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

Cooling Gelatin Pills Using The Mini Cooler

I recently worked with an OEM on a cooling application for a gelatin pill forming machine they designed for their customer. In their machine design, the gelatin film leaves an extruding machine then travels between 2 punch rollers to form the pills. After the pills are formed, they are supposed to drop onto a chute feeding a conveyor to carry the pills to the bottling/packaging area.

View of machine showing direction of travel for the film and punch rollers

The problem they were having was the film was retaining heat which caused the pills to occasionally stick to the roller, resulting in rejects and lost production time. They were looking for an economical way to blow cold air across the rollers and film but were concerned about putting too much demand on their customer’s compressed air system.

After reviewing the photos and discussing the details, I recommended they use our Model # 3308 Mini Cooler System with dual point hose kit. The Mini Cooler provides a 50°F temperature drop from the incoming supply air temperature and provides 550 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity. The system includes a swivel mag base for easy installation while the dual point hose kit would allow them to direct the cold air to blow across both rollers from a single device. Compressed air demand is minimal, at only 8 SCFM @ 100 PSIG, alleviating their concern for the customer’s compressed air system.

Model 3308 Mini Cooler System with 2-cold outlets – provides a focused stream of 20°F air (based on ambient supply of 70°F)

If you are having heat related issues with your process or to discuss a particular application or product, give me a call, I ‘d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Mini Cooler Improves Custom Cutlery Production

Vortex Tubes use compressed air to create a stream of cold air and a stream of hot air. As the compressed air enters the unit, it travels through a spin chamber which spins the air at speeds up to 1,000,000 RPM producing temperatures ranging from -50°F to +260°F and providing cooling up to 10,200 Btu/hr. With no maintenance requited and no moving parts, they have become quite popular in large and small scale cooling applications in place of more conventional methods of cooling.

How an EXAIR Vortex Tube Works

EXAIR has incorporated this technology into several different products like our Cabinet Cooler Systems used to cool electrical panels and our Cold Guns commonly used to replace messy mist systems in tool cooling, milling and machining operations. For smaller scale processes we offer our Mini Cooler System which provides a 50°F temperature drop from the compressed air supply temperature and 550 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity.

I recently worked with a small, custom knife manufacturer who was looking for a way to keep his tooling cool during production. As the blades are made, he uses a small rotary die tool to shape and sharpen the blade. He also makes his own handles out of materials like wood, ceramics or other metals, which get etched with a custom design into the surface. The heat generated during theses processes, causes the tooling to either bend or break completely, resulting in damage to the knife blade and burns or breaks in the wood and ceramic handles. After looking at our spot cooling products online, he familiarized himself with the Vortex Tube technology but with only 12.9 SCFM of air available, he was unsure what product would best fit his application.

With the limited amount of air available, the Model # 3808 Mini Cooler System was the perfect solution. The Mini Cooler uses only 8 SCFM @ 100 PSIG, falling well within the capacity of his current compressor. The integral magnetic base would ensure an easy installation and with the included flexible hose, he could direct the cold air to the needed area.

The Mini Cooler is ideal for small tool and part cooling applications.

For help with your spot cooling needs or to discuss how the Vortex Tube technology could help in your process, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

Cooling Nylon Parts and Brushes with the Adjustable Spot Cooler

A robotics company called last week looking for a recommendation for a cooling device to use in their nylon plastic machining operation. They have a six axis robot, fitted with abrasive brushes, that “cleans” the part profiles as they are being moved from the milling area to the inspection location. The brushes were effective in removing the fines and particulate from the parts but they were starting to experience an increase in the amount of rejects as the brushes were generating heat, causing deformities to the profile.

Their initial thought was to use a liquid type method of cooling but with the parts having some small recesses and cavities that might trap fluid, this wasn’t going to be a reliable option for them. Another area of concern with using an air cooling device, was if the airflow was too forceful, the smaller parts they process may have the potential to “move” while being held by the robotic arm which could scratch or blemish the part.

After further conversation about the process, I recommended they use our Adjustable Spot Cooler in the application. The Adjustable Spot Cooler incorporates a Vortex Tube to produce a cold airstream as low as -30°F with an ambient air supply temperature. Using the temperature control valve, they can easily adjust the temperature drop and the volume (SCFM) of air being exhausted, to “dial” in the device to provide an adequate level of cooling while controlling the outlet flow to not disrupt the hold on the part itself. With the integral magnetic base and flexible tubing, they could easily mount the unit to the arm of the robot while directing the cold air to blow across the brushes and the part to keep them cool.

Model # 3825 Adjustable Spot Cooler System includes 2 extra generators to allow for more or less cooling capacity and airflow.

EXAIR offers a wide variety of spot cooling products for many different processes and uses. For help selecting the best option to fit your need or to discuss another product, give me a call, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

 

A Cold Gun Increase Speed for a Reel Manufacturer

When it comes to die stamping, friction generates heat.  Heat can be a big cause in slowing production and decreasing tool life.

Reel Film

A reel manufacturer was seeing the effects of the heat in their process.  They had a stamping machine that was creating sprocket holes in the outer edge of a 35mm film.  These holes are used for advancing the reel strip through printers, projectors, and processing machines.  They had to be particularly careful, as film materials warp easily with heat.  Some of us remember the film reels that would bubble and burn out when the film stopped in the projector.  (I am giving away my age a bit).  So, speed was critical as they did not want to create any quality issues.

They were intrigued with the EXAIR Vortex Tubes as it can generate cold air by only using compressed air.  Vortex Tubes do not use refrigerants or have any moving parts.  They are very compact and can fit into tight places.  If they could reduce the temperature in the stamping process, then they could speed up production.

Compact Vortex Tube

With the Vortex Tubes, EXAIR adds accessories to help with installations for different applications.  For this customer, the Cold Gun Aircoolant System was the best product to deliver the cold air.  I recommended the model 5315 Cold Gun System.  This product generates 1000 BTU/hr of cooling power, and it has a Dual Point Hose Kit to target both sides of the film reel.  It includes a magnetic base to securely position it on the stamping machine, and two 1” flat nozzle ends to attach at the end of the Dual Point Hose Kit.  These flat nozzles would help to direct the cold air in between the two stamping plates.   They were able to keep the film reel and the die stamp cool as they sped up their operation.  Even with the additional speed, they also noticed that the die stayed sharper 20% longer before they had to rework.

Cold Gun with Dual Hose Point

If you believe that heat is slowing down your system, EXAIR may have a product to keep it cool.  With the customer above, heat was a “reel” problem.  With the Cold Gun System, we were able to increase their productivity and decrease their downtime.  You can contact an Application Engineer to discuss your application if you believe that temperature is affecting your process.

 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Movie Reel Film Cinema by JanBaby.  Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain.

Music And The Mini Cooler

Recently, EXAIR Corporation offered CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training to employees. I already carry certification, so I held down the fort while some of the other Application Engineers received this training. As a middle aged man, I have to admit that my interest in my co-workers’ abilities to respond to a matter of this nature is not entirely unselfish.

One of the key parts of CPR training is the rate of the chest compressions. While most people couldn’t accurately replicate 100 beats per minute on demand, almost everyone is familiar enough with some popular songs with a rhythm close to that.  The song they always bring up in CPR training is “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. Depending on how you feel about disco, another option is “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen. Pro tip: it might be considered bad form to sing that one out loud while performing CPR.

Speaking of music, while I was holding down said fort during this morning’s training session, I had the pleasure of assisting a caller in the music business: a piano restoration & tuning professional. A frequent job for them consists of resetting tuning pins, which requires drilling numerous small holes (a grand piano can have as many as 250) into a hardwood board. They’re pressed in, so it’s critical that they fit the newly-drilled hole precisely. If the drill bit gets too hot, it can expand in diameter, making the hole ever-so-slightly bigger than it should be. The heat can also cause the surface of the hole ID to glaze. Both of those things can cause problems with the pin fitting securely in the hole.

The EXAIR Model 3808 Mini Cooler System was an ideal solution – it’ll keep the drill bit cool & clean with a constant stream of cold air. It’s compact and quiet, and only uses 8 SCFM @100psig…well within the capacity of many smaller air compressors.

If you’d like to “get in tune” with a spot cooling solution, I can help…call me. Oh, and in case you wanted to know which song with about 100 beats per minute I’d use for CPR:

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Compressed Air Flows At The Speed Of Technology At EXAIR

I don’t know that any enterprise can give you a better idea of the scope, width, and breadth of American manufacturing quite like the automotive industry:

*Pick a raw material – rubber, steel, plastic, glass, just to name a few – modern day production of all of these has been heavily influenced by the way they’re used in automobiles.

*Pick a manufacturing process – welding, cutting, molding, machining, mechanical & electrical assembly, again; just to name a few – car makers have revolutionized them all, oftentimes to the benefit of many other industries that have used…and adopted…these technological improvements.

*Pick a business.  OK; this is going to depend on where you are.  I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I can be on Interstate 75 Northbound in under 10 minutes, and four hours later (and on one tank of gas, thanks to the fuel efficiency of my American made automobile,) I can be in Detroit, Michigan – the land of the “Big Three.”  And I’ll pass dozens, if not hundreds, of buildings within sight of the highway that house businesses whose largest customers are automotive industry types.

We brag on American manufacturing occasionally, because we’re proud to be a part of it, and to support so many different aspects of it.  What got me thinking about all of this was a call I got recently about our Cold Gun Aircoolant Systems, and how one might be used in a particular machining application.  They machine transmission parts and, due to the specifics of a new material and a subsequent operation, they needed to eliminate the liquid coolant.  This is a ‘textbook’ situation for a Cold Gun – the part in question is small, and just needs a quick shot of cold air during the process, so they got a Model 5215 Standard Cold Gun, put it on the machine, and turned off the coolant…forever.

With four models to choose from, we've got most any cooling application covered.

With four models to choose from, we’ve got most any cooling application covered.

This is one of, literally, hundreds of applications where EXAIR’s line of engineered compressed air products is making all the difference in the world.  If you’d like to discuss how we can help you keep up with the speed of technology, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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