Vintage Vortex Tube Still Operational after 28 Years!

People are always wondering how long a Vortex Tube will last as a solution for their application. I’ve been at the company for almost 18 years now and my response has always been 20+ years, easily!

Just the other day, one of our overseas distributors posted a question to us looking for help in identifying an old EXAIR Vortex Tube that their customer presented to them. A couple photos of the unit are shown below.

HLY vortex cooler 2
Vintage Vortex Tube un-assembled
HLY vortex cooler 1
Vintage Vortex Tube assembled


We were able to track some of the unique design features to a model that was built in 1987. After 28 years in operation, the only thing that needed to happen was for the unit to be cleaned with some soap and water and it was soon back in operation.

There are some keys to the longevity of vortex tubes. First and most significant is that they do not have any moving parts. The compressed air is the only thing that does the moving and work inside. Second, would be to feed the vortex tube with clean, dry, oil-free air. That means using a filter / separator at the point of use and maybe even an oil coalescing filter too.

Providing a localized heat source for applications is rather easy to do with either a small torch or perhaps an electric heater. Doing the same in the opposite direction to provide a localized cooling is something that is actually just as easy if you have a vortex tube at hand. If you don’t, you can consider using one of our Vortex Tubes or perhaps you would be more inclined to go for one of our more user-friendly products such as Cold Gun, Adjustable Spot Cooler or even Mini Cooler for smaller jobs. These units have heat shielding, mounting, and sound muffling all included in their basic design. Due to the proven longevity of the product, chances are you will only need one. Unless your co-worker decides to “borrow” it.

EXAIR Corporation has been making Vortex Tubes and related products since 1983. Let us help you with your industrial Spot Cooling application.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager


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