I was recently contacted by a plastics manufacturer who was needing some solutions for problem areas in their production processes. The company imports their machines from overseas and they are outfitted with a coolant based, quench system for the tooling. They were wanting to get away from using coolant as the parts were absorbing liquid, causing them to swell, not to mention the mess they were creating, requiring more time and labor to dry and clean the parts manually.
For the first application, replacing the messy misting system, I recommended the customer use our Cold Gun System, Model # 5215. The Cold Gun uses Vortex Tube technology to produce a cold air stream 50°F lower than the incoming compressed air supply temperature. For example, if your supply air was ambient 70°F, you would effectively see 20°F air at the exhaust. This clean, cold air stream can be easily directed to the needed area to prevent any warping or other damage related to heat, while also blowing away the machined fines.
The second part of the process involved the recovery of the plastic scrap and chips created during the machining process. Once again, EXAIR has the ideal solution with our Chip Vac, Industrial Vacuum. The Chip Vac creates a powerful vacuum, with no moving parts or motors to wear out, making them virtually maintenance free. The Chip Vac is designed to vacuum dry or wet chips and collect them in a standard, open-top steel drum. Systems are available in 5, 30, 55 or 110 gallon capacities.
To discuss how EXAIR products might help improve your machining process, give us a call at 800-903-9247.
Now through the end of 2017 if you purchase a Single-Point Cold Gun Kit with Model W5215 for the standard Cold Gun or W5230 for the High Power Cold Gun, we’ll include a free Model 5902 Dual Point Hose Kit, a $35.00 value!!
EXAIR’s Cold Gun was a Product of the Year finalist in 2007. By using only a source of compressed air, the Cold Gun and High Power Cold Gun produces a stream of clean, cold air 50° (28°C) below your compressed air supply temperature. The Cold Gun is very quiet at only 70dBA and has no moving parts to wear out. Just supply it with clean, dry compressed air and its maintenance free!
The Cold Gun is pre-set to an 80% Cold Fraction. In other words, 80% of the compressed air supplied to it will exhaust from the cold end of the tube, 20% from the hot end. This prevents the Cold Gun from freezing up during use and optimizes the gun’s cooling capacity. The Cold Gun is an ideal alternative to messy and expensive coolant mist systems. It eliminates the cost of purchase and disposal of cutting fluids as well as worker related health problems from breathing airborne coolant or slipping on wet floors. Replacing a coolant based system also eliminates the need for secondary cleaning operations after milling or drilling.
The Cold Gun is an invaluable tool for machining a wide range of plastics and other materials that may become contaminated when using traditional coolants or oils. The clean, cold air from the outlet of the Cold Gun keeps the part cool, clean, and dry. Take for example this application where an OEM for the plastics industry uses EXAIR Cold Guns in place of a coolant system.
If you have an application that you believe would be better served by the use of an EXAIR Cold Gun, give us a call. Get one on order today and take advantage of receiving a FREE Dual Point Hose Kit!
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.
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:
If you need to cool parts or tools down, and want it to be effective and clean, give me a call.
During a recent visit with our Hungarian Distributor, I had the opportunity to take a look at an application using some EXAIR Adjustable Spot Coolers and Mini Coolers. The company manufactures cataract lenses and is using the coolers in a dry machining application. The previous process involved using a liquid coolant which caused a washing operation to remove the contaminants before the lenses could move on to the next step of the process. This was not only time consuming, but the solution they needed to use as a coolant was very expensive due to strict regulations that they had to adhere to.
The lenses are set up on a lathe which are precisely cut. The Adjustable Spot Coolers were positioned with the cold airflow just at the point of cutting to keep the temperature at a specific point. If the lenses get too hot, the material becomes less rigid and begins to warp. When this happens, the lens cannot be reworked and must be scrapped. Immediately after coming off of the lathe, an inspector places the lens under a microscope for inspection. At this point, a Mini Cooler is installed to ensure that the temperature of the lens stays cold. If the lens passes inspection, it is immediately placed in a small freezer next to the operator. Temperature probes are in place at several points during the process to ensure that they do not go above the specified temperature.
By implementing a solution with the Adjustable Spot Cooler, this customer was able to boost productivity by removing a cleaning step from the process and also reduce costs by eliminating the need for the costly coolant solution that was required. If you’d like to replace messy coolant systems in your machining operation with a clean compressed air solution, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to look at your process and recommend the most suitable solution.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re looking at replacing messy coolant mist systems, look no further than the Adjustable Spot Cooler. EXAIR’s Adjustable Spot Cooler incorporates Vortex Tube technology to produce temperatures ranging from -30°F – +70°F. A Vortex Tube works by imparting a rapid spinning motion to the supplied compressed air. This airflow makes its way to the end of the tube where it is forced to abruptly change directions. It is during this change of direction that energy is given off in the form of heat. The hot air then exits the tube from the hot end, while cold air exits the other end of the tube. As the valve is opened to allow more air to exhaust from the hot end, the temperature at the cold end will decrease. At a sound level of just 73 dBA when operated at 100 psig and stock generator installed, this compact cooler will keep your operation cool, clean and dry without causing unnecessarily high noise levels.
When looking at a Vortex Tube based solution, the variety of options can sometimes be daunting. This is where the versatility of the Adjustable Spot Cooler shines. Through a simple turn of the control knob, you can easily adjust the temperature and cold fraction of the unit. Additionally, the kits come with (2) extra generators (15-H and 30-H) that can be swapped out for the stock generator for more/less cooling power and air consumption. The 15-H generator will deliver up to 1,000 Btu/hr of cooling capacity and the 30-H will provide up to 2,000 Btu/hr of cooling capacity. We have (2) different kits available, the Model 3825 Single Point and the Model 3925 Dual Point Kit. The 3825 is recommended for use in applications where you’re cooling a small surface such as solder joints, hot melts, or drilled plastics. The 3925 system is better served when heat is generated over a larger surface area such as saw blade cooling. The kits use flexible Loc-Line hose to allow you to precisely position the cold airflow onto your target. The Adjustable Spot Cooler provides easy mounting with a swivel magnetic base, allowing you to mount the cooler directly at the most critical point that heat is being generated.
If you’re tired of cleaning up your coolant or have an application that requires dry machining, get one of the Adjustable Spot Cooler systems on order today. They’re in stock ready to ship!
Vortex Tubes use compressed air to create a stream of cold air and a stream of hot air. As the compressed air enters the unit, it travels through a spin chamber which spins the air at speeds up to 1,000,000 RPM producing temperatures ranging from -50°F to +260°F and providing cooling up to 10,200 Btu/hr. With no maintenance requited and no moving parts, they have become quite popular in large and small scale cooling applications in place of more conventional methods of cooling.
EXAIR has incorporated this technology into several different products like our Cabinet Cooler Systems used to cool electrical panels and our Cold Guns commonly used to replace messy mist systems in tool cooling, milling and machining operations. For smaller scale processes we offer our Mini Cooler System which provides a 50°F temperature drop from the compressed air supply temperature and 550 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity.
I recently worked with a small, custom knife manufacturer who was looking for a way to keep his tooling cool during production. As the blades are made, he uses a small rotary die tool to shape and sharpen the blade. He also makes his own handles out of materials like wood, ceramics or other metals, which get etched with a custom design into the surface. The heat generated during theses processes, causes the tooling to either bend or break completely, resulting in damage to the knife blade and burns or breaks in the wood and ceramic handles. After looking at our spot cooling products online, he familiarized himself with the Vortex Tube technology but with only 12.9 SCFM of air available, he was unsure what product would best fit his application.
With the limited amount of air available, the Model # 3808 Mini Cooler System was the perfect solution. The Mini Cooler uses only 8 SCFM @ 100 PSIG, falling well within the capacity of his current compressor. The integral magnetic base would ensure an easy installation and with the included flexible hose, he could direct the cold air to the needed area.
For help with your spot cooling needs or to discuss how the Vortex Tube technology could help in your process, contact an application engineer for assistance.