Solving Performance Issues of Air Operated Industrial Vacuums

This blog will focus on the EXAIR Chip Vac, but the troubleshooting process and steps for achieving optimal performance are consistent among EXAIR’s entire line of air operated industrial vacuums.

There’s really not that much that CAN go wrong with an EXAIR Chip Vac System. They have no moving parts to wear or electrical components to burn out. As long as they’re supplied with clean air, they’ll run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.

Murphy’s Law, of course, is still in full force, so if something CAN go wrong, it WILL go wrong.  The Chip Vac is, alas, no exception.  Good news is, because of the Chip Vac‘s simplicity, troubleshooting is simple as well.  The most common problems we see with ANY of our engineered compressed air products (not just the Industrial Vacuums) are related to compressed air supply:

  • New users might not consider the air demand required by a new product, and may provide an inadequate supply line.  The Chip Vac, for example, will consume 40 SCFM @80psig for rated operation, and will need a 1/2″ (inside diameter) hose to supply that, assuming a length of no more than 20ft.  Hooking one up to a common 3/8″ hose on a 50ft reel, for example, will “starve” the Chip Vac, resulting in degraded performance.
  • Also, the preferred method of connection is a hose with threaded fittings on the ends.  A local hydraulics/pneumatics shop can likely make these, while you wait.  Push-to-connect quick connect fittings are restrictive by nature, and should be avoided.  Quarter turn claw-type fittings are great…the main drawback (which can be solved with an upstream shutoff valve) is the line has to be depressurized to make or break the connection.
  • If you absolutely want to use a push-to-connect type, you can oversize it (use one made for larger hose with, say, 3/4 NPT fittings) and use bushing/adapters to get to your actual hose size.

    If you must use quick connects, the 1/4 turn claw type (left) is the least restrictive. Push-to-connects (center) are likely to starve your product, unless you oversize them (right) like we do in our Efficiency Lab.
  • Speaking of supply issues, make sure nobody’s bumped into a valve handle & partially closed it (I have,) ignored the maintenance schedule & didn’t change a clogged filter element (I have,) or ran something into a copper line hard enough to crimp it, but not rupture it (I haven’t…that was Tim, who, aside from this incident, was really pretty good with a forklift.)

The issues above apply to not only any compressed air system, but most fluid power/fluid handling systems.  Since this blog is about Chip Vac troubleshooting, let’s move on to some specifics.  If you’re sure you’re getting proper air supply to the Chip Vac (by the way, a pressure gauge right at the inlet – like the one that comes with our Premium Chip Vac System’s air hose – will eliminate any doubt,) then let’s look at some potential issues downstream:

  • Dirt & debris can collect inside the Chip Vac itself, obstructing the outlet holes, and lowering your vacuum flow.  You can disassemble and clean it pretty easily, though.
  • The Filter Bag can get clogged, especially if you’re vacuuming up a lot of dust or powdery materials.  If this happens, turn the Chip Vac off and shake the Filter Bag to dislodge the material, allowing it to fall back into the drum where it belongs.
  • Speaking of which, if you find that, all of a sudden, the Filter Bag is clogging, remove the drum lid and check for the Silencing Hose.  This serves two functions…the first is in the name (just a little discharge hose mitigates the sound level of the Chip Vac‘s exhaust flow.)  Secondly, it directs the vacuumed material positively into the drum, limiting the amount that is “dust-storms” in the upper area of the drum, where it’s more prone to make it into the Filter Bag.
Pro tip: check for the Silencing Hose when you remove the lid to empty the drum. DON’T throw the Silencing Hose in the trash.

I’m not going to unequivocally state that this is an all-inclusive list (see “Murphy’s Law,” above,) but these are the Usual Suspects if you’re just not getting the most out of your Chip Vac.  If you ever have any questions, though, give us a call.  We’re here to help.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Air Operated Industrial Vacuum Helps Reclaim Grass Seed and Save Thousands

A customer who produces bags of grass seed were experiencing a large amount of lost product due to spillage during the bagging process. Any spillage they would typically sweep up and throw away. This sweeping would take a good amount of time. Their goal was to determine a way to speed it up the cleaning and see if it was possible to reclaim the seed that was currently scrapped.

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EXAIR has a broad line of industrial vacuums for a variety of jobs. In this case we recommended our Chip Vac.

EXAIR’s Chip Vac is a compressed air operated industrial duty vacuum designed for vacuuming up dry (or mostly dry) products. The powerful vacuum is suitable for use with metal, wood, or plastic chips and is designed to thread into the 2” NPT bung on standard drum lids. The Chip Vac can handle dry or coolant soaked chips from fixtures, floors and work surfaces of machining centers, lathes, saws, mills, and a variety of other industrial equipment. It was also very suitable for this grass seed application.

Electrically powered vacuums or shop vacs are not designed to be operated in a rugged industrial environment. Filters clog, motors wear out, and you find yourself frequently replacing them. EXAIR’s Chip vac has NO moving parts to wear out, doesn’t require maintenance, and needs nothing but a source of compressed air to operate. In addition, the sound level produced is half of that produced by an electric vacuum.

Chip Vacs-all
From left to right: 5 gallon, 30 gallon, 55 gallon, and 110 gallon Chip Vacs are sized for any cleanup need.

Using the Model 6193 Chip Vac System they were able to reclaim lost product in and around the machines in less time and more efficiently.  While the recovered seed could not be used in their certified premium product, they were able to add it to the “contractors” blend. Saving them around $2,500 annually!

Don’t waste your time, get yourself a vacuum designed for the job. One that’ll last year after year! With these systems in stock, ready to ship with an order by 3:00 ET, a unconditional 30 day guarantee and backed up by our 5-Year Warranty, there’s no reason not to give one a try!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Images Courtesy of Oregon Grass Seed Bag Creative Commons.

HEPA Vac Improves Cleaning Process AND Keeps Operators Safe!

On a recent visit with our Hungarian Distributor, I had the pleasure of visiting an automotive leather manufacturing plant. They process and cut to order a wide variety of different styles of leather used in the manufacturing of European automobiles. In one of their machines, a grinding process is performed that smooths out the cut edges of the material before they’re stitched together.

The grinding process itself is self-contained within the machine, but the significant amount of leather dust created needs to be periodically cleaned out. If not, it ends up accumulating on some of the internal components and increasing the downtime and maintenance required on the machine. Due to this, they implemented a 2x per shift cleaning operation.

The machine has several tight spaces inside where the dust accumulates. They’d shut off the machine and blow out the dust. Then, sweep up all of the dust into a dustpan and dump it in the trash. This entire process took approximately 30 minutes each time for 1-hr/shift. With three shifts operating 24/7, that’s 3-hrs/day of lost production time for this particular cleaning process, still less than what they were experiencing as a result of the machine downtime when they weren’t regularly cleaning it.

HDHEPAVac559

However, the primary concern of theirs was that they were now blowing dust all over the shop causing a potential health hazard to their operators. They wanted a solution that would allow them to clean the machine, without presenting an additional hazard. We tested with a Mini Chip Vac first, but the dust was a bit too fine and was still passing through the filter bag.

For fine dusts such as this, the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac is the more suitable option. After testing the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac, it was clear that this was the solution they were hoping for. The high-powered vacuum made quick work of the dust inside, while keeping it contained inside of the drum by the HEPA filter.

They still need to stop and clean the machine out 2x/shift, but now the process only took 10 minutes. They reduced their overall downtime on this machine per day by 2/3 to just 1hr, while keeping their operators safe. While this wasn’t the reason for looking at new solutions, it was definitely an added benefit. If you’re looking for a maintenance-free vacuum system for cleaning up in your facility, EXAIR has a wide range of Industrial Housekeeping solutions available from stock.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Effectively and Efficiently Remove Chips and Debris from Blind Holes

I was recently contacted by an automotive parts manufacturer that was looking for a solution for cleaning out blind holes in a variety of machined parts. After discussing the application, we settled on a 1697SS-6-CS VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun with Pico Nozzle, 6” Extension, and a Chip Shield. The small M5 nozzle at the tip of the gun allowed them to insert it inside of the hole and dislodge the hard-to-reach chips inside of the holes.

1697SS VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun

This worked very well for removing the chips, but they were encountering an unexpected issue as these chips were now getting lodged in other areas of the part as they were ejected. They then had to visually inspect the entire part after each blowoff to ensure that everything was completely removed.

What they thought to be an ideal solution, ended up not being the best fit. They gave us a call back to inquire about an alternative solution. We offer another product, the Deep-Hole Vac-U-Gun, that is capable of both removing chips and debris from blind holes and also vacuuming it away simultaneously.

This addresses the problem of dislodged chips being caught elsewhere on the parts. Fortunately, EXAIR offers an unconditional 30-day guarantee for all stock products. They were able to return the previously purchased gun and apply the credit towards the purchase of the Deep Hole Vac-u-Gun system.

The Deep Hole Vac-u-Gun is a low-cost solution to quickly remove chips and contaminants from grooves, containers, and drilled holes. In applications where simply blowing the debris out of the hole isn’t suitable, simply position the Deep Hole Vac-u-Gun over the hole and press the trigger. A small blow tube (3) dislodges and lifts the chips while the large suction tube (5) vacuums them away. The operator is then protected from flying debris since the contaminants are then contained within the suction tube and directed into a filter bag or other container with the included vacuum hose.

Sometimes we don’t always get it right on the first try. But, with the ability to take advantage of the 30-day guarantee we’ll make sure to get the best product to you for your application. With same day shipments with orders received by 3:00 ET for stock products, EXAIR can get a solution out to you quickly!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Video: EXAIR Drum Vacs Selection For Solid Materials

EXAIR Corporation has engineered compressed air solutions for Industrial Housekeeping…among them, a full line of drum mounted vacuums for dry/solids cleanup.

If you’d like to find out more, please give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Compressed Air Vacuums and Their Advantages Over Electric Vacuums

EXAIR‘s line of Industrial Housekeeping Products consist of liquid and dry vacuums that utilize compressed air to operate. They do not have loud electric motors which most ‘all purpose’ electric vacuums rely on.  In industrial settings with harsh conditions and rugged use, EXAIR’s Industrial Housekeeping Products are better suited for the everyday wear and tear of typical manufacturing, commercial and construction environments.

When you look at EXAIR vacuums, you’ll notice there is not an electrical cord.  Because the EXAIR Industrial Housekeeping Products utilize compressed air for operation. This means they do not have the same maintenance issues of an electric motor which breakdown and fail when dirt, dust and temperature take their normal toll on moving parts. With EXAIR vacuums there are no moving parts: no motors to burn up, no bearings to wear out, and no impellers to clog in the vacuum units. They also run quieter than a typical electric vacuum.

They are maintenance free, just supply clean and filtered air, and they can operate for many, many years.

 

EXAIR’s liquid vacuums, there is a built in pressure/vacuum relief device and auto safety shut-off to prevent over-filling.

The Reversible Drum Vac is a two-way liquid pumping system, also made for mounting on standard steel drums…closed top drums, in this case.  They can fill or empty a 55 gallon drum in 90 seconds.  Options include 5, 30, and 110 gallon drum sizes, and a High Lift model – increased suction head for deep wells, underground tanks, or higher viscosity liquids, up to 1,400 cP.

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The heart of our popular coolant filtration system: the EXAIR Chip Trapper.  A Filter Bag in the “fill” line traps chips, swarf, and shavings.  The liquid passes through, and is able to be immediately pumped back out.  Not only is coolant life extended, regular cleaning of the coolant sump prevents loss of coolant flow due to clogging of the supply lines.  The Chip Trapper is available in 30, 55, and 110 gallon sizes, and also in the High Lift version.

Chip Trapper Family
30 gallon, 55 gallon, and 110 gallon Chip Trapper

EXAIR’s dry vacuums provide many pickup and filtration options. They withstand harsh environments, have many filtration and power options and run quieter than electric vacuums.

The EXAIR Chip Vac and Heavy Duty Dry Vac is a powerful industrial vacuum for use on wet or dry chips. Both are for use with 30, 55, or 110 gallon drums, and the Chip Vac can also be used on a 5 gallon drum. The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac has the added benefit of the HEPA quality filter system.  Filtration per IEST-RP-CC-007 to 99.97% minimum filtration at the 0.3 micron level ensures performance meets the needed criteria.

The Chip Vac is also 50% quieter than a comparable electric vacuum at only 77 dBA!!

Chip Vacs-all
From left to right: 5 gallon, 30 gallon, 55 gallon, and 110 gallon Chip Vacs are sized for any cleanup need.

If you would like to talk about Industrial Housekeeping products or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact  myself or one of our Application Engineers we can help you determine the best solution.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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Built to Last Liquid Vacuum Systems Made by EXAIR

Baseball season is in full swing, temperatures are climbing, and there’s pollen in the air. It must be spring!! The coming of spring means it’s time to start opening up the windows and tidying up around the house. It also means an increase in rain showers. To those of you out there that have experienced the joy of walking down into the basement only to find a nice pool of water I feel your pain. A crack in our foundation allowed a significant amount of water to seep inside, of course all over the brand-new carpet!!

I went out to the garage and grabbed the ol’ trusty shop vac and began vacuuming up as much residual water as I could. Shop vacs are a great tool for cleaning up a variety of messes in your home. However, the very same shop vac is not suitable for use in an industrial environment. EXAIR manufactures a variety of compressed air operated industrial vacuum systems. For the purpose of this blog, I’m going to highlight the systems suitable for use with wet materials.

Electric vacuums have impellers that can clog or break, the motor will eventually burn out, not to mention the risks associated with using electrical products near liquid. With no electricity and no moving parts to wear out, EXAIR’s Industrial Housekeeping products are much better suited to withstand a harsh industrial environment.

The Reversible Drum Vac attaches quickly to any closed head 30, 55, or 110 gallon drum. It’s capable of filling a 55 gallon drum in as little as 90 seconds! With a simple turn of the knob, it’s able to quickly pump the liquid back out of the drum. Coolant sumps can easily be refilled, floor spills contained, or contaminated liquids can be transferred to filtration tanks in minutes.

The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac operates just the same as the standard, but provides a higher-powered vacuum for use with thicker liquids or for applications that need to lift the liquid from below grade work areas up to 15’ deep. Both the standard and High Lift Reversible Drum Vacs have an automatic safety shutoff valve to prevent the drum from overfilling.

CTR_dirtychiptrapperfamily

The Reversible Drum Vac is also the heart behind our award-winning coolant filtration system: the Chip Trapper. The Chip Trapper is a fast and simple way to clean chips, swarf, and shavings suspended in the coolant sump of your CNC machines. The liquid and suspended solids are vacuumed up into the drum. A filter bag inside traps the debris, chips, and shavings and allows you to pump clean liquid back out of the drum. The filter bag can be removed and cleaned for repeated use. Each system will come with (2) bags to get you started. Not only does this extend the life of your coolant, but can also eliminate the potential for chips and shavings to get clogged in the coolant system and reducing coolant flow. It, too, is available as a High Lift Chip Trapper System for thicker liquids or sumps that are below ground.

If you’re looking for a vacuum system that’s Built to Last, EXAIR has the right tool for you. All of our vacuum systems have no moving parts to wear out and are maintenance-free when supplied with clean and dry compressed air. With all systems available in stock and same day shipment for stock items, you can have one just in time for your annual spring cleaning!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD