Quick Disconnects and Push In Fittings are not Ideal for Peak Performance

In order to achieve the best performance of your EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® product, a steady flow of compressed air must be supplied at the optimal pressure. Compressor output pressure, air flow rate, piping ID (inner diameter), the smoothness of the inside of the pipe and connector type all contribute to the performance.

Especially for manufacturing uses, it is important to consider both the air pressure and air flow being produced by the air compressor providing the supply for all tooling. It is possible for an air compressor to produce sufficient supply pressure for an EXAIR product while not having adequate air flow to use the product for very long.

The optimal air pressure for most EXAIR products is 80 PSIG, with the exception of Vortex Tube based products, which are rated at 100 PSIG. Operating EXAIR products at air pressures less than 80 PSIG may lead to lower performance, but EXAIR encourages operating any blow-off product at as low a pressure as possible to achieve your desired result. A simple pressure regulator can lower your pressure and save energy. As a general rule near the 100 PSIG level, lowering air pressure by 2 PSIG will save 1% of energy used by an air compressor. Operating the product at pressures greater than 80 PSIG may produce slightly higher performance, but will require more energy to produce only a small gain.

Make sure that connectors and fittings do not restrict compressed air flow in any manner. Quick connectors can be especially problematic in this area. Because of their construction, quick connections that are rated at the same size as the incoming pipe or hose may actually have a much smaller inner diameter than that associated pipe or hose. This will significantly restrict the amount of air that is being supplied to the tool, starving it of the air flow it needs for best performance. In some cases, if the fitting is too small, the tool may not work at all!

EXAIR products are designed to improve the overall efficiency of your operations. If you need help and have questions please contact any of the Application Engineers. There is no risk to trying our products as we have a 5 year warranty and also a 30 Day Guarantee to all of our US and Canadian customers.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

The Vortex Tube, Maxwell’s Demon, Hilsch Tube, Ranque Tube: What Exactly is this Device? How Does it Work?

If I were to tell you that I can take a supply of ordinary compressed air and drop its temperature by 50°F with no moving parts and without any type of refrigerant or electrical connection, you might be scratching your head a bit. That is of course unless you’ve been introduced to the wild world of Vortex Tubes. My favorite product among the EXAIR Product Line, the Vortex Tube, does just that. With an ordinary supply of compressed air as the sole power source, and no moving parts, the Vortex Tube converts that airstream into a hot and cold flow that exits from opposite ends of the tube. No magic, witchcraft, or wizardry involved here. Just physics!

The theory all began in the 19th century with the famous physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell. He suggested that since heat involves the movement of molecules, it could be possible to create a device that could distribute hot and cold air with no moving parts with the help of a “friendly little demon” that would sort and separate the hot and cold molecules of air. Not much was done with regard to this or any further advancement until about 61 years later.

In 1928, a French physics student by the name of George Ranque was conducting some testing on a vortex-type pump he had developed. In this testing, he noticed that warm air was exhausting from one end, while cold air was coming out of the other. He dropped his plans for the pump and begin an attempt to exploit this phenomenon commercially. His business ultimately failed, along with the Vortex Tube theory, until 1945 when a German physicist named Rudolph Hilsch published a scientific paper based on the Vortex Tube.

With so many involved, the tube became known by a variety of different names: “Ranque Vortex Tube”, the “Hilsch Tube”, the “Ranque-Hilsch Tube”, and (my personal favorite) “Maxwell’s Demon”. Over the years, it has gained a reputation as a low cost, reliable, and highly effective method for industrial spot cooling and panel cooling applications. While using the tube as a PC cooler isn’t generally recommended, here’s a great video demonstrating the tube in operation from Linus Tech Tips on YouTube:

So how exactly does this thing work? The truth is no one knows for certain, but there is one commonly accepted theory that explains the phenomenon:

Compressed air is supplied into the tube where it passes through a set of nozzles that are tangent to the internal counterbore. The design of the nozzles force the air to spin in a vortex motion at speeds up to 1,000,000 RPM. The spinning air turns 90° where a valve at one end allows some of the warmed air to escape. What does not escape, heads back down the tube in the inner stream where it loses heat and exhausts through the other end as cold air.

Both streams rotate in the same direction and at the same angular velocity. Due to the principle of conservation of angular momentum, the rotational speed of the inner vortex should increase. However that’s not the case with the Vortex Tube. The best way to illustrate this is in Olympic Figure Skating. As the skater is wider, the spinning motion is much slower. As she decreases her overall radius, the velocity picks up dramatically and she spins much quicker. In a Vortex Tube, the speed of the inner vortex remains the same as it has lost angular momentum. The energy that is lost in this process is given off in the form of heat that has exhausted from the hot side of the tube. This loss of heat allows the inner vortex to be cooled, where it can be ducted and applied for a variety of industrial applications.

This Vortex Tube theory is utilized in basic Vortex Tubes, along with a variety of other products that have additional features specific for your application. EXAIR’s line of Cabinet Coolers, Cold Guns, Adjustable Spot Coolers, Mini Coolers, and Vortex Tubes all operate off of this same principle.

If you’re fascinated by this product and want to give it a try, EXAIR offers an unconditional 30 day guarantee. We have them all in stock and ready to ship as well, same day with an order received by 2:00 ET. Feel free to get in contact with us if you’d like to discuss how a vortex-based product could help you in your processes.

Tyler Daniel, CCASS

Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Henri Coanda and his Effect on Compressed Air

Henri defined the Coanda Effect – the tendency of a jet of fluid emerging from an orifice to follow an adjacent flat or curved surface and to entrain fluid from the surroundings so that a region of lower pressure develops.

Compressed air flows through the inlet (1) to the Full Flow (left) or Standard (right) Air Knife, into the internal plenum. It then discharges through a thin gap (2), adhering to the Coanda profile (3) which directs it down the face of the Air Knife. The precision engineered & finished surfaces optimize entrainment of air (4) from the surrounding environment.

Henri-Marie Coanda (1885-1972) discovered the Coanda Effect in1930. He observed that a stream of air (fluid) emerging from a nozzle tends to follow a nearby curved surface, if the curvature of the surface or angle the surface makes with the stream is not too sharp. For example, if a stream of fluid is flowing along a solid surface which is curved slightly from the stream, the fluid will tend to follow the surface.

A number EXAIR products are designed to utilize the Coanda Effect and aid their performance. In some products, the Coanda Effect aids to create an amplification area where additional ambient air is drawn into the total airflow to increase total volume of air upon a target. This creates a more efficient and effective product. Also, since not as much compressed air is required, the noise levels decrease for products like EXAIR’s air knives, air nozzles, air jets and air amplifiers. EXAIR has been successful with positive impact for compressed air energy savings and noise reductions helping us meet or exceed OSHA Standard 29 CFR-1910.95 9(a) Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure.

Please contact EXAIR with regards to our Intelligent Compressed Air Products. We can help you with your next cooling, blow-off, drying or any compressed air needs.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
Email: erickuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

1- Spoon Coanda image- https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en

Process Cooling Utilizing Vortex Tube Technology

Vortex Tube Theory

What is a Vortex Tube? How long have they been around? How do they work? Vortex Tubes have been around since 1928 with what may seem as an accidental existence by the developer George Ranque. George accidentally discovered the phenomenon while studying physics at Ecole Polytechnique in Paris France. Ranque was performing an experiment on a vortex-based pump to vacuum up iron fillings; during the experiment he noticed that warm air was being expelled out of one side and cold air out of the other when he inserted a cone into one end of the vortex. In 1931 Ranque filed for a patent for the vortex tube and two years later presented a paper on it.

George’s vortex tube was all but lost and forgot about until 1947 when the German physicist Rudolph Hilsch published a paper on the device. This paper became widely read and exposed the vortex tube to the industrial manufacturing environment. This paper revived what was thought to be lost and led the vortex tube into what we see today.

As to how they work, these are a phenomenon of physics and the theoretical math behind them has yet to be proven and set in stone. But the basics are this, high pressure compressed air (typically 100 PSIG) is fed into a chamber which contains a generator. The generator takes that high pressure air and spins it at a very high rate of speed. As the air spins it starts to heat up on the inner walls of the vortex tube as it moves towards the control valve. A part of that hot air exits at that valve. The rest of the air which has now slowed down is forced back up the tube through the center of the first high speed air stream. The middle stream of slower air gives up energy in the form of heat to the outer faster moving air. And because of this the inner stream exits the opposite end as extremely cold air! (Check out image below for a visual representation)    

How a Vortex Tube Works

Now the question is how can this technology be integrated into a production process? See below for applications.

Cold Air Gun Application

A few months ago, a high-performance knitted products manufacturer called. They operate 128 Spindle motors on circular sock machines (CSM) that require couplings. These couplings use hi-speed, hi-temperature bearings that have been failing regularly and prior to the predicted run life. This was resulting in loss of production while the circular sock machines are down and the bearings are replaced. Additional costs associated with refurbishing the failed bearing include labor and new bearings. The average cost of a failed circular sock machines bearing including lost production was around $1925.00 and on average they were seeing 180 premature failures each year.

My recommendation was using a Cold Gun with the dual outlets to spread the cooling around the bearing. They had tried fans and electric blowers and they noticed no benefits. However, when they placed the 3925 on the largest trouble maker that was burning bearings at the highest rate, they noticed a prolonged lifetime of over 260%!!!

The enhanced run life of the circular sock machines was noticed immediately as the non-cooled circular sock machine bearings continued to fail at a much higher rate when compared to the positions with the Cold Air Guns installed.

Based on the average cost of a failed circular sock machine bearings including lost production ($1925.00) and an average of (180) premature failures each year, their estimated annual savings using the Cold Gun is $346,500.00 on just the 12 high fail rate machines they have put these on to date. They are expecting to place a Cold Gun on every circular sock machine within 5 years focusing on the high fail rate machines first. 

If you think you have an application that would benefit from Vortex tube technology, give us a call! We have a team of application Engineers in from 7AM-4PM EST M-F! Or shoot us an email to techelp@exair.com and one of those Engineers will reach out to you!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

Send me an Email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_JS