Let’s Size A Cabinet Cooler System!

I can’t remember the last time I put an exclamation point in the title of my blog, but it was probably the last time I got to talk about doing math. Or write about heat transfer.  Insert your favorite engineer joke here…I’m sure I have it coming.

We’re in the dog days of summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) for sure…or, as we call it, “Cabinet Cooler Season.”  If you’re having heat related problems with a control panel, give us a call; we can help.  If you’d like to know what we’re going to talk about, read on.

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:

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 radiative 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?

Before I go…here’s a nice little video, walking you through the Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide.  Yes, I just made you read the book before watching the movie…feel free to tell me which one you liked better.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Video Blog: EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles Product Line

Want to learn more about EXAIR’s line of Atomizing Spray Nozzles?  This short video will familiarize you with their benefits, features, and capabilities.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Cool Small Parts and Tools, with Clean, Cold Air

Do you need a proven way to reduce downtime and increase productivity on a variety of operations involving small parts where heat is a problem?  EXAIR‘s Mini Cooler produces a stream of 20°F (-7°C) cold air to prevent heat build up and blow away chips and debris.

Especially effective on high speed operations, the Mini Cooler helps to prevent burning, melting, and heat related breakage, and while doing so, at a quiet 76 dBA sound level. Better yet, all done with no moving parts to wear out.

minicooler_appli400
Mini Cooler Cooling a Small Mill Operation

Some popular applications for the Mini Cooler are – small tool cooling, needle cooling, blade cooling, and lens grinding.

There are several advantages to take note of – low cost, increased production rates, better tolerances, and quiet and compact.

minicoolerWFAM_500

The Mini Cooler Systems are available with One or Two Cold Outlets, and also include a 1″ wide Flare Nozzle Tip, and a Manual Drain Air Filter to clean the air, ensuring long, trouble free operation.

Using just 8 SCFM of 100 PSIG compressed air, the Mini Cooler will not tax your compressed air system.  Its small size allows it to fit in areas where larger systems could not fit.  The powerful magnetic base sticks to any ferrous surface and and provides up to 100 pounds of pull force.

If you have any questions about the Mini Cooler, the Adjustable Spot Cooler, Cold Gun or any EXAIR compressed air product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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EXAIR Vortex Tubes are for a Variety of Cooling Applications

Vortex tube
Cooling or Heating with the Vortex Tube

EXAIR Vortex Tubes are a low cost, reliable and maintenance free solution to a wide variety of industrial spot cooling problems.  They only requirement is a supply of compressed air as the power source.  Vortex Tubes have no moving parts and can produce temperatures that range from -50°F to +260°F (-46°C to +127°C).

Vortex Tubes produce two air streams one cold and one hot, the percentage of cold air flow from the inlet flow is referred to as the cold fraction.  The cold fraction is adjustable by the hot valve on the hot discharge side of the vortex tube.  Adjusting the hot valve results in both air temperature and air volume changes. The colder the air becomes, the volume of that cold air declines. So for very cold temperatures, a smaller volume of air is produced compared to a warmer air temperature.

For the vast majority of industrial cooling applications a larger volume of cool air will provide more efficient cooling than a lesser amount of very cold air.  Generally speaking the highest Btu/Hr values are in the 70-80% cold fraction range.

The exception to this would be in labs or special cases where the coldest temperatures are desired.  Adjusting a Vortex Tube is easy, simply insert a thermometer/thermocouple in the cold air exhaust and set the temperature by adjusting the valve on the hot end of the Vortex Tube.  You will know when you reach max refrigeration (80% cold fraction) as the cold air temperature will be 50°F (28°C) lower than the compressed air supply temperature.

EXAIR Vortex Tubes are constructed from stainless steel.  This ensures excellent wear resistance, corrosion resistance and assures years of reliable operation.  They are offered in 3 different size ranges (small, medium & large).  There are generators located inside the tube (user serviceable) that will change the volumetric flow.  The generators are available in a plastic construction or brass construction for high temperature applications.  The ranges 2 SCFM – 8 SCFM are designated as small Vortex Tubes, 10 SCFM – 40 SCFM are medium and 50 SCFM – 150 SCFM are large.  This feature allows you to customize or change your Vortex Tube for greater flexibility in a wide range of applications.

vortex_generator
Vortex generator

Large Vortex Tubes are specified when a high flow of cold air is needed. There are 16 models to choose from in total.  Capable of providing 3,400 BTU/HR up to 10,200 BTU/HR of cooling power.  These have been used to cool high heat loads that are centrally located or to help cool samples of gases for testing.

Medium Vortex Tubes are the most popular – there are twenty to choose from, depending on the cold air flow rate and temperature you’re looking for. These can produce temperatures as cold as -40°F (-40°C) when set to a 20% Cold Fraction (which is the percentage of total supply air that’s directed to the cold end) and cold air flows as high as 32 SCFM when set to an 80% Cold Fraction, which will produce a cold air temperature of about 20°F (-7°C). Some common uses are cooling ultrasonic welds and brazed joints.

The Medium Vortex Tubes are so popular, in fact, that they’re incorporated into our Adjustable Spot Cooler and Cold Gun Systems. They come ready-to-go with mufflers, cold air hose kits, and magnetic bases, so they couldn’t be easier to use.

Adjustable Spot Cooler

Cold Gun Lineup

Small Vortex Tubes are great when low flows (less cooling power) will succeed, or if compressed air supply is limited.  There are 12 models in total to choose from. These are specified for much smaller applications, like cooling the needle of a sewing machine, small drill bits, etc. You can also get one with a cold air hose & magnetic base…that’s the Mini Cooler System.

Mini Cooler

If you would like to discuss Vortex Tubes, Spot Cooling, efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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Cabinet Cooler Systems For Specific Environmental Requirements

I wrote recently about a “textbook” application for EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems…overheating control cabinets on a factory floor, solved quickly & easily with stock product, off the shelf, installed in minutes.

“Well, la-di-da, Russ,” some may say, “You sure knocked that whiffleball out of the park, didn’t you? What about those of us with more complex requirements than a plain Jane electric box on a typical production floor?”

To them, I would say:

1. Yes we did, and thank you for noticing!
And
2. Read on.

EXAIR manufactures, and stocks, a number of special Cabinet Cooler Systems to meet most any need:

Food and pharmaceutical processing areas often call for specific materials of construction. Something that doesn’t corrode, something that isn’t susceptible to surface wear or pitting in a washdown environment…something like Type 316 Stainless Steel. For these cases, we also offer our complete line of NEMA 4X Cabinet Cooler Systems in optional 316SS construction, from 275 Btu/hr (69 Kcal/hr) to 5,600 Btu/hr (1,411 Kcal/hr.) And they’re all in stock.

Of course, other harsh environments, like this outdoor installation at a wastewater treatment plant, also require the highly corrosion resistant properties of 316SS.

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems work best on a sealed enclosure, but sometimes it’s not feasible to completely seal an enclosure – there may be a cable bundle coming through a common penetration, or perhaps the door isn’t fitted with a gasket.  In cases where such equipment still needs to be protected from dust, fumes, or other environmental contaminants, you could always use a Continuous Operation Cabinet Cooler System.  But, if you want to control operating costs with Thermostat Control, our Non-Hazardous Purge option provides a continuous positive flow, even when the internal temperature is below the Thermostat setpoint, to prevent these contaminants from entering.  These are all in stock as well.

Non-Hazardous Purge option is available for any EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System.

When we calculate heat load, we use your Sizing Guide data to determine both internal heat load (generated by the components in the enclosure) and external heat load (generated by the ambient temperature in the area.)  Regardless of the internal heat load, enclosures in extremely hot locations need protection too.  When the ambient temperature will exceed 125°F, a High Temperature Cabinet Cooler System is specified…performance is identical, but they’re outfitted to withstand the higher temperatures for durability and long lasting operation.  This option is offered for all of our Cabinet Cooler Systems 1,000 Btu/hr and higher, and they are also all in stock.

This Dual Cabinet Cooler System protects a critical equipment panel on a hot roll steel line.

No matter the challenges of your facility’s environment, we can help.  Again…all of the above options are in stock, ready for immediate shipment.  What could be better?

Well, actually, we ARE giving away free stuff with Cabinet Cooler System orders through the end of July 2018:

This applies to our standard Cabinet Cooler Systems, as well as those with options for various environmental considerations detailed above.

So…don’t overheat your electronics from the inside, or out, wherever they’re located.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Expand Flexibility of Cabinet Coolers with Side Mount Kits

Last week I wrote about the Thermostat Options for Smart Cooling utilizing the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems.  You can see read that blog post here.  Today we will touch base on the Side Mount Kits as an option to expand the flexibility for the installation and operation.

Sometimes there isn’t room above an electrical panel to fit the Cabinet Cooler, even though it takes just 5″ to 7.25″ of space above. In these cases, the Side Mount Kit is available to handle any of the Cabinet Cooler sizes and NEMA ratings. EXAIR offers (6) models of Side Mount Kits –

  • Model 4909 – For NEMA 12 Cabinet Coolers up to 550 BTU.hr (139 Kcal/hr), Aluminum construction
  • Model 4910 – For NEMA 12 Cabinet Coolers , 650 BTU//hr (165 Kcal/hr) and higher, Aluminum construction
  • Model 4906 – For NEMA 4 and 4X Cabinet Coolers up to 550 BTU/hr (139 Kcal/hr), Type 303 Stainless Steel
  • Model 4907 – For NEMA 4 and 4X Cabinet Coolers, 650 BTU/hr (165 Kcal/hr) and higher, Type 303 Stainless Steel
  • Model 4906-316 – For NEMA 4 and 4X Cabinet Coolers up to 550 BTU/hr (139 Kcal/hr), Type 316 Stainless Steel
  • Model 4907-316 – For NEMA 4 and 4X Cabinet Coolers, 650 BTU/hr (165 Kcal/hr) and higher, Type 316 Stainless Steel

side_mounts_new

The NEMA 4 and 4X Cabinet Coolers must be mounted vertically for the unit to properly resist the ingress of liquids and maintain the integrity of the cabinet NEMA rating.

The Side Mount Kits install into a standard electrical knockout (1-1/2 NPS) for easy installation.

If you have any questions about the Side Mount Kits, Cabinet Coolers and/or Thermostat Options or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are Maintenance Free & Reliable

I had the pleasure of speaking with the Maintenance Manager at a manufacturing plant for a global automotive supplier earlier this week. They have a whole factory floor full of machinery that operates from PLC controls. The space is not climate controlled, and the temperature broke 100°F the day before. This triggered some high temperature warnings on several control panels, but that was the worst thing that happened…luckily.

It should go without saying that the automotive industry is a big deal in the United States…maybe even a bigger deal here in the Middle Atlantic region, and a HUGE deal for those of us within a few hour’s drive of Detroit, Michigan…the home of the Big Three.  Disruptions in their supply chains can affect not only the final production of automobiles, but also other suppliers, vendors, and service providers in separate “links” of that chain.  So, if my caller has a breakdown and can’t ship parts, many other suppliers’ lines may be slowed or stopped, because if Detroit can’t make cars without one supplier’s parts right now, they won’t need the others’ parts right now either.  That means reliability is paramount.

Even in extremely aggressive environments, an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System is a durable, reliable heat protection solution for your sensitive electronics and controls.

This is a “textbook” situation for EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems.  They’re installed in minutes, have no moving parts, and require only a supply of compressed air for operation.  If that air is clean & dry, they’ll operate darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.  Thermostat Control turns them off & on as needed.  I’ve talked to more than a few users who were (pleasantly) surprised when a Cabinet Cooler System activated on the first hot day in the spring, after not seeing it come on at all, after that last hot day near the end of the previous summer.

Back to the situation at hand – the Maintenance Manager had gathered Sizing Guide data for a couple of enclosures.  You can submit it through our website, or email it in, but it only takes a minute; we do it over the phone all the time.  So I did, and quoted the appropriate Cabinet Cooler Systems, which were ordered soon after.  They were installed the next day, with a promise of more to come.

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems are widely recognized as an ideal solution for electrical & electronic panel heat protection.

As if quick, easy, and reliable heat protection for sensitive and critical electronics isn’t enough, we’re sweetening the pot this summer:  order any EXAIR CAbinet Cooler System by July 31, 2018, and we will include a FREE AC Sensor, suitable for testing breakers, receptacles, switches, fuses, junction boxes, power cords – if it’s got (or should) have AC voltage going through it, the AC Sensor will light up and sound off (or not) to let you know for sure.

Click here for full details on this promotion!

If you have electrical or electronic equipment enclosures that need heat protection, EXAIR has the solution.  Call me.