Innovations in Maintenance Technology

Facility managers with chillers and heat exchangers in their buildings know that a big part of routine maintenance is merely keeping the equipment clean. Cleaning the internal components, cleaning the housing, and even washing down the work area might be a messy and tedious job, but it’s necessary to ensure the proper function of the HVAC system. Clean equipment simply runs better and breaks down less frequently.

Over the years the complexity of HVAC equipment has increased, but many basic maintenance tasks like cleaning haven’t changed very much. Luckily for technicians, the tools needed to perform this work have improved, and dirty jobs like cleaning, pressure washing, or descaling can be completed faster than ever before.

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Mission Critical Cooling: Focus on Data Centers

A 2016 report by the Ponemon Institute studied 63 data centers across the United States and calculated that the average cost of a large data center outage is $740,357. That astounding number probably makes IT professionals and data center maintenance staff a little nervous. No one wants to be the person who made a mistake that cost the company $740,357! Businesses that cannot keep data centers online also lose customers, costing the company even more money. Finally, there is the high price to rebuild their reputation and bring customers back. The pressure to keep data centers up and running has never been so high.

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The Importance of Clean Condenser Water Systems

Water Wasters Poorly-Maintained Cooling Towers Foul Up SavingsCommercial HVAC systems account for between 40 and 50 percent of a building’s total energy use. With one system being responsible for so much cost, facility managers and building owners have an obligation to their tenants to reduce the system’s energy use while still keeping people comfortable. On larger buildings with water cooled chillers and cooling towers, these complicated pieces of cooling equipment are interconnected. When once piece of equipment is not working well that inefficiency spreads throughout the entire HVAC system driving up energy costs. Through good maintenance practices, facility managers can have equipment that operates efficiently and keep energy costs at normal levels.

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Ammonia, the “New Thing” in Refrigerants?

“Tomorrow was created yesterday” penned British author John le Carre’ confirming the old saying that “History repeats itself”.  The HVAC industry is seeing the technologies of yesterday presented as new and what was once considered old-school, is now seen as the future. Consider, for example, the resurgence of ammonia as a refrigerant.

The Global Cold Chain Alliance, a non-profit organization that advocates for companies involved in the temperature-controlled food industry, had an article on their website entitled “Ammonia: The Refrigerant of the Future”.  A similar article in the NEWS noted that ammonia-based refrigerants remain on the list of possible refrigerants of the future.”  Apparently, ammonia is the “new thing” in refrigerants, maybe “the next best thing”.

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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.

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