Application Database: Compressed Air Use in the Food & Beverage Industry

EXAIR uses many different methods to connect with our customers.  We have our website, social media, blogs, publications etc. We like to share solutions for some of the most common pneumatic problems in the industry.  EXAIR generated a large collection of application information where EXAIR products have already solved problems and improved processes.  We organized them by Application and by Industry.  In this blog, I will show you how to use the Application database; specifically, for the Food and Beverage Industry.

Compressed Air Systems are considered to be a fourth utility within industries because they use a large amount of energy.  Whether an air compressor uses fuel for portable units or electricity, it is important to use this system as efficiently as possible.  This would apply to the Food and Beverage industry.  EXAIR has a library of different processes in which we already improved these areas safely and efficiently.  If you are in the Food and Beverage industry, it would benefit you to take a peek at the implementations where we already improved, establish OSHA safety, and saved money.

Here is how you can find this library.  First, you will have to sign into EXAIR.  Click here: Log In.  Once you fill in the proper information, you can then retrieve a great amount of resources about EXAIR products that we manufacture.   The Application Database is under the Knowledge Base tab.  (Reference photo below).

At the Application Search Library, we have over one thousand application that we reference.  In the left selection pane, we organized then in alphabetical order under two categories, Applications and Industry.   (Reference photo below).

Scroll down in the selection pane until you come to the sub-category: Industry.  Under this Sub-category, you will find three selections that are related to this blog: Food and Beverage, Food Packaging, and Food Processing.  We have other applications that may relate to your process like; Beverage Bottling and Beverage.  You will find many applications that EXAIR has already helped to improve and it is documented.

Why is this important?  If you are a plant manager or owner, the value of the Application Database can improve your current processes with pre-qualified results.  Within the Food and Beverage industry, simple solutions can be found to address those “nagging” issues that you see every day.  For crisis situations and shutdowns, EXAIR categorized these applications in a way to reference quickly and easily.  And since EXAIR has a high volume of stocked quality items, we can get the parts to you very fast; minimizing downtime.

In today’s market, companies are always looking for ways to cut cost, increase productivity, and improve safety.  EXAIR can offer engineered products to do exactly that.  With the “been there and done that” solutions already described in the Application Database; you can have confidence in finding a way in solving pneumatic issues.  If you do not sign up at www.EXAIR.com and take advantage of these offerings, you will be missing out on a great tool in optimizing your compressed air system.

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

 

 

Air Savings Calculator

I received an email from an engineer that was looking at our Super Air Nozzles.  They currently were using four blow-off lines that were made from 6mm ID copper tubes. The system was designed to blow out holes after machining.  The engineer was in charge of the task of optimizing 25 machining stations similar to this one.  He was familiar with EXAIR products from his previous employment, and he recognized the waste of compressed air by using open pipe.  He purchased four Nano Super Air Nozzle, model 1110SS, for a trial.  He was impressed with the performance, the low sound level, and the engineered design in safety.  But, for upper management in his company, he had to show a cost savings in order to change all the stations in the facility.  He asked me to help him in calculating the compressed air savings.

nano nozzle

He gave me some additional details about their application.  He was using the compressed air about 30% of the time throughout an 8 hour day at a pressure of 80 PISG.  He wanted to present the savings per day, week, and year as well as the payback period in his evaluation.  I have performed many of these calculations for other customers and was happy to help.  It is sometimes easier to speak in terms of savings, as everyone can relate to money, especially management.

Knowns:

Flow: 1110SS Nano Super Air Nozzle – 8.3 SCFM at 80 PSIG

Flow:  6mm ID copper tube – 42 SCFM at 80 PSIG

This is where the COST SAVINGS CALCULATOR on our website shines!

The Calculator tells us you will see a ROI (Return on investment) is less than 5 days! And will save you $3,033.00 over a full year on compressed air generation cost alone!

Don’t be fooled by the initial cost of a tube, pipe, drilled holes, or a substandard nozzle.  You can see by the facts above, if you use any additional compressed air in your blow-off application, it will cost you a lot of money in the long run.  If you need any help in calculating how much money EXAIR products can save you, you can use our Air Savings Calculator from our website, or you contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to help you.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Which Air Nozzle Is Right For Me?

Well, the obvious answer is, of course, an engineered air nozzle…you’re likely aware of this, or you wouldn’t be reading posts on the EXAIR Corporation blog.  We have no issue with narrowing that down a bit, and saying that the answer is an EXAIR air nozzle.  I bet you knew that was coming as well.  So let’s assume that, because of the cost of compressed air, the potential hazards of its unregulated discharge, and the flat-out racket it can make (unless you do something about it,) you’re looking for something efficient, safe, and quiet.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s unpack that question.  The nature of the application will let us know the airflow pattern & characteristics (mainly flow & force) that we need.

For example, if you need just a pinpoint of airflow, our Atto Super Air Nozzle blows a 1/2″ diameter pattern at a distance of 3″.  Get a little closer than that, and it’s as tight as you want it to be.  Now, it’s only generating a force of 2oz (at 12″ away) but keep in mind that’s all concentrated in a small fraction of an inch diameter.  Which is plenty for most applications that need that precise of an airflow.

Atto Super Air Nozzle

If you DO need a little more flow & force, our Pico and Nano Super Air Nozzles offer incremental increases in performance.  The pattern starts to widen out, but that’s a function of the increased flow expanding in to atmospheric pressure…it has to go somewhere, you know.  But, again, the closer you get, the more focused the flow is to the centerline of the nozzle.

On the other end of the spectrum are EXAIR’s High Force Air Nozzles.  These are particularly useful for stubborn blowoff applications – a foundry blowing slag off hot strip as it cools, for example.  Our largest of these, a 1-1/4 NPT model, generates 23 lbs of force…that’s over 25 times the power of our standard Super Air Nozzle.

 

With 23 lbs of hard hitting force, this 1-1/4 NPT Super Air Nozzle is perfect for the most extreme blow off and cleaning jobs.

Speaking of the standard Super Air Nozzle, it’s the most popular answer to the Big Question.  It’s suitable for a wide range of blowoff, drying, and cooling applications, like the kinds of jobs an awful lot of folks use open end blowoff devices on.  Open ended tubes blow out a great amount of air, but they’re wasteful and noisy, and OSHA says you can’t use them unless you regulate the pressure to 30psig…where they’re not even going to be all that effective.

Choose from (top left to bottom right) 316SS, Zinc Aluminum, or PEEK Thermoplastic…whatever you need to stand up to the rigors of your environment.

If you’ve got a 1/4″ copper tube, for example, it’ll use 33 SCFM when supplied with compressed air at 80psig.  It’ll for sure get the job done (albeit expensively, when you think of all that compressed air consumption,) but it’ll be loud (likely well over 100 dBA) and again, OSHA says you can’t use it at that pressure.  So, you can dial it down to 30psig, where it’ll be marginally effective, but it’s still going to use more air than the Model 1100 1/4 NPT Super Air Nozzle does at 80psig supply pressure.  The hard hitting force of the Model 1100, under those conditions, will make all the difference in the world.  As will its sound level of only 74 dBA.  Not to mention, it’s fully compliant with OSHA 1910.242(b).  Oh…and you can even install it directly on the end of your existing tube with a simple compression fitting.

One of our customers installed Model 1100 Super Air Nozzles on all their lathe blowoff copper tubes, and saved almost $900 a year in compressed air costs.

We’ve also got engineered Air Nozzles smaller than the 1100 (all the way down to the aforementioned Atto Super Air Nozzle) and a good selection of larger ones, including Cluster Air Nozzles that hold tighter airflow patterns than similar performing single Super Air Nozzles.  They’re available in materials ranging from Zinc-Aluminum alloy, bare aluminum, brass, 303SS, 316SS, or PEEK thermoplastic polymer to meet the requirements of most any area of installation, no matter how typical or aggressive.

If you have an loud, wasteful, and likely unsafe blowoff, you owe it to yourself and everyone else who has to put up with it to consider a better solution.  Call me; let’s talk.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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EXAIR Vacuum Generators and Accessories

So, you’re looking at picking out a vacuum generator for your application but don’t know what accessories you need? Well here is a little overview of EXAIR’s E-Vac system’s accessories that you have to choose from. The E-Vac has a variety of uses from pulling a vacuum on a chamber to lifting Concreate cinder blocks. Here at EXAIR we offer everything that you may need to get started; this includes mufflers, vacuum cups, hose, and fittings.

Vacuum cups for E-Vac generators

Every time I hear someone talking about trying to pick something up the first line that comes to mind is “The claaaaaaw.”. But sometimes a claw or gripper isn’t the answer for the solution; using a variety of vacuum cups one can practically pick up almost anything. We offer four different kinds of vacuum cups to choose from stock; available are small and large Round, Oval, and Bellow styles. Round cups are more suited to being used on smooth, flat surfaces. Oval cups provide the most vacuum due to the larger surface area making them ideal for lifting heavy loads. The Bellows style is best suited for textured or uneven surfaces; the folds provide a collapsible area that allows the cup to compress and seal on the uneven surface.

EXAIR’s Standard and Straight Through Muffler

Next up is the mufflers; EXAIR’s mufflers do just that, they muffle down the sound generated by the E-Vac. There are two different types of mufflers that are available; these are the Standard and the straight through mufflers. The Standard muffler is designed to be attached to the discharge end of an in-line      E-Vac and has a closed end. These are best suited for applications that are free from dust and debris. The straight through muffler is open all the way through and are more suited to applications were dirt dust and debris is present. The straight through style also offers the best sound level reduction, up to 26 dBA.

Lastly the E-Vacs have an NPT threaded connection that will allow for a suitable connector to be properly installed. From here different connectors can be used to attach the various amounts of vacuum cups. The connectors provided are Push-In Connector Type Fittings of assorted styles available with our polyurethane tubing to make the installation and plumbing a cinch.

If you have any questions or want more information on EXAIR’s E-Vacs and their Accessories. Give us a call, we have a team of application engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Advantages Of Compressed Air Operated Industrial Vacuums

Last week, I wrote about the benefits and advantages of the EXAIR Chip Trapper System. It’s just one workhorse in our stable of durable and reliable compressed air operated Industrial Housekeeping solutions.  All of our systems in this product line are compressed air operated, which means they offer several benefits that you don’t get with an electric powered vacuum:

  • Our air operated vacuums have no moving parts.  That means nothing to wear out & replace.
  • Electric motors burn out over time, and have to be replaced.  Not a problem with our products…if you supply them with clean air, they’ll run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.
  • Using electric vacuums in wet areas can prevent a very real risk of electrocution.  This hazard does not apply to a compressed air hose, which is all it takes to run our products.
  • Long, stringy chips can get clogged in the impeller & rotating parts of a motor-driven vacuum.  Ours have no moving parts, which means nothing for detritus to get tangled up in.
Electric Vacuums are prone to clogging, wearing out, and motor failure.

Which EXAIR Industrial Housekeeping Product is right for you?  It depends on what you’ll be using it for.  Very generally speaking, here’s a brief overview of the product line:

Chip Vac Systems:

  • Pick up dry or wet chips and transfer them into a standard open top drum.
  • Available in four sizes: 5, 30, 55, or 110 gallon drums.
  • Turns your own 30, 55, or 110 gallon open top drum into a powerful vacuum system, in minutes, with a standard system.
  • Add portability and flexibility with a Deluxe System, which includes a drum dolly and a Tool Holder.
  • For a total Industrial Vacuum System, complete & ready to go right out of the box, the Premium Systems add a drum, a compressed air supply hose, an upgrade to Heavy Duty Aluminum Tools & a Static Resistant Vacuum Hose.
  • For smaller jobs or in tight quarters, the Mini Chip Vac System comes with a compact 5 gallon drum.  The Deluxe System adds a drum dolly for portability.

Heavy Duty Dry Vac Systems:

  • Function is similar to the Chip Vacs, but the vacuum itself is made of a hardened alloy, and offers higher vacuum power for dense and/or abrasive material cleanup.
  • Fits your existing 30, or 55 gallon drums for a quick & easy, basic high powered vacuum solution.
  • Deluxe Systems add Heavy Duty Tools & Tool Holder, and a Drum Dolly.
  • Premium Systems come with a 30, 55, or 110 Gallon Drum.

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac Systems:

  • All the power, durability, and convenience of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac Systems, but with a HEPA filter for contaminants such as mold, allergens, and other airborne irritants.
  • Fits your existing 30 or 55 gallon drums, or Deluxe & Premium Systems add the same accessories as the Heavy Duty Dry Vac Systems.
(Left to right) Chip Vac, Heavy Duty Dry Vac, Heavy Duty HEPA Vac

Reversible Drum Vac Systems:

  • These are our drum mounted vacuums for liquids.  They’ll fill or empty a 55 gallon drum in 90 seconds (tested with water.)
  • Fits an existing 30, 55, or 110 gallon closed top steel drum in good condition.
  • Deluxe Systems add a drum dolly, a Tool Holder and a set of plastic tools including a Spill Recovery Kit, for a multitude of cleanup needs.
  • Auto shutoff float prevents overfilling the drum.
  • Premium Systems add a 30, 55, or 110 gallon drum, Heavy Duty Aluminum Tools, and a compressed air supply hose.
  • High Lift Systems are available for higher viscosity (ups to 1400 cP) liquids, or when pumping from below grade (180″H2O suction lift.)
  • This same technology is incorporated into the Chip Trapper Systems, which (as detailed last week) trap incoming solids in a Filter Bag, allowing for instant pumping out of freshly filtered liquid.  They’re available with the High Lift capability as well.
Reversible Drum Vac, High Lift Reversible Drum Vac, Chip Trapper

Vac-u-Guns:

  • Handy and portable, the Vac-u-Gun is a lightweight handheld vacuum, blow gun, and transfer tool, all in one.
  • Collection System comes with a vacuum bag w/shoulder strap, extension wands, a crevice tool, skimmer tool, and round brush tool.
  • Transfer Systems come with the same tools, but include a 10ft hose instead of the vacuum bag.
  • All Purpose Systems come with the tools, the vacuum bag, and the 10ft hose.
  • Deep Hole Vac-u-Guns are fitted with a blow tube for stirring up fine debris from drilled holes, where it’s quickly and efficiently vacuumed away.

Regardless of your application, EXAIR has an Industrial Vacuum to fit.  Orders for qualifying systems through the end of May 2020 will include a free Vac-u-Gun.  If you’d like to discuss your Industrial Housekeeping needs, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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A Cold Winter’s Chill and Vortex Tubes

Two weekends ago I had the pleasure of flying out to meet my friend in Colorado Springs and ski the weekend at Breckenridge. As an avid skier Breckenridge has been one of the resorts I have been wanting to ski since I started skiing out west. The weather was amazing and I couldn’t ask for better; the Saturday blue skies and cool breeze followed up by a Sunday of snow fall. The Trip was a dream come true. Breckenridge is specifically known for having high winds that howl across the peaks that stand at a max of 12,998 ft. above sea level. These chilling winds would freeze just about anyone if you aren’t dressed prepared for them as they blow right in your face on the lift. As I was sitting on the lift with these cold winds blowing in my face it brought to mind EXAIR’s Vortex Tubes, Cold Guns, and Cabinet Coolers.

EXAIR’s Vortex Tubes and similar products provide everything from a cool blast of air to a frigid breeze to cool off various parts and products. In a lot of smaller milling and grinding applications the Cold Gun has been used as a replacement to costly coolant-based alternatives. Vortex tubes have been used in cooling applications since 1945 and assist in everything from stress testing electronics to cooling down plastic parts during ultrasonic welding.

 Vortex tubes use a source of compressed air to create a hot and cold stream of air coming out on opposite ends of the device. This means that not only can the vortex tube be used for cooling but also heating applications. In one case a vortex tube was used to heat up an adhesive before it was sealed to get a better adhesion. Although the vortex tube can be used for heating purposes those applications are few and far between as usually a heating element or other heating source is more applicable.
Vortex tubes are quickly adjustable, just as the winds of Breckenridge can change from being a breeze to almost blowing you off of the mountain. Weather in the mountains is always varying and so are EXAIR’s Vortex Tubes.

If you have any questions or want more information on how we use our vortex tubes to improve processes all over industry. Give us a call, we have a team of application engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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EXAIR, Manufacturing Locally Equals Quick Customizations

Dryer with corn cob material

A manufacturing company contacted EXAIR about their metal tube processing. They made industrial precision tubes from start to finish. This would include turning, cutting, coating, washing and drying metal tubes to specific diameters and lengths.

For one specific problem area, they manufactured a tube with the dimensions of 1” (25.4mm) in diameter and 6” (152mm) in length. They would run a batch of 750 tubes through a wash cycle and then through a vibrating dryer with a drying material made from corn cobs. At the bottom of the vibrating dryer, the tubes would fall to an open mesh shaker table to transfer the tubes to Quality Control. The idea was to remove the excess cob material from the surface of the tubes before inspection and to recycle the drying material. But the problem was static.

When non-conductive materials slide, hit, peel, and vibrate; electrons from the surface can move from one atom to another; thus, creating static. The type of material and the amount of movement governs the positive and negative charges, and the amount of static forces.

The corn cob material is a non-conductive material, but what about the metal tubes? Since the metal tubes were coated for corrosion and abrasion protection, the surface is now a non-conductive area which will contain static. Since opposite charges attract each other, the cob material would cling to the outside surface of the metal tubes (reference photo below). Being a precision tube manufacturer, they did not want to send “dirty” tubes to their customers or allow the drying material to contaminate their measuring equipment. And, with the required quality control, the measurements had to be exact.

Tubes with cob material

The shaker table was 8 feet (2.4 meters) long and 2 feet (0.6 meter) wide with rigid walls. The top of the shaker table was covered with a canvas to allow for a vacuum system to collect the excess material and dust. About half way down, there was a 2” (51mm) drop to help jolt additional cob material off of the tubes as they landed. But the static forces were too strong to release the material. Thus, the static had to be removed from the surface, so they contacted EXAIR to see if we could find a solution.

They sent photos of their setup which always helps us to diagnose and find solutions. The target place that they suggested would be near the 2” (51mm) drop as the tubes would be suspended for just a moment. My recommendation was to use a Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to blow ionized air around the tubes as they fell. By blowing air, we can use the non-contact force to remove the static and the cob material at the same time. But we had two issues to overcome. The width was fixed at 2 feet (0.6 meter), and the operation controls were 10 feet (3 meters) away from the mid-section of the shaker table.

Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives

EXAIR stocks many Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives ranging from 3” (76mm) to 108” (2.74meters) in incremental lengths for quick shipments. But our standard 24″ product was not able to fit inside that area nor was the five foot electrical cable long enough to reach the control panel. (As a note, it was important for the operator to be able to manually turn on and off the unit from the control panel.)

EXAIR uses an electromagnetically shielded cable to carry high voltage from our Gen4 Power Supply to our shockless, non-radioactive Gen4 Ionizing Bar. Our  stocked length for our armored cable is 5 feet (1.5 meter). After discussing the amount of movement with the table and the desired distance to the control panel, EXAIR could not use an item off the shelf. But not to worry… Since we are the manufacturer, we have the ability to make a special design for this customer.

Super Ion Air Knife Part Numbering System

I recommended a model 112220-10 special length Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit. (Reference model numbering system above). Specials are non-returnable and non-cancelable, but for this customer, it was exactly what they needed. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives are engineered to efficiently blow ionized air to the target and remove static charge and debris.

For this special model, it was made to a specific width where the Super Air Knife was manufactured to a length of 20” (508mm), and the high voltage cable was lengthened to 10 feet (3 meters). The kit includes the Gen4 Power Supply to power the Ionizing Bar, a filter to clean the compressed air, a regulator to control the force, and a shim set to change force rates. This complete kit had everything required to begin operations to remove static and cob material from their precision tubes. The customer was able to mount the special length Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife within the shaker table and mount the power supply near the control panel.

Static can be an issue even with coated metal parts. For the customer above, EXAIR was able to make a special length Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to work in their system. If you believe that static is causing issues, EXAIR has a great range of Gen4 Static Eliminators to remove that nuisance. You can discuss further with an Application Engineer as EXAIR for help; even if you need a custom product.

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