Reducing Lubricant in a Blanking Operation

We recently chatted with a customer that was looking to improve the lubrication system for multiple blanking lines.  Blanking involves the cutting of sheet metal in a single step, to separate the piece form the surrounding stock. The part that is cut out is the desired product and  is called the ‘blank.’  This operation can be moderate to fast in speed, and the process creates heat, so a lubricant is used to cool and decrease the wear on the tooling.  Our customer was looking for a better way to apply the lubricant.

We proposed the model AN2010SS, a No Drip, internal mix, narrow angle, round fan Atomizing Nozzle.  The nozzle uses compressed air to create a mist of the liquid with very fine droplet size. When using for the  lubricant, a fine layer can be applied over the entire surface without areas of over coverage and waste.  This leads to lower costs for lubricant, and less mess on the blanks.

No Drip Atomizing Nozzle
No Drip Atomizing Nozzle

To simplify the process, the No Drip model was chosen. The No Drip style has the added benefit of positively stopping liquid flow when the compressed air is turned off.  There is no need to independently control the liquid flow via a control system and valve.

Finally, to control the compressed air side, we recommend the Electronic Flow Control (EFC.)  Utilizing a photoelectric sensor, the open position of the press can be detected and using 1 of many program options, the compressed air can be turned on and off to accurately control the application of the lubricant.  Due to the excessive amount of lubricant being used, the customer was applying every other cycle.  The first blank would be overly lubricated so that there would be some remaining for the next.  With the Atomizing Nozzle and EFC, the right amount of lubricant can be applied for each cycle.  The result is reduced lubricant usage, and a better operation.


If you have questions regarding Atomizing Nozzles or any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Vacuum Generators: Porous Vs. Non-Porous

I had customer call this week who was using an E-Vac model 800008H, an 8 SCFM Porous Vacuum Generator, to pull a vacuum on four vacuum cups.  He was trying to lift a part with the four vacuum cups placed on a clean metal portion of the part.  Unfortunately he was having a little trouble.  He had to lift the product very slowly because the part could easily be dislodged, if the part was bumped or came to an abrupt stop.

EXAIR’s family of In-Line E-Vac vacuum generators

The problem is a relatively simple one.  The customer choose a porous vacuum generator when he would be better served with a non-porous unit.  The vacuum cups are attaching to a non-porous surface, sheet metal, in a relatively clean environment.  The difference between porous and non-porous units is that  porous units has more vacuum flow available at a low vacuum level, where the non-porous vacuum generators have a higher level of vacuum, but less vacuum flow.  Because of the high vacuum flow, a porous unit is much better for lifting porous materials like cardboard, some particle boards, and fabrics.  The higher vacuum flow of porous vacuum generators helps maintain the vacuum when pulling upon materials which let a constant flow of air through. In the customer’s case, he was lifting a clean sheet of metal, a non-porous material, and needed a higher vacuum level as opposed to a higher vacuum flow. A higher vacuum level [more inches of mercury (Hg) of vacuum] would pull harder upon the metal and hold it tighter.

Let’s look at the customer’s example more closely.  An EXAIR model 800008, porous E Vac, will generate a maximum of 21 inches of mercury (“Hg).  A model 810008, non-porous E Vac, will generate 27  inches of mercury (“Hg).  Let say he was using a 900758 3 1/4” diameter round vacuum cup. If you look at the Vacuum Lift Chart, you see that the 900758 can lift 42.8 lbs. at 21 “HG, but it can lift 55.0 pounds at 27 “HG of mercury.  So in this application the customer can increase their lifting capacity by 28.5% by switching from a non-porous vacuum generator to a porous vacuum generator.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer

EXAIR Super Air Knife Prevents Rejects and Press Damage.

We have a customer who produces automotive stampings and assemblies. Within their process they have a welding cell which places a weld nut on to the stamping.

Within the cell an M6 nut is placed on the stamping and held in place with a magnet. An automated vision inspection is done to determine if the nut has been placed on the stamping. If all things are OK, the nut is welded to the stamping and it moves into a punch press for further modification.

If the vision inspection does not see the nut, another one is placed on to the stamping. The problem is the magnet is strong enough to hold a misplaced nut as well and when another nut is placed on to the stamping there is the potential for the misplaced nut to still be on the stamping. A misplaced nut moving into the next step of the punch process will damage the punch and the product.

EXAIR supplied a 6″ Super Air Knife to provide a blast of air over a wide area after the weld process and the magnet has been removed. This 6″ wide area blast of air makes sure that the entire area a misplaced nut could be is blown clear, removing any chance that a nut will damage the punch or the product.

This is a case where a simple, low-cost solution prevents a complicated and expensive problem.  

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer

Vacuum Generator Comes Through for Moving Metal Plates

I worked through an application the other day with a customer who had some metal plates with dimensions of 2 meters by 1 meter. The plates weighed about 25 lbs. each. The customer wanted to move these from a stack onto a roller table in order to position for water jet cutting. There is no easy way to grab these plates so the customer wanted to use vacuum technology to move them.

After taking into consideration the size and weight of the plate, I recommended (6) 2″ vacuum cups and (3) Model 80005M E-vac vacuum generators, (2) cups per vacuum generator.  The cups were arranged in two rows of 3 onto a suitable lifting frame. Having 6 vacuum cups was necessary due to the length of the product in order to provide stability during the lifting action.

The system works quite well and provides safe movement of the sheets which the customer used to move by hand.

This is an example of a typical vacuum cup application. If you have other applications that require vacuum, but maybe are not lifting or product placement applications, give us a call. We would be glad to discuss and see if we have something here that can help.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer