Machining Plastics? Consider The Cold Gun For A Clean Operation

Machining plastics can be a difficult task as the contact between the part and the tool generates heat, which can result in the plastics beginning to melt and stick to the tooling, causing deformities or even broken tool heads. Often times, companies will introduce a liquid based method of cooling to quench the parts during machining, while this does work, with plastics they tend to absorb some of the liquid, resulting in the finished part being outside the allowable tolerance range. Another area of concern is the mess that liquid cooling creates as now the parts need to be dried and cleaned before they can continue to the next process.

Coolant based systems can be messy and costly to operate

Such was the case last week when I worked with an OEM who was looking for a way to cool the tooling in the machines they build for the plastics industry. The company they were selling the machines to, specifically asked for an alternative method of cooling without using any type of coolant due to the conditions mentioned above. Once again, EXAIR has the perfect solution – the Cold Gun. Incorporating a Vortex Tube, the Cold Gun produces a cold air stream at 50°F below compressed air supply temperature and provides 1,000 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity. Fitted with a magnetic base and flexible hose the unit can be mounted virtually anywhere on the machine and the cold airflow can be easily directed to provide cooling to the critical area. The system also includes a filter separator for the supply line to remove any water or contaminants, ensuring that the exiting airflow is clean and free of debris.

No moving parts = maintenance free

 

When looking for a reliable method of cooling, whether machining plastics or other material, the cold, clean air from the Cold Gun is the ideal solution in place of messy misting systems. For help with your spot cooling needs or to discuss how using Vortex Tube technology could help in your process, give me a call, I’d be happy to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Coolant Spraying in the Mini Mill image courtesy of Andy Malmin via Creative Commons license

EASTEC Is Just Around The Corner

Seeing as how I have a background in CNC Machining and have been to the upcoming EASTEC show several times I thought it would be a good idea to try to help some of the machinery distributors and manufacturers showcase their product to the fullest.   Now I know that some companies will only take a skim cut on their demo parts just to make it through the show with a minimal chance for hiccups.  However there are those that want to truly show the machine in action, taking full depth of cuts to showcase how rigid their castings are or how much metal a customer can “hog” at once to cut their cycles times down.  No matter the case EXAIR has a product that your demonstration may benefit from.

It has been my experience that if you are running an average CNC program that is cutting a real part you will most of the time be running some form of cutting fluid / coolant.  Once the machine is set up and into the cut, the coolant will hit the spindle, the tool, or even the part identities and spray the operator window with gallons of coolant.  This makes watching the machine actually cut quite difficult, just like driving through a monsoon without windshield wipers and mud on your windshield.  This is where the Air Stik or Air Disk Window Blowoff Systems will make your machine stand out from the rest.

Instead of your potential customers looking at a window with a blanket of coolant on it not able to tell whether your machine is truly cutting a part or not, they will get to see through a clean window that is going to allow them to view the part being cut that you have spent hours programming to perfection.  The proof is in each of the pictures below.

These systems can be used on open top machines, closed top machines, lathes, or virtually any machine that has an operator window and compressed air.  The Air Stik Open Top  Machine Kit is shown below.

Now for those that don’t want to deal with the coolant deliveries and coolant cleanup at the end of the show but are having some issues with your demo part program not cutting too good dry then we also have an option for you.  We offer our Cold Gun Aircoolant Systems along with our Adjustable Spot Coolers to be used on dry cutting operations.  The Cold Gun and the Adjustable Spot Cooler have been used in a variety of machining applications and have been proven to significantly increase tool life, along with considerably improve surface finish.  These are ideal for an application where you are repeatedly skimming a demo part or even cutting certain materials.   For some of our existing customers they will only use a Cold Gun for the entire machining of their production parts.  A few pictures of both in action are below.

The best part of all the products mentioned is that they all operate off of compressed air which most machines require.  They have no internal moving parts to wear out like bearings or motors.  Lastly, they are ALL stock items that are manufactured here in Cincinnati, Ohio and can ship same day as long as the order is received by 3 P.M. Eastern Time.  So with the show coming up if you can’t see the machine cutting or are having some issues with your tools galling up give us a call, email, tweet, or Facebook message.   We can even drop ship straight to you while you are at EASTEC.

If you have any questions or need for these please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com

Earth Day 2010: Who Cares?

I tease my daughter sometimes about being a “tree hugger”.  When I told her she was featured in my blog this week, she was horrified.

Devon is a 13-going-on-19, part-time vegetarian honor student who would like nothing more than to dye her hair purple over summer break.  She sometimes creates aliases for herself and has Amazon ship packages to these unknown people at our address.  While some classmates compete for the title of whitest shoes, Devon generally rocks a pair of Chuck Taylors.  On a good day, the left shoe might match the right one.  She’s going to the Warped Tour this summer.  She reads Alternative Press immediately upon its release each month. If a particular band has a positive social message, even better (as long as at least one band member is moderately attractive).  My daughter is a shower-singing diva that counts the days until the next episode of Glee and dreams of attending Julliard one day.  Or becoming a veterinarian.  It changes a lot.

Devon recycled her iPhone in favor of a Blackberry because “touch screen keyboards are too slow”.  At age 11, she contacted Dell technical support on her own because her laptop had power charging issues.  And got the replacement part sent overnight.  She once used zero cell phone minutes in a month (but sent over 1000 text messages) because using a phone as an actual phone is “lame”.  Her most often used word is “FAIL”.  Her current tweet count is somewhere north of 3500.  She speaks Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Skype, Stickam and more.  She knows which blog sites are reliable and which often have inaccurate information.  As such an avid communicator, her personal network includes friends from many other states and a few other countries.

Devon actively seeks out brands that are “organic”, “recycled” or “natural”.  She gets excited about shopping at Whole Foods.  She knows which hair care and cosmetic brands don’t test on animals.  And she would rather visit a locally owned restaurant rather than a franchise.

Why should businesses take note on Earth Day?  People like Devon are our new customers.

This is a wake-up call to those businesses that haven’t already figured this out for themselves.  An independent, intelligent, technically savvy and socially conscious consumer is headed your way.  There are more of them every day.  They are located all over the world.  And they network with each other effortlessly and constantly.

For all of the talk about “CSR” (corporate social responsibility) lately, one of the most compelling reasons to take a hard look at your business practices and products may be an economic one.  Your sales are at risk.  Consumers increasingly want to know more than your brand’s tagline – they want to know what kind of citizen you are.  Irresponsible practices are exposed and vilified.  Dishonest claims are investigated, refuted and publicized faster than you can tweet “brand bashing”.  We are entering an era requiring facts, proof and transparency rather than disingenuous corporate propaganda.

EXAIR is a business.  EXAIR is a manufacturer.  We make products in our factory with machinery.  We consume raw materials and energy.  We generate waste.  We pack and ship products around the world.  Our business is not carbon neutral.  But EXAIR is a responsible corporate citizen.  We have reduced our consumption of resources, increased our recycling efforts and incorporated practices and standards that are beneficial to the environment into our product development, manufacturing and fulfillment processes.

Here are some of the steps we have taken to improve our operations, practices, facility and products:

Resources Consumed

  • Electrical Power
    • Our VSD (variable speed drive) air compressor reduced our electrical consumption by over 4,500 kWh in the past year compared to a conventional air compressor.
    • Consumption reduced through increased use of natural light, higher efficiency fluorescent fixtures and LED technology.
  • Compressed Air
    • Consumption reduced through a leak detection and mitigation program that saved one million cubic feet of compressed air per year.
  • Fossil Fuels
    • Electronic delivery of invoices reduced snail-mailed copies by over 50%.
  • Paper/Cardboard
    • Electronic delivery of invoices allowed 67% reduction in printed pages.
    • Most shipments use recycled Kraft paper with a perfect “green score” of 360.
  • Fresh Water
    • Consumption reduced through a coolant management program that extends usable life of water-soluble coolant from six weeks to six months.
  • Natural Gas
    • Consumption reduced by installing programmable thermostats wherever possible to match heating/cooling cycles with facility usage patterns.

Recycling of Waste

  • Solid Waste/Trash – Reduced by 88% through an expanded recycling program
  • Metals – 100% recycled
  • Paper/Cardboard – 100% recycled
  • Wastewater – 100% recycled
  • Wood – 100% recycled
  • Plastics – 100% recycled

Product Impact

  • EXAIR blow off products designed specifically to reduce compressed air consumption energy usage
  • A new tool developed as part of our coolant management system now available to customers
  • Packaging materials used by EXAIR are fully recyclable
  • Most EXAIR products themselves are largely or fully recyclable at the end of their useful lives
  • RoHS compliance on applicable products insures that, should these products end up in a landfill at the end of their useful lives, they will not contaminate the environment with unacceptable levels of lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PBB, PBDE or cadmium.

As you can see above, we’ve made significant progress.  But we are by no means finished.  New materials, products, processes and technologies mean more opportunities for improvement.

Are you paying attention on Earth Day 2010?  What steps have you taken in your business and how have you made them known to customers?  Are you prepared to satisfy this new type of consumer?  Your company’s future just might depend upon it.

Claims are easy, proof is hard.

Don’t FAIL.

Bryan Peters
President
bryanpeters@exair.com

Do Health and Safety Regulations Add Cost?

Like everyone else in the manufacturing sector, I’ve struggled with ever-changing regulations. When all the groaning and moaning was over, we always seemed to  have worked our way through it. At first, compliance is not cost-effective but the drive to bottom line profitability made us think outside the box and ways to turn a negative into a positive.

Back in my machining days, we were forced to change from petroleum-based coolant to water based coolant. The stuff turned rancid, stunk worse than road kill, and presented a disposal problem. This gave birth to a new industry building in-house filtration systems so that the coolant could  be cleaned and used again. These in-house systems were time-consuming to get up and running and they were expensive.

EXAIR recently introduced a product that I wish I had available back then. It is the Chip Trapper . This product not only sucks out the machine sump, but filters the coolant and returns it back into the machine. Cost is modest and the return is high.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
joepanfalone@exair.com

How to Clean Up and Save Money at the Same Time!

Do you get tired of the nasty smell of rancid coolant? Do you hate dealing with the mess and sludge in your parts washer? Would you like to cut coolant costs by extending coolant life?
 
EXAIR’s video demonstrates the Chip Trapper™ which offers a fast, easy way to clean solids such as chips, swarf and shavings out of used coolants and other liquids. The Chip Trapper vacuums the coolant or liquid that is filled with debris into the included 55 gallon drum, trapping all the solids in a reusable filter bag. With a turn of the flow valve, clean liquid pumps back out. Expensive coolant that used to last only six weeks can now last six months with regular use of the Chip Trapper. It is ideal for use on machines with sumps, parts washers, tanks and storage containers.
 
Chip Trapper is compressed air powered and has no motors or impellers to clog or wear out. Safe operation is assured with a built-in pressure/vacuum relief and an automatic safety shutoff valve that prevents spills or overfilling.
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