E-Vac Vacuum Generators- For More Than Just Pick and Place

A textbook application for vacuum generators is the ‘pick and place’ function.  With ever increasing automation and robotic cells, more and more opportunities present themselves to utilize the E-Vac Vacuum Generator as a part of the system to ‘pick up’ an object and ‘place’ it in a new position. But the E-Vac’s can be used for many more types of applications.

evac_models (2)

In-Line E-Vac

Another popular usage is to hold something in place. One of our customers uses an array of Adjustable E-Vacs to pull a vacuum and hold down various sizes of Styrofoam sheets during a machining operation. The previous system was a 1 hp blower type, and did not offer any flexibility for handling different size sheets. Sheets would slip and produce off quality results. After installing the new design, the system was able to handle any size sheet, and scrap levels went down dramatically.

adjustable_evacs (2)

Adjustable E-Vac

A unique implication that was solved with an E-Vac was to deflate sporting balls.  The customer printed custom logos, and preferred the items to be flat for the printing operation. Using a commercial grade electric shop vac didn’t completely deflate the balls, and motors burned out often.  Using a low vacuum In-Line E-Vac with a quiet Straight Through Muffler, the customer can now quickly and quietly, fully deflate the balls.

Another popular use for the E-Vac is to pull a vacuum for drawing up liquids or gases. A customer that manufactures automotive seats was having issues with the process, where the expanding foam was producing a gas, and the gas would produce pockets and voids in the foam after setting.  The customer used a model 800017 In-Line E-Vac to create a vacuum inside the mold and draw off the gas, eliminating the pockets and the voids in the final product.

Lastly, as I am big fan of recycling, anything and everything, we worked with a customer that recycles the old CRT style of computer monitor  (remember those?) The housing would be sawed in half, so that access to the internal components could be made. Because of the variability in the size and shape of the monitors, the customer was using an adjustable chuck system, which took time to set-up for every monitor, each being a bit different. To speed up the process, an EXAIR In-Line E-Vac and 5″ Suction Cup was implemented, and the monitor held in place by the screen, which was was very consistent in shape from monitor to monitor. This change reduced the set-up time required.

These and other Applications for the E-VACs and all other EXAIR products can be found on the EXAIR website on the Products page, under the Related Info section toward the bottom of each page.

If you have questions regarding E-Vac Vacuum Generators or any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Video Blog: The EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector Works for Vacuum Leaks?

 

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!

 

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

What’s In A Name?

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:

*Air Knives & Nozzles for automated blow offs.
*Cabinet Cooler Systems for electrical/electronics heat protection.
*E-Vac Vacuum Generators for end-of-arm robotics “pick & place.”

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.

EXAIR's Digital Flowmeter w/ USB Data Logger

EXAIR’s Digital Flowmeter w/ USB Data Logger

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.

EXAIR's Remote Summing Display - see current flow rate, previous 24 hours' consumption, or total cumulative usage, at the push of a button!

EXAIR’s Summing Remote Display – see current flow rate, previous 24 hours’ consumption, or total cumulative usage, 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.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Help with Choosing an E-Vac Vacuum Generator

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.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
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Priming the Pump

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.

E-Vac porous evacuation time

Non-porous Evacuation time

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.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

With so Many Vacuum Generator Choices, Which Do I Choose?

SAL                 HDLV                    E-vac

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
nealraker@exair.com

Video Blog: Using an Adjustable E-Vac

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.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

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