Proportion-Air Case Study 

Consistent Cooling & Air Flow in Aluminum Wheel Molds

An automotive aluminum wheel manufacturer was looking for a better way to achieve consistent cooling in the zones of their wheel molds. They were using water for some of the zones and air for others in each mold. Their air flow cooling set up consisted of manual regulators and pressure gauges for each air zone.

Unsurprisingly, they were unable to achieve consistent cooling results. Additionally, there was no way to know if the zone had a leak or a ruptured hose (air was plumbed into each zone via one inch rubber hoses). Hoses would wear and leak due to heat and flexing when the mold was opened and closed.

Read on to see the Proportion-Air solution…

Proportion-Air’s Closed-Loop Consistent Cooling Solution

To address the problem, Proportion-Air took their closed-loop flow controllers and specially calibrated them 5.6-20 mA = 7.5 to 75 SCFM. When installed, this assembly allowed the customer to tightly control temperature in the individual air flow cooling zones and monitor flow in the zones at all times.

If a hose leaked, the closed-loop flow controller compensated for the leak. This would ensure the zone had enough air to maintain the correct temperature. If the hose leak exceeded the flow required, the analog monitor signal from the Proportion-Air mass flow controller showed that the controller failed to achieve the set point request. The customer’s PLC controller was programmed to provide an alarm when the command and monitor did not match and that wheel was scrapped. The alarm also alerted the operator as when to replace the failed hose.

Periodically, a pinched air flow cooling zone hose would also be an issue. If the hose was pinched, not enough flow was achieved and the flow controller monitor would show the PLC that flow was not achieved. The PLC alarm would notify the operator of the issue so corrective action could be taken. This issue was resolved as well.

Aluminum Wheels

Problem Solved

Proportion-Air’s specially calibrated flow control package was the right fit for this manufacturer’s needs.

Among the benefits realized by the customer:

  • Flow output from the Proportion-Air flow controller was linear and proportional based on the PLC’s command signal input and there was no linear relationship between their previous pressure regulator flow system.
  • The flow controller was closed-loop and it was therefore able to compensate for situations where things changed downstream in the zone, such as a leak.
  • An analog out from the Proportion-Air flow controller’s flow transducer allowed flow to be monitored by the system in real time.
  • The system allowed for more consistent and repeatable quality.
  • The system substantially reduced scrap.
  • The PLC driven closed-loop mass flow controller eliminated operator input ensuring that product was made the same regardless of which operator was working.

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Consistent Cooling

Consistent Cooling