Compressed Air in Farming and Agriculture

I used to help my father-in-law around his farm and this city boy had his eyes opened when he realized it was more than shovels, tractors and livestock. Agriculture is vital for human existence and has become far more advanced over the centuries with a continual thirst for efficiency and technology. Agriculture is just like many other industries looking for continued ways to increase yield, improve quality, maximize labor and improve technology.

EXAIR has many products used in the agriculture and food processing industries. The following details a few example by product line how we can influence efficiencies and quality of products:

Super Air Knife drying fruits and vegetables

Super Air Knives:

EXAIRs Super Air Knives are have ben used to help harvest apples and peaches. In this case they use our Super Air Knives to dry and blow off the fruit after the rinsing process just before the waxing process then again after waxing to blow off any remaining debris or moisture from the fruit before being packed.

A processing company using the Super Air Knife to clean a conveying belt equipped with a weighing system. Before the installation of the the Super Air Knife some of the cut vegetables being weighed would stick to the belt. Their solution was to clean the conveyor belt with EXAIR’s Super Air Knife to ensure continuous operation of the weighing and packaging systems.

Super Air Nozzles:

An onion farmer used EXAIR’s Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle to blow loose onion skins from the onions before packaging to improve the aesthetics to the customers.

Line Vacs:

A food packaging company repackages banana peppers from 55 gallon drums to 1 and 5 gallon containers using our Model 6066 3″ Stainless Steel Line Vac.

Using EXAIRs Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vacs a feed stock manufacturer conveys various grains and feed stock simultaneously to a mixer which blends the ingredients. This reduced their blend time by 50%.

A grain processor used Model 142200 aluminum threaded Line Vac to convey small amounts of corn meal into a hopper which feeds into their inspection process.

A company producing worm eggs encapsulated in water soluble wax sold to farmers to enhance soil conditions. They eliminated a hand operation using Model 6081 1″ Aluminum Line Vac  to convey the worm eggs from one classifier to another.

EXAIR has several applications using Atomizing Spray nozzles to add moisture in growing environments . Greenhouses use our Atomizing spray nozzles to control humidity in the air and keep their soils moist to maintain optimal growing environments.

There are many other applications using compressed AIR on farms such as filling tires, cleaning equipment, blowing out water lines and more. Technology drives labor savings and improved quality prototypes are being designed and tested to use compressed air using drones to shoot pods filled with seeds, fertilizer and other nutrients into the soil. EXAIR will remain a strong influence in the growth of compressed air products helping to reduce the carbon footprint, enhance efficiencies and improve cost and quality within the agriculture and food processing industries.

If you have an application and you would like to talk please contact me or any of our qualified Application Engineers at 800.903.9247 and we will gladly help with our best recommendations.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

Heavy Duty Line Vacs Within a Machining Facility

An overseas automotive company was using six machines that milled, stamped, and punched aluminum parts.  The machining center used two machines for stamping, and the piece of aluminum was 10mm X 10mm.  The second operation used two machines to punch out a 2mm diameter by 40mm rod. The last operation was milling the edges of the surface to a specific dimension.  The curly swarf that was being produced was around 5mm in diameter by 40mm in length.

Currently they had mechanical conveyors that would dump the scrap material into bins.  The operators would move the full bins to a central dumping area for recycling about 20 meters (66 feet) away.  They used shovels to move the scrap from the bins to a larger container.  This part of the operation took time and was ergonomically unsafe with lifting and twisting.   They were making about 300grams per minute, and with a 24-hour operation, that was a lot of material.  They contacted EXAIR to see if we could help them.

To move the aluminum scrap from the machines to the recycle container, they had to travel 20 meters (66 feet) horizontally, and 3 meters (10 feet) vertically above the floor.  For this distance and the size of the aluminum pieces, I recommended the EXAIR model 152200; 2” Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit.  The through opening for the 2” Line Vac was 44mm (1.75”) in order to move the material through.  This Line Vac is made from a hardened steel construction which is very resistant to wear.  It is also designed for higher vacuum levels to convey materials at a faster rate and longer distances.

The Line Vac is operated with only compressed air to generate a Venturi vacuum, and they are very compact and easy-to-use.  The vacuum generator does not have any motors or moving parts to wear, and the inline design makes it simple to attach a hose to the vacuum and exhaust side.  The kit includes a Filter Separator, Regulator and a bracket for cleaning, controlling and mounting.  They did have to add a hopper to each mechanical conveyor to collect the scrap.  Now, the Line Vac is connected to the hopper with a hose, and the scrap material would travel to the recycle container 20 meters (66 feet) away.

               The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors, or Line Vacs™, are great tools for conveying items in a “scoop and shovel” type of applications.  If your company manually moves a product from point A to point B, you can contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to see if an Air Operated Conveyor could improve your process.  For this overseas customer above, the model 152200 Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit improved their operation and removed the ergonomic hazard for their operators.

 

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Milling operation by gefrorene_wand  Pixabay License

Sanitary Flange Air Operated Conveyors – The EXAIR Line Vac

The ability to control the flow of materials has been a staple in human civilization since 4000 BCE. This includes the creation of pipes which have appeared as early as 2400 BCE from the Egyptians. These piping systems have since then been improved on to be made stronger, lighter, cheaper,  of various styles, and in a variety of materials. One of these styles is the sanitary flange pipe.

Sanitary flange pipe and fittings is one of the larger milestones in piping innovation. Sanitary flange pipes came about due the stringent cleanliness controls in certain industries such as food and pharmaceutical. Both of these use a highly corrosive and caustic soap to sanitize surfaces and, in most cases, entire rooms. Sanitary flange pipes allow for pipe systems to be taken apart easily so that components can be easily cleaned out on a regular sterilization process, and are generally made of 316 Stainless Steel to withstand the corrosive nature of the cleaning compound.

Type 316 Stainless Steel Line Vac

EXAIR Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors have always been well suited for these applications since the internal components are smooth and can be cleaned out easily and sanitized. They have also been made out of 316 Stainless Steel for years which provides superior corrosion resistance and can withstand most caustic cleaners and oxidants. Type-316 Stainless Steel is the preferred material for many food and pharmaceutical applications. Before EXAIR’s Sanitary Flange Line Vac, we noticed our customers would use the standard smooth Line Vac and weld a sanitary flange onto the ends, or installing adaptors on our Threaded Line Vac.

With that thought we decided to make things easier and developed the Sanitary Line Vac which follows the basic design of the Standard Line Vac and operates with the same performance characteristics. Sanitary Flange Line Vacs come in four sizes: 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, and 3”. These sizes are the most common sizes for Line Vacs and covers the majority of application needs.

Sanitary Flange Line Vacs in increasing sizes: 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, and 3”

If you have any questions about compressed air systems or want more information on any of EXAIR’s products, give us a call, we have a team of Application Engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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The Heavy Duty Line Vac™ moves CO2 Cartridges

Threaded Heavy Duty Family

In trying to cut over-all costs, companies are reviewing process flows throughout their plant.  A CO2 cartridge manufacturer was following that same strategy.  They wanted to move the silk-screening process that marked the outside of the cartridges to a different location.  Currently, the operators would have to pick up bins to move them about 50 feet (15 meters) to the packaging area.  They currently were using blower-type vacuum systems in other parts of their process to move the cartridges through different stages.  But, the bulkiness and noise level of the blower system made them have to find an alternative way; so, they contacted EXAIR.

For their process, they would start with a steel cap.  The metal caps would run through a series of different forms where round punches would “redraw” the metal into a final diameter and thickness.  Once it is finished through this process, it would look like a test tube.  The metal tubes would have the ends heated and pressed with a set of different dies to create the “neck” region.  The “neck” section would be cut and lathe to make a sealing edge.  The cylinders would then go through a washing and drying system to clean.  Once dried, they would travel to the filling station where the cylinders would be partly filled with liquid CO2, and then capped.  The bare steel cylinders would move through a zinc-coating process for protection and appearance.  The filled cartridges would then be inspected by quality control prior to screen printing on the outer diameter.  The finished CO2 cartridges had an outer diameter of ¾” (19mm) (reference photo below).  Once they are printed, the shipping staff would carry them to their department for packing.

The process flow change for this company was to move the silk-screening process about 50 feet (15 meters) from the current position.  With an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor or Line Vac™, the QC department can transfer the cartridges to the screen printer near the packaging department.  This would stop the needless handling of the filled bins between the printing station and the packaging station.  Not only did this speed up packaging, but it also ergonomically helped the operators from lifting and carrying.

Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit

For the material, distance, and size; I recommended the model 152125 1 ¼” Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit.  This Line Vac is made from a hardened alloy material which makes them resistant to abrasion and wear.  The throat diameter has a clearance of 1” (25mm) which is enough to carry the ¾” (19mm) diameter cartridges.  With a kit, it will also include a filter, regulator and a bracket.  The filter will help keep the Line Vac and the cylinders clean.  The regulator will allow for flexibility in conveyance rates, distances, and speeds.  The bracket helps to mount the Line Vac to a sturdy base for support.    With the small footprint and compact design, it was easy to set up and use as a simple conveyor.

After installation, the Production Manager was amazed by the simplicity of the design and the ease of operation.  He could also reduce maintenance cost without having to change intake filters, check bearings, monitor electrical controls, and replace any failed motors within the blower-type system.  The EXAIR Line Vacs do not have any moving parts to wear; so, they are reliable and long-lasting.  Overall, as compared to the blower-type systems; the cost, set-up, and operation were greatly improved with the EXAIR Line Vac.  They were so happy in meeting the criteria above; the Production Manager mentioned that he would be replacing their existing blower systems when they fail.  And as mentioned above with all the transfers to the different stations, there would be many spots for the EXAIR Line Vac to be used.

If you need to convey materials like cartridges, steel shot or abrasive products, the Heavy Duty Line Vac could be a blessing for you.  Not only can they transfer material safely and quickly, but they also will ergonomically help in saving the backs and knees of your operators.  How can this get any better?  Until the end of October 2020, we are running a promotional ad for our U.S. and Canadian customers.  You will receive a 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle, a $72.00 value, free with qualified purchases online.  If you would like to discuss any of your conveying application, please contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We may have a solution for you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb