The image above shows an electrical panel located over a belt press machine. Belt press machines can be used in a variety of mechanical separation applications, from juice manufacturing to de-watering of grains, and even algae extraction. The use in this application, however, was to assist in the removal of liquid from styrene via multiple “wedge zones” which force the styrene between an upper and lower belt, applying increasing pressure and forcing the liquid from the styrene roll.
The Plant Manager of the facility which uses this cabinet contacted EXAIR in search of a solution to provide cooling for this enclosure, and wanted to know if we could also provide some means to provide a constant ventilation as well. We discussed the merits of the Cabinet Cooler in terms of cooling power, and also discussed our Non-Hazardous Purge Cabinet Cooler systems which provide a constant feed of 1 SCFM of compressed air into an enclosure. This slight airflow into the cabinet provides a slight positive pressure which further helps to prevent any dust from entering the cabinet. For older cabinets with potentially weakened seals, these systems can provide an added level of protection against harmful dust in the ambient environment.
After sending a Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide and determining the proper model number (NHP4825), the customer asked about lead time. They said that the machine was intermittently shutting down and they needed something FAST. I informed them that EXAIR Cabinet Coolers ship from stock and we can even ship UPS Next Day Air if need be.
Knowledgeable engineering support coupled with a shoe-in solution and on-the-shelf availability got this application under control quickly. If you’re having a similar experience with your electrical control panels, contact EXAIR’s Application Engineering department for a similar solution experience.
At EXAIR we’ve been providing enclosure cooling solutions for decades, and in many cases those cooling solutions have remained in place for decades as well. In the time we’ve been in the market with industrial enclosure cooling solutions we’ve encountered a number of alternative means for enclosure cooling. One of those methods is an air-to-air heat exchanger.
An air-to-air heat exchanger uses the temperature differential between the ambient air surrounding an enclosure and the hot air inside an enclosure to create a cooling effect. A closed loop system exchanges the heat inside the enclosure with the outside air in an effort to maintain a set internal temperature. The heat exchange of most air-to-air unit relies on a heat pipe, a heat-transfer device which converts an internal refrigerant liquid into vapor by placing one end of the pipe in contact with the hot environment. The heated vapor travels to the other end of the pipe which is in contact with a cooler environment. The vapor condenses back into a liquid (releasing latent heat) and returning to the hot end of the pipe and the cycle repeats. All in all, a clever solution.
But, this type of a solution does give some cause for concern, especially when considering their use in an industrial environment. Here are the key points to keep in mind when comparing an air-to-air cooler to an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler.
Required temperature differential based on ambient air temp
An air-to-air heat exchange relies on the ΔT between the ambient air temperature and the internal enclosure air temperature to produce cooling. If this ΔT is low, or the ambient temperature rises, cooling is diminished. This means that as the temperatures in your facility begin to rise, air-to-air heat exchangers become less and less effective. Larger air-to-air heat exchangers can be used, but these may be even larger than the enclosure itself.
EXAIR Cabinet Coolers rely on the ΔT between the cold air temperature from the Cabinet Cooler (normally ~20°F) and the desired internal enclosure temperature (normally 95°F). The cold air temperature from the Cabinet Cooler is unaffected by increases in ambient temperatures. The large ΔT and high volume cold air flow produced by a Cabinet Cooler results in more cooling capacity. And, we can increase cooling capacity from a Cabinet Cooler without increasing its physical footprint, which is already much, much smaller than an air-to-air type of unit.
Cooling in high temperature environments
Due to their nature of operation, an air-to-air heat exchanger must have an ambient temperature which is lower than the desired internal temperature of the enclosure. If the ambient air has a higher temperature, air-to-air units provide zero cooling.
Cabinet Coolers, on the other hand, can be used in hot, high temperature environments up to 200°F (93°C).
Cooling in dirty environments
Dirt in the ambient environment will impact cooling performance with an air-to-air heat exchanger. In order for the air-to-air unit to effectively remove heat, the heat pipe must have access to ambient air. With any exposure to the ambient environment comes the possibility for the ambient end of the heat pipe to become covered in ambient contaminants such as dust. This dust will create an insulation barrier between the heat pipe and the ambient air, decreasing the ability for the heat pipe to condense the vapors within. Because of this, most air-to-air devices use filters to separate the heat pipe from the ambient environment. But, when these filters become clogged, access to ambient temperatures are reduced, and cooling capacity of the air-to-air unit reduces as well.
Cabinet Coolers have no problem operating in dirty environments. In fact, it is one of their strengths. Without any moving parts to wear out or any need to contact ambient air for cooling purposes, a dirty environment poses no problems. In fact, check out this blog post (and this one) about EXAIR Cabinet Coolers operating maintenance free for years in dirty environments.
Size and time required to install
Air-to-air heat exchangers vary in size, but even the smallest units can have large dimensions. Many applications have limited space on the enclosure, and a large, bulky solution can be prohibitive. Couple this with the time and modification required to the enclosure to install a large air-to-air unit, and the “solution” may end up bringing additional problems.
Another key aspect of the Cabinet Cooler is its size. Small, compact, and easy to mount on the top or side of an enclosure, Cabinet Coolers install in minutes to remove overheating problems. Check out this video to see how simple Cabinet Coolers are to install.
Rising ambient temperatures translate to less natural heat transfer into the ambient environment. As temperatures rise and overheating electrical components becomes a concern, remember EXAIR Cabinet Coolers as a viable solution. If you have any questions about how an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler can solve problems in your facility, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.
If you’ve got an electrical enclosure that needs heat protection, you’ve got a good number of options at your disposal. Frankly, if any one of them were the “be-all and end-all” solution, the rest of us would be looking for something else to do. Fact is, there are certain situations where one particular method makes more sense than the others, and other situations where one method just won’t work but several others will.
In industrial and commercial settings, these situations will often present conditions where there is indeed an ideal solution. Today, we’ll explore the ones where the choice comes down to a compressed air-operated EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System or refrigerant-based panel cooling. Let’s consider:
Environment– Now, we’re all going to make sure we protect our gear from the elements, as much as is humanly possible. Your company’s computer server is likely a lot closer to the climate controlled office spaces than the welding or grinding stations. But what happens when sensitive electronics need to be in close proximity to the machinery they’re controlling? And that machinery isn’t in climate controlled office spaces?
Even if an A/C type panel cooler would fit on this box, it would be problematic:
See all that dust on the ducts? And the belt? And the rails? And the…well, everywhere? Yeah; would be in the filters, condenser coils, the compressor motor bearings and eventually, inside the panel.
They make condensate. The big thing about air conditioners is that they lower the humidity…and that water has to go somewhere. Even if a small drain line is easy enough to run, what happens when it gets clogged (that dust is going to find its way here too, by the way)?
They’re sensitive to vibration. Every fastener, every brazed joint, every electrical connection, risks cyclical failure if they’re shaken about.
EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are impervious to all of these conditions:
The only air they use comes straight from your compressed air supply. We even provide Automatic Drain Filter Separators to make sure this is clean & dry.
There are no moving parts. Vibration is not a problem.
We offer different levels environmental considerations to meet most any challenge:
*NEMA 12 (dust tight, oil tight) are ideal for general industrial environments.
*NEMA 4 (splash resistant) keep liquids out too, and are indoor/outdoor rated.
*NEMA 4X (corrosion resistant) also keep liquids out, and are stainless steel construction. They’re also available in 316SS construction for the most exacting, harshest, and critical environments such as food service, pharmaceutical, or highly corrosive atmospheres.
*High Temperature Cabinet Cooler Systems are specified for installation in areas where ambient temperatures exceed 120°F (52°C.)
Location – Sometimes, there’s just not room to mount an air conditioner. The compressor, and, especially, the condenser coils have to take up a finite amount of space, by design.
EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems have a small footprint…a NEMA 12 550 Btu/hr system, for example, installs through a ½ NPS knockout, is under 6” tall, and just over 1” in diameter.
Reliability – We talk to callers all the time about the frustration of:
Having to replace a burned out Variable Frequency Drive because their panel cooler failed.
Constantly resetting controls that have tripped due to an overheat condition because they missed, or don’t have time for, their panel cooler’s maintenance.
Down time and lost production while waiting for replacement parts…or a whole new panel cooler.
Even in less aggressive environments, filters and coils can slowly accumulate dirty buildup, which reduces the unit’s cooling power. Then, a heat wave hits early in the season, and your machine trips out (if you’re lucky) or burns out (if you’re not) -either way, that part or process you were in the middle of is scrap, and you’re back to step one.
EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are not affected by this – in fact, a system with thermostat control may just sit there dormant through the winter, and “spring” (pun intended) into action when that first heat wave rolls through. And it’ll be just as powerful as that last hot day, the previous autumn.
Availability – Let’s say you installed some new equipment recently, and its first exposure to the heat of summer created one of the frustrating situations above. An air conditioner-type panel cooler will require:
“Invasive surgery” on your enclosure. Most of these require a sizeable rectangular hole for installation.
These systems can pull 5 amps or more, which might mean a dedicated circuit breaker & wiring.
Many are built-to-order, so you might have to wait, depending on their assembly schedule. And they might be busy, because if the heat just started causing you problems, you’re probably not the only one.
Once it’s received, installed, and wired up, you may still have to wait for the compressor’s oil (special oil for use with refrigerant) to settle before you start it up the first time.
EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are stock products. We ship same day, across the country, with orders received by 3pm EST. They install in minutes, and most of the preparation can be done today, so you’re ready to install when it comes in tomorrow – which isn’t a big deal…most Cabinet Cooler Systems weigh only 5lbs or less, so expedited shipping isn’t near as painful to your wallet as a big box full of electric motor, copper coil, and refrigerant.
Environment (friendly, that is) – No matter how well they’re built, a refrigerant system is going to leak sooner or later. And every whiff through an aging seal, or sudden loss through a failed tube, will contribute to the ozone depletion that today’s strict controls and high attention to CFC’s are trying to prevent.
Our Cabinet Cooler Systems are solely compressed air operated…the only thing they exhaust is the air from inside the enclosure.
Durability – Refrigerant leaks. Electric motors wear out. Coils corrode. Filters clog. A GOOD warranty on an air conditioning type panel cooler is two years. And it won’t cover environmental effects.
All EXAIR Compressed Air Products have a Five Year Built To Last Warranty. But if you supply your Cabinet Cooler System with clean, dry air, it’s going to run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.
Don’t trust your critical electronics to anything less than the assurance provided by an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System. If you’d like to find out which one(s) are right for your needs, give me a call.
Many EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are available with thermostat control, Model 9017 thermostat is used to monitor temperature in the panel as part of a typical thermostat controlled system. Below is a video on how to physically mount model 9017 thermostat into your panel as part of the overall installation process for NEMA 12 or NEMA 4/4X Cabinet Cooler Systems. Wiring the thermostat will be covered in a separate video.
Industrial facilities incorporate a variety of processes and procedures to meet customer demands. The ability to convert incoming resources into the desired output hinges upon proper up-time inside of the facility. Whether producing raw materials, performing value-adding services, or manufacturing consumer goods, downtime and failed systems inside of an industrial facility mean lost throughput, lost profit, and increased cost.
As temperatures begin to rise across the US, heat related equipment failures become more prevalent. Industrial facilities need a way to alleviate the problems caused by these increased temperatures and to mitigate the risk of failing electrical devices due to heat.
EXAIR Cabinet Coolers provide this solution using nothing but compressed air.
EXAIR Cabinet Coolers convert a source of compressed air into a very cold stream of air, capable of cooling a sealed enclosure. They are mounted directly to the enclosure, feeding in air as low as 18°F (-8°C) to bring the internal temperature of the cabinet down to acceptable levels. While the cold air generated by the Cabinet Cooler is fed into the enclosure, hot air is simultaneously removed, maintaining relative humidity inside the enclosure at 45%.
Rated for use in NEMA 12 (IP54), NEMA 4, and NEMA 4X (IP66) environments, EXAIR Cabinet Coolers are available in aluminum, 303 stainless steel, and 316 stainless steel. No matter the material of construction, EXAIR Cabinet Coolers can provide 275 – 5,600 BTU/hr. of cooling capacity in industrial applications with ambient temperatures up to 125°F (52°C). For hotter environments up to 200°F (93°C), High Temperature Cabinet Coolers are available.
In extremely dirty environments, Non-Hazardous Purge systems provide a continuous stream of air (1 CFM) into the enclosure, maintaining a positive pressure and preventing any dust intrusion.
Each system type and material are available to ship from stock*, allowing fast delivery to your facility and quickly solving an overheating condition of your devices.
Fans and traditional air conditioners can effectively remove heat, but they provide no separation between the sensitive components inside of an enclosure and the dirty industrial environment outside. Simply installing a fan or AC unit can allow dust, oil, and other ambient contaminants into the enclosure, leading the failure of the expensive equipment inside. And, these solutions degrade over a finite lifespan (the Cabinet Cooler does not), they require routine maintenance (the Cabinet Cooler does not), and they need more time to install (Cabinet Cooler installation is fast and simple). Curious how easy it is to install an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler? Check out this video and see just how easy it really is.
For those applications without enough spacing to mount a Cabinet Cooler on top of the enclosure, Side Mount Kits are available. These kits are also available from stock and are just as easy to install:
All EXAIR Cabinet Coolers are available with thermostat controls to regulate internal cabinet temperatures and compressed air consumption. EXAIR thermostats feature a bimetallic contact strip to open and close the electrical circuit in response to air temperatures. These thermostats quickly respond to changes in air temperature and are specifically suited for their intended use. Preset for 95°F (35°C), a suitable temperature for most electronic devices, these thermostats are fully adjustable for specific application needs.
In the event a more sophisticated thermostat control is needed, Electronic Temperature Control units can be implemented. These standalone units utilize a thermocouple to determine internal cabinet temperatures which display onto a digital readout. Push-button controls on the digital readout board allow for easy modification of the internal cabinet temperature set-point. When the desired internal temperature is reached, the Cabinet Cooler will turn off automatically.
Is it really that easy? Can a Cabinet Cooler provide real cooling for sensitive devices and last for years without any maintenance? Well, here’s an example:
An automotive radiator manufacturer experienced a problem with an overheated motor drive, causing one of their production lines to come to a stop. The root cause of the failure was a leaking refrigerant-based air conditioner, which failed and allowed water into the enclosure housing the motor controls. When the water entered the enclosure, it shorted the motor drive and caused the production line stoppage. The new drive cost over $20,000 and a month of down time to purchase, receive, and install.
Following this failure, the customer searched for a more suitable cooling solution and installed an EXAIR model 4330 NEMA 12 2,000 BTU/hr. Cabinet Cooler System. With an included thermostat control, this system provided proper cooling for the application without any need for required maintenance or potential to leak water into the enclosure.
Fast forward six years and this same customer reached out to EXAIR for another application. During the conversation they mentioned the Cabinet Cooler they purchased many years before was still in operation, still providing proper cooling for the enclosure, and that no maintenance had been performed (Cabinet Coolers do not require routine maintenance). Even in the dirty industrial environment of this manufacturing facility, the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler continued to function flawlessly.
When exploring industrial solutions, required routine maintenance is a common concern. The cost of replacement components and time required to perform necessary maintenance weigh heavily on decision makers. Fortunately, EXAIR Cabinet Coolers do not require any maintenance, and with clean, dry compressed air their lifespan can be 20 years or more. There are no moving parts to wear out or routine maintenance services to be performed.
If you’re in need of a suitable cooling solution for an industrial enclosure, consider an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler. They’re smaller than traditional AC units, faster to install, and require little-to-no-maintenance. Feel free to contact an EXAIR Application Engineer with any questions, or fill out our online Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide to have an Application Engineer contact you.
As you may have seen in our most recent E-NEWS Special Bulletin, or experienced in real life (depending on where you’re located,) most of the eastern United States is seeing a pretty significant heat wave for early summer…or, as we call it at EXAIR, “Cabinet Cooler Season.” And this year is kicking it off with a bang, for sure.
On Tuesday, when the E-NEWS email went out, I was on the phone, processing an order for a Model 4340 NEMA 12, 2,800 Btu/hr, Thermostat Controlled Cabinet Cooler System, to ship overnight to a user who wanted to protect the new drive they were replacing because theirs overheated. They were up and running before noon on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, four local customers placed “will call” orders for Cabinet Cooler Systems. I had the pleasure of talking with one of them, who was installing one for the very first time. As he was looking over the Installation & Operation Guide before he left our building, he just wanted to make sure that hooking it up was as simple as it sounded…and it is. We pulled the parts from the box and went over exactly how each step is performed, and he left feeling confident that he’d have it installed pretty quickly. Just in case, I also got his email address and sent him a link to our NEMA 4 Cabinet Cooler System Installation Video Blog:
I don’t know what the rest of the summer holds in store, but I know this: if you have concerns about protecting sensitive, critical, and/or expensive electrical & electronic enclosures, EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are the solution you’re looking for. Easy to install. Maintenance free operation. Durable, UL Listed, and CE Compliant. If you’d like to discuss your application and get one for yourself, call me; let’s talk.
A mining company has processing machinery operating in a poorly ventilated, dusty environment (actually, it’s a mine…as you might have guessed.) This machine’s control panel was supplied with filtered vents and fans to cool the electronic components inside. The filters clog regularly, and even though they checked them frequently, it’s not always frequently enough to prevent the drive from overheating.
Based on a referral they got from another one of their facilities, they called to get more information on a Cabinet Cooler System. For total dust exclusion, our Non-Hazardous Purge systems are ideal…they’re thermostatically controlled, so compressed air consumption is responsible and efficient, but they also provide a small, continuous flow, even when the thermostat set point temperature is attained, and the solenoid valve is shut. This keeps a low positive purge volume of clean, dry air in the enclosure.
The caller already had the data from our Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide, so specification was quick & easy. A Model NHP4340 NEMA 12 Non-Hazardous Purge Cabinet Cooler System – 2,800 Btu/hr – w/Thermostat Control was ordered and installed the next day. We keep them in stock for situations just like this.
If you have heat issues with electrical & electronic equipment enclosures, give me a call.