The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor Helps an HSE Engineer

Air Operated Conveyor

A Health and Safety Engineer, HSE, is a position that combines knowledge of engineering with safety development procedures. EXAIR speaks to many HSEs from different companies about our OSHA safe and reliable products. The discussions typically surround blow-off devices that violate noise level and dead-end pressure rules. In this instance, I was contacted by a HSE from a plastic extrusion company that needed a safe solution for a slightly different matter.

The HSE stated that they had an operator that twisted an ankle while carrying a bag of pellets up the stairs to a mezzanine. With his hands occupied on the bag, he was not able to use the handrails. Luckily, he did not fall down the stairs, but there was a chance for that dangerous possibility to occur. The mezzanine was needed to feed a hopper that was located above an extrusion machine about 12 feet (3.6 meters) above the ground. Whenever a material change was needed, they would have to clean the machine. The cleaning process was done with purge pellets.

In this scenario, a worker would pick up a 50 lb. (22.7 Kg) bag of purge pellets, walk up the stairs, and dump in about half the bag. This was enough material to completely clean the entire extrusion machine before the next production run. After their operator twisted an ankle during this method, they had to find a safer solution. And they found EXAIR.

Model 6983

The EXAIR Air Operated Conveyor, or Line Vac, was the perfect product for this. It is a compact, inexpensive, and simple conveyor that only needs compressed air to move material from point A to point B. They do not have any moving parts or motor bearings to wear, making them very reliable and long-lasting.

I recommended a model 6983 Aluminum Line Vac Kit as it was able to convey the desired amount of material to that height. This kit comes with a 1 1/2” Aluminum Line Vac, a mounting bracket, a filter separator, and a pressure regulator. The filter separator will keep the air clean as it moves the material to its destination. The pressure regulator is used to “dial in” the desired conveyance rates. At 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar), the model 6983 can convey nearly 13 lbs./min (355 Kg/hr.) at the height of the hopper. So, to move the required amount for a clean out, it would only take about two minutes to move 25 lbs. (11.4 Kg) of purge pellets.

Line Vac Family

For the company above, the HSE was extremely happy with the safety feature that the Air Operated Conveyor provided. The bag of purge pellets could stay on the floor, while the Line Vac was able to move the pellets to the hopper above. The operator could watch the required amount that was being transferred; and, once the bag was half empty, the operator could turn off the compressed air. It is that simple. EXAIR offers a range of Line Vacs to work in many types of applications. If your company has a potential for dangerous problems while moving material, you should contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see if we have a safer way.

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

Sanitary Flange Air Conveyor Doubles Output for Coffee Bean Roaster

coffee-1149983_1920

For me there’s nothing better than a hot, fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Particularly during the colder mornings like we’ve had as of late, but even in the summer sitting out on the porch sipping on a cup while the sun comes up is a great way to start the day. Just typing this first paragraph has me making my way to the break room for a cup!

We’ve talked about the life of a coffee bean and the processes that it must go through from the fields as a bean all the way through the roasting, grinding, and packaging process. At just about every stage in the production of coffee, EXAIR has a way to help. Just like craft breweries that have taken the world by storm, small-batch coffee companies are beginning to see a similar boom in their business as the market shifts away from large corporate entities and supports small or locally owned businesses.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with one of these “craft” coffee producers. They’ve been in business for a little while, but as of late have really seen an increase in their sales. To increase production, they invested in a second roasting machine at a substantial capital investment. They’re a small company with less than 10 employees from the front-end to the back-end. While initially they thought all that was needed was to buy a second roaster, they quickly found out that they weren’t getting double the output like they had thought. The problem was that the time spent moving the bulk bags of raw beans into the hopper of the roaster was too time consuming for one person to feasibly handle. They either needed to hire a second person (another substantial investment), or they needed to find a better way of transporting the beans.

After searching online, they came across the EXAIR Line Vac. EXAIR’s Line Vacs are the ideal low-cost solution for bulk material transfer. Available with smooth, NPT threads, and sanitary flange connections, it allows you to convert ordinary pipe or hose into a powerful conveying system for parts, scrap, trim, and other bulk materials. Available in a variety of different sizes and materials, we can achieve wide range of conveyance rates.

SFLV_800sq

In this particular application, food grade materials were necessary. EXAIR’s model 161200-316 2” Sanitary Flange Line Vac allowed them to maintain a clean environment while keeping it easy to remove and clean when necessary. With the Line Vac in place, they were able to double their output as they’d desired when purchasing the new machine without having to hire another operator. A much easier, cheaper, and cost-effective solution. That Line Vac isn’t going to ask for a raise, request time off for summer vacation, or wander into the break-room to make itself a cup of coffee 😊.

If you have an application where you’re manually transferring bulk materials, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to help evaluate your process and recommend a solution that’ll save you time, energy, and money!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Air Operated Conveyor helps Aluminum Smelting Process

An aluminum smelting plant had been using our model 150300 Heavy Duty Line Vac for over a year.  They wanted to share how extremely satisfied that they were with this product.  They were expanding their operations, and it was easy for them to contact EXAIR to buy two more units.  In this blog, I will share why they initially contacted EXAIR and why they continue to do so.

This company had a reactor that would melt 10 mm aluminum granules for die casting parts.   They had a portable hopper that was filled with aluminum pellets (reference photo above).  Before they started using the Heavy Duty Line Vac, the operators would have to use shovels to move the aluminum from the catch bin located below the hopper to the crucible inside the reactor.  This operation was tedious, back-breaking, and time-consuming.  After filling the crucible, they would have to do some housekeeping for the granules that fell during transport.  With safety concerns and slow operations, they needed a better way to move the aluminum granules to the reactor.  Hence, the reason for the first purchase of the model 150300 Heavy Duty Line Vac from EXAIR.

To expand a bit more on their operation, the hopper was placed roughly 10 feet (3 meters) away from the reactor, and the reactor used a hatch door that was 2 feet (0.6 meter) in diameter to expose the crucible.  Since the crucible was inside the reactor, they wanted to govern the velocity to feed the aluminum pellets at a controlled rate.  From flow and speed calculations, I found that the model 150300 would work the best for this particular application.  As an added feature to the EXAIR Air-Operated Conveyors, the Heavy Duty Line Vac is easy to control with a simple compressed air regulator to balance the speed and vacuum to move the material in a manageable way.  With the compact design, it worked well to attach a conveyance hose that would move the aluminum pellet directly through the hatch door and right into the crucible.  This was a benefit for quick filling without much manual labor or cleanup.

The reasons that EXAIR continues to grow as a business are the quality of our products, the enormous stock that we carry, and the exceptional customer service.  For these reasons, customers continue to return to EXAIR for solutions to pneumatic applications.  The quality of our products is second to none.  For the Heavy Duty Line Vacs, they are made from a hardened alloy material which makes them resistant to abrasion and wear.  They also do not have any moving parts or motors; so they are reliable and long-lasting.  The smelting company above have used the Heavy Duty Line Vac for over a year, and it is still working.  Can you imagine the number of shovel scoops that was eliminated with the purchase of this air-operated conveyor?  And, the work environment was safer ergonomically by removing the shovel loads and reducing cleanup.  As for customer service, EXAIR is staffed with Application Engineers that are Subject Matter Experts.  We can make recommendations to give you the best EXAIR product for your application.  With our technical support, fast deliveries, and problem-solving products; it was an easy decision for the above company to purchase two more model 150300 Heavy Duty Line Vacs.

If your company relies on moving product from point A to point B, EXAIR has a range of Air Operated Conveyors to do this type of operation for you.  From Threaded Line Vacs to Sanitary Flange Line Vacs to Heavy Duty Line Vacs, EXAIR stocks a variety of materials, types, and sizes to fit into your application.  An Application Engineer is sitting by to help improve your system as we did with the smelting company above.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

The Life of a Coffee Bean

Many of us get up in the morning, and start our day with a fresh cup of coffee.  I do.  I enjoy the taste of that warm beverage as it hits my lips.  But, have you ever thought about the journey of a coffee bean from the fields to your cupboard?   I would like to share a little insight on this journey and how the EXAIR Line Vacs could be a helpful tool for coffee production.

There are over 70 countries that pick coffee beans for export.  In 2018, the International Coffee Organization reported almost 170 million bags of coffee had been exported around the world.  That is a lot of coffee.  Each bag of coffee beans weighs 60 Kilograms (132 lbs.) and is difficult to handle manually.  Line Vacs could be that vital instrument to help speed up the processes and reduce that back-breaking work.

Let’s start at the beginning.  Coffee beans are seeds that are produced on small trees or bushes.  During harvest time, the cherries (coffee seeds) are picked when ripe, and they need to be dried.  This can be done in two ways; the dry method or the wet method.  Each process has to be done quickly to prevent spoilage.  With the dry method, the beans are spread out on a table or grate to be dried by the sun.  In most cases, the beans will have to be stored in bins at night or during rain.  This drying process can last for several weeks, and the continuous movement of the beans is labor intensive.  For the wet method, this process uses water channels to isolate the heavier ripe beans, so that they can be separated by size in rotating drums.   They are then placed into large fermentation tanks to remove the outer skin layer.  The wet beans are then placed inside large driers to remove the excess water content.  In both methods, the green coffee beans are packed into sacks for exportation.

When the green coffee beans arrive to their destination, they will have to be roasted.  This will convert the green coffee beans into the aromatic brown beans that are sold at your favorite market or coffee shop.  In large operations, the green coffee beans are screened and stored in bins waiting to be roasted.  The roasting process uses hot air to “cook” the green coffee beans.  The temperature range and time will create your different types of roasts; light roast, medium roast, and dark roast.  Industrial roasting machines have loaders on top to drop the green beans into a preheated rotating drum.  Some machines can roast 100 kg (220 lbs.) of beans at one time.  The time for roasting is between 12 – 15 minutes, depending on the type of roast.  At this frequency, you can tell the “need for speed” to keep the coffee roasters operating.  Once finished, the roasted beans are dumped into a cooling tray until they can be handled.  From there, the beans are tested, qualified, and packaged for sale.

For coffee brewing, the roasted beans will need to be ground.  Grinding is an important process to get the most flavor from your coffee beans.   Commercial sized grinders will blend multiple kinds of roasted coffee beans and grind them to a desired grain size.  The grind size is very important and has to match your type of brewing.  For example, espresso uses fine grinds, drip-type coffee uses medium grinds, and cold brews and French presses use coarse grinds.  Grinding is an art as you have to match the coarseness with the contact time in hot water.  As a rule, if your coffee tastes too bitter, then the grinds are too fine.  If your coffee tastes flat, then the grinds are too coarse.  You have to experiment with different blends of roasted coffee beans, grind particle sizes, and brewing types to get that perfect cup of java for you.

Line Vacs can convey many things.

So, if you are reading this article while sipping on a cup of coffee, let me tell you a secret about the journey of the coffee bean.  For every stage above, an EXAIR Line Vac has been sold and used to transport the coffee beans.  From the coffee fields to the grinding house, Line Vacs are a great device for companies to move beans quickly and safely without manual labor.  The life of a coffee bean is only successful if it is able to reach your cupboard.  And Line Vacs can be beneficial with that success.  If you would like to discuss the types of materials that we stock, the sizes, connections types and conveyance rates, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to help you.

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

 

Photo:  Coffee Beans Cafe Roasted Caffeine Brown by Alexas_Fotos.  Pixabay License.

Photo: Still Life Coffee Beans Coffee Powder Coffee Cup by Myriams-Fotos.  Pixabay License.

Air Operated Conveyors for a Multitude of Jobs

With 119 distinct Models, EXAIR Line Vacs are used to convey everything from down feather to steel shot.  They’re versatile, reliable, durable, and incredibly easy to install and operate. Most applications can be completed using one of our many stock Line Vacs. Additional applications include part transfer, waste or trim removal, hopper loading, filling operations, chip removal and fiber tensioning.

line vac family
Lightweight and durable aluminum is the most popular choice, but we make them in stainless steel (Types 303 and 316) for heat and corrosion resistance. For extreme heat, the High Temperature option affords protection to 900F (482C) in either 303SS or 316SS.

They are available from 3/8″ to 5″ diameters, for use with hose, tube or pipe. Line VAcs have smooth ends for hose or tube. The threaded models use NPT threads from 3/8 NPT to 3 NPT to turn ordinary pipe into an air conveyor! They can also be bought with sanitary flange ends for easy disassembly when necessary for cleaning or maintenance.

Materials include aluminum, Type 303 and Type 316 stainless steel or a hardened steel alloy for moving abrasive materials like garnet, glass, or blasting media.

With that being said, there are always applications that need a special product. And because of that we do make “special” or custom products when the need arises.

Special PVDF Line Vac

For example this Live Vac has the sanitary flange design, but the customer needed it made from a special material so their product passing through it wouldn’t be contaminated by metal. So we did just that, we designed built and shipped this line vac and it worked amazingly well!

Accessories include the transport hose, mounting brackets, filter and regulators.  A filtering drum cover is very useful to keep material and/or dust inside, when transporting materials into a drum.

No matter what kind of bulk material you need to move, or what type of special conditions you have. EXAIR has a Line Vac product for it.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Turn Ordinary Pipe into a Powerful Conveyor w/ EXAIR’s Threaded Line Vac

threaded line vacs

EXAIR’s Line Vacs are the ideal low-cost solution for bulk material transfer. Available with NPT threaded connections, EXAIR’s Threaded Line Vacs allow you to convert ordinary pipe into a powerful conveying system for parts, scrap, trim, and other bulk materials. With performance identical to that of the Standard Line Vac, the Threaded Line Vac is available in sizes ranging from as small as 3/8 NPT and up to 3” NPT there’s a suitable Line Vac for most standard sized NPT pipe common an any industrial facility.

The Threaded Line Vac is available in a range of different materials: Aluminum, Type 303 Stainless Steel, Type 316 Stainless Steel, and as a Heavy Duty conveyor constructed of a proprietary hardened alloy steel for use in abrasive applications. Where most materials would wear out over time, the Heavy Duty Line Vac is the ideal solution for heavy and abrasive materials. In addition to being abrasive resistant, it’s also more powerful and suitable for longer vertical and horizontal transfer distances.

HDTHRlvFAMbg_500sq

Each style of Threaded Line Vac is also available as a High Temperature option. By replacing the traditional o-rings with graphite seals, we’re able to provide a solution capable of withstanding temperatures up to 900°F!!!

The conveyance rate through the Line Vac is infinitely adjustable by regulating the air pressure supplied to it. At lower pressures, the conveyance rate (and air consumption) will decrease. At higher pressures, the conveyance rate will increase. If you have a Threaded Line Vac with the standard performance but need just a little bit more, the option also exists for a High Power unit that would match the performance of the similarly sized Heavy Duty. This can be ordered from the factory with an “HP” prefix, or modified yourself. Check out our video to see just how simple it is to get more out of your Threaded Line Vac.

With all sizes and materials on the shelf and in stock, we’re able to get a solution out to you quickly. We’ll ship out the very same day for stock orders received by 3:00 ET. Backed by our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee, you’re able to make sure it is the right solution for you before committing to keep it. If you have an application that could be better served with an in-line pneumatic conveyor, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you determine the most suitable size for the application.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

EXAIR Line Vac Replaces Yet Another Injury-Prone Bucket & Ladder Operation

I recently had the pleasure of talking with a caller from a consulting firm that specializes in improved ergonomics.  They work with clients on everything from preventing carpal tunnel syndrome through the use of things like gel-filled mouse pads for office personnel, to preventing injuries in the workplace due to repetitive strain, heavy lifting, and other physically demanding tasks.  They called about an operation where workers used buckets to move 150 pounds of dense pellets from a large container into a smaller vessel for weight load testing.  After the test, they move the pellets back into the container, where they stay until the next test is to be run.  Then they do it again.

This, of course, was a great fit for a 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac and a 10ft length of Conveyance Hose. They simply move the suction & discharge hoses from, and to, the storage container & test vessel.  Risk of injury is greatly reduced, as the whole Line Vac conveyance system is less than half the weight of one bucket of the material.

Line Vac + Hose + Compressed air supply = complete conveyance system solution.

This is just the latest success story in the long history of EXAIR Air Operated Conveyors.  They’re on the shelf in a range of sizes and materials of construction to meet most any need.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for, though, call me and we can discuss your needs.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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