After record hot weather caused a catastrophic meltdown in one of its customer’s laser-cutting shup, Compressed Air Australia found a solution in the form of compressed air cooling.

The story is all too familiar. As a manufacturer, your best customer places an important order for a custom-made product needed as soon as possible. They even pay rush charges to speed the delivery process. You give the company a firm delivery date and don’t foresee any problem getting the job shipped on time. The raw materials are on hand, the job is set up, and everything is running fine.

Then suddenly, disaster strikes! Half-way through the production run, the machine grinds to a screeching halt. That’s exactly what happened last summer to a manufacturer of precision laser-cut metal parts.

Most of the country experienced scorching record-breaking hot weather last year. Unfortunately, this manufacturer fell victim as it caused the electronics of the laser cutting machine to fail. Those hot days combined with heat put out by the machine took the temperature of the non-air-conditioned shop to over 38 degrees Celsius. The computer produced a lot of error messages and stopped the operation. Numerous attempts to get the program running delivered no success.

As it turned out, the main CNC circuit board had failed and required shipping to the manufacturer for repair. It took three days to get a temporary replacement computer cabinet. Moreover, the heat in its free-standing control cabinet was shutting the computer monitor off.

This meltdown left the company no choice but to move the job to another laser cutting plant until the repairs could be made. The urgency to keep its good reputation and meet delivery times made finding the proper cooling product its first priority.

Opening the panel doors wasn’t an option due to safety concerns of having exposed electronics around the personnel. Mounting panel fans made no sense because the temperature in the shop was too hot to provide cooling. Heat exchangers would be too impractical since there was little difference between the hot cabinet temperature and the outside surroundings. Freon-type air-conditioners would entail the ongoing hassle of keeping the filters clean and the Freon charged.

Finally, the company turned to Compressed Air Australia, which stocks compressed air-powered Cabinet Coolers from Exair. These coolers incorporate a vortex tube that purges the enclosure with cold air. The laser shop’s Manager was surprised how easy they were to use and mount. While waiting on the repaired computer board, the company outfitted the cabinet for the laser cutter with the UL-listed Cabinet Cooler System. They also purchased a second NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler System to mount on top of the monitor control panel.

Numerous features made Exair’s Cabinet Cooler the best choice. It was easy to install, compact, maintenance-free, quiet, reliable, readily available and inexpensive. Cabinet Coolers mount in an ordinary conduit knock-out hole and have a built-in air relief. They include a cold air distribution kit, incorporating vinyl tubing with adhesive clips, which permits routing of the cold air to those electronic components most susceptible to high temperature. Best of all, there are no moving parts to wear out, making the Cabinet Coolers maintenance-free. The only requirement is to supply clean, dry, oil-free compressed air. Exair’s system provides a filter/separator for removing dirt and water from the compressed air to keep the enclosure contaminant-free.

The laser shop purchased models that included a thermostat control that maintained 35 degrees Celsius inside each cabinet. This adjustable thermostat kept the electronics cool enough without going so cold that it would waste compressed air.

The company soon realised an additional benefit. Previous to installing the Cabinet Cooler, dust and smoke in the environment always seemed to infiltrate the electrical enclosures. It was typical to open the door of a machine and find a black “sooty” mess covering the insides. The Exair Cabinet Cooler kept the enclosures sealed, preventing dirt and dust from getting inside.

The company made a wise decision: they put a low-cost Cabinet Cooler in stock as a good insurance policy against the summertime heat conditions. The meltdown had cost $15,000 to get the equipment back up and running. They don’t want that problem ever again!

How the Exair Cabinet Cooler works

Compressed air enters the vortex tube-powered Cabinet Cooler and is converted into two streams: one hot and one cold. Hot air from the vortex tube is muffled and exhausted through the vortex tube exhaust. The cold air is discharged into the control cabinet through the cold air distribution kit. The displaced hot air in the cabinet rises and exhausts to atmosphere through the cabinet air exhaust at a slight positive pressure. Thus, the control cabinet is both cooled and purged with cool, clean air. Outside air is never allowed to enter the control panel.

www.caasafety.com.au