New super-efficient temperature control units (TCUs) from auxiliary equipment supplier Conair (Cranberry Township, PA) reportedly can save plastics processors up to $740/year in pumping energy costs. In addition, the extra pressure, greater flow and higher maximum temperatures of the new systems may allow the use of a smaller unit in many applications. Shown for the first time at NPE2015, the TCUs have completed a successful beta-test phase and all models now are available to customers. They were showcased at the co-located PLASTEC West and MD&M West trade shows in Anaheim, CA, this week.
The new pump significantly increases the amount of fluid that is delivered with each revolution of the impeller, explains Conair, resulting in improved pump efficiency, as defined by the volume and/or the pressure of water delivered per unit of energy.
"We did extensive testing of the performance of the new design versus our previous-generation pump," says Tim Miller, Product Manager - Heat Transfer. "Averaging the results in all the different TCU sizes, we determined that users could save $740/year in energy costs. We found similar results when we compared the Conair TCUs against competitive products."
The new units also have a higher maximum water temperature than the previous models, with a leaving water temperature of 300°F (149°C), allowing molders to achieve higher mold temperatures without needing to use oil as the heat-transfer medium. Miller says that water is a better heat conductor than oil and is safer to use. The new TCUs offer a maximum heater size of 48 kW, which is twice the heating capacity previously available in a standard-sized cabinet.
All the new TCUs have the same basic mechanical design and features, but molders can choose between Value, Standard and Premium control platforms. The Value unit comes preconfigured with just two pump sizes and no options in order to keep prices low. The Standard and Premium configurations are available in more pump sizes and offer a higher level of customization. The Premium offering allows the highest level of customization, although both Premium and Standard platforms offer more functionality than the previous generation of TCUs. For instance, both the Standard and Premium models are available with optional remote communication capability that allows users to change settings and diagnose problems using standard communication formats like Modbus and Ethernet/IP.
The temperature-control units are also available as part of Conair's MedLine family of cleanroom-ready auxiliaries. They include features that facilitate clean operation, including wipe-down control panels, white powder coating and urethane casters. In addition, the MedLine TCUs are subjected to additional calibration steps, labeled and certified for one year before they leave the factory. They come with a quality and regulatory compliance package aligned with ISO and FDA requirements. Compliant documentation significantly reduces the paperwork processors typically need to generate in order to validate their cleanroom facilities and processes.