Heat-related problems are costly in terms of machinery downtime, inferior product quality, excessive processing time, damage to heat-sensitive equipment and lost time for overheated machine operators. For computer systems and microprocessor-controlled equipment, loss of essential data also can occur.
So how can you maintain ideal temperatures and, ultimately, profitability? One way is to in-vest in port-able cooling. Portable units can be incorporated as a permanent process solution or leased to solve short-term spot cooling problems.
Go With The FlowDesigned for maneuverability, portable air-conditioners roll on heavy-duty casters to provide immediate cooling whenever and wherever it is needed. Most units are designed to fit through a standard 3' doorway. Some units have programmable controls to set day and time of operation to allow unattended use.
Air-cooled portable air-conditioners are available in sizes ranging from 2 to 50 tons. Optional ducting kits are available for evaporator and condenser supply and return. Water-cooled models are available in 7,000 to 60,000 BTU/hr sizes and do not require outside air for operation. This is advantageous in laboratory settings and other interior rooms where venting options are limited. Some manufacturers incorporate corrosion-resistant components to meet the demands of harsh environments.
Because portable air-conditioners operate independently of existing central chiller systems, they can be used for spot cooling as well as emergency or backup cooling. Some portable air-conditioners employ flexible air nozzles that allow cool air to be directed precisely where it is needed. Off the factory floor, portable units are suitable for computer and electronic cooling.
Portable cooling also can be used to offset high ambient temperatures to create a more productive working environment for employees. It can reduce operating costs by providing temporary cooling on weekends, during off-peak hours or for selected shifts. Additionally, portable chillers can be used to supplement central systems when the heat load of a particular room exceeds design capacity due to computers or machinery.
At 2 Plants, Portable Air-Conditioners Hit the SpotFor Precision Lithographing, Holyoke, MA, precision cooling is critical in the manufacture of offset litho plates used to reproduce images in large quantities by the printing industry. Images are burned on the plates, allowing the plates to act as film in offset printing at rates up to 60,000 impressions per hour.
To manufacture litho plates, coiled aluminum is subjected to several processing steps, including degreasing, mechanical graining, electrochemical graining, anodizing, post-treating and surface treating with laser- or light-sensitive coatings.
"Digital offset litho plates are sensitive to heat and humidity between coating applications. If the conditions aren't right, the product fails. It is essential that we maintain a specific relative humidity and dewpoint control in our operation. Portable air-conditioners help us to achieve that precise control," explained Dwight Klepacki, vice president of Precision Lithograining.
"Air-conditioning is critical in the coating processes. Coating adhesion and uniformity are affected by temperature or dewpoint changes," Klepacki continued. "We experience immediate failure if we are outside our temperature or humidity range. Being able to place the portable air-conditioning unit at a precise location is of tremendous value."
In the case of a Midwestern plastic bag manufacturer, a portable air-conditioner allows a subsequent processing step to be completed more quickly. At the plant, a continuous bubble of hot, sticky, freshly formed plastic must be cooled before it can be flattened and slit into bags. Otherwise, the two sides of the bag will stick together while passing down the slitting line. Portable air-conditioning is utilized to supplement a cooling tower.
Cool air pours out of dual directional air nozzles, which are connected directly to flexible ducting that feeds a series of tubular rings with holes along the inside diameter. The holes blow the cooled air from the portable air-conditioning unit directly onto the plastic as it passes through the inside of the rings.
If you need additional cooling capacity on a regular basis, consider whether your process can benefit from a portable air-conditioning unit.