News

Maintenance Tips for Heating & Cooling Systems

Posted by Sam Pelonis | Jun 29, 2015 7:00:00 AM | 0 Comments

When customers choose to undertake custom heating or cooling projects, they may not always make as many considerations as industry professionals.

There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed before any installation can begin, such as those pertaining to the location and characteristics of the desired system, and the cost and energy concerns of the entire project.

There are also many questions to consider when working on the systems once they are set in place; the slightest issue can increase the chances of component degradation or eventual failure. Depending on whether you are working on either a heating or cooling system, there are different questions that are vital to keep in mind.

PTC_heaterHeating Systems

Q:  Is maintenance the same for all kinds of heating systems?

A:  Since heating systems differ slightly, maintenance on those systems will also differ.

For example: household heating applications rely on the thermal conduction of the building, whereas transportation heating applications utilize energy from the vehicle itself. Some applications rely on thermostats to regulate energy, and others are self-limiting.

In any case, you’ll want to consider the specific energy concerns and individual components of the application before making repairs.           

Q:  My heating system is creating unusually high utility costs—how can I resolve the issue?

A:  Higher energy costs can be indicative of poor energy efficiency. The secondary limiting devices that some heating systems depend on can malfunction, leading to an influx of heat energy—which in turn leads to higher energy costs.

To combat this issue, you should regularly check your system for any signs of overheating and replace any defective parts.

Q:  Do PTC heaters need constant maintenance?

A:  A PTC heater has a much longer service life than a traditional resistance heater. PTC heating limits the amount of energy flowing through a system, making them less prone to overheating or shorting out. Like with any machinery, it is possible for PTC heaters to malfunction—if you notice any problems, check the heater for any faulty circuitry.

HVAC_fanCooling Systems

Q:  Is maintenance the same for fans and blowers?

A:  Maintenance will be slightly different for fans and blowers since each has unique airflow and pressure characteristics, but generally you should watch for signs of fatigue on belts, bearings, sheaves, and other components. DC fans, DC blowers, micro fans and cross flow fans will each have some differences when it comes to maintenace.

Q:  Why are there airflow problems in the system?

A:  Your cooling (and heating) system can accumulate debris or other contaminants, which can lead to poor performance and damaged components over time.

Make sure to keep these components clean. Issues like fan degradation (caused corrosive gases or abrasive particles) can be averted with periodic inspection of the system for any flow irregularities.

Q:  What is another component that needs to be checked regularly?

A:  The condition of the fan’s motor is vital to the proper operation of the system. You can use methods such as vibration analysis—of the motor speed and blade pass frequency—to preemptively detect issues within the motor windings. You can also measure insulation resistance at certain voltages to test the motor windings.

More Questions? Contact Us Today

If you have additional questions about diverse, custom heating and cooling systems, Pelonis Technologies has several online resources that can provide you with a better understanding of options available to you.

Access Our  Useful Resources

If you need further assistance pertaining to heating and cooling, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Read More >>

Four Ways to Cool Compact Electronic Devices

Posted by Sam Pelonis | Jun 30, 2014 10:56:11 AM | 1 Comment

We’ve all been there: working or playing for extended times on our cell phone when soon the battery begins to run down quickly and the device starts to heat up. Often the only solution is to turn off your phone or tablet and give it some time to cool down. Since the beginning of the technology, one of the biggest challenges for makers of compact electronic devices is keeping them cool.

microblowersThis is especially true these days as mobile devices get more complex and powerful with larger HD screens and tons of applications running at once. As each new device hits the market, the pressure increases to enhance the effectiveness and lower the costs of cooling systems. So how does the electronics industry tackle the task of cooling compact electronic devices?  Here are 4 areas to consider.

1. Heat Pipe Integration

One of the more cost-effective and reliable ways to cool mobile devices is by using heat pipes. This method of passive heat transfer offers high effective thermal conductivity, vibration-free operation, and no moving parts. They work by filling the pipe with a small amount of fluid (water, nitrogen, acetone, sodium, or ammonia), which then absorbs the heat as it is vaporized. The vapor is then transported to a condenser region, where it releases the heat thanks to a cooling medium.

2. Printed Circuit Board Design

Improving the printed circuit board design is another way to cool devices. The latest designs have more layers of solid ground or power planes. These connect directly to the source of the heat through multiple pathways made of hollow or cylindrical copper metal transfers between the layers. This design increases the effective surface area, which in turn allows heat to spread evenly across the larger surface.

3. Thermal Interface Materials

Another potential solution for overheating is the use of thermal-interface materials.  These unique materials use thermal greases to fill microscopic air gaps that exist due to the uneven nature of the component surfaces. This in turn increases the thermal conductivity of the thermal interface and helps reduce damaging heat.

4. Active Cooling Integration (Micro Fans)

Perhaps the most effective way to cool any mobile device is the micro fan. Compared to the other “passive” forms of cooling, this “active” form of cooling is ultimately superior. The biggest problem comes from the challenge to make fans small enough that power consumption is not radically increased. As well, manufacturers must find a way to keep vents unblocked to avoid overheating.

In the end, Pelonis believes that mobile device designers will always rely on some form of active cooling to reduce the heat in their mobile electronics. When combined with newer circuit board designs and advanced materials, a fan-based cooling system is hard to surpass for quality, effectiveness, and durability.

To learn more about cooling electronic devices and some of the challenges it can pose, click the link below and download our eBook on Electronic Device Cooling:

Download Our Electronics Cooling eBook

Read More >>

Five Cost Saving Factors You May Not Have Considered

Posted by Sam Pelonis | Jun 16, 2014 10:00:00 AM | 0 Comments

If you own a business be it big or small, you know how critical it is to keep costs down.  Everyday is a battle to find new ways to save money all while keeping quality levels high. Often in the electronics industry, there are inventive and even hidden heating and cooling cost saving factors not instantly thought about. In this blog, we will cover the top five ways Pelonis believes can help electronics manufacturers improve their bottom-line.

1.Heat Pipes

HeatPipeThe overheating of electronics is a topic that will run through most of this blog’s theme. It is one of the top “killers” of electronics thus manufacturers are constantly trying to find ways to eliminate or lessen its effects. One handy and simple way to reduce heat-related problems is with a heat pipe. Heat pipes are passive heat transfer systems with high effective thermal conductivity. Typically made with copper or aluminum, these sealed hollow tubes are lightweight and transfer heat away from machinery over long distances without any moving parts. Heat pipes, which use evaporative cooling technology, were first used by NASA but have found their way into modern electronics and computers. They are an easy and cost-effective heat transfer method.

2.Size of the Device

The cost of materials is a major issue for any manufacturer. This is especially the case in the electronics industry. Raw material costs are always in flux and some, like gold and silver, are always on the high end. Perhaps the most obvious ways to reduce your exposure to fluctuating prices is to use fewer materials. The best way to accomplish this task is to focus on miniaturizing your products. While this might come with some greater upfront costs, it will save you over the long haul. Smaller products, means lower overall costs. As well, smaller devices in general have a lower cost for heating and cooling.   

3. PTC Heating Combined with Micro Cooling

Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heaters are specialized heating discs/elements that combine outstanding heat transfer with a reduced need for space. Available as both a Fin element or in a honeycomb form, PTC heating elements replace resistance wires with ceramic chips. PTC heating allows for quick cool downs and do not require overheating protection. Thanks to this higher level of safety, they will reduce downtime, plus their smaller size plays directly into point #2 on our list.

4. Cost of Manufacturing

Finding a manufacturer that can combine competitive pricing and exceptional quality is the goal of every business. At Pelonis, we find that one of the best ways to lower your manufacturing costs is flexibility. It allows you to respond with speed and cost-effectiveness to any type of order.  This flexibility crosses over into basic design as well.  Being flexible about what types of heating and cooling options will work best provides an opportunity to save, rather than being rigid about that decision.

5. Long-Term Maintenance and Cost of Operation

If you are forced to constantly upgrade or repair equipment, it will cause costs to balloon. Much like reducing the size of a device, boosting long-term maintenance and lowering cost of operations with high-quality heating and cooling fans may raise upfront costs, but you will eliminate headaches, downtime, and lost productivity in the long run.

If you want even more cost saving tips, please contact Pelonis today! We are always thinking of new ways to save our customers time and money. 

Download How to Select a Cooling Fan

 

Image Source: "Heat Pipe Mechanism" by Zootalures (Wikipedia.org)

Read More >>