So it was 19°F (-7°C) when I walked outside this morning. The layer of ice on my windshield was thin, but particularly stubborn, and I muttered under my breath. I have no business complaining about the cold…see, I moved to Ohio (on purpose) from Florida, in 1991. In November, to be exact. I still remember where I surrendered my “complain-about-the-cold” card:
Why am I writing a blog about solutions to heat problems when, even though I do have a really nice pair of gloves, my fingers still aren’t even really thawed from ice removal duty this morning? Well, I’ve got three reasons:
1. Outside temperature doesn’t necessarily have any bearing at all on the temperature inside. Sure; there’s a reason we call July and August “Cabinet Cooler Season” – summer heat will do a number on sensitive electronic & control panels in spaces with no climate controls, but the problem goes away as winter approaches. In fact, there’s even such as thing as a cabinet HEATER, if the equipment in question is exposed to the elements. Sometimes, though, heat is an issue year ’round…think blast furnaces, boiler rooms, foundries, chemical plants. If your process generates heat, it’ll affect a control panel in the dead of winter just the same as on the dog days of summer. We can quickly and easily specify the right Cabinet Cooler System for you with just a few key pieces of data…here’s a link to our Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide if you want to find out.
2. It’s not winter all over the world. Here in the Midwest United States, I full well realize we’re just gearing up for windshield scraping, snow shoveling, slipping-on-the-ice (some people call it skating and do it intentionally) season. But right now, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are getting ready for heat waves, sunscreen, and (hopefully) air conditioning. So, in essence, they’re moving towards what we call “Cabinet Cooler Season.”
3. Our Cabinet Cooler Systems are so great, the 316SS Cabinet Cooler Systems with Electronic Temperature Control are actually up for Plant Engineering’s Product of the Year Award. Because of their 316SS construction, they’re optimally suited for installation in harsh or demanding locations. The Electronic Temperature Control offers continuous indication of internal temperature, and the ability to change the thermostat setpoint with the push of a button. If you’re a current user, and you agree that they’re great, we’d appreciate your vote. If not, I’m reluctant to encourage you to vote for it, but I suppose I can’t stop you from taking my word for it…
If you’d like to talk about protecting sensitive electronics from the heat, or from the environment, or both, I’d love to hear from you…give me a call.
A customer contacted me recently looking to duplicate a setup of EXAIR Cabinet Coolers that they had installed a few years ago. They were tucked away in the corner of the warehouse up near the ceiling. Their maintenance guy had recently retired and no one knew what to purchase. They placed a quick call to EXAIR, after speaking to him and having him snap a photo of the setup, we were able to discern that he had an HT4370 High Temperature Dual Cabinet Cooler System.
They were really under the gun as a similar cabinet elsewhere in the facility was malfunctioning, forcing them to shut down production and open up the cabinet to allow it to cool down periodically. Not only were they losing production time, but exposing the cabinet to the dirty conditions present in most manufacturing facilities can pose additional risks. Lucky for them, we were able to quickly identify the Cabinet Cooler system and get one on order the same day. With same day shipment for stock items on orders received by 3:00 pm EST, they were able to get another one in their hands the following day.
The cool air from the Cabinet Cooler also maintains a positive pressure inside of the enclosure, keeping the dirty air from the environment from wreaking havoc inside. The Cabinet Cooler installs quickly through a standard electrical knockout. The kit includes everything you need to get up and running: the Cabinet Cooler, solenoid valve (available in 110 VAC, 240 VAC, or 24 VDC), Auto-Drain Filter w/ mounting bracket, cold air distribution kit, and a mechanical thermostat pre-set to 95°F. For applications that do not have space for mounting at the top of the cabinet, we also have a Side Mount Kit available.
EXAIR’s High Temperature Dual Cabinet Coolers are available for applications where the ambient conditions are 125°F-200°F. With cooling capacities of up to 5,600 Btu/hr, these Cabinet Coolers will operate virtually maintenance free when supplied with clean, dry air. Not sure which system is right for you? Fill out the Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide and an EXAIR Application Engineer will be in touch with you shortly!
Recently, I visited an overseas company that produced tractor axles. They had a variety of CNC mills. Inside the facility, the ambient temperatures were extremely high, above 45 deg. C. For electronics and electrical equipment, this is the worst type of condition. For every 10 deg. C above the operational temperature limit, the life of an electrical component is cut in half. To reduce premature equipment failures, it is important to keep these components cool.
In this facility, they customer had seven CNC mills machining different axles. Each machine had a control panel that contained VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) to control the X, Y, and Z axis. The components inside were cooled by a Freon-based A/C unit mounted in the door. But, every year during the hot months of summer, they would have one or two of the A/C compressors overheat and fail. Without the necessary cooling, the VFDs inside the panels would trip from the high temperature alarm and shut down the CNC machine.
Besides the need for constant preventive maintenance, the A/C themselves are very susceptible to high ambient temperatures. The fan that blows the air across the condenser to cool the Freon is now blowing much warmer air. The cooling capacity is affected negatively which means that the A/C compressor has to run longer in hotter conditions. With lack of proper maintenance and a high ambient heat load, A/C panel coolers will fail, shutting down the entire system. Speaking with the Production Manager, he stated that after a failure, it could take up to a week to get a service repairman and the replacement installed. He understood that time is money, and he was losing much money every day that his CNC mill was inoperable. He needed a better way to keep his machines operating, even during the hottest days of summer.
EXAIR has a solution to keep the electronics cool in these type of conditions for these types of applications. It is the EXAIR High Temperature Cabinet Coolers. The High Temperature Cabinet Cooler System is set up to deliver cooling power even under hot applications up to 200° F (93°C). To get the appropriate cooling capacity for his panels, the Production Manager filled out a Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide. From his information, I calculated and recommended the model HT4340-240. It has a cooling capacity of 2,800 BTU/hr in a very compact, dust-tight NEMA 12 design. This system included a thermostat and a 240Vac solenoid to turn the compressed air off when the set point is reached during cooler temperatures or off-hours. EXAIR can also offer thermostats with solenoid voltage options of 115Vac and 24Vdc for ease of installation. Cabinet Coolers do not require any maintenance or Freon, and they do not have any moving parts to wear; making them very reliable and long lasting. Once the customer received the model HT4340-240, they had it installed in about three hours, not a week. The CNC mill was back in operation and machining parts.
Cabinet Cooler Systems can withstand very demanding applications like the one above. With proper selection and guidance, you can make sure that your equipment will be able to handle the hot days of summer. EXAIR can size a Cabinet Cooler for you by simply filling out the Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide and sending it to an Application Engineer. We look forward to helping you with your heat related issues.
If you’ve got an electrical enclosure that needs heat protection, you’ve got a good number of options at your disposal. Frankly, if any one of them were the “be-all and end-all” solution, the rest of us would be looking for something else to do. Fact is, there are certain situations where one particular method makes more sense than the others, and other situations where one method just won’t work but several others will.
In industrial and commercial settings, these situations will often present conditions where there is indeed an ideal solution. Today, we’ll explore the ones where the choice comes down to a compressed air-operated EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System or refrigerant-based panel cooling. Let’s consider:
Environment– Now, we’re all going to make sure we protect our gear from the elements, as much as is humanly possible. Your company’s computer server is likely a lot closer to the climate controlled office spaces than the welding or grinding stations. But what happens when sensitive electronics need to be in close proximity to the machinery they’re controlling? And that machinery isn’t in climate controlled office spaces?
Even if an A/C type panel cooler would fit on this box, it would be problematic:
See all that dust on the ducts? And the belt? And the rails? And the…well, everywhere? Yeah; would be in the filters, condenser coils, the compressor motor bearings and eventually, inside the panel.
They make condensate. The big thing about air conditioners is that they lower the humidity…and that water has to go somewhere. Even if a small drain line is easy enough to run, what happens when it gets clogged (that dust is going to find its way here too, by the way)?
They’re sensitive to vibration. Every fastener, every brazed joint, every electrical connection, risks cyclical failure if they’re shaken about.
EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are impervious to all of these conditions:
The only air they use comes straight from your compressed air supply. We even provide Automatic Drain Filter Separators to make sure this is clean & dry.
There are no moving parts. Vibration is not a problem.
We offer different levels environmental considerations to meet most any challenge:
*NEMA 12 (dust tight, oil tight) are ideal for general industrial environments.
*NEMA 4 (splash resistant) keep liquids out too, and are indoor/outdoor rated.
*NEMA 4X (corrosion resistant) also keep liquids out, and are stainless steel construction. They’re also available in 316SS construction for the most exacting, harshest, and critical environments such as food service, pharmaceutical, or highly corrosive atmospheres.
*High Temperature Cabinet Cooler Systems are specified for installation in areas where ambient temperatures exceed 120°F (52°C.)
Location – Sometimes, there’s just not room to mount an air conditioner. The compressor, and, especially, the condenser coils have to take up a finite amount of space, by design.
EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems have a small footprint…a NEMA 12 550 Btu/hr system, for example, installs through a ½ NPS knockout, is under 6” tall, and just over 1” in diameter.
Reliability – We talk to callers all the time about the frustration of:
Having to replace a burned out Variable Frequency Drive because their panel cooler failed.
Constantly resetting controls that have tripped due to an overheat condition because they missed, or don’t have time for, their panel cooler’s maintenance.
Down time and lost production while waiting for replacement parts…or a whole new panel cooler.
Even in less aggressive environments, filters and coils can slowly accumulate dirty buildup, which reduces the unit’s cooling power. Then, a heat wave hits early in the season, and your machine trips out (if you’re lucky) or burns out (if you’re not) -either way, that part or process you were in the middle of is scrap, and you’re back to step one.
EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are not affected by this – in fact, a system with thermostat control may just sit there dormant through the winter, and “spring” (pun intended) into action when that first heat wave rolls through. And it’ll be just as powerful as that last hot day, the previous autumn.
Availability – Let’s say you installed some new equipment recently, and its first exposure to the heat of summer created one of the frustrating situations above. An air conditioner-type panel cooler will require:
“Invasive surgery” on your enclosure. Most of these require a sizeable rectangular hole for installation.
These systems can pull 5 amps or more, which might mean a dedicated circuit breaker & wiring.
Many are built-to-order, so you might have to wait, depending on their assembly schedule. And they might be busy, because if the heat just started causing you problems, you’re probably not the only one.
Once it’s received, installed, and wired up, you may still have to wait for the compressor’s oil (special oil for use with refrigerant) to settle before you start it up the first time.
EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are stock products. We ship same day, across the country, with orders received by 3pm EST. They install in minutes, and most of the preparation can be done today, so you’re ready to install when it comes in tomorrow – which isn’t a big deal…most Cabinet Cooler Systems weigh only 5lbs or less, so expedited shipping isn’t near as painful to your wallet as a big box full of electric motor, copper coil, and refrigerant.
Environment (friendly, that is) – No matter how well they’re built, a refrigerant system is going to leak sooner or later. And every whiff through an aging seal, or sudden loss through a failed tube, will contribute to the ozone depletion that today’s strict controls and high attention to CFC’s are trying to prevent.
Our Cabinet Cooler Systems are solely compressed air operated…the only thing they exhaust is the air from inside the enclosure.
Durability – Refrigerant leaks. Electric motors wear out. Coils corrode. Filters clog. A GOOD warranty on an air conditioning type panel cooler is two years. And it won’t cover environmental effects.
All EXAIR Compressed Air Products have a Five Year Built To Last Warranty. But if you supply your Cabinet Cooler System with clean, dry air, it’s going to run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.
Don’t trust your critical electronics to anything less than the assurance provided by an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System. If you’d like to find out which one(s) are right for your needs, give me a call.
Many EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are available with thermostat control, Model 9017 thermostat is used to monitor temperature in the panel as part of a typical thermostat controlled system. Below is a video on how to physically mount model 9017 thermostat into your panel as part of the overall installation process for NEMA 12 or NEMA 4/4X Cabinet Cooler Systems. Wiring the thermostat will be covered in a separate video.
As you may have seen in our most recent E-NEWS Special Bulletin, or experienced in real life (depending on where you’re located,) most of the eastern United States is seeing a pretty significant heat wave for early summer…or, as we call it at EXAIR, “Cabinet Cooler Season.” And this year is kicking it off with a bang, for sure.
On Tuesday, when the E-NEWS email went out, I was on the phone, processing an order for a Model 4340 NEMA 12, 2,800 Btu/hr, Thermostat Controlled Cabinet Cooler System, to ship overnight to a user who wanted to protect the new drive they were replacing because theirs overheated. They were up and running before noon on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, four local customers placed “will call” orders for Cabinet Cooler Systems. I had the pleasure of talking with one of them, who was installing one for the very first time. As he was looking over the Installation & Operation Guide before he left our building, he just wanted to make sure that hooking it up was as simple as it sounded…and it is. We pulled the parts from the box and went over exactly how each step is performed, and he left feeling confident that he’d have it installed pretty quickly. Just in case, I also got his email address and sent him a link to our NEMA 4 Cabinet Cooler System Installation Video Blog:
I don’t know what the rest of the summer holds in store, but I know this: if you have concerns about protecting sensitive, critical, and/or expensive electrical & electronic enclosures, EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are the solution you’re looking for. Easy to install. Maintenance free operation. Durable, UL Listed, and CE Compliant. If you’d like to discuss your application and get one for yourself, call me; let’s talk.
Have you ever sent an email, or left a voice mail message for someone without knowing they were out of the office? It can be pretty frustrating to not hear back from someone, especially if your needs are urgent.
At EXAIR, we make sure this doesn’t happen:
*For starters, we don’t have an automated attendant…if you call EXAIR during normal business hours, you’re going to talk to a real live human being.
*What’s more, that real live human being is going to be one of our Customer Service Representatives, and they can answer any questions you might have about price and availability of any of our Engineered Compressed Air Products.
*If you need detailed technical information, they’ll transfer you to an Application Engineer…and they are always keenly aware of who’s available & who’s not. You won’t get anyone’s voice mail unless you specifically ask for it, and if one of us is on vacation (and won’t be able to return your call for a number of days,) you’ll know that before you’re transferred to leave that message.
*Not only that, but we’ve got a system in place to monitor each other’s emails. Which brings me to the success story that inspired this blog:
It’s vacation season, and another of us took off for some well deserved R&R with the family. According to The System, I get to check those incoming emails while this co-worker is out. And he (like the rest of us) gets a LOT of emails. Some are new requests for application/performance data, and some are continuing conversations of the details of (sometimes) complex applications. Like the project he was working on with a customer who wanted to use Air Knives to blow off a continuous strip of material exiting a wash/rinse vessel. After a discussion of the details of the application, they had decided to try (2) Model 110003 3″ Aluminum Super Air Knives, one mounted on either side, to “strip the strip.” And it worked perfectly. They just wanted to run the details of this first installation by us before doing the other seven. Part of my process was to go back through the chain of emails…while this looked pretty straight forward, the devil is indeed in the details, and I hate that guy. But, try as I might (sorry; I’m an engineer,) I could not find fault, or room to improve, with the setup they designed…it was most pleasantly devil-free.
Anyway, with my agreement that their installation was indeed optimal (it’s exactly what I would have done too, for the record,) they placed an order for the (14) Super Air Knives to outfit the other (7) wash/rinse operations.
If we were keeping score, it would be coworker-2, Russ-14. But we’re not. Lest my record suffer when I “break for the Lake” in June. By then, it’ll be Cabinet Cooler Season, and I almost hate to miss a week of that. Almost.
If you have questions about compressed air products or applications, we’ve got answers. Live and in real time, every day. Call us; let’s talk.