A brief video showcasing the EXAIR model 9061, Ultrasonic Leak Detector’s, performance on vacuum leaks. For more information or questions on what else the ULD can be used for, contact an Application Engineer!
Well, a lot, actually…if that name is EXAIR. I wrote a blog just last week about how a set of Super Air Knives solved a MAJOR problem with a brand new aluminum sawing application – the company got those Super Air Knives on the recommendation of the Maintenance Supervisor, who had used them, with great success, at a previous company.
Even more recently, I had the pleasure of helping a caller from an engineering firm that specifies a wide range of our products for use in their OEM machinery:
Turns out, they use a good amount of compressed air in their manufacturing facility and (did I mention they’re an engineering firm?) they’re interested in implementing a facilities resource management program. For one part of this, they want to know how much compressed air they’re using, when they’re using it, and what they’re using it for. And when presented with a question about compressed air, they thought about EXAIR…and wanted to know more about the Digital Flowmeter.
We discussed everything from theory of operation, to best practices for installation (location, position, etc.,) to accuracy, to getting the flow data…and we’ve got a few options for that:
*The Digital Flowmeter itself can output a 4-20mA signal, or there’s an optional RS-485 output board available.
*The USB Data Logger connects directly to the Digital Flowmeter and records flow rate data – about 9 hours’ worth if measured once a second; 2 years’ worth if measured every 12 hours. When removed from the Digital Flowmeter and plugged into your computer, you can use its software, or Microsoft Excel, to view & analyze the data.
*The Summing Remote Display offers instant indication of current flow rate, previous 24 hours’ air consumption, and cumulative total usage, all at the push of a button.
The latter turned out to be the best fit for my caller – the main supply header runs right past his office, and, if he can sell his facilities folks on it, he can install the Summing Remote Display on the wall, right next to his desk. Easy as that.
EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products have made a name for themselves in many places like this. Here at the factory, we’re all dedicated to spreading, and reinforcing, that reputation for excellence. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.
This is a pretty common question when it comes to Vacuum Generator use in pick-and-place application, and although we can’t boil it down to a simple table & formula based on mass (like we can with the Vacuum Cups themselves,) we can usually hone right in on it, if we have enough details of the situation. And, if questions remain, we can always test one to find out…we’ve got an Efficiency Lab.
That’s what I did, first thing this morning. I had the pleasure of speaking with a robotics instructor at a vocational school yesterday…his class was building a robot to enter in a competition, and one of the operations it needs to accomplish is picking up a golf ball and carrying it a certain distance. This sounded like a great application for a small E-Vac Vacuum Generator, and, considering the potential leakage at the Vacuum Cup face from the dimples on the golf ball, my first instinct was to consider our Model 810002M E-Vac Low Vacuum (Porous Duty) Generator w/Muffler, and a Model 900766 Bellow Style Vacuum Cup, with a 0.73″ diameter face…our smallest, and ideally sized for a golf ball. They, however, have a VERY limited supply of compressed air, so the difference between the Model 810002M’s compressed air consumption (2.3 SCFM @80psig) and the Model 800001M E-Vac High Vacuum (Non-Porous Duty) Generator w/Muffler (1.5 SCFM @80psig) was worth considering. Also, we figured that they might be able to use a Model 900804 Check Valve, so the only time they’d need to supply air was to pick it up, and, possibly intermittently to maintain the vacuum. So, golf ball in hand, off to the Efficiency Lab I went. I also took our trusty video camera:
As you can see, it locked on to the golf ball instantly, and the Check Valve allowed the Vacuum Cup to hold the ball for over 13 seconds with no air flow to the E-Vac, proving that there isn’t much leakage at all past those dimples. I suspect we’ll be seeing this robotics class team in the winner’s circle at the competition.
In most cases, the difference between 1.5 SCFM and 2.3 SCFM consumption may go unnoticed when picking a short-duration pick-and place vacuum generator. The higher usage product’s supply pressure can always be regulated down to reduce compressed air consumption and use only what’s necessary to do the task…we, in fact, recommend that on ANY compressed air application. In this case, though, it was worth finding out.
If you have a pick-and-place application that you’d like help with in selecting the right system, give me a call.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk to a customer who was looking to prime a pump to remove a liquid out of an 8 foot deep tank. He was pulling in the liquid through 1 1/2″ pipe and wanted to prime the pump in 5 seconds. This was an interesting application for me, because it had some tangible numbers for the design. In most applications with the E-Vac Vacuum Generators, a customer needs to lift something heavy and they need the job done fast. Those terms are very subjective, and we have to try and prognosticate what vacuum generator will work for the customer. Yesterday was different, the customer had some really defined limits, and I knew what I needed to do in order to satisfy the application. The engineer in me was very happy with the situation.
Let’s start with the parameters. He was looking to lift water 8 feet vertically. 8 feet of water corresponds to 7.06 inches of mercury. The porous E-Vac can generate vacuum up to 21 inches of mercury and the non-porous E-vacs can generate 27 inches of mercury, so all of the E-Vac models can easily draw the liquid up the 8 feet of piping. This is where most vacuum generator applications stop, but not this one. If time is not a concern the 800001 will use the least amount of air (1.5 SCFM @ 80 PSIG of inlet) and get the job done, but how long will it take?
This is where you need to use the evacuation charts, from EXAIR.com. Below are two charts from the “Specs” tab for Inline E-Vacs.
The 1 1/2″ Pipe that is 8 ft. long has volume of around .1 cubic foot. We need to generate at least a 7.06 inches of mercury, so we will look at the 9 inches of mercury column. It will take the 810002 17.85 seconds to evacuate 1 cubic foot of pipe. The 800001 will take 14.40 seconds to evacuate the same volume, and it will use less air. We will want to use the porous vacuum generator, because we don’t need a very high vacuum to get the job done. If the 800001 can evacuate 1 cubic foot in 14.40 seconds it should be able to evacuate .1 cubic foot in 1.44 seconds which is easily fast enough for the customer. The math also told us the customer could use up to 27.7 feet of hose to lift up that 8 feet, if he needed to take a non linear path. If we know that the customer needed to move the fluid more that 27.7 feet, we could move up to the next vacuum generator to get the job done faster, but it was not necessary in this application.
This is a very real question that we receive often from our customers. And that is why we have a full staff of Application Engineers, to answer just such a question. It is true that EXAIR has quite a variety of product that actually generates a “vacuum flow” of air. We have Air Amplifiers, Light Duty Line Vac, Line Vac, Heavy Duty Line Vac, Adjustable E-vac as well as Modular and In-Line E-vac products. And that doesn’t even include our choices within the Industrial Housekeeping product group.
Back to the question at hand, how do I narrow my choices for which vacuum generator to use? The manner in which we approach such a question has to do with the application itself. We view the available range of product as a spectrum of choices from high volume, low vacuum (Air Amplifiers) air movers to low volume, high vacuum (In-Line E-vacs) air mover choices.
How do we navigate the choices? It depends on the needs of the application. Allow me to give a few quick examples to give you an idea.
Example 1: The customer has a large air bag used in the trucking industry which is placed along-side a payload in order to reduce shifting during travel. The requirements of this application are that the bag be inflated and deflated in a reasonable time. The air pressure needed within the bag is considered quite low. So, in this case, we would gravitate toward using something along the lines of our Air Amplifier or Light Duty Line Vac which are more suited for this range of air moving applications where just air or perhaps light smoke or fumes may need to be transported.
Example 2: The customer has a shot blasting operation in which they need to collect the blast media back up into a central container for re-use or perhaps for recycling. In this scenario, the media itself actually needs to be moved and it is a rather dense, metal shot that needs a high velocity airflow to get it up and moving from point A to point B. Our Heavy Duty Line Vac is the perfect candidate for this kind of need as it delivers a good combination of high vacuum and high volume air movement to achieve goals of this nature.
Example 3: The customer has a reaction chamber in which they need to achieve -9” Hg (Mercury) vacuum in reasonably short time frame. Our Adjustable E-vacs work well to provide both high vacuum (even higher than HD Line Vac) and reasonably high (although lower than HD Line Vac) volume of vacuum flow. So, for applications where you have a large container on which a vacuum needs to be drawn or perhaps you have a large vacuum cup that is working with material that is considered very porous, these are the kinds of applications for which you would look at Adjustable E-vac.
Example 4: The customer has a set of 6 suction cups that are being used on a frame to pick-up a piece of window glass for placement into a window frame. With glass being a non-porous material, the customer only needs enough airflow to evacuate the area of the suction cup and hold on to the material tightly. This is the kind of application for which our In-Line E-vac would come in very handy to produce the low flow, high vacuum flow.
Where does your application fall within this spectrum of uses? You aren’t sure? Then contact our Application Engineering Department and speak with an Engineer today. We are glad to discuss with you and bring clarity to your application need.
Neal Raker, Application Engineer
If you are not sure about which vacuum generator you need or if your application demands lifting a variety of materials, the Adjustable E-Vac is the right choice. This video illustrates how to adjust our Adjustable Vacuum Generators and the flexibility it can contribute within your application.
This Saturday is a big day for college basketball around here: the University of Cincinnati Bearcats will play the Xavier University Musketeers in their 81st matchup, in what is known as the Crosstown Classic. ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas once said “Cincinnati and Xavier have created a rivalry that is unparalleled when it comes to outright passion and civic division.” It’s so big, in fact, that the local TV station broadcasting the game in 1990 was one of the few stations in the country showing something other than the State of the Union address. THAT’S big.
I had the pleasure of assisting a caller with a big problem involving basketballs (and other inflatable sports balls) recently. They do custom printing on these sports balls, which need to be inflated to do the printing, but must be DEflated before shipping…this is especially important when there are a BUNCH of them…like when a vendor at, say, an event like the Crosstown Classic might be selling promotional basketballs with the Official Logo on them.
Anyway, they had rigged up a standard electric powered shop vacuum through a series of adapters to get to the needle that’s used to inflate/deflate the ball, but it took a while, didn’t fully the deflate the ball, and the electric motor burned up on them. Since a big part of their operation was inflating balls, they had compressed air available, and were interested in seeing if an E-Vac Vacuum Generator would work.
We supplied them with a Model 800008M In-Line Low Vacuum Generator E-Vac – these generate more vacuum flow than the High Vacuum models, and, since only needed to evacuate the air, this was ideal. They were able to easily adapt from the 800008M’s 3/8” NPT vacuum port to their needle, and it even made for a very convenient, quiet, hand-held operation.
I won’t be attending the Big Game this weekend – EXAIR’s family Christmas party is that day – but my support goes where my tuition money went: GO BEARCATS!
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