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.
If you’d like to find out how to get the most from a Vortex Tube Spot Cooling Product, give me a call.
In my previous blog about the manufacturing facility that machined small plastic components for the medical industry, I explained how the Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit was able to improve the machining process by eliminating static. (You can read the blog here: EXAIR Ion Air Jets: Phase 1 for improving medical devices). With their machining center being in a semi-clean room, cleanliness was very important. So, after each machining operation, they would have to sweep the plastic chips from the machining table and discard. This extended the cycle time in their machining operation.
Since they had such a great relationship with EXAIR in dealing with their previous application, they contacted us again to improve their cleanup operation. Non-conductive materials like plastic generates static on the surface when the material is peeled, shifted, or rubbed against another surface. Since we removed the static from the plastic shavings with the Stay Set Ion Air Jet, we wanted to target that area before static could regenerate and start “sticking” to clean parts. In getting more details about their setup, they were machining with vertical CNC mills. The mills had a platform table that had a pneumatic fixture to grab the medical part. Before machining began, the operators would have to close Plexiglas doors as a safety requirement. The CNC mills did have an opening at the top of the machine. (This was where they were supplying the Stay Set Ion Air Jet with compressed air and power supply.)
With my experience, I had a good suggestion for refining their cleaning operation. I suggested the model 6193-5 Mini Chip Vac System. This system uses compressed air to generate a vacuum for picking up chips. The vacuum generator does not have any moving parts or bearings to wear; so, they are very durable and long-lasting. The Mini Chip Vac System uses a 5 gallon drum which is very compact and easy to use in tight areas. The system includes a 0.1 micron filter to keep all the contamination inside the drum and not allowing it to escape back into the room air. (Very necessary in a semi-clean location.) Even for its small size, the Mini Chip Vac is very powerful and quiet. It has a decibel rating of only 77 dBA; so, noise will not be a nuisance when operating the vacuum. It comes standard with a 10 foot vacuum hose which make it easy to reach into tight areas to clean.
As a suggestion, I recommended that they could collect the plastic shaving during the machining process Instead of waiting until after the operation to clean. They could mount the Mini Chip Vac drum near the machine, and bring in the vacuum hose through the opening at the top. The suction end of the vacuum could be placed on the opposite side of the Stay Set Ion Air Jet. In conjunction, the Stay Set Ion Air Jet would remove the static and swarf from the plastic surface; at the same time, the Mini Chip Vac would collect and remove the plastic shavings from the machining area. This combination of EXAIR products would keep the parts clean as well as the machining area. When they installed the Mini Chip Vac System into their process, they almost doubled their production rate.
If you are dealing with messy chips in your machining operation, the EXAIR Chip Vac Systems can be a solution for you. For the customer above, I was able to find a simple way to use the Mini Chip Vac to keep the area clean and increase their production rates. If you are spending too much time in cleaning up your area, you can contact an Application Engineer to find the best solution to streamline your operation.
A manufacturing facility was machining small plastic components for the medical industry. They had their machining center located in a semi-clean room to keep dust and debris from getting onto the product. As a procedure before entering the machining area, the operators would have to put on a lab jacket, wear hats, step on tack matts, and then test themselves for static buildup. This was to ensure the operators were not bringing in contamination. For this company, there was a high importance in keeping the area and the parts very clean.
With any non-conductive material like plastic, static is a common problem. Static causes things to “stick” to the surface like a magnet. Stuff like dirt, dust, and in this case; the swarf from the machining process. When the plastic material was being machined, static would build and cause the fragments to stick to the part. This was causing surface defects on the components which caused a rejection failure. They tried to use a small brush to keep the fragments from gathering, but it was not real effective. They decided to contact EXAIR to see if we could eliminate the problematic issues caused by static.
When it comes to removing static, EXAIR has a large product line of Static Eliminators. Our design creates both positive and negative ions to remove any type of static charge. In most of our systems, we can use compressed air to carry the ions to the problem areas to remove the static. Then the air can easily blow the debris from the surface. For the above operation, this company needed a hands-free device. Since the size of the products being machined were small, I recommended the Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit; model 8494-9362. This kit includes an Ion Air Jet, magnetic base, a 12” Stay Set Hose, power supply, filter and regulator (a complete startup kit to begin removing static). The Ion Air Jet delivers a concentrated air flow of ionized air that can be focused on the parts. With a small amount of compressed air, the Ion Air Jet induces the surrounding air at a ratio of 5:1; making it very efficient to use. The magnetic base and the Stay Set Hose allows for easy maneuverability to direct the ionized air at the best position for maximum effectiveness in removing the swarf.
Once they installed the model 8494-9362 onto the CNC platform near the part, they started to see much improvement in their process. As the Ion Air Jet was keeping the surface clean during machining, the reject rate for surface defects were reduced over 90%. Another benefit that they saw was the reduction in time for cleaning after the machining process. It was already debris-free and ready for the next operation. One other thing that they did notice was the surface roughness was much “cleaner”. They believed that the air from the Ion Air Jet was removing the heat from the tool and the surface of the part during the machining. This allowed for a smoother and cleaner finish.
If you are dealing with plastic and non-conductive materials, the EXAIR Static Eliminators are designed to make your process run more efficiently by removing the static. It was a great benefit for the above manufacturer to keep the product clean, reduce defects, and streamline their operation. If you have issues with static, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see how we can eliminate it.
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.
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.
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.