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Old 04-24-2019, 06:31 PM   #1
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Default Crane Control Cabinet A/C 180F Ambient

Greetings all. Haven't posted for quite some time, but I'm still around. I have moved into a new position at a steel producer (my aluminum smelter closed up in 13 and the little iron foundry finally bored me to death around last Christmas). So I'm gonna take up office space here and try to tweak some of their systems to make them a bit more reliable. First order of business:

I have a radio controlled 40 ton bridge crane that transports red hot 60"x 8" steel slabs 50 feet long fresh out of the caster all day and night. My guys have had over 20 calls to that one crane for electrical problems in less than 8 weeks. Most failures have been in the radio interface cabinet that is stuffed full of relays and little transformers and receivers and yada yada yada (36"x 36"x 12" Hoffman enclosure). Soooo...

I need to cool that enclosure first, and then think about the contactor cabinets later as their contents are very prone to fail in the summertime too. Problem is the ambient temperature in the ceiling is around 175F and has been clocked at a click over 200F during the hottest part of the summer.

I can find cabinet coolers all day long for 140F ambient duty, but I can't seem to locate anything for blistering hot temps. I know that other steel producers are doing something to cool their cabinets, but damned if I know what it is. If anyone out there has an epiphany I'd sure entertain it right about now.

Regards,
Mark
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Old 04-24-2019, 07:11 PM   #2
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Although not specific to your situation, I have relocated cabinets on cranes to a less harsh environment. I know some of the cabinets would be tough to move / rebuild depending on the design of the crane. It may also require some safety approvals.

The other option is to increase the cabinet size and add a separate cooling unit such as CO burst or AC unit. Fans will not work because you are just drawing the hot air across the contacts and likely contaminants.

Cheers
John
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:17 AM   #3
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At those temperatures I'd suspect that you're going to have to install some active cooling -- as in chilled water with anti-freeze.

Sounds like a real project.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:13 AM   #4
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The vortex coolers are supposed to be the best in high ambient temperatures, but is it possible to get compressed air up there?
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:41 AM   #5
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Relocation would be a tough prospect in that there are few, if any areas on board the crane that are not susceptible to the high temps. It would also require a fairly lengthy outage. This thing runs 24-7. Just getting time to PM it is like pulling teeth with no anesthetic.

I am not familiar with CO burst, though just from its name it sounds intriguing. Would you know offhand an information source on this? I'll Google it as well.

I'm in process of researching a vortex cooler. I would need to install an on board compressor with more than 8SCFM capability. Then all I would need to know is the life span of the compressor in those temperatures.

While off on one of my daydreaming sessions after I wrote this it occurred to me that both of our cab operated 210 ton cranes have cooling for both operator and drive cabinets. I'll be looking into that this morning to see what they have onboard that can withstand oven-like temperatures.

Good conversation guys. I'm sure there is a way that is safe, effective and economical. We'll find it sooner or later.

Cheers,
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:51 PM   #6
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Is the control cabinet on the bridge?
I worked in a very hot plant for some time. Not anywhere as hot as your plant is.
We used AC's on each panel and we were constantly working on them.
Finally we subbed out these AC's to our HVAC guys.

Once they realized they were spinning their wheels, they got a bright idea and mounted AC units on the roof and ran insulated duct work to any cabinet that needed cooling.
They were designed so when the ambient air outside was cold enough, the AC's would shut off and the blowers would pull in outside cold air.

They worked very well and when you opened a cabinet it felt so nice and cool. But it was not as hot as your plant Al. Not close to being that hot.
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:43 PM   #7
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Yeah John, these cabinets are on the moving bridge. From what I'm told, this crane is by far the least reliable of all of our bridge cranes. The reason is two fold. First, we stack cherry red hot slabs 12 or so high, which leaves no more than 10-12 feet of air space between the stack and the crane bridge. Second, the ceiling isn't nearly high enough (we can replace high bay lights from the bridge platform), which allows the accumulated heat to pile up in right smack on the bridge. I'm told that in July the bridge platform will actually burn blisters on your knees if you kneel down to get in the control cabinets. You also cannot touch any metal parts without welding gloves. Kinda hard to change tips on contactors don't ya think?! I honestly don't know how the damn thing works at all in the summer.

The guys go on calls in threes and rotate five minutes with two standing at the outside door while one goes in to work. How efficient is that?!

As well as pursuing some sort of internal cooling, I'm going to recommend removal of the uppermost exterior wall panels along the slab bay to allow some of the trapped air to escape. At this point it's either that or rack up a hellufalot of delay minutes this summer. I know what I'd choose!
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:53 PM   #8
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I had a similar issue with crane controls over an aluminum pot line. We tried the vortex coolers, they didn't work reliable PLUS, they took 100CFM at 40PSI, which translated to about 7-1/2HP worth of compressor power because you also need it to be very very dry and oil free, otherwise you kill the electrical equipment and the dryer and oil filters robbed a lot of compressor power. We never even entertained the idea of mounting the compressor on the crane, it would require too much maintenance and besides, I too think it would be too hot up there for the compressor.


We settled on Thermoelectric (Peltier effect) coolers which were new at that time and added serious rigid foam insulation to the walls of the enclosures, which meant rebuilding the cabinets to make room for it. The TCA (Thermoelectric Cooling Assembly) coolers were very expensive but rated for 70C operation (158F), mostly because that is the upper limit of even military grade electronics. I was associated with that aluminum mill for about 9 more years after putting those in, I never got a single complaint. Unfortunately the company that made the coolers is now gone, probably eaten up by someone else, but there are numerous TCA manufacturers out there. You could talk to some of them.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRaef View Post
I had a similar issue with crane controls over an aluminum pot line. We tried the vortex coolers, they didn't work reliable PLUS, they took 100CFM at 40PSI, which translated to about 7-1/2HP worth of compressor power because you also need it to be very very dry and oil free, otherwise you kill the electrical equipment and the dryer and oil filters robbed a lot of compressor power. We never even entertained the idea of mounting the compressor on the crane, it would require too much maintenance and besides, I too think it would be too hot up there for the compressor.


We settled on Thermoelectric (Peltier effect) coolers which were new at that time and added serious rigid foam insulation to the walls of the enclosures, which meant rebuilding the cabinets to make room for it. The TCA (Thermoelectric Cooling Assembly) coolers were very expensive but rated for 70C operation (158F), mostly because that is the upper limit of even military grade electronics. I was associated with that aluminum mill for about 9 more years after putting those in, I never got a single complaint. Unfortunately the company that made the coolers is now gone, probably eaten up by someone else, but there are numerous TCA manufacturers out there. You could talk to some of them.
After a hellufalot of research and head scratching, I have come to the same conclusion. I put a call into ISC Sales late yesterday afternoon, who either manufactures or distributes Delta-T enclosure coolers. The engineers are running my numbers now to see what they can come up with. Hope it doesn't crash their sizing calculator!

One thing to keep in mind is that this heat load is not necessarily 24-7. The ambient does go down slightly at night, and summer storms or stiff breezes sometimes carry away some of the heat. However the temps are still way too high to maintain reliable controls. I'm aware that any heat exchanger type of unit will cease to function in our most extreme conditions; that's the nature of the beast. But if I can get the internal temperatures down to a reasonable level for a majority of the time, it'll still be a win.

Stand by folks. And thanks for your suggestions.

Mark
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:38 AM   #10
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Where we could we always moved the boxes to the floor or off to the side of the bridge when possible as out first option.

The CO2 blast that I mentioned were home make jobbies… essentially you are connecting a CO2 line to the box and it gave a short blast every so often. We used CO2 vice standard air simply for the cooling effect, plus it is dry and clean.

The first one we did we put insulation on the exterior, and it melted almost right away… pretty stupid after we thought about it…

The second one we gave that a bit more thought; we put insulation on the inside and incorporated a pressured drain / relief on the bottom. This worked good as an initial concept, but then we had to consider how much CO2 to blast in there, at what intervals, etc. We also had to incorporate some sort of failsafe on the CO2 line because if it started to leak or broke we could not afford to let CO2 run undetected as it is quite expensive.

We continued to build on this one and incorporated the changes / upgrades into a third one. In that situation we included a cable along with the CO2 line so we could put in a moisture sensor and temperature sensor. These were hugely expensive projects in the end, but like a majority of plant work, the people are there anyway and most liked the project stuff.

A nuber of points, we found that the larger box was better for the equipment because the CO2 did not blow directly on the components. There was a bit of condensation that formed, so by having the larger box, the condensation tended to stay close to the insulation. You had to have enough pressure to open the drain but and move the condensation, but not so much that it changed the shape of the door / cover or put pressure on the cover seals. We had to add some stuff to the LOTO for the pressured line going into the box. There was also some issue with the crane manufacturer and some “safety” regulations as we were modifying a “lifting device”… but quite frankly I don’t know what the end result was. That was just not the CO, but the fact that we were relocating crane controllers all over the plant for better maintenance and life span.

Than plant shut down and razed a number of years ago and I have no idea how long our “CO blast” lasted. I would say it made a difference, but it is hard to tell if it was the CO blast that made a difference or the simple rebuilding of the box and components.

Cheers
John
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:38 AM   #11
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Where did the CO2 come from, bottles?
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:49 AM   #12
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I'd be shocked if Peltier effect (solid state electronics) coolers can tolerate the temperature.

That puppy is running so hot that you are, in effect, cooling a motor.

You know you're going to want to insulate it every which way and then provide active cooling.

It's so hot I can't see how you can avoid water + antifreeze as the circulating medium.

At least that's a low pressure solution with tons of engineering data to go by. Obviously you'll have to locate the heat exchanger at the bottom of the cabinet and have a warning circuit for any leakage. I see it running all the time.

Down low I can imagine an active refrigerator -- pulling the coolant down to, say, 100F.

It won't have to be big, as the heat load that gets though your insulation should not be staggering.

What ever it is, it'll have to be industrial strength -- with alarms so that you can jump on things before they get out of hand.
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:56 AM   #13
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You do have exhaust fans right? Roof exhaust fans?
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Old 04-26-2019, 02:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Where did the CO2 come from, bottles?
Large storage tank. We used it for other instrumentation instead of compressed air.

Cheers
John
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:36 PM   #15
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https://www.eicsolutions.com/high-ambient/
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:26 PM   #16
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190F -- that's amazing.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:14 PM   #17
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Ah! That's the one I used way back when, it was called ThermoTec back then, which I see is now their registered brand name, so this must be who "gobbled them up".
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:45 PM   #18
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I'd been all over the EIC website, or so I thought, but never ran into this page. I will contact their engineers to find out how they get their magic to work. I have certainly seen no other claims by anyone else to meet that ambient spec.

Many thanks.

We have access to argon and nitrogen on site, but not CO2. However, The concept is still worth contemplating. Would have to figure out the safety aspect of compressed gas tanks on an overhead crane with high heat and high vibrations.

Mark
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:10 PM   #19
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Our tanks were like this but vertical...

We just tapped off the main header and ran flexible braided hose to the bridge.

Cheers
John
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
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First, we stack cherry red hot slabs 12 or so high,
Was it designed for 12 or did someone get the bright idea to stack them 12 high rather than eight or ten?
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