Cabinet Coolers End Costly ShutDowns:
A manufacturer of enclosure cooling systems prevented the loss of future production and eliminated downtime. Could this type of cooling be suited to your environment? The story is all too familiar. Your best customer places an important order for a custom made product that is needed as soon as possible. The company is even willing to 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 out on time. The raw materials are there and the job is set up and running fine when suddenly, disaster strikes! Half-way through the production run, the machine grinds to a screeching halt and refuses to budge. That’s exactly what happened to Lasercraft Inc. of Fairfield, OH, manufacturers of precision laser-cut metal parts.
Most of the country experienced scorching heat last summer where temperatures soared to record levels. For Lasercraft, June brought the expected heat wave. The building was uncomfortably warm but production ran without a hitch. However, as the days pushed into mid-July, the temperatures continued to rise. The 90°F+ days combined with heat put out by their laser cutting machine took the temperature of the non-air-conditioned shop up over 100°F. Soon, the heat took its toll on the electrical enclosures of the laser cutting machine. The computer produced a lot of error messages and stopped the operation. Lasercraft tried numerous times to get the program to run with no success.
As it turned out, the main CNC circuit board failed and required shipment to Australia (the manufacturer’s principle location) for repair. The situation got worse. It took three days to get a temporary replacement computer cabinet. On top of that, the heat in its free-standing control cabinet was shutting the computer monitor off. This “meltdown” left Lasercraft no choice but to move the job to their Cleveland location until the repairs could be made. The urgency to keep their good reputation and meet delivery times made finding the proper cooling product Lasercraft’s first priority.Jeff Hauck, General Manager of Lasercraft Corp, began to searching the internet for a solution. “Of course, I wanted to come up with something that was permanent so this would never happen to us again”, Hauck said. “Opening the panel doors wasn’t an option due to safety concerns of having exposed electronics. Mounting panel fans made no sense because the temperature in the shop was too hot to provide cooling.”
Other Options Were Considered After reading about heat exchangers, he concluded they would be too impractical since there was very little difference between the hot cabinet temperature and the outside surroundings. He had also considered the Freon-type air-conditioners similar to those on other panels in the Lasercraft building. Based on past experience, Mr. Hauck considered them “a constant maintenance project of their own” and as a result decided against them based on their ongoing hassle of keeping the filters clean and the Freon charged. Finally, he found EXAIR Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio, who manufactures a Cabinet Cooler that met all their requirements.
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