Last week I was contacted by a custom machine builder who was looking to improve their design of a rubber weatherstrip notching machine for an automotive company. As the weatherstrip enters the machine, there are several cuts taken along the length, resulting in excess scrap trim which drops into a collection bin. The operation is then stopped, so the operator can manually empty the bin into a recycle hopper a few feet away. This was causing a few issues, most notably the delay in production, but also the operators were sometimes forgetting to empty the bin which caused jams in the machine and a messy work area. The machine builder was looking at our Line Vac Conveyors as a more reliable, automated option to convey the material instead of relying on the operator, so they reached out for assistance in selecting the best model.
The lightweight, rubber scrap trim varied in size, with the largest being a piece around 3/4″ wide x 13″ long, and they needed to convey it about 3′ – 4′ with the majority of the run begin gravity fed into the recycle bin. They were hoping to place the Line Vac right at the cutting head, so as the part is being processed, the scrap piece would be pulled in to the suction side, lengthwise, to avoid any blockage or build up. After reviewing all of the information and a sketch of the proposed setup, I recommend they use our Model # 130200 2″ Light Duty Line Vac. The Light Duty Line Vac uses less compressed air than our other air operated conveyors and is the ideal choice when looking to move lightweight or smaller volumes of material a short distance. With this particular application being mostly gravity fed, the Light Duty Line Vac would ensure the material was effectively picked up and delivered to the hopper, eliminating the current manual process.
The Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors have no moving parts or motors to wear out, providing a maintenance free way to move dry material. For help selecting the best option to fit your needs or to discuss how another EXAIR product might be suitable for your application, give us a call.
At EXAIR, we get asked a lot of interesting questions about what our products can do. One of them that occurs with some frequency is, “Can your Line Vac convey slugs from a stamping operation?” The answer is usually yes as “slugs” (the material punched out of a sheet of stock to create a hole) are well suited in size, shape and weight to be conveyed effectively with the Line Vac product. We are used to this question from folks who are processing various types of metal sheet. The slugs tend to build up within their tooling and basically get in the way, if not even jam up the tooling from time to time. So getting rid of them from the process becomes a necessity that is, many times, not addressed during the tool making process.
Recently, we had another customer with this same kind of problem with foam. They were processing a foam sheet by punching a many holes in it which generated the waste stream you see above. Little pieces of foam about 8 – 10 mm in diameter and about 40 mm long. As you probably have guessed by now, the area that was set up to receive these renderings quickly became loaded full with the foam slugs. The customer needed to find a way to remove the slugs to a remote area so the receiving container could be switched out easily without stopping production. The original container was small, plastic bin about the size of a kitchen garbage can. The new receiving container was a large cardboard box that typically goes by the term Gaylord. The customer needed to set the Gaylord about 3 – 4 meters away from the die punching area. This is where the EXAIR model 130300 (3” Light Duty Line Vac) comes into play. The customer fabricated a chute that was positioned under the area to catch the slugs. The chute transitions to accept the 3” Light Duty Line Vac for connection at the bottom. Then, a 3” hose is connected to the output side of the Light Duty Line Vac so it could blow the slugs over to the Gaylord.
The customer chose the Light Duty Line Vac because it uses less air than a comparable size of our Standard Duty units. They didn’t need a tremendous amount of suction power due to the light-weight nature of the slugs. They also wanted a 3” unit to make sure none of the product would get caught anywhere within the conveying stream.
With the new Light Duty Line Vac installed, the operators do not have to spend as much time tending to the emptying of the previous, small containers that had to be used due to their size for fitting into the catch area. For an application where thousands of these slugs are produced in an hour, the productivity gain was significant. The customer didn’t place an exact value on the gain, but are considering this method for other, similar processes they have in the plant.