The image above shows a test at a customer’s facility to move a small particulate to a height of 7m (23’) with an EXAIR Line Vac. This particulate is used in the production of hand warmers and the end user needed a method to convey the material out of 55 gallon drums.
This same customer purchased a 2” Heavy Duty Line Vac from EXAIR in 2014 which is still in use and functioning well. So, when it came time to find a pneumatic conveyance solution for this material, they knew where to go.
And, we knew just the questions to ask to determine the best Line Vac solution. In order to do so, we had to determine the following:
Bulk density of the material
Size of the material
Required conveyance rate
Available compressed air supply
Bulk density was rather low at 320kg/m³ (~20 pounds/ft³), with a particle size between 3-5mm (~1/8”-3/16”). The conveyance height in this application was 5-7m (16.5-23ft.), with a distance of 1-2m (3.3-6.6ft) and a desired conveyance rate of over 4kg (8.8 pounds) per minute.
The customer ran a test with the 2” Line Vac they have on site and the results were excellent. Their only question was whether they could achieve the needed conveyance with a smaller unit, thereby reducing compressed air consumption and operating cost of the application.
In this case the answer was clear that a smaller Line Vac could be used due to the low bulk density of the material. By reducing the size of the Line Vac to 1”, or perhaps 1.5” we could reduce the compressed air consumption and still meet the required performance need.
EXAIR Line Vacs have, once again, brought a viable solution to this industrial facility. If you have a similar application or would like to discuss pneumatic conveyance needs, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer. We’ll be happy to help.
I’ve written in the past about how to identify an EXAIR part, specifically how to identify a Vortex Tube. I recently ran into a very similar situation, only this customer was having difficulty identifying a Line Vac that was installed on one of his machines. The Line Vac was installed to remove a small pin from their part and convey it out to a separate bin for disposal. Rather than purchasing an additional machine, they were trying to expand the line and build one themselves. They reached some difficulty when trying to identify the EXAIR part that was installed and reached out to us for help.
Our Line Vacs come stock in (4) different materials of construction: aluminum, 303 stainless steel, 316 stainless steel, and for our Heavy Duty models a hardened alloy steel for abrasion resistance. The hardware used on the aluminum models is a black oxide screw whereas the others all have stainless steel hardware. Since his had black oxide hardware, it was easy to discern that this was in fact an aluminum Line Vac. To differentiate between the 303 and 316 models, we make a small cut around the circumference of the part. The outer appearance of the Heavy Duty is easily distinguishable.
Once we’ve identified the material of construction we must measure the O.D. of the inlet and outlet. By cross-referencing this measurement with the dimensions in our catalog you can then identify exactly which model number Line Vac that you have. In this scenario, the customer had to remove the Line Vac from the machine to measure the O.D. of the cap. The manufacturer of the machine had turned down the outside of the outlet on the body. Fortunately, he sent us a photo which clearly showed that this was the case. Based on his measurement, I determined that he had an EXAIR Model 6079 that had been modified. He was able to immediately place an order for the replacement and it shipped that day!
If you have an EXAIR part somewhere in your facility that you’re struggling to identify, give an Application Engineer a call. Through a series of investigative questions (and hopefully the help of photos!) we’ll be able to determine the model number that you have and clear up any uncertainty.
In my last blog post I wrote about vacuuming alumina dust in an aluminum manufacturing plant in South America. In that application we were returning spilled alumina to the original hopper so that processing could continue.
This same customer has an additional application to vacuum spilled material, but the new need is to assist mobile spill recovery vehicles (shown above) in vacuuming spills of varying volume. These mobile vehicles are effective for most of the spillage demands they can access, but there are times where additional vacuum is needed, such as when the spill location is beyond the hose length of the system. In those scenarios additional vacuum hose can be added, but line losses render the performance too low to produce real results. With this in mind, the end user looked for a point-of-use vacuum boosting solution, and thought about again using an EXAIR Line Vac.
Considering the potential use of a Line Vac, we approached this in the same way as any other pneumatic conveying application, gathering the required information to allow a proper model number selection. As with the previous application we confirmed the following:
Bulk density of the material
Size of the material
Required conveyance rate
Available compressed air supply
The spills in this facility are comprised of alumina dust with a bulk density of 1.1g/cm³ (68.7 pounds/ft³). From the floor to the maximum height of the vehicle is a distance of 3.25m (~11ft), and conveying distances were in a range of 3-10 meters (10-30 feet). The customer had no required conveyance rate, only a requirement to boost vacuuming capacity when needed.
With this information confirmed we were able to make a model number recommendation, the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac model 150200. Adding the 150200 Heavy Duty Line Vac to this mobile spill recovery unit brings additional vacuum flow and conveyance of the alumina through a high velocity airstream, making mobile spill recovery efforts more effective.
If you’re in need of a pneumatic conveying solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer (1-800-903-9247). We’ll be happy to help.
EXAIR’s Air Operated Conveyor product line just expanded, making it easier than ever for a wide range of industries to solve an ever growing range of bulk conveyance applications. Before we get to that, let’s look at just how versatile the Line Vacs are:
The standard Line Vac has been making bulk conveyance as easy as it could get for years now. They come in sizes from 3/8″ to 5″, and all you need is a hose to move material from point A to point B.
If you need high power for higher conveyance rates, longer distances, or very dense material, the Heavy Duty Line Vacs are what you’re looking for.
Light Duty Line Vacs are aimed at applications implied by the name…when smaller volumes of low density material don’t require all the head & flow generated by the standard or Heavy Duty models, these are as quick & convenient as the rest, and come in sizes from 3/4″ to 6″.
The newest additions to the Line Vac family are the Type 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange models:
These are especially popular in pharmaceutical, food, and brewing applications.
If you’d like to find out more about how to move bulk product quickly, easily, safely, and cleanly, give me a call.
The other day I was talking to an operation manager about his fixed-bed reactors. These reactors are large tanks filled with different layers of material. The main component of the bed consisted of catalyst pellets which were placed in a centralized layer in the middle of the tank. Above and below the catalyst pellets, they used different sizes of ceramic balls to create a gradient buffer. This was important to disperse the gas to utilize the entire catalyst bed and reduce the possibility of channeling. The tanks were designed with a dump flange mounted at the bottom; so, when the catalyst material was used up, they could dump all the material from the tank and replenish. In recycling the reactors, they could reuse the ceramic balls after they have been reconditioned.
As we discussed the details further about the reconditioning process, the material from the reactor was dumped into drums and separated manually. The catalyst material was discarded; leaving the ceramic balls. The ceramic balls came in three different diameters, 6mm, 13mm, and 25mm. To separate these, they would slide three empty wire-meshed trays into the oven, and placed a specific diameter into a corresponding tray. Once the oven was filled with the ceramic balls, they would heat the oven to 400 deg. C. This would burn off any dangerous material that was collected on the surface from the process within the reactors. After the heat cycle, they would have to wait approximately one hour until the ceramic balls were cool enough to handle. After the cooling period, they would use a shovel to remove the ceramic balls from the trays.
The reconditioned ceramic balls were placed in storage drums and kept until they had to recycle another reactor. The removal of the ceramic balls from the oven would take an additional half hour to complete. The entire reconditioning process was labor intensive, time consuming, and ergonomically a safety issue. For each oven, they were only getting two cycles per day to recondition the ceramic balls. With the number of reactors that they had, they needed to either decrease the downtime for the oven, or purchase another batch oven.
After discovering the EXAIR website, they were intrigued with the Air Operated Conveyors (Line Vacs). If they could remove the ceramic balls at a much higher temperature, then this would allow them to reduce the cycle time. The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor is a great product for moving bulk items over a short distance without manually having to shovel it, transfer it, or lift it. With the customer’s goal to minimize the downtime with the batch oven, I recommended the EXAIR model HT6064 2” Stainless Steel High Temperature Line Vac. With some standard PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), they could remove the ceramic balls from the oven without waiting for it to cool. The model HT6064 has a maximum temperature rating of 482 deg. C and a throat diameter of 45mm; large enough to move all three sizes of the ceramic balls.
The Line Vac, or Air Operated Conveyor, operates by using compressed air to generate a vacuum. It does not have any motors or moving parts to wear, and the inline design makes it easy to attach a transfer hose to the vacuum and exhaust ports. Personnel could now stand near the oven; stick the high temperature duct into the tray, remove all the ceramic balls, and transfer them to a nearby drum. By using the High Temperature Line Vac, they were able to reduce the oven down-time to only 15 minutes. This was plenty enough to reach the goal of increasing the cycles per day. As an added benefit, the back-breaking work of shoveling was removed; thus, increasing the health and safety of the workers.
If your company manually moves dry bulk products from point A to point B, you can contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to see if an Air Operated Conveyor could improve your process. For my customer, the HT6064 Line Vac improved the speed of their reconditioning process, and it took away the pain of shoveling which made this process undesirable for the personnel.
Although most folks think of Henry Ford as the inventor of the assembly line, there’s evidence that “division of labor” was practiced in ancient China, where metal products were mass produced by skilled workers performing a specific evolution and then passing it on to another person for the next step. In fact, Oldsmobile’s assembly line actually predates Ford’s by a few years, but a host of innovations by Henry Ford and his team of engineers reduced the assembly time of a Model T from a day and a half, to an hour and a half. Maybe that’s why he gets so much credit for it.
Through the 20th Century, technological advances continued to revolutionize the process. Automation and robotics have allowed a combination of speed & precision that would have impressed even Henry Ford. The guy was a genius, so he would have caught on pretty quick, I’m sure. If you hadn’t guessed, it, yeah; I’m a big fan.
EXAIR products are used for a variety of applications on assembly lines…blow off, static elimination, painting/coating, and even cleanup. I had the pleasure of assisting a user with that last one recently.
Turns out, they make automobile windows, and in the process of handling the glass windows, the metal & plastic frame pieces, the rubber seals, the protective tape, etc., they end up with a LOT of scrap as these parts go down their assembly conveyor. According to this caller, it looked like “New Year’s Eve at the end of every shift” when they stopped to clean up. By installing EXAIR Model 130200 2″ Light Duty Line Vacs at strategic locations, they’re able to pick up almost all of the debris from the whole process.
Last week, a customer called and indicated that he was a long time user of the model 6013 High Velocity Air Jet.
The customer was using the Air Jet to remove light trim scrap from a manufacturing process. The Air Jets utilize the Coanda effect (wall attachment of a high velocity fluid) to produce air motion in their surroundings. A small amount of compressed air to the Air Jet is throttled through an internal ring nozzle at speeds above sonic velocity. In the above image, this produces a vacuum at the left side, pulling in large volumes of surrounding air. By utilizing this vacuum pull and ducting the right side exhaust, air and scrap stream to a collection area. The customer assembled a small, efficient, and inexpensive scrap removal system.
The reason the customer had called in was there were some recent changes to the manufacturing process and needed a bit more vacuum force and flow to handle larger scrap and longer travel. We explored using a larger shim, but they were already using the largest size (0.015″.) We talked about the other products that EXAIR offers (Air Amplifiers, Line Vacs) that are used for scrap removal and conveyance. But with any change, there are usually other modifications and approvals that must be dealt with in order to proceed. So we hit upon the Adjustable Air Jet, which is an adjustable version of the model 6013.
The model 6019 Adjustable Air Jet utilizes an adjustable air gap in place of the fixed shim thickness. This allows for greater air flow, which results in greater vacuum and conveyance distances. As is the case for many customers, we gathered some additional data to help this customer make a decision. We set up each of the units and tested them at maximum capabilities, and the model 6019 was shown to deliver upwards of 50% greater flow. The customer felt certain this level of performance would handle what the changed process would require, and best of all, no modifications to any part of the set-up would be required, simply install the 6019 where the 6013 was currently placed.
The High Velocity Air Jet is also part of the model 1909 Blowoff Kit, and is also used in the model 8193 Ion Air Gun and model 8194 Ion Air Jet, for Static Elimination applications. Of course, each can be purchased as an individual item.
To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can make your process better, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.