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

EXAIR Products Are No Strangers To The Assembly Line

Although most folks think of Henry Ford as the inventor of the assembly line, there’s evidence that “division of labor” was practiced in ancient China, where metal products were mass produced by skilled workers performing a specific evolution and then passing it on to another person for the next step. In fact, Oldsmobile’s assembly line actually predates Ford’s by a few years, but a host of innovations by Henry Ford and his team of engineers reduced the assembly time of a Model T from a day and a half, to an hour and a half. Maybe that’s why he gets so much credit for it.

Through the 20th Century, technological advances continued to revolutionize the process. Automation and robotics have allowed a combination of speed & precision that would have impressed even Henry Ford. The guy was a genius, so he would have caught on pretty quick, I’m sure. If you hadn’t guessed, it, yeah; I’m a big fan.

In addition to all the technological marvels on display, our visit to The Henry Ford museum also allowed my brother and me a cool photo-op with our all-time favorite vehicle.

EXAIR products are used for a variety of applications on assembly lines…blow off, static elimination, painting/coating, and even cleanup. I had the pleasure of assisting a user with that last one recently.

Turns out, they make automobile windows, and in the process of handling the glass windows, the metal & plastic frame pieces, the rubber seals, the protective tape, etc., they end up with a LOT of scrap as these parts go down their assembly conveyor. According to this caller, it looked like “New Year’s Eve at the end of every shift” when they stopped to clean up. By installing EXAIR Model 130200 2″ Light Duty Line Vacs at strategic locations, they’re able to pick up almost all of the debris from the whole process.

EXAIR Light Duty Line Vacs come in sizes from 3/4″ to 6″ to accommodate a wide variety of conveyance needs.

If you’d like to find out more about how EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products can make an impact in your facility…safety, noise, efficiency, or otherwise…give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Getting A Little More Vacuum and Flow

Last week, a customer called and indicated that he was a long time user of the model 6013 High Velocity Air Jet.

6013

Model 6013 High Velocity Air Jet

The customer was using the Air Jet to remove light trim scrap from a manufacturing process. The Air Jets utilize the Coanda effect (wall attachment of a high velocity fluid) to produce air motion in their surroundings.  A small amount of compressed air to the Air Jet is throttled through an internal ring nozzle at speeds above sonic velocity.  In the above image, this produces a vacuum at the left side, pulling in large volumes of surrounding air. By utilizing this vacuum pull and ducting the right side exhaust, air and scrap stream to a collection area. The customer assembled a small, efficient, and inexpensive scrap removal system.

The reason the customer had called in was there were some recent changes to the manufacturing process and needed a bit more vacuum force and flow to handle larger scrap and longer travel. We explored using a larger shim, but they were already using the largest size (0.015″.) We talked about the other products that EXAIR offers (Air Amplifiers, Line Vacs) that are used for scrap removal and conveyance.  But with any change, there are usually other modifications and approvals that must be dealt with in order to proceed. So we hit upon the Adjustable Air Jet, which is an adjustable version of the model 6013.

6019

Model 6019 Adjustable Air Jet

The model 6019 Adjustable Air Jet utilizes an adjustable air gap in place of the fixed shim thickness.  This allows for greater air flow, which results in greater vacuum and conveyance distances. As is the case for many customers, we gathered some additional data to help this customer make a decision. We set up each of the units and tested them at maximum capabilities, and the model 6019 was shown to deliver upwards of 50% greater flow.  The customer felt certain this level of performance would handle what the changed process would require, and best of all, no modifications to any part of the set-up would be required, simply install the 6019 where the 6013 was currently placed.

The High Velocity Air Jet is also part of the model 1909 Blowoff Kit, and is also used in the model 8193 Ion Air Gun and model 8194 Ion Air Jet, for Static Elimination applications. Of course, each can be purchased as an individual item.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can make your process better, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Removing Chips from a Plastic CNC Router

These CNC routers needed a viable solution to remove and collect plastic chips and debris created during machine operation.

Our distributor in Poland recently emailed me about an application in need of a method to collect plastic chips from the CNC router tables shown above.  These machines are used for precision cutting, but face a problem when the cutting edge of the machine comes into contact with the chips and debris created during normal use.

The end user had considered a blow off device such as a nozzle or Air Knife, but this raised concerns with material collection.  Ideally, the customer wanted to be able to capture the chips and debris for recycling.

So, we looked into a method of removing the chips with a Line Vac, conveying the debris to a stationary drum for collection and recycling.  This type of solution has proven to be effective many times in the past, as shown in the image below. A Line Vac can be mounted at the cutting head to vacuum chips and debris as they are created by the cutting process.

This Line Vac provides vacuum to a drill head to remove debris.

Using the model 6081 Line Vac we can remove the plastic debris from the plotter as it is generated, and convey it to a drum located within the workspace.  And, to facilitate collection of the plastics for recycling, we can use our model 6850 drum cover to separate the conveyed chips from the air used to move the materials.

By providing a dynamic solution for this application, the Line Vac is able to lessen the workload of machine operators, allowing them more time to perform value added tasks rather than cleaning.  And, the solution is easy to install, requires little to no maintenance, and provides instantaneous vacuum only when needed.

If you have a similar application or would like to discuss problems facing your facilities, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’re available by phone, email, and online chat.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Heavy Duty Line Vac Saves Backs and Shoulders!

Recently, I worked with a customer that was looking for a way to make a difficult job easier, reducing stress and strain on the body and preventing injury.  The customer was in the Environmental Services & Hazardous Waste Management area and regularly was called out to service acid neutralization tanks. These are commonly found in hospitals, laboratories, and schools, to neutralize lab wastewater before it is discharged to the sanitary sewer.  The systems typically utilize limestone chips to aid the in process.

Acid Neutralization Tank

                       Typical Acid Neutralization Tank Layout Sketch

Periodic maintenance includes the removal and disposal of the spent limestone chips, tank cleaning and replenishment with new limestone chips.  Some of the tanks are tall and narrow, making access to the limestone chips difficult, especially near the tank bottom. Current procedures involved small shovels and unnatural body positions to try to reach the bottom-most material.  A better way had to be found.

The customer came across the EXAIR website and found the Line Vac product line. After watching the demonstration video, he knew he had found his solution!  The Line Vac is a compressed air operated device that turns any hose or tube into a powerful in-line conveyor. Based on the height of the tanks and the size and weight of the limestone, we agreed the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac would provide the power and durability to empty the tanks in a timely manner, and safely and efficiently.  The customer would use a tow behind compressor so that a reliable source of compressed air would always be available.

hdlvkit (2)

Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit – Includes Auto Drain Filter Separator and Pressure Regulator

The Heavy Duty Line Vacs are available in sizes from 3/4″ up to 3″ in both smooth end and threaded connections for use with hose or pipe for conveyance.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Line Vac can make your transfer process easier and safer, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Don’t Throw the Baby Out With The Bath Water – and How it Applies to Manufacturing

There are many curious sayings from history that are still part of our vernacular, and whose origins are debated.  Examples are ‘Spill the Beans’ and ‘Bite the Bullet.’  One of my first supervisors liked to use the expression ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.’  Initially, I didn’t quite understand what was meant by this, and then wasn’t sure it was relevant in some instances.  Fast forward many years, I hadn’t thought too much about it, but for some reason, the phrase recently came back into my thinking.

Today the phrase generally means not to get rid of something good when getting rid of something bad (when throwing out the dirty bath water, you don’t want to throw out the baby, too!)  As I look back to the supervisor that used it, it was for situations where the solution was within grasp, but due to recent shortcomings it may seemed out of reach. Scrapping the whole thing (the baby and the bathwater) and trying something new would not be the favorable way to proceed.

I remembered this phrase when recently a customer called in about the 3″ Line Vac they were using.  It was performing OK, but just was’t doing what they had hoped. They asked if it was still returnable under the 30 day guarantee (it was) and how to start the return process.

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EXAIR Line Vac Family

While we aim to make the return procedure simple and efficient, we will most likely ask a few questions.  We’ll ask ‘what are trying to do?’  ‘Can you send in any photos of the installation’ (we solve lots of issues by seeing something that can be easily remedied) and certainly we will ask ‘about the compressed air supply.’ In the recent customer call, the customer was trying to convey dog food, a distance of 25′ vertical and 18′ horizontal –  a fairly challenging distance, but not impossible.  A photo could be sent in if needed and then the discussion turned to the compressed air supply.  It was determined that the compressed air supply line was undersized for the 68.5 SCFM of 80 PSIG compressed air needed to for the Line Vac to operate to its full capability.  We reviewed the Installation and Maintenance Guide and suggested the proper pipe and air hose sizing for this installation. Armed with this new knowledge, the customer set about to modify the installation.

I got an email later that day from the customer.  Results were dramatically improved! Average of first measured trials yielded 50 lbs of material in 46 seconds, one of the fastest conveyance rates recorded for those types of distances. Customer was pleased and was looking forward to keeping the unit and getting the benefit that was expected.

In this case, the baby was not thrown out with the bath water.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can be a benefit at your facility, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

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