How To Solve A Problem with Compressed Air

In my (almost) six years as an EXAIR Application Engineer, I’ve learned a great many things about the capabilities of our products.  The way we do business sure does make it easy:

  • We readily share application information, as a team.  If you ask me a question, you’re asking all of us.  It does neither of us any good if I tell you something MIGHT work if one of my team knows it WON’T – or if someone knows what else DOES work.  If we can offer a solution, we will.
  • We’ll test your product, free of charge.  This is a popular way of finding out which Line Vac is best for conveying a particular product, for example.
  • If you’re considering a quiet, safe, and efficient EXAIR product as an upgrade, we’ll test your current product in our award winning Efficiency Lab, so you can compare accurate performance data and analyze the expected benefits…which can be dramatic.  Try us on that.
exair-testin
Line Vac conveyance rate testing (left;) Efficiency Lab testing (right.)

 

  • We’ll let YOU test our product, risk-free.  All catalog products come with a 30 Day Unconditional Guarantee.  We invite you to put it through its paces for up to a month.  If it’s not working out, we’ll arrange return for full credit.
  • We’ll do the math.  But first, a disclaimer: strictly comparing the force or flow of an engineered product to an open-end blow off won’t always tell the tale.  Our Intelligent Compressed Air Products are creating a laminar flow which won’t generate as high of a force/thrust as open-end blowing (which is turbulent by nature,) but is MUCH more conducive to efficiency and noise reduction, as well as similar (if not improved) performance.  But back to the math: if you know the metrics you need to meet for spot cooling (like a Vortex Tube, Adjustable Spot Cooler, Cold Gun, etc.) or for liquid spraying (the liquid flow rate and/or pattern size & shape from an Atomizing Spray Nozzle, for instance,) or the heat load that a Cabinet Cooler System can handle, we’ll do the calculations and specify the appropriate product.

Regardless of the application, if it can be solved with compressed air, it’s very likely that we have a great solution.  Call me to find out how we can help.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Mini Cooler Increases Production and Revenue in a Sewing Process

Big and small companies are always looking to increase revenue. One way to do this for manufacturers is to speed up the manufacturing process.

carpet
Carpets hanging for sale

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.

Mini Cooler
Mini Cooler

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.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Carpets by Moyan Brenn under Creative Commons License

Mini Cooler Cools Hot Glue Beads

A few weeks ago I worked with a nail and staple gun manufacturer on a glue cooling process involving their collated nail strips. To keep the nails together, they place a small amount of hot glue across the body of the nails and then have an open air line blowing compressed air on the glue to secure a good bond between the pieces. The current process used to work great, but they recently made a change to the type of glue they were using and now they are starting to see more rejects as the heat from the glue isn’t able to be removed quick enough with ambient air. The customer is familiar with EXAIR as they currently use some of our other products in various applications throughout their plant but in this particular case, they were unsure of the best product to fit their needs so they reached out for assistance.

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Example of collated nail strip

For this particular application, I suggested the customer use our Mini Cooler. The Mini Cooler is specifically designed for small area or small part cooling applications. The Mini Cooler uses less compressed air than our Cold Gun but still produces the same 50°F temperature drop from the incoming supply air temperature. So say your plant air is 70°F, you would see 20°F air being exhausted from the unit. The device features a flexible hose, allowing the user to focus the cold air to the desired location, in this case right at the glue which would provide the quicker, more reliable solution the customer was needing. Installation is a breeze as well, thanks to the included magnetic base, you don’t need to make any expensive modifications or add any type of mounting brackets to the existing setup.

3808
The Mini Cooler is the ideal choice for small part cooling.

EXAIR offers a wide variety of spot cooling products that provide a low cost, maintenance free solution for large or small scale cooling processes. With help selecting the best product to fit your specific need or to discuss your particular application, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Best Regards,
Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Nails image courtesy of Joy Kirr via Creative Commons license

 

EXAIR Cold Gun Provides Dry Cooling for Gang Drill

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A gang drill in need of dry cooling

When working with machining centers of any sort, proper cooling is critical to producing in-spec parts.  Inadequate cooling deteriorates the tooling and can lead to defective or rejected parts, so most of us try to avoid overheating whenever possible.  Traditionally, the best way to cool the cutting blade or bit of a machining center was to use liquid coolant, routing the liquid to the required areas of the machine, and then reclaiming the coolant to be used again while cleaning the finished parts of the coolant residue.

This process, while effective, creates a considerable amount of cleanup, both for the machining area, and for the machined parts.  Because of this, dry cooling can provide distinct advantages when compared to a traditional setup.

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Liquid cooling spilled onto the floor as a result of machining operations

In the setup shown above, a gang drill with 24 drill heads cuts into various aluminum profiles.  As shown in the picture, the process generates a significant strings and chips, and the current setup using liquid cooling results in coolant outside of the desired workspace (see the red arrow in the bottom right, highlighting liquid coolant on the floor – a potential safety hazard).  The end user in this case was in search of a way to maintain cooling for the drills while eliminating the liquid spillover.  The solution, was the EXAIR Cold Gun model 5315 with two cold outlets

When faced with the potential to outfit a machine with a completely new cooling system, we’ve found that a short test can go a long way toward implementing a proper solution.  So, testing a single Cold Gun with two outlets can be tested on a single drill head, with the results reviewed before installing additional units onto the machine.  Our Application Engineering team is available to assist this customer every step of the way with product selection, installation and testing results, and full machine outfitting.

Providing a viable solution and service to the customer have opened the door to removing liquid cooling from this machine.  This will eliminate cleaning of the aluminum profiles after machining, thus reducing the total input required to produce a finished product, and it will eliminate the safety hazard of having liquid coolant on the floor surrounding the machine as well.

If you have a similar application or would like to speak to an Application Engineer about dry cooling, give us a call – we’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Adjustable Spot Cooler Keeps Band Saw Blade Cool

flir image
Heat camera image of band saw blade heat

We run into interesting applications that require cooling all the time. Here’s an example of a spot cooling application for a tire cutting application that used a FLIR camera to show the heat generated within the band saw blade.

The customer is a world supplier of tires for various vehicles from ATV to construction use. And they have a need to cut tires up for quality control testing as well as R&D purposes. They were looking for a low cost and efficient way to cool the blade without using liquid coolant or water as those methods require implementation of waste handling schemes that this customer did not want to deal with. So, they came to EXAIR as they knew we specialized in cold air cooling products. Specifically, they had interest in model 3925 (Dual Point, Adjustable Spot Cooler System). The dual point hose kit would allow for even cooling on both sides of the band saw blade. After discussing their application details, we agreed that model 3925 would be the best offering we could make to the customer. As we have a band saw in our workshop, I located some rubber material that we had with similar properties to a tire and made some quick tests to determine that in fact, model 3925 allowed for only a modest 5°C rise in temperature. The customer was quite satisfied at our test result and purchased 4 units for their band saws.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com

@EXAIR_NR

 

The Adjustable Spot Cooler Provides High Flexibility and Effectiveness

A customer emailed me with some questions about the using the EXAIR spot cooling technology for use on PEEK material being machined in a Swiss Turning machine. Typically, apart from drilling and parting, coolants are not necessary for thermoplastic machining operations.  In order to obtain the best surface finish and tightest tolerances, keeping the cutting area cool is required.  The ideal goal was to provide sub-zero air to the cutting area, while being quiet and easy to operate.  After reviewing the various EXAIR spot cooling products, it was determined that the Adjustable Spot Cooler System would satisfy all of the requirements.

asc-single-point-2
Model 3825 Adjustable Spot Cooler System

The Adjustable Spot Cooler System shown above is capable of producing temperatures from -30°F to room temperature, with just the turn of a knob.  Included in the package are (2) additional generators, which allow for more or less cold air flow rate, depending on the application cooling needs.  With the magnetic base, the system can be easily positioned, and the flexible hose allows for precise aim of the cold air flow. And, sound levels are kept below 75 dBA.

asc_onlathecmyk
Model 3825 Used in a Turning Operation

To recap, the Adjustable Spot Cooler System provides adjustable cold air temperature with the simple turn of a knob, includes additional generators to provide wide ranging flow rates, has a magnetic base to allow for positioning anywhere, on any machine, and has a flexible hose for directing the cold air wherever it is needed.

I would say that it is a Very Adjustable Spot Cooler.

To discuss spot cooling and your application, we ask you to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Cooling Copper Welds with an Adjustable Spot Cooler

In the video above, two strands of braided copper wire are welded together in an automated process.  As the wire travels through the machine, it is heated to 600-800°C (~1100-1500°F) to fuse together, cooled, then cut into strips.  The original setup (shown in the video), was to use water to cool the copper after welding, but this proved to be undesired because residual water was left in the copper braid, leading to quality control problems.  But without proper cooling, the heat created during welding would stress the copper and reduce the quality of the product.

In an effort to remove the liquid cooling from the application, the customer was considering whether a Vortex Tube solution would be able to remove enough heat from the copper in the required timeframe of 10-15 seconds.  The end goal was to maintain the production level of the process, but to remove liquid from the application, and cool the welded copper to 200°C (~400°F).  In order to allow for on-the-fly adjustment, an Adjustable Spot Cooler was chosen for testing purposes.

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This setup surrounded the welded copper with freezing cold air

To configure this setup, the cold outlet of the Adjustable Spot Cooler was fed into a tube surrounding the copper braids (shown above).  This tube surrounded the welded copper with below freezing air to remove the heat and cool the copper.

before-and-after
Results of installing the Adjustable Spot Cooler

The results of this setup are shown above.  On the left is the output of the process without cooling from the Adjustable Spot Cooler (copper of this quality fails quality control checks), and on the right is the output from the same process, but with cooling from the Adjustable Spot Cooler.  The copper on the right is welded, cooled, and will pass quality control checks – all without the use of liquid cooling.

Removing liquid cooling from this application increases the quality of this production process, all while maintaining the same production levels.  And, this customer is now considering the use of a “stronger” Vortex Tube solution which may provide for increases in the throughput of the production process.

To discuss a similar application, or any application in need of a compressed-air based solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE