Stop the Overheating Alarms from Your Electrical Cabinets this Summer

I’ve already documented my penchant for insanely hot foods in a previous blog post about my participation in a hot wing competition. Over the years, I’ve grown a few different varieties of super-hot peppers in my garden that’s led to my love for all things fire. In years past I’ve been limited to the varieties of peppers that I can find at the local nurseries.

This year I decided to take things a step further. I purchased a variety of both pepper and tomato seeds online and decided to grow them from seed, allowing me to pick and choose each type that I wanted in the garden for this summer. While it’s been a bit of a learning process and we’ve had a few fallen soldiers thus far, things are beginning to come together. It’s been a fun way to look forward to this year’s growing season.

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It seems strange writing this while there is snow on the ground here in Cincinnati, but spring is right around the corner. I don’t know about you, but I quickly see past spring and can start to feel the warm summer weather.

Once again, as summer’s hot temperatures approach,  so do those seasonal temperature alarms from your electrical enclosures. Increased temperatures lead to heat related problems in your electrical panels. With summer coming along before you know it, the time is now to get a solution in place before it becomes an issue.

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EXAIR’s Cabinet Cooler Systems were designed specifically to rectify these issues within your facility. Utilizing Vortex Tube technology, the Cabinet Cooler produces cold air from an ordinary supply of compressed air. This cold air keeps the enclosure free of debris and moisture and is easily installed in minutes through a standard electrical knockout. Here is a short video that shows just how simple it really is.

The Cabinet Cooler Systems are available with Nema 12 (IP54) ratings and are also available in Aluminum, 303 Stainless Steel, and 316 Stainless Steel construction for Nema 4/4X (IP66) rated enclosures. For systems that are not able to be mounted on top of the cabinet, we also have Side Mount Kits available in Aluminum, 303 Stainless, and 316 Stainless. This year, EXAIR also introduced a new line of Hazardous Location Cabinet Coolers for use in classified areas.

These systems are available with cooling capacities from 275-5,600 Btu/hr. To make things much easier for you, we offer a Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide that will allow us to recommend the most suitable model for your cabinet. With a few quick measurements, we’ll be able to determine the exact heat load that we’ll need to dissipate and offer you a quick and easy solution.

If you experienced heat related issues on electrical panels last year, or just want to talk about spicy food and gardening, contact an Application Engineer today and we’ll be happy to help.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

A Cold Winter’s Chill and Vortex Tubes

Two weekends ago I had the pleasure of flying out to meet my friend in Colorado Springs and ski the weekend at Breckenridge. As an avid skier Breckenridge has been one of the resorts I have been wanting to ski since I started skiing out west. The weather was amazing and I couldn’t ask for better; the Saturday blue skies and cool breeze followed up by a Sunday of snow fall. The Trip was a dream come true. Breckenridge is specifically known for having high winds that howl across the peaks that stand at a max of 12,998 ft. above sea level. These chilling winds would freeze just about anyone if you aren’t dressed prepared for them as they blow right in your face on the lift. As I was sitting on the lift with these cold winds blowing in my face it brought to mind EXAIR’s Vortex Tubes, Cold Guns, and Cabinet Coolers.

EXAIR’s Vortex Tubes and similar products provide everything from a cool blast of air to a frigid breeze to cool off various parts and products. In a lot of smaller milling and grinding applications the Cold Gun has been used as a replacement to costly coolant-based alternatives. Vortex tubes have been used in cooling applications since 1945 and assist in everything from stress testing electronics to cooling down plastic parts during ultrasonic welding.

 Vortex tubes use a source of compressed air to create a hot and cold stream of air coming out on opposite ends of the device. This means that not only can the vortex tube be used for cooling but also heating applications. In one case a vortex tube was used to heat up an adhesive before it was sealed to get a better adhesion. Although the vortex tube can be used for heating purposes those applications are few and far between as usually a heating element or other heating source is more applicable.
Vortex tubes are quickly adjustable, just as the winds of Breckenridge can change from being a breeze to almost blowing you off of the mountain. Weather in the mountains is always varying and so are EXAIR’s Vortex Tubes.

If you have any questions or want more information on how we use our vortex tubes to improve processes all over industry. Give us a call, we have a team of application engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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EXAIR Founder’s Day 2020

EXAIR celebrates Founder’s Day each year on February 22nd (or the closest working day) in order to commemorate the birthday of our founder, Roy Sweeney.  He founded the company in 1983 and drove EXAIR to become the strong, successful and innovative company that it has over the years.  Today would have been his 86th birthday.

We choose to make this day a celebration and a day to mark our ongoing commitment to the service of others in keeping with the values that Roy and his wife Jackie felt (and feel) very strongly about.  It is now up to us to continue to look outside our company, outside ourselves and do what we can to improve the world around us.

As we do every year, EXAIR has made significant donations to organizations that are making a difference right here in our area.  We are proud to announce that we have chosen to support more charities than ever for Founder’s Day 2020:

  • Freestore Foodbank
    Supplies 33 million meals per year to those in need
    https://freestorefoodbank.org/
  • Lighthouse Youth and Family Services
    Supporting their Safe and Supported program for LGBTQ youth
    https://www.lys.org/safeandsupported/
  • DAV
    Supporting disabled American veterans and their families
    https://www.dav.org/
  • Arts Wave
    Funds and supports 100+ arts projects and organizations through impact-based grants
    https://www.artswave.org/
  • Cincinnati Works
    Partners with all willing and capable people living in poverty to assist them in advancing to economic self-sufficiency through employment
    https://cincinnatiworks.org/
  • Habitat for Humanity Greater Cincinnati
    Helps eliminate substandard housing locally and globally by building and renovating decent, affordable homes to sell to low-income first-time homebuyers.
    https://www.habitatcincinnati.org/
  • Matthew 25: Ministries
    Provides humanitarian aid and disaster relief along with partners in the Greater Cincinnati area, across the US and in more than 60 countries
    https://m25m.org/
  • SPCA Cincinnati
    Offers programs including animal adoptions, animal cruelty investigations, spaying and neutering shelter animals, companion animal and wildlife rescue
    https://spcacincinnati.org/
  • Tender Mercies
    Transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home
    https://www.tendermerciesinc.org/
  • Bethany House
    Helps homeless and at-risk families with solutions to achieve housing stability and long-term self-sufficiency
    https://bethanyhouseservices.org/
  • Women’s Crisis Center
    Supporting victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual abuse
    https://www.wccky.org/

To further our commitment to others, EXAIR established an Employee Volunteer Program in 2018 that enables every full-time employee with at least 90 days of service to volunteer with organizations of their choice during the normal work week with full pay by EXAIR.  I am proud to say that sixteen employees volunteered their time helping other organizations in 2019.  Through this program, EXAIR and its employees can have a positive impact on dozens of organizations throughout the year.

So, as we celebrate today with lunch and funny memories, we wish Roy a happy birthday.  We miss having him here.  We remember what he did for all of us and for countless others.  And we pledge to continue his commitment to helping those who need it.

Happy Founder’s Day from everyone at EXAIR!

Bryan Peters
President
EXAIR Corporation

How it Works: Theory Behind the Vortex Tube

What is a vortex tube and how does it work? A vortex tube is a device used to separate compressed air into a cold and hot stream of air; but the main question that many people have theorized is how does this device work.

In 1928 George Ranque, a French physics student stumbled upon this phenomenon on accident while he was performing experiments on a vortex type pump. During the experiment George noticed that hot air was being exhausted from one side and the other side was producing cold air. Eventually the device was forgotten about until 1945 when the German physicist, Rudolph Hilsch published a paper describing the device, eventually causing it to gain popularity and find applications in the industrial world.

EXAIR’s Vortex Tube uses compressed air as the supply and contains no moving parts to create a cold and hot stream of air from either end of the device. Using the valve located on the hot stream the vortex tube can achieve temperatures as low as -50°F (-46°C) and temperatures as high as 260°F (127°C).

The diagram bellow is one of the widely accepted explanations for the vortex tube phenomenon.

When the vortex tube is supplied with compressed air the air flow is directed into the generator that causes spin into a spiraling vortex at around 1,000,000 rpm. This spinning vortex flows down the neck of the hot tube denoted in the diagram as red. The control valve located on the end of the hot tube allows a fraction of the hot air to escape and what does not escape reverses direction and travels back down the tube in a second vortex denoted in blue. Inside of the low-pressure area of the larger outer warm air vortex, the inner vortex loses heat as it flows back to the front of the vortex and as it exits the vortex expels cold air.

The phenomenon is theorized to occur because both the hot and cold streams rotate at the same velocity and direction. This means that a particle of air in the inner vortex makes a complete revolution in the same time that a particle in the outer vortex takes to make a complete revolution. This effect is known as the principle of conservation of momentum and is the main driving force behind the vortex tube. In order for the system to stay in equilibrium air particles lose energy, in the form of heat, as they move from the outer stream to the inner stream, creating the cold air vortex that gets expelled.

At EXAIR we have harnessed many uses of vortex tubes for your cooling needs. Both our Cabinet Coolers and our Adjustable Spot Coolers utilize the vortex tube to either cool down an overheated cabinet or provide spot cooling for many different applications including to replace a messy coolant system for small grinding and machining applications.              

If you have questions about Vortex Tubes, or would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.   

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Six Steps to Optimizing Compressed Air: Step 4, Turn it Off When Not in Use

Step 4 of the Six Steps to Optimizing your compressed air is to turn off your compressed air when it is not in use. This step can be done using two simple methods either by using manual controls such as ball valves or automated controllers such as solenoid valves. Manual controls are designed for long use and when switching on and off are infrequent. Ball Valves are one of the most commonly used manual shut offs for compressed air and other fluids.

Automated controllers allow your air flow to be tied into a system or process and turn on or off when conditions have been met. Solenoid valves are the most commonly used automated control device as they operate by using an electric current to open and close the valve mechanism within. Solenoid valves are some of the more versatile flow control devices due to the fact that they open and close almost instantaneously. Solenoid valves can be used as manual controls as well by wiring them to a switch or using simple programming on a PLC to turn the valve on or off using a button.

EXAIR’s Solenoid Valves
EXAIR’s Electronic Flow Controller (EFC)

 

Some good examples of automated controllers are EXAIR’s Electronic Flow Controller (a.k.a. EFC) and EXAIR’s Thermostat controlled Cabinet Coolers.  

The EFC system uses a photo eye to detect when an object is coming down the line and will turn on the air for a set amount of time of the users choosing. This can be used to control the airflow for all of EXAIR’s products. EXAIR’s Thermostat controlled Cabinet Coolers are used to control the internal temperature of a control cabinet or other enclosures. This is done by detecting the internal temperature of your cabinet and when it has exceeded a temperature which could damage electrical components it will open the valve until a safe temperature has been reached, then turn off.    

By turning off your compressed air, whether it be with manual or automated controllers, a company can minimize wasted compressed air and extend the longevity of the air compressor that is used to supply the plants air. The longevity of the air compressor is increased due to reduced run time since it does not need to keep up with the constant use of compressed air. Other benefits include less use of compressed air and recouped cost of compressed air. 

EXAIR’s Ball Valves sizes 1/4″ NPT to 1-1/4″ NPT

If you have questions about our compressed air control valves or any of the 16 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Meet New EXAIR Application Engineer, Dann Woellert

I’m one of the newest to join the team of ‘airheads’ here at EXAIR. By airheads I mean application engineers. These guys have forgotten more about compressed air applications than most will ever know. I’m humbled to join this team of compressed air vigilantes.

The cool thing about the group is that everyone comes from a different industry, and brings a unique perspective to the game. My windy road here has come through a couple of industries – Printing, Restaurant Equipment, Automotive, and Label & Packaging – all of which use the intelligent compressed air devices EXAIR manufactures. Most recently I was a product manager in the roll-fed label industry, which uses Line Vacs to pull waste from slitter and rewinders for collection. We also used Super Ion Air Knives to reduce static when marrying silicon coated plastic liner to the label face stock. It’s important to have a consistent pull on the waste so that clean slits can be made in the product. That’s important downstream to the printer and label converters, and even further to the end user who places the finished label on a bourbon bottle.

I’ve also seen the value of Cabinet Coolers a in hot manufacturing environment, where temperatures over 110 degrees could shut down a panel faster than you can say lost profits. One of EXAIR’s latest products, the Soft Grip Super Air Scraper would also be invaluable to operators who clean out the attritors, which mix dried pigment into viscous varnish.

I’ve been impressed with the positive team attitude here at EXAIR that clearly flows into product design and our go-to-market. I’m also amazed at the creative wizardry of our marketing team to create product images for our promotional content. If a picture is worth a thousand words, EXAIR’s are worth a factor more. Then there’s the videos presented in this blog by the team of airheads. While none of us has a degree in filmmaking from NYU, the App Engineering department creates incredible videos to help customers understand the intricacy and design of EXAIR products.

With a full team of application engineers ready to offer real time support through online or phone chat, EXAIR takes a B2B experience and makes it seem like a true B2C personal experience.

Out of work I’m a food and history geek. I enjoy travelling the region looking for the weirdest and most unique dishes. I am told there’s a Sharonville Superfecta – four signature dishes from local diners – that I need to try. There’s the Bronx Bomber pizza, a gyro from Athenian Greek Diner, a Sammy Burger, and a float from the Root Beer Stand. I’ve recently taken on a side hobby of fermenting my own sauerkraut and hope to have a supply ready soon.

I look forward to embracing the flow and helping you solve your applications with EXAIR’s robust family of intelligent compressed air products.

Dann Woellert
Application Engineer

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Factors When Sizing a Cabinet Cooler System

Heat can cause real problems for electrical and electronic components, in a hurry…we all know that.  Fortunately, we can also specify the right Cabinet Cooler System for you in a hurry too.  And since we keep them all in stock, we can get it to you in a hurry as well.

You can access our Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide online, here.  You can fill in the blanks and submit it, or you can call in your data.  We do it over the phone all the time, and it only takes a minute.  Here’s what we’re going to ask for, and why:

NEMA 4 Cabinet Cooler
  • Enclosure dimensions.  We need the length, width, and height of your enclosure to calculate the heat transfer surface, and the volume of the enclosure.
  • Current Internal Air Temperature.  How hot is it inside your enclosure?  This is the starting point for figuring out the internal heat load…how much heat the components inside the box is generating.  This needs to be the air temperature – don’t use a heat gun, or you’re going to give me the surface temperature of something that may or may not be close to what I need.  Just put a thermometer in there for a few minutes.
  • Current External Air Temperature.  How hot is it in the area where the enclosure is located?  We’re going to compare this to the internal air temperature…the difference between the two is actually proportional to the heat load.  Also, if there’s anything cooling the enclosure right now (like circulating fans; more on those in a minute,) this reading is key to figuring out how much heat they’re removing.
  • Maximum External Air Temperature.  How hot does it get in the area on, say, the hottest day of summer?  We’ll need this to calculate the external heat load…how much heat the enclosure picks up from its surroundings.
  • Maximum Internal Temperature Desired.  Most electrical and electronic component manufacturers publish a maximum operating temperature of 104F (40C) – it’s kind of an “industry standard.”  Based on this, a lot of us in the enclosure cooling business set our products’ thermostats to 95F (35C) – if we’re maintaining the air temperature a decent amount cooler than the components are allowed to get, history and practice has shown that we’re going to provide more than adequate protection.  If your enclosure houses something with more sensitive temperature limitations, though, we can work with that too…that’s the only time you’re going to want to put something other than 95F (35C) in this field.
  • Cabinet Rating.  This is all about the environment…we offer three levels of protection, per NEMA standards:
    •  NEMA 12 – oil tight, dust tight, indoor duty.
    • NEMA 4 – oil tight, dust tight, splash resistant, indoor/outdoor duty.
    • NEMA 4X – oil tight, dust tight, splash resistant, corrosion resistant, indoor outdoor duty.

                     The NEMA rating does not affect the cooling capacity at all.

  • Other:  If the enclosure is mounted to the side of a machine, or a wall in the plant, you really don’t need to put anything here.  If it’s outside and exposed to direct sunlight, tell us what the surface finish (i.e., polished metal, painted grey, etc.) is so that we can account for solar loading too.  If anything else is unusual or peculiar about the application, let us know that too.
  • My Cabinet Is…Not Vented, Vented, Wall Mounted, Free Standing, Fan(s).  We’ll use what you tell us here to verify heat transfer surface (a wall mounted cabinet’s back surface isn’t a radiating surface, for example.)  Also, I mentioned fan cooling before, so without further ado…
  • Fan diameter or SCFM.  If there are fans circulating air into (and/or out of) the enclosure, they’re providing a finite amount of cooling right now.  Proper installation of a Cabinet Cooler System is going to require their removal.  Running a Cabinet Cooler System on a vented enclosure is just like running your air conditioner with the windows open.  So, if we know the size (or the SCFM…sometimes there’s a label on those fans, and we LOVE those folks who do that) then we can use that, and the temperatures you gave us above, to take the fan cooling into account.

Once we have all this information, it’s down to the math. Like I said, we do this all the time (especially during “Cabinet Cooler Season”) – give me a call.  Your heat problem isn’t waiting; why should you?

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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