The word of the day is “swarf”. Swarf is fine chips or filings of stone, metal or other material produced by a machining operation.
A company had four automatic profile cutting machines to cut aluminum stock. They contacted me for help to improve their operation. Each machine had a cleated belt conveyor to remove the swarf (or chips) from the cutting process. Because the swarf was small in size, the chips could get around the edge of the belt and affect the conveying system. Two of the four conveyors failed, and they wanted to find a better option to remove the swarf and keep the machines running. They sent me a photo of the type and size of the swarf that was thwarting their conveying system.
EXAIR receives many calls about applications similar to this. I suggested the model 6193 Chip Vac System. This assembly will fit onto a standard open-top 55 gallon drum which has a much smaller footprint than the conveying system. The 0.1 micron filter allows for the air to escape and keep the fine particles inside the drum. For this customer, once the drum was filled with aluminum chips, it was easy to rotate in an empty drum, sending the full drum of material to recycling. The vacuum generator has no moving parts which makes it quiet, maintenance free, and long lasting. It also creates a high vacuum level which was very useful when they attached it near the chip collection area. The Chip Vac System was easy to install and it was very beneficial in keeping the machining area clean and running.
If you find that your chip conveying system is affecting your operations, you should contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see if we have a better and more reliable solution to remove your swarf.
We’ve just been notified by “Plant Engineering Magazine” that their readers have named our new Chip Trapper “Product Of The Year”! That’s a very prestigious award and on behalf of all of us at EXAIR, thanks to all of you who voted for Chip Trapper. We also thank the people at “Plant Engineering” for their consideration.
Each year, “Plant Engineering” assembles a group of engineers and technical experts who review a long list of products that were made available in the past year. They narrow the list to come up with 112 finalists – companies they feel have offered something new and innovative. They show the 112 products in their November print and digital issues of the magazine and provide only the subscribers of the magazine a ballot to vote on their favorite product. (Of course, companies with entries don’t receive ballots to keep it fair and honest.) Their circulation is almost 87,000 recipients!
If you haven’t seen Chip Trapper in action, please take a few minutes to watch our video. Anybody who works in a machine shop understands why this product is a big deal. When the coolant that flows from those coolant nozzles slows to a trickle, you can easily end up having to take half a day (of lost production) to find the clog, clean the machine and replace the coolant. It usually ends up happening at a time when parts need to be finished by a deadline too! Using the Chip Trapper for only several minutes each week can make coolant that used to last only 6 weeks now last 6 months or more. Equally important, it gets rid of that nasty rancid coolant smell that can make you feel nauseous.
Are there other products out there that solve this problem? Not exactly! Most don’t work very well and can easily cost twice that of a Chip Trapper. We’ve tried a number of the other products in our own production and were never really satisfied with them. A lot of you who work in machining environments have probably arrived at that same conclusion. We took the problem into our own hands and developed the Chip Trapper to satisfy our own needs and those of our customers.
Is coolant management a big problem? To many we have spoken with, it is. The technical publications who have their fingers on the pulse of what is going on in industry understand this too. My January copy of “New Equipment Digest” just arrived and it has a large photo of the Chip Trapper on the front cover. They’ve also put a demo of it on their web site. We appreciate their magazine getting the word out that EXAIR has solved a major coolant problem. If you know somebody who works with coolant, we’d appreciate it if you’d let them know too!