Cabinet Cooler Systems – Around The Clock (And Calendar) Heat Protection

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:

If you’re headed north on I95, the next sign you’ll see is in Georgia. And if you’re not careful, you can end up “Up North.”

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…

EXAIR NEMA 4X 316SS Cabinet Cooler System with Electronic Temperature Control installed on control panel in a pharmaceutical plant.

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.

Two Types of Air Amplifiers – Volume and Pressure

When the topic of Air Amplifiers comes up, there are two avenues to consider –  is it the air pressure or the air volume that you wish to amplify?  There exists technologies to amplify either parameter, and we will examine them both.

There may be equipment or processes within a facility that operate best at air pressures higher than can be delivered, due to air compressor limitations or the supply system. An Air Pressure Amplifier can take the existing compressed air supply, and boost the pressure allowing for the higher needed air pressure without requiring a dedicated compressor capable of operating at the higher pressure.

An Air Pressure Amplifier is basically an air pump, driven by a portion of the compressed air supply.  The pump cycles and compresses the remaining amount of compressed air to a higher outlet pressure. This higher output pressure can be used to operate the equipment or process that required the pressure levels that the base system could not supply. The drawback is that the pump system consumes a good amount of the compressed air volume, to power the pump which reduces the amount of air available for other equipment or processes.  This drives up the compressed air consumption for the system, and requires the extra capacity to operate.

The other type of Air Amplifier is the kind that amplifies the air flow volume. EXAIR manufactures this type of amplifier.

AirAmplifiers

The air flow amplification works by taking compressed air (1) and directing into an annular chamber (2). It is then throttled through a small ring nozzle (3) at high velocity. This primary stream of air adheres to the Coanda profile (4) and is directed through the outlet. A low pressure area is created at the center, inducing a high volume flow (5) of surrounding air to be drawn in and added to the main air stream. The combined flow of primary and surrounding air exits as a high volume, high velocity flow.

salworksani

EXAIR manufactures (2) types of Air Amplifiers, the Super Air Amplifier and the Adjustable Air Amplifier.  In addition, a special model for High Temperature applications is available.  Sizes range from 3/4″ (19mm) to 8″ (203mm) to meet most air flow requirements.  Air amplification ratios start at 12:1 for the 3/4″ model and increase to 25:1 for the 4″ and 8″ models.

Charts and tables are available to help determine the right Air Amplifier for the job.

If you have questions about the Air Amplifiers, 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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Compressed Air Nozzles – Engineered vs. Commercial vs. Homemade

In the world of compressed air blow off solutions, there are a number of options which customers must consider.  Should the plant maintenance personnel configure something on-site?  Is there a low-cost option available from a catalog warehouse?  Or, is there an engineered solution available – and if there is, what does this even mean?

Blowoff comparison

Ultimately, the exercise in comparing these options will help select the option best for the application and best for the company.  In order to make these comparisons, we will consider each option based on the following attributes:  Force, sound level, safety, efficiency, repeatability, and cost.  These are the factors which impact the ability to perform as needed in the application, and effect the bottom line of the company

Force

How much force do you need in your application?

Blow off applications require a certain amount of force in order to perform the desired task.  If the blow off is in a bottling line, for example, we will aim for a lesser force than if blowing off an engine block.  But, no matter the application need, we will want to consider the ability of the solution to provide a high force, high impact blow off.  Homemade and commercially mass-produced nozzles produce low-to-mid level forces, which translates to a need for more compressed air to complete a task.  Engineered nozzles produce high forces, minimizing compressed air use.

Sound level

Have you ever been to a concert and felt your hearing reduced when you left?  This can be the case for personnel in industrial environments with unregulated noise levels.  Homemade or non-engineered blow off solutions carry the risk of increased sound levels which are outside of the acceptable noise level limits.  EXAIR engineered nozzles, however, are designed to minimize sound level for quiet operation and continual use.

Safety

All EXAIR products meet or exceed OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b)

Workplace safety is a serious matter for everyone from shop floor personnel to executive management.  Whether you’re working with or near a compressed air operated device, or your making decisions for your company which have to do with the compressed air system, safety is undoubtedly a priority.  Unfortunately, homemade and commercially available nozzles normally fail to meet OSHA standards for dead-end pressure requirements (OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b)).  This means that these solutions can pose a risk of forcing compressed air through the skin, resulting in an embolism which can cause severe harm or even death.

EXAIR nozzles, however, are designed to NEVER exceed dead-end pressure limits and to provide an escape path for airflow in the even the nozzle is blocked.  This safety aspect is inherent in ALL EXAIR designs, thereby adding safety to an application when an EXAIR product is installed.

Efficiency

EXAIR Super Air Nozzle entrainment

Compressed air is the most expensive utility in any facility.  Energy enters as an electrical source and is converted into compressed air through a compressor where up to 2/3 of this energy is lost as heat.  The resulting 1/3 of converted energy is then piped throughout a facility as compressed air, where up to 1/3 of the air is lost to leaks.  With this in mind, maximizing the efficiency of a nozzle solution becomes imperative.  A homemade solution or commercial nozzle does not maximize the use of the compressed air.  The result is a need to increase flow or increase pressure, both of which result in higher energy costs.

EXAIR nozzles are designed for maximum force per CFM.  This means that any of our nozzles will produce the highest force at the lowest possible compressed air consumption.  This, in turn, reduces demand on the compressed air system and allows for a lower energy requirement.  Less energy demand means less energy costs, which goes straight to the bottom line of your company.

Repeatability

The EXAIR family of nozzles

When installing a nozzle solution, it is important to have the same force and flow from each unit.  If a solution needs to be replicated, balanced, or adjusted in any way, having various forces and flows from a homemade setup will induce difficulty and could make changes impossible.  Line speed or volume increases may not be possible due to variance in the output flow and forces from homemade setups, but an engineered solution will produce the same output every time.  This means you can adjust the nozzles as needed to achieve the perfect solution in your application.

Cost

For many customers and businesses, the most important aspect of any solution comes down to cost.  Will the solution work?  And, how much does it cost?  When it comes to a homemade or commercial blow off solution, it may or may not work, and it will have a low purchase cost.  But, the purchase price isn’t the whole story when working with compressed air.  The real cost of an item is in the operation and use.  So, while a homemade solution will be cheap to make and install, it will be EXPOENTIALLY more expensive to operate when compared to an engineered solution.  An excellent example is shown above.  An open copper tube is compared to an EXAIR model 1102 Mini Super Air Nozzle.  The copper tube cost only a few dollars to install, many times less than the EXAIR nozzle, but it costs almost two THOUSAND dollars more to operate in a year.  Translation:  Install a cheap blow off solution and pay for it in utility costs.

EXAIR nozzles and blow off solutions are engineered for maximum force, lowest possible noise level, OSHA safety compliance, maximum efficiency, and maximum repeatability.  These factors allow for options which not only solve application problems, but also do so with the lowest total cost possible.  If you have an application in need of a blow off solution, feel free to contact our Application Engineers.  We’ll be happy to help.  And, if your curious about the benefit of our products in your application, consider our Efficiency Lab.  We will test your existing setup next to our recommended EXAIR solution and provide the impact to your bottom line.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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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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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Heat of Compression Dryers

A Heat of Compression regenerative desiccant dryer for compressed air

Before compressed air can be realistically utilized, it needs to be delivered to the point of use with proper volume and pressure, and it should also be clean and have some moisture removed.  We have information available regarding cleaning compressed air, but how do you dry the compressed air?  And why do you dry the compressed air?

Drying compressed air is akin to removing the humidity in the air when using an air conditioning system.  If the moisture is not removed, the effectiveness of the system is reduced and the ability to use the output of the system is reduced as well.

But, from a functional standpoint, what does this really mean?  What will take place in the compressed air system if the air is not dried and the moisture is allowed to remain?

The answer is in the simple fact that moisture is damaging.  Rust, increased wear of moving parts, discoloration, process failure due to clogging, frozen control lines in cold weather, false readings from instruments and controls – ALL of these can happen due to moisture in the compressed air.  It stands to reason, then, that if we want long-term operation of our compressed air products, having dry air is a must.

So, how can we remove the moisture in the compressed air?  One of the most common methods to remove moisture is a regenerative dryer, specifically, heat-of-compression type dryers.  A heat of compression type dryer is a regenerative desiccant dryer which uses the heat generated by the compression of the ambient air to regenerate the moisture removing capability of the desiccant used to dry the compressed air.

When using one of these dryers, the air is pulled directly from the outlet of the compressor with no cooling or treatment to the air and is fed through a desiccant bed in “Tank 1” where it regenerates the moisture removing capabilities of the desiccant inside the tank.  The compressed air is then fed through a regeneration cooler, a separator, and finally another desiccant bed, this time in “Tank 2”, where the moisture is removed.  The output of “Tank 2” is supplied to the facilities as clean, dry compressed air.  After enough time, “tank 1” and “tank 2” switch, allowing the hot output of the compressor to regenerate the desiccant in “tank 2” while utilizing the moisture removing capabilities of the desiccant in “tank 1”.

Heat of compression dryers offer a lower power cost when compared to other dryers, but they are only applicable for use with oil free compressor and to compressors with high discharge temperatures.  If output air temperatures from the compressor are too low, a temperature booster/heater is needed.

If you have questions about your compressed air system and how the end use devices are operating, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to discuss your system and ways to optimize your current setup.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

 

Heated Desiccant Dryer by Compressor1.  Creative Commons License

Super Air Knife Makes EVERYTHING Better

When we compare the EXAIR Super Air Knife to other methods of providing a curtain or sheet of air flow in terms of operating cost, efficiency, safety, and sound levels, the Super Air Knife is ALWAYS the clear choice.

The EXAIR Super Air Knife is the most efficient and quietest compressed air blow off product on the market today.

The Super Air Knives successfully replace these, and many other methods of providing a curtain or sheet of air flow all the time, while saving compressed air and decreasing noise.  The word “replace” oftentimes means “do the same job as.”

What you’re about to read is NOT one of those times.

A paper products manufacturer has a machine that treats a specialty product, and the process generates ozone (O3) at levels that would exceed personnel exposure limits, so they need to be contained.  They installed a long piece of drilled pipe to blow an air barrier, but they could only run the machine at about 65% of their desired capacity before the ozone level in the operators’ area exceeded their limits.

This company was familiar with several of our product lines already…they had several Cabinet Cooler Systems, a Reversible Drum Vac, and Super Air Knives in a variety of applications, so they knew how they worked.  Since the barrier needed to be 120″ long, though, this was going to be a much larger scale than they were used to.

Not only was the drilled pipe loud and inefficient, it was not particularly effective either.

Still, the installation of two Model 110060 60″ Aluminum Super Air Knives, coupled with our Model 110900 Air Knife Coupling Kit, was quick and easy.  Then came the good part: they found they were able to operate the machine at 100% capacity, while keeping the ozone at a safe level in the operators’ area.

EXAIR Super Air Knives provided a total solution: quiet, efficient, and most of all, EFFECTIVE.

Then came the better part:  The machine was pretty loud (we couldn’t do anything about that,) at 93dBA when it was running.  With the drilled pipe in operation, it was 94.5dBA.  When they took that out and installed the Super Air Knives, there was no net increase in noise level…it remained at 93dBA.

THEN came the even better part: Compressed air consumption was reduced to about 30% of what the drilled pipe was using.  Right in line with our table above.  Just another validation of the trustworthiness of our published data.  As EXAIR’s President is fond of saying, “Claims are easy, proof is hard.”

If you’re looking for a quiet, efficient – and effective – solution for a compressed air product application, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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