A Customized Line Vac Moves Dog Bedding

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One of the interesting things about working with a variety of applications on a daily basis, is realizing every answer isn’t cut-and-dry.  There are, of course, times when we can specify the exact amount of compressed air required, or the air volume needed to maintain a specific temperature, but conveying applications tend to be a bit different.

A reseller contacted me with an application in need of moving bedding material for dog beds.  The end user needed a reliable way to move the cotton fill for the beds, and wanted to find a way to limit handling by employees, while maintaining a reliability in the amount of material conveyed.

Due to the light weight and density of the cotton, we considered a Light Duty Line Vac, which has an option of sizes up to 6” in diameter – a benefit to this application because the cotton can cluster in groups up to 5” wide.  So, the end user decided to test a Light Duty Line Vac and fell in love with the concept and results.  But, the conveyance capacity of the Light Duty Line Vac was below the needs of the application, meaning we needed to consider a revision to our initial solution.

Finding a new solution meant exploring a number of different options.  We looked into the standard Line Vacs available from stock, threaded Line Vacs, and custom-made Line Vacs with cam lock fittings.  All the while we kept an eye on the throat diameter of each size, the related compressed air requirements, connection options, and lead time.

An initial concern at EXAIR was the cotton “clumping” and being delivered in a the form of a ball. The “clumping” of the cotton was of relatively little concern to the customer, their bigger indicator of success in this application was in how quickly the bedding material could be conveyed.  Having this as the decision driver led us away from the Light Duty Line Vacs we originally sought, and towards a modified version of our stock model 6087 (4″ aluminum Line Vac) with an additional compressed air inlet machined into the body of the unit.  The additional compressed air inlet was introduced by request from the customer, to provide guaranteed air delivery during higher compressed air flow conditions, brought about through higher operating pressures (not to exceed 250 PSIG).

Finding this custom solution wouldn’t have been possible without the Light Duty Line Vac, its large size availability, attractive compressed air usage, and ability to chip from stock.  We never would have explored this special solution, which the end user went on to implement in 12 locations!  If you’re considering a Line Vac for an application in your facility, consider a Light Duty Line Vac, standard Line Vac, or even a custom solution.  No matter the solution, we’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Super Ion Air Knife Assists Brewery with Can Filling Operation

A small brewery called looking for a static removal solution for their can filling, conveyor line. The empty cans are fed from a stacked palletizer that raises up and then an arm pushes the cans over to a large feeder tray where they are then funneled down a chute that narrows until the cans are in a single row. They run 2 separate cans on the same line at different times. The first can is painted and seems to feed fine to the conveyor. The second can is shrink wrapped with a film label. As the wrapped cans are fed down the chute, they rub against the guide rails of the conveyor and each other generating a static charge, causing them to corral at the opening to the conveyor, 2 – 3 cans wide, which restricts the flow of the cans. The customer then has to halt production and manually clear the line and feed the conveyor.

The area where they are seeing the most problem is right at the narrow opening that takes the cans down to a single row. The width of this opening is roughly 8.5″ wide, so I recommended they mount a 9″ Super Ion Air Knife about 12″ above the opening, flooding the area with ionized air. The Super Ion Air Knife is our Super Air Knife with an Ionizing Bar attached to provide a laminar sheet of ionized airflow across the entire length of the knife. The customer was concerned that their compressed air supply was close to being at max capacity so I suggested they operate the unit at a lower supply pressure. This would not only reduce the air consumption but also control the output flow and velocity so the cans are not disrupted, while still allowing for effective static dissipation.

Super Ion Air Knife
Super Ion Air Knife – delivers a sheet of ionized air to eliminate surface static up to 20′ away.

Static electricity is a common nuisance in canning and bottling applications. If you are experiencing similar problems with your process, please contact one of our application engineers for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Peanut Butter And The Flat Nozzle

So, the call came in about mid-morning – an operator at a facility that fills plastic jars with peanut butter needed help with an application…

And I almost got stuck thinking about peanut butter. I like food, and peanut butter is near the top of my list. I’ve seen it successfully applied to cheeseburgers, and the peanut butter & bacon sandwich is even a breakfast staple in some of the Boy Scout groups I’ve been involved with. Crunchy or creamy, peanut butter rules.

Never underestimate the power of peanut butter...or bacon...to improve the quality of any sandwich.
Never underestimate the power of peanut butter…or bacon…to improve the quality of any sandwich. And together, they’re unbeatable. Just don’t ask your cardiologist.

Now, I’m a pro, so I didn’t allow this digression to supplant the attention I was giving the caller. The application was simple enough: the nozzle feeding the jars retains a small amount of the product at the tip, which drips off when it’s good & ready, thank you very much. This is oftentimes when the jar is in motion, so this little glob falls right onto the rim of the jar, causing issues with the protective seal, and a continuing mess as this jar with peanut butter on the outside of it travels down the line.

I recommended a Model 1126SSW 316SS 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle, with Swivel Fitting. They can install this to blow precisely where the air flow can direct the last bit of peanut butter from the fill nozzle into the jar, eliminating the mess, and any chance of a faulty lid seal.

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The Model 1126/1126SS 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle is ideal for high velocity, forceful blow off applications 

If you’d like to know more about how EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products might help your processes run a little smoother, feel free to give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich photo courtesy of Arnold Gatilao  Creative Commons License

Line Vac Assists Pump Bottle Assembling

We have a customer in the packaging industry who packages liquid soap into bottles. Part of the process involves loading the push-pump dispenser into a capping machine to be assembled to the bottle after filling.

The problem was that the push-pumps came in cardboard boxes which had to be wheeled over to the machine and dumped into the hopper. This was rather difficult as the top of the hopper on the capping machine was over eight feet off the ground. So, the customer went looking for some sort of solution to suck the pumps up out of the box and into his hopper.

Fortunately, he found EXAIR Corporation and our Line Vac product. We discussed the rate at which he needed to convey the product, the distance and the dimensions of the parts. All was well suited for the 4” Aluminum Line Vac Model 6086. The customer tried a few different configurations with the Line Vac and his hose because manipulating a 4” hose around isn’t all that easy to do. So the customer came up with an ingenious little waist-high platform with the vacuum feed on one side into which the parts could be slid into and vacuumed up to the hopper.

The customer is going to evaluate the effectiveness for this method of loading. He was planning on a time savings of at least 10 minutes per box to fill the hopper. He is also banking on the fact that it is now a safer application because an operator no longer has to climb a ladder to fill the hopper.

Are you in the packaging industry? Do you have an odd-shaped product that you could use to move from point A to point B rather quickly?  Perhaps you have a hopper that needs to be filled? Give one of our Application Engineers a call today to discuss your application.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com