New compressor design heads to production thanks to assistance from NASA outreach program.
Melborne, Fla. – With help from the NASA-funded Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP), Air Squared, Inc., an industry leader in the design and manufacture of scroll compressors, is taking a new product into full production by the end of this year.
SATOP provides free assistance to small businesses with technical challenges through the expertise of the program’s Alliance Partners, which consist of aerospace companies, universities and national laboratories involved in the U.S. Space Program.
Air Squared designs and manufactures scroll compressors, vacuum pumps, and expanders. The company’s largest customers are medical device manufacturers and providers of alternative energy solutions such as fuel cells and waste heat recovery systems. Incorporated in 1991 as a compressor design and consulting company, Air Squared expanded into manufacturing in 2001, and today employs 25 full time employees, at the company’s facilities in Broomfield, Colo.
Recently, Air Squared faced an issue with a new scroll compressor, designed to handle a high discharge pressure. That high pressure requires that the heat caused by compression be adequately dispersed. To keep the unit at a reasonable operating temperature cooling fins and a fan are added to increase the heat transfer from the unit. However, Air Squared was unable to arrive at the optimum fin design to successfully cool the unit.
Robert Shaffer, President of Air Squared, heard about SATOP’s offer of technical assistance from a colleague and decided to approach the program for help with the new compressor.
Air Squared’s Request for Technical Assistance was assigned by Habib Fahs, SATOP Florida Project Engineer at the Technological Research and Development Authority in Melbourne, Fla., to James “Jim” Jones at Design by Analysis, Inc., a SATOP Alliance Partner in New Britain, Conn.
Jones reviewed the unit’s design and performed Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling of the air coming from the cooling fan through the fins. After running the analysis, he discovered that the fin design did not allow the air to flow through as well as desired, which impeded its ability to remove heat. Jones then provided design recommendations on the fin design.
Jim Jones suggested a much improved finning design that significantly lowered the discharge temperature of the unit. With the improved finning suggested by SATOP, Air Squared was able to successfully prototype the unit. Now, having tested the unit with positive results, we plan for the unit to enter full production by the end of the year.
Robert Shaffer, Air Squared President and Founder
Ryan Greenough, SATOP Florida Director and Senior Program Engineer, noted that the Air Squared technical challenge in many ways typifies the requests for assistance that come to SATOP.
Air Squared is a long established company that is highly regarded in its field. Yet even the most experience companies can find themselves coming up against a technical issue that is beyond their in-house capabilities. That’s why SATOP exists: to help small businesses solve those technical challenges and continue to be successful.
Ryan Greenough, SATOP Florida Director and Senior Program Engineer
The NASA-funded Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP) provides small businesses with free technical assistance through the expertise of the U.S. Space Program, as well as aerospace contractors, NASA field centers, national laboratories, universities and colleges. These organizations join SATOP as Alliance Partners and donate time and expertise to help solve technical challenges for small businesses. SATOP is operated as a collaboration between four regional centers: the Technological Research & Development Authority in Melbourne, Fla.; the Regional Development Corporation in Santa Fe, N.M.; the CenterState CEO in Syracuse, N.Y.; and the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership in Houston, Texas.
About Air Squared, Inc.
Air Squared Manufacturing, Inc. is the industry leader in oil-free scroll design and manufacturing. By introducing a simple design with fewer moving parts, scroll technology has established itself as a highly efficient, very reliable, cost-effective alternative. Through a growing line of compressor, vacuum pumps, and expanders, Air Squared makes the many advantages of oil-free scroll technology available to OEMs worldwide.