An E-Vac Improves Manufacturing of Contact Lenses

 

Contact Lens

Vacuum pumps have vanes, electric motors, and bearings that can wear out.

A contact lens manufacturer called EXAIR to ask about our E-Vac Vacuum Generators.  Their operation consisted of using a small vacuum cup to grab the contact lens for polishing.  Due to the long hours of operation, their mechanical vacuum pump would start to malfunction.  The vacuum pressure would start to decline, and the contact lens would begin to shift or fall off.  This would affect the clarity of the lens, and it would have to be rejected.

Our company found that the vanes in the vacuum pumps would start to wear. They would have to shut down the process to recondition the vanes, causing down time.  After a few times of refurbishing the pump heads, the bearings in the electric motors would then start to wear.  A loud high pitch noise would be generated, indicating that the motors needed to be replaced.  This would cause even more downtime.

EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generator

After carefully reviewing the customer’s needs, I suggested the model 810002M E-Vac High Vacuum Generator.  This model can create a vacuum level of 27” Hg with only using 2 SCFM of compressed air; perfect for holding the contact lens firm to the vacuum cup for polishing.  The E-Vac has no moving parts or bearing to wear out.  They use compressed air to generate a venturi vacuum, so the only maintenance is to clean or change the compressed air filter yearly.  Its compact size made the E-Vac more versatile than the much larger vacuum pump that it would replace.  The customer could mount the E-Vac much closer reducing the volume of air in the vacuum lines to evacuate.  This gave them an almost instantaneous vacuum at the lens which could improve the speed of the operation.

If you wish to eliminate downtime to fix, change, or recondition motors and pumps, the E-Vac could be the vacuum pump for you.  If you need help to size the correct model for your application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Contact Lens by Andy Simmons.  Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Video Blog: The EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector Works for Vacuum Leaks?

 

A brief video showcasing the EXAIR model 9061, Ultrasonic Leak Detector’s, performance on vacuum leaks.  For more information or questions on what else the ULD can be used for, contact an Application Engineer!

 

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

Even Our Customers Are Sending “Holiday Gifts”

Lately, it certainly has felt like Christmas here at the factory.  Two customers sent in some sample parts  for us to test and provide solutions for their application issues.  Opening the box is like unwrapping a present, what surprise will we find inside?

The first customer currently uses the Line Vac to convey (3) different parts from the floor to a hopper for the assembly process.  (2) of the (3) parts transfer very well, but the third conveys a little too slowly. Having all three parts here at EXAIR allows us to set up testing and determine what the root cause is and recommend a solution that will work equally well for all three parts.

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The second is interested in our vacuum technologies to pick and place some fiber board material products.  Due to the curved surfaces and porous material, getting a good vacuum could be a challenge. By having the sample parts here, we can utilize our Demo Room, and try various E-Vacs with various vacuum cup designs and possibly the Line Vac or Air Amplifiers  to develop a good suction on each item.

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When it isn’t possible to send in samples, we will stand behind the EXAIR Unconditional Guarantee – purchase a stocked catalog item, and you have 30 days to try it your facility, in your process, under your real world conditions.  If after the 30 days you aren’t satisfied, send it back for a full refund – and try something else!

To discuss your application and find out information about sending in material samples to confirm that an 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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Vacuum Generators: Adjustable E-Vac Holds Parts To Work Station

I’ve written before about the diversity of applications that EXAIR’s compressed air products can be used for – the Super Air Knife and the Line Vac come to mind – but of all the products in our catalog, none have a longer list of applications than the E-Vac Vacuum Generators:

While they're probably most popular for "pick and place" (as evidenced by our catalog photos) the EXAIR E-Vac's boast a wide variety of uses.

While they’re probably most popular for “pick and place” (as evidenced by our catalog photos) the EXAIR E-Vac’s boast a wide variety of uses.

I had the pleasure of helping a customer specify a product another popular application recently: clamping and chucking.  This caller had a machining center with a vacuum table – if you’re unfamiliar, it looks like an air hockey table, and works like one too, only in reverse: instead of using blowing air through all those little holes out to “float” the puck on the surface, it pulls air in through them to pull the part down and hold it in place.

This was for a relatively small table surface…about 9″ x 14″…and some of the holes could be blocked, if smaller parts were to be held down.  It was originally equipped with an electrically driven vacuum pump, but it had seen better days, and a replacement was going to be a little pricey.  They already had compressed air running to the machine, and were keenly interested in something small, inexpensive, and with no moving parts – like the Adjustable E-Vac.

After some discussion of the specs on their vacuum pump, we provided a Model 840008M Adjustable E-Vac & Muffler.  This not only gives them the ability to easily change the vacuum level & flow for different sized parts, but it also has a larger throat than the In-Line E-Vacs, meaning it won’t get clogged by the finite amount of dust & small particulate that can make it through the vacuum table’s holes.

EXAIR has four sizes of Adjustable E-Vac Vacuum Generators in stock.

EXAIR has four sizes of Adjustable E-Vac Vacuum Generators in stock.

By my count, we’ve still got fourteen E-Vac applications that I haven’t discussed in a blog yet.  If you’ve got one that you’d like to talk about (and give me something to write about,) feel free to call me anytime.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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What’s In A Name?

Well, a lot, actually…if that name is EXAIR. I wrote a blog just last week about how a set of Super Air Knives solved a MAJOR problem with a brand new aluminum sawing application – the company got those Super Air Knives on the recommendation of the Maintenance Supervisor, who had used them, with great success, at a previous company.

Even more recently, I had the pleasure of helping a caller from an engineering firm that specifies a wide range of our products for use in their OEM machinery:

*Air Knives & Nozzles for automated blow offs.
*Cabinet Cooler Systems for electrical/electronics heat protection.
*E-Vac Vacuum Generators for end-of-arm robotics “pick & place.”

Turns out, they use a good amount of compressed air in their manufacturing facility and (did I mention they’re an engineering firm?) they’re interested in implementing a facilities resource management program. For one part of this, they want to know how much compressed air they’re using, when they’re using it, and what they’re using it for. And when presented with a question about compressed air, they thought about EXAIR…and wanted to know more about the Digital Flowmeter.

EXAIR's Digital Flowmeter w/ USB Data Logger

EXAIR’s Digital Flowmeter w/ USB Data Logger

We discussed everything from theory of operation, to best practices for installation (location, position, etc.,) to accuracy, to getting the flow data…and we’ve got a few options for that:

*The Digital Flowmeter itself can output a 4-20mA signal, or there’s an optional RS-485 output board available.
*The USB Data Logger connects directly to the Digital Flowmeter and records flow rate data – about 9 hours’ worth if measured once a second; 2 years’ worth if measured every 12 hours. When removed from the Digital Flowmeter and plugged into your computer, you can use its software, or Microsoft Excel, to view & analyze the data.
*The Summing Remote Display offers instant indication of current flow rate, previous 24 hours’ air consumption, and cumulative total usage, all at the push of a button.

EXAIR's Remote Summing Display - see current flow rate, previous 24 hours' consumption, or total cumulative usage, at the push of a button!

EXAIR’s Summing Remote Display – see current flow rate, previous 24 hours’ consumption, or total cumulative usage, at the push of a button!

The latter turned out to be the best fit for my caller – the main supply header runs right past his office, and, if he can sell his facilities folks on it, he can install the Summing Remote Display on the wall, right next to his desk.  Easy as that.

EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products have made a name for themselves in many places like this. Here at the factory, we’re all dedicated to spreading, and reinforcing, that reputation for excellence. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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E-vac and Vacuum Cups for Lifting Saw Cut Aluminum Bar Stock

E-vac brick

E-vac and vacuum cups lift, large, heavy objects!

Our Chinese distributor had a customer who was producing the aluminum pieces that are formed into wheels for the automotive industry. Their process involved saw cutting large diameter, aluminum bar stock so it could be further processed.

The problem was once the parts were saw cut, they were slippery and difficult to handle. So, the customer was looking for a good way to handle these parts that was safe and effective for the operator as well. Our distributor offered the idea of using vacuum cups and an EXAIR E-vac for the project.

We determined that the aluminum raw stock that would be picked up would have an effective diameter of 254 mm on which vacuum cups could pick up the part for transfer. Also, the parts could weigh up to 45 kilos. So, we needed to find a vacuum cup (or cups) that could pick up that much weight with the surface area allotted to us. After reviewing our options, we came to the conclusions that (3) model 900759 vacuum cups would have a combined lifting capacity of 100 kilos when powered at -71 kPa vacuum. These vacuum cups have a 108 mm diameter and so can fit nicely in a triangular orientation on the saw cut area of the aluminum part.

Then came the part where we recommend which E-vac generator to use. We already calculated in our usual 2X safety factor for weight being lifted. So we are quite confident that the cups can do their job as long as sufficient vacuum could be maintained. We are lifting solid aluminum, so we know the material is non-porous. So, that’s the version of the E-vacs we will take into consideration for the project.

The part about determining which E-vac to recommend is not as clear cut and well defined as picking the vacuum cups is. So we must use our best judgement based on the weight of the item, the size and number of vacuum cups being used, and the surface finish of the material. Since the material will be somewhat on the heavy side and it would be a real problem if it were dropped, I recommended our distributor go with one E-vac vacuum generator per each vacuum cup. The vacuum generator I recommended was from the middle of the available models from a performance standpoint. That was model 810008M (8.4 SCFM Non-porous E-vac with straight through muffler). In this way, if one cup were to lose vacuum for whatever unforeseen reason, the other two could still support the full weight of the object as it is being lifted and moved.

Once the customer had their lifting fixture fabricated and the E-vacs with vacuum cups mounted, the lifting unit worked very well to address the customer’s concerns about worker productivity and safety.

E-vacs can be used for a variety of tasks, but lifting and placing applications tend to be the more prevalent ones. If you have a lifting or moving application of your own and think that vacuum technology might be useful, contact us with your questions. We thrive on helping folks like you solve such problems in industry.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR

Stainless Steel Line Vac turns Super Sack into a Large Vacuum Bag

LV PE pellet application2

I had an interesting application from a guy in Kuwait who worked at a plastics plant. They worked with polyethylene pellets for molding processes. In his introduction, the customer said he was looking for something like our Chip Vac product but he wanted to use it with a super sack platform that they elevate up to a high position to allow for cleaning in and around their silos. I mentioned to him that we do have the Chip Vac available to work with a 110 gallon drum. His response was that he knew about that but was not interested as they were set up to move the larger super sacks around their plant. You can see one such set-up in the above photo.

His problem was that he needed a quick and easy way to get the loose PE pellets into his super sack without using a broom and shovel. We had just the solution.

Many years ago when we introduced the Chip Vac product, we did so as a result of customers who knew about our Line Vac but wanted it to be used on a drum. So, we adapted the Line Vac to have the proper, 2 NPT threads necessary to screw into the larger of the two holes in the top of a typical drum. In this situation, we were working the development that we did so long ago in reverse. So, it was a very easy recommendation to set the customer up with a Line Vac to aid in the vacuuming up of the polyethylene pellets and do so in the manner the customer wanted.

After a little discussion to sort out the type of material and the size Line Vac that the customer wanted, we ended up settling on a 1-1/2” Stainless Steel Line Vac Kit, model 6963. The 1-1/2” size allowed for easy connection of a standard size vacuum hose for easy manipulation around the clean-up area. The customer opted for the stainless steel over an aluminum unit as they wanted to be absolutely certain that the product could stand up to their typically rough conditions. He also wanted the kit so he could mount the Line Vac to his platform and have clean, dry air going to the Line Vac to keep it running well for a longer time. Below is a rough sketch of the customer’s idea about how to marry the Line Vac to his super sack platform.

 

LV setup

You can notice from the sketch that the customer already had his filtration system thought out to allow the conveying airflow back out of the bag.

The key to this application and the feature that I want to point out is the adaptability of the Line Vac to fit into just about any application. We do have the Industrial Housekeeping products available for ready to use solutions. But, if you have a similar situation where you have part of your “system” that you like for one reason or another, we’re more than willing to discuss what you have at your facility to help you best determine how we can implement a solution that you are happy with. Likewise, if we feel that there is a better way to approach your application, we will be sure to let you know that too!

Give us a ring or send us an e-mail to discuss the specifics of your application today. We’re here to help.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR

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