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

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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

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Creative Uses for the Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors

Last week a customer called in looking for some help in solving a minor issue in the plant. The customer is a specialist in the filament winding business making all types of products from many types of fibers, such as Polyester, Nylon, Nomex®, PTFE and Kevlar®.

At the end of a run, there will be a small amount of thread left on several bobbins.   There is not enough thread to save for a future run, and so the customer has to strip the remaining thread off, to be able to reuse the bobbin.

I remembered that an EXAIR Application Engineer had done some testing on thread, using a Line Vac to pull and unwind a spool. See here for that demonstration.

The customer sent me the below photo, helping us to visualize the application better, and then went even further by shipping a couple of sample bobbins with some thread still remaining.

After running a few tests, it was determined that the smallest Line Vac available , the model 6078 – 3/8″ Aluminum Line Vac, produced the fastest results due to the narrow throat diameter in conjunction with the thin thread.  A brief demonstration of the test can be found below.

Using just 5.6 SCFM at 80 PSIG of compressed air, the Line Vac quickly unwound the bobbin, providing a simple, cost-effective way to automate what had been a tedious manual process.

The Line Vac conveyor are ideal for moving large volumes of material over long distances, using a small amount of compressed air. The material flow rate is easily controlled by use of a pressure regulator.  No moving parts or electricity assures maintenance free operation.  EXAIR offers the Line Vac in sizes from 3/8″ up to 5″ in diameter, in materials including aluminum, Type 303 and Type 316 Stainless Steels, and a Heavy Duty model with hardened alloy construction.

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

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Heavy Duty Line Vac is a Simple Solution When Mechanical Conveyors Fail

 

Line Vacs can convey many things.

Line Vacs can convey many things.

 

A manufacturing plant had a machine that would process 6mm ceramic beads into small medical components.  They used a screw type conveyor to move the ceramic beads from a large container into a hopper above the machine.  In this situation, the customer called EXAIR prior to determining which mechanical component failed.  They contacted the conveyor manufacturer for assistance.  Because of the complexity of the conveying system, it would take time to evaluate.  They had to determine if it was the motor, the gear box, the shaft, or electrical system.  Depending on which item that failed, there was a good chance that it would not be in stock.  With this length of downtime, it would cost the company much money and delays in shipments. The operation had to be shut down until they could find a way to keep the hopper filled with ceramic beads.  Being that they were under the gun, they contacted EXAIR to see if we could help.

Heavy Duty Line Vac

Heavy Duty Line Vac

In discussing their layout, the hopper was 10 feet away from the supply container, and the opening of the hopper was 10 feet above the floor.  These lengths were well within the limits of the EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors.  I suggested the model 152200 Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit.  This unit has the highest conveyance rate, and it can move items in the range of plastic pellets to steel shot.  It does not have any moving parts, so it makes it very simple, reliable, and long lasting.  The Heavy Duty Line Vac is made of a hardened steel that makes it very resistant to abrasion.  The next question he asked was if we had it in stock.   We did!!!  EXAIR stocks every cataloged model number for same day shipping with orders placed before 3 p.m. EST.  We were able to ship the Heavy Duty Line Vac that same day to get his operation back up and running.  He did mention to me afterwards that he wished he had at least one Heavy Duty Line Vac on his shelf as a backup system.  It could have saved his company an entire day of downtime.

If your company relies on mechanical conveying systems to move product, you may want to have an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor on hand just in case of an emergency.  When things go wrong, you do not want to be down any longer than needed.  If you need help in sizing the correct Line Vac for your application, you can contact an Application Engineers at EXAIR.

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

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac Reduces Dust When Vacuuming

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EXAIR Heavy Duty HEPA Vacuum Systems

When selecting the proper EXAIR vacuum system for an application, several details are considered by our Application Engineers.  For example:

Does the vacuum need to vacuum liquids or solids?

If the need is to vacuum solid material, what is the approximate size of the material pieces?

How quickly does the material need to be vacuumed?

What is the compressed air supply available?

Is dust a major concern?

The last question becomes more relevant with finer material, especially dust or small dirt particles.  Many applications have a need for dust control and need a vacuum system capable of maintaining low dust levels.

The EXAIR Heavy Duty HEPA Vac was designed for this exact purpose.  With a HEPA filter that is tested in strict accordance to IEST-RP-CC-007 standards to provide a minimum of 99.97% filtration at the 0.3 micron level, the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac can provide an effective and highly efficient vacuuming method using only compressed air.

Fine Powder Hopper 2

Hopper used for fine powder collection

For example, in the fine dust collection hopper shown above, the hopper undergoes regular cleaning and maintenance which includes a thorough cleaning to remove any fine dust remaining in the hopper. This powder has a tendency to permeate the filtration used in most vacuums, and electrically powered units have continuously failed.

The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac is a perfect fit for this application need as it can provide adequate filtration, and it has no moving parts to wear out.

If you have a dusty or difficult vacuum application in need of a sustainable vacuum system, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to discuss the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Line Vac Application: Hopper Loading for Injection Molding Machine

LV App

Sometimes when we talk about applications for our products, we tend to try and discuss the ones that really stick out in our minds because of some unusual factor. Today, I’m going to do the opposite. By that I mean I ‘m going to discuss one of the most popular Line Vac applications which we generally refer to as hopper loading.

In this scenario, the customer has a machine processing a raw material. In this case, the machine is a plastic injection molding machine and processes plastic pellets. Above you can see how the Line Vac is set to suck the pellets out of a super sack (jumbo bag) and into a raw material use hopper. The hopper then feeds material into a machine feed hopper at a controlled pace that keeps up with the machine’s capability for material use. This kind of application highlights the usefulness of the Line Vac for what we call “bucket and ladder” applications where the Line Vac unit itself replaces the action of an operator climbing a ladder with a bucket of the raw material and dumping manually. The customer has implemented a PLC which controls both the solenoid valve to turn the Line Vac on and off. It also controls the knife gate valve (KGV) to allow material to flow into the machine feeder.

The material is conveyed into the raw material bin with model 6064 (2” Stainless Steel Line Vac) in this case. When the hopper is filled to a pre-determined level, a sensor in the hopper lets the PLC know that it is full and the PLC sends a command to shut the solenoid valve. This action simply repeats itself over and over again, freeing the operator to do other, more important tasks.

And that is the point of the implementation of many of our products: To provide product to our customers, who want to design a system for their processes to allow improved productivity, safety, conserve compressed air, increase force and reduce air noise. The nice thing is that our products do not have any moving parts to wear out. So longevity for these applications is another nice feature our customers can count on.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

 

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