More Benefits Than Being Adjustable

Years ago I was working with a pet food manufacturer who was having issues with their bag opening machine. The problem they had with their existing setup was the dust from manufacturing processes would get sucked into the venturi and start to decrease their performance. Hence, they needed a better solution that wouldn’t need to be replaced and could be cleaned.

Adjustable E-Vac

The bags were empty, and this vacuum generator was positioned to pull the bag open. The bags were made of a non-porous material as they had a coating on them and thus the actual action of opening the bag was not difficult. Enter dust through the throat of a small venturi, and it caused several downtimes that were not scheduled. When looking at the performance characteristics of their existing system I crossed that over to an EXAIR model 840008M – Adjustable E-Vac w/ Straight Through Muffler. This unit was able to open the bag and hold it open for their machine needs. The throat passage of the unit was also larger than their existing generator and the biggest benefit, the Adjustable E-Vac could easily be taken apart and cleaned. To see how easy they are adjusted, which is the same method used to take them apart, check out this previous video blog linked in the image below.

The process changed from changing an existing vacuum generator out, scrapping the old one, and putting in a new one to keeping two on hand. One (EXAIR Adjustable E-vac) that is in operation and functioning, then after a designated amount of time (predictive maintenance), they change it out for the spare (EXAIR Adjustable E-vac) vacuum generator. The second part of the process involves breaking the used one down (without the need for any specialized tools), to clean each of the three pieces on the unit. The refurbished unit is then reassembled, benchmarked for performance, and put on the shelf for the next maintenance cycle.

While this system uses the same volume of compressed air as their previous solution, we still save money in the amount of unusable replacements they were ordering with repairable units, allowing them to keep a working spare on hand. So it saves the customer money on the life of the product. A further benefit is the customer can also get the EXAIR Adjustable E-Vacs quickly as they are standard stock item for us at EXAIR and can ship the same day on orders received by 2 PM ET.

If you want to discuss how an Adjustable E Vac makes sense for you and your team, contact an Application Engineer today!

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

Making The Case For EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generators

There are a number of ways to pick something up from where it is, move it to where you want it, and put it down. If it’s on a skid, you can use a forklift. If it’s got an eyebolt – or if you can get a strap or chain around it, you can use a crane…or a forklift, provided you can safely secure the strap or chain to one of the forks. Or, if there’s enough surface area for a suction cup to sit on, you can use vacuum.

The two most popular methods of that are vacuum pumps, and venturi-type vacuum generators. Both are capable of creating a high vacuum for secure attachment of the vacuum cup to the object, and both can generate enough vacuum flow, under moderate vacuum levels, to overcome vacuum leakage when picking up objects with porous or slightly irregular surfaces. In a facility with multiple ‘pick and place’ stations or operations that are some distance from each other, vacuum generators are an inexpensive and easy solution, as they can be installed right at the point of use. If the points of use are relatively close together, though, it can make sense to consider a centralized vacuum pump from an operating cost standpoint…the electricity to run the vacuum pump’s motor is oftentimes cheaper than the compressed air to run the vacuum generators. Vacuum pumps still require a lot of maintenance, and when they break, they’re notoriously expensive to fix, so maintenance cost and reliability are important considerations as well.

EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generators are compact, single-stage venturi products that generate rated vacuum on demand. With no moving parts to wear, or electrical components to burn out, they address the concerns I just mentioned about maintenance costs and reliability of electric-driven vacuum pumps. E-Vacs are available in three basic configurations:

  • High Vacuum: These are capable of generating up to 27″Hg vacuum levels, and are specified went the object to be lifted has a smooth, non-porous surface for the Vacuum Cups to pull down on. With that kind of tight seal and high vacuum level, they’re effective, safe, and reliable.
  • Low Vacuum: Why would you not want the vacuum to be as high as possible? Well, if you’re picking up something with an irregular surface, or if the material is porous, you’re going to have leakage past the lip of the Vacuum Cup, or through the pores of the material, meaning you won’t be able to get that high of a vacuum in any case. EXAIR Low Vacuum E-Vacs are specified for lifting objects like this. They generate sufficient vacuum (up to 21″Hg) and enough vacuum flow at those levels to overcome the leakage for the same effective, safe, and reliable operation as their High Vacuum counterparts.
  • Adjustable: These offer a combination of the benefits of the High and Low Vacuum Generators. By threading the plug in or out of the body, you can control the amount of vacuum – and vacuum flow – that they generate. This can be particularly beneficial if your system needs to pick up a variety of loads. They also have a larger throat diameter, so if you’re picking up something with dust or other contamination on the surface, it won’t clog up like an In-Line model (with a much smaller throat) would. These are commonly used for work holding tables as well, since those are almost always pulling in particulate from the surface.
From a lightweight manual operation to an automated system with large or heavy objects, the EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generators can solve the application.

Once we’ve determined the appropriate style of E-Vac Vacuum Generator for the application, we’ll move on to specifying the correct Vacuum Cup(s). EXAIR offers a wide variety of these, from small Bellows style Cups as small as 3/4″ in diameter, to round Vacuum Cups ranging in diameter from 1″ to 6″. We use this table from our catalog to determine how many of which Vacuum Cup to use. They’re rated for the amount of weight each Cup is capable of lifting, at specific vacuum levels.

Several factors come in to play here – the number of Vacuum Cups you’re going to use, the vacuum level required, and which specific Vacuum Cup(s) are most suitable for the particular object.

For example, let’s say we need to pick up a solid object with a flat, smooth top that weighs 5 pounds. We’re going to apply a 2x safety factor, so we’re going to select a Vacuum Cup rated for at least 10 pounds, and since the surface is flat & smooth, we don’t expect a need to overcome any vacuum leakage, so we’ll use the rating at 27″Hg. In this case, we can use a Model 900764 Oval Vacuum Cup, which are rated for 10 pounds at 27″Hg.

If it’s a small-to-medium sized object with a round or square top, you can usually just use one Vacuum Cup to pick it up. For larger objects, you’ll want to use multiple Vacuum Cups to keep it balanced. Let’s say our 5 pound object is a thin plate that’s long and narrow. For that, we can use two Model 900752 1″ Small Round, or two Model 900767 1″ Round Bellows Vacuum Cups (both rated for 5.2 pounds each at 27″Hg), spaced out appropriately for the length, to safely pick and place the object.

If the object’s top surface isn’t smooth & flat, and/or if the material is porous, we’re going to select Vacuum Cup(s) that are rated for the weight (again applying a 2x safety factor) at a lower vacuum level. Let’s say our 5 pound object is a cardboard box. We know a Low Vacuum (Porous) E-Vac can create a vacuum of up to 21″Hg (with no vacuum flow) or 15″Hg with a moderate amount of vacuum flow to overcome leakage. We can use one Model 900754 2″ Round or Model 900769 2″ Bellows Vacuum Cup, which are both rated for at least 10 pounds at 15″Hg. We could also use two Model 900764 Oval Vacuum Cups, since they’re rated for 5.5 pounds each at 15″Hg.

If you’d like to find out more about generating vacuum with compressed air, or if you’d like help in specifying the right E-Vac(s) and Vacuum Cup(s) for your application, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
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Golfing with EXAIR Products

Well it’s that time of year again, at the time of writing this blog thousands are lining up in Augusta Georgia ready to see the 87th edition of the Masters Tournament! Some go for the high level of talent and golf that is played over four days. Others go for the cheap Concessions foods! I mean come on $1.50 for an egg salad and Pimento Cheese Sandwich! Sign me up!

But here at EXAIR we happen to have a few things that can help you with your Golf Game!

  1. Forgot your Tee? No Worries we have you covered with our E-Vac Vacuum Generators! Check out the video below! (They can also be used to suction cup the ball out of a Gators mouth, RIP Chubbs)

On a serous note, when you’re not using an E-Vac as a golf tee, they are very commonly used in applications for bag and package opening, label placement, vacuum forming, leak testing and pick and place applications.

EXAIR Also has accessories to round out vacuum cup systems including vacuum cups themselves, mufflers, check valves, vacuum tubing and fittings.

2. Stuck in a sand trap and really need to get it with in a foot to knock down that par? Again we have you covered the Line Vacs can convey your ball with in inches of the hole. So all you’ll have to do is just tap it in! (Just below the best clip of Happy Gilmore is the line vac conveying some golf balls!!)

While the line vac could help you take a few strokes off your golf game, they will also help you get rid of your buckets and ladders, for filling and moving product. These small units can move large volumes of material.

They are a perfect solution for moving things like plastic pellets, textiles, food products, pills/tablets, granules and much more. By adding a small amount of compressed air through the directed nozzles on the Line Vac, you will create a vacuum on one end and a high flow of air on the other to lift and or push your material up and over to a new location.

Even though I would love to pull a air compressor behind my cart and see what people say at my local course! Both the Line vacs and E-Vacs have great industry uses. If you have anything you need to move or convey give us a call. We have a team of application engineers here M-F 7AM-4PM!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Porous and Non-Porous E-vac Generators

Having an injection molding background I saw many uses for parts pickers using many different sizes from 90 – to 3000 ton injection molding machines and a vast amount of part sizes and shapes that varied from items as small as dinner plates to as big as municipal refuse containers. I dealt mainly with non-porous applications but EXAIR offers both porous and non-porous E-vacs to accommodate wide range of part sizes and weights.

EXAIR has High Vacuum Generators for Non-Porous Applications with high vacuum units up to 27″ Hg (91 kPa) with vacuum flows up to 15.8 SCFM (447 SLPM). The plastic products I was moving were all non-porous, meaning air or liquids would not permeate into the surface of my product. Other examples of non-porous material including plastic sub-straights include glass, steel sheet, ceramics, vinyl, sealed tiles and varnished wood.

Porous applications use a low vacuum generator. Low vacuum units up to 21″Hg (71kPa) with flows up to 18.5 SCFM (524 SLPM) are typically used for porous materials such as corrugate, wood, fabrics, cinder block, etc… The relatively lower level vacuum for porous materials prevents warping, marring, dimpling or disfiguring of the surface due to excessive vacuum. This style generates more vacuum flow to overcome porosity and leakage while maintaining control over the object being handled.

Referencing the previously mentioned refuse container application, I performed the weight and movement analysis and determined that four of our model 900754 vacuum cups and two of our model 810006M Non-porous E-vacs would have been more than adequate to unload and lift my 95 gallon refuse container lids from the injection molding machine and move them to the hot stamp center. I recall the vacuum cup system we had in place back then, would frequently drop out and lose control over the product. This was not only a real process headache, but also made for a legitimate safety issue as well.

EXAIR E-vacs actually have other interesting uses. They have been used in applications for bag and package opening, label placement, vacuum forming, leak testing and many other applications.

EXAIR also has accessories to round out vacuum cup systems including vacuum cups themselves, mufflers, check valves, vacuum tubing and fittings. We would have interest to discuss your application. If you have questions regarding which E-vac style and size is proper for your project please contact any of our Application Engineers to help you with selection and design of your system.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
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