Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Vac Generation

Using suction cups and air-driven vacuum pumps is a preferable gripping and handling method of corrugated cardboard materials and boxes in carton-machines like case/carton erectors and rotary cartoners. Robot based applications, like palletizing and de-palletizing, are other examples where the best practice technology for gripping and handling is by suction cups and air-driven vacuum pumps.  
The 2016 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), held in January 2016, had another great year with 30,277 poultry, meat and feed industry leaders from all over the world in attendance. There were also 1,301 exhibitors, a new record, with more than 464,750 square feet of exhibit space. The Expo is the world's largest annual poultry, meat and feed industry event of its kind and is one of the 50 largest trade shows in the United States. IPPE is sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, American Feed Industry Association and North American Meat Institute.
Air-driven Venturi vacuum generators have long been a viable option for fast-response, localized, vacuum-powered systems. Through the last decade, they were considered convenient and flexible solutions with quick response time. However, they were not regarded as energy efficient, probably due to their use of compressed air. Extensive product development with this equipment — particularly the crucial system accessories — often makes the selection of the most energy-efficient items difficult for many localized operations.
This was a complete supply and demand-side system assessment. The supply-side audit involved shutting off old air compressors and purchasing newer more efficient air compressors and dryers. The demand-side audit involved finding ways to improve the piping and reduce compressed air consumption. Annual plant electric costs for compressed air production, as operating today, are $3,050,625 per year. If the electric costs of $27,811 associated with operating ancillary equipment such as dryers are included the total electric costs for operating the air system are $3,078,436 per year.
This food industry factory, located in California, was spending $386,533 annually on energy to operate their compressed air system. This system assessment detailed eleven (11) project areas where yearly energy savings totaling $154,372 could be found with a investment of $289,540. A local utility energy incentive, paying 9 cents/kWh, provided the factory with an incentive award of $159,778. This reduced the investment to $129,762 and provided a simple ROI of ten months on the project.
There is an enormous population of vacuum generators being used successfully by industry. Applications range from pick & place to vapor extraction to bulk material handling and the number of installations is growing. Before proceeding with an installation utilizing these devices, there are two general issues to consider: efficiency and appropriateness.
Swiss brush company Ebnat-Kappel uses non contact transfer technology from Bosch Rexroth to automate a problematic section of its packaging production process.
A recent comparative vacuum technology study performed by Dr. Kingman Yee, as part of a Chrysler Summer Intern Professors Program, found that air consumption could be reduced by 98% when equipping a robot’s end-of-arm tooling with COAXÆ technology and a Vacustat™ check valve.
Blower & Vacuum Best Practices Magazine spoke with Mr. Ed McGovern (VP Sales & Business Development) of PIAB North America.