Removing Chips from a Plastic CNC Router

These CNC routers needed a viable solution to remove and collect plastic chips and debris created during machine operation.

Our distributor in Poland recently emailed me about an application in need of a method to collect plastic chips from the CNC router tables shown above.  These machines are used for precision cutting, but face a problem when the cutting edge of the machine comes into contact with the chips and debris created during normal use.

The end user had considered a blow off device such as a nozzle or Air Knife, but this raised concerns with material collection.  Ideally, the customer wanted to be able to capture the chips and debris for recycling.

So, we looked into a method of removing the chips with a Line Vac, conveying the debris to a stationary drum for collection and recycling.  This type of solution has proven to be effective many times in the past, as shown in the image below. A Line Vac can be mounted at the cutting head to vacuum chips and debris as they are created by the cutting process.

This Line Vac provides vacuum to a drill head to remove debris.

Using the model 6081 Line Vac we can remove the plastic debris from the plotter as it is generated, and convey it to a drum located within the workspace.  And, to facilitate collection of the plastics for recycling, we can use our model 6850 drum cover to separate the conveyed chips from the air used to move the materials.

By providing a dynamic solution for this application, the Line Vac is able to lessen the workload of machine operators, allowing them more time to perform value added tasks rather than cleaning.  And, the solution is easy to install, requires little to no maintenance, and provides instantaneous vacuum only when needed.

If you have a similar application or would like to discuss problems facing your facilities, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’re available by phone, email, and online chat.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Heavy Duty Line Vac Saves Backs and Shoulders!

Recently, I worked with a customer that was looking for a way to make a difficult job easier, reducing stress and strain on the body and preventing injury.  The customer was in the Environmental Services & Hazardous Waste Management area and regularly was called out to service acid neutralization tanks. These are commonly found in hospitals, laboratories, and schools, to neutralize lab wastewater before it is discharged to the sanitary sewer.  The systems typically utilize limestone chips to aid the in process.

Acid Neutralization Tank

                       Typical Acid Neutralization Tank Layout Sketch

Periodic maintenance includes the removal and disposal of the spent limestone chips, tank cleaning and replenishment with new limestone chips.  Some of the tanks are tall and narrow, making access to the limestone chips difficult, especially near the tank bottom. Current procedures involved small shovels and unnatural body positions to try to reach the bottom-most material.  A better way had to be found.

The customer came across the EXAIR website and found the Line Vac product line. After watching the demonstration video, he knew he had found his solution!  The Line Vac is a compressed air operated device that turns any hose or tube into a powerful in-line conveyor. Based on the height of the tanks and the size and weight of the limestone, we agreed the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac would provide the power and durability to empty the tanks in a timely manner, and safely and efficiently.  The customer would use a tow behind compressor so that a reliable source of compressed air would always be available.

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Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit – Includes Auto Drain Filter Separator and Pressure Regulator

The Heavy Duty Line Vacs are available in sizes from 3/4″ up to 3″ in both smooth end and threaded connections for use with hose or pipe for conveyance.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Line Vac can make your transfer process easier and safer, 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

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

Don’t Throw the Baby Out With The Bath Water – and How it Applies to Manufacturing

There are many curious sayings from history that are still part of our vernacular, and whose origins are debated.  Examples are ‘Spill the Beans’ and ‘Bite the Bullet.’  One of my first supervisors liked to use the expression ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.’  Initially, I didn’t quite understand what was meant by this, and then wasn’t sure it was relevant in some instances.  Fast forward many years, I hadn’t thought too much about it, but for some reason, the phrase recently came back into my thinking.

Today the phrase generally means not to get rid of something good when getting rid of something bad (when throwing out the dirty bath water, you don’t want to throw out the baby, too!)  As I look back to the supervisor that used it, it was for situations where the solution was within grasp, but due to recent shortcomings it may seemed out of reach. Scrapping the whole thing (the baby and the bathwater) and trying something new would not be the favorable way to proceed.

I remembered this phrase when recently a customer called in about the 3″ Line Vac they were using.  It was performing OK, but just was’t doing what they had hoped. They asked if it was still returnable under the 30 day guarantee (it was) and how to start the return process.

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EXAIR Line Vac Family

While we aim to make the return procedure simple and efficient, we will most likely ask a few questions.  We’ll ask ‘what are trying to do?’  ‘Can you send in any photos of the installation’ (we solve lots of issues by seeing something that can be easily remedied) and certainly we will ask ‘about the compressed air supply.’ In the recent customer call, the customer was trying to convey dog food, a distance of 25′ vertical and 18′ horizontal –  a fairly challenging distance, but not impossible.  A photo could be sent in if needed and then the discussion turned to the compressed air supply.  It was determined that the compressed air supply line was undersized for the 68.5 SCFM of 80 PSIG compressed air needed to for the Line Vac to operate to its full capability.  We reviewed the Installation and Maintenance Guide and suggested the proper pipe and air hose sizing for this installation. Armed with this new knowledge, the customer set about to modify the installation.

I got an email later that day from the customer.  Results were dramatically improved! Average of first measured trials yielded 50 lbs of material in 46 seconds, one of the fastest conveyance rates recorded for those types of distances. Customer was pleased and was looking forward to keeping the unit and getting the benefit that was expected.

In this case, the baby was not thrown out with the bath water.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product 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

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Another Unique Solution in an Aluminum Processing Plant

Fine dust particles needed to be removed from this belt on the underside of a conveyor

A few months back I wrote about the impact of installing Super Air Knives in an aluminum processing plant.  Those Super Air Knives solved a recurring problem with cleaning alumina dust around conveyors and reduced costs for the end user by over $80k.

That same customer has also found a method to remove fine dust from the underside of the conveyor belt in an application area not suitable for an Air Knife.  In this application there was no dust collection system in place to carry away the fines as they are blown off of the belt, so a different type of solution was needed.

Model 150200 Heavy Duty Line Vac provides the vacuum needed to remove the dust fines.

That solution was to install a Heavy Duty Line Vac affixed to a vacuum hood to remove fines from the belt and convey them back to the head chute.  The only problem with this setup was that the 2” Heavy Duty Line Vac produced a bit too much vacuum flow than what was really needed in the application.  So, a pressure regulator was installed to allow for adjustment and fine tuning of the vacuum solution.  The customer was able to adjust the operating conditions for the Line Vac and minimize compressed air use while maximizing the vacuuming effect on the fines stuck to the conveyor.

The Line Vac used in this application quickly and easily solved a chronic problem plaguing this manufacturer.  By installing this vacuum solution they were able to prevent build-up of dust and debris underneath the conveyor which originally required shutting down the line to clean.  This improved process uptime, reduced cleaning costs, and increased throughput in the application.

If you have an application in need of a vacuum solution, consider an EXAIR Line Vac.  And, if you have any questions, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

New! In Stock! Sanitary Flange 316 Stainless Steel Line Vacs

Just released, we are now stocking four different pipe sizes of Sanitary Flange 316 Stainless Steel Line Vacs. We are offering these in the following sizes, 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, and 3″ Sanitary Flange.   The performance is the same as our Stainless Steel Line Vacs,  but now it is even easier to install in sanitary flanged piping systems.  No need to get adapters or have specialty shops weld flanges on.

Model 161200-316 - 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange Line Vac

Model 161200-316 – 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange Line Vac

The new Line Vacs are available for purchase on their own or in a kit which includes the Line Vac, a mounting bracket for the Line Vac, pressure regulator and filter separator. The only parts you provide are the clamps, gaskets and compressed air supply.

With a wide range of sizes and materials of construction, we've got your solution. Call us.

With a wide range of sizes and materials of construction, we’ve got your solution. Call us.

These are the latest four additions to our already extensive line of in-line pneumatic conveyors.   If we do not offer a stock Line Vac that will fit your needs, we also offer custom Line Vacs to fit virtually any need you may have, just contact us and we will help you determine what will work!

Custom PVDF Line Vac

Custom PVDF Line Vac

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

Conveying Plastic Bucket Handles With A Line Vac Saves Time

A packaging company was looking to convey the plastic handle grips commonly found on plastic buckets (see below pic for reference). The grips are roughly 3″ long and about a 1/2″ in diameter and they currently have an operator manually load the hopper on their vibratory feeder which is located on the 2nd floor, about 12′ away from the receiving area. The hopper is level controlled and the machine uses 3 grips per minute so as the level dropped,  the operator would have to stop the process, go down and load the parts in a box, then go back up the stairs and dump the box into the hopper. This was a very tedious process, which wasted a lot of time so they reached out to EXAIR for a more effective way to get the job done.

yellow-bucket

The plastic handles are similar to the black handle shown here.

After further discussion, I recommended our 1-1/4″ Line Vac Kit  for the application as this unit has a 1″ inside throat diameter that would easily pass 1/2″ diameter parts and deliver them to the overhead hopper. Since they were only needing to load a few parts at a time, I proposed they have the operator simply feed the parts in to the Line Vac suction line to avoid any potential blockages. Additionally, I suggested they incorporate our Model# 9040 foot valve into the process to simplify the operation and provide additional control so they are only using their compressed air supply when needed to move the parts. The foot pedal will allow the operator to activate the Line Vac each time they feed parts moving in to the hopper. Among the items this kit includes is a pressure regulator which would allow them to adjust the supply pressure to the unit, providing control over the conveyance rate and velocity at which the parts are ejected.

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The Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors are available with smooth or NPT threaded ends in aluminum, 303ss, 316ss or hardened alloy construction to meet the demand of a wide variety of material transfer needs.

 

EXAIR’s Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors are able to convey light materials,  like plastic pellets,  to more abrasive materials like steel shot blasting media. To see how a Line Vac might fit into your process or for help selecting the best EXAIR product for your needs, give me a call, I’d be glad to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

yellow bucket image courtesy of sammydavisdog via Creative Commons license

Light Duty Line Vac For Part Rejection

Today I worked with a long standing customer that was interested in using the Line Vac technology to provide a method for part rejection.  The parts come out of a bin and travel to the next station for final assembly.  There is an accept/reject analysis system along the way, and it was decided that the Line Vac would offer an easy way to remove the part from the conveyor and transport it to a reject bin.

The parts are very small, with 0.093″ to 0.187″ OD and 0.178″ to 0.335″ lengths.  Part weights were 0.27 grams or less, so a very small and light weight item.  Maximum part processing was estimated at less than 6 parts per minute, so low speed and low transfer rates apply.  The final piece of information was the distance for conveyance, and here it was only a few inches up and then 4′ over to the reject bin.

Based on all the information about the parts, the process and the transfer distance, it was determined that the 3/4″ Light Duty Line Vac would be an ideal choice for the application. The unit is available as part of the  model 132075 Light Duty Line Vac Kit, which includes a Automatic Drain Filter Separator and a Pressure Regulator.  The Pressure Regulator is especially important in this application, as it will allow for pressure adjustment to provide the best performance while keeping the compressed air usage to a minimum.

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The EXAIR Family of Line Vacs

 

EXAIR manufactures 3 styles of Line Vac- Light Duty, Standard, and Heavy Duty with either smooth bore hose or NPT threaded ends.  They are offered in 4 types of materials- Aluminum, Type 303 and Type 316 Stainless Steel, and a hardened alloy construction. An important factor in material selection is the abrasiveness of the material to be conveyed.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

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