Thermal Care chillers boast new technology
At Plastics USA, Thermal Care Inc. will display its new line of central chillers, the TC Series, which uses a new compressor with a magnetic bearing technology - so the shaft is suspended in the air.
Normally, the compressor shaft and bearings need oil for lubrication. But the magnetic technology has no friction, eliminating the need for oil, Thermal Care said. The shaft is the only major moving part.
Thermal Care is showing the TC centrifugal compressor at Plastics USA, Sept. 28-30.
Thermal Care President Don Gruenberg said the energy-efficient, whisper-quiet compressor has been used for several years in the commercial air-conditioning industry for offices and other large buildings. But the TC marks its first application in industrial cooling, he said.
A built-in variable-speed motor drive and the frictionless bearings, which require only two amps to levitate the shaft and start it rotating, help save energy by eliminating inefficient cycling of the compressor, Thermal Care said.
TC central chillers use R-134a refrigerant. The TC provides 79 points of diagnostic control per compressor.
It runs quietly, at just 71 decibals, so the chiller needs no special sound-deadening.
Thermal Care placed its first TC chiller in a factory in California, where it has been running for several months. The energy savings, compared to an existing screw compressor chiller currently in the plant, will total $26,320 for the first year.
Thermal Care would not name the customer, but said the company qualified for a $30,000 energy-savings incentive by purchasing the TC.
Tel. (847) 966-2260, fax (847) 966-9358.
Kaufmann fabricates molds using LOM
Swiss injection toolmaker Georg Kaufmann Formenbau AG is using a new way to fabricate steel molds for prototype parts, as well as small-lot runs, within eight to 12 weeks.
Kaufmann uses the LOM process, which stands for laminated object manufacturing. It starts with epoxy-coated steel sheet. Once the company has the final three-dimensional CAD files of the two mold cavity halves, it uses a special software to generate a layer structure at a right angle to the mold parting line. The thickness of each slice corresponds to the gauge of the steel sheet.
Corresponding core and cavity slices are cut by a laser from the same sheet, and they remain interconnected by thin webs, which maintain tight tolerances. Each numbered section is cleaned and deburred. The slices are then stacked in the proper sequence and clamped with spring-loaded tie rods. The resulting stack is heated slowly in a special furnace for several hours. The steel and epoxy layers will fuse tightly together and bond into a solid mass.
After the stack cools down, Kaufmann removes the tie rods and severs the web links between the core and the cavity. The company does additional machining, and mold grinding before assembling the final mold.
After the grinding step, the layer structure is no longer visible, according to the company in Busslingen, Switzerland.
Kaufmann said one benefit of LOM is that holes for the tie rods, guide bars, slides and ejector pins can be produced during the laser cutting process. Also, the company can add large cooling channels that follow the surface of the mold, thanks to the multilayer structure.
Kaufmann Formenbau said it has obtained the exclusive right to use the LOM process to make injection molds.
Tel. +41 (56) 485-6500, fax +41 (56) 496-5400, e-mail [email protected] tool.ch.