A manufacturing plant contacted EXAIR to help them with a “sticky” situation. This company extruded PVC tubes that would be used as fuel lines on small engines. Plasticizers are typically used to add flexibility to plastic materials. For the PVC material above, a plasticizer was added to make it softer and more elastic. The issue that they saw was the outer surface of the tubes were tacky from the plasticizer and heat which made it difficult to handle in packaging the tubes.
This company extruded many different diameters, but they wanted to target their most difficult size, the smallest tube. The dimensions were given as 0.187″ (4.7mm) O.D. by .0934″ (2.4mm) I.D., and the feed rate was close to 4 feet/min (1.2 meter/min). The problem area that they explained was at the end of the production line where the extruded tubes were cut by a blade cutter into 12” (305mm) lengths. The tubes would then fall into a collection bin for batch processing. Since the collection bin was setup at a slight upward angle, they wanted the tubes to gather toward one end of the bin. Since the tubes were still hot and sticking to each other, the operators had to individually handle each tube which was counterproductive and time-consuming. After our discussions, I suggested that cold air could harden the PVC tube enough by removing heat and help to “set” the platicizer. Since they manufactured different sizes and feed rates, we needed to have adjustability as well in our cold air device.
One of our most versatile spot cooling instruments is the EXAIR Adjustable Spot Cooler. This system uses the Vortex Tube technology to convert compressed air into a cold air stream without any moving parts, refrigerants, or motors. The Adjustable Spot Cooler is a low-cost, reliable, maintenance-free way to give spot cooling for a myriad of industrial applications. For this customer, this product gave them the versatility that they were needing.
EXAIR stocks these units with either a single or dual point hose kit, a magnetic base, a filter separator, and two additional generators. The control valve at the end of the unit adjusts the output temperature down to -30 oF (-34 oC) with a turn of a knob. The generators are specifically engineered to control the amount of compressed air that is used. Both types of controls will allow this customer to “dial in” the correct cooling capacity for the operation. The filter separator included with the system will clean the compressed air to keep the unit and the product free of dirt and debris. The magnetic base which this customer really liked makes the Adjustable Spot Cooler portable for use in different areas.
I recommended the model 3925 Adjustable Spot Cooler because it had the dual point hose kit to blow cold air on both sides of the tubes. Since this company had different tube diameters and thicknesses, adjustability was very critical. If the tubes got too cold, cracks could occur from the blade cutting machine; and, if the tubes were too warm, the tackiness on the surface of the tube would remain. Once they installed the Adjustable Spot Cooler, this company was able to increase their packaging line for the different size PVC tubes. Now the operators could reach into the collection bin and grab many aligned tubes instead of individually separating and sorting.
If you have a “sticky” situation, the EXAIR Adjustable Spot Cooler may be a product for you. The company above was able to have their tubes slide together in the collection bin. Many applications could be improved by adding cold air. And, if you have a similar situation, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to discuss a solution.