting bracket. This adds overall value in mounting, controlling, and protecting the Line Vac for years to come. This simple device is a great product to use in rugged industrial applications, and with no moving parts, you will not have to worry about any motors or bearings prematurely wearing out.
If you need to convey heavy materials like steel shot or abrasive products, the Heavy Duty Line Vac could be a blessing for you. Not only can they transfer material safely and quickly, but they also will help ergonomically in saving the backs and knees of your operators. If you would like to discuss your conveying application further, please contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We may have a solution for you.
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.
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 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.
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.
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EXAIR currently offers a multitude of configurations when it comes to the Line Vac – air operated conveyors product line. One of the easiest to install and best suited for food, pharmaceutical, chemical or other sanitary environments is the Sanitary Flange Line Vac¯.
These are offered in four standard pipe sizes, 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″ and 3″. The models are only available from stock in 316 stainless steel. The sanitary flange is designed to be compatible with ISO 2852. These can easily be used with a “Tri-Clover” clamp and gaskets of varying materials to fit your needs. They have no internal moving parts and offer a compact, high throughput, quiet conveyance for parts, gases or ingredients.
With the sanitary flange design installation or removal are simplified in order to remove the unit for cleaning or reversing. If you would like to discuss just how easy these are to upgrade your existing system or to install into a new system, please contact an Application Engineer.
Over the past month I have spoken with many customers who all had a similar concern. Will the Line Vac actually convey my product? Generally, the Application Engineer team can pool our experience together and get a pretty good feeling on if the product will be able to be conveyed the needed vertical and horizontal distance. We can even give some estimates on what rate of transfer for the product.
In some cases though, the customer prefers to have some hard evidence to showcase to their leadership that the product will work and fill the need they have. In those cases, as long as the product does not present a disposal hazard or respiratory hazard then we can probably take a small sample and do some testing then provide images, and possibly even some video.
We may not be able to set up the exact product path that your system will require, we can generally convey a simple vertical with some horizontal. The list below gives just a few examples of the products we have tested:
die cut scraps
candy bars (These were delicious, please send more!)
adhesive backing paper
cat food additive
Doo Hickeys (okay, maybe my daughters made me watch Little Mermaid recently.)
The list could go on and on. The point is, if you are questionable on how well a Line Vac would work with your product, don’t let that deter you from reaching out to us and speaking with an Application Engineer. We’ve done lots of product testing, and we will all share our experiences with you. Also, we have conveyed a Cincinnati-Style Chili 3-way. You can see that in the archives under Will It Launch.
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.
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.
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.
The below video reviews the Sanitary Flange Line Vac, the newest type from the EXAIR family of Line Vacs.
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.