Cabinet Cooler Systems – Around The Clock (And Calendar) Heat Protection

So it was 19°F (-7°C) when I walked outside this morning. The layer of ice on my windshield was thin, but particularly stubborn, and I muttered under my breath. I have no business complaining about the cold…see, I moved to Ohio (on purpose) from Florida, in 1991. In November, to be exact. I still remember where I surrendered my “complain-about-the-cold” card:

If you’re headed north on I95, the next sign you’ll see is in Georgia. And if you’re not careful, you can end up “Up North.”

Why am I writing a blog about solutions to heat problems when, even though I do have a really nice pair of gloves, my fingers still aren’t even really thawed from ice removal duty this morning? Well, I’ve got three reasons:

1. Outside temperature doesn’t necessarily have any bearing at all on the temperature inside. Sure; there’s a reason we call July and August “Cabinet Cooler Season” – summer heat will do a number on sensitive electronic & control panels in spaces with no climate controls, but the problem goes away as winter approaches. In fact, there’s even such as thing as a cabinet HEATER, if the equipment in question is exposed to the elements.   Sometimes, though, heat is an issue year ’round…think blast furnaces, boiler rooms, foundries, chemical plants.  If your process generates heat, it’ll affect a control panel in the dead of winter just the same as on the dog days of summer.  We can quickly and easily specify the right Cabinet Cooler System for you with just a few key pieces of data…here’s a link to our Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide if you want to find out.

2. It’s not winter all over the world.  Here in the Midwest United States, I full well realize we’re just gearing up for windshield scraping, snow shoveling, slipping-on-the-ice (some people call it skating and do it intentionally) season.  But right now, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are getting ready for heat waves, sunscreen, and (hopefully) air conditioning.  So, in essence, they’re moving towards what we call “Cabinet Cooler Season.”

3. Our Cabinet Cooler Systems are so great, the 316SS Cabinet Cooler Systems with Electronic Temperature Control are actually up for Plant Engineering’s Product of the Year Award.  Because of their 316SS construction, they’re optimally suited for installation in harsh or demanding locations.  The Electronic Temperature Control offers continuous indication of internal temperature, and the ability to change the thermostat setpoint with the push of a button.  If you’re a current user, and you agree that they’re great, we’d appreciate your vote.  If not, I’m reluctant to encourage you to vote for it, but I suppose I can’t stop you from taking my word for it…

EXAIR NEMA 4X 316SS Cabinet Cooler System with Electronic Temperature Control installed on control panel in a pharmaceutical plant.

If you’d like to talk about protecting sensitive electronics from the heat, or from the environment, or both, I’d love to hear from you…give me a call.

EXAIR Provides Cooling Solutions – Even During Winter Months

An electrical enclosure in need of a reliable cooling solution.

On first glance, the enclosure shown above looks to be fairly large for use with an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler.  Our individual Cabinet Coolers have a maximum cooling capacity of 2,800 BTU/hr. (~820W), but we do provide dual Cabinet Cooler systems with capacities up to 5,600 BTU/hr. (~1642W).  So, although there are heat loads which are too large for use with an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler, we always perform heat load calculations for any potential application because until you run the numbers, you don’t really know.

Arrows identifying existing A/C unit

In this case, however, the customer already knew the required cooling capacity (~3,000 BTU/hr. or 880W) thanks to an existing refrigerant based system already installed (see arrows above).  This existing system was doing a great job of keeping the enclosure cool when it was working properly, but it was also prone to maintenance and breakdowns.  The facility maintenance technicians had replaced filters as required on their preventative maintenance programs, but the A/C unit still required replacement multiple times.  This would lead the maintenance team to open all the doors of the enclosure in an effort to remove heat, but this allowed dust and dirt to enter the cabinet and compromise the electronics inside.

Eventually, the maintenance, required repair, and exposure of sensitive electronics led this customer to search for an alternative solution, and they found the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler.  Once we determined the required cooling capacity and a suitable unit (model 4750 NEMA 4 Dual Cabinet Cooler System with 3,400 BTU/hr. (~1,000W) of cooling power), the discussion turned to installation and maintenance and we had a conversation something like this:

Customer: How much time do we need to hook up the Cabinet Cooler?

EXAIR: About five minutes.

Customer: That’s it!?

EXAIR:  That’s it!  I’ll send you a video of the installation process.

Customer:  Ok, what about PM (preventative maintenance)?

EXAIR:  There isn’t any.  Just feed it with clean, filtered compressed air and it will run for years.

Customer:  Ok, how do we turn it on and off?

EXAIR:  Well, you don’t have to.  You just install the thermostat and the system does the rest.  It’ll maintain whatever temperature setpoint you chose and comes preset to 95°F (35°C).

Customer:  What is the lead time?

EXAIR:  They’re in stock and ship same day.

After working through the application and questions from the customer, we were able to provide a sustainable, readily available solution that was a marked improvement from the maintenance prone refrigerant based system.  Our Cabinet Cooler allows for easy installation, no maintenance, and years of trouble-free operation.  If you have an overheating enclosure contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help you find a suitable solution.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Atomizing Spray Nozzles – Making The Case For Internal Mix

If you’ve ever cleaned around the house (and who hasn’t?), you’re probably familiar with atomized liquid spraying…it’s what happens when you squeeze the trigger on that bottle of cleaner that breaks down the stove top grease in the kitchen and the ring-around-the-tub in the bathroom.

There’s a variety of industrial and commercial applications that require an atomized liquid spray too…applications that are beyond the scope of an operator with a trigger-operated spray bottle. That’s where EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles come in. We have three types: Internal Mix, External Mix, and Siphon Fed. Depending on what you want to spray, and how you want to spray it, one of these is likely going to work better than the others for you. Today, we’re going to examine the Internal Mix Atomizing Spray Nozzles.

Internal Mix Atomizing Spray Nozzles are the perfect choice for fine mist and precise control.

Benefits:

Better mist: Because the liquid & air come together inside the air cap, this results in very fine atomization.

Range of adjustment: Regulating either the liquid or air pressure supply will change the flow rate AND the flow pattern, giving each individual nozzle a wide performance band.  The needle valve can “fine tune” the flow and pattern with even greater precision.

Area of coverage: With five patterns (Narrow or Wide Angle Round, Flat Fan, Deflected Flat Fan, and 360° Hollow Circular) and 72 distinct models to choose from, you can get spray patterns from 2″ (1/8 NPT Narrow Round Model AN8010SS) to 13 feet (1/2  NPT 360° Hollow Circular Model AT5010SS.)

Also, they can spray the liquid mist up to 40 feet away!

Flow rate: Again, because of the many models available, you can get from 0.6 gallons/hour (Model AN8010SS again) to 264 gallons/hour (1/2 NPT Wide Angle Round Model AW5030SS.)

Features:

No-Drip option: The standard Models have a needle valve, which, as mentioned above, gives you the ability to make minute changes to the flow rate & pattern.  If the application calls for rapid on/off control, or the chance of an errant drip after flow is not stopped might be a problem, the needle valve can be replaced with a No-Drip assembly.  This positively shuts off liquid flow, at the exit of the liquid cap, when air pressure is secured.

Instant on/off control by stopping the air flow is possible with the No Drip feature, available on any Atomizing Spray Nozzle

Easy installation: All of our Atomizing Spray Nozzles have female NPT (1/8, 1/4, or 1/2) ports.  The 1/8 and 1/4 NPT models can be adequately supported – and positioned – with a Stay Set Hose, and all models (even the 1/2 NPT) can be used with an appropriately sized Swivel Fitting.  If you want to use your own tubes or hoses, we’ve got “clip-in” style Mounting Brackets.

Mounting Brackets made for quick and easy installation.

Interchangeability: The only difference between any model of the same-size Atomizing Spray Nozzle is the Liquid and/or Air Cap.  If your application’s liquid spray requirements change, or vary, you don’t need to replace the whole nozzle; just one (or in some cases, both) of the caps.

Internal Mix Atomizing Spray Nozzles are ideal for liquid viscosity up to 300cP and in situations where the liquid is (or can be) pressure fed.  If you’d like to discuss a liquid spraying application and/or product selection, give me a call.

 

 

No Drip Atomizing Spray Nozzles Improve Pizza Crusts

I like some better than others, but I don’t believe I’ve ever had bad pizza. That’s why I was pretty excited when I got to talk to a caller from a popular pre-packaged pizza crust maker. When these crusts leave their oven, they spray a coating of seasoned oil on them. This not only flavors, but preserves the quality from the time they make & package them to the time I celebrate life with a tasty slice, right out of my oven.

They were using inexpensive liquid-only nozzles that led to an inconsistent application of the oil…sometimes too much; other times, too little. And, it was always spraying, even in between the individual crusts as they came down the conveyor, leading to wasted oil that had to be cleaned up later.

They were already familiar with our Super Air Nozzles, as they had several Model HP1125SS 2″ High Power Flat Super Air Nozzles in use for blowing off the packages prior to labeling, so the caller asked if we might have a solution for the oil too.

We did.

After considering the size of the crust and the distance at which they needed to install the nozzle, they decided to try a Model AF2010SS Internal Mix Flat Fan Pattern No-Drip Atomizing Spray Nozzle. This applies a consistent and even coating of oil, and, by feeding a signal from the oven controls into a solenoid valve in the compressed air supply line, they’ve eliminated the excess spray, leading to savings in material cost and cleanup time.

EXAIR No Drip Atomizing Spray Nozzles…controllable, fine mist on demand, with no mess.

If you’d like to know more about how EXAIR Atomizing Spray Nozzles can save you time, mess, and liquid, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Adjustable Spot Cooler: How Cold Can You Go?

I had the pleasure of discussing a spot cooling application with a customer this morning. He wanted to get more flow from his Adjustable Spot Cooler, but still keep the temperature very low.  He machines small plastic parts, and he’s got enough cold flow to properly cool the tooling (preventing melting of the plastic & shape deformation) but he wasn’t getting every last little chip or piece of debris off the part or the tool.

After determining that he had sufficient compressed air capacity, we found that he was using the 15 SCFM Generator. The Adjustable Spot Cooler comes with three Generators…any of the three will produce cold air at a specific temperature drop; this is determined only by the supply pressure (the higher your pressure, the colder your air) and the Cold Fraction (the percentage of the air supply that’s directed to the cold end…the lower the Cold Fraction, the colder the air.)

Anyway, the 15 SCFM Generator is the lowest capacity of the three, producing 1,000 Btu/hr of cooling. The other two are rated for 25 and 30 SCFM (1,700 and 2,000 Btu/hr, respectively.)

He decided to try and replace the 15 SCFM Generator with the 30 SCFM one…his thought was “go big or go home” – and found that he could get twice the flow, with the same temperature drop, as long as he maintained 100psig compressed air pressure at the inlet port.  This was more than enough to blow the part & tool clean, while keeping the cutting tool cool, and preventing the plastic part from melting.

Model 3925 Adjustable Spot Cooler System comes with a Dual Outlet Hose Kit, and three Generators for a wide range of cooling performance.

If you’d like to find out how to get the most from a Vortex Tube Spot Cooling Product, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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The Case For The Cold Gun

Albert Einstein famously said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” And unless it’s in a perfect vacuum when it moves, there’s gonna be friction. Especially if it’s in contact with something else besides air.  And where there’s friction, there’s heat. This pretty much applies to almost every single evolution in the manufacture of…well, just about everything.

I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know, but heat can be a BIG problem.  It can:

  • Shorten tool life. Not only do worn tools take longer to cut, they can also present safety issues.  You can get hurt WAY worse by a dull blade than a sharp one.
  • Cause thermal expansion. If you’re machining something to a precise tolerance, and friction heat causes it to grow, it won’t be the same size when it cools down.
  • Melt plastics. And even softer metals.  This isn’t good for the part…or the tool, either.

Those are just a few of the problems heat causes in manufacturing operations, and they’ve been traditionally addressed with mist (liquid) coolants.  And they work just fine…most of them are water-based, and if you want to get heat out of a solid piece of something, water will do the job VERY quickly.  Other additives in the coolant provide a measure of lubricity, corrosion control, emulsion prevention, etc.  It’s easy, well-known, and time-tested.  There are some drawbacks, however:

  • It can be messy.  When a part (or a tool) in motion gets sprayed down with liquid, it tends to fling that liquid all over the place.  That’s why most machines fitted with mist coolant have spray shields.
  • Not only is it a hassle to clean up, if you don’t stay on top of the clean-up, it can lead to slip hazards.
  • Speaking of hazards, if you can smell that mist (and you know you can,) that means you’re breathing it in too.  Remember the lubricants, corrosion inhibitors, emulsion preventers, etc., I mentioned above?  Yeah…they’re not all what you might call “good for you.”
  • Recirculation systems are common, which means the coolant sump is gathering solids, so the lines and/or spray nozzles can clog and be rendered useless.

EXAIR Cold Gun Aircoolant Systems not only address all of the above problems with heat, but eliminate all the problems associated with liquid coolant:

  • They incorporate EXAIR’s Vortex Tube technology to produce a stream of cold air.
  • They’re reliable.  There are no moving parts; if you supply them with clean, dry air, they’ll run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.
  • They’re quick & easy.  With a built-in magnet for mounting and a flexible cold air hose, you can be be blowing cold air right where you want it as quickly as you can attach an air hose and open the valve.
  • Speaking of opening the valve, that’s all it takes to run a Cold Gun.  They’re producing cold air at rated flow and temperature, right away.  No “ramp up” time to get into operation.
  • They’re clean.  That cold air stream just becomes…well, air.  No mess.  No slip.  No clean up.  No smell.  No problem.

We’ve got four Models to choose from, depending on the nature of the application:

Both the standard and the High Power come with a Filter Separator, and are available with a one, or two, outlet cold air hose.

If you need to cool parts or tools down, and want it to be effective and clean, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Intelligent Compressed Air: Membrane Dryers – What are they and How Do they Work?

Recently we have blogged about Compressed Air Dryers and the different types of systems.  We have reviewed the Desiccant and Refrigerant types of dryers, and today I will discuss the basics of  the Membrane type of dryers.

All atmospheric air that a compressed air system takes in contains water vapor, which is naturally present in the air.  At 75°F and 75% relative humidity, 20 gallons of water will enter a typical 25 hp compressor in a 24 hour period of operation.  When the the air is compressed, the water becomes concentrated and because the air is heated due to the compression, the water remains in vapor form.  Warmer air is able to hold more water vapor, and generally an increase in temperature of 20°F results in a doubling of amount of moisture the air can hold. The problem is that further downstream in the system, the air cools, and the vapor begins to condense into water droplets. To avoid this issue, a dryer is used.

Membrane Dryers are the newest type of compressed air dryer. Membranes are commonly used to separate gases, such as removing nitrogen from air. The membrane consists of a group of hollow fiber tubes.  The tubes are designed so that water vapor will permeate and pass through the membrane walls faster than the air.  The dry air continues on through the tubes and discharges into the downstream air system. A small amount of ‘sweep’ air is taken from the dry air to purge and remove the water vapor from inside the dryer that has passed through the membrane tubes.

Membrane Dryer
Typical Membrane Dryer Arrangement

Resultant dew points of 40°F are typical, and dew points down to -40°F are possible but require the use of more purge air, resulting in less final dry compressed air discharging to the system.

The typical advantages of Membrane Dryers are-

  1.  Low installation and operating costs
  2.  Can be installed outdoors
  3.  Can be used in hazardous locations
  4.  No moving parts

There are a few disadvantages to consider-

  1. Limited to low capacity systems
  2. High purge air losses (as high as 15-20% to achieve lowest pressure dew points
  3. Membrane can be fouled by lubricants and other contaminants, a coalescing type filter is required before the membrane dryer.

If you have questions about getting the most from your compressed air system, or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent 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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Membrane Dryer Schematic – From Compressed Air Challenge, Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems, Second Edition