High Temperature Vortex Tube for Sensor Cooling

Last year I worked with a power company that was having issues with Position Feedback Sensors overheating causing erroneous readings and early failures.  The sensors were located above a steam turbine, and the ambient temperatures reached 128°F with spikes to 140-150°F.  The customer had called in looking for a way to keep the sensors cool, using minimal compressed air, and in a robust package.  After reviewing the details, we recommended the High Temperature Vortex Tube, model HT3210.  While using just 10 SCFM of 100 PSIG compressed air, the HT3210 provides 8 SCFM of cold air at a temperature drop of 54°F from the supply air temperature.  Bathing the sensor with this cool air keeps prevents it from heating up and has eliminated the bad readings and prevented the early failures.

The customer recently implemented the same fix for another set of sensors.

Plant Photo
Power Generation Process, with (3) Position Feedback Sensors
Sensor
Position Feedback Sensor

The High Temperature Vortex Tube is a special Vortex Tube offering from EXAIR that utilizes a brass generator and hi-temp seal for use in ambient temperatures up to 200°F.  Simply supply clean, dry compressed air, and get cold air starting at 50-54°F lower than the supply air temperature.  With sizes ranging from 2 to 150 SCFM, there is a Vortex Tube that will meet most applications.

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High Temperature Vortex Tube

If you have questions about the Vortex Tubes, or would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Adjustable Spot Cooler: How Cold Can You Go?

I had the pleasure of discussing a spot cooling application with a customer this morning. He wanted to get more flow from his Adjustable Spot Cooler, but still keep the temperature very low.  He machines small plastic parts, and he’s got enough cold flow to properly cool the tooling (preventing melting of the plastic & shape deformation) but he wasn’t getting every last little chip or piece of debris off the part or the tool.

After determining that he had sufficient compressed air capacity, we found that he was using the 15 SCFM Generator. The Adjustable Spot Cooler comes with three Generators…any of the three will produce cold air at a specific temperature drop; this is determined only by the supply pressure (the higher your pressure, the colder your air) and the Cold Fraction (the percentage of the air supply that’s directed to the cold end…the lower the Cold Fraction, the colder the air.)

Anyway, the 15 SCFM Generator is the lowest capacity of the three, producing 1,000 Btu/hr of cooling. The other two are rated for 25 and 30 SCFM (1,700 and 2,000 Btu/hr, respectively.)

He decided to try and replace the 15 SCFM Generator with the 30 SCFM one…his thought was “go big or go home” – and found that he could get twice the flow, with the same temperature drop, as long as he maintained 100psig compressed air pressure at the inlet port.  This was more than enough to blow the part & tool clean, while keeping the cutting tool cool, and preventing the plastic part from melting.

Model 3925 Adjustable Spot Cooler System comes with a Dual Outlet Hose Kit, and three Generators for a wide range of cooling performance.

If you’d like to find out how to get the most from a Vortex Tube Spot Cooling Product, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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NEW Cold Gun Promotion – Order Today and Receive a FREE Dual Point Hose Kit!

Now through the end of 2017 if you purchase a Single-Point Cold Gun Kit with Model W5215 for the standard Cold Gun or W5230 for the High Power Cold Gun, we’ll include a free Model 5902 Dual Point Hose Kit, a $35.00 value!!

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Model 5230 Cold Gun keeping a laser cut part cool

EXAIR’s Cold Gun was a Product of the Year finalist in 2007. By using only a source of compressed air, the Cold Gun and High Power Cold Gun produces a stream of clean, cold air 50° (28°C) below your compressed air supply temperature. The Cold Gun is very quiet at only 70dBA and has no moving parts to wear out. Just supply it with clean, dry compressed air and its maintenance free!

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The Cold Gun is pre-set to an 80% Cold Fraction. In other words, 80% of the compressed air supplied to it will exhaust from the cold end of the tube, 20% from the hot end. This prevents the Cold Gun from freezing up during use and optimizes the gun’s cooling capacity. The Cold Gun is an ideal alternative to messy and expensive coolant mist systems. It eliminates the cost of purchase and disposal of cutting fluids as well as worker related health problems from breathing airborne coolant or slipping on wet floors. Replacing a coolant based system also eliminates the need for secondary cleaning operations after milling or drilling.

The Cold Gun is an invaluable tool for machining a wide range of plastics and other materials that may become contaminated when using traditional coolants or oils. The clean, cold air from the outlet of the Cold Gun keeps the part cool, clean, and dry. Take for example this application where an OEM for the plastics industry uses EXAIR Cold Guns in place of a coolant system.

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EXAIR 5015 Cold Gun w/ Dual Point Hose Kit Installed

If you have an application that you believe would be better served by the use of an EXAIR Cold Gun, give us a call. Get one on order today and take advantage of receiving a FREE Dual Point Hose Kit!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

The Case For The Cold Gun

Albert Einstein famously said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” And unless it’s in a perfect vacuum when it moves, there’s gonna be friction. Especially if it’s in contact with something else besides air.  And where there’s friction, there’s heat. This pretty much applies to almost every single evolution in the manufacture of…well, just about everything.

I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know, but heat can be a BIG problem.  It can:

  • Shorten tool life. Not only do worn tools take longer to cut, they can also present safety issues.  You can get hurt WAY worse by a dull blade than a sharp one.
  • Cause thermal expansion. If you’re machining something to a precise tolerance, and friction heat causes it to grow, it won’t be the same size when it cools down.
  • Melt plastics. And even softer metals.  This isn’t good for the part…or the tool, either.

Those are just a few of the problems heat causes in manufacturing operations, and they’ve been traditionally addressed with mist (liquid) coolants.  And they work just fine…most of them are water-based, and if you want to get heat out of a solid piece of something, water will do the job VERY quickly.  Other additives in the coolant provide a measure of lubricity, corrosion control, emulsion prevention, etc.  It’s easy, well-known, and time-tested.  There are some drawbacks, however:

  • It can be messy.  When a part (or a tool) in motion gets sprayed down with liquid, it tends to fling that liquid all over the place.  That’s why most machines fitted with mist coolant have spray shields.
  • Not only is it a hassle to clean up, if you don’t stay on top of the clean-up, it can lead to slip hazards.
  • Speaking of hazards, if you can smell that mist (and you know you can,) that means you’re breathing it in too.  Remember the lubricants, corrosion inhibitors, emulsion preventers, etc., I mentioned above?  Yeah…they’re not all what you might call “good for you.”
  • Recirculation systems are common, which means the coolant sump is gathering solids, so the lines and/or spray nozzles can clog and be rendered useless.

EXAIR Cold Gun Aircoolant Systems not only address all of the above problems with heat, but eliminate all the problems associated with liquid coolant:

  • They incorporate EXAIR’s Vortex Tube technology to produce a stream of cold air.
  • They’re reliable.  There are no moving parts; if you supply them with clean, dry air, they’ll run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.
  • They’re quick & easy.  With a built-in magnet for mounting and a flexible cold air hose, you can be be blowing cold air right where you want it as quickly as you can attach an air hose and open the valve.
  • Speaking of opening the valve, that’s all it takes to run a Cold Gun.  They’re producing cold air at rated flow and temperature, right away.  No “ramp up” time to get into operation.
  • They’re clean.  That cold air stream just becomes…well, air.  No mess.  No slip.  No clean up.  No smell.  No problem.

We’ve got four Models to choose from, depending on the nature of the application:

Both the standard and the High Power come with a Filter Separator, and are available with a one, or two, outlet cold air hose.

If you need to cool parts or tools down, and want it to be effective and clean, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Adjustable Spot Cooler Keeps Cataract Lenses Cool and Dry During Machining

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Neal Raker, International Sales Manager, and myself along with our Hungarian Distributor

During a recent visit with our Hungarian Distributor, I had the opportunity to take a look at an application using some EXAIR Adjustable Spot Coolers and Mini Coolers. The company manufactures cataract lenses and is using the coolers in a dry machining application. The previous process involved using a liquid coolant which caused a washing operation to remove the contaminants before the lenses could move on to the next step of the process. This was not only time consuming, but the solution they needed to use as a coolant was very expensive due to strict regulations that they had to adhere to.

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EXAIR’s Adjustable Spot Cooler installed on the lathe

The lenses are set up on a lathe which are precisely cut. The Adjustable Spot Coolers were positioned with the cold airflow just at the point of cutting to keep the temperature at a specific point. If the lenses get too hot, the material becomes less rigid and begins to warp. When this happens, the lens cannot be reworked and must be scrapped. Immediately after coming off of the lathe, an inspector places the lens under a microscope for inspection. At this point, a Mini Cooler is installed to ensure that the temperature of the lens stays cold. If the lens passes inspection, it is immediately placed in a small freezer next to the operator. Temperature probes are in place at several points during the process to ensure that they do not go above the specified temperature.

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Mini Cooler installed on the inspection station

By implementing a solution with the Adjustable Spot Cooler, this customer was able to boost productivity by removing a cleaning step from the process and also reduce costs by eliminating the need for the costly coolant solution that was required. If you’d like to replace messy coolant systems in your machining operation with a clean compressed air solution, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to look at your process and recommend the most suitable solution.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Machining Plastics? Consider The Cold Gun For A Clean Operation

Machining plastics can be a difficult task as the contact between the part and the tool generates heat, which can result in the plastics beginning to melt and stick to the tooling, causing deformities or even broken tool heads. Often times, companies will introduce a liquid based method of cooling to quench the parts during machining, while this does work, with plastics they tend to absorb some of the liquid, resulting in the finished part being outside the allowable tolerance range. Another area of concern is the mess that liquid cooling creates as now the parts need to be dried and cleaned before they can continue to the next process.

Coolant based systems can be messy and costly to operate

Such was the case last week when I worked with an OEM who was looking for a way to cool the tooling in the machines they build for the plastics industry. The company they were selling the machines to, specifically asked for an alternative method of cooling without using any type of coolant due to the conditions mentioned above. Once again, EXAIR has the perfect solution – the Cold Gun. Incorporating a Vortex Tube, the Cold Gun produces a cold air stream at 50°F below compressed air supply temperature and provides 1,000 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity. Fitted with a magnetic base and flexible hose the unit can be mounted virtually anywhere on the machine and the cold airflow can be easily directed to provide cooling to the critical area. The system also includes a filter separator for the supply line to remove any water or contaminants, ensuring that the exiting airflow is clean and free of debris.

No moving parts = maintenance free

 

When looking for a reliable method of cooling, whether machining plastics or other material, the cold, clean air from the Cold Gun is the ideal solution in place of messy misting systems. For help with your spot cooling needs or to discuss how using Vortex Tube technology could help in your process, give me a call, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Coolant Spraying in the Mini Mill image courtesy of Andy Malmin via Creative Commons license

EXAIR’s Adjustable Spot Cooler: A Versatile Tool for Your Cooling Needs!

 

If you’re looking at replacing messy coolant mist systems, look no further than the Adjustable Spot Cooler. EXAIR’s Adjustable Spot Cooler incorporates Vortex Tube technology to produce temperatures ranging from -30°F – +70°F. A Vortex Tube works by imparting a rapid spinning motion to the supplied compressed air. This airflow makes its way to the end of the tube where it is forced to abruptly change directions. It is during this change of direction that energy is given off in the form of heat. The hot air then exits the tube from the hot end, while cold air exits the other end of the tube. As the valve is opened to allow more air to exhaust from the hot end, the temperature at the cold end will decrease. At a sound level of just 73 dBA when operated at 100 psig and stock generator installed, this compact cooler will keep your operation cool, clean and dry without causing unnecessarily high noise levels.

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Critical tolerances are maintained on plastic parts using the Adjustable Spot Cooler

 

When looking at a Vortex Tube based solution, the variety of options can sometimes be daunting. This is where the versatility of the Adjustable Spot Cooler shines. Through a simple turn of the control knob, you can easily adjust the temperature and cold fraction of the unit. Additionally, the kits come with (2) extra generators (15-H and 30-H) that can be swapped out for the stock generator for more/less cooling power and air consumption. The 15-H generator will deliver up to 1,000 Btu/hr of cooling capacity and the 30-H will provide up to 2,000 Btu/hr of cooling capacity. We have (2) different kits available, the Model 3825 Single Point and the Model 3925 Dual Point Kit. The 3825 is recommended for use in applications where you’re cooling a small surface such as solder joints, hot melts, or drilled plastics. The 3925 system is better served when heat is generated over a larger surface area such as saw blade cooling. The kits use flexible Loc-Line hose to allow you to precisely position the cold airflow onto your target. The Adjustable Spot Cooler provides easy mounting with a swivel magnetic base, allowing you to mount the cooler directly at the most critical point that heat is being generated.

3825_3925 adj spot cooler

If you’re tired of cleaning up your coolant or have an application that requires dry machining, get one of the Adjustable Spot Cooler systems on order today. They’re in stock ready to ship!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD