2.5″ Line Vac Used In Plastic Part Recovery

I recently worked with an OEM who designed an injection molding machine for their customer. In their design, after the polypropylene parts are formed, they pass through a punch process which creates a scrap piece roughly 1-3/4″ in diameter and 6mm thick but it is very light in weight. The end user was looking for a way to recover these parts in an effort to reduce the amount of waste material in the process but needed an automated solution so they didn’t have to dedicate an operator to manually recover the parts and dump them in the recycle bin. The recovery bin is located close to 25 feet away on the other side of the machining area.

After further discussion,  I recommended they incorporate our Model # 6085 2-1/2″ aluminum Line Vac into their design. The 2.5″ Line Vac has a 2.25″ inside throat diameter which could easily pass the parts and convey them to the collection hopper.

Line Vacs connect to standard ID hose or pipe to create a powerful in-line conveyor

With the recovery bin being located outside of the processing area, they were going to have to run the discharge piping up and over the machines so they were needing something flexible to do so. In addition to the Line Vac, I suggested they use a 30′ section of our 2.5″ conveyance hose. Our conveyance hose is constructed of a durable, clear reinforced PVC, ideal for most general applications and we offer it in 10′ lengths up to 50′, in diameters of 3/8″ to 3″ ID.

Flexible clear PVC hose with smooth bore eliminates material build up.

 

When it comes to moving dry material, like small plastic parts or more abrasive materials like steel shot blasting media, the Line Vacs are the perfect, maintenance-free solution as they have no moving parts or motors to wear out. For help selecting the best option to fit your needs or to discuss how another product might be suitable for your application, give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

E-Vac Vacuum Generators- For More Than Just Pick and Place

A textbook application for vacuum generators is the ‘pick and place’ function.  With ever increasing automation and robotic cells, more and more opportunities present themselves to utilize the E-Vac Vacuum Generator as a part of the system to ‘pick up’ an object and ‘place’ it in a new position. But the E-Vac’s can be used for many more types of applications.

evac_models (2)
In-Line E-Vac

Another popular usage is to hold something in place. One of our customers uses an array of Adjustable E-Vacs to pull a vacuum and hold down various sizes of Styrofoam sheets during a machining operation. The previous system was a 1 hp blower type, and did not offer any flexibility for handling different size sheets. Sheets would slip and produce off quality results. After installing the new design, the system was able to handle any size sheet, and scrap levels went down dramatically.

adjustable_evacs (2)
Adjustable E-Vac

A unique implication that was solved with an E-Vac was to deflate sporting balls.  The customer printed custom logos, and preferred the items to be flat for the printing operation. Using a commercial grade electric shop vac didn’t completely deflate the balls, and motors burned out often.  Using a low vacuum In-Line E-Vac with a quiet Straight Through Muffler, the customer can now quickly and quietly, fully deflate the balls.

Another popular use for the E-Vac is to pull a vacuum for drawing up liquids or gases. A customer that manufactures automotive seats was having issues with the process, where the expanding foam was producing a gas, and the gas would produce pockets and voids in the foam after setting.  The customer used a model 800017 In-Line E-Vac to create a vacuum inside the mold and draw off the gas, eliminating the pockets and the voids in the final product.

Lastly, as I am big fan of recycling, anything and everything, we worked with a customer that recycles the old CRT style of computer monitor  (remember those?) The housing would be sawed in half, so that access to the internal components could be made. Because of the variability in the size and shape of the monitors, the customer was using an adjustable chuck system, which took time to set-up for every monitor, each being a bit different. To speed up the process, an EXAIR In-Line E-Vac and 5″ Suction Cup was implemented, and the monitor held in place by the screen, which was was very consistent in shape from monitor to monitor. This change reduced the set-up time required.

These and other Applications for the E-VACs and all other EXAIR products can be found on the EXAIR website on the Products page, under the Related Info section toward the bottom of each page.

If you have questions regarding E-Vac Vacuum Generators or any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, 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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Super Air Amplifiers for Cooling Injection Mold

When working with a cooling application, many customers will immediately look to the Vortex Tube and Cold Gun product lines. While this may be the best solution for some applications with smaller areas to cool, cold air from a Vortex tube based solution is not the best method for large parts or larger areas that exceed a footprint of approximately 2″ x 2″. For larger areas, we have other options for many cooling applications. EXAIR’s Super Air Amplifiers and Super Air Knives are also very effective at reducing the temperature of a part without requiring cold air.

Cooling is a relative concept based on the starting and finishing temperature. What feels “cool” to a human being does not necessarily mean the same thing as “cooling” a part or material. Due to the ability of the Super Air Knives and Super Air Amplifiers to entrain large amounts of ambient temperature air, we can move a lot of air volume across the surface of the target part and quickly lower the temperature.

A simple example I like to use is blowing on a hot cup of coffee just as its been brewed. The temperature of the air coming from your mouth is around 98.6°F, the same as your body temperature. Coffee can be as hot as 185°F when fresh. Due to the temperature differential between your breath and the hot coffee, we’re able to achieve a reasonable amount of cooling just by simply blowing across the surface. Typically, when the target temperature of the part or material needs to be around ambient temperature or higher; the best solution for cooling is going to be either a Super Air Amplifier or Super Air Knife.

Rob's I phone 877
EXAIR 5015 Cold Gun

To illustrate the above concept even more, recently I was working with a customer that needed to cool a silicon injection mold. The mold had two sides and the customer was looking for a method of cooling it down between cycles. The mold cavity surface was approximately 400°F and they wanted to get it down to around 150°F. They were familiar with the EXAIR Cold Gun as they use them across their facility in various secondary or post-molding drilling operations. They had a spare and decided to hook it up and blow the cold air across the face of the mold to see what happens. The volume of air from the Cold Gun was not enough to sufficiently cool the entire mold, so he reached out to EXAIR for assistance.

Based on the dimensions of the mold and understanding the target temperature to be 150°F, we settled on a system of (2) 120224 4” Super Air Amplifier Kits. One was placed above each side of the mold. As soon as the mold opened, they activated the Super Air Amplifiers and were able to pull the surface temperature of the mold down to an acceptable level. Time is money in any manufacturing operation. Companies that produce injection molded parts will look for any way to improve their process. By implementing a procedure to cool the mold more quickly, they are able to boost their productivity gains and become more profitable.

The Super Air Amplifier Kit comes with an Auto-Drain Filter to keep the air clean and dry, a pressure regulator to allow you to dial in the precise level of airflow, and a shim set that allows you to make gross adjustments to the flow. The Super Air Amplifier is available in (5) different sizes with ¾” up to 8” diameter outlets and flow rates from 219 SCFM to 9,000 SCFM 6″ from the outlet. They are capable of achieving an amplification ratio of up to 25:1 from the compressed air supply. The laminar airflow from the unit minimizes wind shear to produce sound levels that are typically three times quieter than other air movers. If you have an application that requires a similar type of cooling, give us a call. We’ll walk you through the process of selecting the most suitable solution.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer

E-mail: Tylerdaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Super Ion Air Knife Improve Cycle Rates in an Injection Molding Process

A die manufacturer created a 12” wide by 24” long (30.5cm X 61 cm) tool for an injection molding machine that contained 80 cavities for an automotive supplier. As contracted with their customer, the goal was to have 30 injection per minute to create 2400 parts every minute.  The tool was designed with 2 chambers, each containing 40 cavities to control production rates.  Also as part of the contract, the automotive supplier required a pre-production approval before signing off on the purchase order.  As they attached the tool to the injection molding machine for a trial run, they began to notice that some of the parts were sticking to the cavities.  In the first 30 minutes, they stopped the machine as they only averaged 16 injections per minute with only 50% of the parts falling out of the tool.  They did notice that they could feel the static electricity on their arms when they reached into the tool to remove the parts.  To try and improve the cycle rate, they attempted to mount a 12” (30.5 cm) pipe with drill holes above the tool. Many manufacturers attempt this because it is simple and easy to do; but, this style of blow-off is very inefficient and not very effective.  As they began the next trial, they did see a slight improvement.  It increased the cycle rate to 19 injection per minute and it was removing 75% of the parts.  It still was not good enough for the automotive supplier.

Super Ion Air Knife Kit includes Super Ion Air Knife, Power Supply, filter, regulator and shim set.
Super Ion Air Knife Kit includes Super Ion Air Knife, Power Supply, filter, regulator and shim set.

The die manufacturer was under pressure to find a solution as he did not want to redesign or rebuild the tool. He noticed that EXAIR was a leader in Static Eliminators and Blow-off equipment, so he contacted us.  In our discussion, he explained how he needed to remove the static and remove the parts quickly out of the tool.  I suggested our model 111212 Super Ion Air Knife Kit.  It is 12” (30.5 cm) long, and it can be mounted easily across the width of the tool.  With a 40:1 amplification ratio and both positive and negative ion streams, it can remove the static and push the parts very effectively.  Once they installed the Super Ion Air Knife, they began the operation once again.  They initially noticed that all the parts were being ejected from the tool.  When they measured the cycle rate, it was running at 33 injection per minute (exceeding the requirement).  The tool was approved and the die manufacture was very pleased.

When it comes to removing static and blowing parts, EXAIR has a great range of products. We can do it very efficiently, quietly, and effectively.  If you have any issues with injection molding, EXAIR may have the product to help you.  You can discuss your applications further by contacting one of our Application Engineers.

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

Let’s Talk About Cooling. Yes, In January.

Well, we’re right smack dab in the middle of January, and it’s time for the annual reminder (to myself, mainly) that I surrendered my right to complain about the cold when I moved here from Florida (on purpose) some 24 years (and 2 months, 8 days, and a handful of hours) ago.  Not that I’m keeping track.  You can follow this link (and this one, and this one) to some of my former rantings on the subject.

After an admittedly mild December in Ohio, the struggle became real this week.
After an admittedly mild December in Ohio, the struggle became real this week.

But, as the title implies, I AM going to talk about a need for cooling. Of course, no matter how cold it is outside, there are many, many processes in industry that can get quite hot. Here’s one of them:

A company that operates injection molding machinery had a big problem: their machines’ molds were cooled by chilled water, and as they aged, they developed leaks, allowing water into the mold cavities. This, of course, ruined the product. To make things worse, the passages that the chilled water flows through are cast right into the machine body, so permanent repair essentially means that these bodies (the main part of the machinery) have to be replaced, at significant cost.

Last summer, they went looking for alternate methods of cooling, and found our Vortex Tubes. After some experimentation, they determined that (8) Model 3240 Vortex Tubes (2,800 Btu/hr, Maximum Cooling Power) would replicate the cooling previously provided by the chilled water systems.

EXAIR Vortex Tubes are a quick & easy method to get cold air, on demand, wherever you need it. Just like this.
EXAIR Vortex Tubes are a quick & easy method to get cold air, on demand, wherever you need it. Just like this.

They’ve since outfitted all of their injection molding machines with these, and have dodged a very expensive replacement of machinery for the foreseeable future.

If you’d like to find out how an engineered product from EXAIR’s comprehensive line can take the heat off (literally or figuratively) an application you’re struggling with, give us a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Preventative Measures Can Be Very Helpful

A manufacturer started to receive complaints from their customer on the product that they were supplying. They contacted me for a solution.  The manufacturer created a silicone rubber sheet about the size of an index card.  They would make this product by a liquid injection molding process.  The problem that the customer started seeing was small fragments of metal and thin silicone flashing stuck to the parts they were receiving. This caused the customer additional processing time because they had to clean the parts prior to using them.

In injection molding processes, you always get wear from the tooling. This wear resulted in metal fragments onto the silicone sheets.  Also, with the very fine gaps, you will get flashing.  But, an additional issue with silicone is that it is a nonconductive surface.  It can generate static which adds forces that can make it difficult to remove debris from the surface.

Super Ion Air Knife
Super Ion Air Knife

Lucky for this customer, EXAIR makes a Super Ion Air Knife. This device uses compressed air to carry the ions to neutralize static and remove debris.  They purchased (2) of the model 111006 Super Ion Air Knife, one for each side of the silicone sheet, and a high voltage power supply with dual outlet.  They mounted the Super Ion Air Knives and noticed a large improvement instantly.  Rejections dropped greatly, improving customer relations and productivity.

As a pre-emptive strategy, you can use EXAIR products as a solution to ensure good parts for your customers. With tooling that wears and static that can be generated, there are hidden problems that can occur over time.  Like the manufacturer above, if they could have foreseen the issues, the Super Ion Air Knife would have been installed prior to their customer finding it.  If you would like to discuss any of your upcoming projects with our Application Engineers, you can contact us at your convenience.

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

The Value Of Knowing

One of my many favorite shows as a child was the animated series G.I. Joe.  Through the main story line, they tried to teach a life lesson at the end of every episode.   Then the famous saying would come out.   “Knowing is half the battle.”  This has proved to be extremely true and helpful throughout my life and my career.

The biggest lesson that I believe I have learned is that when you don’t know the answer, ask for help.  Knowing the right person to ask is quite often just as good as knowing the information yourself.   This is why the Application Engineering team here at EXAIR is comprised of people from such diverse backgrounds.

If one of us is unfamiliar with your application there is most likely someone nearby who has been exposed to your industry or specific process.  For instance, I have a machine tool background, and you call to discuss discharge of our Reversible Drum Vac versus some other mechanical pump, then I may ask Justin Nicholl or Russ Bowman about the mechanical pump for help with understanding your situation.  This also showcases just how much of a team effort goes into solving problems for our customers.

Fortunately for us, the company also backs us up when we run across an unfamiliar process or problem. EXAIR’s 30 day guarantee allows us to get the product into your hands so you may test it risk free for 30 days. Test it within your facility under your conditions for a real world result. We enjoy learning about new processes and problems, plus we get to add this knowledge to our diverse experience.

Just in case you were wondering what kind of experience we have at our disposal, here is a brief listing of our core knowledge. If we were to include our internships, educations, field experience and people who are still at EXAIR but were once in the Application Engineering department, this list would go on and on:

  • Machine Tool
  • Injection Molding
  • Industrial Pumps
  • Natural Gas Regulators
  • Petroleum Nozzles
  • Compressed Air Hand Tools
  • Industrial Supply
  • Electronic Sensors / Transducers
  • Aerospace
  • Mechanical Power Transmission

So as you can see, if we don’t know about it or haven’t seen something like it,  chances are you have a unique application that we are still going to do our best to help with.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss one of our compressed air applications, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF