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.
As companies move to other facilities or are expanding inside their own, sometimes you have to get creative with your system. In this situation, a paper facility had to move their glue line to make room for another project. The system included a transfer module for moving hot melt pellets from a storage bin into a hopper where it was heated and applied. In the move, they could not locate the transfer module close enough to the glue line for safety reasons. They contacted EXAIR to see if we could help.
In discussing their layout, the best location would be to place the transfer module on the other side of an office pod but the transfer module could not move the hot melt pellets that distance. They needed to move the hot melt pellets about 20 feet horizontally and about 6 feet vertically to reach their glue line hopper, something an EXAIR Line Vac can accomplish. We decided to use a model 6083 1 ½” Aluminum Line Vac to help out. The conveyance rate would keep up with the transfer module, and it had enough power. The pellets would be transferred to a nearby bin by the module. Then the Line Vac would move it from the bin, over the office pod, and into the hopper on the other side. With the transfer module out of the way and the hot melt pellets still feeding the glue line, they were able to continue operating the system.
If you ever need to get creative to solve a process, production or safety problem, you can always contact one of the Application Engineers at EXAIR for help. We have years of experience with our compressed air products to coat, conserve, cool, convey and clean.
The sketch above shows a 115” tall tank which needs to be filled and emptied multiple times with activated alumina desiccant. The desiccant ranges in size from 1/8” to ¼” with a median size of 5/32”, and has a bulk density of 48 pounds/ft³. The material has no fire or spill hazards, and poses a low health risk. (We evaluate these characteristics with every application to ensure the Line Vac is a viable solution.) The end user wanted to find a solution to move the alumina into the tank, and then a method to move it out of the tank. Total material transfer could be as high as 1500 pounds/hour.
Originally, the end user considered the setup shown below. This setup would empty the tank through the top, and then use the same Line Vac to refill.
What the end user and I came to realize, is that we could achieve full automation in emptying the tank by using a dedicated Line Vac with a slide gate. And, another dedicated Line Vac could be used to fill the tank, preventing any toggling of the Line Vac orientation. This was the solution, one Line Vac on the desiccant fill port and one Line Vac on the desiccant empty port.
Because of the high conveyance rate and the requirement for a material which could withstand abrasives, model 150200, our 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac made of a hardened alloy, was recommended.
If you have a material conveyance application and need a compressed air based solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.
This application came in from our distributor (AYRFUL) in Argentina. They had a customer who is recycling film scraps. The scrap material is conveyed into a cyclone separator. The problem is that the scrap becomes charged with static as a result of the motions and interactions within the conveying pipe. This results in the scrap sticking to itself and to the parts of the cyclone separator inside. The problem is so bad that it becomes almost impossible to separate the material when it comes time to clear it out of the cyclone separator once clogged.
Just yesterday I had a customer visit our facility for a product demo. The product they were interested in was our Stainless Steel Line Vac. When they arrived I showed them the full Line Vac product line and explained how simple the unit was to operate. Then came time to put up or shut up, could the Line Vac actually convey what they were needing? The video below is not of their product but portrays the Line Vac in action.
The customer was looking to move 5/8″ x 1/2″ x 1/8″ sized pieces of a hot glue pellets from a bulk storage bag out to their machine hoppers. They had brought a bag with them which we used as a test. Since this was merely a test we conveyed the product through about 6-8 ft. of hose using a 2″ Line Vac. Within approximately 20 seconds we were able to convey what they stated was a fourth of their overall need. This rate of volume through the Line Vac truly caught them off guard.
The engineer that came from the customer started explaining that they had been looking at all methods to convey this product and everything they had looked at needed either large duct work, or a large foot print unit that included midway hoppers. They then asked if we had any drawings or CAD files available to see how the unit would fit into their system. I explained to them we offer 2D and 3D drawings of all our products, and they are all available straight from our website.
The engineer was thrilled that he could actually go to one place and find not only the product he needed along with the accessories to go with it that make it work, but also the drawings and technical data on all of the products. So if you have an application where you are trying to move some bulk material don’t hesitate to give us a call.