Choosing the Best Chip Vacuum for Your Application

One Christmas, a long time ago, my Mother In Law gave me a beautifully wrapped present, and a great big smile.  I opened it up…it was an extension cord.  One of those heavy duty orange, indoor/outdoor, 100 foot long models.  I returned her smile, while thinking about all the things I might be able to use it for…and not coming up with anything really solid.

As the family continued to open presents, she disappeared into the other room, and came back with a much larger package and handed it to me…still with that great big smile.  It was a convertible string trimmer; one that worked as a ‘weed eater’ or, with a twist of the handle, an edger.  And it was electrically operated…NOW I knew what the extension cord was for.  As great and useful a gift it was – eighteen years on, and I’m almost competent at edging the sidewalk – I got a valuable lesson from it: accessories make a great gift better.  Since then, I’ve always thoughtfully considered:

  • If I give someone a battery operated gift, I give them batteries too.
  • If it comes with its own rechargeable battery, I carefully open the package and charge it up, before I wrap it up.
  • If accessories are available, I think about how they might use it.  I’ve even presented them with the accessory first, in tribute to my wonderful wife’s wonderful Mom.
  • If there’s a “deluxe” or “premium” version, sometimes it’s worth it to just go all out…again, after consideration of how they might use it.

Now, this is not only the case with presents…many household, commercial, or industrial products offer Deluxe or Premium packages…like the EXAIR Chip Vac System.

At the most basic level, a Model 6193 Chip Vac System for 55 Gallon Drum is all you need to turn an existing drum into a powerful, reliable, durable industrial vacuum.  It comes with a lid & latch ring, Filter Bag, 10 foot vacuum hose, a set of plastic tools, and of course, the Chip Vac itself.  All you need for simple, on-the-spot cleanup purposes.

Model 6193-30 is also available for your existing open-top 30 Gallon Drum.

Sometimes you might have (literally) more ground to cover: the Model 6293 Deluxe Chip Vac System adds a Drum Dolly for mobility, and a Tool Holder to keep the attachments handy.

Deluxe Chip Vac Systems come with a Dolly and Tool Holder in 5 Gallon (left,) 30 Gallon (center,) and 55 Gallon (right) sizes.

Other times, you may just be looking for a complete system, ready to handle everything, right out of the box.  Enter the Model 6393 Premium 55 Gallon Chip Vac System, which adds a heavy duty steel drum, an upgrade to Heavy Duty Aluminum Tools & Static Resistant Vacuum Hose, and a 20ft Compressed Air Supply Hose with Pressure Gauge & Shutoff Valve.

Premium Chip Vac Systems are ready for any cleanup job, right out of the box, and come with 30, 55, or 110 Gallon Drums.

Or, if you’re looking for something lightweight & compact, the Model 6193-5 Mini Chip Vac System comes complete with a 5 gallon drum, and the Model 6293-5 Deluxe Mini Chip Vac System adds a Drum Dolly.

The Mini Chip Vac System comes complete with a 5 Gallon Drum, and the Deluxe System adds a Drum Dolly for mobility.

With no moving parts to wear and no electrical components to burn out, the EXAIR Chip Vac is a virtually maintenance free replacement for noisy, damage-prone electric vacuums.  If you’d like to find out just how handy they are, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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What’s Wrong With My Reversible Drum Vac? Most Likely – Nothing.

If you need to clean up spills, pump out a sump, or basically just move liquid from one place to another, the EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac is what you’re looking for.  The Model 6196 Reversible Drum Vac System is all you need to turn a closed top steel drum into a powerful two-way pumping system. They’re reliable (no moving parts), durable (stainless steel construction), safe (no electricity), they install quickly, they’re compact, and portable. They’re also very low maintenance…in fact, if you supply the Reversible Drum Vac with clean air, it’ll run maintenance free, darn near indefinitely.

That’s not to say things can’t go wrong…Murphy’s Law still applies…but most anything that can go wrong with the EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac can be identified fairly easily, and remedied fairly quickly. Here’s a rundown of “the usual suspects:”

  • Vacuum leaks.  Even small leaks can be a big problem…a crack or split in the hose, a worn hose cuff, a damaged seal, even a hairline crack in the drum or lid…if air can enter anywhere other than the suction end of the hose, vacuum performance can suffer.  The first thing to do in most any troubleshooting procedure is a visual inspection, and the Reversible Drum Vac is no exception.  We stock the gaskets for the vacuum hose quick connect, as well as the drum lid seals.
Make sure the gasket is clean, in good condition                  The hose cuff should fit snugly on the quick connect
and properly seated.                                                                                             elbow’s barbs.
Pay particular attention to drum lid penetrations.               The drum itself can also be susceptible to corrosion.
All EXAIR Industrial Vacuum drum lids come with an EPDM seal glued in place. If it gets rolled (center) or damaged (right) it’ll need to be replaced to ensure optimal vacuum performance.
  • Compressed air supply, part 1. There are some tight passages in the  Venturi chamber inside the Reversible Drum Vac; this is how the vacuum is generated.  Any contaminants such as dirt or rust can accumulate in these passages, hampering the ability to draw its rated vacuum levels.
    Actual photos of dirt, debris, and contamination we’ve found in Reversible Drum Vacs sent in for Factory Refurbishment Service (ask an Application Engineer for details.)

    Use of a Filter Separator (like our Model 9004 Automatic Drain Filter Separator) with a 5 micron particulate element is recommended.  If the Reversible Drum Vac does get dirty inside, though, it can be cleaned pretty easily…here’s a video that walks you through the process:

  • Compressed air supply, part 2.  The Reversible Drum Vac will produce rated performance when supplied with compressed air at 80psig.  Make sure you can get enough air to it; if your supply line is too long and/or too small in diameter, you’ll get line loss…and poor performance. Use a 3/8″ ID compressed air hose, or a 1/2″ ID if it’s longer than about 10 feet, and avoid any restrictions like quick connect fittings.
  • Compressed air supply, part 3.  If you want to fill the drum a little faster, you can increase the supply pressure to 100psig or so.  Too high of a supply pressure can actually degrade vacuum performance, though.  Excessive pressure can create enough flow to overwhelm the Venturi, hampering its ability to generate vacuum.
  • Safety Shutoff Valve Float.  The Reversible Drum Vac provides overflow prevention via a plastic float that rises when the drum is full.  This breaks the vacuum so that no more liquid can be pumped into a full drum.  When the float rises, you’ll hear a change in pitch.  If you hear this, and the drum isn’t full, remove the Reversible Drum Vac from the drum lid and turn it upside down/right side up a few times.  The float should move freely, all the way from the bottom to the top of its chamber.  If it doesn’t, remove it and make sure the float, o-ring, and the inside of the chamber are clean.  Certain chemicals can cause the float and/or o-ring to swell, which will impede its free movement.  If the body of the Reversible Drum Vac is damaged (pro tip: don’t drop it) that can also cause the float to hang up and not work properly.
If the float doesn’t move freely, remove it (snap ring pliers not included,) clean and reassemble.

Like I said, these are just the first things you want to look for, and it’s highly likely you’re going to solve the problem before you reach the end of this list.  If your Reversible Drum Vac (or any EXAIR product) isn’t giving you the results you’re looking for, though, don’t hesitate to call an Application Engineer.  Chances are, the vacuum unit is just fine and just needs a fresh gasket, a little cleanup, or a new drum. We want to make sure you get the most out of our products.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Shot Blasting Media and Dust Problems Solved with EXAIR’s HEPA Vac

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac Family

Have you ever heard an electric vacuum toward the end of its life?  It gets an irritating high-pitch noise caused by the bearings going out.  A customer was hearing this annoying sound after only two months of use.   Their application was shot blasting metal parts.  The shot blast media was very dusty and carried everywhere around the room.  After use, they would use a shop vac to clean the machine and around the area.   When they started to hear that “moan” from their electric vacuum, they knew that they would have to purchase another unit.  Additionally, they noticed a lot of dust migrating into the work environment from the shop vac, creating a breathing hazard for the operators.  After their second electric vacuum failed, they started looking for a better choice.

Sand Blasting Equipment

When they contacted EXAIR about these issues, EXAIR had a great solution for them.  I recommended our model 6399, 55-gallon Premium Heavy Duty HEPA Vac System.  This system comes with a drum, drum dolly, heavy duty accessories, HEPA Filter, and a robust vacuum system.  The heavy-duty accessories are easy to use to vacuum in tight spaces.  The HEPA filter inside the drum has an efficiency of 99.97% at 0.3 micron.  So, the dust will remain in the drum and not migrate back into the ambient air.  The HEPA filter media is pleated to give a large surface area of 36.7 ft2 (3.4 m2).  Packed inside a supported cylindrical, it will allow for great amount of debris before changing.  With the shop vac above, the surface area of the filter was very small causing the filter to plug and under-perform.  The EXAIR Heavy Duty vacuum generator is made from a hardened-alloy steel construction which is very resistant to wear.  It does not have any moving parts or bearings to wear.  For this application, the generator is perfect for the shot blast media.  The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac only requires compressed air to operate, not an electric motor which can fail from dusty environments.  The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac System only has a decibel level of 82 dBA which makes it very quiet compared to shop vacs.  With clean compressed air as the engine for the vacuum, this system can last for years; not months.

When the company above started to use the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac, the first thing that they noticed was how quiet it operated.  That constant loud noise from their electric vacuum was gone, making it a better working environment for the operators.  They also noticed that the dust was not getting back into the environment, reducing the dust nuisance.  If you find that your electric vacuums are breaking down or you would like to reduce the noise levels, EXAIR has a large line of Industrial Housekeeping Products.  You can contact an Application Engineer to see if we have the right vacuum product for you.

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

Reversible Drum Vac Quickly Empties Sump In Close Quarters

I had the pleasure of talking with an operator in a power generating plant recently. A small sump, in a hard-to-access location, needed to be emptied periodically, or it would overflow and make a big mess. They didn’t have room for a “great big” (his words) 30 or 55 gallon drum, and it was difficult to use an electric shop vac because there wasn’t an outlet nearby (it’s a very humid location in the steam plant) so they had to rig an long extension cord through a doorway and down to the lower mezzanine.

They DO have compressed air available…in fact, there was an unused port on a manifold that supplied other pneumatic equipment, right next to the sump. He thought it sounded like an ideal application for the Mini Reversible Drum Vac.

And it was. They put a Model 6196-5 Mini Reversible Drum Vac System on the floor, next to the sump, and empty it (usually 1-2 gallons) on the night shift. They also got a 6569-20 20ft Vacuum Hose, which they use to pump the drum contents into an internal drain system.

Reversible Drum Vac systems are available from 5 to 110 gallon capacity

No more hassles with the electric shop vac and extension cord. No more overflow messes. The most they have to do now is change to the 20ft hose when they empty the drum.

If you’d like to find out how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can make your life easier, give me a call.

EXAIR Industrial Vacuums: Dry Vacuums

Our Industrial Housekeeping vacuums utilize compressed air energy to create a powerful and effective vacuum capable of with standing the harshest of environments. These vacuums have no moving parts to wear out or replace, run quietly and are built to be placed upon your own drum or may be purchased with a drum.

EXAIR has three dry/solid vacuum systems available they are the Chip Vac, Heavy Duty Dry Vac and the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac.

The EXAIR Chip Vac picks up wet or dry chips and delivers them directly into an ordinary open-top drum.  The Chip Vac is used to clean chips from fixtures, floors and work surfaces of machining centers, lathes, saws, mills and other industrial equipment.  The Chip Vac is the ideal choice for quick and efficient cleaning.  The Chip Vac can also be used to vacuum wood or plastic chips and can be used occasionally for dusty materials since it incorporates a filter bag to keep the surrounding air clean.

The 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Chip Vac’s consume 40 SCFM @ 80 PSI while the 5 Gallon size consumes 33 SCFM @ 80 PSI.  All 4 models are rated at a super quiet 77 dBA!

chipvac_family
5, 30, 55, and 110 Gallon Chip Vacs

The Heavy Duty Dry Vac like the Chip Vac can attach to ordinary open-top drums.  Designed to withstand tough industrial environments the proprietary hardened alloy pump deliver powerful performance with superior abrasion resistance.  They are used for a wide variety of applications that include abrasive materials such as steel shot, garnet, metal chips and sand!  Please know that while very powerful it is still suitable for general applications such as vacuuming floors, machines, work stations and industrial equipment.

The 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Heavy Duty Dry Vac’s consume 68 SCFM @ 80 PSI and have a sound level of 82 dBA.

6397
Available in 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Sizes

Finally the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac has the added benefit of the HEPA quality filter system.  Filtration per IEST-RP-CC-007 to 99.97% minimum filtration at the 0.3 micron level ensures performance meets the needed criteria.  Like the Chip Vac and the Heavy Duty Dry Vac it will attach to ordinary open top drums as well.

The 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Heavy Duty HEPA Vac’s consume 68 SCFM @ 80 PSI and have a sound level of 82 dBA.

6399
Available in 30, 55 & 110 Gallon Sizes

When you look at the EXAIR vacuum producing units, you will notice there is not an electrical cord.  That is because the EXAIR Industrial Housekeeping Products utilize compressed air for operation, therefore they do not have the same issues with wear, breakdown and failures as electrical type vacuums. Quite simply there are no moving parts in the vacuum units to wear out or break.  They are maintenance free, just make sure the air supply is clean & dry, and they will operate for a long time due to the fact that there are no motors and bearings to wear out and no impellers to clog.

If you would like to discuss Industrial Housekeeping or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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EXAIR’s Vac-U-Gun: Blowoff or Vacuum with Just One Gun!

Now through the end of May, EXAIR is running a promotion on the Industrial Housekeeping Products that includes a FREE Vac-U-Gun with any purchase of an Industrial Housekeeping Vacuum System. 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.

vgapp1
Vac-U_Gun cleaning up shavings after a sawing operation

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.

The Vac-U-Gun is capable of both vacuuming material, as well as being operated as a blow 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.

vac u gun orientation

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.

vac u gun kits

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

The Case for the Chip Vac

EXAIR Chip Vacs come in a range of sizes, and options, to meet the needs of most any clean up job.

The season for spring cleaning – spring, that is – is upon us (here in the Northern Hemisphere anyway) so it’s time to start looking for ways to make the task as easy and hassle-free as possible. That’s my take, anyway…and if you feel the same trepidation (or maybe even dread) as me, then this blog is for you. If you are one of those people who LIKES cleaning (you know who you are,) there’s something here for you too.  Without further ado, let’s talk about the EXAIR Chip Vac Systems.

The first thing you should know is that, like all EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products, Chip Vac Systems are compressed air operated.  Why is this important?

*Safety – there’s no electric power cord or cable to trip over, damage, or get wet…all of which can be an electrocution hazard.

*Consistency – unlike a typical shop vac, which has a motor driven impeller/propeller to generate the vacuum flow, the Chip Vac creates powerful direct flow action from the compressed air supply.  With no moving parts in the way, there’s nothing to trap debris or clog the line.  If it can fit through the hose, the Chip Vac can suck it into the drum.  Every time, all the time.

*Reliability – electric motors can overheat and burn out if you run them continuously for long periods of time – or if you start and stop them frequently.  Not so with the Chip Vac…it’s pulling rated vacuum and flow as soon as you cut in air to it.  And if you supply it with clean, dry air, the Chip Vac will operate darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.

At EXAIR, our motto of being “easy to do business with” applies to not only all aspects of Customer Service and Technical Support; it’s even integral to our systems design.  What does this mean for the Chip Vac?

*Versatility – we make Chip Vac Systems for 30, 55, or 110 gallon drums.  If you don’t already have an open top drum to install one on, we can supply the drum too.

*PortabilityDeluxe Chip Vac Systems come with a dolly for your drum, so you can roll it wherever you need it.  The 30 Gallon Chip Vac Systems are compact enough to fit through just about any passageway that you can walk through.  But in tighter constraints…

*Portability, part 2Mini Chip Vac Systems come complete with a 5 gallon drum that can be easily carried or lifted to just about anywhere you need it to go.  The Deluxe System even comes with a dolly, for total portability.

*Resourcefulness – because they fit standard drums, they’re easy to move from one drum to another.  This is of particular value to machine tool operators who work with different materials: they can use the Chip Vac on one drum to vacuum up aluminum chips from one job, and then move it to another to clean up stainless steel chips from another job.  This makes recycling quick, easy, and profitable.

If you’d like to find out more about how EXAIR Chip Vac Systems – or any of our Industrial Housekeeping Products, can improve the efficiency and safety of your cleaning tasks (Spring or otherwise,) give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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