The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor Helps an HSE Engineer

Air Operated Conveyor

A Health and Safety Engineer, HSE, is a position that combines knowledge of engineering with safety development procedures. EXAIR speaks to many HSEs from different companies about our OSHA safe and reliable products. The discussions typically surround blow-off devices that violate noise level and dead-end pressure rules. In this instance, I was contacted by a HSE from a plastic extrusion company that needed a safe solution for a slightly different matter.

The HSE stated that they had an operator that twisted an ankle while carrying a bag of pellets up the stairs to a mezzanine. With his hands occupied on the bag, he was not able to use the handrails. Luckily, he did not fall down the stairs, but there was a chance for that dangerous possibility to occur. The mezzanine was needed to feed a hopper that was located above an extrusion machine about 12 feet (3.6 meters) above the ground. Whenever a material change was needed, they would have to clean the machine. The cleaning process was done with purge pellets.

In this scenario, a worker would pick up a 50 lb. (22.7 Kg) bag of purge pellets, walk up the stairs, and dump in about half the bag. This was enough material to completely clean the entire extrusion machine before the next production run. After their operator twisted an ankle during this method, they had to find a safer solution. And they found EXAIR.

Model 6983

The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor, or Line Vac, was the perfect product for this. It is a compact, inexpensive, and simple conveyor that only needs compressed air to move material from point A to point B. They do not have any moving parts or motor bearings to wear, making them very reliable and long-lasting.

I recommended a model 6983 Aluminum Line Vac Kit as it was able to convey the desired amount of material to that height. This kit comes with a 1 1/2” Aluminum Line Vac, a mounting bracket, a filter separator, and a pressure regulator. The filter separator will keep the air clean as it moves the material to its destination. The pressure regulator is used to “dial in” the desired conveyance rates. At 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar), the model 6983 can convey nearly 13 lbs./min (355 Kg/hr.) at the height of the hopper. So, to move the required amount for a clean out, it would only take about two minutes to move 25 lbs. (11.4 Kg) of purge pellets.

Line Vac Family

For the company above, the HSE was extremely happy with the safety feature that the Air Operated Conveyor provided. The bag of purge pellets could stay on the floor, while the Line Vac was able to move the pellets to the hopper above. The operator could watch the required amount that was being transferred; and, once the bag was half empty, the operator could turn off the compressed air. It is that simple. EXAIR offers a range of Line Vacs to work in many types of applications. If your company has a potential for dangerous problems while moving material, you should contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see if we have a safer way.

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

Sanitary Flange Air Conveyor Doubles Output for Coffee Bean Roaster

coffee-1149983_1920

For me there’s nothing better than a hot, fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Particularly during the colder mornings like we’ve had as of late, but even in the summer sitting out on the porch sipping on a cup while the sun comes up is a great way to start the day. Just typing this first paragraph has me making my way to the break room for a cup!

We’ve talked about the life of a coffee bean and the processes that it must go through from the fields as a bean all the way through the roasting, grinding, and packaging process. At just about every stage in the production of coffee, EXAIR has a way to help. Just like craft breweries that have taken the world by storm, small-batch coffee companies are beginning to see a similar boom in their business as the market shifts away from large corporate entities and supports small or locally owned businesses.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with one of these “craft” coffee producers. They’ve been in business for a little while, but as of late have really seen an increase in their sales. To increase production, they invested in a second roasting machine at a substantial capital investment. They’re a small company with less than 10 employees from the front-end to the back-end. While initially they thought all that was needed was to buy a second roaster, they quickly found out that they weren’t getting double the output like they had thought. The problem was that the time spent moving the bulk bags of raw beans into the hopper of the roaster was too time consuming for one person to feasibly handle. They either needed to hire a second person (another substantial investment), or they needed to find a better way of transporting the beans.

After searching online, they came across the EXAIR Line Vac. EXAIR’s Line Vacs are the ideal low-cost solution for bulk material transfer. Available with smooth, NPT threads, and sanitary flange connections, it allows you to convert ordinary pipe or hose into a powerful conveying system for parts, scrap, trim, and other bulk materials. Available in a variety of different sizes and materials, we can achieve wide range of conveyance rates.

SFLV_800sq

In this particular application, food grade materials were necessary. EXAIR’s model 161200-316 2” Sanitary Flange Line Vac allowed them to maintain a clean environment while keeping it easy to remove and clean when necessary. With the Line Vac in place, they were able to double their output as they’d desired when purchasing the new machine without having to hire another operator. A much easier, cheaper, and cost-effective solution. That Line Vac isn’t going to ask for a raise, request time off for summer vacation, or wander into the break-room to make itself a cup of coffee 😊.

If you have an application where you’re manually transferring bulk materials, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to help evaluate your process and recommend a solution that’ll save you time, energy, and money!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD