Camera Lens Cooling with EXAIR Vortex Tubes in a High Temperature Environment

Connection side of camera lens housing. Dimensions shown are in cm.

A customer in Russia contacted our distributor in Moscow about an application to monitor the flow of melted glass.  In their application, the end user had installed (4) camera “eyes” with thermal insulation to instantaneously measure the melted glass flow.  But, the high ambient temperatures would cause the temperature of the camera lens to slowly increase during operation, eventually resulting in an overheating condition.  This overheating condition rendered the cameras inoperable until they were cooled below a temperature of approximately 40°C (104°F).

What this end user (and application) needed was a suitable solution to cool the lens of the camera to a temperature below 40°C (104°F).  A typical refrigerant based air conditioner wouldn’t work for this application due to space and temperature constraints, as the cameras are located close to the furnace with ambient temperatures of 50°C (122°F) or higher.

What did provide a viable solution, however, were High Temperature EXAIR Vortex Tubes.  Suitable for temperatures up to 93°C (200°F), and capable of providing cooling capacities as high as 10,200 BTU/hr., these units fit the bill for this application.

Full view of the camera lens housing. The camera lens is the portion protruding from the far left of the housing.

After determining the volume of compressed air available for each camera, and after discussing the solution options and preferences with the customer, they chose (4) model BPHT3298 Vortex Tubes, using (1) Vortex Tube for each camera.  The cold air from the Vortex Tube will feed directly onto the camera lens, keeping it cool even in the hot ambient conditions.  This removes lost productivity due to machine downtime, which in turn increases output and reliability from the application process.

High Temperature Vortex Tubes provided a solution for this customer when other options were unable to deliver.  If you have a similar application or would like to discuss how an EXAIR Vortex Tube could solve an overheating problem in your application, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.  We’ll be happy to help.

 

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Trouble Identifying an EXAIR part? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

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EXAIR Model 3240H Vortex Tube with Hot Muffler Installed

 

Not a day goes by that we don’t receive a call from a customer that is having trouble identifying an EXAIR part. Due to the robust nature of our Vortex Tubes, they can be installed in applications for several years without any maintenance. When the time comes to expand that line, the labels may have worn off, the unit may be covered in grime or oil, or the personnel that originally ordered the product may no longer be with the company. In any case, one of the Application Engineers here at EXAIR will certainly be able to help!

I recently received an e-mail from a gentlemen in Indonesia who was suffering from that very problem. They had a Model 3240 Vortex Tube installed in a camera cooling application near a boiler. The engineer who designed the project was no longer with the company and they could not determine a Model number or when they had purchased it. They saw the EXAIR sticker, along with our contact information, and reached out for help. Vortex Tube’s come in different sizes, based on the available compressed air supply as well as the level of refrigeration needed. They’re available in (3) different sizes as well as Vortex Tubes for max refrigeration (R style generators) and Vortex Tubes for a maximum cold temperature (C style generators). In order to identify the Model number, you must look on the shoulder of the Vortex Tube generator. On it, there will be a stamp that indicates the generator style that is installed. In this case, the customer stated that there was a “40-R”, indicating to me that he had our Model 3240 Vortex Tube.

Our team of highly trained Application Engineers is here ready to assist you with any needs you may have regarding EXAIR products. With a little bit of investigative work, a quick discussion about the dimensions or a photo; we’re able to identify any of our products. If you’re considering expanding a current line into other parts of your facility, or perhaps adding a new location and need help identifying your EXAIR products; give an Application Engineer a call and we’ll be sure you get the right products on order!

Tyler Daniel

Application Engineer

Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

E-mail: tylerdaniel@exair.com

Music And The Mini Cooler

Recently, EXAIR Corporation offered CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training to employees. I already carry certification, so I held down the fort while some of the other Application Engineers received this training. As a middle aged man, I have to admit that my interest in my co-workers’ abilities to respond to a matter of this nature is not entirely unselfish.

One of the key parts of CPR training is the rate of the chest compressions. While most people couldn’t accurately replicate 100 beats per minute on demand, almost everyone is familiar enough with some popular songs with a rhythm close to that.  The song they always bring up in CPR training is “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. Depending on how you feel about disco, another option is “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen. Pro tip: it might be considered bad form to sing that one out loud while performing CPR.

Speaking of music, while I was holding down said fort during this morning’s training session, I had the pleasure of assisting a caller in the music business: a piano restoration & tuning professional. A frequent job for them consists of resetting tuning pins, which requires drilling numerous small holes (a grand piano can have as many as 250) into a hardwood board. They’re pressed in, so it’s critical that they fit the newly-drilled hole precisely. If the drill bit gets too hot, it can expand in diameter, making the hole ever-so-slightly bigger than it should be. The heat can also cause the surface of the hole ID to glaze. Both of those things can cause problems with the pin fitting securely in the hole.

The EXAIR Model 3808 Mini Cooler System was an ideal solution – it’ll keep the drill bit cool & clean with a constant stream of cold air. It’s compact and quiet, and only uses 8 SCFM @100psig…well within the capacity of many smaller air compressors.

If you’d like to “get in tune” with a spot cooling solution, I can help…call me. Oh, and in case you wanted to know which song with about 100 beats per minute I’d use for CPR:

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System Meets High Demands Of Sea Duty

I joined the Navy, right after high school, to get out of Ohio, see the world, and never come back. “My recruiter said” (if you are considering military service, those can be famous last words, just so you know) that I would be a good candidate for Nuclear Power School, so I took the test. As a math & science nerd scholar, I qualified for admission easily.  About halfway through Nuke School, I volunteered for submarines.  My decision was based in no small part on the sea stories of our instructors, the strong reputation of better food, and my deep appreciation for the movie “Operation Petticoat.”

Upon graduation, I was assigned to a new construction Trident submarine.  I did not see the world…I saw the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, and Naval Submarine Base King’s Bay, Georgia.  Hilarity occasionally ensued, but never in the context of that movie I so adored.  I moved back to Ohio (on purpose) soon after my enlistment was up.  The food WAS good…I can unreservedly vouch for that.

In the new construction environment of the shipyard, I became quite familiar, and developed a deep respect for, the high level of attention paid to the materials and workmanship that a seagoing vessel demanded…not to mention, one with a nuclear reactor on board.  Reliability and durability are obviously key factors.

I had the pleasure recently of assisting an electrical contractor who was looking for a cooling solution for a new Variable Frequency Drive enclosure installation on a cement barge.  The ship’s engineer (a Navy veteran himself) had told the contractor that his priorities were reliability, durability, and dust exclusion.  He couldn’t have made a better case for an EXAIR Cabinet Cooling System.

Based on the specified heat load of the VFD, the size of the enclosure, and its location, a Model 4380 Thermostat Controlled NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler System, rated at 5,600 Btu/hr, was specified.  This equipment is internal to the ship; had it been exposed to the elements, a NEMA 4X system would have been presented.

Up to 2,800 Btu/hr cooling capacity with a single Cabinet Cooler System (left) or as much as 5,600 Btu/hr with a Dual system (right.)

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems have no moving parts to wear, no electric motor to burn out, and no heat transfer surfaces (like a refrigerant-based unit’s fins & tubes) to foul.  Once it’s properly installed on a sealed enclosure, the internal components never see anything but cold, clean air.

If you have a need to protect an electrical enclosure in aggressive environment, give me a call.  With a wide range of Cabinet Cooler Systems to meet a variety of needs, we’ve got the one you’re looking for, in stock and ready to ship.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Troubleshooting Vortex Tube Performance

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This Vortex Tube was not operating properly when initially connected to compressed air

One of the fun parts of Application Engineering at EXAIR is explaining the operation of Vortex Tubes to our customers.  Sometimes they’re described as a “reverse tornado” inside of a tube, spinning a pressurized airstream and converting it into a hot and cold flow.  Other times we describe it through the generation of two vortices with differing diameters, and the difference in diameters results in one vortex shedding energy in the form of heat.

But, no matter the way we explain their operation, we always stress the importance of proper compressed air plumbing.  If the compressed air piping/hoses/connections are not properly sized, performance problems can arise.  (This is true for any compressed air driven device.)

This fundamental came to light when working with one of our customers recently.  They were using a medium sized Vortex Tube to provide spot cooling in an enclosed space, but were not seeing the flow and temperature drop they knew to be possible with an EXAIR Vortex Tube.  And, after looking at installation photos of the application, the root cause was quickly spotted.

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The red arrow in the bottom right corner of this image shows the beginnings of a reduction in compressed air supply.

I noticed what looked to be a very small hose connected to the inlet of the Vortex Tube in the image above.

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In this additional image, the small compressed air line is in full view. This was the root cause for performance problems in this application.

After further inspection of another photo, the small diameter tube was in full view.  This small hose serves as a restriction to compressed air flow, which in turn limits both flow and operating pressure of the downstream devices.  What that meant for this application, was poor performance from the Vortex Tube, all stemming from this reduction in piping size.

When looking to find the root cause of a performance issue with a compressed air driven unit, things aren’t always as easy as they were with this application.  A visual inspection is always a good idea, but if everything looks correct, here is a list of troubleshooting steps to consider:

  1. Check for quick-disconnects in the plumbing system.  Quick-disconnects are great from an operator’s perspective, but they can wreak havoc on compressed air flows due to small inside diameters and air volume restriction.
  2. Determine the operating pressure at the device.  This is imperative.  In order to make proper decisions to correct the performance concern, good information is required.  Knowing what is happening at the device is crucial for proper understanding.  There may be 100 PSIG at the main compressed air line, but only 60 PSIG at the device due to plumbing problems. A pressure gauge at the inlet of the compressed air product can provide this information.
  3. Check that the compressed air system has enough volume to properly supply the device.  A compressed air driven unit without the correct volume of compressed air is just as bad as having a lack of pressure.
  4. Check for leaks.  The US Department of Energy estimates that 20-30% of compressor output in industrial facilities is lost as leaks.  If your system and devices aren’t operating as they’re supposed to, check for leaks.  They may be contributing to the poor performance.  (Don’t know where your leaks are coming from?  Use our Ultrasonic Leak Detector!)

Fortunately for this customer, after improving the size of this tubing performance was on par with our published specifications and this customer was back in operation.  If you have a question about how to improve the utilization of the compressed air devices in your application, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler in Bahrain Still Operating Years Later, In Harsh Conditions

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This small NEMA 12 type Cabinet Cooler has been in operation for years. Now, two additional units are needed for new applications.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a mechanical contractor in Bahrain about a needed Cabinet Cooler.  Their customer had an existing unit in place and needed two more for similar applications.  As with any Cabinet Cooler need, we needed to start with an accurate understanding of the heat load involved, to make sure we recommend the proper model number.

So, we used the Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide to gather the required information and calculate the heat load of the application.  After using this information to calculate a heat load of 426 BTU/hr. (~125W), we confirmed that the existing model 4308-240 will be the correct fit for the additional cabinets as well.

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Even in this dirty environment the Cabinet Cooler continues to function.

The existing Cabinet Cooler has been in operation for several years without any required maintenance or upkeep.  Clean compressed air, achieved with a simple 5 micron water/dirt filter separator,  is supplied to the unit and nothing but clean cold air is fed into the cabinet.  Relative humidity is regulated by the Cabinet Cooler to 45% resulting in stable temperatures and humidity for the electronics inside the enclosure.

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The dirt and debris are prevented from entering the enclosure due to the design of the Cabinet Cooler. Only clean, cold air enters the cabinet. Hot air is vented away.

This application is an excellent example of the durability of EXAIR products.  With proper compressed air supply our products will operate uninterrupted and at proper performance for years.  If you’re in need of a durable solution for an electrical enclosure, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Compressed Air Flows At The Speed Of Technology At EXAIR

I don’t know that any enterprise can give you a better idea of the scope, width, and breadth of American manufacturing quite like the automotive industry:

*Pick a raw material – rubber, steel, plastic, glass, just to name a few – modern day production of all of these has been heavily influenced by the way they’re used in automobiles.

*Pick a manufacturing process – welding, cutting, molding, machining, mechanical & electrical assembly, again; just to name a few – car makers have revolutionized them all, oftentimes to the benefit of many other industries that have used…and adopted…these technological improvements.

*Pick a business.  OK; this is going to depend on where you are.  I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I can be on Interstate 75 Northbound in under 10 minutes, and four hours later (and on one tank of gas, thanks to the fuel efficiency of my American made automobile,) I can be in Detroit, Michigan – the land of the “Big Three.”  And I’ll pass dozens, if not hundreds, of buildings within sight of the highway that house businesses whose largest customers are automotive industry types.

We brag on American manufacturing occasionally, because we’re proud to be a part of it, and to support so many different aspects of it.  What got me thinking about all of this was a call I got recently about our Cold Gun Aircoolant Systems, and how one might be used in a particular machining application.  They machine transmission parts and, due to the specifics of a new material and a subsequent operation, they needed to eliminate the liquid coolant.  This is a ‘textbook’ situation for a Cold Gun – the part in question is small, and just needs a quick shot of cold air during the process, so they got a Model 5215 Standard Cold Gun, put it on the machine, and turned off the coolant…forever.

With four models to choose from, we've got most any cooling application covered.

With four models to choose from, we’ve got most any cooling application covered.

This is one of, literally, hundreds of applications where EXAIR’s line of engineered compressed air products is making all the difference in the world.  If you’d like to discuss how we can help you keep up with the speed of technology, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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