Cabinet Coolers 101

We here at EXAIR always know when summer is approaching, as phone calls and orders for the Cabinet Cooler Systems start to kick into high gear.  After those first few hot days in late spring, it is common for panels and electrical enclosures to overheat due to faulty air conditioning units, fans that are not working, or lack of a cooling system in general.

Time for us to sharpen our pencils and be ready to help! Our Cabinet Coolers are in stock and ready to solve your overheating problems with same day shipping on orders we receive by 3pm. If you need assistance choosing your Cabinet Cooler Solution, Contact an Application Engineer today!

The Cabinet Cooler System is a low cost, reliable way to cool and purge electronic control panels.  We recently hosted a Webinar on the systems, and it is available for review (click picture below)  webinar-on-demand

EXAIR Cabinet Coolers incorporate the vortex tube technology to produce cold air from compressed air, all with no moving parts.

Below shows the basics of how the Cabinet Cooler is able to provide cooling to an enclosure.  Compressed air enters the vortex tube based system, and (2) streams of air are created, one hot and one cold. The hot air is muffled and exhausted through the vortex tube exhaust.  The cold air is discharged into the cabinet through the Cold Air Distribution Kit and routed throughout the enclosure. The cold air absorbs heat from the cabinet, and the hotter air rises to the top of the cabinet where it exits to atmosphere under a slight pressure. Only the cool, clean, dry air enters the cabinet – no dirty, hot humid outside air is ever allowed into the cabinet!

HowCCWorks
How the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System Works

EXAIR offers Cabinet Cooler Systems for cabinets and enclosures to maintain a NEMA rating of NEMA 12 (dust tight, oil-tight), NEMA 4 (dust tight, oil-tight, splash resistant, indoor/outdoor service) and NEMA 4X (same as NEMA 4, but constructed of stainless steel for food service and corrosive environments.

Cabinet Cooler Systems can be configured to run in a Continuous Operation or with Thermostat control. Thermostat control is the most efficient way to operate a Cabinet Cooler.  They save air by activating the cooler only when the internal temperature reaches the preset level, and are the best option when fluctuating heat loads are caused by environmental or seasonal changes. The thermostat is preset at 95°F (35°C) and is easily adjusted.

Another option is the ETC Electronic Temperature Control, a digital temperature control unit for precise setting and monitoring of enclosure conditions. An LED readout displays the internal temperature, and the use of quick response thermocouple provides real time, accurate measurements. The controller has easy to use buttons to raise or lower the desired cabinet temperature set-point.

48xx-ETC120
EXAIR NEMA 4X 316SS Cabinet Cooler System with Electronic Temperature Control installed on control panel in a pharmaceutical plant.

 

Other Special Cabinet Cooler considerations are:

  • High Temperature –  for ambient temperatures of 125°F to 200 °F – for use near furnaces, ovens, etc.
  • Non-Hazardous Purge – ideal for dirty areas where contaminants might normally pass through small holes or conduits. A small amount of air (1 SCFM) is passed through the cooler when the solenoid is in the closed position, providing a slight positive pressure within the cabinet.
  • Type 316 Stainless Steel – suitable for food service, pharmaceutical, and harsh and corrosive environments.

If you have any questions about Cabinet Coolers or 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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NEMA Ratings and Enclosure Locations

Any realtor will tell you that the three most important factors in selecting a property are location, location, and location. This simply means that houses with similar features – number of bedrooms, yard size, structure, garage (or not,) basement or not,) etc. – can be found in a lot of very different neighborhoods. Whether you want to live somewhere that’s convenient to the highway, close to (or not so close to) work, near your favorite activities, etc., odds are you can find a house that meets your material needs & wants within those geographical confines. Hence, location is your #1 consideration. And your #2 and your #3 as well…my lovely bride is a real estate professional, so I have this on good authority. And, so you know, #4 is price, and #5 is condition.

Electrical and electronics controls professionals will tell you that three of the most important things to protect their equipment from are heat, moisture, and dust. If you’re looking for a durable, reliable, and low cost method for that, we’ve got the solution: the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System. Selection of the right system comes down to determining your heat load, and…the reason for today’s blog…the LOCATION in which it will be installed.

Let’s say it’s a control panel for one of the machines on a factory production line…indoors & dry.  Our NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler Systems provide protection against dust and oil from entering the enclosure.

NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler Systems are oil tight, dust tight, and rated for indoor duty. They can also be installed to the wall of an enclosure (instead of the top) with a Side Mount Kit.

If the enclosure is outdoors, or indoors but subject to water spray (like in a wash-down area,) our NEMA 4 Cabinet Cooler Systems are oil tight, dust tight, AND splash resistant.  They ensure the inside of the enclosure stays dry through the use of a low pressure relief valve that seals when the cooler is not operating, maintaining NEMA 4 integrity at all times.

EXAIR NEMA Cabinet Cooler Systems provide additional protection to keep the enclosure dry inside.

Our NEMA 4X Cabinet Cooler Systems are made of stainless steel, and are commonly specified for food service area installations, and in corrosive environments.  They’re also oil tight, dust tight, and splash resistant.  These are also available in Type 316 Stainless Steel construction, for especially harsh conditions, or when this is otherwise specified due to the nature of the installation, such as critical food grade or pharmaceutical areas.

EXAIR NEMA 4X Cabinet Cooler Systems are made of corrosion resistant stainless steel for corrosive environments, and are also available with Side Mount Kits.

Regardless of the NEMA rating called for by the location, all EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are available with a Non-Hazardous Purge option, which provides a slight positive pressure through a low (1 SCFM) air flow when internal temperature is below the thermostat setpoint and the solenoid valve is closed.  This provides constant and reliable protection, even if the enclosure is not perfectly sealed, even in especially dirty or dusty environments.

All EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are available with Non Hazardous Purge for constant, reliable protection from environmental contaminants.

High Temperature Cabinet Cooler Systems are also available when ambient temperatures can exceed 125F.  These are popular in foundries, glass production facilities, and even non-air conditioned spaces in particularly warm climates.

High Temperature Cabinet Cooler Systems provide reliable heat protection in areas where ambient temperatures reach 125-200F (52-93C)

If you’ve got sensitive, mission-critical electrical or electronic enclosures that need reliable heat protection, EXAIR has the solution you’re looking for.  If you know the required cooling capacity for your enclosure, you can select the right system directly from our website.  If you’d like help in calculating your heat load, you can use our Cabinet Cooler System Sizing Guide…just fill in the blanks and click “submit” – your request will be forwarded to an Application Engineer for immediate attention.  Or, if you’d rather, just give me a call.  We calculate heat loads over the phone all the time; it only takes a minute.

What Is A NEMA Rating?

With the Summer heat upon us here in Ohio the inquiries for our Cabinet Cooler Systems are increasing by the day.  A question we always ask customers with Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guides is, “What NEMA Type is your enclosure?”  There are quite a few times where no one truly knows what a NEMA rating is. So what exactly is a NEMA rating?

NEMA is the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, one of the many standards they publish is the NEMA rating standard for electrical enclosures up to 1000 Volts.  This standard is where NEMA Types such as 12, 4, and 4X come from (you will also see an international standard reference as “IP”, more on that later).  It categorizes the enclosures by their ability to protect the internal components from things such as corrosion, dust, oil, even external air quality. These standards are reviewed every five years and the last review was done in 2013.  The reviews are generally based on improving safety, clarity of the standard, and testing methods.

So what NEMA ratings does EXAIR offer?  For our Cabinet Cooler Systems, EXAIR offers three very common NEMA types to try an offer a selection to fit the needs that we most commonly encounter.  The NEMA types and their descriptions are below.   For a full list of the Non-hazardous location NEMA enclosure types, click on this link.

EXAIR NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler System w/ Side Mount Kit

Type 12 (IP54): General purpose, indoor use.  Protects against falling dirt and circulating dust, lint, fibers, and flyings.  Protects against ingress of dripping and splashing water. Rust-resistant Type 12 enclosures do not include knockouts.

 

EXAIR NEMA Type 4 Cabinet Cooler System
EXAIR NEMA Type 4 Cabinet Cooler System

Types 4, 4X (IP66): Water-tight, dust-tight, sleet-resistant.  Resistant to windblown dust.  Indoor or outdoor use.  Also provides protection against splashing and hose-directed water.  The “X” designation indicates corrosion-resistance.

EXAIR's High Temp Cabinet Cooler Systems

The EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems also reference an equivalent IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), IP code.   This is a code from the IEC system which specifies the ingress protection which classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against intrusion (body parts such as hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures. They are a two digit number that represents the level of protection against physical objects and he ingress of water.   Coorelation between NEMA ratings and IP codes is not always possible.  EXAIR has ensured that we also meet the equivalent IP codes shown in the NEMA descriptions above.

If you have a hot enclosure and you are not sure how much cooling is needed or what the NEMA type is, contact us.  We will gladly help you gather the information needed to calculate the heat load requirements and help determine the correct NEMA rating.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Insulating a Cabinet Can Help to Reduce Overall Heat Load

Insulated Cabinet  Insulated Cabinet2

I was working with a customer the other day who had a control panel located in a very hot environment next to a steam turbine in a power plant. The panel already had a Cabinet Cooler System working to keep the internal space cooled. However, due to some faulty temperature data about the surrounding environment, the customer had underestimated the heat load required in the application. As a result, his control cabinet was running a little higher than he wanted it to in terms of temperature. His Target was 95°F but he was running a solid 105°F inside the cabinet.

After we discussed the application a bit further and he sent some photos of the Cabinet, I learned that there was a rather large, hot turbine, just inches away from this panel. I also determined that the customer had installed our Cabinet Cooler on the top of the panel and was feeding it with proper compressed air to allow it to work at full capacity.

This is where some thinking about other strategies when considering how to reduce heat load on a cabinet come into play. Namely, passive methods of adding insulation to the exterior of the panel as well as employing heat shields between the heat source and the cabinet. Both methods are good ways to passively reduce the amount of heat load that needs to be delivered from a Cabinet Cooler to the cabinet.

In this application, the customer not only insulated his whole panel, but also the in-coming compressed air line to keep the heat from the turbine from sinking in through the walls of the cabinet and the compressed air pipe. After he made the suggested changes, the customer was able to reduce his cabinet temperature by the needed 10°F to keep a safe, 95°F inside the cabinet.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems Control Humidity While Maintaining Internal Temperature

As the weather in the Northern Hemisphere changes over from winter to spring and temperatures start to climb, it is slowly becoming necessary for customers to utilize the Cabinet Cooler Systems to keep control panels cool.

One such situation involved a customer who was building a panel for his client in Malaysia. Malaysia is about 3 degrees north of the Equator, so it is what I would call a semi-tropical if not tropical environment. And such places are quite high in humidity levels. This customer had a client who was in the palm oil processing industry which is quite big in Malaysia. He needed a Cabinet Cooler System to generate about 1000 Btu/hr. of cooling power in a NEMA 12 type system. So I recommended he go with a 1700 Btu/hr. Cabinet Cooler System so he had plenty of capacity. I also recommended he go with 24 VDC thermostat control so he could easily pull the power out from within his panel and not have to run any new circuits.

As the customer duly noted, the fact that the Cabinet Cooler System purges the cabinet with clean, cool and dry compressed air allows for the humidity levels to hang down at a much lower level around 40 – 50% RH instead of up around 80 – 90%. This is attributed to the processing and drying of the compressed air at the production point before it is sent out to the facility and again at the point of use with the included, 5 micron, compressed air filter/separator that comes with each system.

Previously, the customer was using only the small, DC type fans to pull that hot, humid air through the panel which led to many corrosion issues and did not relieve the heat issue at all. With this new improvement, the end user no longer has to worry about such issues. Also, there is virtually no maintenance for this system which produces much longer up-times for the customer as there are no moving parts to wear out. Overall, it was a good recommendation in this case as the Cabinet Cooler System was handling multiple, previously negative issues. Now the pain has been taken away and the end user can move on to solving other, more pressing problems.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

Can We Help Identify Your Existing EXAIR Product? – Yes.

From time to time we have customers call in and say “We have one of your products and need another. But we installed it so long ago that we no longer have the paperwork to know which model we bought.” That’s a great thing to hear in a way. Our products have outlasted their filing system, and not only that, but now we have potential to solve another problem for the same customer.

When this happens, we can sift through our files to find out which model was purchased, or if the original purchase was made through a third party, we can determine the model number in other ways. We can use the dimensions, material of construction, description over the phone, or a photo emailed to an Application Engineer such as the one below.

Cabinet Cooler

But, the needs of the application don’t end there. We may be able to pinpoint the model number of the device currently in use, but we also need to confirm that this model will be suitable for the new application. For the end user that sent in the photo above, this meant the completion of a Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide for new heat load calculation.

What we determine in many cases is that the new application has specific needs which dictate the use of a product with different attributes (in this case a different Btu/Hr rating on a Cabinet Cooler). Whether it is because of heat load, ambient temperature concerns, required material, or any other variable, we are sure to provide the most suitable solution.

As spring gains momentum and warmer months are to come, it may be time to consider an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler solution for an overheating electrical panel in your facility. Contact an EXAIR Application Engineer for help calculating heat load and choosing the right system.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Snow Snow Go Away

Enough already! Enough is enough! I am done with Winter!

 

I’m sure that I am expressing the sentiments of  most the nation.   In my sixty some years I cannot remember a winter this severe. I shouldn’t complain though as I have heat and electricity, unlike those who are caught up in the propane shortage.

When you come to think of it, folks in the extreme northern climates deal with this kind of weather as a normal routine. It just proves that we have become so accustomed to a controlled environment, that we have lost our resilience and the ability to cope  outside our comfort zone. I am going to take this as a wake up call and stop complaining and go take the dog for a walk.

With cold gripping the country, you would not think that we would be getting calls for our Cabinet Cooler Systems. Quite the contrary as many control panels are in very warm environments such as foundries, bakeries, etc. Also Summer will be coming soon. It would be best to get a Cabinet Cooler System sized up and ready rather than wait for a heat related shutdown.

CCSizing

Our application engineers are available to help you size up your cooling requirements. We have an online form to outline  the data we will need to size one up properly. One of our engineers will do the calculations for you and get back to you promptly. Remember last summer when that one panel kept tripping out or alarming every time it got too hot…You may be cold now, but don’t let the heat sneak up on you.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax (513) 671-3363
Web: www.exair.com
Twitter: EXAIR_JP