Air Operated Conveyors for Dense and Abrasive Materials

Heavy Duty Line Vac Family

As an Application Engineer, I get the pleasure to speak to many companies about trying to find a simple, long-lasting, powerful but quiet type of transfer systems.  They have operators that climb steps to dump bags of material in hoppers above.  Or they need a compact way to remove scrap from your process.  Or they have budgetary constraints to convey material from point A to point B.  If your company had to tackle any of these issues, EXAIR can help you.  We manufacture Air Operated Conveyors that do not have any moving parts, very compact in design, and have a high throughput capacity.  They can attach easily to standard hoses, pipes, or sanitary flanges.   These inexpensive conveyors are designed to make conveyance safer and ergonomically better for your operators.  EXAIR calls this product line, Line Vacs™.

The Line Vacs use a small amount of compressed air to generate a vacuum by a Venturi effect.  The unique design generates a high velocity to create a powerful vacuum on one side.  Once the product reaches the throat area of the Line Vac, the compressed air will carry the product the rest of the way.  We can reach horizontal distances up to 100 feet (30 meters) and vertical heights up to 20 feet (6 meters).  EXAIR manufactures a variety of Line Vacs in different sizes, styles, and materials.  In this blog, I will cover our most powerful and abrasion resistant type, the Heavy Duty Line Vacs.

Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit

The Heavy Duty Line Vacs are engineered to move abrasive materials with increased conveyance rate.  They range from ¾” O.D. standpipes as our smallest up to 3” O.D. standpipes for hose connections.  The construction is made from a hardened alloy to resist wear from abrasive bulk products like steel parts, sand, glass, ceramic, etc.  The Heavy Duty Line Vac can create a high vacuum level to pick up heavier objects as well as conveying larger volume of material.  If purchased as a kit, the Line Vac will come with a filter, regulator, and a mounting bracket.  This adds overall value in mounting, controlling, and protecting the Line Vac for years to come.  This simple device has no moving parts and is a great product to use in rugged industrial applications.  You will not have to worry about any motors or bearing prematurely wearing out.

If you need to convey heavy materials like 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.  For our U.S. and Canadian customers, we are running a promotional ad.  You will receive a 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle, a $72.00 value, for free from now until the end of October 2020 with a qualified purchase online.  If you would like to discuss your conveying application further, 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

Let’s Go Fishing with EXAIR Sanitary Flange Line Vacs™

A group of us went to the northern part of Ohio to do some fishing.  We had a great time.  We caught a variety of fish; even some small ones like above.  We had one person that could fillet fish; and, we definitely let him do the work.  I enjoy eating fish, but I do not enjoy the fish bones.  If the fish is filleted correctly, finding a bone is rare.  Now, traveling from a small boat in Ohio to an international commercial fishing company, it is also important to keep the bones at a minimum.  A salmon processing plant contacted EXAIR about our Line Vacs for removing fish bones.

In 2014, this processing plant purchased two 1 ½” 316SS Line Vacs, model 6063-316, to remove bones from salmon fillets.  The Line Vacs were positioned after the “bone removal” rollers.  Cups that spanned across the salmon fillets were attached to the vacuum end of the Line Vacs.  They loved how the product worked without any moving parts, and how compact and reliable they were since they were in operation for over 6 years.  But they needed to increase fish production rates; so, they needed a higher conveyance rate to remove the bones.  They sent me a photo of their current process (reference below).

Deboning Process

The interesting thing was that they welded sanitary flanges to the ends of each Line Vac.  Sanitary flanges are great for mandatory and frequent cleaning.  And believe it or not, EXAIR introduced Sanitary Flange Line Vacs™ in yr2017.  At EXAIR, we are always progressing with new products to solve different issues in a variety of industries.  The Sanitary Flange Line Vacs were designed for food and pharmaceutical industries.  For this customer above, they were surprised and amazed that we added the Sanitary Flange Line Vacs to our product line.

So, now they would not have to weld flanges.  This would save them time from welding and buffering to remove any “catches” inside where bacteria could grow.  They wished to replace their current Line Vacs with 2” size Line Vacs to increase the throat diameter and conveyance rate.  Since they requested the 2” size, I recommend the model 161200-316.

Sanitary Line Vac Family

The Sanitary Flange Line Vacs can fit within sanitary piping systems to convert pipes into a useful conveyor for bulk material and waste removal.  They use an ISO2852 flange for easy disassembly and cleaning to reduce bacterial entrapment.  They ae made from 316 stainless steel material for superior corrosion resistance.  EXAIR manufactures four different sizes from 1 ½” up to 3” flanges.  If we were three years earlier in production at EXAIR, it would have been an easy choice for this fish processing plant.

EXAIR Line Vacs use a small amount of compressed air to generate a powerful vacuum by a Venturi effect.  The unique design of the generators creates a high velocity of air to create a low pressure on one side and a powerful thrust on the other.  You can watch a video of the operation of a Line Vac HERE.  Compared to other vacuum or conveying systems, the EXAIR Line Vacs are very quiet, rugged, and powerful.  For sensitive applications where cleanliness is a major need, the Sanitary Flange Line Vac are designed for these conditions.

If you need to convey solid materials in a quick and easy way, an EXAIR Line Vac could be a solution for you.  We have them in a variety of formats, materials, and sizes to easily match your application.  For the salmon processing plant, it improved their operations in removing fish bones.  EXAIR Line Vacs can save back-wrenching labor of picking up bags, climbing stairs, and dumping material into hoppers.  If you want to know if the EXAIR Line Vac could work for you, please fill out the Line Vac Data Sheet (click HERE).  An Application Engineer at EXAIR will help to recommend the best unit for you.  But, if you want to catch fish, you may want to ask a professional 😊.

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

Desiccant Dryers: Heat of Compression Type

Desiccant Dryers

Desiccant dryers come in different forms.  They are designed for water sensitive areas as they can reach a dew point to -40oF (-40oC) and below.  That means that water will not condense in the compressed air lines until the temperature is below the dew point.  The desiccant inside these units will adsorb the water vapor as compressed air passes through a bed.  Once the desiccant bed is full of water vapor, it will have to be regenerated.

A typical system will use two towers that will switch back and forth.  One tower is used to remove the water from the compressed air system, and the other is used to regenerate the desiccant.  In this blog, I will cover how the desiccant can be regenerated with a Heat of Compression (HOC) type of desiccant dryer.

An air compressor is not an efficient device.  For every eight horsepower of energy to make compressed air, only one horsepower is used as work.  And for compressed air drying, the type of desiccant dryer is important.  Regeneration of desiccant beads can be done either with non-heated or heated means. The non-heated, or heatless version will use 15% of your compressed air to purge through the regeneration tank.  The air escapes into the atmosphere with the water vapor and is wasted.

With the heated type desiccant dryers, they come in three different categories.  One type uses a heater to increase the temperature of the compressed air. At the elevated temperature, the purge requirement can be reduced to 7% for the regeneration of desiccant.  But, still compressed air is wasted.  To cut the purge to zero, a blower-type heated desiccant dryer can be used.  Instead of heating the compressed air, the blower will push ambient air through a heater to regenerate the desiccant bed.  But can you get more efficient than that?

Well, what if you can remove the heater and the blower?  The heat of compression type of desiccant dryers can do that.  Remember above when I mentioned that “for every eight horsepower of energy to make compressed air, only one horsepower is used as work”.  The seven horsepower of energy that is lost is given off as heat.  The HOC dryer uses that heat to regenerate the desiccant bed.  So, the overall energy is reduced even further.  There is a restriction when using this type of dryer.  The air compressor will have to be oil-free because oil will coat the desiccant beads and stop the adsorption rate.

When the air is compressed, heat is generated.  This heated air can reach around 200oF (93oC).  With the higher temperature, air can hold more water vapor.  As the heated air passes through the desiccant bed that needs to be regenerated, the water vapor is picked up from the desiccant beads.  The saturated air would then pass through an aftercooler.  The aftercooler reduces the air temperature below 100oF (38oC) which will cause the water to drop out.  From the aftercooler, the air will then pass through the desiccant bed in the drying tower.   When the cycle time is reached, the towers will switch to regenerate the second tower.

Line Vacs can convey many things.

With these types of dryers, the desiccant beads will start to degrade from regeneration.  To help replace them, EXAIR offers a Line Vac.  Instead of climbing a ladder with many bags of desiccant, the Line Vac can do this safely and ergonomically.   EXAIR Line Vacs use a small amount of compressed air to generate a powerful vacuum by a Venturi effect.  The unique design of the generators creates a high velocity of air to create a low pressure on one side and a powerful thrust on the other.  The Line Vac can pick up and move solid material vertically up to 20 feet (6 meters).  You can watch a video on the operation of a Line Vac HERE.  The EXAIR Line Vacs are very quiet, compact, rugged, and powerful.  To replace the desiccant, it can do it quickly and safely.

If you need to convey solid materials in a quick and easy way, an EXAIR Line Vac could be a solution for you.  We have them in a variety of materials and designs to match your application.  Ergonomically, they can save the back-wrenching labor of picking up bags, climbing stairs, and dumping material into towers.  If you want to know if the EXAIR Line Vac could work for you, an Application Engineer at EXAIR can help to recommend the best unit for you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Heated Desiccant Dryer by Compressor1Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivs 2.0 Generic

The Makeup of Earth’s Air

Most people know that oxygen, makes up about 20% of the earth’s atmosphere at sea level, and that almost all the rest is nitrogen. But did you know there’s an impressive list of other gases in the air we breathe

whats in air
Reference: CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, edited by David R. Lide, 1997.

We can consider, for practical purposes, that air is made up of five gases: nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. But because water vapor is a variable, this table omits it, water vapor generally makes up 1-3% of atmospheric air, by volume, and can be as high as 5%.  Which means that, even on a ‘dry’ day, it pushes argon out of third place!

There are numerous reasons why the volumetric concentrations of these gases are important.  If oxygen level drops in the air we’re breathing, human activity is impaired.  Exhaustion without physical exertion will occur at 12-15%.  Your lips turn blue at 10%.  Exposure to oxygen levels of 8% or below are fatal within minutes.

But here at EXAIR we care about how compressed air can be used efficiently to better your process! 

Any of our products are capable of discharging a fluid, but they’re specifically designed for use with compressed air – in basic grade school science terms, they convert the potential energy of air under compression into kinetic energy in such a way as to entrain a large amount of air from the surrounding environment.  This is important to consider for a couple of reasons:

  • Anything that’s in your compressed air supply is going to get on the part you’re blowing off with that Super Air Nozzle, the material you’re conveying with that Line Vac, or the electronics you’re cooling with that Cabinet Cooler System.  That includes water…which can condense from the water vapor at several points along the way from your compressor’s intake, through its filtration and drying systems, to the discharge from the product itself.
  • Sometimes, a user is interested in blowing a purge gas (commonly nitrogen or argon) –  but unless it’s in a isolated environment (like a closed chamber) purged with the same gas, most of the developed flow will simply be room air.

Another consideration of air make up involves EXAIR Gen4 Static Eliminators.  They work on the Corona discharge principle: a high voltage is applied to a sharp point, and any gas in the vicinity of that point is subject to ionization – loss or gain of electrons in their molecules’ outer valences, resulting in a charged particle.  The charge is positive if they lose an electron, and negative if they gain one.  Of the two gases that make up almost all of our air, oxygen has the lowest ionization energy in its outer valence, making it the easier to ionize than nitrogen.  You can certainly supply a Gen4 Static Eliminator with pure nitrogen if you wish, but the static dissipation rate may be lesser.

If you want to learn more about the compressed air or any of our point of use compressed air products, you can contact an Application Engineer.  We will be happy to help you.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Air photo courtesy of Barney Moss Creative Commons License