Choosing the Right Vortex Tube – Max Refrigeration vs. Max Cold Temperature

The Vortex Tube is a low cost, reliable, maintenance free way to provide cooling to a wide variety of industrial spot cooling problems.

VT_air2

There are two (2) popular uses for the Vortex Tubes.  One is to spot cool a warm item as fast as possible.  The other is to chill an item to as low a temperature as possible. Because these are very different requirements, different Vortex Tube configurations exist to handle each.

For those applications of spot cooling, we recommend the 3200 series of Vortex Tubes. They are designed to be most efficient at providing maximum refrigeration, which is a function of high cold air flow rate and moderate temperature differential of the cold air to the warm item.

And for those applications of chilling an item to a very low temperature at low flow rate , we recommend the 3400 series of Vortex Tubes.  They are designed to be most efficient at providing maximum cold air temperatures, but with a lower cold air flow rate.

An important parameter for the Vortex Tubes is the Cold Fraction.  By adjusting the hot valve on a vortex tube, the amount of air that is discharged through the cold end changes. When expressed as a percentage of the total compressed air that is supplied to the vortex tube, we get the Cold Fraction.  For example, if the hot valve is adjusted so that for every 10 parts of compressed air supplied, we get 7 parts of cold air, then we have a 70% Cold Fraction. When you know the Cold fraction setting and the compressed air supply pressure, you can use the Vortex Tube Performance tables and get the cold air discharge temperature.

Using the table below left, at 100 PSIG compressed air pressure and a 70% Cold Fraction, we can expect the cold air discharge temperature drop to be 71°F.  With 70 ° compressed air temperature, the cold air will be at -1°F.

Vortex Tube Charts
Vortex Tube Performance Tables

The 3200 series of Vortex Tubes are for use in the 50-80% Cold Fraction range, and the model 3400 series is designed for use in the 20-50% Cold Fraction ranges, to maximize the performance of each.

In summary, the selection of the Vortex Tube that best meets the application needs is based on the desired cold air flow rate, and the temperature of air desired. Once these are known, using the tables can provide the information needed to select the best option.

For those applications where we are unsure what will work best, we offer the EXAIR Cooling Kits, that include a Vortex Tube (small, medium, or large) and an array of Generators, to allow the configuration of the full range of Vortex Tubes within each size family.

  • Model 3908 – Small Vortex Tube Cooling Kit – build models 3202, 3204, 3208, and 3402, 3404, 3408
  • Model 3930 – Medium Vortex Tube Cooling Kit – build models 3210, 3215, 3225, 3230, 3240, and 3410, 3415, 3425, 3430, 3440
  • Model 3998 – Large Vortex Tube Cooling Kit – build models 3250, 3275, 3298, 3299, and models 3450, 3475, 3498, 3499

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If you have questions about Vortex Tubes or any of the 16 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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EXAIR’s High Power Cold Gun Keeps Saw Blade Cool in Mining Operation

Our distributor in Peru recently contacted me with an application they were working on with a customer of theirs that deals in the mining industry. They are one of the largest gold mining companies in South America and were looking for a means of keeping their saw blades cool without having to use any type of coolant or water.

In this specific application, they had been using water to maintain the temperature of the blade while cutting. While this did work, it created quite a mess and also resulted in product contamination. The water on the floor presented a slipping hazard and production would have to periodically be halted so that someone could come by and clean the mess off of the floor. So, not only were they creating a contamination issue, but also a safety concern as well as lost production time.

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Cold Guns installed

Our distributor introduced them to EXAIR and our line of Cold Gun Spot Cooling Products. By replacing the water cooling with (2) Model 5230 Cold Gun systems, they were able to maintain the temperature of the blade at 24°C (75°F), well within their specifications. This allowed them to completely eliminate the need for water as a cooling method, improving their worker safety as well as increasing production.

Efixo Demo Cold Gun.png1

EXAIR’s Cold Gun utilizes Vortex Tube technology to create two streams of air: one hot and one cold. The hot air is muffled and exhausted, while the cold air is also muffled and ducted to deliver a cold stream of air directly onto the material needing to be cooled. With only a supply of clean, dry compressed air required to operate, installation is quick and easy. Since the Cold Gun has no moving parts to wear out, there’s also no maintenance required so long as the Auto-Drain filter included in the kit is installed upstream of the Cold Gun.

If you’re tired of dealing with messy water-based cooling systems or equally messy coolants, give an Application Engineer a call today and try out a Cold Gun. With our Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee, there’s absolutely no risk to do so!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

EXAIR’s Adjustable Spot Cooler: A Versatile Tool for Your Cooling Needs!

 

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.

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Critical tolerances are maintained on plastic parts using the Adjustable Spot Cooler

 

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.

3825_3925 adj spot cooler

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!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Multiple Products Provide a Solution to Improve a Laminated Sign Making Process

A manufacturer that produces laminated signs contacted EXAIR for a blow off application. Being that we are experts in this area, I thought this would be a simple solution. The conversation started out about the signs that they manufacture. They are laminated sheets that have a thin aluminum film with a coating on the front and back sides. Their process was to cut stacks of these signs that he called books to specific dimensions. Here is how the conversation went in a shortened version:

Problem –

  1. I need to blow off chips from the saw process.
  2. It has to be strong enough to remove the chips that are melted into the face of the laminate.
  3. When the blade gets dull, the chips become hotter. The operator has to blow on the blade as it is cutting to reduce the amount of chips that melt into the laminated face.
  4. After the machine finishes and the books are removed, the table lifts up and disposes of the excess chips.

Solution –

  1.  Model 1122 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle to blow a wide area off the top of the signs after sawing.
Model 1122: 2
2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

2.  Model 5330 High Power Cold Gun with dual point hose to place on the saw blade. This will extend the life of the blade and help keep the chips cool. Eliminating the melting into the face.

5330 High Power Cold Air Gun
High Power Cold Gun System

3.  Model: 110248 Super Air Knife Kit to blow the chips from the table after it is lifted.

Super Air Knife
Super Air Knife

As you can see, with a simple initial question, it became complicated rather quickly. Instead of looking at one area of the application, I was able to improve their entire process. In any manufacturing plant, scrap and downtime are the two biggest culprits in reducing profits. The scrap occurred when the faces were scratched and damaged. The downtime happened during the cleanup between book change-overs and when the saw blades were being replaced. Overall, their process improved in efficiency and speed.

Whenever you need to look at the overall process for improvement, EXAIR may have multiple solutions to offer. You can speak to an Application Engineer to see how EXAIR can increase your efficiency and reduce your scrap. You can either call 800-903-9247 or send an email to techhelp@exair.com.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_jb

Adjustable Spot Cooler Cools Saw Blade

I was recently contacted by a customer looking for a way to cool their band saw blade in a wood cutting operation. They process several different types of wood and when dealing with the more dense products they are seeing the blades heat up, causing them to stop production, change out the blades and scrap the production piece and start the process over. They cannot use a liquid type misting systems as this would contaminate the wood, resulting in more rejects, so they called EXAIR looking for assistance.

I recommended the customer use our Model # 3925 Adjustable Spot Cooler System with Dual Point Hose Kit in the application. The Adjustable Spot Cooler incorporates a Vortex Tube to provide a temperature drop from your supply temperature. By turning the knob on the unit, the temperature control valve allows the user to adjust the temperature range between -30°F up to +70°F, to fit the demand of the application. The flexible tubing is able to hold it’s position, ensuring that the cold airstream is directed towards the critical area(s). The system also features a magnetic base that allows for easy mounting.

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Model # 3925 Adjustable Spot Cooler System with Dual Point Hose Kit, providing up to 2,000 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity

With this particular customer, the inherent flexibility of an Adjustable Spot Cooler is a benefit to provide different cooling values depending on the type of wood they are cutting. Using the dual point hose kit they would be able to direct the cold air on each side of the blade to extend the blade’s longevity while decreasing the amount of rejects. Using the filter separator (included with the system), would relieve any concern of fluid contamination by removing any water condensate or particulate in the compressed air supply.

If you are looking to extend the tool life in your operation, give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN