Is your HVAC system as efficient and reliable as it could be?

Sheila Kennedy says more rugged HVAC designs are backed with extended warranty service.

By Sheila Kennedy, contributing editor

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Industrial HVAC systems are getting progressively more reliable and efficient as technology innovations take root. New controllers and digital manifolds, simplified packaging, rugged designs, and extended warranty service are among the many opportunities available to today’s plant and facility managers.

Centralized control

Energy savings can be optimized when fans are centrally controlled. The BAFWorks iPad app and fan controller provides real-time access and control of the speed and status of all Big Ass Fans from a central location. The grouping option allows control of up to 32 groups of any number or variety of fans. Schedules can be set for one fan or groups of fans, and security features protect the system from unauthorized use.

"BAFWorks makes our customers' jobs easier by allowing them to monitor the performance of Big Ass Fans in real time, and remotely alter their operation to better achieve energy savings and thermal comfort goals from a single location," says Christian Taber, senior applications engineer for Big Ass Fans (

Versatile manifolds

Digital manifolds are useful when installing, analyzing, or maintaining industrial HVAC systems. Testo’s new digital manifold model, testo 570, performs pressure and temperature measurements for AC, heat pump, and refrigeration systems. It has four valves and two NTC temperature probe inputs, and it can simultaneously calculate and display superheat and subcooling in real time. The 570 also supports temperature-compensated leak tests on AC/R systems.

“The testo 570 digital manifold/logger delivers the accuracy and functionality needed to maintain and troubleshoot commercial and industrial coolers, freezers, or AC systems,” says John Bickers, director of product management at Testo (

On-board electronics

Plant Services New Product Resource Center Our New Product Resource Center features thousands of industry-leading products, all searchable by category, product type and manufacturer.

All-in-one packaging simplifies fan installation. MacroAir’s new AirStar and AirElite fan lines come with plug-and-play packaging and on-board electronics that are pre-programmed with variable frequency drive (VFD) control of the fan speed. With the VFD positioned near the motor in the aluminum “head unit,” the heat transfer of the aluminum extrusion helps to cool the VFD.

“By minimizing the interference to other electronic components and systems, we’re creating a more efficient system overall. We’re eliminating the external control panel and other external support features like unnecessary wiring. Plus, with a cooler VFD, we are able to set the carrier frequency outside the audible level to create a more silent fan,” says Michael Danielsson, engineering manager for MacroAir (

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