Shot Blasting Media and Dust Problems Solved with EXAIR’s HEPA Vac

Heavy Duty HEPA Vac Family

Have you ever heard an electric vacuum toward the end of its life?  It gets an irritating high-pitch noise caused by the bearings going out.  A customer was hearing this annoying sound after only two months of use.   Their application was shot blasting metal parts.  The shot blast media was very dusty and carried everywhere around the room.  After use, they would use a shop vac to clean the machine and around the area.   When they started to hear that “moan” from their electric vacuum, they knew that they would have to purchase another unit.  Additionally, they noticed a lot of dust migrating into the work environment from the shop vac, creating a breathing hazard for the operators.  After their second electric vacuum failed, they started looking for a better choice.

Sand Blasting Equipment

When they contacted EXAIR about these issues, EXAIR had a great solution for them.  I recommended our model 6399, 55-gallon Premium Heavy Duty HEPA Vac System.  This system comes with a drum, drum dolly, heavy duty accessories, HEPA Filter, and a robust vacuum system.  The heavy-duty accessories are easy to use to vacuum in tight spaces.  The HEPA filter inside the drum has an efficiency of 99.97% at 0.3 micron.  So, the dust will remain in the drum and not migrate back into the ambient air.  The HEPA filter media is pleated to give a large surface area of 36.7 ft2 (3.4 m2).  Packed inside a supported cylindrical, it will allow for great amount of debris before changing.  With the shop vac above, the surface area of the filter was very small causing the filter to plug and under-perform.  The EXAIR Heavy Duty vacuum generator is made from a hardened-alloy steel construction which is very resistant to wear.  It does not have any moving parts or bearings to wear.  For this application, the generator is perfect for the shot blast media.  The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac only requires compressed air to operate, not an electric motor which can fail from dusty environments.  The Heavy Duty HEPA Vac System only has a decibel level of 82 dBA which makes it very quiet compared to shop vacs.  With clean compressed air as the engine for the vacuum, this system can last for years; not months.

When the company above started to use the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac, the first thing that they noticed was how quiet it operated.  That constant loud noise from their electric vacuum was gone, making it a better working environment for the operators.  They also noticed that the dust was not getting back into the environment, reducing the dust nuisance.  If you find that your electric vacuums are breaking down or you would like to reduce the noise levels, EXAIR has a large line of Industrial Housekeeping Products.  You can contact an Application Engineer to see if we have the right vacuum product for you.

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

EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives Removes Static from PBM

A customer had an application where they were using a plastic blasting media (PBM) to remove a coating from composite sheets. Being that I was unfamiliar with this type of blasting media, I went to the web for research.  This process is very interesting as it can remove coatings, paint, powder coats, etc. without harming the substrate.  It is widely used in the automotive and aerospace industries as it can be used on materials like very thin metals, composites, and even hardwood.

In our experience with non-conductive materials, static can be a huge problem. And in this case, it was.  The PBM was “sticking” to everything including the composite material that was being cleaned.  They were losing material as it was leaving the blasting chamber.  As with any type of blasting system, you want to reuse the material to economically reduce waste and keep the operation running longer.  As you can see in the picture below, the PBM is clinging to the internal components because of static.  This static force was keeping the PBM attached to the composite sheet and allowing it to leave the chamber.

Inside the Plastic Blasting Media cabinet
Inside the Plastic Blasting Media cabinet

As a quick remedy, they tried to use compressed air to blow the PBM back into the cabinet. They were using copper tubes that were flattened to create a homemade nozzle.  This style of nozzle is unsafe and very loud.  It was also difficult to get the correct amount of blowing force because static can build at different rates.  The higher amount of static charges, the stronger the attraction.  They needed a better method as they found themselves wasting not only the blasting material, but also much compressed air.

With applications similar to this, we like to remove the static at the problem area. Then, we do not have to be concerned about the static forces.  For their application, the cabinet had a 6” wide opening where the composite material would exit.  So, I recommended two pieces of the model 111206, 6” Super Ion Air Knife Kits, to be mounted just outside the cabinet.  One Super Ion Air Knife would be mounted above the sheet to clean the top surface, and the other mounted below the sheet to clean the bottom surface.  I recommended that they position the Super Ion Air Knives at a 45 deg. angle to the surface of the composite sheet in the counter-flow direction.

This position will optimize the performance of the Super Ion Air Knife.  It increases the contact time to coat the surface with ions to remove the static and to keep the PBM inside the cabinet.  With the design of the EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife, it has a 40:1 amplification ratio.  That means that for every 1 part of compressed air, it will entrain 40 parts of ambient air.  So, it can operate with much less compressed air.  Once they mounted the Super ion Air Knives, they were amazed at the performance.  It was very quiet; it used very little compressed air; and it kept the composite sheets completely clean.  After the static forces are removed, it only needed a light breeze to remove the PBM from the surface.

Super Ion Air Knife
Super Ion Air Knife

If you find that static is creating process problems, wasting time, and costing you money, EXAIR has a large line of Static Eliminators that can help you. For this customer, it was a simple phone call to EXAIR that got his operation back up and running fast and smooth without static.

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

EXAIR Products Help Clean a Sandblasting Room

I’m sure there are any number of things that you could do incorrectly running a blasting room, but I became familiar with one failure mode this week: Clean Up.

I don’t know much about blasting rooms, but I know folks usually say this when it’s over –  clean up! That is a phrase I have heard once or twice in my life. We had a customer call in this week, who ran large pieces, one at a time through his sand blasting room, and needed to clean up after each operation. He had used electrically powered industrial vacuum cleaners in the past, but they did not hold up. He had a cyclonic separator in place, but enough dust and debris passed through the separator and into the impellers to create a maintenance nightmare. The problem had gotten so bad that before calling us he was using a broom and scoop method. The clean up was taking longer than the process, which made him unable to meet their production schedule, when the vacuum was down.

EXAIR’s solution the Heavy Duty Dry Vac (HDDV), model 6397. The HD Dry Vac fits onto a 55 gallon drum and uses compressed air to create a powerful vacuum, capable of moving over 50 pounds of ceramic tumbling media per minute.  The 6397 comes with a drum, drum dolly, 20 feet of compressed air hose, heavy duty accessory kit, and 10 feet of static eliminating vacuum hose, which allows the HDDV to clean easily in a 25 foot radius. Large enough to reach every corner of the customer’s 25′ X 25′ room.

2HDDV_pr_jpg

I thought this would be great solution to the customer’s problem, but of course, the customer had one more wrinkle in his process.  His hopper for the blasting media was on the roof of his sand blasting room 12 feet in the air, and he needed to recycle the blasting media he collected. I can understand not wanting a new process to lift a 55 gallon drum up to the roof of his sand blasting booth after every part. Unfortunately, the HDDV, model 6397 would not be the best solution to vacuum and convey the blast media back into the hopper – but we do manufacture a solution, the EXAIR Line Vac.

The Heavy Duty Line Vac, model 150200, can easily transfer product up 12 feet in the air. After cleaning the floor of the facility, the customer setup a conveyance station with a 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac to move the material to the hopper in the top of the roof. We were able to reuse the cyclonic separator he had from his electric vacuum to contain the material and release the air that is moved through the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac.

After using the EXAIR product, his cleaning time greatly decreased  Also, the Spill Recovery kit that comes with every 6397 Premium Heavy Duty Drum Vac greatly reduced the wear and tear on the employees backs and knees.  Finally, he effectively recycled his blast material with the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac air operated conveyor system.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW