How Drones Reduce HVAC Maintenance Costs, Collect Data Quickly, and Improve Safety

Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called “drones,” are coming into their own in facility maintenance. Facility managers employ drones to inspect areas difficult or dangerous to monitor, including HVAC systems. No longer the exclusive domain of hobbyists and the military-intelligence community, drones are poised to revolutionize the way America does business.

Consider drones also being deployed to inspect difficult and dangerous areas like rooftops for HVAC maintenance. Using a drone to survey a rooftop allows you to fully understand a maintenance or cleaning need before sending a technician up, drastically reducing his time spent in a dangerous situation. Even with scaffolding and safety harnesses, he’s taking on risk. A drone, however, takes virtually no risk. You might lose the drone, but drones are comparatively inexpensive and prices keep dropping.

Check out this UAV Boiler Inspection by a drone.

Drones possess benefits far beyond safety, however. They reduce maintenance costs significantly, collecting data faster than any human can. That’s not just money saved in man hours. It’s also money saved through getting equipment back online sooner rather than later. High definition video, recorded via drone, allows facilities managers and maintenance engineers the opportunity to examine potential problems and discuss solutions from the safety and comfort of their offices.

And you can say goodbye to your clipboard. Drones collect data, then send it off for storage in the cloud. Once uploaded, facility management software makes sure maintenance requests don’t get filed away in the “pay no mind” file. Your facility management software will send an alert to the relevant maintenance technician. You then have a record of that alert, increasing both efficiency and accountability.

The footage your buddy took after he strapped a GoPro to a drone is just the tip of the iceberg. Drone applications over the next year will make day-to-day maintenance safer, easier and more cost effective. Perhaps most importantly, drones and related technology will make sure maintenance gets done. That’s an overall increase in your company’s efficiency. And that means more money to reinvest. With the cost of drones plummeting, don’t get left behind as this revolutionary new technology reshapes American industry.
Next Steps:

Subscribe to Goodway’s blog, Just Venting to learn more innovative ways to maintain your HVAC equipment.

Goodway’s Coverage of The AHR 2017 Expo

The AHR Expo is a massive trade show where every year, thousands of industry insiders, manufacturers and distributors converge on a Convention Center to show off the latest and greatest in the world of HVACR. This year’s Las Vegas event is particularly exciting, with new technologies such as split cassette systems from @Samsung, VRF systems and Internet of Things-enabled technologies promising to revolutionize the field.

Samsung’s development sparked interest due to its aesthetic appeal. The HVACR industry is starting to design its products not just from the perspective of what works best, but also what customers will want to look at, year in and year out. New VRF systems mean lower costs, but also less wear and tear on the system in general. @Rinnai America debuted a tankless system with 96 percent thermal efficiency. Some companies, such as @JohnsManville even used technology to display old wares, like their tower showing differences in sound attenuation.  

And, of course, there’s the Internet of Things. Smart thermostats are just the beginning. @BellGossett updated its intelligent pump and variable frequency drive. On-site setup and configuration is estimated to have been cut in half by this updated pump. @Victaulic debuted the world’s first grooved, installation-ready copper fittings. One subject that continues to be left out of the innovation conversation, however, is maintenance.

Maintenance is often an afterthought in the world of HVACR, despite the fact that companies might be losing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in a year due to poorly running machines. Maintenance relates directly to efficiency and efficiency is synonymous with profitability in the field of HVACR. Take for example, microchannel coils. These coils are frequently cleaned using caustic hydroxides, which corrode and dissolve the aluminum within the coils. Improperly maintained machines means a shorter lifespan for basic equipment, higher cost of ownership and lower efficiency over the life of the cooler.

In fact, efficiency, tightly tied to maintenance is one of the strongest indicators of profitability. The investment, facility management and maintenance side of HVACR is aware of this. The manufacturing sector, however, seems less interested.

Goodway is proud to own innovation in the field of HVACR maintenance. We remain keyed into the industry, looking not only for new ways to clean equipment, but also constantly improving the mechanical and chemical solutions used. This means lower cost of ownership, less downtime and increased efficiency. Maintenance might not be the most exciting area of the HVACR world, but @GoodwayMachines is working hard ensuring maintenance doesn’t get left behind as HVACR becomes increasingly high tech.

Smart Technology for Significant Chiller Energy Savings

In the average building, chillers account for between 35 and 50 percent of energy expenditures. Even minor adjustments in chiller efficiency can significantly lower the overall overhead of your business. Chiller efficiency and its relationship to the Internet of Things will be on everyone’s mind this weekend at the AHR Expo 2017 in Las Vegas, NV.

Magnetic bearing chillers are a quantum leap in chiller technology. They can save a single business $4 million over the life of the chiller in energy costs. These new chillers don’t require oil, or mechanical seals and gears. This ensures a far longer lifespan. At the same time, it can dramatically increase efficiency of the chiller. The U.S. Naval Facility in Newport, Rhode Island saw an energy savings of 65 percent when switching over to these new chillers. What’s more, you don’t have to change out the gaskets, bearings or seals. In terms of total cost of ownership and downtime, magnetic bearing chillers are far superior even to the chillers being producers 10-15 years ago.

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel to increase the efficiency of your chillers. The Internet of Things automates efficiency with very little upfront cost. Daikin has just released two chillers (one scroll, one screw) capable of natively monitoring energy consumption at the equipment level. This provides facility managers with a robust, streamlined solution to reduce overall energy costs without any headaches.

In fact, 2017 is set to be the year of the smart building. Internet of Things-enabled chillers will play a vital role in keeping building maintenance costs down and reducing environmental impact without skimping on keeping the building cool. What’s more, IoT-enabled chillers take the burden of scheduling maintenance off of the facilities manager. In some cases, the chillers will be able to order their own replacement parts and maintenance equipment before you even know there’s a problem. When off-site maintenance crews show up, they won’t need you to tell them what’s wrong with the chiller. They’ll already have a host of metrics to help them make the right repairs, helping to save you money on man hours and reduce downtime.

While the Internet of Things will provide significant improvements in efficiency, those won’t matter much with dirty chiller tubes. The RAM-PRO-XL Contractor simultaneously cleans your chiller tubes while preventing corrosion after cleaning. You know how quickly your tubes can start oxidizing and corroding during cleaning. The RAM-PRO-XL Contractor Chiller Tube Cleaner’s TubeGuard system makes sure that won’t happen. The tablet-based system uses biodegradable cleaners without sacrificing anything in the way of power.

Combine the latest advancements in connected technology with robust maintenance tools for optimum performance in your chillers. And if you happen to be attending the AHR Expo this year, make sure to check out our exhibit at Central Hall – C4328.

Your Guide for Top Innovations and where to find them at AHR Expo 2017

Innovation will take center stage at the AHR Expo 2017. The Innovation Awards recipients this year represent the very forefront not just of HVAC, but of the trend toward automation, smart buildings and Internet of Things integration. This new industry trend, poised to explode in the coming year, can save your company and clients tens of thousands of dollars through efficiency and optimization.

Next week the industry will be introduced to Telkonet’s EcoSmart VRF Controller. This is one of the first devices offering control of variable refrigerant flow HVAC systems. The controller operates on the EcoSmart platform, one of the most flexible platforms in the HVAC industry. With VRF technology reducing energy costs by 30 to 40 percent, the time is right for smart controllers that will help to reduce those costs even further. Find it at exhibit C970.

KMC Commander from KMC Controls, Inc. is an enterprise-class IoT control platform for building and operations management. You can visualize your operations in real time and access them straight from your mobile device. This is for any larger enterprises looking to maximize efficiency, safety and comfort, while minimizing energy consumption, saving your company thousands of dollars per year. Check it out at exhibit C1552.

PMPost is an IoT-enabled particle sensor able to measure particles in 10, 2.5 and 1 micrometer. You can monitor your readings in real time through a web portal. Measure particles in your clean room or construction site with the most accurate and up-to-date information. You can see the PMPost at exhibit C1758.

The SMART Air Hood™ Balancing Instrument from Dwyer Instruments measures the airflow in HVAC systems, including grilles, diffusers and registers. It’s also the first in its industry to offer predictive airflow balancing. This sets the perfect flow setpoint for each individual diffuser, while maintaining the appropriate balance for the HVAC system as a whole. See this at exhibit C4124.

You don’t need to be fully connected to use the VG200W Wireless Digital Vacuum Gauge. It works just fine on its own or connected to a smart device utilizing the free VGLink application. Completely wireless, the device provides not just measurements, but also diagnostics, monitoring, testing verification and support, streamlining your maintenance process and preventing problems before they happen. Find it at exhibit C2322.

There will also be a variety of chillers, including those with game-changing magnetic bearing technology. With magnetic bearing technology you never have to change gaskets, bearings or seals ever again, because they don’t use oil. They also boast significant savings, such as the U.S. Naval Facility in Newport, Rhode Island that found a 65 percent energy savings when switching over to magnetic bearing technology.

If you agree that chiller maintenance is a key to optimizing energy efficiency, come check out Goodway’s exhibit C4328. We’ll show you the next generation of chiller tube cleaning, RAM-PRO-XL. Our most advanced tube cleaner yet, this product will prevent corrosion even while the chiller is offline after cleaning. Combined with emerging Internet of Things technologies, your company can reap a significant savings on your overall energy costs.

How FSMA Impacts Food and Beverage Manufacturers

The food and beverage industry have evolved significantly over the past 10 years. The rules for the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have changed food and beverage manufacturing by having companies focus on preventing their products from being contaminated rather than limiting the scope of contaminations.

“FSMA is the largest overhaul of government regulations since the 1930s,” says Evan D. Reyes, National Account Manager at Goodway Technologies. “The intent is to tighten regulations on food processing, ultimately to provide safer food for consumers.”

The law now requires that companies in the food and beverage industry exert tighter control of operations as well as provide documentation and tracking of every ingredient used throughout the enterprise.

At the same time, organizations are under increasing pressure to keep customers happy and save money but not skimp on quality. Poor quality can have wide-reaching effects on food and beverage companies because just one recall can bring a business to its knees.

“To be successful, food and beverage manufacturers must stress closed-loop quality, traceability across the value chain, and compliance throughout the process,” according to the recent “Impact of FSMA: Taking Stock of the F&B Landscape in 2016” report from Aberdeen Group.

Because of the increased attention on the industry, food and beverage companies cannot risk even one shipment that is not of the highest quality, the report notes.

That means food and beverage companies will most likely have to make changes to their operations to ensure compliance with the law.

To do that, organizations must have compliance and traceability built in from the start. Constructing a program that works and complies with FSMA takes “the right technology tools, proper document management and real-time visibility across the enterprise,” according to the report.

Reyes says for food and beverage manufacturers to achieve the goals of FSMA, they must focus on hazard analysis, preventive controls, and good manufacturing practices.

There are a number of tools and services to help companies comply with the FDA’s regulations, including food safety consulting companies that can help manufacturers transform sanitation programs and meet FSMA compliance, Reyes says.

“Besides consulting, investing in the right tools and technologies can really improve sanitation results, product quality, and food safety and help you prevent cross-contamination and get you up to the FSMA compliance level,” he notes.

Additionally, Reyes says suppliers should also help their food and beverage manufacturing customers meet FSMA compliance. Goodway can help by making certain you have the right sanitation equipment in place.

Next Steps:

Just Venting is powered by Backbone Media, Inc.

Download Five HVAC Cleaning Checklists

Get great contents delivered straight to your inbox, just a click away, Sign Up Now
Email address