I recently received an inquiry from a food manufacturer about a packaging line they were having issues with. The plant fills continuous rows of thermo-formed cups which is then sealed with a single foil lid. Once sealed, a machine cuts the row to separate the cups, which creates small scrap pieces of foil. After the cutting operation, they try to collect as much of the waste trim as possible but some small pieces of foil, they call “dots”, cling to the surface of the cup and cutter due to static charge. The company installed a vacuum collection hood in this area, to try and help keep the foil pieces or any dust from falling onto the cup during the process. While this did help somewhat, some dots would remain and eventually fall off further down the line, making small piles that needed to be manually cleaned to avoid potential jams, which slowed down their production cycle.
The cups are filled and separated on a 44″ wide, mesh-screen conveyor with individual lanes to process multiple rows of cups. After being cut, the cups are moved to the inspection area and then packaged for shipment. I recommended they mount a 48″ Super Ion Air Knife above and below the cups and direct the airflow to the end where the vacuum collection hood is located. The idea is, as the ions eliminate the charge, the small foil dots will release and the laminar airflow would keep the parts moving toward the vacuum hood, thus removing all foil trim and preventing any piling of trim further down the production line.
EXAIR offers a wide selection of Static Eliminators for use in a variety of industrial processes. If you are experiencing static concerns in a particular area or to discuss a specific process, please contact an application engineer for assistance.
Our customer has a process where they de-cap eggs which are used in a variety of processes ranging from large scale bakery uses to medical uses for developing vaccines. The problem is they are left with a reasonable amount of egg shell waste that needs to be cleaned up after each cycle in the de-capping process. The previous method relied simply on friction and gravity to get the egg shell to go into the direction the customer wanted.
The problem with this method is that reliability was quite low. Egg shell would remain inside the egg, inside the tooling and pretty much everywhere around the de-capping process. The customer wanted to clean things up in the process a bit and increase the reliability that the shells go where they want them to which is a waste container about 5 meters away from the de-capper. The rate of shell flow was about 20 kilos per hour.
The customer made a search on the Internet for Air Vacuum conveyors and found EXAIR Corporation. After a short discussion to find out the specifics concerning rate of flow, distance, density of the product and available air pressure, we were able to make a suitable recommendation.
We ended up recommending EXAIR Model 6963 (1-1/2” Stainless Steel Line Vac kit). Having the full kit available allows the customer to install the Line Vac using included bracket for mounting as well as the air filter/separator and compressed air regulator with gauge to allow for accurate tuning of the air pressure to get just the right amount of suction from the Line Vac unit.
The customer purchased the recommended kit and installed on their machine. They have claimed the reliability has gotten to the point where the problem has nearly gone away. They still had some issues with the blades used, which they intend to sort out as a next step in their process of continuous improvement.
I’m sure I have blogged about similar topics before but I’m going ahead with this anyway. Have you ever bought something and after using it a few times say to yourself, I really wish they would have done this or I wish this had this feature. I do that quite often, more often that my wife really cares for. Normally it ends up with me being in the garage or the basement working on whatever it is for several hours and possibly even breaking whatever it was I was working on. Well, I don’t just do that at home.
Our Reversible Drum Vac Systems were around for a couple decades when someone decided to figure out a (patented) way to filter all the chips and solids out of the coolant we were processing. So now, instead of just sucking the coolant out, we are able to filter the coolant and reuse it up to four times longer in our machines.
It is continuous improvements and being willing to listen to recommendations that make things like the Chip Trapper possible. If you have one of our products and see a better idea, feel free to let us know, it may even be something that we could do on a custom basis for you.