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

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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Darn Right, More Power

“Home Improvement” was one of the more popular TV shows of the 1990’s – the lead Character (I capitalized that on purpose,) Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, hosted a handyman show with his skilled & more sensible sidekick, Al Borland. Tim’s mantra, “More Power,” was often tempered by Al’s quintessential retort of “I don’t think so, Tim.” For your viewing pleasure, here’s a collection of (more than) a few times when Al’s warning went unheeded.

When discussing compressed air product applications, I’m often asked if EXAIR has something with “more power” than what the caller is currently using.  Sometimes, it’s even an EXAIR product that’s not giving the results they want.  Regardless, the answer is usually “darn right, we do!”

This was the case recently, when I had the pleasure of actually doing a conveyance test in our shop for a customer.  The product was broken glass, and they wanted to move a fair amount of it, in a hurry.

Last year about this time, I wouldn’t have even recommended a test of the product; our Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac was our epitome of “More Power.”  Then, earlier this year, we introduced the Model 150300 3″ Heavy Duty Line Vac (also a 2-1/2″ model).

Yeah, we really don't have an "Al Borland" character on the EXAIR team...2" Heavy Duty Line Vac (left;) the new 3" model (right.)

2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac (left;) the new 3″ model (right.) Yeah, we really don’t have an “Al Borland” character on the EXAIR team…

The results were conclusive, and dramatic.  The 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac moved the broken glass at a rate of 10.8 lb/min. Considering that included a 15 foot vertical rise, that’s not bad at all.  Based on the difference in conveyance air flow alone (which we use as a VERY rough estimation,) I expected an increase of 40-50% with the new 3″ model.  Instead, I could almost hear Tim Allen’s signature grunt as the 3″ Heavy Duty Line Vac reached a conveyance rate of 24 lb/min.  More power, indeed.

If you’d like to discuss an air operated conveyor application, or 1990’s sitcoms, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Conveying Plastic Chips Using Only Compressed Air

plastic-chips-2

Plastic chips and pellets in need of an efficient means to convey from point A to point B

One of our distributors in Europe recently contacted me about an application to move plastic chips and pellets (shown above).  In this application the customer needed to move the material 6m vertically (upward), 10m horizontally, and then 4m vertically (downward) at the fastest rate possible using an EXAIR Line Vac.  So, we needed to determine the most suitable model number.

When determining the proper model Line Vac for pneumatic conveying applications, we investigate specifics such as:

Bulk density of the material

Shape/size of the material

Conveying distance

Conveying height

Required conveyance rate

Available compressed air supply

Using this information we can make a recommendation as to the best Line Vac for the application.  For this application, the bulk density of the material was between 10-15 pounds per cubic foot, the size was relatively small, our distances were given, and the required conveyance rate was “as much as possible”.  With a sufficient compressed air volume and pressure of 80 PSIG, we knew everything we needed to make a model number recommendation.

Due to the significant height as well as the considerable horizontal distance, the best solution for this application was a Heavy Duty Line Vac.  Given the small size of the material, several options “could” move the chips/pellets, but we needed to determine which Line Vac would move the most volume.  Our recommendation was to use the Heavy Duty 2” Line Vac, model 150200, which we estimate could move ~400 pounds per hour (or more) in this application.

Conveying materials pneumatically removes worker interaction with the movement of the product, allows for controlled ON/OFF cycling of material transfer, and eliminates fatigue related to physical handling of the material.

If these aspects could benefit your facility or application, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Light Duty Line Vac Used To Move Weatherstrip Trim, Eliminates Production Delay

Last week I was contacted by a custom machine builder who was looking to improve their design of a rubber weatherstrip notching machine for an automotive company. As the weatherstrip enters the machine, there are several cuts taken along the length, resulting in excess scrap trim which drops into a collection bin. The operation is then stopped, so the operator can manually empty the bin into a recycle hopper a few feet away. This was causing a few issues, most notably the delay in production, but also the operators were sometimes forgetting to empty the bin which caused jams in the machine and a messy work area. The machine builder was looking at our Line Vac Conveyors as a more reliable, automated option to convey the material instead of relying on the operator, so they reached out for assistance in selecting the best model.

The lightweight, rubber scrap trim varied in size, with the largest being a piece around 3/4″ wide x 13″ long, and they needed to convey it about 3′ – 4′ with the majority of the run begin gravity fed into the recycle bin. They were hoping to place the Line Vac right at the cutting head, so as the part is being processed, the scrap piece would be pulled in to the suction side, lengthwise, to avoid any blockage or build up. After reviewing all of the information and a sketch of the proposed setup, I recommend they use our Model # 130200 2″ Light Duty Line Vac. The Light Duty Line Vac uses less compressed air than our other air operated conveyors and is the ideal choice when looking to move lightweight or smaller volumes of material a short distance. With this particular application being mostly gravity fed, the Light Duty Line Vac would ensure the material was effectively picked up and delivered to the hopper, eliminating the current manual process.

Light Duty Line Vac

Light Duty Line Vacs are available to ship from stock in sizes ranging from 3/4″ up to 6″.

The Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors have no moving parts or motors to wear out, providing a maintenance free way to move dry material. For help selecting the best option to fit your needs or to discuss how another EXAIR product might be suitable for your application, give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Line Vac Alleviates Back Breaking Work in Drying Cocoa Beans

An overseas plant had a large operation processing cocoa beans.  They would pick the pods off the cocoa trees, remove the beans from the pod, and place them on a large screened table to dry in the sun.  The drying process may seem primitive, but with the natural energy of the sun, it is free.  To completely remove the moisture from the cocoa beans, they would have to keep the beans exposed to the sun for close to a week.  As a daily operation, the workers would have to carry beans to and from a storage container by shovel and bucket.  In the morning when the sun was rising, they would shovel the beans from the storage container and spread them onto the table.  Before evening came, they would shovel the beans from the table back into the storage containers.  This back and forth was very hard work and time consuming.

In discussing their setup, the storage containers were a maximum of 10 meters away from the drying tables.  The bulk density of cocoa beans are roughly 980 kg/m^3.  So, with 19L buckets used to carry the beans, each one would weigh a bit over 18Kg each.  The operators would carry two buckets, multiple times during the day to load the tables (reference the photo below).  Then they would remove the beans in the evening to put them back into the storage containers.  The reason that they had to store the cocoa beans at night was because of dew.  When the temperature drops during the night, dew would settle onto the beans and rehydrate them.  So, to keep the beans drying at a moderate rate, they had to store them during the night.  This was very hard work on the workers’ backs, and they were also losing sunlight hours as this was a long tedious operation.  In trying to find a better solution to improve their operation, they searched and found the EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors.

Cocoa beans being dried

Cocoa beans being dried

The EXAIR Line Vac fit very well into their operation. I suggested the model 152200 Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit as this unit has our highest conveyance rate.  It can convey the cocoa beans at a rate of nearly 900kg/hr.  It is very compact and easy to use.  This plantation placed a 10 meter length of hose in between the storage containers and the drying tables.  They attached a 1 meter section of hose to the vacuum end of the Heavy Duty Line Vac.  Because the Line Vac pushes the product much better than it pulls, we recommend the vacuum hose to be 1 meter or less for optimum conveyance.  So, in the morning, they would go to the storage container and attach the 10 meter hose to the exhaust end of the Line Vac.  They would open the compressed air line to the Line Vac and watch the cocoa beans being conveyed to the drying tables.  In the evening, they would reverse the procedure and attach the Line Vac to the 10 meter hose near the drying tables.  They would watch the beans being conveyed back into the storage containers.  Not only did this save the backs of their workers, it also increased the amount of drying time.  With their new operation, the cocoa beans now had an additional 1 hour of drying each day in the sun.  This helped tremendously in getting the dried cocoa beans to the processing factory more quickly.

Line Vacs can convey many things.

Line Vacs can convey many things.

If your company has a strenuous operation in moving dry bulk products like this, you may want to consider an EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor. They are very reliable, easy to use, and long lasting.  If you need help in finding the correct model for your application, please contact us today.

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

Need an Upgrade? EXAIR has options.

Occasionally we field calls from customers who are currently using an EXAIR product but are looking to “upgrade” to something that might provide just a little bit “extra”. Such was the case recently when I was working with a customer who was currently using our Reversible Drum Vac to clean out their coolant tanks on their milling machines. The RDV was working great in the application but in an effort to gain more floor space, they were now going to store their coolant drums on their mezzanine, located around 10′ above the machining area so they needed something with more power to lift the heavy liquid coolant up to the mezzanine. I promptly suggested our High Lift Reversible Drum Vac. The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac provides up to 15′ of vacuum lift and mounts through the same, 3/4″ NPT threaded hole in the drum lid as their current unit. By purchasing a new High Lift pump unit only, and a 20′ vacuum hose, this customer avoided purchasing a completely new system (they  or other unfamiliar product. They simply replaced the pump unit into the 3/4 NPT bung of the existing drum, and swapped out the hose to meet their existing needs of higher lift.

HLRDV

The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac is designed to fit 30, 55 and 110 gallon, closed head steel drums.

This is just one example how EXAIR continues to offer new products to meet increasing customer demands. In fact, several other products have also been recently expanded or developed to demonstrate this commitment. Here is a short list showcasing some of our newer offerings.

The Chip Trapper System which filters suspended solids in liquid and traps them in a reusable filter bag inside the drum, is also offered in a High Lift version as well, providing the extra vacuum (180″ water column) discussed above, for elevated tanks or below grade sumps.

high-lift-chip-trapper

High Lift Chip Trapper System

We now offer our Heavy Duty Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors in 2.5″ and 3″ sizes with either smooth or NPT threaded ends. The HD Line Vac is constructed of a proprietary hardened alloy construction for superior abrasion resistance and is capable of moving dry material, higher and farther distances.

Heavy Duty Line Vac: Hardened Alloy Construction and High Performance

Heavy Duty Line Vac: Hardened Alloy Construction and High Performance

Our 1/2″ NPT Atomizing Nozzles provide higher flow rates, up to 303 GPH,  with varying spray patterns. Also available with our N0-Drip feature to positively stop the liquid flow when the compressed air supply is shut off.

ef5010ss

EF5010SS 1/2″ NPT External Mix Narrow Angle Flat Fan Pattern Atomizing Nozzle with flows up to 303 GPH.

no-drip

No-Drip Atomizing Nozzle eliminate liquid waste.

The High Velocity Air Jet and Adjustable Air Jet are now available in 303 Stainless Steel for application requiring superior construction where brass may not be suitable.

6013ss

Model # 6013SS Stainless Steel High Velocity Air Jet

 

Stainless Steel Adjustable Air Jet

Model # 6019SS Stainless Steel Adjustable Air Jet

Lastly, we now offer our HD HEPA Vac in a 30 gallon capacity for smaller area, lower scale cleanup for dusty environments.

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac Family

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac Family

All of these products are shipped from stock and can ship same day with orders received by 3:00 PM EST. If you are looking to upgrade your current EXAIR product or with help selecting the best solution, please give me a call, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

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