Cooper Tools, Monroe, NC
Mechanical Services: HVAC & Building Control System
AIRCOND VALUE DELIVERED
Less waste of materials; faster, more efficient manufacturing process; increased control of mechanical systems, higher production capacity, improved productivity, reduced expenses with greater profitability potential.
MECHANICAL SERVICES OBJECTIVES
To reduce the number of molds broken during the autoclave phase of its manufacturing process; to increase production and meet growing product demand.
HVAC & BUILDING CONTROL SYSTEM SOLUTIONS
EMCOR Services Aircond's technical, mechanical, and installation assistance played a significant role in helping this client achieve its goals. To produce its products, the company makes wax molds of the tools it manufactures. It then dips the molds multiple times into a ceramic slurry to build up a thick shell, which is stored in a drying room to remove moisture. To avoid breakage at this stage, the company must maintain the room's temperature at 74 degrees, the same as the room in which the slurry buildup was applied. When dry, technicians put the shells into an autoclave, which melts out the wax.
If, however, the shells aren't completely dry when placed into the autoclave, the water in them expands and breaks the shells. While shells break for a number of reasons, water in the slurry is a significant factor in a majority of cases. The result was a waste of time and materials, as well as reduced production capacity.
To improve the situation, the company needed to lower the humidity in the drying room from 45-50 percent to around 20 percent, while still maintaining the 74 degree temperature. To add to the mechanical systems challenge, the company doubled the size of its drying room to accommodate increased demand.
In spite of the problem's complexity, EMCOR Services Aircond provided a mechanical solution involving building automation systems (BAS) and an HVAC system installation. They installed a dessicant dehumidifier, a 3,000-cubic-feet-per-minute air handler and an 18-ton air-cooled chiller, all integrated by a direct digital control (DDC) system.
The new HVAC & DDC system offered several improvements. It provided the desired 20 percent in humidity, promoting virtually complete drying and reducing the chance of breakage during autoclave firing. The new layout also dries the shells faster. While the former system took as long as 72 hours, the Aircond building automation system does the job in 24, a 66 percent improvement. Add this speed to the space expansion, and you have significantly increased capacity.
Implementation of a DDC system also brings benefits. It enables the client to control room temperature to within +/- one degree. In addition, the building control system provides more precise process monitoring. When the company puts new wet shells into the drying room, the room's humidity spikes up. A monitor on the new DDC system tells engineers when that humidity has returned to 20 percent, which means they can safely move the shells to the autoclave stage.
COOPER TOOLS FACILITIES BACKGROUND
A division of Cooper Industries, Inc., Cooper Hand Tools manufactures and markets hand tools, chain, and electronic soldering products. Its brands include Campbell® chain, Crescent® brand wrenches and pliers, Lufkin® measuring tools, Nicholson® files and saws, Plumb® hammers, H.K. Porter® bolt cutters, Weller® soldering products, and Wiss® snips.