Liquid Handling With Compressed Air: An Overview

There are some very good reasons to consider an EXAIR compressed air operated Industrial Housekeeping Product for liquid applications:

*Durability. No moving parts means nothing to wear or get damaged.
*Safety. No electricity means no dragging an energized cord through a wet area.
*Convenience. All you need is a supply of compressed air.
*Reliability. If you supply it with clean, dry air, it’ll run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.

Depending on the needs of the application, we have different models to choose from:

Reversible Drum Vacs

If you’ve got a closed top steel drum that’s in good condition, look no further than the Reversible Drum Vac System.  It comes with everything you need to turn that drum into a powerful, 2-way liquid pumping system.  This is great if you just need to park the drum in one spot and suction out a sump or tank on a regular basis, using its 10 foot Vacuum Hose & Suction Wand.  They’re in stock for your existing 30, 55, and 110 gallon drums.  A 5 Gallon Mini Reversible Drum Vac System is also available; it includes the drum as well.

Reversible Drum Vac Systems come in sizes from 5 to 110 gallons.

If you’d like a little mobility, and a way to clean up floor spills, then the Deluxe Reversible Drum Vac System might be what you’re looking for.  It adds a Drum Dolly and our Spill Recovery Kit…it consists of a floor-length wand and a dual squeegee tool.  It also comes with a set of plastic tools (crevice tool, small skimmer, and two 20″ extensions) and a Tool Holder with clips for the tools, and magnets to attach to the drum.  We keep them in stock for your existing 30 and 55 gallon drums.  It also comes in the 5 Gallon Deluxe Mini Reversible Drum Vac System (drum included.)


Deluxe Systems add a Spill Recovery Kit, and a Dolly for your drum.

For a complete system, the Premium Reversible Drum Vac Systems have everything you need for most any liquid drum transfer job: they add a drum, lid & latch ring, as well as a compressed air supply hose & shutoff valve, and an upgrade to Heavy Duty Aluminum Tools.  They’re available with 30, 55, or 110 gallon drums; in stock.

Premium Reversible Drum Vac Systems come with everything you need, right out of the box.

Any of the 30, 55, or 110 Gallon systems are also available with our High Lift Reversible Drum Vac.  These provide for increased performance with more viscous liquids, and/or when the liquid needs to pumped from a depth of up to 15 feet.  They are outfitted identically to the standard Reversible Drum Vac Systems, except they come with a 20 foot Vacuum Hose.

The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac System converts a drum and dolly into a mobile pumping system.

As versatile as the Reversible Drum Vacs are, we also incorporate them into another 2-way pumping system, designed to help you get maximum life and performance from machine tool coolant and cutting oils:  The award-winning Chip Trapper Systems.

The vacuum hose (1) is attached to the barbed connection of the Chip Trapper (2). The directional flow control valve on the top of the drum (3) and knob on the pump (4) are set to the “fill” position. The air supply valve is opened to permit compressed air at 80-100 psig (5.5-6.9 BAR) to flow through the pump which pulls the liquid through the hose, then into the reusable filter bag (5). When all liquid is in the drum, the air supply is turned off. The filtered liquid can then be pumped out by setting the directional flow control valve on top of the drum and the knob on the pump to the “empty” position. Once the air supply valve is opened, the air pushes the liquid back through the hose while all solids remain in the reusable filter bag.

Powered by the Reversible Drum Vac, the Chip Trapper System draws the incoming liquid into the drum through a Filter Bag, which retains (or “traps”) any particulate as the drum fills with liquid.  Then, the freshly filtered liquid can be immediately pumped back out, while the particulate remains in the bag.  Once the bag is full, simply remove the drum lid, unhook the bag, empty it out, and return it to service.  The Chip Trapper System comes with two Filter Bags, in fact, so you can clean one while you use the other.  They are available, from stock, in 30, 55, and 110 gallon sizes.  They are all three available in High Lift configuration as well, with a 20 foot Vacuum Hose.

If you’d like to find out more about safe, reliable and effective liquid handling with EXAIR’s compressed air operated Industrial Housekeeping Productsgive me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I think we have all heard the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – a phrase that is thought to have originated back in 70’s when environmental protection became a governmental policy.

We at EXAIR can help your company follow this important principle and help to keep your costs down as well.


Reduce – Reduce the number of times you change out your coolant, reduce your wastewater. Our Reversible Drum VAcs and Chip Trappers help keep your coolant clean by providing a simple and effective method to remove and/or strain your coolant.

Also, remember this – they are VERY hard to break or ruin. If you have one of our liquid handling Reversible Drum Vacs or Chip Trapper units, and the performance isn’t quite as you remember it to be, give us a call.   We can help to trouble shoot and narrow in on the root cause.  Most of the time, it is a simple fix, such as a air leak or a change to the air supply system that has caused a drop in performance. If we have eliminated all of those possible causes, we can offer the RDVREFURB option. Simply send in your Reversible Drum Vac pump unit, and we will do a free evaluation. Then we’ll let you know what we find, and provide a quote for the repair.  The repair typically involves a thorough cleaning, replacement of a few basic parts, and then setting and testing to original factory specification.  Because the unit has no moving parts, there isn’t much that can break down or go wrong.  Don’t throw away that unit, REDUCE the amount of waste you create.


Reuse – Maybe you have a Super Air Knife in storage that is not in use, and you come up with a need, but the Knife doesn’t quite match the application.  We can provide new custom shim to change the air flow pattern.  Perhaps you have a 24″ Super Air Knife, but the new application requires only 18″ of airflow.  You can send the knife in and we can clean it up and install a new custom shim to provide the exact airflow pattern that meets your requirements.  Or, we can send the new shim directly to you for your team to install. Don’t let the unused product lie around, REUSE it for another process or application.

Super Air Knife

Recycle – If for what ever reason a product has been deemed to be no-longer viable and cannot be reused, the time comes to dispose of it.  We hope that you would take the time to recycle it properly. With materials of construction including brass, aluminum and type 303 and type 316 stainless steels, most EXAIR products can be RECYCLED as common metals and you may even get a little money back!

To discuss your processes and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can provide a beneficial service, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Photo Credit – “Recycling” by Andy Arthur is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If at First You Don’t Succeed Try, Try Again!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going back and forth with my phone provider over some technical issues I’ve been having with the device. After some troubleshooting, we were able to conclude that the antenna has likely become loose, leading to the phone periodically not receiving service. Naturally, we’re outside of the 1-Year “Warranty” period that covers a defective device. I paid my insurance deductible and received a “refurbished” phone the following day. Unfortunately, this refurbished phone was unable to take pictures with the front-facing camera. I know what you’re thinking, how on Earth can I take selfies without a front-facing camera? So it was back to the phone provider to get another replacement, fortunately this time they sent a brand new device.

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get something to work right out of the box, only to experience issues. Whenever a customer is having an issue with a particular product, there’s a certain progression that we go through in order to assess the problem and determine the root cause. In some cases it is something simple, others it can be a few individual problems that are compounding each other. I recently assisted a customer that was having problems with his 110 Gallon Reversible Drum Vac System. He was having difficulty pumping water out of a container and into the 110 gallon drum. He stated that he just received the unit and was unable to get it to work.

RDV pic
EXAIR’s Reversible Drum Vac installed on a 110 Gallon Drum

This is a call that we get from time to time, and is generally remedied pretty quickly. Our first step is to check the air pressure at the inlet of the Reversible Drum Vac while it is operating. We recommend an inlet pressure of at least 80 PSIG for proper operation. By installing a pipe tee with a pressure gauge directly at the unit, we can not only verify the inlet pressure but also that the Reversible Drum Vac is being supplied with an adequate volume of compressed air. If the pressure on the gauge begins to decrease once the unit is in operation, we can conclude that the volume of compressed air to the Reversible Drum Vac is insufficient. This can be due to the use of restrictive quick disconnect fittings, improper line size, or a compressor that is undersized.

If the air supply is sufficient, we then inspect the system for vacuum leaks. If the drum does not have a complete seal, the system will not function. If there’s no vacuum leak and there is an adequate supply of compressed air, the Reversible Drum Vac likely needs to be cleaned. It took us a few tries to get there but through a little bit of trial and error, we were able to determine that this was exactly the case in this scenario. Even though the system was new, it had been supplied with compressed air that was not properly filtered. Some scale, rust and debris from the customer’s supply lines made its way into the body of the Reversible Drum Vac, impeding the flow of air. Here is a video that shows the cleaning procedure for the Reversible Drum Vac. Over time the Reversible Drum Vac can accumulate debris inside of the plenum chamber. Regular maintenance of the unit will ensure that it stays within specifications for when it’s needed most!

If you have an EXAIR product that’s not performing as well as it used to, give us a call. One of the Application Engineers will be able to walk you through the steps to ensure that you’re getting the most out of our products!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
LinkedIn: @EXAIR_TD

Condiment Sauce Recovery Using The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac

Last week I worked with a food manufacturer who makes a line of specialty sauces, with consistencies similar to BBQ sauce or ketchup, who was looking to vacuum spills off their production floors. During production, they will sometimes experience an overfill during the bottling process, which results in the product spilling on the floor. Their current clean up method is to have an operator with a wash down hose, “thin” the sauce spills with water then direct it to a drain in the floor so it can be sent to the scrap tank. This was causing a few issues though, first, the drains have filter traps that were clogging regularly from not only the sauces but other particulate that may have been on the floor, causing environmental concerns for the plant. The other concern was the amount of water they were wasting to perform the clean up. My contact was the newly appointed maintenance manager and was tasked with trying to find a more reliable, economical way to remedy the situation. He was familiar with EXAIR as he had used some of our Line Vac Conveyors at his previous employer and knew we also carried a line of Industrial Vacuums but was unsure which product would be best suited for his needs so he reached out for assistance.

After discussing the details of the application, I recommended he use our High Lift Reversible Drum Vac System. The High Lift RDV is a liquid only vacuum that provides 180″ H20 vacuum and is able to handle thicker, more viscous fluids (up to 1400 cP) than our standard Reversible Drum Vac. With the ability to vacuum liquid up to 15′, the unit comes standard with a 20′ flexible vacuum hose and has no motors or moving parts to wear out. The system quickly installs to a standard closed head steel drum with available capacities of 30, 55 or 110 gallons. For spills, we offer our optional Model # 6901 Spill Recovery Kit which includes a 54″ ABS wand and 14″ double-blade squeegee that makes floor cleanup a breeze. After the material has been vacuumed, the unit can then be set to “empty” to pump the liquid back out to their waste tank so it can be carried away by their environmental recovery supplier.

The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac is able to pump thicker liquids from sumps or tanks up to 15 feet deep.

For help selecting the best suited Industrial Vacuum for your specific need or to discuss a particular application, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer

EXAIR Video Blog: Replacing Industrial Vacuum Drum Lid Gasket

Today’s video blog shows the replacement of a drum lid gasket on an EXAIR Industrial Vacuum.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Contaminated Air Supply Leads To Unwanted Results

Rust from the air supply found inside a compressed a Reversible Drum Vac.

One of the greatest attributes of EXAIR products is their ability to stay in operation for years on end without any maintenance.  With no moving parts to wear out, there really is little-to-no upkeep required.  So, when we receive notice from a customer that an EXAIR product is not working properly, we most always seek to establish the pressure, volume, and quality of the compressed air supply.  By examining these three variables, we can usually pinpoint the source of the performance discrepancy.

I had an exercise in this routine a few days ago with a Reversible Drum Vac (RDV).  The RDV had arrived at EXAIR after the customer noticed a drop in performance.  The RDV went from operating normally to gradually loosing strong vacuum when vacuuming liquids out of a coolant sump.

The end user and I discussed the air supply pressure, line size, and available volume of compressed air to operate the RDV which all seemed to be in order.  Compressed air supply pressure was 80 PSIG, they were using the EXAIR supplied (properly sized for the product) compressed air hose, and the unit had functioned in this exact setup for some time, so we were confident in the ability of the compressed air system to supply adequate volume.

In most cases, when an RDV gradually loses vacuum, or experiences a change in performance without a change in application parameters, contaminants from the compressed air system can be found inside of the RDV.  And, that is exactly what happened here.

Reversible Drum Vac “plug” – notice the rust on the everything below the O-ring (everything in contact with the compressed air supply)

I first tested the RDV for vacuum level and flow, both of which were low.  When I disassembled the RDV I noticed what looked like rust on all surfaces which are in contact with the compressed air stream (photo above).

Internals of the Reversible Drum Vac “body”; littered with rust

Then, I peered into the body of the drum vac and saw the root of the problem – dirt and rust from the compressed air system had accumulated within the RDV, restricting compressed air flow and causing the decay in performance.

Rust and shim as they were dumped out of the Reversible Drum Vac body
Another photo of the rust

After a quick cleaning of the RDV, performance was perfect and the RDV was ready to go back into operation.  The end user and I discussed my findings along with proper air filtration to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.  They were glad to know their RDV was in working order, and we were both glad to confirm the root cause.  With a new filter separator installed at the compressed air line feeding this RDV, trouble-free and maintenance-free performance can be expected for a long time to come.

If you have a similar application need, or think an EXAIR solution may benefit your process, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

“Deluxe” and “Premium”

These are two words that have been important parts of my vocabulary for most of my life. As a long time fast-food burger connoisseur, these words mean I’m getting something other than a hastily cooked ground beef patty on an enriched white flour bun that may or may not have been sitting under a heat lamp for a specific period of time. If you’re anywhere near as familiar with drive-thru cuisine as I am, you’ll know that “Deluxe” usually means a variety of toppings has been added to an otherwise relatively plain sandwich…it’s been “run through the garden,” if you will. And “Premium” can mean anything from a special bun, gourmet cheese, up-scale meat, and/or the addition of bacon…they ALWAYS get me at bacon…

I don't know what the knife and fork are doing there, but whatever...
I don’t know what the knife and fork are doing there, but whatever…

EXAIR’s Industrial Vacuums are also available in Deluxe and Premium Kits. Now, if you’ve already got a drum, our standard Kits will quickly and economically turn that drum into a powerful, fast, and efficient vacuum system, without the need for anything fancy. If you’re looking for complete, comprehensive clean up solutions, though, our Deluxe Kits add a drum dolly, a tool holder, and additional tools. The Premium Kits also include a durable steel drum and a set of Heavy Duty Aluminum Tools.

Whatever your needs are, we’ve got an efficient, quiet, durable, long-lasting, maintenance-free vacuum system for you. Our Reversible Drum Vac will empty…or fill…a 55 gallon drum in 90 seconds (tested with water.) Our new High Lift Reversible Drum Vac pumps that same 55 gallons in just 85 seconds, with up to 15 feet of suction head. Then, of course, the Chip Trapper uses our Reversible Drum Vac technology to filter and extend the life of your machine tool coolants, lubricating oils, etc.

Reversible Drum Vac, High Lift Reversible Drum Vac, Chip Trapper
(Left to Right) Reversible Drum Vac, High Lift Reversible Drum Vac, Chip Trapper

For solids vacuuming situations, our Chip Vac picks up wet or dry chips, debris, etc., and deposits them directly into the drum. This is the function of the Heavy Duty Dry Vac as well. It’s more powerful than the Chip Vac, for use with heavier debris, and it’s made of a hardened alloy for superior abrasion resistance. The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac delivers the same high performance, with a high efficiency filter for total dust containment.

(Left to right) Chip Vac, Heavy Duty Dry Vac, Heavy Duty HEPA Vac
(Left to right) Chip Vac, Heavy Duty Dry Vac, Heavy Duty HEPA Vac

Whatever your Industrial Vacuum needs are, we’ve got a solution for you. And if you order before the end of March, we’ll throw in a FREE Vac-u-Gun…our lightweight and portable vacuum gun, blow gun, and transfer tool, all in one. Call me to find out more.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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tiktok 5 photo courtesy of Kirrin.  Creative Commons License