What’s So Great About Threaded Line Vac Pneumatic Conveyors?

Conveyor systems come in many shapes, sizes, and configurations. They can be run at different speeds, and are made of various materials, depending what they’re carrying, and why they’re carrying it. And sometimes, they’re hilarious:

If you’re looking to move solids, in bulk, through pipe, there’s not a simpler way to do it than with an EXAIR Threaded Line Vac.  Like our ‘standard’ Line Vacs, they use compressed air to generate a powerful vacuum flow to get air behind the pieces and carry them along:

Instant conveyor – just add compressed air.

But, while the ‘standard’ Line Vacs are made for use with Conveyance Hose, the Threaded Line Vacs have male NPT threads so you can pipe them in line.  We have a range of options, depending on the nature of your applications:

  • Sizes: 3/8 NPT to 3 NPT.
  • Materials: aluminum, 303SS, 316SS, and hardened alloy.
  • Performance: aluminum, 303SS and 316SS Threaded Line Vacs are made for standard duty; the hardened alloy Heavy Duty Threaded Line Vacs offer higher vacuum performance as well as superior abrasion resistance.
  • Environment: the materials of construction listed above may be important because of the nature of the product being conveyed, but they also have different temperature ratings.  Our Stainless Steel Line Vacs also come in a High Temperature design, in case the material – or the environment – is particularly hot:
    • Aluminum: 275°F (135°C)
    • Heavy Duty Hardened Alloy: 400°F (204°C)
    • 303 or 316SS: 400°F (204°C)
    • High Temp 303 or 316SS: 900°F (482°C)

If you’ve got a conveyor application you’d like to discuss, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Let’s Go Fishing with EXAIR Sanitary Flange Line Vacs™

A group of us went to the northern part of Ohio to do some fishing.  We had a great time.  We caught a variety of fish; even some small ones like above.  We had one person that could fillet fish; and, we definitely let him do the work.  I enjoy eating fish, but I do not enjoy the fish bones.  If the fish is filleted correctly, finding a bone is rare.  Now, traveling from a small boat in Ohio to an international commercial fishing company, it is also important to keep the bones at a minimum.  A salmon processing plant contacted EXAIR about our Line Vacs for removing fish bones.

In 2014, this processing plant purchased two 1 ½” 316SS Line Vacs, model 6063-316, to remove bones from salmon fillets.  The Line Vacs were positioned after the “bone removal” rollers.  Cups that spanned across the salmon fillets were attached to the vacuum end of the Line Vacs.  They loved how the product worked without any moving parts, and how compact and reliable they were since they were in operation for over 6 years.  But they needed to increase fish production rates; so, they needed a higher conveyance rate to remove the bones.  They sent me a photo of their current process (reference below).

Deboning Process

The interesting thing was that they welded sanitary flanges to the ends of each Line Vac.  Sanitary flanges are great for mandatory and frequent cleaning.  And believe it or not, EXAIR introduced Sanitary Flange Line Vacs™ in yr2017.  At EXAIR, we are always progressing with new products to solve different issues in a variety of industries.  The Sanitary Flange Line Vacs were designed for food and pharmaceutical industries.  For this customer above, they were surprised and amazed that we added the Sanitary Flange Line Vacs to our product line.

So, now they would not have to weld flanges.  This would save them time from welding and buffering to remove any “catches” inside where bacteria could grow.  They wished to replace their current Line Vacs with 2” size Line Vacs to increase the throat diameter and conveyance rate.  Since they requested the 2” size, I recommend the model 161200-316.

Sanitary Line Vac Family

The Sanitary Flange Line Vacs can fit within sanitary piping systems to convert pipes into a useful conveyor for bulk material and waste removal.  They use an ISO2852 flange for easy disassembly and cleaning to reduce bacterial entrapment.  They ae made from 316 stainless steel material for superior corrosion resistance.  EXAIR manufactures four different sizes from 1 ½” up to 3” flanges.  If we were three years earlier in production at EXAIR, it would have been an easy choice for this fish processing plant.

EXAIR Line Vacs use a small amount of compressed air to generate a powerful vacuum by a Venturi effect.  The unique design of the generators creates a high velocity of air to create a low pressure on one side and a powerful thrust on the other.  You can watch a video of the operation of a Line Vac HERE.  Compared to other vacuum or conveying systems, the EXAIR Line Vacs are very quiet, rugged, and powerful.  For sensitive applications where cleanliness is a major need, the Sanitary Flange Line Vac are designed for these conditions.

If you need to convey solid materials in a quick and easy way, an EXAIR Line Vac could be a solution for you.  We have them in a variety of formats, materials, and sizes to easily match your application.  For the salmon processing plant, it improved their operations in removing fish bones.  EXAIR Line Vacs can save back-wrenching labor of picking up bags, climbing stairs, and dumping material into hoppers.  If you want to know if the EXAIR Line Vac could work for you, please fill out the Line Vac Data Sheet (click HERE).  An Application Engineer at EXAIR will help to recommend the best unit for you.  But, if you want to catch fish, you may want to ask a professional 😊.

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

Compressed Air and Pneumatic Systems

Compressed Air Pipe

Compressed air is used to operate pneumatic systems in a facility, and it can be segregated into three main sections; the supply side, the demand side, and the distribution system.  The supply side is the air compressor, after-cooler, dryer, and receiver tank that produce and treat the compressed air.  They are generally found in a compressor room.  The demand side is a collection of devices that will use the compressed air to do “work”.  These pneumatic components are generally scattered throughout the facility.  To connect the supply side to the demand side, a distribution system is required.  Distribution systems are pipes or tubes which carry compressed air from the air compressor to the pneumatic devices.  The three sections have to work together to make an effective and efficient system.

Compressed air is a clean utility that is used in many different ways, and it is much safer than electrical or hydraulic systems.  But most people think that compressed air is free, and it is most certainly not.  Because of the cost, compressed air is considered to be a fourth utility in manufacturing plants.  For an electrical motor to reduce a volume of air by compressing it, it takes roughly 1 horsepower (746 watts) to compress 4 cubic feet (113L) of air every minute to 125 PSI (8.5 bar).  With almost every manufacturing plant in the world utilizing air compressors larger than 1 horsepower, the amount of energy needed is extraordinary.

Let’s determine the energy cost to operate an air compressor by Equation 1:

Equation 1:

Cost = hp * 0.746 * hours * rate / (motor efficiency)


Cost – US$

hp – horsepower of motor

0.746 – conversion KW/hp

hours – running time

rate – cost for electricity, US$/KWh

motor efficiency – average for an electric motor is 95%.

As an example, a manufacturing plant operates a 100 HP air compressor in their facility.  The cycle time for the air compressor is roughly 60%.  To calculate the hours of running time per year, I used 250 days/year at 16 hours/day.  So operating hours equal 250 * 16 * 0.60 = 2,400 hours per year.  The electrical rate for this facility is $0.10/KWh. With these factors, the annual cost to run the air compressor can be calculated by Equation 1:

Cost = 100hp * 0.746 KW/hp * 2,400hr * $0.10/KWh / 0.95 = $18,846 per year in electrical costs.

Filters and Regulator

If we look at the point-of-use or demand side, the compressed air is generally conditioned to be used to run and control the pneumatic system.  The basic units include filters, regulators, and lubricators.  The filters are used to remove any oil, water, vapor, and pipe scale to keep your pneumatic system clean.  They fall into different types and categories depending on the cleanliness level required.

Filter Separators are more of a coarse filtration which will capture liquid water, oil, and particulate.  The Oil Removal Filters are more of a fine filtration which can capture particles down to 0.03 micron.  They are also designed to “coalesce” the small liquid particles into larger droplets for gravity removal.  One other group is for removing oil vapor and smell.  This type of filter uses activated charcoal to adsorb the vapor for food and pharmaceutical industries.  Filters should be placed upstream of regulators.

Pressure Regulators change the pressure downstream for safety and control.  Pneumatic devices need both flow and pressure to work correctly.  The lubricator, which is placed after the Regulator, helps to add clean oil in a compressed air line.  Air tools, cylinders, and valves use the oil to keep seals from wearing with dynamic functions.  Once the compressed air is “ready” for use, then it is ready to do many applications.

For EXAIR, we manufacture products that use the compressed air safely, efficiently, and effectively.  EXAIR likes to use the 5-C’s; Coat, Clean, Cool, Convey and Conserve.  We have products that can do each part with 16 different product lines.  EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.  Compressed air is an expensive system to operate pneumatic systems; but, with EXAIR products, you can save yourself much money.  If you need alternative ways to decrease electrical cost, improve safety, and increase productivity when using compressed air, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to help you.

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

Line Vac Makes Golf Ball Testing More Efficient

Recently, we at EXAIR worked with a major player in the golf ball manufacturing world.  As an avid golfer myself, this was an application I could really get a ‘grip’ on and I had the ‘drive’ to propose a solution.

Golf Ball Pyramids

The customer was involved in Research & Development, performing testing on the golf balls through robotic hitting, collection, and attribute measurement. The current set up involved the ball being hit, gravity collection into a PVC tube, and then an operator unhooking the tube, walking it over to and unloading the balls onto a rack, in the same order of hitting. The customer wanted to eliminate the manual task of the tube handling and have the balls delivered directly to the rack area.  The transfer would need to be 15′ vertically, then 15′ horizontally, before dropping down to table level.  A typical rate is only 5 balls per minute. This is a perfect application for the Line Vac, a compressed air operated conveyor.

EXAIR had previously tested golf ball conveyance, as seen in the Line Vac video below (at the 1:53 mark) where golf balls are conveyed 100′, at only 30 PSIG of supply pressure.

To present the best solution to customer, we had 2 dozen golf balls sent to us, and we set-up and simulated the actual conveyance conditions of 15′ vertical and 15′ horizontal travel. We found that the balls could be conveyed at only 20 PSIG of supply pressure, when presented one at a time. When the inlet was flooded with golf balls, simulating a worst case condition, the Line Vac was able to perform the conveyance at 60 PSIG. Operation at 80-100 PSIG is possible providing a operational safety factor.

The customer was impressed with the results and has implemented the model 6984 – 2″ Aluminum Line Vac Kit into the process, making the process more efficient.

Model 6984 – 2″ Aluminum Line Vac Kit, with Auto Drain Filter Separator, Pressure Regulator, and Mounting/Coupling Kit for the Filter/Regulator

We have a team of Application Engineers that are ready to review your process and application, and help to determine if an EXAIR Line Vac can convey your material at the distance and rate desired.  We may even have you send in small sample of the material, and we can set-up, test, and share the results with you.

If you have questions about Line Vacs, or would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Golf Ball Pyramids by Beau B used under Creative Commons – CC BY 2.0