Line Vac Helps Students With Automation Projects

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.


The Initial e mail received.
The Initial e mail received after a short conversation.

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.

The existing 2" Line Vac they had in place.
The existing 2″ Line Vac they had in place.

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.

 

Social Media Contact
Social Media Contact

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.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

EXAIR Product Of The Year Candidate: Electronic Temperature Control for Dual Cabinet Cooler Systems

We have just found out that four of our new problem solving products have been nominated for Plant Engineering’s Product of the Year (Please Vote for us HERE).  The first candidate I would like to showcase is in the Automation & Controls category.  The Electronic Temperature Control for Dual Cabinet Cooler Systems effectively turn the compressed air supply to the Cabinet Coolers on and off as needed to maintain a constant temperature inside of a hot enclosure. Using the air intermittently to maintain a specific temperature is the most efficient way to operate.

Please Vote!
Please Vote!

The ETC Dual Cabinet Cooler Systems work in conjunction with EXAIR’s UL listed Cabinet Cooler Systems which provide cooling for your electrical enclosures without the use of refrigerant based coolants or fans.   The Cabinet Cooler Systems utilize a compressed air driven Vortex Tube which uses compressed air. This cold compressed air is exhausted into the enclosure which results in a cool working environment for your electronics. Warm air from inside the enclosure is vented safely back out of the cabinet through built in exhausts and the compressed air is only utilized when the internal air temperature reaches the digitally set temperature on the ETC.

How the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System Works
How the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System Works

Another added benefit of the ETC on the Cabinet Cooler system is the real time readout of the internal air temperature of your enclosures.  This is on top of the push button set point which will give you a +/-2°F ambient temperature inside of your enclosure.

EXAIR ETC Dual Cabinet Cooler System
EXAIR ETC Dual Cabinet Cooler System

The ETC Dual Cabinet Cooler Systems are designed for larger heat loads ranging from 3,400 BTU/hr. to 5,600 BTU/hr.   The units are available in NEMA 12, NEMA 4, and NEMA 4X ratings.   This means whether you are in a fairly clean environment or a dirty, hot, muggy environment, EXAIR has you covered.

If you would like to discuss either the ETC or the Cabinet Cooler Systems, please contact an Application Engineer.   If you would like to vote for our products, please check out the Plant Engineering Product of the Year page here.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

There Must Be A Better Way To Save…

 

I’m writing this blog at almost the top-dead-center midpoint of Spring Break week. My teenage sons have been “enjoying” their time off thus far with the housekeeping duties their mother has been assigning them, and the labor they’ve been providing their uncle, as he installs a new garage door for us…the one my mother-in-law paid for. I definitely married out of my league.

The last half of Spring Break, though, we’re taking a little vacation. We looked at the activities and attractions at our destination, came up with a plan on what to do and when (including an analysis of the 10 day weather forecast…which prompted me to find our rain ponchos) and have even purchased some tickets in advance, because advertising “5% SAVINGS!” on stuff really works on me, even when it’s on a $20 ticket. Before you grab your calculator, yeah…that’s a dollar. But since there are four of us, I’ve multiplied our savings by 400%! Yes; I know…four bucks.  Still, I’ll take it.

We talk to folks almost every day who want, like I do, to save money on goods and services they’re going to purchase anyway. Some have performed comprehensive energy audits, and identified opportunities to lower their compressed air generation and/or consumption rates. Others have just been looking at the bent copper tubes that are blowing off their parts and thinking there has to be a better way.

(Full disclosure: I’ve had these two exact conversations so far this week.)

Today, I want to tell you about the latter: It’s an aluminum casting plant with about a dozen lines where a robot grabs a fresh casting from the machine, dips it in a quench tank, and holds it in front of an array of copper tube blow offs for a few seconds before placing it in a bin, bound for the machine shop. Not only were they blowing at it from both sides with the copper tubes, but they were also blowing continuously…including the majority of the cycle time that did NOT include holding the part in the air flow.  Dear reader, if you’re familiar AT ALL with the EXAIR blog, you’ll know that we simply cannot abide that. Continuous flow when flow is only needed a fraction of the time is wasteful and expensive. Not to mention blowing air out of open tubes is dangerous, loud and requires and unneccessary volume of compressed air.

It's like they WANT to upset us.  What's up with that?
It’s like they WANT to upset us. What’s up with that?

They installed (2) Model 110018 18” Aluminum Super Air Knives, in place of the copper tubing, which cut down on their air consumption…and noise levels…considerably. I gave them some further recommendations on reprogramming the robot to turn the part in front of one Air Knife, and using an EFC Electronic Flow Control to turn the air off when a part was not present.

EXAIR's EFC automatically turns the air off when a part is not present.
EXAIR’s EFC automatically turns the air off when a part is not present.

Is there a better way to use the compressed air in your facility? Whether you’ve got comprehensive data from a detailed audit, or if that open pipe is just too darn loud, all the time – give me a call…we’ll find out.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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When The Obvious Choice Isn’t

Do you have a copy of EXAIR’s Product Catalog? My opinion may be biased, but I think it’s one of the best ones out there. It’s arranged by product category, and gives you easy access to not only the model numbers of all of our stock products, but succinct and pointed details on principles of operation, examples of applications, dimensions, technical specifications, features & benefits, etc. They’re free for the asking – and if you don’t have the latest (as of this writing, #26), go ahead and ask too – you might be pleasantly surprised by what we’ve added recently!

Now, your application may be straightforward and simple, in which case, you can quickly and easily order any catalog product…almost all of them ship the same day. Our Design Engineers aim to make them simple to install and operate, so you could very well be “off to the races” in very short order. That’s our intent, anyway. But if your situation isn’t so clear cut, here’s a part of the catalog you should pay particular attention to:

tech800at120You’ll find this on the front cover, and the phone number is on darn near every page, too.

See, sometimes, “the usual suspect” isn’t the product that’s going to solve your application. Here’s a prime example:

willy wonka meme

A very popular candy maker (not this guy, but I do so love those Facebook memes) wanted to automate a part of their operation where they cut a large slab of chocolate into small squares, and then move them to a machine that individually wraps them. They were transferring them by hand, but figured they could improve efficiency by using a “pick and place” process, and were particularly interested in an air-operated vacuum system. On the surface, it looked like a “textbook” application for an E-Vac Vacuum Generator. Due to the delicate nature of the product, though, the higher vacuum levels produced would cause the lifting mechanism to mar the surface. And, as delicious as these candies are, it would be a shame if they didn’t look perfect too.

That’s where Application Engineering comes in. Like Joe Panfalone wrote about on Monday, we’ve got the education, and experience, that allow us to “marry the practical with the hypothetical to find the best answer.” We knew we couldn’t use high vacuum, but the pieces are so small and lightweight that a low vacuum level could be quite effective, if we had a decent vacuum flow. After discussion of the application and their expectations, we recommended a Model 120024 4” Super Air Amplifier which they fitted a stainless steel mesh screen to the inlet of, and were able to pick up the freshly cut chocolate squares delicately enough to prevent any marring of the surface at all. The automated process made it quicker and easier for the operators to get the candies to the wrapping machine, defect-free, every time.

So, no matter what the obvious choice (of product) may (or may not) be, the obvious choice for guidance with your compressed air application is EXAIR.  Call us and find out.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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