Pneumatically Conveying Corn Flakes From Large Sacks Using An EXAIR Line Vac

This workspace needs a pneumatic conveyance solution.

I’ve had a string of great Line Vac applications which I’ve been able to write about recently.  Using our Heavy Duty Line Vac to convey small particles, vacuuming alumina dust two applications in the same plant, and removing chips from a plastic CNC router.  But, the application for this blog is a bit different because it involved conveyance of a material to prevent worker fatigue.

Dried corn flakes in super sack.

The dried flakes shown above needed a reliable method to convey between the large sacks in which they’re delivered and the boilers into which they need to be added.  The existing operation has been to have personnel cut open the bags and pour them into the boilers, but this method is taxing for the workers and results in significant fatigue throughout the day as well as spillage around the boilers.  This facility needed a better way to move the corn flakes that was small enough to fit within the confined workspace and capable of quickly emptying the sacks over a distance of ~6.5 ft.

The corn flakes need to be conveyed from the sacks on the right to the boilers on the left.

This customer requested that the solution be made of 316 grade stainless steel, and that implementation and use be as simple as possible.  With a bulk density of ~40 pounds/cubic foot, and merely a desire to move the material as fast as possible over this short distance, I directed them toward our 3” Stainless Steel Line Vac made of 316SS.  To increase the conveyance in the application I also offered our service to convert our standard model 6066-316 Line Vac to a “High Power” unit by increasing the size of the generator holes.

Both of these solutions were deemed as viable because they both allow for fast emptying of the bags (we estimated between 1-2 minutes to completely empty a bag), little-to-no spillage, and far, far less fatigue on the workers in this area (the key driver for searching out a new method of material transfer.

The potential model numbers were presented to management for a purchasing decision.  As this project moves forward, and even after the solution is installed, we’ll be available for product assistance and engineering support.  If you have an application in need of a viable pneumatic conveyor, contact EXAIR.  We’ll be happy to explore the application and offer any potential solutions.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Compressed Air Uses In Industry

From pneumatic hand tools like impact wrenches or nail guns to larger scale industrial applications like stamping presses, the use of compressed air can be found in almost any industry. In fact, it is often referred to as a “fourth utility” next to water, gas and electric.

Compressed air is used in virtually every industry!

 

Take for example in construction, workers will use a pneumatic riveter to join steel framing because of the power generated by the tool over an electrically powered device, not to mention it provides for a safer operation by removing an electrical hazard. Many companies use compressed air operated diaphragm pumps or air motor driven pumps to move expensive or viscous liquid from one location to another. These types of pumps are self priming drawing the liquid in and provide positive displacement meaning they fill and empty the liquid chamber with the same amount of liquid through a common inlet and outlet.

Amusement parks have used compressed air in some capacity in the operation of thrill rides like roller coasters or to enhance the effect of certain attractions. Compressed air can be found in hospitals where it is used for specialized breathing treatments or to power surgical instruments in an operating room. Educational facilities use compressed air for laboratory testing. You can even find compressed air in the tires on your car. Basically, when you think about it, compressed air is being used just about anywhere.

Here at EXAIR, we manufacture Intelligent Compressed Air Products to help improve the efficiency in a wide variety of industrial operations. Whether you are looking to coat a surface with an atomized mist of liquid, conserve compressed air use and energy, cool an electrical enclosure, convey parts or dry material from one location to another or clean a conveyor belt or web, chances are we have a product that will fit your specific need.

EXAIR has been providing engineered solutions since 1983.

 

To discuss your particular application or for help selecting the best product, contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Compressed Air Valves image courtesy of Shane Gorski via creative commons license.

Moving Small Particles with a Heavy Duty Line Vac

The material in this hose is conveyed vertically over 7m using an EXAIR Heavy Duty Line Vac

The image above shows a test at a customer’s facility to move a small particulate to a height of 7m (23’) with an EXAIR Line Vac.  This particulate is used in the production of hand warmers and the end user needed a method to convey the material out of 55 gallon drums.

This same customer purchased a 2” Heavy Duty Line Vac from EXAIR in 2014 which is still in use and functioning well.  So, when it came time to find a pneumatic conveyance solution for this material, they knew where to go.

This is the material which needed to be pneumatically conveyed.

And, we knew just the questions to ask to determine the best Line Vac solution.  In order to do so, we had to determine the following:

  • Bulk density of the material
  • Size of the material
  • Conveyance height
  • Conveyance distance
  • Required conveyance rate
  • Available compressed air supply

Bulk density was rather low at 320kg/m³ (~20 pounds/ft³), with a particle size between 3-5mm (~1/8”-3/16”).  The conveyance height in this application was 5-7m (16.5-23ft.), with a distance of 1-2m (3.3-6.6ft) and a desired conveyance rate of over 4kg (8.8 pounds) per minute.

Testing with a 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac

The customer ran a test with the 2” Line Vac they have on site and the results were excellent.  Their only question was whether they could achieve the needed conveyance with a smaller unit, thereby reducing compressed air consumption and operating cost of the application.

In this case the answer was clear that a smaller Line Vac could be used due to the low bulk density of the material.  By reducing the size of the Line Vac to 1”, or perhaps 1.5” we could reduce the compressed air consumption and still meet the required performance need.

EXAIR Line Vacs have, once again, brought a viable solution to this industrial facility.  If you have a similar application or would like to discuss pneumatic conveyance needs, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Identifying Which EXAIR Line Vac You Have

I’ve written in the past about how to identify an EXAIR part, specifically how to identify a Vortex Tube. I recently ran into a very similar situation, only this customer was having difficulty identifying a Line Vac that was installed on one of his machines. The Line Vac was installed to remove a small pin from their part and convey it out to a separate bin for disposal. Rather than purchasing an additional machine, they were trying to expand the line and build one themselves. They reached some difficulty when trying to identify the EXAIR part that was installed and reached out to us for help.

line vac

EXAIR Model 6079 Line Vac

Our Line Vacs come stock in (4) different materials of construction: aluminum, 303 stainless steel, 316 stainless steel, and for our Heavy Duty models a hardened alloy steel for abrasion resistance. The hardware used on the aluminum models is a black oxide screw whereas the others all have stainless steel hardware. Since his had black oxide hardware, it was easy to discern that this was in fact an aluminum Line Vac. To differentiate between the 303 and 316 models, we make a small cut around the circumference of the part. The outer appearance of the Heavy Duty is easily distinguishable.

Once we’ve identified the material of construction we must measure the O.D. of the inlet and outlet. By cross-referencing this measurement with the dimensions in our catalog you can then identify exactly which model number Line Vac that you have. In this scenario, the customer had to remove the Line Vac from the machine to measure the O.D. of the cap. The manufacturer of the machine had turned down the outside of the outlet on the body. Fortunately, he sent us a photo which clearly showed that this was the case. Based on his measurement, I determined that he had an EXAIR Model 6079 that had been modified. He was able to immediately place an order for the replacement and it shipped that day!

LV dimensions

Chart from the catalog displaying Line Vac dimensions

If you have an EXAIR part somewhere in your facility that you’re struggling to identify, give an Application Engineer a call. Through a series of investigative questions (and hopefully the help of photos!) we’ll be able to determine the model number that you have and clear up any uncertainty.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Line Vac Brings Additional Solution To Alumina Spill Recovery

Mobile spill recovery unit

In my last blog post I wrote about vacuuming alumina dust in an aluminum manufacturing plant in South America.  In that application we were returning spilled alumina to the original hopper so that processing could continue.

This same customer has an additional application to vacuum spilled material, but the new need is to assist mobile spill recovery vehicles (shown above) in vacuuming spills of varying volume. These mobile vehicles are effective for most of the spillage demands they can access, but there are times where additional vacuum is needed, such as when the spill location is beyond the hose length of the system.  In those scenarios additional vacuum hose can be added, but line losses render the performance too low to produce real results.  With this in mind, the end user looked for a point-of-use vacuum boosting solution, and thought about again using an EXAIR Line Vac.

Considering the potential use of a Line Vac, we approached this in the same way as any other pneumatic conveying application, gathering the required information to allow a proper model number selection.  As with the previous application we confirmed the following:

  •      Bulk density of the material
  •      Size of the material
  •      Conveyance height
  •      Conveyance distance
  •      Required conveyance rate
  •      Available compressed air supply

The spills in this facility are comprised of alumina dust with a bulk density of 1.1g/cm³ (68.7 pounds/ft³).  From the floor to the maximum height of the vehicle is a distance of 3.25m (~11ft), and conveying distances were in a range of 3-10 meters (10-30 feet).  The customer had no required conveyance rate, only a requirement to boost vacuuming capacity when needed.

With this information confirmed we were able to make a model number recommendation, the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac model 150200.  Adding the 150200 Heavy Duty Line Vac to this mobile spill recovery unit brings additional vacuum flow and conveyance of the alumina through a high velocity airstream, making mobile spill recovery efforts more effective.

If you’re in need of a pneumatic conveying solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer (1-800-903-9247).  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

EXAIR Line Vac, Air Operated Conveyors, Expand to Include Sanitary Flange Models

EXAIR’s Air Operated Conveyor product line just expanded, making it easier than ever for a wide range of industries to solve an ever growing range of bulk conveyance applications. Before we get to that, let’s look at just how versatile the Line Vacs are:

The standard Line Vac has been making bulk conveyance as easy as it could get for years now. They come in sizes from 3/8″ to 5″, and all you need is a hose to move material from point A to point B.

Lightweight and durable aluminum is the most popular choice, but we make them in stainless steel (Types 303 and 316) for heat and corrosion resistance. For extreme heat, the High Temperature option affords protection to 900F (482C) in either 303SS or 316SS.

When rigid pipe is preferable to hose, our Threaded Line Vacs offer the same performance:

These come with male NPT threads from 3/8″ to 3″. They’re also available in aluminum, 303SS and 316SS, and High Temperature versions, same as the standard Line Vac.

If you need high power for higher conveyance rates, longer distances, or very dense material, the Heavy Duty Line Vacs are what you’re looking for.

They come in sizes from 3/4″ to 3″, with options for slip-on hose or threaded pipe. They’re also made of a hardened alloy for superior abrasion resistance.

Light Duty Line Vacs are aimed at applications implied by the name…when smaller volumes of low density material don’t require all the head & flow generated by the standard or Heavy Duty models, these are as quick & convenient as the rest, and come in sizes from 3/4″ to 6″.

They’re also ideal when fragile parts might be subject to damage in the high velocity, turbulent air flow produced by the other models.

The newest additions to the Line Vac family are the Type 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange models:

Also known as Tri-Clamp or Tri Clover, these connectors have a variety of advantages beneficial to certain industries: Quick to make up & take apart. No nooks or crevices, so they’re easy to clean. Wide variety of fittings, pipe and tubing are readily available.

These are especially popular in pharmaceutical, food, and brewing applications.

If you’d like to find out more about how to move bulk product quickly, easily, safely, and cleanly, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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High Temperature Line Vac Helps to Recondition Ceramic Balls for a Reactor

25mm Ceramic Balls

The other day I was talking to an operation manager about his fixed-bed reactors.  These reactors are large tanks filled with different layers of material.  The main component of the bed consisted of catalyst pellets which were placed in a centralized layer in the middle of the tank.  Above and below the catalyst pellets, they used different sizes of ceramic balls to create a gradient buffer.  This was important to disperse the gas to utilize the entire catalyst bed and reduce the possibility of channeling.  The tanks were designed with a dump flange mounted at the bottom; so, when the catalyst material was used up, they could dump all the material from the tank and replenish.  In recycling the reactors, they could reuse the ceramic balls after they have been reconditioned.

As we discussed the details further about the reconditioning process, the material from the reactor was dumped into drums and separated manually.  The catalyst material was discarded; leaving the ceramic balls.  The ceramic balls came in three different diameters, 6mm, 13mm, and 25mm.  To separate these, they would slide three empty wire-meshed trays into the oven, and placed a specific diameter into a corresponding tray.  Once the oven was filled with the ceramic balls, they would heat the oven to 400 deg. C.  This would burn off any dangerous material that was collected on the surface from the process within the reactors.  After the heat cycle, they would have to wait approximately one hour until the ceramic balls were cool enough to handle.  After the cooling period, they would use a shovel to remove the ceramic balls from the trays.

The reconditioned ceramic balls were placed in storage drums and kept until they had to recycle another reactor.  The removal of the ceramic balls from the oven would take an additional half hour to complete.  The entire reconditioning process was labor intensive, time consuming, and ergonomically a safety issue.  For each oven, they were only getting two cycles per day to recondition the ceramic balls.  With the number of reactors that they had, they needed to either decrease the downtime for the oven, or purchase another batch oven.

High Temperature Line Vac

After discovering the EXAIR website, they were intrigued with the Air Operated Conveyors (Line Vacs).  If they could remove the ceramic balls at a much higher temperature, then this would allow them to reduce the cycle time.  The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor is a great product for moving bulk items over a short distance without manually having to shovel it, transfer it, or lift it.  With the customer’s goal to minimize the downtime with the batch oven, I recommended the EXAIR model HT6064 2” Stainless Steel High Temperature Line Vac.  With some standard PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), they could remove the ceramic balls from the oven without waiting for it to cool.  The model HT6064 has a maximum temperature rating of 482 deg. C and a throat diameter of 45mm; large enough to move all three sizes of the ceramic balls.

The Line Vac, or Air Operated Conveyor, operates by using compressed air to generate a vacuum.  It does not have any motors or moving parts to wear, and the inline design makes it easy to attach a transfer hose to the vacuum and exhaust ports.  Personnel could now stand near the oven; stick the high temperature duct into the tray, remove all the ceramic balls, and transfer them to a nearby drum.  By using the High Temperature Line Vac, they were able to reduce the oven down-time to only 15 minutes.  This was plenty enough to reach the goal of increasing the cycles per day. As an added benefit, the back-breaking work of shoveling was removed; thus, increasing the health and safety of the workers.

If your company manually moves dry bulk products from point A to point B, you can contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to see if an Air Operated Conveyor could improve your process.  For my customer, the HT6064 Line Vac improved the speed of their reconditioning process, and it took away the pain of shoveling which made this process undesirable for the personnel.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

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