Ion Air Jet Keeps Laser Scanner Lens Clean, Eliminates False Reads

An automobile manufacturer was looking for a solution to keep their laser scanner lens clean in their body welding process. The Automatic Guided Vehicles or “AGV’s” are equipped with a laser safety scanner mounted on the front and back of each vehicle, used to detect any foreign objects in it’s travel path. The scanners are fitted with a polycarbonate protective lens and as the vehicles travel through the system, the lens can build up a static charge, attracting airborne dust and particulate, which results in false readings, shutting down the line.

The current cleaning method involves an operator using a microfiber cloth to manually wipe the lenses clean, and while this does work, with the scanners being mounted roughly 4″ above the floor, this poses some ergonomic concerns for their workers. The customer found EXAIR after looking on the internet for static elimination products and it turns out, they are currently using several of our products in their facility, but he was unsure which product would be suit their needs so he reached out for assistance.

After further reviewing the application with the customer, they explained that each vehicle makes several “scheduled” stops along the route and one of these areas would be selected as the install point. I suggested the customer use (2) of our Ion Air Jet Kits, to clean the lenses. The Ion Air Jet produces a high volume of ionized airflow that can be focused right at the lenses to eliminate the static charge and carry the fines away. The kit includes a filter separator which is going to remove any condensate and/or dirt in the air supply, as well as a pressure regulator. The pressure regulator will allow them to easily adjust the supply pressure to control the outlet flow and velocity so they don’t disrupt other areas in the process.

Additionally, I suggested they use (2) of our EFC – Electronic Flow Control, which features a timing controlled (0.10 seconds to 120 hours) photoelectric sensor as a means to control air usage. As the vehicle enters the blow off area, the sensor will “see” the vehicle, signaling the solenoid valve to open the air line to the jet to blow off the lens. As the vehicle then exits the area, the sensor would again send a signal to close the air supply, so compressed air is only used when needed, reducing operating cost and further automating the process.

8494

Ion Air Jet Kit, Model # 8494 – includes the Ion Air Jet, Power Supply, Filter and Regulator

If you are experiencing static issues in your process or to see how we might be able to help with your automated system, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

Proper Air Supply Is Key To Optimal Performance

I recently worked with a customer who was using our 36″ aluminum Super Air Knife to remove dust and light debris from a conveyor but wasn’t seeing good performance. They initially called because they read in their catalog that increasing the shim gap would increase their force and flow and wanted to know what kind of increase in performance they would see.

The Super Air Knives are shipped from EXAIR with a .002″ shim installed and the performance data shown in the catalog reflects this gap setting. The shim sets, for aluminum knives, include a .001″, .003″ and .004″ shim and by changing to the .003″ shim, the force and flow would be 1.5 times as great and using the .004″ shim would double these amounts. While some applications do require the additional force and flow, trying to blow off dust or light materials typically wouldn’t fall into this category.

sak-shims

Replaceable shims provide varying levels of force and flow.

Switching our focus to the supply side of things, it turns out they were using 1/4″ hose and only plumbing one end of the unit. This poses 2 concerns that relate directly to the mentioned poor performance. The first would be the 1/4″ hose is severely undersized for a 36″ Super Air Knife. We recommend 3/4″ Schedule 40 pipe if the length of supply from a main header is 10′ or less and a 1″ pipe up to 50′ of supply run. It is possible to use hose but that hose needs to be at least 1″ ID to be able to carry enough volume to support a 36″ unit. Secondly, for knives that are 24″ in length or longer, you need to plumb air to both ends to maintain an even, laminar flow across the length of the knife.

With the proper supply, the Super Air Knife is going to produce an exhaust air velocity of 11,800 feet per minute when operated at 80 PSIG, which is more than enough to eject lightweight material from a flat surface (in fact you could most likely clean dust and light debris at a lower pressure). If the customer did increase the shim gap dimension, the increase in  air demand would only worsen the problem of undersized supply lines.

Pipe sizes

Recommended supply line sizes per the IOM – Installation and Operation Manual.

This is just one example of how proper supply line size and installation is key to achieving optimal performance. If you are experiencing similar issues or need any assistance with a product or application, give me a call, I am glad to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzle Improves Roll Forming Process

Last week I worked with a gutter manufacturer who was looking for a way to spray a light coating of vanishing oil on the rollers of a forming machine. Roll forming is commonly used when needing to maintain a constant and consistent shape or feature across the length of the part. In this particular case, a sheet of aluminum, used as a cover for the gutter, is fed into the machine where it passes over a series of dyes that bends “ribs” and punches small holes into the part to keep leaves or debris from settling on top, while allowing the rainwater to pass through the holes and into the gutter.

They were needing to apply the oil to the rollers because they were starting to see some irregularities in hole size as well as some deformities to the shape of the ribs due to heat being generated during the forming process. The customer was interested in using some type of atomizing spray nozzle in the hopes that providing an atomized mist of liquid may provide for a faster evaporation of the oil so there wasn’t much residue left on the part before packaging.

After further discussing the details, they advised that they were going to have the oil in a container about 12″ below the machine but didn’t have a way to pressurize or pump the liquid to the nozzle. Once again, EXAIR has the perfect solution with our 1/4 NPT Siphon Fed Atomizing Nozzles. These nozzles are the ideal solution where pressurized liquid isn’t available as they use the compressed air to the draw the liquid into the nozzle, up to 36″ of suction height, and mix it internally to produce a mist of atomized liquid spray. For this particular application, the Model # SR1010SS was a good solution as it provides a low flow rate of only 0.8 GPH and a tight spray pattern to focus right at the rollers to avoid any waste or overspray.

sr1010ss

Model # SR1010SS Siphon Fed Round Pattern Atomizing Spray Nozzle – 303ss construction, fully adjustable flow rate

EXAIR offers an extensive range of Atomizing Nozzles that can be used for light coating applications, like above, or for wider coverage areas or higher flow rates. For help selecting the best option to fit your needs, contact one of our application engineers for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Cookie Blowoff Using The Full-Flow Air Knife

A machine manufacturer was working with a food company who was looking to design a blowoff station for their cookie making process. During the production cycle, the cookie dough is put into a former that pushes the dough through round dyes that forms several rows of cookies across a conveyor. As the cookies travel down the conveyor, they are topped with ground peanut bits and sent through a flash freezing process. It was after this process, the company was looking to install the blowoff station to remove any excess peanut bits but were concerned if the air velocity was too high, they may remove too much of the ground peanuts or possibly blow the cookies themselves off of the conveyor. Another area of concern was the amount of space available to install the station was limited, so they were needing something “compact” so they could design the machine to take the least amount of real estate as possible.

The machine designer was somewhat familiar with our Air Knives, but was unsure which design would best fit the customer’s needs so they decided to reach out for assistance. After discussing the particulars, I recommended our 36″ Stainless Steel Full-Flow Air Knife Kit. Of the 3 designs of Air Knife we offer, the Super, Standard and Full-Flow, the Full-Flow Air Knife produces the lowest outlet velocities, it is also our smallest profile offering at only 1.25″ x 1″  for stainless steel construction. The Full-Flow Air Knife provides a laminar flow of air the entire length of the knife and uses a 30:1 amplification rate (entrained air to compressed air) for efficient compressed air usage. By incorporating the pressure regulator included in the kit, they would be able to easily control the exiting air velocity to effectively remove the excess peanut bits without ejecting the cookies from the line.

Full-Flow

The Full-Flow Air Knife is the ideal choice where mounting space is limited. Lengths available up to 36″ in aluminum or stainless steel construction.

For assistance in selecting the best Air Knife to fit your needs or for additional support with another application or EXAIR product, give me a call at 800-903-9247, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Conveying Plastic Bucket Handles With A Line Vac Saves Time

A packaging company was looking to convey the plastic handle grips commonly found on plastic buckets (see below pic for reference). The grips are roughly 3″ long and about a 1/2″ in diameter and they currently have an operator manually load the hopper on their vibratory feeder which is located on the 2nd floor, about 12′ away from the receiving area. The hopper is level controlled and the machine uses 3 grips per minute so as the level dropped,  the operator would have to stop the process, go down and load the parts in a box, then go back up the stairs and dump the box into the hopper. This was a very tedious process, which wasted a lot of time so they reached out to EXAIR for a more effective way to get the job done.

yellow-bucket

The plastic handles are similar to the black handle shown here.

After further discussion, I recommended our 1-1/4″ Line Vac Kit  for the application as this unit has a 1″ inside throat diameter that would easily pass 1/2″ diameter parts and deliver them to the overhead hopper. Since they were only needing to load a few parts at a time, I proposed they have the operator simply feed the parts in to the Line Vac suction line to avoid any potential blockages. Additionally, I suggested they incorporate our Model# 9040 foot valve into the process to simplify the operation and provide additional control so they are only using their compressed air supply when needed to move the parts. The foot pedal will allow the operator to activate the Line Vac each time they feed parts moving in to the hopper. Among the items this kit includes is a pressure regulator which would allow them to adjust the supply pressure to the unit, providing control over the conveyance rate and velocity at which the parts are ejected.

gh_LVthr-hd-ld_754x696p

The Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors are available with smooth or NPT threaded ends in aluminum, 303ss, 316ss or hardened alloy construction to meet the demand of a wide variety of material transfer needs.

 

EXAIR’s Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors are able to convey light materials,  like plastic pellets,  to more abrasive materials like steel shot blasting media. To see how a Line Vac might fit into your process or for help selecting the best EXAIR product for your needs, give me a call, I’d be glad to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

yellow bucket image courtesy of sammydavisdog via Creative Commons license

Condiment Sauce Recovery Using The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac

Last week I worked with a food manufacturer who makes a line of specialty sauces, with consistencies similar to BBQ sauce or ketchup, who was looking to vacuum spills off their production floors. During production, they will sometimes experience an overfill during the bottling process, which results in the product spilling on the floor. Their current clean up method is to have an operator with a wash down hose, “thin” the sauce spills with water then direct it to a drain in the floor so it can be sent to the scrap tank. This was causing a few issues though, first, the drains have filter traps that were clogging regularly from not only the sauces but other particulate that may have been on the floor, causing environmental concerns for the plant. The other concern was the amount of water they were wasting to perform the clean up. My contact was the newly appointed maintenance manager and was tasked with trying to find a more reliable, economical way to remedy the situation. He was familiar with EXAIR as he had used some of our Line Vac Conveyors at his previous employer and knew we also carried a line of Industrial Vacuums but was unsure which product would be best suited for his needs so he reached out for assistance.

After discussing the details of the application, I recommended he use our High Lift Reversible Drum Vac System. The High Lift RDV is a liquid only vacuum that provides 180″ H20 vacuum and is able to handle thicker, more viscous fluids (up to 1400 cP) than our standard Reversible Drum Vac. With the ability to vacuum liquid up to 15′, the unit comes standard with a 20′ flexible vacuum hose and has no motors or moving parts to wear out. The system quickly installs to a standard closed head steel drum with available capacities of 30, 55 or 110 gallons. For spills, we offer our optional Model # 6901 Spill Recovery Kit which includes a 54″ ABS wand and 14″ double-blade squeegee that makes floor cleanup a breeze. After the material has been vacuumed, the unit can then be set to “empty” to pump the liquid back out to their waste tank so it can be carried away by their environmental recovery supplier.

hlrdv

The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac is able to pump thicker liquids from sumps or tanks up to 15 feet deep.

For help selecting the best suited Industrial Vacuum for your specific need or to discuss a particular application, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Explanation of OSHA Standard 1910.242(b)

Open air lines and homemade blow offs violate OSHA standard 1910.242(b) because of harmful dead end pressures. In 1972, OSHA established Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) requiring that the outlet pressure of an open pipe, nozzle, air gun, etc., when used for cleaning purposes, must remain below 30 PSI with the intent to protect workers from serious injury. They determined that when dead-ended against the skin, if the outlet pressure reached 30 PSI 0r higher,  it posed a risk of entering the bloodstream through the skin. This is commonly referred to as an air embolism – a serious condition which can be life threatening. Once air has entered the bloodstream, it can restrict the free movement of blood throughout the body, disrupting normal heart function, leading to abnormal heart rhythm, possible lung or brain damage, cardiac arrest, stroke or possible death.

OSHA explains that you can use compressed air for cleaning purposes, as long as the outlet or source is fitted with some type of relief device that drops the outlet pressure to below 30 PSI if dead ended. There are basically two ways to go about gaining compliance. The first is to regulate the operating supply pressure to less than 30 PSI, assuring that the outlet pressure doesn’t exceed the threshold. While this does comply with the Standard, it can negatively affect the performance by reducing the strength of the outlet flow, limiting the usefulness of the blowoff device.

The other method is to use some type of nozzle which includes a pressure reducer or a relief device which will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 PSI if the nozzle is dead ended.

For example, EXAIR engineered air nozzles are designed so the outlet holes cannot be blocked directly. Any potential obstruction of the outlet air holes results in the air having an alternative exit path to avoid injury to operators and personnel.

sag-osha-compliant

With our Super Air Nozzles, the air exits through a series of jets, recessed behind an array fins so the exhausting airflow can never be blocked.

With the design of our Super Air Knife, the cap overlaps the body, leaving a gap on both sides of the knife, allowing the exhausting air to safely vent.

osha-sak

Picture of the Super Air Knife, showing how the cap overlaps the body and cannot be blocked, providing a safe exit path.

ALL of EXAIR‘s engineered products incorporate these principles, providing some type of relief, allowing for the air to safely vent well below the 30 PSI requirement, meeting and in many cases, exceeding the OSHA Standard.

To discuss how EXAIR can help you gain OSHA compliance to improve operator safety, avoid costly fines and improve overall efficiency, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

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