Recently, I worked with a customer that was looking for a way to make a difficult job easier, reducing stress and strain on the body and preventing injury. The customer was in the Environmental Services & Hazardous Waste Management area and regularly was called out to service acid neutralization tanks. These are commonly found in hospitals, laboratories, and schools, to neutralize lab wastewater before it is discharged to the sanitary sewer. The systems typically utilize limestone chips to aid the in process.
Periodic maintenance includes the removal and disposal of the spent limestone chips, tank cleaning and replenishment with new limestone chips. Some of the tanks are tall and narrow, making access to the limestone chips difficult, especially near the tank bottom. Current procedures involved small shovels and unnatural body positions to try to reach the bottom-most material. A better way had to be found.
The customer came across the EXAIR website and found the Line Vac product line. After watching the demonstration video, he knew he had found his solution! The Line Vac is a compressed air operated device that turns any hose or tube into a powerful in-line conveyor. Based on the height of the tanks and the size and weight of the limestone, we agreed the 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac would provide the power and durability to empty the tanks in a timely manner, and safely and efficiently. The customer would use a tow behind compressor so that a reliable source of compressed air would always be available.
The Heavy Duty Line Vacs are available in sizes from 3/4″ up to 3″ in both smooth end and threaded connections for use with hose or pipe for conveyance.
To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Line Vac can make your transfer process easier and safer, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Over the past year I received a contact from a professor and student combination from Madison Area Technical College inquiring about the sizes available for our Line Vac products. They were using a 2″ Line Vac in one of their automation class labs and wanted to try something a little bigger for a new project. The 2″ Line Vac was one they had used in the past on different projects and had always worked well. The new project however increased the bag size and made the conveyance difficult for the 2″ Line Vac.
With the picture below of their current setup and a good understanding that they will be placing three items into a heat sealed bag that is roughly 3″ long and 2″ wide we settled on using the 3″ Aluminum Line Vac at a low pressure to convey the baggies to their secondary function. As you can see in the video below, the Line Vac is activated by a sensor and operates for just seconds in order to convey the bag of parts successfully to the other side of the machine cell where the bag is then picked and placed by a robotic arm.
After the project was completed we received a mention through social media, as well as a brief video showcasing the Line Vac in use. The video showcases how easy it is to install an EXAIR Line Vac into a tight space where adding other conventional mechanical conveying systems would be considerably more elaborate. The Line Vac is being controlled via a PLC that energizes a solenoid valve on a timer to convey the package in a matter of seconds.
We are very pleased to see the projects these kids turned out, and the leadership shown by Peter, their instructor. Manufacturing programs such as this one at Madison Area Technical College are important for our economy and for the future of these kids. We’d like to congratulate them all on their accomplishment.
If you have a project you are trying to move products from one point to another, contact us. If you are a professor, student, or even a mentor to an educational program that would benefit from EXAIR products, please contact me directly.
If you’re a regular reader of EXAIR blogs, you no doubt know that the International Manufacturing Technology Show is in full swing. Between exhibitors and visitors, the cumulative population of Chicago’s McCormick Place is expected to approach 90,000 people this week. That sounds like an impressive number of folks are taking a keen interest in manufacturing, but we’re being led to believe that there’s room – and need – for improvement here in the American manufacturing community. Consider:
*There are an estimated 600,000 unfilled manufacturing positions across the country right now. That’s a sobering number, especially in light of the current unemployment figures.
*It’s predicted that much of the core workforce in American manufacturing will be reaching retirement age during the next 10 years, and the recent historical data hints at a looming manpower crisis. Keep in mind, that’s on top of the current deficit of 600,000 workers.
I know that statistics can be made to say whatever you want them to say, but the right ones (you’ll have to trust me on this) show that American manufacturing created much of the wealth, and much of the size of the middle class, in the 20th Century. Whether you blame NAFTA, China, Wall Street, or any/all of the above (or something else entirely) for the recent decline, there are no shortage of proponents for a resurgence in American manufacturing in the 21st Century.
It’s curious that an organization that stresses the importance of doing things outdoors would be one of those proponents, but the Boy Scouts of America (maybe you’ve heard I like Scouting) is involved. The relatively new STEM/NOVA Program is geared towards advancing, and rewarding, participation in skill-building exercises to prepare today’s youth for tomorrow’s careers.
It’s just another reason I feel privileged to be a part of such a fine organization as the Boy Scouts.