Vortex Tube Cold Fraction and how it Affects Flow and Temperature Control

Vortex Tubes are the perfect solution when dealing with a variety of spot cooling applications. They use compressed air to produce a cold air stream and a hot air stream, with temperatures ranging from as low as -50°F  up to +260°F (based on ambient supply temperature) and providing as much as 10,200 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity. By simply adjusting the valve in the hot end of the Vortex Tube, you are able to control the “cold fraction” which is the percentage of air consumed by the vortex tube that is exhausted as cold air versus the amount of air exhausted as hot air. Our small, medium and large Vortex Tubes provide the same temperature drop and rise, it’s the volume of air that changes with the various sizes.

The unique physical phenomenon of the Vortex Tube principle generates cold air instantly, and for as long – or short – a time as needed.

When looking at the below performance chart, you will see that “Pressure Supply” and “Cold Fraction %” setting all play a part in changing the performance of the Vortex Tubes. Take for example, an operating pressure of 100 PSIG and cold fraction setting of 20%, you will see a 123°F drop on the cold side versus a 26°F temperature rise on the hot side. By the using the same Vortex Tube and keeping the operating pressure at 100 PSIG but changing the cold fraction to 80%, you will now see a 54°F temperature drop on the cold side and a 191° rise at the hot end.

Vortex Tube Performance Data
Vortex Tube Performance Chart

We’ve looked at how the cold fraction changes the temperature, but how does it change the flow for the various Models?

Say you are using a Model # 3240 Medium Vortex Tube which consumes 40 SCFM @ 100 PSIG. Again with the cold fraction set at 80% (80% of the consumed compressed air out of the cold end), you would flow 32 SCFM at the cold air exhaust.

40 SCFM x 0.8 (80% CF) = 32 SCFM

Using the same Model # 3240 Medium Vortex Tube but now with a 20% cold fraction (20% of consumed compressed air out of the cold end), you would flow 8 SCFM at the cold exhaust.

40 SCFM x 0.20 (20% CF) = 8 SCFM

As you can see, to achieve the colder air temperatures, the volume of cold air being exhausted is reduced as well. This is important to consider when making a Model selection. Some other considerations include the operating pressure which also has a significant effect on performance. The compressed air supply temperature is important because the above temperatures are temperature differentials, so in the example of the 80% cold fraction there is a 115F temperature drop from your inlet compressed air temperature.

If you need additional assistance, you can always contact myself or another application engineer and we would be happy to make the best selection to fit your specific need.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Spot Cooling, Cold Gun Promotion

Like many companies, here at EXAIR we generally always have a promotional offering.  These rotate throughout the months and this month is no different.  The current offering involves the EXAIR Cold Gun Aircoolant Systems.

These spot cooling systems help to reduce cutting fluid use, increase production speeds, increase tool life, and has helped more customers than I know.  One customer in particular is a maintenance worker from a welded tube manufacturer.  This facility had very little amount of downtime permitted due to the high efficiency and high volume of orders.  When a machine went down the maintenance team went in like a trauma team to determine the cause of failure and get it fixed to get the line back up and running. One of the biggest problems they would have is when they would have to dry machine a quick part to get the machine back up and running, this would either ruin tools or they would have to slow down the machining time to get the surface finish and dimensions they truly needed.  After talking with us the team ordered a Single Point Cold Gun Aircoolant System as these parts were generally small enough to tackle with the single cold outlet (larger parts benefit from the dual point hose kit).

They received the spot cooler system in and sure enough a machine went down.  The crew went to work and once the broken part was located they got to work on their lathe trying to make a new piece.  The Cold Gun held itself straight to the headstock thanks to the integrated magnet and the flexible single point hose kit routed the cold air straight to the cutting insert point.  They didn’t have to fill up the liquid tank or setup the mist system on the lathe, they simply turned on the compressed air and let the lathe do the work.  They were able to take what had recently been around a three hour machine job with heavy wear on tooling to a two hour job, no finish pass was needed on the part, and their tools weren’t completely spent by the end of the job.

They got the part back into the machine, made adjustments, and then went to work getting the machine back into production.

Right now, if you would like to try out a Cold Gun Aircoolant System you can order before 12/31/21 and you will receive a free Dual Point Hose Kit with your qualified purchase.

Dual Point Hose Kit

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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EXAIR Cold Gun Overview

In any machining operation, tool wear is an inevitability. Cutting tools heat up due to friction and this heat contributes to premature tool wear. As tooling wears, poor tolerances and dimensional inaccuracy are common. Additionally, as the cutting edge dulls increased cutting force is required which further increases the amount of heat generated.

Coolants can be used to reduce friction and help mitigate some of the wear, but then you’re left with the mess that coolant brings along with it both on the part and in the machine itself. What if I were to tell you that there’s a way to mimic the effects of coolant, but without all of the mess? All of this can be achieved with just a supply of compressed air and one of EXAIR’s Cold Gun Systems.

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 it’s maintenance free!

Cold Guns Systems

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 our limited time promotion and receive a FREE Dual Point Hose Kit upgrade!

Tyler Daniel, Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD
Ph. 1-800-903-9247 or 1-513-671-3322

EXAIR Cold Gun, Different Application, Problem Solved!

Recently I was working with a customer on sizing a EXAIR Cabinet Cooler when I found out they would be best suited by another EXAIR product! They wanted to cool some analyzer panel fins (heat sinks) while keeping dust off of them. This application said Cold Gun all the way!

I recommended our Model # 5315 Cold Gun Aircoolant System with two cold outlets. The Cold Gun produces a 50°F temperature drop from compressed air supply temperature and provides 1,000 Btu/hr. of cooling capacity. For example, if your compressed air supply temperature is 70°F you would effectively see 20°F air being discharged from the cold exhaust. The Dual Point Hose Kit splits the cold airflow into 2 separate streams, providing for a wider coverage area.

5315_SCGdual
Model # 5315 Cold Gun System with dual point hose kit

The customer decided to order a single unit and after a week of testing replied back…

“We tried one a week ago with excellent results! We are installing three more today. 

Thank you so much for your help! Our analyzer is running 31°F cooler than it had been with no more overtemp failures!”

It goes without mentioning, but this is the type of positive feedback we are thrilled to hear! It feels incredible when a customer takes time out of their busy schedule to acknowledge how EXAIR products provided the perfect solution for their needs!

BUT the story doesn’t end there… just last week, over 2 months since our last correspondence, the customer sent me another email that read…

“Just a follow up on the effectiveness of the cold air guns. We have not experienced a single failure of our TOC analyzers since the guns were installed two months ago.

The cold air solved the problem of our analyzer overheating — even during the hottest part of the summer.

Thank you for your excellent recommendation!”

I let the customer know how much we appreciated the awesome news and how happy we were to be able to solve their problem. At the end of the day, that’s what we strive for, to provide the best and largest selection of Intelligent Compressed Air Products on the market today.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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