HEPA Vac Improves Cleaning Process AND Keeps Operators Safe!

On a recent visit with our Hungarian Distributor, I had the pleasure of visiting an automotive leather manufacturing plant. They process and cut to order a wide variety of different styles of leather used in the manufacturing of European automobiles. In one of their machines, a grinding process is performed that smooths out the cut edges of the material before they’re stitched together.

The grinding process itself is self-contained within the machine, but the significant amount of leather dust created needs to be periodically cleaned out. If not, it ends up accumulating on some of the internal components and increasing the downtime and maintenance required on the machine. Due to this, they implemented a 2x per shift cleaning operation.

The machine has several tight spaces inside where the dust accumulates. They’d shut off the machine and blow out the dust. Then, sweep up all of the dust into a dustpan and dump it in the trash. This entire process took approximately 30 minutes each time for 1-hr/shift. With three shifts operating 24/7, that’s 3-hrs/day of lost production time for this particular cleaning process, still less than what they were experiencing as a result of the machine downtime when they weren’t regularly cleaning it.

HDHEPAVac559

However, the primary concern of theirs was that they were now blowing dust all over the shop causing a potential health hazard to their operators. They wanted a solution that would allow them to clean the machine, without presenting an additional hazard. We tested with a Mini Chip Vac first, but the dust was a bit too fine and was still passing through the filter bag.

For fine dusts such as this, the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac is the more suitable option. After testing the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac, it was clear that this was the solution they were hoping for. The high-powered vacuum made quick work of the dust inside, while keeping it contained inside of the drum by the HEPA filter.

They still need to stop and clean the machine out 2x/shift, but now the process only took 10 minutes. They reduced their overall downtime on this machine per day by 2/3 to just 1hr, while keeping their operators safe. While this wasn’t the reason for looking at new solutions, it was definitely an added benefit. If you’re looking for a maintenance-free vacuum system for cleaning up in your facility, EXAIR has a wide range of Industrial Housekeeping solutions available from stock.

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

Explanation of Hazardous Locations – Class II Div. 1, Groups E, F and G

Per the National Electrical Code (NEC) there are (3) classifications for areas that are defined as hazardous.  They are Class I (gases & vapors), Class II (flammable dusts) & Class III (fibers), the focus of today’s Blog is on Class II locations.

Class II locations are those that are hazardous because of the presence of combustible dust. Note that the dust must be present in sufficient quantities for a fire or explosion hazard to exist. The fact that there is some combustible dust present does not mean a Class II hazardous location exists. Dust is defined as a combustible material that must exist as a finely divided solid of 420 microns (0.420 mm) or less. This will allow the dust to pass through a No. 40 sieve.  Just as in Class I, Division 1 and 2, the subdivision of Class II into Divisions 1 and 2 identifies the likelihood that there is an explosion hazard.

Division 1 locations are defined as an area where the amount of combustible dust is either suspended in the air or accumulated on surfaces in a sufficient concentration to allow for ignition.  The ignition could be caused by a failure or malfunction of the equipment in the classified area.  Group E & F dust (see chart below) are considered conductive and could penetrate into electrical equipment such as electric motors, control panels, electrical panels, etc.. and cause an electrical failure.

Chart1

Group E dusts are metal dusts, such as aluminum and magnesium. In addition to being highly abrasive, and likely to cause overheating of motor bearings if it gets into them. Group E dusts are also electrically conductive and if they are allowed to enter an enclosure can cause an electrical failure.

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Group F dusts are carbonaceous, the primary dust in this group is coal dust. Coal dust has a lower ignition temperatures than those in Group E.  While Group F dust has a higher thermal insulating value than the layer of Group E.  Therefore Group F requires more control of the temperature on the surfaces that the dust settles on. Group E dusts are semi-conductive, however if the voltages are 600 volts or less it is not generally considered a factor.

Chart3

Group G dusts include plastic dusts, most chemical dusts and food-grain dusts. They are not electrically conductive. Generally these dusts have the highest thermal insulating characteristics and the lowest ignition temperatures. Therefore the equipment used in Group G areas must have the lowest surface temperatures to prevent ignition of a layer.

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Lastly, equipment rated for use in Classified Environments have a rating called the Temperature Code or “T-Code”.  This is the temperature or temperature range that the rated device will operate normally and/or in a failed or failing state.  Consider something as common as a light fixture, electric motors, etc.. as they could become hot enough to cause ignition depending on the type of dust in the area.  So be sure to check the “T-Codes” for every piece of equipment that will be used within a Classified Environments.

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When you are looking for expert advice on Hazardous Location Cabinet Coolers or safe, quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products give us a call.   We would enjoy hearing from you.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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Super Blast Safety Air Gun Saves Air vs. an Inefficient Homemade Lance

I was recently contacted by a Chicken Farm in Canada about a blow off application for cleaning the dust and debris off the walls and ceilings in their barns. They currently use a 185 SCFM portable, engine driven compressor and a lance made from 3/4″ open copper tube. The barns are rather large, approximately 10′ high by 500′ long, and they place the compressor in the middle of the barn and have a 250′ length of hose going to the homemade blowoff. This setup worked fine for a minute or so but then the airflow would start to weaken at the point-of-use and the compressor would run continuously as it wasn’t able to maintain pressure to keep up with the demand of the copper pipe.

Picture of existing homemade air lance

After discussing the details of the application, I recommend the customer use our Model # 1214-6 Super Blast Safety Air Gun with 6′ aluminum extension. This would reduce the air demand to 91 SCFM, more suitable for use with the existing 185 SCFM compressor.

 

Super Blast Safety Air Gun Model # 1214

The design of the Super Blast Safety Air Gun features a spring loaded manual valve, providing automatic shutoff and a comfortable foam grip. The 6′ extension provides the extra reach they need to effectively treat the walls and ceilings in the barn.

The Super Blast Safety Air Guns are ideal for wide coverage, long distance applications. They use our Large Super Air Nozzles and Super Air Nozzle Clusters, providing forces levels from 3.2 lbs. up to 23 lbs, depending on which nozzle is fitted on the assembly. Air inlets range from 3/8 FNPT up to 1-1/4 FNPT and aluminum extensions are available in 36″ or 72″ lengths.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact an application engineer.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

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