At EXAIR we’re committed to providing customers with as much information as possible to ensure an application will work the way it’s intended. If it happens to be something we’ve dealt with before, it’s easy enough to make a recommendation. If it’s not, with EXAIR’s 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee getting something in-house to test comes with no risk at all. If it doesn’t work, just send it back, simple as that!
If it is something that we can test ourselves, we’re more than happy to. We recently have taken several requests from customers in the coffee industry, all looking for a similar solution: conveying raw coffee beans. While we were confident in the ability of the Line Vac to transfer those beans, it wasn’t a material that we had ever actually tested here in our shop. A quick trip down the road to a local coffee roaster, and we had some raw coffee beans that we could use for a quick conveyance test. Check out the video below of my colleague John Ball and I conducting a test with our Model 6084 2” Line Vac:
If you’re looking to convey bulk materials using the Line Vac, but have reservations regarding the performance, you can also send a sample of your material in for testing here at EXAIR. We’ll be happy to put the conditions of your application to the test and share the results with you. If you’ve been manually transferring bulk material and are looking for a safer, reliable, and efficient solution the Line Vac is the right tool for the job. With a variety of sizes and materials all available from stock, we’re able to address countless applications and achieve a wide variety of conveyance rates.
The conveyance rate of the Line Vac is easily adjusted. By regulating the input pressure supplied to the Line Vac, not only can you reduce the necessary compressed air demand but you can also control the amount of material flow. Higher pressures will move material, while lower pressures will reduce compressed air consumption. If you need help determining which size and material is most suitable for your application don’t hesitate to get in touch with an EXAIR Application Engineer today. Stop having your operators climbing up and down that ladder to dump material!
For me there’s nothing better than a hot, fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Particularly during the colder mornings like we’ve had as of late, but even in the summer sitting out on the porch sipping on a cup while the sun comes up is a great way to start the day. Just typing this first paragraph has me making my way to the break room for a cup!
We’ve talked about the life of a coffee bean and the processes that it must go through from the fields as a bean all the way through the roasting, grinding, and packaging process. At just about every stage in the production of coffee, EXAIR has a way to help. Just like craft breweries that have taken the world by storm, small-batch coffee companies are beginning to see a similar boom in their business as the market shifts away from large corporate entities and supports small or locally owned businesses.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with one of these “craft” coffee producers. They’ve been in business for a little while, but as of late have really seen an increase in their sales. To increase production, they invested in a second roasting machine at a substantial capital investment. They’re a small company with less than 10 employees from the front-end to the back-end. While initially they thought all that was needed was to buy a second roaster, they quickly found out that they weren’t getting double the output like they had thought. The problem was that the time spent moving the bulk bags of raw beans into the hopper of the roaster was too time consuming for one person to feasibly handle. They either needed to hire a second person (another substantial investment), or they needed to find a better way of transporting the beans.
After searching online, they came across the EXAIR Line Vac. EXAIR’s Line Vacs are the ideal low-cost solution for bulk material transfer. Available with smooth, NPT threads, and sanitary flange connections, it allows you to convert ordinary pipe or hose into a powerful conveying system for parts, scrap, trim, and other bulk materials. Available in a variety of different sizes and materials, we can achieve wide range of conveyance rates.
In this particular application, food grade materials were necessary. EXAIR’s model 161200-316 2” Sanitary Flange Line Vac allowed them to maintain a clean environment while keeping it easy to remove and clean when necessary. With the Line Vac in place, they were able to double their output as they’d desired when purchasing the new machine without having to hire another operator. A much easier, cheaper, and cost-effective solution. That Line Vac isn’t going to ask for a raise, request time off for summer vacation, or wander into the break-room to make itself a cup of coffee 😊.
If you have an application where you’re manually transferring bulk materials, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to help evaluate your process and recommend a solution that’ll save you time, energy, and money!
Many of us get up in the morning, and start our day with a fresh cup of coffee. I do. I enjoy the taste of that warm beverage as it hits my lips. But, have you ever thought about the journey of a coffee bean from the fields to your cupboard? I would like to share a little insight on this journey and how the EXAIR Line Vacs could be a helpful tool for coffee production.
There are over 70 countries that pick coffee beans for export. In 2018, the International Coffee Organization reported almost 170 million bags of coffee had been exported around the world. That is a lot of coffee. Each bag of coffee beans weighs 60 Kilograms (132 lbs.) and is difficult to handle manually. Line Vacs could be that vital instrument to help speed up the processes and reduce that back-breaking work.
Let’s start at the beginning. Coffee beans are seeds that are produced on small trees or bushes. During harvest time, the cherries (coffee seeds) are picked when ripe, and they need to be dried. This can be done in two ways; the dry method or the wet method. Each process has to be done quickly to prevent spoilage. With the dry method, the beans are spread out on a table or grate to be dried by the sun. In most cases, the beans will have to be stored in bins at night or during rain. This drying process can last for several weeks, and the continuous movement of the beans is labor intensive. For the wet method, this process uses water channels to isolate the heavier ripe beans, so that they can be separated by size in rotating drums. They are then placed into large fermentation tanks to remove the outer skin layer. The wet beans are then placed inside large driers to remove the excess water content. In both methods, the green coffee beans are packed into sacks for exportation.
When the green coffee beans arrive to their destination, they will have to be roasted. This will convert the green coffee beans into the aromatic brown beans that are sold at your favorite market or coffee shop. In large operations, the green coffee beans are screened and stored in bins waiting to be roasted. The roasting process uses hot air to “cook” the green coffee beans. The temperature range and time will create your different types of roasts; light roast, medium roast, and dark roast. Industrial roasting machines have loaders on top to drop the green beans into a preheated rotating drum. Some machines can roast 100 kg (220 lbs.) of beans at one time. The time for roasting is between 12 – 15 minutes, depending on the type of roast. At this frequency, you can tell the “need for speed” to keep the coffee roasters operating. Once finished, the roasted beans are dumped into a cooling tray until they can be handled. From there, the beans are tested, qualified, and packaged for sale.
For coffee brewing, the roasted beans will need to be ground. Grinding is an important process to get the most flavor from your coffee beans. Commercial sized grinders will blend multiple kinds of roasted coffee beans and grind them to a desired grain size. The grind size is very important and has to match your type of brewing. For example, espresso uses fine grinds, drip-type coffee uses medium grinds, and cold brews and French presses use coarse grinds. Grinding is an art as you have to match the coarseness with the contact time in hot water. As a rule, if your coffee tastes too bitter, then the grinds are too fine. If your coffee tastes flat, then the grinds are too coarse. You have to experiment with different blends of roasted coffee beans, grind particle sizes, and brewing types to get that perfect cup of java for you.
So, if you are reading this article while sipping on a cup of coffee, let me tell you a secret about the journey of the coffee bean. For every stage above, an EXAIR Line Vac has been sold and used to transport the coffee beans. From the coffee fields to the grinding house, Line Vacs are a great device for companies to move beans quickly and safely without manual labor. The life of a coffee bean is only successful if it is able to reach your cupboard. And Line Vacs can be beneficial with that success. If you would like to discuss the types of materials that we stock, the sizes, connections types and conveyance rates, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to help you.
I received a phone call from an engineer at a coffee manufacturer about a better method to transfer their coffee beans before and after roasting, and after grinding. The application was similar to processes I saw a few years ago during a customer visit with our Costa Rican distributor, so I was thankfully able to visualize the process fairly well and knew that our air operated conveyors (Line Vacs) could provide a solution.
The conveyance problem was what initially interested this customer in EXAIR products, though after further discussions, we also uncovered a need to vacuum spilled coffee grounds from the floor, sometimes in rather large quantities.
Customer: “It’s a shame you don’t sell these (Line Vacs) as complete vacuum systems.”
EXAIR: “Actually, we do.”
Customer: “Where is that on your site?? We have electric vacs and are BURNING them up!”
I directed the engineer to our Industrial Housekeeping Products, ultimately settling on the Heavy Duty Dry Vac for this application. Initially, we explored using a Chip Vac, which would have worked well. But, the customer wanted to vacuum any spilled material as quickly as possible, so the higher vacuum flow of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac proved to be an important feature. The Heavy Duty Dry Vac also offers a static resistant hose, something else that the customer highly valued.
By solving one problem we were able to uncover another and offer a solution for it as well. If you have a problem for which a fast, efficient, maintenance free vacuum system could offer a solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.