Last fall, when our youngest “flew the coop” and moved into a dormitory to begin his college experience, my lovely bride and I also embarked upon an exciting adventure: finding, purchasing, and moving in to our “empty nest” dream house. While packing up the contents of the house where we had raised a United States Marine AND a hippie college student, I moved my trusty laptop from its perch on a desk in a dark basement corner, where it had resided, in that one spot, for more than a couple years.
As I was looking for its carrying case, I noticed the fan grill was almost completely obscured with more than a couple years’ worth of environmental contamination (or dust). I vacuumed out the grill, but wondered how much more environmental contamination (dust) had made its way into the deep recesses of the laptop…and more importantly, what might it be doing to the sensitive electronics inside my trusty internet browsing device?
I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but electronics and dust don’t mix. We have this conversation a LOT with callers inquiring about our Cabinet Cooler Systems. The protection they offer against environmental contamination is integral with the protection they offer against heat. In the panel cooling market, our Cabinet Cooler Systems are unique in that respect: a total protection solution.
When properly installed on a sealed enclosure, the only thing the inside of that enclosure is ever exposed to is cold, clean, moisture free air. But what if the enclosure can’t be completely sealed? One option is to use a Continuous Operation Cabinet Cooler System. It works just as the name implies: cold air is continuously flowing into the enclosure, creating a constant purge flow…if that cold air is blowing out of any openings in the enclosure, there’s no way for environmental contamination to get in. Problem solved.
Well…almost. Something else I’m sure you already know is, compressed air is costly. Organizations like the Compressed Air & Gas Institute (CAGI) and the Compressed Air Challenge (CAC), who are devoted to optimizing industrial use of compressed air, have lists of “inappropriate uses of compressed air”, and panel cooling is on that list…EXCEPT when they’re thermostatically controlled. At EXAIR, we couldn’t agree more, and if a caller asks any of us Application Engineers about a Continuous Operation Cabinet Cooler System, they’re inviting us in to a conversation about that.
Sometimes, the initial question is cost…well, we have to pay for the components that make up the Thermostat Controls, so we ask our customers who want those products to as well. A quick conversation about the operating cost of continuous operation vs thermostat control is usually all that’s required in those cases.
Other times, a panel that can’t be sealed is installed in a particularly dusty or dirty environment, and they want the continuous flow of cold air, as described above, to keep those contaminants out. A Continuous Operation Cabinet Cooler System will, of course, do that. But EXAIR wants you to get the most out of your compressed air use, so we developed a “best of both worlds” solution: Non-Hazardous Purge Cabinet Cooler Systems. Here’s how they work:
- Based on a few key pieces of data that you can submit in our Cabinet Cooler Systems Sizing Guide, we’ll specify the appropriate Cabinet Cooler System to manage that heat load.
- The system will be thermostatically controlled: a bimetallic Thermostat, mounted inside the panel, will open and close the Solenoid Valve plumbed in the compressed air supply to operate the Cabinet Cooler as needed to maintain temperature inside the panel.
- The Solenoid Valve is modified to pass a small amount of air flow (1 SCFM) even when it’s closed. This saves you from using the full rated air consumption of the Cabinet Cooler when cold air isn’t required, and still maintains enough purge air flow to prevent environmental contaminants from entering a less-than-ideally-sealed enclosure.
The Non-Hazardous Purge option is just one way that EXAIR Corporation can help you address specific environmental challenges that may be presented in electrical and electronic panel cooling applications. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.
Russ Bowman, CCASS