Electric vs EXAIR Industrial Vacuums

Reversible Drum Vac (left) and Chip Vac (right) – two EXAIR Industrial Vacuums

When selecting a vacuum, you want to take into account a variety of things other than the purchase price.  You should consider reliability, safety, and the total cost of ownership.  I had a customer contact me about our Chip Vac System.  They were currently using an electric vacuum to clean up debris around their machine shop.  I gave them the pros of using the Chip Vac System as compared to electric vacuums.  They thought that it was too much money as compared to the electric version.  In less than 6 months, this same customer contacted me again to purchase the Chip Vac System, as they had gone through two more electric vacuums in that time.  I would like to share some of the features and benefits that I shared with the customer above to illustrate how the EXAIR Industrial Housekeeping Products are better than electric vacuums that you could purchase.  

1.  Reliability:  The EXAIR venturi-type vacuum systems do not have any moving parts that can wear; so, they will last for a long time.  We use compressed air to generate a powerful vacuum to pick up liquids and debris.  We do not use electric motors with bearings that could lock up and fail.  EXAIR offers different materials for different applications, like the heavy-duty version, which uses an abrasion-resistant material for sandblasting, glass, and garnet. 

2.  Safety:  We cover two areas in this field.  The first is the potential hazard of liquids and electricity.  Our vacuums only use compressed air to generate a vacuum.  Even though EXAIR products are not certified to be used with explosive materials, we are still able to remove the shock hazard for users when operating electric vacuums for liquids.  The second safety concern is noise.  Electric vacuums can be very loud.  And when the motor bearings start to fail, they can become even louder.  Loud noises can become an OSHA violation and may require hearing protection.  With the EXAIR industrial vacuums, we are near 83 dBA in sound during operations.

3.  Total Cost of Ownership:  It is easy to run to your nearest hardware store to purchase a vacuum for your facility.  The problem, like with the customer above, is that you will have downtime, multiple purchases, and frustration when using inexpensive electric vacuums.  You may decide to go with a bit more expensive electric unit, only to find that it is extremely noisy.  The total cost of ownership takes into account the safety, reliability, and purchase price over the years of operation. 

EXAIR offers a wide range of packages and categories in our Industrial Housekeeping Products.  Here is a short guide to the pneumatic vacuums that we manufacture. 

EasySwitch® Wet-Dry Vac: Our newest vacuum line that can be used for both wet and dry materials.  They come with a standard and a HEPA filter to contain the dry material inside the 55-gallon drum.  The patent-pending lid has quick and easy access to remove or add the filter without tools or removing the lid.  So, transitioning from a dusty to a liquid cleanup is quick and easy.

Chip Vac™ System: Like the name states, it is a great vacuum for cleaning up chips from a machining process.  The vacuum generator uses a small amount of compressed air to create a powerful vacuum to remove the chips from the process or from the machine.  We offer 5-gallon, 30-gallon, 55-gallon, and 110-gallon drum sizes.  The material can be stored for recycling. 

Heavy Duty Dry Vac™ Systems: A “big brother” to the Chip Vac System, it can handle heavy items like sandblasting material, garnet, sand, steel, etc.  The vacuum generator is made from an abrasion-resistant, hardened material that can resist wear from these types of materials. 

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac™ Systems: This vacuum uses the same vacuum generator as the Heavy Duty Dry Vac, but we replace the filter with a HEPA media.  This media stands for High Efficiency Particle Air filter, which can remove particles down to 0.3 micron at a rate of 99.97%.  So, if the material is very small and fine, this vacuum will keep the material inside the drum and not back into the atmosphere. 

Chip Trapper Cut Away

 Chip Trapper™ System: Designed and used by EXAIR.  We are able to clean and change out the coolant system within our CNC machines quickly.  Time is money, and when a CNC machine is not running, it is not making money.  The Chip Trapper has a filtration system to clean the coolant from swarf and tramp oil.  By using compressed air, we are able to aerate the coolant, which reduces bacterial growth and extends the life of your coolant.  With a switch of a lever, you can return the fresh, clean coolant back into the sump.  We offer different micron ratings with the filter bags to accommodate the type of CNC machine and fluid “cleanliness” required. 

High Lift Chip Trapper™ System: Like its cousin above, it has a stronger vacuum generator to move thicker materials or retrieve coolant from sumps below floor level.  It can move fluids up to 15 feet (4.5 meters).  It will come with a longer vacuum hose to reach those distances. 

Reversible Drum Vac™ System: This system is a great tool for transferring liquids.  It has a two-way pump to bring the liquid into a 5-gallon, 30-gallon, 55-gallon, or 110-gallon drum, and with a turn of a knob, you can discharge the liquid from the drum.  It has a safety valve for the drum and a shut-off valve to prevent overfilling.  They can be used with closed-top or open-top steel drums, and they can fill a 55-gallon drum in 90 seconds. 

High Lift Reversible Drum Vac™ System: Like its cousin above, it has a stronger vacuum to lift liquid from a farther distance or for fluids with viscosities up to 1400 CPS. It does come with a longer vacuum hose, which is great for any slip hazards that may occur.  We only offer the 30-Gallon, 55-Gallon, and 110-Gallon versions. 

Vac-u-Gun™:  This is a hand-held vacuum system that works great for small jobs.  The generator can be switched from a vacuum collection system to a blow-off system.  In vacuum applications, we have a transfer hose to move material or a filter bag to capture debris.  Or you can switch the generator around to make it a blow-off system to clean material from tables, electrical panels, or parts. 

Deep Hole Vac-u-Gun™:  EXAIR modified the Vac-u-Gun to do a unique job, clean out chips from blind holes and hidden contours.  We blow a small amount of compressed air through a tube at the same time that we vacuum to draw and extract chips.  We use a vacuum tube to help move the loose debris into a filter bag. 

All the vacuums above only use compressed air for a reason.  They may seem a bit “pricey” to some, but you will not be disappointed.  These vacuums are built and designed for rugged industrial use with longevity, safety, and reliability in mind.  Production is very important for manufacturing plants, and having a dependable vacuum will help keep production running smoothly.  We can help reduce your headaches from purchasing multiple electrical units, like the customer above.  If you would like to discuss your Industrial Housekeeping requirements, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to help you select the correct product.

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

A Referral for the Chip Trapper: Made by EXAIR, and Used by EXAIR.

Being that EXAIR is a manufacturing plant, we also have CNC equipment that utilizes coolant to reduce tool wear.  The downtime for cleaning and replacing the coolant was too long.  To speed things up, as time is money, EXAIR created a system to clean the coolant and replace it back into the sump.  I want to share the features and benefits that we see in using our EXAIR Chip Trapper

One of the biggest issues with coolants is the breakdown of the fluid.  This can be caused by bacterial growth, tramp oils, and a lack of filtration.  Since we began using our Chip Trapper System in our machining area, we’ve seen some great improvements.  I spoke with our lead machinist, and he gave me the following points: 

  • The complete coolant change-out went from every 4 months to once a year. 
  • Reduced the number of barrels of coolant concentrate from 10 barrels to 4 barrels per year.  Roughly $5,000 in annual savings
  • Bacterial growth is dramatically reduced as the Chip Trapper aerates the coolant.
  • Filter bags will remove the chip fines and tramp oils, keeping the coolant fresh. 
  • The time to get the CNC machines back to operational status and making parts went from 2 hours to ½ hour.

CNC machines now come with spindle coolant features.  This new technology helps with the need to increase speeds and feed rates.  The coolant is pumped to the top of the machine and fed directly through the spindle.  This type of spindle uses a rotary union, which keeps the coolant in the spindle while spinning at a high rate of speed.  The rotary union is very expensive and costly to replace.  They are very susceptible to dirty coolant.  If a seal within the rotary union begins to leak inside the machine, you will not be able to diagnose the problem until the machine fails.  The Chip Trapper will help reduce this chance and keep your machine from incurring extreme expenses.

Chip Trapper Cut Away

The unique feature of the Chip Trapper is the vacuum pump.  The vacuum units do not have any moving parts, so they are maintenance-free, quiet, and long-lasting.  Without electric motors, the operator will be safe from electrical shock.  They only require compressed air to operate.  We offer two types: the Chip Trapper System and the High Lift Chip Trapper System.  The Chip Trapper System is a great tool for coolant sumps on the floor level.  The High Lift Chip Trapper System has a bit more power to draw in liquid from sumps below floor level and for fluids with higher viscosity.

EXAIR has three different volumes to select.  We have 30 gallon (113 L), 55 gallon (208 L), and 110 gallon (416 L) drums.  The system comes complete with a drum dolly, a 20 foot compressed air line, a shut-off valve, a chip wand, two 5 micron washable filter bags, and a vacuum hose.  The filter bags can be replaced with ones of a different micron to increase efficiency or filter life.  We have 1-micron, 25-micron, 100-micron, and 200-micron filter bags.  If you are not sure which would work best for your coolant, EXAIR does offer a sample pack that will include one of each micron rating, model 901060-SP.  And if it gets really messy in the machine shop, you can add a Spill Recovery Kit to clean up the liquid off the floor.

If you would like to know more about the EXAIR Chip Trapper System, an Application Engineer will be happy to help you.  You can take advantage of the features and benefits that the Chip Trapper provides: ease of use, extended coolant life, no electric motors to fail, and quick change-over.

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

Fill or Empty 55 Gallon Drums FAST with EXAIR’s Reversible Drum Vac

First order of business after that dreaded early morning alarm is always a straight shot to the coffee machine. As I’m sure is the case with many of you reading this article, I’m not too kind before I’ve gotten down at least one good cup of coffee. I’m a fan of espresso, so a quick shot in the morning before I hop in the shower (or head to the gym) is all that’s needed to get the day rolling along. My coffee maker has a reservoir tank to hold the water and another for the beans. It holds close to a ½ gallon of water in the tank, more than enough for a week’s worth of my morning espressos. Over the last few weeks, I kept noticing that I was refilling the tank almost every other day rather than 1x/week. As mentioned, not all the lights are on upstairs prior to this influx of liquid caffeinated gold. Thinking not much of it; I continued to refill it, make my coffee or espresso, and go about my day.

Turns out, my wife has been waking up after me each morning to a mess of water spilled all over the counter-top. She isn’t typically a coffee drinker, so I asked if she’d been giving it a try noticing the more frequent need to fill the water tank. It was then that I realized that it wasn’t her increasing her intake of my beloved beans, but some issue with the machine itself that was leaking the water I’d just filled it with. To be honest, I’m surprised this wasn’t brought to my attention far earlier!! If only I had a suitable compressor, I could’ve fired up one of EXAIR’s Reversible Drum Vacs to make quick work of the spill and go on about my day. I only own a small pancake-style compressor at home for random projects and air tools, so I imagine my wife is glad we’re not firing that thing up at 5am just for a minor water spill…..

However, when it comes to cleaning up spills or vacuuming up liquids in an industrial environment, look no further than the EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac. Installing directly into the ¾ NPT bunghole of a standard drum lid, the Reversible Drum Vac can fill or empty a 55-gallon drum in as little as 90 seconds. With just the simple turn of a knob, the unit will either fill or empty the contents of the drum with only a supply of compressed air.

For thicker more viscous liquids (up to 1400 cP), or for when the application requires lifting the liquid from below-grade sumps, our High Lift Reversible Drum Vac is the best option. Operating in the same manner as the Standard Reversible Drum Vac, the High Lift RDV provides the extra power you need to move liquids from below grade work areas, sumps, or tanks up to 15’ deep. Both the Reversible Drum Vac and High Lift Reversible Drum Vac are offered in a variety of different systems both with and without the drum included.

Using only compressed air, EXAIR’s Industrial Housekeeping vacuums require no electricity. Without electricity and moving parts to wear out, there is no concern for failed parts, motor failure, or personnel safety associated with the use of electric vacuums used with liquids. All systems are available to ship same day from stock and are backed by our 5 Year Built to Last Guarantee. If you’re tired of replacing electric shop vacs in your shop, EXAIR has the solution you need. Feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you select the best system for your application. I know you’re also dying to know what caused the leak on the coffee machine. This was fixed with a new seal and no more leaks! Needless to say, my wife is thrilled she’s not cleaning up after me every morning :).

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com

Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

One Product, Two Solutions: EXAIR’s Vac-U-Gun for Blowing and Vacuuming

I’m a big fan of any device that has numerous applications or dual uses. This is even more critical when it comes to kitchen appliances in our household. I love spending time in the kitchen cooking, but we’re limited in the amount of space we have for gadgets and appliances. So, anything kitchen-related that comes with many possible applications is immediately something I can get behind. I’m not sure what rock I’ve lived under, but I recently found this clip-on colander/strainer for a few bucks the other day and keep finding myself using it instead of the traditional colanders. The latter is pretty bulky and takes up some prime real estate in my kitchen cupboard, while this little gadget fits nice and snug in a drawer and can accommodate just about any size container. In fact, it could easily replace all (3) of the colanders shown the photo below!

The ol’ trusty colander I’ve used since moving into my first apartment has now been relegated to what I deem the “kitchen appliance graveyard”. Now tucked in a forgotten cabinet downstairs in the basement along with the other misfits and devices I use 1x/year (or less….).

Which brings me back to the purpose of this blog, EXAIR’s Vac-U-Gun. Speaking of dual-use devices, the Vac-U-Gun has the ability to be operated both as a standard compressed air operated blow gun or as a handheld, powerful vacuum gun.

EXAIR’s Vac-U-Gun is a low-cost solution to a wide variety of industrial housekeeping problems. The Vac-U-Gun has a durable die-cast construction and no moving parts to replace or wear out. In addition to being easy to use, the Vac-U-Gun is also more efficient than ordinary blow guns. By injecting a small amount of compressed air through directed nozzles, a vacuum is then produced on one end and a high output flow on the other. The amplified outlet flow through the Vac-U-Gun is 12 times the compressed air consumption of the gun.

In vacuum mode, the work surfaces can be easily cleaned by vacuuming the debris away rather than blowing it off of the surface. Rather than simply moving the material around the shop floor, it can be contained and transferred to a waste receptacle using the 10’ vacuum hose, or straight into the filter bag.

Switching from vacuum mode to blow mode can be achieved in just a matter of seconds. To change the Vac-U-Gun from vacuum to blow mode, simply remove the threaded cap and change the orientation of the generator inside. Since the Vac-U-Gun has a large 1-1/4” diameter air outlet, it covers much more surface area in less time compared to traditional air guns. This can help to reduce the time needed for a variety of different blowing, cooling, or drying applications. Due to the nature in which the Vac-U-Gun entrains ambient air, it allows for more force and flow through the gun at a minimal compressed air consumption.

The Vac-U-Gun system is available by itself, or in one of three different kits. It can be used with or without the 10’ (3m) vacuum hose or the filter bag. Various vacuum accessories are included in the kits to accommodate a variety of different materials and applications. If you’re looking for a versatile gun that can help boost productivity in a number of applications within your facility, look no further than the Vac-U-Gun.

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com

Twitter: @EXAIR_TD