Dust Suppression with an EXAIR Atomizing Nozzle

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An EXAIR Atomizing Nozzle used to minimize dust in the feed bowl of a cement mixer.

One of the most difficult aspects of handling and working with dusty materials is suppression of airborne contaminants.  Small particles can easily become a dust cloud, minimizing visibility and decreasing the quality of working conditions.  This then leads to lower productivity, low morale, and a missed opportunity to maximize the potential of personnel and equipment.

Our distributor in New Zealand recently assisted one of their customers facing this set of problems when working with cement and microsilica as it was poured into a mixer.  An exhaust fan was in place, but failed to extract the dust sufficiently, so a new approach was needed to minimize the dust.

 

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An AN2010SS No Drip Atomizing Nozzle provides the needed dust suppression in this application.

 

The solution was to use an EXAIR AN2010SS No Drip Internal Mix Atomizing Nozzle, shown above in the red box, to produce an atomized water mist.  The dust produced during pouring is captured by the small droplets of atomized water produced with this nozzle, reducing the dust and allowing proper use of the mixer.

 

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The 9218 Stay Set Hose positions the atomizing nozzle where it needs to be.

 

In order to position the nozzle exactly where it needs to be, an 18” Stay Set Hose, shown above with the red arrow, was used to position the nozzle.  This hose is built specifically to have “memory” of the desired position, allowing for quick, easy, and repeatable position of the nozzle attached to the hose.

This simple setup is controlled through a timer to ensure water and compressed air use realize maximum efficiency.  It’s an easy solution to a painful problem for this customer.

If you’d like to explore how an EXAIR solution can solve problems in your facility or application, please contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

 

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Taming The Dust Cloud With EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles

Have you ever dropped one of your nice dinner plates on a tiled kitchen floor? And noticed how they seem to go in slow motion as they hurtle to their doom? I never cease to be impressed at how far some of the smaller pieces can go. I recently had to replace our oven, and I found broken dishware shards (and an impressive amount of trash scraps, pet toys, and ‘dust bunnies’) all the way against the back wall.

Curiously, as small as the pieces can be when a dinner plate meets its end, it started its life in even smaller pieces…as a fine ceramic powder, pressed into a mold and heated to a temperature that is WAY hotter than when the server at your favorite restaurant warns you that plate “might be hot.”

I’m writing about this because recently, I had the pleasure of assisting a maker of ceramic dishware with a messy little problem…this fine ceramic powder is moved from where it’s produced, to the various mold stations (dinner plates, salad plates, saucers, etc.) on a vibratory belt conveyor. The vibration keeps the powder loose and homogenous, both of which are extremely important to the molding & firing process. It also causes a cloud of dust to rise along the entire length of travel, and they wanted to minimize this. Their chemists had told the engineer who called me that they could live with a small amount of moisture, as long as it wasn’t enough to make the powder clump up – this would evaporate out at a point closer to the molds anyway.

This was an ideal application for the EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles…they produce a fine mist of liquid that is precisely controllable…one Model AW1010SS Internal Mix, Wide Angle Round Pattern Nozzle was installed near the beginning of the line, and once they find out how long it takes the dust-suppression supplied by the misted water to evaporate away, they will install more nozzles accordingly.

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles are a perfect solution for dust suppression.

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles are a perfect solution for dust suppression.

EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles are ideal for situations where you need a fine liquid mist and fine adjustment of the flow & pattern. With ninety models to choose from, we’ve got the one you’re looking for. Call me if you want to find out more.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Super Ion Air Knife Removes Dust From Yogurt Cups

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A yogurt cup

Part of the due diligence in discussing applications with our customers is gathering an understanding of their application process and needs.  In emails, phone calls, or online chats, we determine the parameters and constraints of the application to be sure that we have a proper solution to offer.  And, if we don’t, we explore custom solutions or help find something available outside of EXAIR.

In a recent email exchange with a yogurt manufacturer I received the photo below showing the filling process for their yogurt cups.  The adage goes that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and it certainly holds true here.  The full process is shown, with labels and dimensions.  What more could you ask for to understand the flow of the application?

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The filling process for yogurt cups in this application

In this system, small dust particles were adhering to the internal walls of the yogurt cups.  When the cups would pass through the vacuum unit, the station designed to remove any dust or debris, static cling would prevent the system from removing all the dust.  Then, in the filling station, yogurt would be fed into insufficiently cleaned cups, resulting in defects and wasted product.

This customer contacted EXAIR in search of a solution to remove the static on the inside of the cups, and to help facilitate removal of the dust, if possible.  What they found was a perfect solution in our Super Ion Air Knife.

When the cups exit the feeder and enter the conveyor, they are placed in the same orientation with (6) cups across the conveyor over a width of 580mm (22.8”).  By installing a static eliminating solution over the conveyor at this point, we can remove the static before the cups enter into the vacuum cleaning station.  And, if we can provide a blowoff source as well, we can remove the dust particles before the cups are cleaned again via the vacuuming system.

The solution for this application was the stock model 111024 24” Super Ion Air Knife along with model 7907 Power Supply.  This Super Ion Air Knife provides a fully laminar and consistent sheet of static eliminating air, removing both the static and debris from inside the yogurt cups.  Operating at a low pressure (~20 psig), these units are also quiet and consume low volumes of compressed air.

By installing the Super Ion Air Knife into this application, this customer found a solution to remove both static and debris from the product.  In doing so, defects were eliminated and output was increased.

If you have a similar application in need of a similar solution, give us a call.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@exair.com
@EXAIR_LE

EXAIR Provides Blow Off And Static Solution Within Tea Machine

I mentioned in one of my last blogs about how having a camera phone can come in handy when discussing applications.  If there is anything unclear about a description, a quick photo and email can clear things up.

Thankfully, a potential end-user of EXAIR products was proactive and took the liberty to send the video above and the photos below along with a description of their problem.

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Tea bagging machine

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Internal components of the machine

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Internal components. Note the existing vacuum hose.

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Another image of the machine internals.

This is a tea bag making and filling machine.  Inside of the machine, as the tea bags are made and filled with tea, a small amount of dust is created with each bag.  Over time, this dust becomes substantial and collects, and must be removed to prevent disruptions in quality and processing.

The difficulty for this end user, in addition to needing to vacuum the material with something that could withstand this high dust concentration, was that the dust adhered to the machine components due to a static charge.

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Tea dust statically adhered to the machine

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Statically charged tea dust

With the strong static attraction in place, only vacuuming the material could not remove the fine dust sticking to the machine parts.  What they needed was a way to neutralize the static charge so that the dust could be released from the machine components.

We recommended a two-tiered approach.  During one portion of the solution, an Ion Air Jet would provide ionized (static eliminating) air onto a deliberate area while an operator used a Heavy Duty HEPA Vac to vacuum the dust from the same location.  We were, in effect, freeing the dust from the static cling and immediately vacuuming it away.

This was great, except the solution needed to function during machine operation, which meant having an operator standing by was not an option.  So, we had to go back to the drawing board.

In re-examining the application, we noted the existing vacuum lines in place, and considered a way to add addition vacuum.  What we determined was that a pair of Line Vacs could remove the tea dust, but we had to ionize the air in the the chamber in order to remove the static.

The problem with a more permanent installation to remove the static is that the dust present within the machine could pose a problem for the longevity of an ionizer.  Our only option would be to generate the ionized air externally and feed it into the machine, though such an arrangement is not highly desirable because when ducting an ionized airflow, the static eliminating ability of the air is reduced.

This meant that we needed a one-way entrance for the ionized air which did not induce turbulence and deteriorate the static eliminating abilities of the solution.  We came to a proposal to use a 12” Super Ion Air Knife mounted at the top of the machine used in conjunction with an actuated door approximately 12” x 2”.

With everything controlled via the same ladder rung in a PLC, the door actuator and compressed air supply to the Super Ion Air Knife and Line Vacs will engage simultaneously.  The door will open, the knife will blow ionized air, and the Line Vacs will provide additional vacuum for the airborne tea dust.  The vacuumed tea dust will be fed into the existing dust collection system.

The solution is currently being presented to the key stakeholders involved with this application.  If any questions arise, we will be here to help provide any answers we can.  If you have a similarly unique application and need a solution, or just need to brainstorm, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Super Air Knife Used in Mining Application

If you were to look at a graphical representation of the exports from some countries (such as Chile), copper, copper alloys, and other metals would dominate over 50% of the graph.  In order to get all of those metals exported out of the country, they first have to be mined and, in many cases, separated from other, undesirable items, such as rocks or dust.  And, in order to separate the materials, many end users place the products on a conveyor and blow off what isn’t wanted.

We receive calls and emails at EXAIR regularly for these types of applications.  Recently, I received one such email about an application in need of dust and dirt removal from a conveyor during a mining operation.  The conveyor belt had become overrun with dirt and debris that couldn’t be removed by conventional means.  So, the end user sought an alternative, and permanent solution.

It was at this point that the Super Air Knife was considered, and after measuring the width of the conveyor we realized a stock model 110018 would work well.  Following installation of the Super Air Knife, the dust and dirt was removed to within an acceptable level, and the end user sent me the pics below.

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Model 110018 mounted above a conveyor

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After the 110018 Super Air Knife

If you have an application that may benefit from an EXAIR solution, contact one of our Application Engineers.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac Reduces Dust When Vacuuming

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EXAIR Heavy Duty HEPA Vacuum Systems

When selecting the proper EXAIR vacuum system for an application, several details are considered by our Application Engineers.  For example:

Does the vacuum need to vacuum liquids or solids?

If the need is to vacuum solid material, what is the approximate size of the material pieces?

How quickly does the material need to be vacuumed?

What is the compressed air supply available?

Is dust a major concern?

The last question becomes more relevant with finer material, especially dust or small dirt particles.  Many applications have a need for dust control and need a vacuum system capable of maintaining low dust levels.

The EXAIR Heavy Duty HEPA Vac was designed for this exact purpose.  With a HEPA filter that is tested in strict accordance to IEST-RP-CC-007 standards to provide a minimum of 99.97% filtration at the 0.3 micron level, the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac can provide an effective and highly efficient vacuuming method using only compressed air.

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Hopper used for fine powder collection

For example, in the fine dust collection hopper shown above, the hopper undergoes regular cleaning and maintenance which includes a thorough cleaning to remove any fine dust remaining in the hopper. This powder has a tendency to permeate the filtration used in most vacuums, and electrically powered units have continuously failed.

The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac is a perfect fit for this application need as it can provide adequate filtration, and it has no moving parts to wear out.

If you have a dusty or difficult vacuum application in need of a sustainable vacuum system, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to discuss the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Engineered Solutions Are Cost Effective

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One of the easiest ways to solve a blow off application is to install an open pipe or tube; it’s generally quick and available. They are easy to make, mainly you just need some pipe, maybe a hacksaw and hammer, and a way to hook them up to your compressed air system.  They will provide a good amount of force but at the cost of safety, noise level, and air consumption. That’s right: it will cost you in SAFETY, NOISE EXPOSURE and COMPRESSED AIR CONSUMPTION. I’m going to go out on a limb here (not really) and wager there are a number of folks in any organization unwilling to pay those costs – if you are willing, you may want to reconsider.

I have been to many manufacturing facilities where they have used copper line to bend into a tight space and then pump 85 psi into the pipe in order to try and blow a piece of lint out of a roller or to keep trim from getting caught in a pulley system.  In some cases I have seen 3/8″ ID pipe to keep dust and lint out of a pulley.

This is not needed at all.   The estimated flow through a 3/8″ ID tube that is around 3′ long would be roughly 109 SCFM when powered at 85 psig.   All to keep dust off and loose fiber out of a certain area.  The reason they plumbed this large of a piece of tubing into the area was simple, it’s what they had and it worked great (words from the maintenance worker). For additional reference, our 91 SCFM air nozzle produces 4.5 pounds of force which seems a bit of overkill when you can blow dust away with your breath.

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In one instance I looked over the material and scrap they were trying to keep from getting to the outer workings of the machine I made the recommendation for them to utilize a model 1100SSW, –  a 1/4 NPT Stainless Steel Super Air Nozzle w/ Swivel Fitting.   This would give them flexibility to target the right area through the swivel and require them to change the existing tubing out to a schedule 40 threaded pipe, or use a compression style fitting.

By replacing the single nozzle, the customer was able to reduce compressed air consumption in just this single blow off point from 109 SCFM at 85 psig to 14 SCFM at 80 psig inlet pressure.  This single replacement equates to saving 95 SCFM, or $11.40 per 8 hour shift that the blowoff is operated.   If the customer operated this blowoff 24 hours a day it would take a mere 4 days to pay the unit back in air savings.

The above savings do not include the benefit of being able to reduce the overall operating pressure of the compressed air system feeding this application to 80 psig, instead of 85 psig. In case you weren’t aware, if you lower the pressure value where your compressor shuts off, say from 85 psig to 80 psig, it will save an estimated 2.5% of drive energy for their air compressor.   Depending on the type and size of the compressor this could amount to a substantial savings.  This system pressure reduction will also lower the operating pressure of any leaks that may be within the system which will also be another amount of savings.  All of this is from simply replacing open pipe with an engineered nozzle.

This was just one area where the quick and easy way turned out to be the costly and dangerous path.  The best part about our engineered solution is they are all in stock, ready to ship same day.  This means you can find the problem today, have a solution waiting to be installed tomorrow.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

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