A factory was having some issues in losing plastic material underneath and around their conveyor system. The conveyor moved plastic fibers from an extrusion process into a hopper. The conveyor belt was made of a rubber material that was 17” wide, and the plastic fiber was made from HDPE. As the conveyor went around the end to dump the fibers into the hopper, some of it would stick to belt and sides of the conveying system. Some fiber material would fall onto the ground which would require cleaning and loss of material. They attempted to place a brush flap against the conveyor belt to knock the material off, but it was not very effective. The brush flap actually generated more static as well as created wear marks on the belt from contact. The customer sent a picture of the problem and wondered if EXAIR could help them with this application.
With plastic fibrous material and rubber belts, the two non-conductive surfaces will generate static. Static can have a strong force that will cause the material to “stick” to surfaces. The higher the static voltage, the stronger the force. As you can see in the photo, the material is sticking to the belt as well as to the sides. For this application, I recommended the model 112224 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife is uniquely designed to have two functions in this application. The Super Ion Air Knife uses 40 parts of ambient air with every one part of compressed air, making it very efficient. With the laminar air stream that comes from the Super Air Knife, it can carry both positive and negative ions from the attached Gen4 Ionizing Bar to remove any type of static charge. With this combination, it becomes a very effective non-contact scraper to remove the fibers and not wear on the conveyor belt. The model 112224 kit includes the 24” (610 mm) long Super Air Knife with a Gen4 Ionizing Bar attached; power supply, filter, regulator, and a shim set.
The reason for the 24” (610 mm) extended length was to keep the fibers from collecting to the outside area of the conveyor (as shown in the photo above). With the compact and lightweight design, it could easily be positioned below the conveyor. As the fiber material would come around the conveyor, the ions carried by the air stream would neutralize the static as well as remove the material from the belt and the sides. When the customer mounted the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife in place, the plastic fibers dropped into the hopper and not onto the floor underneath.
Spillage is wasteful, costly, and time consuming to cleanup. If you have excess waste from your conveying system, EXAIR will have the product to help you. For the customer above, the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife made it possible to claim more material, removed the hazard from buildup on the floor, and reduced cleaning time. You can contact an Application Engineer to review your application.
An overseas plant had a large operation processing cocoa beans. They would pick the pods off the cocoa trees, remove the beans from the pod, and place them on a large screened table to dry in the sun. The drying process may seem primitive, but with the natural energy of the sun, it is free. To completely remove the moisture from the cocoa beans, they would have to keep the beans exposed to the sun for close to a week. As a daily operation, the workers would have to carry beans to and from a storage container by shovel and bucket. In the morning when the sun was rising, they would shovel the beans from the storage container and spread them onto the table. Before evening came, they would shovel the beans from the table back into the storage containers. This back and forth was very hard work and time consuming.
In discussing their setup, the storage containers were a maximum of 10 meters away from the drying tables. The bulk density of cocoa beans are roughly 980 kg/m^3. So, with 19L buckets used to carry the beans, each one would weigh a bit over 18Kg each. The operators would carry two buckets, multiple times during the day to load the tables (reference the photo below). Then they would remove the beans in the evening to put them back into the storage containers. The reason that they had to store the cocoa beans at night was because of dew. When the temperature drops during the night, dew would settle onto the beans and rehydrate them. So, to keep the beans drying at a moderate rate, they had to store them during the night. This was very hard work on the workers’ backs, and they were also losing sunlight hours as this was a long tedious operation. In trying to find a better solution to improve their operation, they searched and found the EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors.
The EXAIR Line Vac fit very well into their operation. I suggested the model 152200 Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit as this unit has our highest conveyance rate. It can convey the cocoa beans at a rate of nearly 900kg/hr. It is very compact and easy to use. This plantation placed a 10 meter length of hose in between the storage containers and the drying tables. They attached a 1 meter section of hose to the vacuum end of the Heavy Duty Line Vac. Because the Line Vac pushes the product much better than it pulls, we recommend the vacuum hose to be 1 meter or less for optimum conveyance. So, in the morning, they would go to the storage container and attach the 10 meter hose to the exhaust end of the Line Vac. They would open the compressed air line to the Line Vac and watch the cocoa beans being conveyed to the drying tables. In the evening, they would reverse the procedure and attach the Line Vac to the 10 meter hose near the drying tables. They would watch the beans being conveyed back into the storage containers. Not only did this save the backs of their workers, it also increased the amount of drying time. With their new operation, the cocoa beans now had an additional 1 hour of drying each day in the sun. This helped tremendously in getting the dried cocoa beans to the processing factory more quickly.
If your company has a strenuous operation in moving dry bulk products like this, you may want to consider an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor. They are very reliable, easy to use, and long lasting. If you need help in finding the correct model for your application, please contact us today.
A manufacturing plant had a machine that would process 6mm ceramic beads into small medical components. They used a screw type conveyor to move the ceramic beads from a large container into a hopper above the machine. In this situation, the customer called EXAIR prior to determining which mechanical component failed. They contacted the conveyor manufacturer for assistance. Because of the complexity of the conveying system, it would take time to evaluate. They had to determine if it was the motor, the gear box, the shaft, or electrical system. Depending on which item that failed, there was a good chance that it would not be in stock. With this length of downtime, it would cost the company much money and delays in shipments. The operation had to be shut down until they could find a way to keep the hopper filled with ceramic beads. Being that they were under the gun, they contacted EXAIR to see if we could help.
Heavy Duty Line Vac
In discussing their layout, the hopper was 10 feet away from the supply container, and the opening of the hopper was 10 feet above the floor. These lengths were well within the limits of the EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors. I suggested the model 152200 Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit. This unit has the highest conveyance rate, and it can move items in the range of plastic pellets to steel shot. It does not have any moving parts, so it makes it very simple, reliable, and long lasting. The Heavy Duty Line Vac is made of a hardened steel that makes it very resistant to abrasion. The next question he asked was if we had it in stock. We did!!! EXAIR stocks every cataloged model number for same day shipping with orders placed before 3 p.m. EST. We were able to ship the Heavy Duty Line Vac that same day to get his operation back up and running. He did mention to me afterwards that he wished he had at least one Heavy Duty Line Vac on his shelf as a backup system. It could have saved his company an entire day of downtime.
If your company relies on mechanical conveying systems to move product, you may want to have an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor on hand just in case of an emergency. When things go wrong, you do not want to be down any longer than needed. If you need help in sizing the correct Line Vac for your application, you can contact an Application Engineers at EXAIR.