Vacuum Generators: Adjustable E-Vac Holds Parts To Work Station

I’ve written before about the diversity of applications that EXAIR’s compressed air products can be used for – the Super Air Knife and the Line Vac come to mind – but of all the products in our catalog, none have a longer list of applications than the E-Vac Vacuum Generators:

While they're probably most popular for "pick and place" (as evidenced by our catalog photos) the EXAIR E-Vac's boast a wide variety of uses.

While they’re probably most popular for “pick and place” (as evidenced by our catalog photos) the EXAIR E-Vac’s boast a wide variety of uses.

I had the pleasure of helping a customer specify a product another popular application recently: clamping and chucking.  This caller had a machining center with a vacuum table – if you’re unfamiliar, it looks like an air hockey table, and works like one too, only in reverse: instead of using blowing air through all those little holes out to “float” the puck on the surface, it pulls air in through them to pull the part down and hold it in place.

This was for a relatively small table surface…about 9″ x 14″…and some of the holes could be blocked, if smaller parts were to be held down.  It was originally equipped with an electrically driven vacuum pump, but it had seen better days, and a replacement was going to be a little pricey.  They already had compressed air running to the machine, and were keenly interested in something small, inexpensive, and with no moving parts – like the Adjustable E-Vac.

After some discussion of the specs on their vacuum pump, we provided a Model 840008M Adjustable E-Vac & Muffler.  This not only gives them the ability to easily change the vacuum level & flow for different sized parts, but it also has a larger throat than the In-Line E-Vacs, meaning it won’t get clogged by the finite amount of dust & small particulate that can make it through the vacuum table’s holes.

EXAIR has four sizes of Adjustable E-Vac Vacuum Generators in stock.

EXAIR has four sizes of Adjustable E-Vac Vacuum Generators in stock.

By my count, we’ve still got fourteen E-Vac applications that I haven’t discussed in a blog yet.  If you’ve got one that you’d like to talk about (and give me something to write about,) feel free to call me anytime.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
Visit us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Energy Rebates and EXAIR Products

In case it goes unnoticed, EXAIR focuses on engineered compressed air point of use products to ensure that our customers are utilizing their costly utility as efficiently as possible.  The main benefits to purchasing EXAIR products are the support you receive from us at EXAIR, the quality of the product, the savings in compressed air, and the increase in safety.  Another added benefit is a large number of utility companies are offering rebates on the purchase of engineered nozzles, just like the Super Air Nozzles that EXAIR offers.

Many energy providers offer these energy rebates for commercial or industrial users.  Here in the Cincinnati area, Duke Energy offers rebates on items such as lighting, air compressors, engineered air nozzles, heaters / dryers for extrusion machines, energy management systems, variable frequency drives, data center equipment, even food service equipment, custom incentives, and many other items.

Duke Energy Rebate

Example of our local energy rebate offering for Engineered Nozzles

For each engineered compressed air nozzle that is installed, in order to meet the rebate requirements they must flow less than or equal to given flow rates in SCFM at 80 psig inlet pressure. The pipe sizes, flow rates, and EXAIR equivalents are shown below.

EXAIR Engineered Air Nozzle Part Number EXAIR Flow Rate @ 80 psig
#1102/#1103 – 1/8 NPT 10 SCFM
#1100/#1101 – 1/4 NPT 14 SCFM
#1108SS-NPT/#1109SS-NPT/#1110SS-NPT
All are 1/8 NPT
2.5, 4.9, 8.3 SCFM
respectively
#1003 – 3/8 NPT 18 SCFM

By just replacing the nozzles the customer saved 2.7 SCFM per nozzle.If we take an example such as the EXAIR Case Study  shown below for 1/4″ copper tube that was being used as an open ended blow off.  The copper tubes were consuming 19.6 SCFM at 100 psig inlet pressure, there were 10 machines with one line per machine operating 40 hours, 52 weeks per year.   The customer retrofitted the open pipes with a model 1100 Super air nozzle and was able to reduce the air consumption by 2.7 SCFM per nozzle.  If they were to purchase these nozzles this year, current list price for a model 1100 Super Air Nozzle is $36.00 USD, then apply for the energy rebate offered by Duke Energy and receive $20.00 per nozzle replaced.  The total savings and return on investment is shown below.

Case Study 1561

EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle Replaces Open Copper Pipe Blow Off

10 nozzles x 2.7 SCFM = 27 SCFM  x 60 minutes per hour x 8 hours per day x 5 days per week x 52 weeks per year = 3,369,600 SCF of compressed air saved per year.

3,369,600 / 1,000 SCF x $.25 = $842.40 USD savings in compressed air per year.

Cost Savings per week = $16.20 USD

Total purchase cost is  $36.00 x 10 nozzles = $360.00 USD

Energy Rebate = @20.00 per nozzle x 10 nozzles  = $200.00 USD in rebates.

$360.00 USD purchase price – $200.00 USD energy rebate = $160.00 USD final purchase cost.

Return on investment at a savings of  $16.20 USD per week is

$160.00 / $16.20 = Less than 10 weeks pay back!

By applying for the energy rebate this customer could reduce the ROI of this air savings project from just over 22 weeks (which is still very good) to less than 10 weeks.

If you would like to learn more about whether there are Industrial energy rebates available in your area, contact an Application Engineer and let us know where you are located and who your energy provider is.

We will help you determine the correct engineered solution to save your compressed air as well as help you to apply for eligible energy rebates in your area.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Super Ion Air Knife Removes Dust From Yogurt Cups

YogurtCup_bg

A yogurt cup

Part of the due diligence in discussing applications with our customers is gathering an understanding of their application process and needs.  In emails, phone calls, or online chats, we determine the parameters and constraints of the application to be sure that we have a proper solution to offer.  And, if we don’t, we explore custom solutions or help find something available outside of EXAIR.

In a recent email exchange with a yogurt manufacturer I received the photo below showing the filling process for their yogurt cups.  The adage goes that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and it certainly holds true here.  The full process is shown, with labels and dimensions.  What more could you ask for to understand the flow of the application?

machine setup

The filling process for yogurt cups in this application

In this system, small dust particles were adhering to the internal walls of the yogurt cups.  When the cups would pass through the vacuum unit, the station designed to remove any dust or debris, static cling would prevent the system from removing all the dust.  Then, in the filling station, yogurt would be fed into insufficiently cleaned cups, resulting in defects and wasted product.

This customer contacted EXAIR in search of a solution to remove the static on the inside of the cups, and to help facilitate removal of the dust, if possible.  What they found was a perfect solution in our Super Ion Air Knife.

When the cups exit the feeder and enter the conveyor, they are placed in the same orientation with (6) cups across the conveyor over a width of 580mm (22.8”).  By installing a static eliminating solution over the conveyor at this point, we can remove the static before the cups enter into the vacuum cleaning station.  And, if we can provide a blowoff source as well, we can remove the dust particles before the cups are cleaned again via the vacuuming system.

The solution for this application was the stock model 111024 24” Super Ion Air Knife along with model 7907 Power Supply.  This Super Ion Air Knife provides a fully laminar and consistent sheet of static eliminating air, removing both the static and debris from inside the yogurt cups.  Operating at a low pressure (~20 psig), these units are also quiet and consume low volumes of compressed air.

By installing the Super Ion Air Knife into this application, this customer found a solution to remove both static and debris from the product.  In doing so, defects were eliminated and output was increased.

If you have a similar application in need of a similar solution, give us a call.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@exair.com
@EXAIR_LE

What’s In A Name?

Well, a lot, actually…if that name is EXAIR. I wrote a blog just last week about how a set of Super Air Knives solved a MAJOR problem with a brand new aluminum sawing application – the company got those Super Air Knives on the recommendation of the Maintenance Supervisor, who had used them, with great success, at a previous company.

Even more recently, I had the pleasure of helping a caller from an engineering firm that specifies a wide range of our products for use in their OEM machinery:

*Air Knives & Nozzles for automated blow offs.
*Cabinet Cooler Systems for electrical/electronics heat protection.
*E-Vac Vacuum Generators for end-of-arm robotics “pick & place.”

Turns out, they use a good amount of compressed air in their manufacturing facility and (did I mention they’re an engineering firm?) they’re interested in implementing a facilities resource management program. For one part of this, they want to know how much compressed air they’re using, when they’re using it, and what they’re using it for. And when presented with a question about compressed air, they thought about EXAIR…and wanted to know more about the Digital Flowmeter.

EXAIR's Digital Flowmeter w/ USB Data Logger

EXAIR’s Digital Flowmeter w/ USB Data Logger

We discussed everything from theory of operation, to best practices for installation (location, position, etc.,) to accuracy, to getting the flow data…and we’ve got a few options for that:

*The Digital Flowmeter itself can output a 4-20mA signal, or there’s an optional RS-485 output board available.
*The USB Data Logger connects directly to the Digital Flowmeter and records flow rate data – about 9 hours’ worth if measured once a second; 2 years’ worth if measured every 12 hours. When removed from the Digital Flowmeter and plugged into your computer, you can use its software, or Microsoft Excel, to view & analyze the data.
*The Summing Remote Display offers instant indication of current flow rate, previous 24 hours’ air consumption, and cumulative total usage, all at the push of a button.

EXAIR's Remote Summing Display - see current flow rate, previous 24 hours' consumption, or total cumulative usage, at the push of a button!

EXAIR’s Summing Remote Display – see current flow rate, previous 24 hours’ consumption, or total cumulative usage, at the push of a button!

The latter turned out to be the best fit for my caller – the main supply header runs right past his office, and, if he can sell his facilities folks on it, he can install the Summing Remote Display on the wall, right next to his desk.  Easy as that.

EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products have made a name for themselves in many places like this. Here at the factory, we’re all dedicated to spreading, and reinforcing, that reputation for excellence. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Stainless Steel Super Air Knife Solves Problem In Molding Application

3

These stainless steel molds have residual material after forming which needs to be blown off

 

2

The table of this machine spins, with identical mold setups in the front and rear

The images above show a molding machine process with a spinning table.  The “front” side of the setup is used to remove finished product, while the “back” side forms new product over the stainless steel mold.  Each side of the table uses an identical setup with application temperatures as high as 140°F.

The end user of this machine contacted EXAIR in search of a blowoff solution to be permanently installed and operated automatically.  Any solution offered needed to use minimal compressed air, meet OSHA safety standards for dead end pressure (OSHA CFR 1910.242(b)), and be suitable for installation in a 140°F workspace.

The purpose of the blowoff would be to remove any debris/residual material left on the stainless steel mold after the finished product is removed.  So, as the mold spins back into the machine, they wanted a way to remove any burrs or residual debris.  The current process is to stop the machine and have a machine operator blow off the molds by hand (shown below).  This reduces the efficiency of the machine and reduces the throughput of the process.

1

The current process is to stop the machine and blow off the molds by hand

With the full scope of the application uncovered and discussed, we found the perfect solution for this application in a stainless steel Super Air Knife.  The stainless steel Super Air Knife can provide an efficient and repeatable blowoff solution, all while meeting OSHA safety standards and the temperature needs of the application.  Plus, the Super Air Knife can be configured alongside a PLC or Electronic Flow Controller to allow for a “trigger-on” installation in which blowoff is only provided when needed.  This setup saves compressed air, reducing operational cost and further increasing efficiency in the application.

The exact product used in this application was the model 110012SS, which provides a laminar blowoff 12” wide using a 303 grade stainless steel Super Air Knife.  But, we also have knives ranging from 3” to 108” with the ability to machine custom lengths upon request.  So, if you have an application in need of an efficient and laminar blowoff solution, reach out to us.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Super Air Knives Save The Day, a Saw Blade, and Production Schedule

A large manufacturing shop recently purchased a high speed band saw to cut aluminum. It was equipped with a mechanical rotating brush system to clean the blade as it ran, but this was unable to keep up with the volume of coolant-soaked chips that were produced at higher speeds. They had two options:

*Run the saw at a slower speed (and actually, their production schedule would not allow this, so technically there was only one option…)
*Come up with a reliable method of cleaning the saw blade (this is where EXAIR comes in.)

The Maintenance Supervisor was familiar with the capabilities of the Super Air Knife from past career experience, so he got two Model 110003 3″ Aluminum Super Air Knives installed:

Super Air Knives remove chips and coolant from high speed band saw blade.

Super Air Knives remove chips and coolant from high speed band saw blade.

This has made a “night-and-day” difference for this sawing operation:
*In the first week they had the saw, they went through four saw blades…when the teeth get clogged with chips, they don’t cut right; they get hot; and they fail.
*The inability of the brush system to remove the chips caused them to accumulate in the belt pulley housings…operators were spending 2-3 hours A DAY just to shut down the saw and clean them out.
*The excess of chips also caused the blade’s guide bearings to fail, which caused almost a day’s worth of down time to replace.
*The Maintenance Supervisor was called to the saw repeatedly during the work day to address these, and many other minor, malfunctions due to the inability to remove the chips.

This saw is now operating at the capacity they intended when they purchased it.  All for about $400, and that includes the door hinge they used to install it and allow for precise positioning (how cool is that?)

EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products have a long reputation for saving the day…thirty-three years and counting.  How can we help you?  Give me a call and let’s find out.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
Find us on the Web
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

A Super Air Knife Improves Bagel Operations

Plain Bagel

Plain Bagel

Did you ever wonder how that deep brown crust is created on pretzels and bagels? There’s just a little more to it than toasting them under a burner.

A process engineer from a well-known bagel company contacted me about a problem in their operation. They were having issues containing the lye solution in a dip tank that the bagels are run through. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is a very corrosive, alkali substance.  When handling this liquid solution,  personnel protection equipment (PPE) is required to protect skin and eyes.  The engineer found evidence of the lye solution dripping from the conveyor onto other components in the process.  For safety, maintenance and cleanliness, he needed to find a way to contain the lye in the dip tank area.

The conveying system used a gear-driven sprocket to move the conveyor. The conveyor was a 30” wide open-mesh belt with chain links attached to the outside for the sprocket.  It was used to move the bagel dough into a dipping station which contained the lye solution.  As you can imagine, there are plenty of areas for the solution to collect into these voids of the belt and drip downstream.  The dough would soak up the solution and then travel into the oven for baking.  As the dough is heated, the lye will start to react with the steam and bagel proteins, turning it into something safe to eat. This Maillard reaction creates the browning of the dough and that yummy crust on the outside.

SS Super Air Knife

SS Super Air Knife

To keep the process safe and clean, they had to keep the lye solution in the dipping area. Because the concentration of the lye was very low, we recommended a stainless steel Super Air Knife.  (EXAIR offers a variety of materials for different types of chemicals)  The engineer ordered model 110030SS Super Air Knife, mounted it above the conveyor, and aimed it in a counter-flow direction to the conveyor travel.  As the belt exited the solution, the Super Air Knife would blow the excess from the mesh and the links back into the dip tank.  This kept the area clean and safe from the caustic solution.

If you have similar processes with caustic or corrosive chemicals that need to be contained, we would be glad to discuss your application and determine which of our products would be helpful to keep your processes, personnel and facility safe.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

“Plain bagel” image courtesy of dreamcatt115Creative Commons License

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 23,408 other followers

%d bloggers like this: