Big and small companies are always looking to increase revenue. One way to do this for manufacturers is to speed up the manufacturing process.
A small company had a carpet whipping business. They would take off-cuts of carpet and stitch a binding tape around the outside edge. They used nylon thread to attach the binding tape with an industrial sewing machine. They had to be careful with the feed rate into the sewing machine, as the nylon thread would heat up and become stretchy or even break. Either way, it would not have a professional look, and they would have to start over. They came across the Vortex Tubes by EXAIR, and they were intrigued.
With plastics, I like to describe the importance of the glass transition temperature, or Tg. This is the temperature when the plastic material starts to become soft. Below the Tg, the plastic acts “normal”, keeping its typical mechanical properties. But, once you are above this temperature, the plastic will start to become very flexible, soft, and rubbery. The glass transition temperature is much different than the melting temperature, as the plastic is able to keep its compound structure. The plastic will return to its natural state after cooling below the Tg. For the nylon material that they were using, the glass transition temperature, Tg, was 117 deg. F. The heat in their process was being generated from friction. As the needle was being poked through the binding tape and carpet, the temperature would rise. So, the faster this process was occurring, the hotter the needle would get and begin to stretch the nylon thread. To keep the process operating normally, they had to keep the feed rate at a speed not to generate too much heat.
In explaining the concept of the Vortex Tube, these devices will take ordinary compressed air and reduce the blowing temperature on the cold end. For this customer, I suggested the Mini Cooler as it works great for small components, in this instance, a sewing needle. The EXAIR Mini Cooler is a “dressed up” version of the Vortex Tube for easy utilization. I recommended the model 3808 Mini Cooler System as it comes with a single point hose to direct the cold air, a swivel magnetic base to mount it near the needle, and a filter to keep the compressed air clean. It only uses 8 SCFM of compressed air at 100 PSIG to generate a blowing temperature of 20 deg. F. This mighty Mini Cooler was able to remove the heat from the needle. After installing, they were able to increase the feed rate by 20% without affecting the sewing process.
For this customer, the Mini Cooler was able to increase the speed of their operation, and in turn increase their revenue. If heat related process issues are slowing your process down, EXAIR has many products that can cool things down. You can always contact an EXAIR Application Engineer to see if we can provide a solution to increase the speed of your process.