What to See at NPE 2006: Heating and Cooling
Most of the news at the show is in fluid-circulating mold-temperature-control systems. And the watchwords are energy savings, smaller footprints, less maintenance, reduced water consumption, and quieter operation.
This is the first NPE since the introduction of so-called “frictionless” central chillers with oil-less magnetic bearings on the compressor. They save energy, space, and maintenance, and they are very quiet. You’ll see these remarkable new chillers at Thermal Care, AEC, and Sterling.
Another cooling approach that’s new to North America is “dry cooling” without a cooling tower, introduced here by Frigel of Italy, whose new U.S. subsidiary recently opened near Chicago. Its EcoDry System is designed to save energy, water, and the maintenance hassles of operating a tower. This closed-circuit system runs only clean water through a unique air/water heat exchanger that uses outdoor ambient air for “free cooling” as much as possible (depending on the local climate) and also has a special adiabatic mode for hot weather. The latter sprays a fine mist of water that evaporates instantly to moisten and cool the heat-exchange air. No scale is deposited either inside or outside the cooling circuit.
Plantwide supply of clean water cooled by ambient air is supplemented by small chillers or TCUs at each process machine. Depending on ambient conditions and process needs, those local units can automatically select the energy-saving EcoDry circuit to send ambient-cooled water directly to the molds when further cooling is not required.
More new and improved chillers and TCUs are being shown by AEC, Advantage Engineering, Matsui, Mokon, Motan, Star Automation, and Wittmann. Burger & Brown Engineering has a new water/oil flowmeter. Meanwhile, Automatic Filters, Burger & Brown, Motan, and TowerKlean all have new water treatment/filtration systems; and Motan is showing a new hot-oil system cleaner. Little in the way of new electric heating elements was announced in advance of the show—an exception being energy-saving high-temperature heater bands from Fast Heat.
Meet new suppliers
Apart from Frigel, U.S. processors will have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with other less familiar international suppliers of fluid temperature-control systems, such as Cimco of Canada, Ningbo Fangli and Ningbo Huare of China, Yann Bang of Taiwan, Bry-Air Asia and Dynamic Engineers of India, PSG/Frigotrol and Single of Germany, and Tool-Temp of Switzerland. Meanwhile, PEP Filters is introducing the Spin Klin Disc water filter from Arkal Filtration Systems in Israel.
In addition, at least four domestic suppliers—Motan, Colortronic, Comet Automation, and Universal Dynamics (under the name H2O Engineered Water Systems)—recently brought out their first lines of fluid temperature-control systems. And Mokon has expanded its line beyond chillers and TCUs into cooling towers. Process Cooling Systems, a supplier of customized process-cooling systems, is bringing out a line of fiberglass cooling towers.
NPE also has exhibitors of electric heating elements who may be unfamiliar to domestic processors: Bucan Electric and HCS of Canada, Ming Lee of Hong Kong, Excel and Pratik of India, and Ceramicx of Ireland (sold here by Weco International).
If you never paid much attention to what kind of refrigerant is circulating inside your plastics chillers, it may be time you did.
Anyone who operates a molding plant knows three things it cannot run without: raw material, electrical power, and cooling water.
Mold-temperature control is just one of many process elements that can affect the quality of an injection molded part.