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

Don’t Waste Money On Your Waste Removal

Lately, we have been receiving calls from customers that are looking for a wet/dry vac that they are accustomed to seeing in the form of an electrical vacuum for their home work shop.  They call us wanting a general clean up vacuum for their shop.  The items they are looking to clean up are coolant, dust and chips.  Our solution for this is to run two vacuums, and most people are asking why can’t it do both.  The answer – cost.

Generally, people seeking EXAIR’s pneumatic vacuums already see the value in the durability of a vacuum with no moving parts to maintain or replace when comparing to electric vacuums. It is the simplest of dollar savings,  the longer the product lasts and is maintenance free, the more money you will save from the absence of repair parts or new vacuums. And electric vacuums are notorious for burning up motors and not lasting within tough industrial environments. You can read about additional features/benefits within EXAIR’s pneumatic vacuum line here and here, but I will talk about our products specifications in detail.

EXAIR has two categories of vacuum, wet vacs and dry vacs.  The original wet vac for vacuuming coolant, swarf, or oil is the Reversible Drum Vac (RDV), used to easily empty and fill coolant sumps quickly. The Chip Trapper features a filtration system which removes chips and debris that is within the coolant, keeping the coolant clean, extending the coolant life and minimizing surfaces for bacteria to grow.  The Reversible Drum Vac and the Chip Trapper Systems use 19 SCFM of compressed air at 80 PSIG of and can fill a drum with 55 gallons of water in 90 seconds. These workhorse vacuums will last many years and withstand the rugged treatment found in hardworking manufacturing facilities.

Drum Vac

In the other category of  our industrial vacuums are the “dry” vacuums.  This term “dry” is a little ambiguous, because the vacuums will be able to move some liquid.  For instance, the liquid coating a chip or spills on the shop floor can easily be picked up with the dry vacuums.  We have a number of dry vacuums available:  The Chip Vac is a continuous duty vacuum used for general cleanup around machinery. The Chip Vac drum lid assembly can be used from drum to drum to aid in separating and recycling materials. Our Heavy Duty Dry Vac is best for applications vacuuming heavy materials, abrasive medias or longer distance (20′). And the Heavy Duty HEPA Vac is designed to provide protection from airborne particulate and is suited for dusty environments.

Exair-heavy-duty-HEPA-vacuum

To compare EXAIR products with other pneumatic vacuums, let’s look at the Chip Vac (40 SCFM at 80 PSIG) and the RDV above (19 SCFM at 80 PSIG). Combining the two vacuums you would require (59 SCFM at 80 PSIG. If you search long enough, you could find a pneumatic vacuum that is advertised as wet/dry, but this ability comes at a cost.  The most obvious cost is the upfront purchase price, which is consistently much higher than the combined cost of the (2) EXAIR units.  Also the units range in air use from 68 SCFM to 110 SCFM.  That is up to 86% more air required!

Let’s assume that you did run both constantly.  The wet/dry vac will cost you $0.14 extra an hour to run, assuming that your compressed air cost is $0.25 per 1,000 SCF.  That is really an unfair comparison to our products though, because we could have (2) vacuums operating at different locations in the plant accomplishing twice as much work.  Even still the (2) EXAIR units will save $810 per year with 250 working days in a year and 24 working hours in a day.

$810 per year may not sound like to much to you.  What if we change the scenario? How much air can you save? Let’s say you run a large wet/dry vacuum, which consumes 110 SCFM, everyday for 8 hours over 250 working days. The wet/dry vacuum will use 52,800 SCF per day or 13,200,000 SCF per year.  This compress air will cost you $3,300 just to compress that air. By comparison, the Chip Vac will only cost you $1,200 per year to run in compressed air.  Using the Chip Vac instead of the wet/dry vac, will save you $2,100 per year. in compressed air operating costs.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

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