Several companies manufacturer vortex tube operated air conditioners primarily for electrical and electronic enclosures. Some promote them as the solution to all applications when in fact that is not the case. There are many types of devices on the market for air conditioning control panels and all have their place. Vortex tube devices use compressed air to create cold air which is piped into a control panel for air conditioning. They do not electrics except for optional thermostat and solenoid valve systems to turn them on and off as required. This saves on compressed air cost. They create no condensate and actually keep the inside of a control panel at a slight positive pressure. This is ideal in very humid and/or dirty environments. They have near zero maintenance and are rugged to hold up under difficult environments including vibration. Their performance is dependent only on the temperature of the compressed air, so they can be more efficient in very hot end humid environments.
Taking the above into account they are most applicable for cooling control panels in the following situations:
1. Very dirty environments as they keep control panels clean, extending their life span. With no filters to replace, the added cost of compressed air is offset by the savings in replacement filter material and labor.
2. Where maintenance is difficult such as in remote areas, or difficult to reach areas in a factory, or when maintenance personnel are not easily available for servicing.
3. Very hot and humid areas due to their increased efficiency as the performance is dependent only on the compressed air temperature. In such environments Freon or other chemical operated units become less effective.
4. Where cooling requirements are intermittent such as with variable frequency drives where the heat is generated mostly during a machine startup. In this case compressed air cost is much less and since the units are maintenance free become more cost effective.
5. Smaller control panels and devices where they use very little compressed air and become very cost effective such as for bar code machines, laser markers, industrial cameras.
As energy costs go down with the advent of green technology, and as labor costs rise, such maintenance free systems will increase in use especially for these ideal applications.
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