Additional Benefits To The Adjustable E-Vac Vacuum Generators

The EXAIR Adjustable E-Vacs are available in 4 different sizes to fit whatever your pick and place, vacuum holding, degassing, or vacuum evacuation process may call for. These units have been used in a multitude of applications and the Adjustable factor makes them versatile enough to fit a production line with changing needs.

These are all examples of how an E-Vac pick-and-place system is just a solenoid valve away from automation.

The Adjustable E-Vacs have a few benefits that may go unnoticed if one is not keen to exactly how they are constructed and function. This sets them apart from many vacuum generators. When dealing with vacuum generator applications such as pick and place, having a part that is always the same is easiest. This is not always the case. Sometimes it is not just the dimensions of the part that changes, sometimes the material changes or even the surface finish of the part. This is where the ability to change from a porous to non-porous vacuum generator is extremely helpful. Generally this means the material of the parts getting picked up will allow air flow through them (paper, cardboard, wood) or not (plastic, glass). A porous vacuum generator will pull more flow through the part material to hold the vacuum, a non-porous vacuum generator will pull less flow and achieve higher vacuum levels.

To better understand the difference between porous and non-porous, we’ve written about that. Check out Tyler Daniel’s blog on the difference between the two here. The beauty of the Adjustable E-Vac is that it can easily convert from porous to non-porous with a simple adjustment. This is a great feature for a job shop that may change materials they are cutting or engraving on their machines and need to adapt in a moments notice for the job at hand. This could also reduce the number of vacuum generator variances a store room may need to keep on hand for a series of production lines and help to reduce the chance an incorrect model is installed on a machine due to fewer variants.

Adjustable E-Vac

Another benefit which can be helpful in a production environment that has an E-Vac picking up dirty or debris ridden material is that the Adjustable E-Vacs can be disassembled and cleaned. Picking steel sheets off a laser cutter in order to remove the scrap that has a volume of spatter / dust can cause an accumulation of debris on the internals of any vacuum generator. By unscrewing the plug from the body the Adjustable E-Vac can be easily cleaned and all passageways maintained at a level to offer continual performance.

No matter what, the adjustability coupled with minimum components and fastener free disassembly of the unit are two great features that can help minimize machine downtime, lower number of parts kept on hand for machines, and ensure optimal performance no matter what the requirement is for the vacuum generator. If you would like to discuss further, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

Why Is Ambient Air Entrainment Needed For Pneumatic Conveyance?

When attempting to convey material pneumatically it can sometimes not work as one may hope. This could be due to the lack of ambient air entrainment to generate the vacuum flow which lifts the material away and moves the material. The video above gives a brief example of this.

If you would like to discuss pneumatic conveying products or processes, please contact us. EXAIR’s Line Vac air operated conveyors are a great solution for manual “bucket and ladder” applications, hopper loading, scrap conveyance, media recovery and more!

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

Don’t Fall Victim To Undersized Piping

Pressure drops, incorrect plumbing, undersized piping, insufficient flow; if you hear these terms from tech support of your point of use compressed air products or from your maintenance staff when explaining why a process isn’t working then you may be a victim of improper compressed air piping selection.
Often time this is due to a continued expansion of an existing system that was designed around a decade old plan. It could also come from a simple misunderstanding of what size of piping is needed and so to save some costs, smaller was used. Nonetheless, if you can understand a small number of variables and what your system is going to be used for, you can ensure the correct piping is used. The variables that you will want to consider when selecting a piping size that will suit your need and give the ability to expand if needed are shown below.

  • Minimum Operating Pressure Allowed (psig) – Lowest pressure permitted by any demand side point of use product.
  • System Pressure (psig) – Safe operating pressure that will account for pressure drops.
  • Flow Rate (SCFM) of demand side (products needing the supplied compressed air)
  • Total Length of Piping System (feet)
  • Piping Cost ($)
  • Installation Cost ($)
  • Operational Hours ( hr.)
  • Electical Costs ($/kwh)
  • Project Life (years) – Is there a planned expansion?

An equation can be used to calculate the diameter of pipe required for a known flow rate and allowable pressure drop. The equation is shown below.

A = (144 x Q x Pa) / (V x 60 x (Pd + Pa)
A = Cross-Sectional are of the pipe bore. (sq. in.).
Q = Flow rate (cubic ft. / min of free air)
Pa = Prevailing atmospheric absolute pressure (psia)
Pd  = Compressor discharge gauge pressure (psig)
V = Design pipe velocity ( ft/sec)

If all of these variables are not known, there are also reference charts which will eliminate the variables needed to total flow rate required for the system, as well as the total length of the piping. The chart shown below was taken from EXAIR’s Knowledge Base.

Once the piping size is selected to meet the needs of the system the future potential of expansion should be taken into account and anticipated for. If no expansion is planned, simply take your length of pipe and start looking at your cost per foot and installation costs. If expansions are planned and known, consider supplying the equipment now and accounting for it if the additional capital expenditure is acceptable at this point.

The benefits to having properly sized compressed air lines for the entire facility and for the long-term expansion goals makes life easier. When production is increased, or when new machinery is added there is not a need to re-engineer the entire system in order to get enough capacity to that last machine. If the main compressed air system is undersized then optimal performance for the facility will never be achieved. By not taking the above variables into consideration or just using what is cheapest is simply setting the system up for failure and inefficiencies. All of these considerations lead to an optimized compressed air system which leads to a sustainable utility.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

Why Dryers Are Needed in Compressed Air Systems

Air compressors are extremely proficient at compressing anything in the air they are intaking. With that air that is taken in, moisture is going to be present. The amount of moisture will all depend on where you are located geographically and the ambient conditions in the area. Here in Ohio, we experience all 4 seasons so the moisture content is higher in the air during the summer months, rather than the winter months. When this air is saturated with water vapor and the conditions are right, the air reaches a point it cannot hold any additional water vapor. This point is known as the dew point of the air and water vapor will begin to condense to form droplets.

When ambient air is compressed, heat is generated and the air increases in temperature. In most industrial compressed air systems, the air is then processed to an aftercooler, and that is where condensation begins to form. To remove the condensation, the air then goes into a separator which traps the liquid water. The air leaving the aftercooler is typically saturated at the temperature of the discharge, and any additional cooling that occurs as the air is transferred will cause more liquid to condense out of the air. To address this moisture, compressed air dryers are used.

It is critical to the quality of the system and components downstream that actions are taken to prevent this condensation in the air. Condensation is generally detrimental to any point of use application and or the piping that conveys the air. Rust and/or corrosion can occur anywhere in the piping, leading to scale and contamination of the compressed air and processes. When trying to dry products off using compressed air or using the air to atomize a liquid such as paint, adding in these contaminants and moisture will cost production losses.

There are several options when it comes to the type of dryer that one may consider installing on their compressed air supply side.

• Refrigerant Dryer – the most commonly used type, the air is cooled in an air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger.
• Regenerative-Desiccant Type – use a porous desiccant that adsorbs (adsorb means the moisture adheres to the desiccant, the desiccant does not change, and the moisture can then be driven off during a regeneration process).
• Deliquescent Type – use a hygroscopic desiccant medium that absorbs (as opposed to adsorbs) moisture. The desiccant is dissolved into the liquid that is drawn out. Desiccant is used up and needs to be replaced periodically.
• Heat of Compression Type – are regenerative desiccant dryers that use the heat generated during compression to accomplish the desiccant regeneration.
• Membrane Type– use special membranes that allow the water vapor to pass through faster than the dry air, reducing the amount of water vapor in the air stream.
The air should not be dried any more than is needed for the most stringent application, to reduce the costs associated with the drying process. A pressure dew point of 35°F to 38°F (1.7°C to 3.3°C) often is adequate for many industrial applications. Lower dew points result in higher operating costs.
If you have questions about compressed air systems and dryers or any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR, and I or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer