By developing this cooling system, the engineering team at Acrolab noticed two major obstacles in this project. The first technological obstacle was the complete design of the entire cooling system. Acrolab has limited experience with conventional cooling system designs for this type of application. Other important details that made the project more challenging were that the cooling system was a transient heat transfer system.
Based on test results, the new cooling chamber was not operating in an optimized manner and Acrolab was contracted to solve the problem.
Cooling Metallic Automotive Parts
Developing a cooling tunnel where the main function will be to cool large metallic automotive parts was the focus for this project. This cooling tunnel would be part of a complete industrial part washer system. It was the first time that Acrolab developed this kind of cooling tunnel for the automotive industry. The parts would be washed and vacuum dried before entering the cooling tunnel.
The cooling tunnel would be able to cool down the cylinder block from an initial temperature of around 40°C to the temperature of the production hall (ambient) ±3°C. The cooling tunnel would have some flexibility to temperature variation in the production hall. Based on the calculations we needed to select the finned coil heat exchangers and fans required in order to meet the specifications.
Handling Plant Temperature
The second obstacle was to accurately control the temperature at the cooling tunnel. The water supply was at a relatively constant temperature, the plant temperature was not consistent and the required temperature at the exit of the cooling tunnel would therefore need to change accordingly. As a result, this cooling system had to be flexible to accommodate the production plant temperature change. In order to solve this, there were several options to consider such as adjusting the coolant temperature, coolant flow rate and the speed of the fan.
Acrolab’s engineering team visited the customer facility and held several meetings with the technical team of the end-user of the cooling tunnel to talk about specific requirements and to better understand the function of the cooling system. An internal meeting was held to achieve the development of the concept based on the requirements.
In order to resolve the first issue of completing the design of the entire cooling system, considering the impact of factors such as fluid dynamics and heat transfer requirements, Acrolab engaged one of our technology partners to assist in doing these calculations. Between the two of us, we completed a detailed heat transfer analysis on the cooling system. Based on the results of the analysis the coils and fans were selected, and then ordered from the supplier. The second issue was resolved by having a mechanism to adjust the cooling capacity to control the temperature at the cooling outlet.
A detailed technical proposal was prepared and submitted for review. Acrolab considers this proposal to be a significant example of our engineering support and expertise in thermal management solutions for our customers.