For Max Imaging & Electrical, an electrical service company outside of Atlanta, Georgia, their bread and butter is well, bread and butter. Among other clients, Max Imaging services the automation controls on food facilities that bake bread and deep fry products. Baking is a messy business, and mass producing breads, pies and fried goods is a messy industry: flour, breading and batter cloud the air and air conditioners take the brunt of the beating. When the air conditioners on control panels and electrical enclosures goes down, temperature goes up, causing production to shut down for repairs. That’s just the way the cookie crumbled, until Chuck Cohran, President of Max Imaging & Electrical found Vortex Enclosure Coolers from Vortec.
Temperatures inside food processing plants range from 87-90˚ in the wintertime—that’s downright tropical, even for residents of Georgia. One electrical panel in a plant that processed onion rings, fried fish sticks and french bread housed three 7.5kw drives, which each generate a sizable amount of heat themselves. The panel had been cooled by a run of the mill air conditioner, which was prone to failure: flour and ambient dust would clog the filters, causing the head pressure to rise and eventually shutting down the compressor.
Additionally, standard air conditioners typically feed out of the control panel that they are setup to cool. If the AC fails and the undercurrent device doesn’t function properly, the main will trip and cause the whole system to go down.
When temperatures in the panel skyrocket, multi-function electronic controls can misread, drift, or trip breakers below rated loads, ultimately causing production downtime for repairs. The small size of the cabinet and lack of access to the panel made the frequent repairs difficult.
Through online search, Cohran found Vortex Enclosure Coolers from Vortec, which specializes in compressed air solutions. Vortec had the products ready to ship, not the case with some of the other enclosure coolers, which had a 3-4 week leadtime.
Vortex Coolers are designed to keep electronic panels clean and protected by maintaining pressurization in the cabinet. They are thermostatically controlled to maintain enclosure temperatures within ideal range.
Vortec’s units are designed around the vortex tube principle, providing an economical alternative with no moving parts. Vortex Tubes convert compressed air to a low-pressure cold air source to keep electronic enclosures and panel components protected so they can operate precisely. A compressed air stream enters the vortex tube where it spins rapidly, splitting into hot and cold air streams. Cooling performance is easily adjusted by changing the inlet air pressure, or by changing the generator in the tube itself.in the enclosure since has
Cohran installed two 787SS Vortex Coolers, and the temperature maintainted a steady, cool, 56˚. Installation was a breeze, thanks to the small footprint of the coolers and the lack of wiring needed. Cohran drilled holes to drop the coolers into the cabinet, then ran the cold air ducting kits into the cabinet. The ducting kits were drilled with port holes, providing 360˚ cooling. Out of the box, Cohran had enough ducting kit to run behind a backplate that the drives were mounted to and again through the Panduit, ensuring the enclosure was sufficiently cooled throughout.
“If you have compressed air, you can use the Vortex Coolers,” Cohran said, adding, “There is no contest in terms of price and reliability—the installation alone saves time, money and electrical loading.”
Cohran estimates that installing the coolers saved the client close to $800 in installation cost alone due to the distance of the nearest electrical panel.
The Vortex Coolers have no movable parts, decreasing the likelihood of failure and the need for frequent repairs. With thermostatic control, plant operators can control how much air flow and cooling is needed for a particular enclosure—not the case with the previous standard air conditioning units. The Vortex Coolers even maintain a slight pressurization in the enclosure, that keeps flour, breading and other dust from the facility outside of the sensitive panel.
The Freon air conditioners set him back anywhere from $600 to $2,000, for a solution that ultimately failed time and again, compared to low cost Vortex Coolers that have so far operated without the need for repairs or maintenance, with no refrigerants or electricity.
Based on the small enclosure size, Cohran installed a water separator to keep moisture out of the cabinets, which house three VFDs—generating a lot of heat in a small space. On the suggestion of the manufacturer of the variable speed drives, Allen-Bradley, Cohran maintains the panel at 56˚, low enough to maintain the drives without overheating.
For Max Imaging & Electrical, Vortec’s Vortex Enclosure Coolers provided a low cost, low maintenance solution that keeps an enclosure cool, clean and protected. With no moving parts, and no wiring, Cohran can be confident that the coolers won’t burn out or need costly and difficult repairs. Rather than having to call in Cohran for maintenance, the plant operations team can keep their cool, knowing that the Vortec Enclosure Coolers are keeping theirs.