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Industry Leader in Quick Action Couplings

 
Company News                    

 

October 17, 2018

A Custom Coupler Solution for Electronics Cooling Applications.

Simplifying assembly and installation with a dripless, easy and secure solution.

QuantaCool needed a unique refrigerant coupler to meet the demands of their new electronics cooling system. Off-the-shelf component options were too large and expensive, and other manufacturers would not produce the short-run couplers the application required. QuantaCool took their application requirements to the engineering team at SafeWay, who designed a unique coupler that fit the size and material requirements – at a cost-effective price. The new coupler not only met the demands required for thermal management in the reduced footprint of QuantaCool’s PolarBox™ and PolarRak™ systems, it also simplified the assembly process. The result was a win-win for QuantaCool and their customers.

“We wanted to deliver our products prefilled (with refrigerant), with a dripless quick connector to make them easy to install.”

Steven Schon, CTO, QuantaCool

Industry Application At-A-Glance

Today’s data centers, gaming systems and many other electronics operate with increased processing speed and graphic quality – with the added challenge of increased thermal management. More and more manufacturers are looking for alternatives to traditional air cooling to disperse the heat generated by their high-power electronics systems. A reliable, safe and passive 2-phase cooling system can provide a low cost, efficient and effective alternative to air cooling. Secure and leak-free couplers are a mission-critical component of any liquid or 2-phase cooling solution.

QuantaCool: Customer Snapshot

QuantaCool (quantacool.com) helps solve the cooling challenges of the electronics industry with innovative solutions. Their cooling systems remove and transport heat, stabilizing temperatures with patented MHP™ technology. Using passively circulated refrigerant instead of pumped water, QuantaCool’s system cools better while minimizing the risk to both electronics and personnel.

Metal Quick Design Image 1
Metal Quick Design Image 2
PolarBox™ Model C (self-contained tower case containing all cooling components), showing cold plates mounted to CPU and graphics card, connected to condenser and reservoir with color-coded SafeWay couplers.

Application Requirements for Circulating Refrigerant

For the development of the new cooling system, QuantaCool required a dripless, quick disconnect coupler solution, with unique requirements for size, material and pressure – beginning with smaller production runs. QuantaCool contacted SafeWay and provided an overview of their coupler requirements, which included:

  • Dripless and leak-free
  • 200 PSI pressure rating
  • Lightweight aluminum
  • Size less than 0.75" in diameter
  • Quick disconnect functionality
  • Coupler ends that matched preferred tubing and fittings
  • Materials, seals and lubricants compatible with refrigerant
  • Color coding for easy assembly
  • Sleeve-lock to prevent accidental disconnect

“SafeWay was very easy to work with. They’re willing to work with small production runs that almost nobody is willing to do. I was able to do a custom, minimal order at reasonable pricing”

Steven Schon, CTO, QuantaCool

The Result: Advantages in Assembly and On-Site Installation

  • Simplified assembly at QuantaCool:
    The new dripless couplers enable QuantaCool to easily pre-charge the products with refrigerant before shipping to customers.
  • Simplified customer installations:
    The dripless, color-coded, quick disconnect couplers make it easier for customers to install QuantaCool’s products on-site.
  • A more secure connection:
    SafeWay added a locking collar to prevent accidental disconnects during assembly or operation.
  • Flexible connection options:
    Customized ends allow the couplers to connect to tubing or be panel mounted.
  • Value-added engineering:
    A specialized design allows the couplers to operate in an environment where the media does not lubricate the coupler components.
  • Small, cost-effective production runs:
    SafeWay is able to provide QuantaCool with the production runs they need, at a cost-effective price.

QuantaCool now has an electronics cooling system that is leak free, modular, flexible, and efficient. Their custom coupler solution from SafeWay helps them assemble products more efficiently, while helping their customers install QuantaCool’s products more easily.

The Design and Engineering Process

While other manufacturers were not interested in developing a new product with initial low volume production runs, SafeWay’s flexible, collaborative approach to product development made it possible to green light the project.

Unlike other contract manufacturers, SafeWay applied the integrated services advantage of their five different divisions and developed the coupler solution for QuantaCool from the ground up.

  • Based on the application requirements, the design engineers at SafeWay developed product drawings and presented them to QuantaCool.
  • Working engineer to engineer, QuantaCool and SafeWay enhanced the product design
  • Once the revised drawings were approved, SafeWay produced 3-D prototypes, a small pilot run and qualification performance.
  • Additional on-site testing led to enhancements in the lubricants and seals – creating a final ready-for-production coupler solution.
Metal Quick Design Image 3
3rd-Party PC (cold plates mounted to CPU and graphics card inside), connected with color-coded SafeWay couplers to PolarBox™ Model E (condenser and reservoir housed in case above PC).

About SafeWay

SafeWay quick disconnect couplers have a solid reputation for ease of use without leakage, and with minimum restriction of flow during system operation. Since our founding, all SafeWay fluid transfer products are designed, fabricated, and assembled in the USA.

Today’s impressive product line includes a broad foundation of industrial interchange quick disconnect couplers. These include various ISO interchanges, heavy duty connect-under-pressure designs, extreme high pressure designs and innovative flush-face, non-spill models. Our product specifications and quality are second to none. We frequently work with OEM’s to design special products for their unique applications.

SafeWay is a division of The Specialty Mfg. Co. (SMC). The Company is organized into five integrated divisions Specialty Valve, SafeWay, Specialty Integrated Services, New Ulm Precision Tool and Rola-Chem.

A division of SpecialtyMFG Logo


 

March 7, 2017

Custom Coupler simplifies the lubrication and maintenance for track tensioning system.

Time is money when managing routine maintenance and lubrication of drive tracks on excavating equipment. Efficiency of the filling and flushing of the lubricants that optimize equipment uptime is vital. To make this work, the successful design required a reliable and durable mechanism to inject grease into the system and then reverse pressure to allow the grease to be flushed from the system and recharged with fresh grease.

A globally recognized manufacturer of excavating machinery developed a single zerk hydraulic system designed to deliver and bleed grease used to set/adjust track tension on their equipment. SafeWay engineers at the Specialty Manufacturing Co. were engaged to examine the hydraulic zerk design for its overall function and manufacturability. After design review and testing, SafeWay engineers responded with recommendations to improve durability and ensure leak-free performance.

After thorough review, two concerns with the original design were identified.

  1. The ball seal in the zerk design was suspect and had the potential to leak which presented a possible environmental hazard, as well as reliability concerns.
  2. The coupling end of the zerk was too soft and was susceptible to damage and accelerated wear.

To address these issues and optimize both function and manufacturability, Safeway Engineers offered two important recommendations.

Recommendation #1.

Set an acceptable leakage rate and adopt design and control features to achieve it. A modified steel check valve (ball and seat) to seal the grease reservoir and maintain pressure was recommended to hydraulically activate adjustment of track tension systems. Engineers recommended a customized ductile base metal body for the fitting with an integrated ball that when put under pressure seals against the zerk body to create a seal that holds up through routine use and lubricant cycles.

Recommendation #2.

To address the softness in the metal on the top of the zerk body a dual hardening process was identified that would harden only the top and allow for a consistent connection with grease delivery tools and maintain the required ductility to satisfy recommendation 1.

"We are confident that our recommendations improve the reliability and performance of this component under the most rugged use conditions and cost expectations." Commented Nick Goenner, SafeWay Hydraulic Engineering Manager.

Result - The design recommendations were implemented and prototype parts were produced that were tested and approved by the OEM. Today this single zerk system has been adopted on the company's equipment and continues to exceed expectations for performance, durability and cost.

This problem solution scenario is a hallmark of Safeway Hydraulics and The Specialty Mfg. Company. The company takes pride in adding value to customer designs and designing-in improved manufacturability and performance within defined cost objectives. The SafeWay product line includes a broad foundation of agricultural interchange products as well as numerous industrial interchange quick couplings. These include various ISO interchanges, heavy duty connect-under-pressure designs, extreme high pressure designs and innovative flush-face, non-spill models.

The Specialty Mfg. Company's, engineering, testing, assembly and customer service is all housed on one campus in near St. Paul, Mn.