EXAIR Mini Chip Vac: Phase 2 for Improving Medical Devices

Medical Anatomy

In my previous blog about the manufacturing facility that machined small plastic components for the medical industry, I explained how the Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit was able to improve the machining process by eliminating static.  (You can read the blog here: EXAIR Ion Air Jets: Phase 1 for improving medical devices).  With their machining center being in a semi-clean room, cleanliness was very important.  So, after each machining operation, they would have to sweep the plastic chips from the machining table and discard.  This extended the cycle time in their machining operation.

Since they had such a great relationship with EXAIR in dealing with their previous application, they contacted us again to improve their cleanup operation.  Non-conductive materials like plastic generates static on the surface when the material is peeled, shifted, or rubbed against another surface.  Since we removed the static from the plastic shavings with the Stay Set Ion Air Jet, we wanted to target that area before static could regenerate and start “sticking” to clean parts.  In getting more details about their setup, they were machining with vertical CNC mills.  The mills had a platform table that had a pneumatic fixture to grab the medical part.  Before machining began, the operators would have to close Plexiglas doors as a safety requirement.  The CNC mills did have an opening at the top of the machine.  (This was where they were supplying the Stay Set Ion Air Jet with compressed air and power supply.)

Mini Chip Vac

With my experience, I had a good suggestion for refining their cleaning operation.  I suggested the model 6193-5 Mini Chip Vac System.  This system uses compressed air to generate a vacuum for picking up chips.  The vacuum generator does not have any moving parts or bearings to wear; so, they are very durable and long-lasting.  The Mini Chip Vac System uses a 5 gallon drum which is very compact and easy to use in tight areas.  The system includes a 0.1 micron filter to keep all the contamination inside the drum and not allowing it to escape back into the room air.  (Very necessary in a semi-clean location.)  Even for its small size, the Mini Chip Vac is very powerful and quiet.  It has a decibel rating of only 77 dBA; so, noise will not be a nuisance when operating the vacuum.  It comes standard with a 10 foot vacuum hose which make it easy to reach into tight areas to clean.

As a suggestion, I recommended that they could collect the plastic shaving during the machining process Instead of waiting until after the operation to clean.  They could mount the Mini Chip Vac drum near the machine, and bring in the vacuum hose through the opening at the top.  The suction end of the vacuum could be placed on the opposite side of the Stay Set Ion Air Jet.  In conjunction, the Stay Set Ion Air Jet would remove the static and swarf from the plastic surface; at the same time, the Mini Chip Vac would collect and remove the plastic shavings from the machining area.  This combination of EXAIR products would keep the parts clean as well as the machining area.  When they installed the Mini Chip Vac System into their process, they almost doubled their production rate.

If you are dealing with messy chips in your machining operation, the EXAIR Chip Vac Systems can be a solution for you.  For the customer above, I was able to find a simple way to use the Mini Chip Vac to keep the area clean and increase their production rates.  If you are spending too much time in cleaning up your area, you can contact an Application Engineer to find the best solution to streamline your operation.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Muscles Anatomy Medical Human by Heblo/64.  CC0 Public Domain

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I think we have all heard the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – a phrase that is thought to have originated back in 70’s when environmental protection became a governmental policy.

We at EXAIR can help your company follow this important principle and help to keep your costs down as well.

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Reduce – Reduce the number of times you change out your coolant, reduce your wastewater. Our Reversible Drum VAcs and Chip Trappers help keep your coolant clean by providing a simple and effective method to remove and/or strain your coolant.

Also, remember this – they are VERY hard to break or ruin. If you have one of our liquid handling Reversible Drum Vacs or Chip Trapper units, and the performance isn’t quite as you remember it to be, give us a call.   We can help to trouble shoot and narrow in on the root cause.  Most of the time, it is a simple fix, such as a air leak or a change to the air supply system that has caused a drop in performance. If we have eliminated all of those possible causes, we can offer the RDVREFURB option. Simply send in your Reversible Drum Vac pump unit, and we will do a free evaluation. Then we’ll let you know what we find, and provide a quote for the repair.  The repair typically involves a thorough cleaning, replacement of a few basic parts, and then setting and testing to original factory specification.  Because the unit has no moving parts, there isn’t much that can break down or go wrong.  Don’t throw away that unit, REDUCE the amount of waste you create.

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Reuse – Maybe you have a Super Air Knife in storage that is not in use, and you come up with a need, but the Knife doesn’t quite match the application.  We can provide new custom shim to change the air flow pattern.  Perhaps you have a 24″ Super Air Knife, but the new application requires only 18″ of airflow.  You can send the knife in and we can clean it up and install a new custom shim to provide the exact airflow pattern that meets your requirements.  Or, we can send the new shim directly to you for your team to install. Don’t let the unused product lie around, REUSE it for another process or application.

Super Air Knife

Recycle – If for what ever reason a product has been deemed to be no-longer viable and cannot be reused, the time comes to dispose of it.  We hope that you would take the time to recycle it properly. With materials of construction including brass, aluminum and type 303 and type 316 stainless steels, most EXAIR products can be RECYCLED as common metals and you may even get a little money back!

To discuss your processes and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can provide a beneficial service, 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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Photo Credit – “Recycling” by Andy Arthur is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Think Of Quality And Service, Think Of EXAIR

As an Application Engineer at a direct sales manufacturing company, I get to talk to a LOT of people about potential uses for our quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products. And, I’m happy to say, most of them I can even help with…even if the answer is “that’s just not gonna work.” Those are few and far between, however, and we can usually point someone in a better direction in those cases.

By the time we’ve “drilled down” into an application discussion far enough to make a product recommendation, we’ve got a pretty good feeling about it, and a vast majority of the time, our product solves the application in a big way. So big, in fact, that it makes them think of EXAIR again, and again.

Case in point: not long after I started here in 2011, I had the pleasure of helping someone out with some pick-and-place rigs on their packaging line…small products, bulk packaged for shipment to retail outlets. They used our Model 810003M E-Vac High Vacuum Generator and 900762 Small Round Vacuum Cups. Over the years, they’ve added some new products, and some more of the E-Vac pick-and-place rigs. It’s always good to hear from them, and I really believe the feeling is mutual.

EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generators provide a simple and reliable solution to pick-and-place applications.

Now, they want to automate a little clean-up operation where pilot holes are drilled in a plastic part, and are considering an intermittently operated vacuum. The concern is, if they use an electric powered one, the starting & stopping will take a toll on the motor. And they’re right.

So, the Model 6193-5 Mini Chip Vac System is up for consideration. Because it’s compressed air operated, constant starting & stopping is no problem…and, it’s generating vacuum immediately, so it’s ideal for quick bursts of cleanup suction action. No electric motor to burn out, no moving parts to wear – it’s a long term, maintenance-free solution.

Quiet and compact, the Mini Chip Vac is an ideal solution for a variety of industrial housekeeping needs.

If you’re an EXAIR engineered compressed air product user, I want to thank you for your business. If you’d like to discuss a particular compressed air product application (regardless of whether you’re a current user or not!) give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Viscosity – Why it Matters

EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.  We work every day with air properties, such as compressed air pressures and flow rates, when evaluating product performance to provide a solution to a customer problem. We also need to be versed on a certain liquid property, viscosity, as it relates to the operation of (2) of the EXAIR product families, the Atomizing Spray Nozzles and the Industrial Housekeeping liquid vacuums (Reversible Drum Vac and Chip Trapper).

Viscosity is often referred to the thickness of a fluid.  A common example would be water and honey.  Water is a low viscosity fluid, while honey is a high viscosity material.

Dynamic, Shear, or Absolute Viscosity is a measure of the resistance to shearing flow.  If you think of 2 plates (see below) with the bottom one stationary and the top one moving horizontally, and with a fluid between them – this illustrates Absolute Viscosity. When the top plate moves to the right, there will be induced multiple horizontal layers of the fluid, each moving at different speeds (the fluid will be at rest at the bottom, and the top layer will move with the top plate.) The friction generated between the layers will give rise to a force resisting this motion.  The force is proportional to the speed and area of the plate and inversely proportional to the distance between the plates.Capture

In simplest terms, viscosity is the ratio of the shear stress, τ,  to the velocity gradient du/dy.  Of concern to us, it takes more force to cause a very viscous (thick like honey) fluid flow.

Centipoise, cP,  is the common unit of measure for viscosity, and 1 cP is equal to 0.01 g/cm/s.

Water has a viscosity of 1 cP at room temperature and honey ranges from 2,000-10,000 cP.

How does all this relate to EXAIR? It relates to EXAIR because we engineer products to specifically move and use liquids. There are limitations to the viscosity each of these products can handle and still perform well.

The EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles can be used with liquids up to 800 cP. The Internal Mix type nozzles can be used on liquids up to 300 cP. The External Mix nozzles can be used with liquids over 300 cP and up to 800 cP.  Lastly, the Siphon Fed models are good to 200 cP, and do not require a pressure source for the liquid. Each nozzle type will atomize the fluid and provide a very small droplet size, which is ideal for washing,  rinsing, coating, cooling and other applications. Exceeding the cP each of these nozzles are designed to use will result in larger droplet sizes and a more inconsistent fluid flow, which may impact your process.

atomizing nozzle
Atomizing Spray Nozzle

The other EXAIR product family where viscosity is important, is the Industrial Housekeeping Products, especially the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac and High Lift Chip Trapper.  They are capable of moving liquids with viscosities of up to 1400 cP through 20′ of hose.  Simply provide compressed air and turn any closed head drum into a high powered liquid vacuum. Great for coolant, hydraulic oils, waster water, and many other fluids. For these products, as the cP increases, so does the time it will take to move the liquids into or out of the drum.

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High Lift Reversible Drum Vac

To discuss your fluid viscosity 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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Taking My Job home With Me (I Wish!)

Last week, as Mother Nature was doing her typical dance between warm, almost Spring like days and then quickly reverting back to her Winter ways, the southwestern Ohio area was hit with a powerful storm. Luckily, my neighborhood area was spared the really strong winds and tornadic activity that nearby areas experienced.  We did however receive a decent amount of rainfall.

Every Spring when the ground is still slightly frozen, the first good rain always leads to some water  leakage into my basement.  The water comes in through the gaps between the floor and the walls and even seeps up through some of the floor cracks.  I have my theories as to why it only happens in the spring, but I’ll save that for another day.  As the blog title says, I wish I had taken home a Reversible Drum Vac with me.

EXAIR  manufactures the Reversible Drum Vac (RDV) System, which attaches quickly to to any 30, 55, or 110 gallon closed head drum. The Mini Reversible Drum Vac has the same great performance and comes complete with a 5 gallon drum.  Coupled with the Spill Recovery Kit, using the RDV to vacuum up the rain water would have been a short and simple process.  Using a mop, towels, fans and a dehumidifier took much longer and still did not get everything dry.

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30, 55 and 110 Gallon Reversible Drum Vac Systems

 

The compressed air operated Reversible Drum Vac System is a high powered vacuum that can fill a 55 gallon drum in less than 2 minutes, and with a simple turn of the a knob, the same stainless steel pump quickly empties the drum.  With no electric motor to wear out, or impellers to clog, the RDV is designed to work in industrial environments.  An automatic safety shutoff valve prevents the system from over-filling.

EXAIR also manufactures systems made for cleaning up solids, such as machining chips and other debris.

To discuss your application and how the EXAIR Industrial Housekeeping Products 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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Daylight Savings Time = Spring Is Coming!

This coming Saturday, 3/12/17, the U.S. will observe Daylight Savings Time, commonly referred to as “spring forward and fall back” here in the eastern states. On the second Sunday in March at 2:00 AM, we “spring” our clocks forward 1 hour to 3:00 AM and this lasts through November when we then “fall” back from 2:00 AM to 1:00 AM. The goal of the practice is to provide more daylight through the evening hours of the spring and summer months.

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Don’t be “alarmed”, warmer temps are coming!

For me personally, it means one less hour of sleep and now my 8 year old son tries to reason with me on why he can stay outside and play longer now on school nights. YAY! The time change also reminds us that Spring is almost here but really we can’t complain too much here in Cincinnati, OH as we have had a fairly mild winter to say the least. With the warmer temperatures coming and the extra hour of daylight, it’s time to start the proverbial “spring cleaning” around the house and yard. And trust me, with an active 8 year old and a soon-to-be 2 year old, I have more than enough maintenance items to keep myself busy.

Here at EXAIR, we understand the importance of keeping industrial areas clean and tidy to maintain steady production as well. Our full line of compressed air operated Industrial Housekeeping Products provide a fast, reliable and virtually maintenance free way to keep critical processes flowing smoothly. Take for example our Reversible and High Lift Reversible Drum Vacs, used to vacuum spent coolant or other liquids and deposit them to a standard closed head steel drum. Or our Chip Trapper or High Lift Chip Trapper, which filter out suspended solids in liquids and captures them in a reusable filter bag inside the drum. With the simple turn of a knob, all of these units can be “reversed” to a powerful pump, to empty the drum to another reservoir or collection device. For dry material handling we offer our Chip Vac system or for more abrasive dry material, like steel shot, the Heavy Duty Dry Vac. When it comes to dusty areas, we offer our Heavy Duty HEPA Vac, providing HEPA filtration or 99.97% at 0.3 micron. ALL of these products are available in 30, 55 or 110 gallon systems.

From now through May 31, 2017, by ordering one of the above systems, we’ll include a FREE Vac-u-Gun with your purchase. You will need to order using the special promo code.

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Click for promotional Model # for ordering

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Silhouette of an Alarm Clock image courtesy of zeevveez via Creative Commons license.

 

 

Will an EXAIR Vacuum Work with This Material?

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Activated carbon pellets in need of vacuuming

At the heart of EXAIR’s dry vacuum systems are a modified design to our Line Vac air operated conveyors.  These units convert a compressed air supply into a powerful vacuum source with no moving parts and thus no components to wear out.  This, in turn, translates to an instantaneous vacuum supply that is both durable and maintenance free.

These aspects of our vacuum systems led a pharmaceutical research company in Macau to contact us about using a Heavy Duty Dry Vac in one of their applications.  The complete details of the application were proprietary, but information about the specific use was made available.

What this customer needed to do, was to vacuum activated carbon chips in batches of ~300kg (660 pounds) into a contained drum or bag.  The ultimate question in the application was whether an EXAIR Heavy Duty Dry Vac system can vacuum 300kg of activated carbon.  And, if it can, how long will it take?  To answer these questions we turned to a bit of data about the activated carbon, and the potential vacuuming rate of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac System.

Activated carbon has a bulk density of ~0.52 g/cm³ (~32.5 pounds/ft³), and the Heavy Duty Dry Vac can vacuum this type of material at a rate of ~30kg/min. or more (~66 pounds/min. or more).  This means that we’ll be able to vacuum the full 300kg of activated carbon in ~10 minutes!

But, where will it all go?

If we were to use a 55 gallon Heavy Duty Dry Vac, we could vacuum ~105 kg. (232 pounds) of this material before filling the drum.  But, if we use a 110 gallon system, we will double this capacity while keeping the performance and compressed air demand of the system exactly the same.

The multiple sizes of EXAIR vacuum systems provided a wide array of solution options in this application.  After discussing these options and receiving a request for distributor contact in China, we passed this customer over to our Chinese distributor.

Providing solutions for industrial applications is the forte of EXAIR Application Engineers.  It doesn’t matter if the application is here in the States, or overseas, we’re available for any questions our customers have.

If you’d like to discuss your application with an EXAIR Application Engineer we’re available by phone, email, or online chat.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE