Line Vac Helps Students With Automation Projects

Over the past year I received a contact from a professor and student combination from Madison Area Technical College inquiring about the sizes available for our Line Vac products.  They were using a 2″ Line Vac in one of their automation class labs and wanted to try something a little bigger for a new project.  The 2″ Line Vac was one they had used in the past on different projects and had always worked well.   The new project however increased the bag size and made the conveyance difficult for the 2″ Line Vac.


The Initial e mail received.
The Initial e mail received after a short conversation.

With the picture below of their current setup and a good understanding that they will be placing three items into a heat sealed bag that is roughly 3″ long and 2″ wide we settled on using the 3″ Aluminum Line Vac at a low pressure to convey the baggies to their secondary function.   As you can see in the video below, the Line Vac is activated by a sensor and operates for just seconds in order to convey the bag of parts successfully to the other side of the machine cell where the bag is then picked and placed by a robotic arm.

The existing 2" Line Vac they had in place.
The existing 2″ Line Vac they had in place.

After the project was completed we received a mention through social media, as well as a brief video showcasing the Line Vac in use.  The video showcases how easy it is to install an EXAIR Line Vac into a tight space where adding other conventional mechanical conveying systems would be considerably more elaborate.  The Line Vac is being controlled via a PLC that energizes a solenoid valve on a timer to convey the package in a matter of seconds.

 

Social Media Contact
Social Media Contact

We are very pleased to see the projects these kids turned out, and the leadership shown by Peter, their instructor. Manufacturing programs such as this one at Madison Area Technical College are important for our economy and for the future of these kids. We’d like to congratulate them all on their accomplishment.

If you have a project you are trying to move products from one point to another, contact us.  If you are a professor, student, or even a mentor to an educational program that would benefit from EXAIR products, please contact me directly.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

How Much Force Does It Take?

In case you weren’t aware, the answer to “How much force does it take?” is always going to be, ALL OF IT.   At least that is what we generally think when trying to blow product off a conveyor belt or diverting parts into bin, etc. Speed and efficiency play a direct role in to what nozzle or blow off device you should use in order to get the job done and be able to repeat the process.

The question we are often asked by customers is, “How much force to I need to move this?”  That is a question that we cannot often answer without asking more questions.  The good part of this is, there is a formula to calculate just how much force you need to move an object.   A good video explaining friction is shown below.

In order to answer the question of how much force do I need, we really need to know all of the following:

Weight of the object
Distance from target
Is it on an incline or level
Distance needed to move
Then, the usually unknown variable, the coefficient of friction between the target and what it is sitting on.

Often times it is the thought process of, my target weighs 5 pounds, I need 5 pounds of force in order to move it from the center of this conveyor belt to the edge, this is not the case.   If you wanted to lift the object over a break between two conveyors then you would need slightly more than 5 pounds in order to ensure you are lifting the front edge of the unit high enough to meet the other conveyor.

Whether you know all of the variables or only a few, if you need to get an object moved and you want to try using compressed air to do so, give us a call and we will help you find the best engineered solution for your application.  Then, we’ll back all stock products with a 30 day guarantee if you don’t like how the system performs – but rest assured, we get it right almost every time.

30 Day Guarantee
The EXAIR 30 Day Guarantee

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Air Knives – What Are They Good For?

It is rare that a week goes by without a unique application of an EXAIR product…

This week I was speaking with a DJ who wished to use an air knife to create a blast of air that would add emphasis to the musical experience had by his fans. He wanted a small burst of air that would last less than a second, but would add an additional element to an already very complicated setup. My initial reaction was that no DJ I have ever seen would possibly be able to supply an air compressor big enough to feed the air knives, but over the course of our conversation, I found out that the DJ travels with 2 semi trucks of equipment, so he had some space.

SAK
An Aluminum EXAIR Super Air Knife

Another topic that came up in our conversation was how air knives were generally used. I have been asked this in a number of ways: What are they designed to do? Where do they work best? or What are they for?

I never have a succinct answer… The air knives create a flat laminar sheet of air in various sizes from 3″ up to 108″. This laminar sheet of air can be used to move, open, float, or separate. It can be used to clean, dry, or cool. I try to categorize these applications as best I can when speaking to customers, but then you talk to a DJ, and he wants an air knife to make a crowd cheer. I never thought that would be an application for an air knife. Knowing this, how do you convey all the air knife can do in a succinct answer?

Well, I can’t, so please be patient when you ask me the same question and I run through applications from cleaning surfaces to entertaining DJ crowds.

Here is a rundown of air knife applications. In case you don’t believe me.

Move: Air Knives are used around to world to move product from a conveyor to another location.

Open: Air Knives uniform air flow is perfect for opening bags or other packaging on a packaging machine.

Float: If you need to bridge a gap between two conveyors, the air knife has done this for products from pizza dough to sheets of veneer.

Clean: Blowing products off after removing them from a CNC machine is an easy air knife application.

Dry: One of my tastiest applications was to use an air knife to blow water from a potato chip after washing, but before frying.

Cool: Extrusion, molds, and baked goods have all been cooled with an air knife.

Just because it isn’t on this list though, doesn’t mean it is not possible.  This is why we will stand behind our stock product with our 30 day guarantee.   So if you want to try an EXAIR Air Knife in your application, give us a call.

30 Day Guarantee
30 Day Guarantee

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

Air Conveyor Improves Candy Bar Recovery

This week I worked with a candy company who was looking to improve their overflow product recovery. When their bulk bagging machine is inoperable, the wrapped candy bars are sent to an overflow container where they are manually scooped out by an operator. This process was causing damage to the bars and wrappers, as well as presenting an ergonomic hazard to the employee, so they called EXAIR for a solution.

I recommended using our Line Vac Air Operated Conveyor. The Line Vac  connects to hose or pipe to create an inline conveyor and is able to move large amounts of material over long distances, requires no electricity, has no moving parts, and provides maintenance free operation, making it the ideal choice for this application.

After discussing the details with the customer, they were concerned that the candy bars and wrappers, getting picked up by the airflow and transported through the hose, might continue to be damaged. I advised that by using a pressure regulator they could control the vacuum/conveying rate by increasing or decreasing the supply pressure, but their concern remained. I then offered to perform a conveyance test at our facility, if they were willing to send product. The customer agreed and was kind enough to send some of the candy, with some extra bags inside for the staff here at EXAIR. (Which is pretty awesome! I mean, FREE candy? Who doesn’t love that?!)

With a wide range of sizes and materials of construction, we've got your solution.  Call us.
Available in 11 sizes and different materials to meet many application requirements. Line Vacs have smooth ends for connecting hose with a clamp or threaded ends to connect with standard pipe sizes.

Our set up included our 3″ Line Vac with a 10′ section of 3” conveyance hose on the vacuum side and a horizontal conveyance run of approximately 35′, with a 13′ vertical run into a soft sided hopper. We were successful in conveying approximately 9.9 lbs. per minute, when operating at 80 PSIG, with no broken candy bars and no damage to the wrappers. We also determined that 40 PSIG inlet pressure was the lowest they could run the operation, if they were okay with a lower convey rate.

We provided the results to the customer and included a short video of our testing. Intrigued by the results, they are now looking in to other possible applications throughout their facility.

To discuss your Line Vac application, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN