The difference between a mold and a die? EXAIR Vortex Tubes can help in both applications.

Vortex Tubes

What is the difference between a mold and a die?  A mold is a form that shapes a liquid material into a sold piece.  It requires time for the liquid material to harden and take shape.  A die is a form that shapes a solid piece through brute force.  This can be either through stamping or through metalworking.  I will illustrate examples of both and how the Vortex Tubes were able to improve cycle times.

Mold Example: An automotive company was making plastic gas tanks through blow molding.  Liquid plastic is oozed into a mold, and just before it hardens, air is injected to create a cavity inside while the mold shapes the gas tank.  The warm tank was then placed in a fixture to cool.  Once hardened, then it could be handled and processed for the next operation.  The problem was that it took 3 minutes to harden; creating a bottleneck.  EXAIR suggested two pieces of a model 3250 Vortex Tubes to blow cold air into each cavity of the gas tanks.  This cooling process decreased the hardening time from 3 minutes to 2 minutes.  This improved productivity by 33%.

Movie Film

Die Example: A reel manufacturer was using a die stamping machine that would create the sprocket holes in the outer edge of a 35mm film.  These holes were used to advance the reel strip through printers, projectors, and processing machines.  The stamping die would heat up from the brute force of the cutting edge making the hole.  This would cause issues with the quality of the plastic film reel.  For this application, EXAIR recommended the model 5315 Cold Gun System.  This product is a modified version of the Vortex Tube that includes a magnetic base, muffler, and a dual flexible outlet hose.  They would blow the cold air on both sides of the die to keep them cool.  They were able to increase speeds and also noticed that the die stayed sharper 20% longer before they had to be reworked.

1/4 ton of refrigeration in the palm of your hand

Both customers were intrigued with the EXAIR Vortex Tubes as they can generate cold air by only using compressed air.  They do not use refrigerants, moving parts, or motors to wear.  These simple devices are very compact and can fit into tight places.  EXAIR Vortex tubes offer cooling capacities from 275 BTU/hr to 10,200 BTU/hr.  They can be configured in different styles to best suite your application.

Whether you are using a mold or a die in your process, a Vortex Tube may benefit you.  Heat causes slowdowns and bottlenecks.  With both customers above, the EXAIR Vortex Tubes were able to increase their productivity and decrease their downtime.  If you believe that temperature is affecting your process, you can contact an Application Engineer to discuss how we can help.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo:  Reel Film Cinema By JanBabyCreative Commons CC0 Public Domain

Energy Savings for Blow Molding Machines

A blow molding facility contacted me about an energy audit. He had 40 machines that were operating at his facility. His compressed air system was able to produce 1200 SCFM (2,039 M^3/hr) of compressed air at 435 psig (30 Bar). He understood the cost to produce compressed air, and how it would affect the bottom line. He wanted to evaluate each blow molding line to monitor the amount of compressed air being used by each machine. Compressed air is a necessary utility, and when you use large portions in your operation, like in blow molding, you need to observe the usage because it can eat into your profits.

Costly leaks
Costly leaks

As machines get older, or modifications are made, compressed air use can increase. You can have a cylinder that is bypassing, worn out seals, a valve that does not completely close, or fittings that start leaking. Like a drip in your faucet, it adds up rather quickly. For his energy audit, he placed an EXAIR Digital Flow Meter with the USB Data Logger on each compressed air line that was feeding a machine. He had two types of blow molding machines, a single stage and a two stage. With the USB Data Logger, he was able to record the amount of compressed air being used by each machine. He downloaded the information into Excel which included time stamps. He took that information to see how much compressed air was being used to run certain products on certain machines. He then compared the information to know which machines to target for maintenance.

Digital Flow Meter
Digital Flow Meter

In the end, he was able to identify some of the problems with his machines, and he could better track the cost to produce each product. To be more competitive as a manufacturer, you have to start looking at energy costs, which includes the compressed air system. With EXAIR products, we can measure the current use, find the problems, provide efficient engineered products, and measure the savings. If you would like to go over your compressed air system with our Application Engineers, you can contact us at EXAIR.

 

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb