I recently spoke with a customer who is a casting / machining manufacturer. They had an automated cell that was finish machining a feature on a cast aluminum part then placing it on a conveyor belt for an operator to pick up and continue processing.
The parts were placed 3 pieces wide per row and the conveyor would index with every three parts. The operator would pick three pieces up and transfer them to another station during the machining time. These parts were carrying residual machining coolant and debris onto the outbound conveyor.
The operator would blow them off with a handheld blow gun and all the coolant and chips would generally end up on the floor in the area causing a slip hazard. The focus of the project is to eliminate the safety hazards and leave the parts as clean as possible for the inspection and further process.
The metal parts were positioned similar to the parts I placed in the mock up picture below. The conveyor the customer has is an open mesh conveyor so the process will work better than if it was a solid belt like in the mock up.
The bulk of the concern from the customer was the outside of the part and they stated that anything to blow out the internal is a bonus. The objective is to get as much coolant off as possible. For that we recommended they span the conveyor with a Super Air Knife Kit to blow all the parts off at once. This is mounted closely in the mock up because the customer had space restrictions.
Then, because the parts are always placed in the same location with the same orientation we can locate the ID hole with a Mini Super Air Nozzle on a Stay Set Hose of varying length to reach each set of parts as they come through. Once I had the idea and the products in place I delivered the customer a quote and dimensional CAD file for each part.
Another recommendation was to use a regulator and filter to control just the knife then operate the three nozzles off their own regulator and filter so that the forces between the two can be varied and the performance of the other is not effected. Accompanying the models were installation sheets for each item as well. Followed by the pictures of this mock up for their application.
Needless to say the customer was amazed that we would go to such lengths just to give them more assurance than our 30 day guarantee. They were extremely thankful and are pleased we shipped from stock and met their installation window.
If you are looking for a creative solution, next level customer service, same day product availability, or just a nice human to talk to about compressed air, contact us.
Many times EXAIR products are used to help sort materials based on their weight or their density by providing a consistent force against a series of targets that should be of the same density or weight, but when they are not, the airflow can be “tuned” to remove the non-conforming parts.
In this case, our customer (a packaging automation specialist) was working with a form fill and seal machine that was dedicated to making pouches 2” x 8” and filling them with a food product. In some cases, the pouches would not become filled with product and needed to be removed from the line. So, our customer devised a way to mount model 6042 2” Adjustable Air Amplifier along-side the travel of the pouches and set the input pressure and air gap setting to get optimum vacuum capture velocity to suck away empty ones and leave the full ones in-tact. Above you can see a photo that the customer took while mocking up the application at their facility. You can see the hose connected to the output to direct the empty pouches to a wire basket below.
A couple of things in this application made use of the Adjustable Air Amplifier the best choice. The first was the funnel-shaped suction area on the back side of the Adjustable Air Amplifier. This optimizes the Air Amplifier’s ability to draw in ambient air to propel it to the outlet. In doing this the un-filled, light-weight, plastic pouch becomes caught in the high velocity stream and thus gets carried away as desired. The second thing is that since compressed air is the source of power, the customer has infinite adjustability over the amount of suction force that they can apply to the pouch in the application. They can adjust the air gap opening on the Adjustable Air Amplifier to have a coarse adjustment of air consumption as well as vacuum level. Then, they have a finer adjustment that a pressure regulator can provide to really dial in the suction force as they need it to be for removal of the empties.
The idea here is that while Air Amplifiers are generally used for their output flow to cool targets and provide a significant Blowoff force, they can also be used to draw in not only smoke and fumes but also other lightweight items like the empty pouches above.
If you have a need to set up any kind of sorting process, maybe just to separate two different recycling streams or perhaps it is a need to perform a quality control function as shown above, think about EXAIR and our many solutions in this area.
For decades, children and adults (really cool ones, anyway) have enjoyed the popular board game, Mouse Trap:
The fun of the game is that it exaggerates the notion of providing an overly complicated solution to a simple problem – a notion made famous by Rube Goldberg, whose namesake machines are as thought-provoking as they are entertaining to watch.
As fun as Rube Goldberg machines are, there are actually ways to engineer something “just enough” – that’s what automation engineers strive to do every day; and EXAIR is here to help.
Probably the most popular feature, for automated applications, of engineered compressed air products is instantaneous performance. For example:
Likewise, vacuum pumps necessarily take some time to develop their rated vacuum level. But the venturi in an EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generator draws its full rated vacuum flow as soon as the compressed air is turned on. The peak vacuum level is achieved in the amount of time it takes to pull the air out of the lines or vessel.
All EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles can be fitted with a No Drip feature, which allows instant on/off control, simply by opening/closing a valve in the compressed air supply line. This is often done with a solenoid valve tied in to the machine controls, or with an EXAIR EFC, Electronic Flow Control (more on that in a minute.) They can handle up to 180 cycles per minute, for quick bursts of atomized mist, on demand. No other method of liquid flow control can match that kind of performance.
EXAIR Spot Cooling Products, Cold Guns, and Cabinet Cooler Systems all use Vortex Tube technology. This “splits” a supply of compressed air into a hot, and cold air flow. Unlike refrigerant, chilled water, or cryogenic gas methods, they don’t rely on conduction or convection heat transfer between materials, so cold (and hot) air is produced, at rated flow and temperature, instantly. They, too, can be turned on & off as often as needed…there are no moving parts to wear or damage.
Automation projects often incorporate existing logic, controls, timers, etc. to actuate the process. For example, if you wanted to use a Chip Vac to vacuum debris from a chop saw, you can simply wire a solenoid valve into the power switch of the saw…it’ll run while the saw runs, and stop when the saw is turned off.
If there are no existing logic, controls, timers, etc., EXAIR has a solution for those cases too: the EFC Electronic Flow Control. We have four models to accommodate up to 350 SCFM of compressed air flow – that’s ten feet worth of Super Air Knives. The EFC consists of a photoelectric sensor that opens/closes a solenoid valve, based on the programming of the integral timer. It’s a stand alone system that doesn’t require input from, nor is it affected by, any external factors.
Over the past year I received a contact from a professor and student combination from Madison Area Technical College inquiring about the sizes available for our Line Vac products. They were using a 2″ Line Vac in one of their automation class labs and wanted to try something a little bigger for a new project. The 2″ Line Vac was one they had used in the past on different projects and had always worked well. The new project however increased the bag size and made the conveyance difficult for the 2″ Line Vac.
With the picture below of their current setup and a good understanding that they will be placing three items into a heat sealed bag that is roughly 3″ long and 2″ wide we settled on using the 3″ Aluminum Line Vac at a low pressure to convey the baggies to their secondary function. As you can see in the video below, the Line Vac is activated by a sensor and operates for just seconds in order to convey the bag of parts successfully to the other side of the machine cell where the bag is then picked and placed by a robotic arm.
After the project was completed we received a mention through social media, as well as a brief video showcasing the Line Vac in use. The video showcases how easy it is to install an EXAIR Line Vac into a tight space where adding other conventional mechanical conveying systems would be considerably more elaborate. The Line Vac is being controlled via a PLC that energizes a solenoid valve on a timer to convey the package in a matter of seconds.
We are very pleased to see the projects these kids turned out, and the leadership shown by Peter, their instructor. Manufacturing programs such as this one at Madison Area Technical College are important for our economy and for the future of these kids. We’d like to congratulate them all on their accomplishment.
If you have a project you are trying to move products from one point to another, contact us. If you are a professor, student, or even a mentor to an educational program that would benefit from EXAIR products, please contact me directly.