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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.