If at First You Don’t Succeed Try, Try Again!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going back and forth with my phone provider over some technical issues I’ve been having with the device. After some troubleshooting, we were able to conclude that the antenna has likely become loose, leading to the phone periodically not receiving service. Naturally, we’re outside of the 1-Year “Warranty” period that covers a defective device. I paid my insurance deductible and received a “refurbished” phone the following day. Unfortunately, this refurbished phone was unable to take pictures with the front-facing camera. I know what you’re thinking, how on Earth can I take selfies without a front-facing camera? So it was back to the phone provider to get another replacement, fortunately this time they sent a brand new device.

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get something to work right out of the box, only to experience issues. Whenever a customer is having an issue with a particular product, there’s a certain progression that we go through in order to assess the problem and determine the root cause. In some cases it is something simple, others it can be a few individual problems that are compounding each other. I recently assisted a customer that was having problems with his 110 Gallon Reversible Drum Vac System. He was having difficulty pumping water out of a container and into the 110 gallon drum. He stated that he just received the unit and was unable to get it to work.

RDV pic

EXAIR’s Reversible Drum Vac installed on a 110 Gallon Drum

This is a call that we get from time to time, and is generally remedied pretty quickly. Our first step is to check the air pressure at the inlet of the Reversible Drum Vac while it is operating. We recommend an inlet pressure of at least 80 PSIG for proper operation. By installing a pipe tee with a pressure gauge directly at the unit, we can not only verify the inlet pressure but also that the Reversible Drum Vac is being supplied with an adequate volume of compressed air. If the pressure on the gauge begins to decrease once the unit is in operation, we can conclude that the volume of compressed air to the Reversible Drum Vac is insufficient. This can be due to the use of restrictive quick disconnect fittings, improper line size, or a compressor that is undersized.

If the air supply is sufficient, we then inspect the system for vacuum leaks. If the drum does not have a complete seal, the system will not function. If there’s no vacuum leak and there is an adequate supply of compressed air, the Reversible Drum Vac likely needs to be cleaned. It took us a few tries to get there but through a little bit of trial and error, we were able to determine that this was exactly the case in this scenario. Even though the system was new, it had been supplied with compressed air that was not properly filtered. Some scale, rust and debris from the customer’s supply lines made its way into the body of the Reversible Drum Vac, impeding the flow of air. Here is a video that shows the cleaning procedure for the Reversible Drum Vac. Over time the Reversible Drum Vac can accumulate debris inside of the plenum chamber. Regular maintenance of the unit will ensure that it stays within specifications for when it’s needed most!

If you have an EXAIR product that’s not performing as well as it used to, give us a call. One of the Application Engineers will be able to walk you through the steps to ensure that you’re getting the most out of our products!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: tylerdaniel@exair.com
LinkedIn: @EXAIR_TD

Super Air Wipes Help a Swiss CNC Machine to be More Accurate

Precision Required

As machined parts require tighter tolerances, machine shops are starting to look at Swiss-type CNC machines.  These types of machines are extremely accurate and very fast in producing small parts.  But in order to reach that level of accuracy, the bar stock may have to be pre-treated by a centerless grinder.

Our customer was using Swiss-type CNC machines with guide bushings to produce a very tight-tolerance part.  Because they were using guide bushings, the outside diameter of the bar stock had to be smooth and concentric.  This helps to reduce any vibration when machining.  A centerless grinder was used to accomplish this.  The bar stock that they used was 10 feet long and it was placed into a bar feeder.  They had to grind the bar to an outer diameter of 30mm with a surface finish of 32Ra.  As they were loading the bar stock, they noticed that the surface finish was scuffed and marred.  This was enough to affect the machining process and not meet the tolerance standard.

As they reviewed the possible causes, they found that after the bar was ground, some grinding remnants were sticking to the outside of the bar.  As the rods were leaving the grinder and placed onto a roller-type conveyor, the oily film and metal shavings were sticking to the rollers.  This would scrape and mark the rods as they traveled along the conveyor toward the Swiss-type machining center.  As an attempt to remove this debris, they attached two copper tubes to blow compressed air onto the top and bottom of the bar.   Not only was this loud and inefficient, it was not effective.  They still had a dirty line along the sides of the rod that remained.  They contacted EXAIR to see if we could help them with this dilemma.

In order to get a consistent blow-off force around the entire circumference of the rod, EXAIR Air Wipes were engineered to be an ideal solution for this kind of problem.  I recommended the model 2482 Standard Air Wipe Kit.  The Standard Air Wipe is designed to blow compressed air in a 360 degree flow pattern.  This air pattern is directed at a 30 degree angle toward the center to blow the debris off of the bar stock.  The Coanda effect maximizes the entrainment of ambient air into the compressed air.  This makes the unit very efficient and powerful.  The model 2482 Standard Air Wipe has an I.D. of 2” (51mm) which gives it enough clearance for the 30mm bar stock.  It can be mounted easily near the exit of the centerless grinder to keep the grinding remnants inside the machine.  The kit includes a filter, regulator, and shim set.  The filter will remove contaminants from the compressed air system to keep from introducing any new grime and to keep the inside of the Air Wipe clean and functional.  The shim set and regulator provide the ability to adjust the air to the ideal force level and remove any debris from the surface of the bar.

Standard Air Wipe with Shim Set

As they removed their home-made copper tubes and attached the Standard Air Wipe, they noticed some great improvements.  The dark lines of debris previously along the sides of the bar stock were gone.  The surface was clean around the entire circumference of the bar.  The customer also noticed that the Standard Air Wipe was much quieter than their home-made solution, as it only has a decibel rating of 77 dBA.  As an added benefit, the Standard Air Wipe was using much less compressed air than the copper tubes.  This is due to its design to maximize the amplification ratio.  With more of the “free” ambient air than the compressed air being moved over the target area, it will save money in compressed air usage.  The ROI could be less than four months.

If you have any items that need to have a 360 degree blowing pattern, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see if a Standard Air Wipe could work for you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb
Picture: External-Micrometer-Screw-Gauge by Emilian Robert Vicol.  Creative Commons license

Maintenance Free And Proud Of It

Caller: Do you sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, but…why?

This is a WAY oversimplified summary of the start of a popular conversation that an EXAIR Application Engineer might have with a caller looking to restore a particular product to proper operation. Truth is, most of our products have no moving parts, and if you supply them with clean, dry air, they’ll run maintenance free, darn near indefinitely. We’ve documented this in specific cases regarding a Reversible Drum Vac from 1999, a Vortex Tube from 1987, and a Cold Gun from 1985.

Product & year of manufacture, from top left: Reversible Drum Vac (1999,) Cold Gun (1985,) Vortex Tube (1987.) All still performing within factory specifications.

Product & year of manufacture, from top left: Reversible Drum Vac (1999,) Cold Gun (1985,) Vortex Tube (1987.) All still performing within factory specifications.

Caller: So…DO you sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, but…only when necessary.

It’s important to note that none of the products mentioned above needed any parts replaced to return to service. Sometimes, a good cleaning is all that’s required. We can help you with a video tutorial if you want to know how to restore a Reversible Drum Vac, an Air Knife, or an Atomizing Spray Nozzle, for instance.  And we’re making new videos all the time for product maintenance, operation, tips & tricks, etc.

Caller (again): So…you DO sell rebuild kits?
Me: Yes, of course!  I mean, who wouldn’t sell rebuild kits for their products?

Take our Safety Air Guns, for example. We offer Service Kits, if the trigger and/or internal valve of a Soft Grip or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun starts to wear or leak, it’s super easy to replace. We’ve also got replacement springs for the “fail shut” feature of the ball valve of a Super Blast Safety Air Gun. Just about anything else that could be wrong with a Safety Air Gun’s performance can be addressed by cleaning the nozzle.

We also recently added Rebuild Kits for our Atomizing Spray Nozzles to inventory. These contain all of the seals (and moving parts, for the No-Drip models) to restore an EXAIR Spray Nozzle to rated performance.

Keep your EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzle (left) in perfect working order with a simple & inexpensive Rebuilt Kit (right of the nozzle.) Contact an Application Engineer to select the one for your product.

For other products, we can also provide replacement gaskets & seals for the Reversible Drum Vac & Chip Trapper products, O-rings for the Line Vacs, Chip Vacs, and Heavy Duty Dry Vacs, new elements for Filter Separators & Oil Removal Filters…just to name a few.

Bottom line: if your EXAIR product isn’t performing the way it used to, give me a call.  It will be my pleasure to help you get it working like new, so that you can continue to get the most out of it.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Stainless Steel Line Vac turns Super Sack into a Large Vacuum Bag

LV PE pellet application2

I had an interesting application from a guy in Kuwait who worked at a plastics plant. They worked with polyethylene pellets for molding processes. In his introduction, the customer said he was looking for something like our Chip Vac product but he wanted to use it with a super sack platform that they elevate up to a high position to allow for cleaning in and around their silos. I mentioned to him that we do have the Chip Vac available to work with a 110 gallon drum. His response was that he knew about that but was not interested as they were set up to move the larger super sacks around their plant. You can see one such set-up in the above photo.

His problem was that he needed a quick and easy way to get the loose PE pellets into his super sack without using a broom and shovel. We had just the solution.

Many years ago when we introduced the Chip Vac product, we did so as a result of customers who knew about our Line Vac but wanted it to be used on a drum. So, we adapted the Line Vac to have the proper, 2 NPT threads necessary to screw into the larger of the two holes in the top of a typical drum. In this situation, we were working the development that we did so long ago in reverse. So, it was a very easy recommendation to set the customer up with a Line Vac to aid in the vacuuming up of the polyethylene pellets and do so in the manner the customer wanted.

After a little discussion to sort out the type of material and the size Line Vac that the customer wanted, we ended up settling on a 1-1/2” Stainless Steel Line Vac Kit, model 6963. The 1-1/2” size allowed for easy connection of a standard size vacuum hose for easy manipulation around the clean-up area. The customer opted for the stainless steel over an aluminum unit as they wanted to be absolutely certain that the product could stand up to their typically rough conditions. He also wanted the kit so he could mount the Line Vac to his platform and have clean, dry air going to the Line Vac to keep it running well for a longer time. Below is a rough sketch of the customer’s idea about how to marry the Line Vac to his super sack platform.

 

LV setup

You can notice from the sketch that the customer already had his filtration system thought out to allow the conveying airflow back out of the bag.

The key to this application and the feature that I want to point out is the adaptability of the Line Vac to fit into just about any application. We do have the Industrial Housekeeping products available for ready to use solutions. But, if you have a similar situation where you have part of your “system” that you like for one reason or another, we’re more than willing to discuss what you have at your facility to help you best determine how we can implement a solution that you are happy with. Likewise, if we feel that there is a better way to approach your application, we will be sure to let you know that too!

Give us a ring or send us an e-mail to discuss the specifics of your application today. We’re here to help.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR

Thank You For The Video Ideas

Over the past month or so I have been doing some update projects at home.  Tearing out wood paneling, drywalling, and even tearing out some old tile to install new inside of an entryway.  While I have helped with drywall before it was when I was 16 and let’s just say that the details are a little fuzzy on the right way to do quality drywalling.  Instead of calling a professional in, I looked to my readily available options on where to find information.  I reached out to friends and family that I knew had experience with it and then I turned to the internet.

One simple search for “How to tape and mud drywall” or any combination of those words and I was spoon fed hundreds of videos that showcase how many different people go about the process. (Some professional, some not so professional.)   I never like to watch just one so I checked out a dozen or so and decided to give it a go.  The point is, I didn’t spend time reading through instructions or finding books on the matter,  I went to people that I knew had the knowledge then straight to videos for help.  This is why I want to thank all of our customers who have ever asked the question “do you have a video on that?”.

Customer inquiries and FAQs are where a good number of our video topics on our blog and YouTube channel are generated.   A simple search on our blog for video will show all of the tips and tricks videos that the EXAIR Application Engineers have released over the past handful of years.   This count continues to go up as a new video is released every month since 2011. We currently have 54 EXAIR product related videos on our blog. Our YouTube channel features additional videos for product categories and some humorous (subjective, we know) videos from Professor Penurious.

Blog Search.PNG

Click on the image above to see all of our “Video Blog” entries. 

If you have a topic you would like to discuss or something you think would make a good how to video for us, contact us and tell us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

 

Video Blog: Chip Trapper Directional Control Valve Cleanout

With frequent use or when filtering out long stringy chips, the liquid flow passageways of the EXAIR Chip Trapper may become blocked with machining debris.  The video below walks you through the simple process, to clean out the directional control valve of the Chip Trapper, should you ever need to perform this service. All that is needed is a regular screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver and a marker.

 

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR.com

 

Thanks to Bensound (www.bensound.com) for the royalty free music in this video!

Cleaning A Super Air Knife? Know Your Materials.

IMG_5227

An Aluminum Super Air Knife, disassembled and showing how a clean unit should look

While having dinner with some friends a few days ago, another engineer in the room asked what I did for a living and where I work.  When I told them I work for EXAIR, they immediately knew the name and commented on our Super Air Knives.  This gentleman was an automation engineer and has used our Super Air Knives for automated blow off.

The ability to automate and control an instantaneous blow off makes the Super Air Knife a versatile tool in an automation application.  But, how do they stand up to cleaning over time?

The answer, is that when properly configured for the application a Super Air Knife can last indefinitely.  If the temperatures are below 82C (180F) and there is no caustic chemical used for wash-down, an aluminum knife can usually fit the bill.  But, when a caustic chemical is to be used for wash-down, a stainless steel knife, or specially configured aluminum knife must be used.

This advice was not heeded by one of our overseas customers, and the results of what happens over time are shown below.

SAK with deteriorated shim 3

Polyester shim of an aluminum Super Air Knife after the unit was cleaned with Sea Foam

SAK with deteriorated shim 4

Cap of an aluminum Super Air Knife after the unit was cleaned with Sea Foam

SAK with deteriorated shim 2

Body and cap of an aluminum Super Air Knife showing the results of improper cleaning

This customer coated the exterior of an aluminum Super Air Knife with a product by the name of Sea Foam.  The surfaces and air slot of the knife were completely covered with Sea Foam, and then the exterior was wiped down.  Over time, the Sea Foam entered into the plenum chamber of the knife and caused the polyester shim to deteriorate.

Sea Foam is a wonderful product that has found a home in many shops and maintenance departments, and for many applications it presents an excellent cleaning agent.  But, for an Aluminum Super Air Knife, it poses a problem.  But why?

Sea Foam is a combination of Isopropyl Alcohol (10%-20%), Naphtha (25%-35%), and Pale Oil (40%-60%).  Isopropyl alcohol is a solvent, naphtha is petroleum distillate that is highly flammable, and Pale Oil is a heavy distillate naphthenic oil refined from wax-free crude oil.  These characteristics make the product a “go-to” cleaner for carbon/dirt buildup, especially on metal surfaces.  But, these same characteristics are “bad news” for polyester (Aluminum Super Air Knifes use polyester shims), and over time will cause the polyester to break down (as shown in the photos above).

So, what is the solution?  First and foremost, the solution is to follow the cleaning instructions found in our Installation and Maintenance (I&M) guide.  We provide an I&M guide with every product we sell, and have free downloads available on our site here.  But, to remedy the current condition in this application we recommended one of two actions.  The first is to use a Stainless Steel Super Air Knife which will be able to handle Sea Foam.  And, the second is to make a stainless steel shim for this aluminum knife made of 0.002″ stainless steel shim stock.  Either of these solutions will not only correct the present condition, but will prevent such a problem from occurring in the future.

For our end user in this case, a short, thorough discussion with an EXAIR Application Engineer could have saved them downtime and headache.  If you have an application involving EXAIR products, never hesitate to give us a call.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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