2011 POY Finalists: HVAC/R
Finalists in HVAC/R in Consulting-Specifying Engineer's 2011 Product of the Year competition
AAON RQ series geothermal heat pump rooftop units take advantage of the seasonally constant temperature (around 55 F) of the earth below ground level to transfer heat to or from the building. The product features double-wall rigid polyurethane foam-insulated cabinets and direct drive backward curved-plenum fans for quiet airflow and high static pressure capabilities. Energy recovery wheels transfer energy from the exhaust airstream and transfer it to the entering outside air. This allows the air to be humidified, dehumidified, or pre-tempered, requiring the unit to do less work and reducing energy costs.
Airtec’s Big Foot rooftop equipment mount is designed for commercial minisplit, variable refrigeration flow, and conventional condensers which have to be mounted on a flat roof without any penetration of the roofing membrane. The Big Foot system comprises a full package of standard pre-engineered, prefabricated galvanized and interlocking components, which can be assembled together in a variety of shapes and sizes to provide a stable base for any type of equipment. The feet and antivibration pad assembly spreads the equipment weight on the roof so there is no need to penetrate the roof membrane, reducing the risk of roof leaks.
Baldor Super-E Motor is available with AEGIS Shaft Grounding Ring, which protects VFD-controlled motors by channeling harmful currents safely to ground, extending motor life and improving reliability. Unlike conventional grounding brushes, the ring is maintenance-free and works with little friction or wear. The product is available in 26 models, ranging from 1 to 50 hp, 143T to 326T, with totally enclosed, fan-cooled (TEFC) or open, drip-proof (ODP) enclosures for heating, ventilation and air conditioning blower and fan motors, pump motors, and other general-purpose applications using an adjustable speed drive. This inverter-ready motor is available for custom speeds, hp ratings, and designs.
The BEKA cooling and heating system with microcapillary tubes system solves issues associated with traditional HVAC all-air systems. This Bio-Climatizing air conditioning system is based on the way warm-blooded organisms regulate temperature via a capillary system. The system provides air and heat through a combination of radiation (60%) and convection (40%). Capillary mats are installed in the ceiling and can be complemented with a wall and/or floor installation. BEKA mats, pipes, fittings, and valves are made of polypropylene random-copolymer Type 3, DIN 80780, which is nontoxic and can be safely recycled. The mats are flexible and can be custom-made.
Camfil Farr’s Hi-Flo ES is an ASHRAE-grade pocket filter that offers low total cost of operation, long service life, and the ability to operate without a prefilter. The filter is made of a high-lofted, air-laid micro-fiberglass media with a pocket configuration. Controlled media spacing allows the product to work with a lower sustained pressure drop than conventional pocket filters. Small fiber diameter and uniform lofting provide uniform capture of submicron particles while maintaining low resistance to airflow over time, which allows each product to maintain its original Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 11, 13, 14, and 15.
The Energy Management Starter (EMS) by Cerus Industrial integrates with control systems by incorporating BACnet communications and providing 0.5%-accuracy, utility-grade metering for energy management. Using power monitoring rather than current monitoring, the EMS can detect belt loss or coupling sheer accurately without difficult adjustments. A wide-range, class 5 to 30 electronic overload and wide-range voltage operation (120 to 480) Vac prevents installation call-backs due to mis-sized thermal overloads and nuisance trips. Utility grade metering helps to control energy consumption within buildings. The EMS delivers valuable point-of-use energy consumption data via BACnet communication, pulse, or analog output signals.
Danfoss’ Performer variable-speed drive (VSD) integrates power electronics and scroll technology. The VSD features a high-capacity scroll compressor for R-410A refrigerant and a variable-frequency drive to deliver the capacity required for constant cooling. With a delivered capacity range for the residential market from 3 to 5 tons, the product can achieve energy savings up to 20%. The drive’s design eliminates the need for an electronic printed circuit board on the outdoor unit or a start capacitor. The product features an internal permanent magnet (IPM) synchronous motor and exact temperature control of +/- 0.2 F.
KitchenSox by DuctSox is a flow-through fabric ceiling diffuser that offers restaurants, commercial food service operations, and industrial food plants a solution to improve heat and grease capture for exhaust hoods, indoor air quality, and employee comfort. The product provides an even, regulated, and draft-less airflow through the fabric diffuser that yields radial flow coverage but does not interfere with a kitchen exhaust hood’s capture performance. The fabric diffuser can be detached for laundry, and the product’s Rx series is treated with an antimicrobial agent. The product is made of up to 55% recycled fabric and qualifies as a LEED-certified material.
The Johnson Controls York Magnetic Centrifugal Chiller (YMC2) uses magnetic-bearing technology to produce a chiller that is 10% more efficient than conventional, variable-speed chillers. The product’s variable-speed drive has been improved, and the efficiency of the evaporator has been enhanced with “falling-film” design. An optimized centrifugal compressor can use low-temperature cooling-tower water to save energy. Magnetic-bearing technology eliminates nearly all driveline vibration, so the chiller operates at a maximum of 73 dBA at full-load standard conditions, per AHRI-575. The chiller has 57% fewer refrigerant-piping connections and uses refrigerant HFC-134a, which has zero ozone-depletion potential.
Lochinvar’s Smart System user interface is now standard on the company’s Knight XL commercial boiler. The user interface now features a larger display screen, color-coding, soft keys, and two selectable cascade options to allow the user to fine-tune the sequencing of multiple-unit installations. The boiler features 94.6% thermal efficiency, low nitrogen oxide emissions, and a fully modulating burner with 5:1 turndown. It is available in five configurations ranging from 399,000 to 800,000 Btuh inputs. The system now controls up to three individual setpoint temperatures, offers domestic hot water night setback, and enables two-way communication through Modbus protocol.
McQuay International’s Delivered Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems deliver only the necessary amount of conditioned air for a particular space to stay comfortable, minimizing energy costs. The system helps maintain consistent occupant comfort as building load changes during the day due to occupancy variations or outdoor conditions. The system offers reliable control with access from any computer with the web-based interface, without additional hardware. The system includes control and monitoring applications to make building system control as comfortable and efficient as possible, including scheduling, system summary, remote monitoring, alarm management, and data logs.
The City Multi VRF dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) by Mitsubishi Electric supplies outdoor ventilation air to a building independent of the HVAC air distribution or conditioning system. The DOAS preconditions outside air for introduction into downstream HVAC units, lessening the load on HVAC systems; and accepts 100% outside air at temperatures ranging from -4 F to 109 F wet-bulb temperature, preconditioning up to 1,200 cfm of air for introduction into downstream HVAC units. The DOAS has line lengths of up to 541 ft one way, and can be connected to Mitsubishi Electric VRF outdoor units.
MovinCool’s CM25 is a self-contained, ceiling-mounted air conditioner that offers high cooling capacity in a compact footprint. It has a total cooling capacity of 25,000 Btuh and a high sensible cooling capacity of 18,900 Btuh. The unit is 20 in. high, enabling it to fit above a drop ceiling. A built-in mounting bracket, flanges, and vibration isolators allow easy, low-cost installation using standard, off-the-shelf hardware. The air conditioner does not require refrigerant connections. The unit has a seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) of 14 that is made possible by variable-speed inverter compressor and inverter fan motors.
Multistack heat pumps with Virtual Moveable End Cap technology can offer simultaneous heating and cooling. The system includes controls that automatically open and close isolation valves to match simultaneous heating and cooling output. Modules use dual independent compressors to assure redundancy. The VME system is compatible with closed-loop and ground-loop water source heat pump applications and can be expanded to meet additional building needs in the future. The different-sized units can create chiller-heater systems from 15 to 600 tons. VME units draw power from the buss bar system, which can help lower operating costs.
Schneider Electric’s two-position, spring-return 24 V actuator provides “normally open” or “normally closed” return positions for the complete range of VBB/VBS series 0.5-in. and 0.75-in. two-way and three-way valves. The actuator enables installers to engage or detach the actuator from the valve body using the one-handed push lever and no tools. Only 1 in. of clearance is needed to remove the actuator, and it offers a low-profile, compact design for hard-to-reach spaces. An optional single-pole, single-throw (SPST) auxiliary switch is useful for applications where feedback or auxiliary control is desirable.
Tate’s DirectAire airflow panel delivers airflow to standard server racks at an angle, achieving a 93% rate of total air capture (TAC). The panel eliminates bypass air, which saves operating expenses and can reduce the capital expenditures. The product’s load performance is ideal for retrofits and new construction, easily integrating into an existing raised-floor system. Featuring pressure-equalizing diffusion blades, the panels cool up to 28.5 kW per rack, have 68% open area to deliver 2,600 cfm at 0.1-in. H2O (static pressure), can support a design load of 2,000 lbs, and can withstand a rolling load of 1,500 lbs.
SmartAire dampers by Tate are electronically controlled to adjust the amount of air passing through an individual panel to meet the rack’s current cooling needs. Four sensors mounted to the front of the rack control the variable air volume (VAV) damper and the airflow amount, maintaining the proper inlet air temperature on a rack-by-rack basis. The product adapts technologies found in commercial office applications for information technology (IT) racks. By measuring the incoming air temperature at the face of the rack, the product can adjust the airflow to ensure that the temperature at the rack doesn’t exceed the maximum allowable setpoint.
The Uponor Radiant Rollout Mat is a prefabricated, prepressurized network of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX-a) tubing designed for installations of large commercial radiant heating and cooling applications. The mat consists of Wirsbo hePEX (oxygen barrier) or Uponor AquaPEX (nonbarrier) PEX—a tubing connected with ProPEX engineered plastic (EP) fittings, which are safe for burial in the slab and offer fast on-site customization. With the radiant rollout mat, workers simply roll out tubing and fasten it down. A double-mat option is available, and the product uses acetal polymer support braces every 7 ft and predrilled holes for stake and anchor supports.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.