The Manufacturing Comeback in America

Posted Tuesday, 06 March 2018 09:59 by Martin King in HVAC Business

It seems like almost every day there is news predicting the downfall of America's economy.

But most of us don't realize the ways which America is gaining rather than losing global influence. 
There are many great things happening in America and with our economy. The biggest growth can be found in the manufacturing industry. 

Many things have contributed to the recent rise in the American economy.  Lower energy prices, innovative information technologies, 
and advances in robotics all have influenced growth. The growth of material science is impacting the manufacturing revolution, and are predicted to make 
America's industrial sectors the most competitive in the world.

The Change:

One of the biggest changes we've seen is in the energy sector. The United States already has the second-largest shale gas reserves 

in the world. Recent developments of new technologies are predicted to grow the sector even more. Fracking, in which gas and oil is 
extracted from shale rocks by fracturing them, is driving an energy boom in the U.S. that will soon lower natural gas prices and give American manufacturers a unique competitive advantage.

Robotics: 

The use of robotics in manufacturing plants is also predicted to increase efficiency and precision in the manufacturing industry. 

As robotics continue to expand and grow in America, the cost to produce them is shrinking. 
As the use of robotics grows, a decline in job creation will naturally follow. Machines are likely to replace many workers, but America's dominance in computing and electronics
will create an edge in the automation of manufacturing processes.

New Materials:

The emergence of new materials that use nanotechnology and biotechnology will offer products and production unique to America. 

Applying the technology to carbon nanotubes and grapheme has allowed the growth of high-performance transistors and light composite materials, which 
can speed up the diagnosis of illnesses, detect contaminants, and provide accurate glucose monitoring.

Many large companies such as General Electric are already relocating operations from Asia to Silicon Valley to take advantage of America's information technology. 
Moving production back home will create savings in transport costs, and benefit from the lower energy costs at home.

At Legacy Chiller Systems, all of our parts and products are produced and manufactured in the USA.  

For more information about our process chillers, visit our website at legacychillers.com.

Choosing An HVAC System For Your Project

Posted Tuesday, 20 February 2018 13:01 by Martin King in HVAC Business

What is HVAC?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC systems help to control the indoor temperature for residential and commercial buildings.

Selecting an HVAC system is much more complicated than heading to your local mall to buy a new pair of jeans. In the world of HVAC, there is no such thing as 'One Size Fits All!'

HVAC systems can actually be quite complex. Finding the right type of system for your home or business is not easy.
When getting ready to purchase a new HVAC system, it's extremely important to make sure the system not only heats and cools effectively, but that it is also energy efficient. 

Choosing a system that uses a lot of energy will quickly cause a dent in your bank account!
 
HVAC systems come in many types and applications. The two types of HVAC systems are central or local.
 
Central HVAC Systems
 
In a central air conditioning and heating system, the necessary heating, cooling, and ventilation is provided from a central location in the building, such as from a boiler room. Central air works by pushing heated water or steam through piping or ductwork throughout the building to achieve heating and cooling.
 
Central air conditioning units use a compressor and a condenser unit that uses a refrigerant or coolant such as Freon. The refrigerant gets circulated through copper tubing, absorbs the heat, and then turns to vapor. Once the refrigerant is in vapor form, it travels to the compressor, and to the door where the heat is forced out.
 
Once the air is cool, it travels through the ductwork to cool the building. 
Once the cool air has made its way circulating through the building, the refrigerant has to pass through a device where it is converted to a low temperature liquid and returned to the indoor coil.
 
Local HVAV Systems
 
Local HVAC systems provide heating and cooling to individual areas or rooms. Unlike central HVAC systems, local systems do not circulate throughout entire structures. Local HVAC systems can be anything from wood or pellet stoves, window air conditioners, and space heaters. Electric baseboards can also be considered a local HVAC system, if the unit is installed into a single area.
 
There are a lot of factors that determine which HVAC system is right for you and your needs. You should always consult an HVAC professional before making any purchases. 

A qualified and certified HVAC contractor will determine the type of unit that is best for you, and will install the unit in the proper place so that it will meet your cooling and heating requirements.
 
No matter what your requirements are, Legacy Chiller Systems has the right process chiller for your HVAC needs!
 
Visit legacycillers.com for more information, and to get a free quote from one of our engineers.
 
 

The Importance of HVAC Maintenance

Posted Wednesday, 07 February 2018 11:33 by Martin King in HVAC Business

HVAC maintenance is so important for any business. Maintaining your HVAC system through commercial HVAC maintenance will greatly save the amount of energy your equipment uses.

A Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist will help you with the steps needed in order to keep your building's HVAC equipment in top shape, and lasting longer.
 
 
Preventative Commercial HVAC Maintenance
 
Not all businesses require the same needs from their HVAC systems. You should always have a 'customized' commercial HVAC maintenance plan.  These plans may be offered through your preferred contractor, and will provide the specific care your system needs to boost performance and run properly.
Scheduled maintenance should always be performed in the spring for cooling systems, and performed in the fall for heating systems.
This service should always be performed by a licensed commercial HVAC technician. Preventative maintenance on a building's HVAC system helps to keep it running smoothly and efficiently throughout each season.

The following steps will help to repair any existing issues and prevent future performance problems from occurring:

Outdoor Units:

-Make sure all coil and cabinets are inspected and cleaned
-Drain all pans, and make sure all condensate lines are cleared of obstructions
-Inspect the compressor
-Inspect all fan motor and blades
-Control box, switches, wiring, and safety controls should all be inspected
-Check and make sure the refrigerant level is measured and recharged if necessary

Indoor Units:

-Check and clean blower assembly
-Replace belts if needed
-Clean combustion blower housing
-Check and make sure evaporator coils, drip pans, and condensate lines are cleaned and cleared
-Inspected burner assembly
-Clean ignition system
-Test safety controls
-Check fluid system for dislocations and wear
-Inspect the control box.  Make sure all wiring, and connections are checked and tightened
-Replace air filter
-Duct system
 
Air Filters:
 
Air filters should be inspected every three to four weeks to ensure the filter has not become clogged with debris.
You should change your air filters every three to six months.
Stay on top of air filter checks and changes, as restricted airflow through the HVAC systems can hinder the performance and increase energy use.

Are Economizers for Process Chillers Getting Missed By the Engineering Community? Just Maybe?

Posted Tuesday, 29 March 2016 14:42 by Martin King in HVAC Business

Guilty As Charged

Yes, I am obviously an advocate for proper application of economizers for smaller (1-20) ton process chillers. I have a lot of friends within the mechanical engineering community that just about all say, "Wow, that's a great idea!" (as in, you go Martin!)... Yet, when it comes to specifying an economizer for a smaller process chiller, they gloss over the subject. Every once an a while I get the, "Well, the end user does not understand what an economizer is, so they will not pay for it." Good grief I say!

For those of you who do not know me, I have been tinkering with application of economizers on smaller mission critical chillers since the early 2000's. As I experimented with the concept, it just seemed smarter to reject process heat to the outdoor air, or a water source in the case of a water-cooled chiller, rather than running traditional mechanical refrigeration at a much higher cost and net environmental impact. As my design evolved into a potentially viable market opportunity,  I applied for and was granted a broad scope US Patent for process chiller economizers in 2007. Yay for me, you say?  Frankly, I would probably not do it again, and that's another story :-)

Getting To the Point

With my appreciation for brevity, and to prevent the aforementioned gloss over, I will pick one of my favorite real world applications as the focal point of this post.  

For some time now, medical imaging and treatment systems, such as MRI, CT, PET and LINAC, have been in our sights.  Namely their 24/7 operation, high readability requirements and relatively high chilled fluid set-points (that range from 55-65F) make these systems a particularly good fit for our economizer technology. With some good old fashion cold weather, generally an abundant commodity throughout the northern USA and Canada, the math points to some some attractive ROI's even the most conservative bean counters have a hard time passing up. 

Before we jump into the math, let me share a very basic sniff test that could stop economizer consideration cold: To be financially viable, the operating environment must provide at least a ten degree (F) difference between the economizer cooling medium (generally this is outdoor air in the case of an air-cooled condenser chiller or a water in the case of a water-cooled condenser chiller) and the process fluid servicing the load. For example, if your site is located in Phoenix and your process requires 45F, application of an economizer just does not pencil out. 

Lets Crunch Some Numbers, Shall We?

 In this example, we will use Legacy's economizer audit tool, available for download from our KB, to analyze ROI and see if the additional investment in economizer technology pencils out.

Some Data Points For Our Analysis

Our customer is looking to replace an existing process chiller for a GE Signa 3.0T MR750 MRI. Legacy's OEM solution for this MRI is a PZAT18D (15 ton) process chiller. Our target site is located in the greater Chicago area, and the MRI site prep documentation calls for a process approach temperature ranging from 55-65F. For the purpose of this review, we will pick a process approach temp of 60F.  Considering the old chiller is located outdoors, the customer plans to run 40% glycol concentration to prevent freezing. 

After talking with the hospital administrator, we have learned that their power rate averages .10 per kilo watt/hour and we also have taken the time to research the breakdown of how the hospitals utility company generates their power. This is generally represented as a mix of nuclear, hydro-electric, and fossils fuels. 

Lets Do the Numbers

First, we need to input the site data. Below is a screen shot of the data we collected from our target zip code for the city of Chicago. 

Next, we will input the proposed equipment data. This data was taken from the Legacy submittal on the PZAT18D model chiller available for download on the our site. 

Next, lets have a look at the potential economizer savings. This screen indicates a potential annual "Operating Cost Reduction of $5,350", with an equivalent annual CO reduction of 3,331 LBS.  

Lastly, we will have a look at the all mighty Return On Investment (ROI). This screen indicates a potential ROI of .84 months. Important note, the "Nexus upgrade costs" indicates the added end user NET cost to add Nexus Technology to a standard process chiller.   

In addition to the potential energy savings and related CO reductions, an economizer (via Legacy's Nexus Technology) also reduces wear on a chillers mechanical refrigeration system. This reduced wear has the potential to reduce service and maintenance costs over time. 

For more information on process chiller economizers, Nexus Technology, or to get a copy of Legacy's energy audit tool used to perform the above calculations, contact Legacy Chillers @ 877-988-5464 x 101. 

Lastly, on  Tue, Apr 12, 2016 9:00 AM - 9:45 AM PST, Legacy Chiller Systems is hosting a webinar titled "Nexus Process Chiller Technology - Introduction" - Click here to sign up today

Is Scheduled PM's (The Holy Grail of an HVACR Business) a Thing of the Past?

Posted Tuesday, 15 March 2016 15:59 by Martin King in HVAC Business

Why Do HVACR Contractors Sell PM's?

Ask any HVACR contractor, who is forward thinking enough to build value in their business, they will tell you that selling preventive maintenance agreements (PM's)  ads the most value to their business over time. Many will even hire dedicated sales people focusing much or all of their efforts on selling PM's. 

How PM's Are Performed Now

Currently most PM services are based on a calendar schedule. Depending on the type of equipment and application, PM's are performed from an annual basis (rare) to monthly for Mission Critical applications. For example, in the case of a Legacy process chiller, we recommend a quarterly PM service to maintain optimum efficiency, reliability and most importantly, to identify wearing mechanical items that should be replaced before they fail. 

As an HVACR contractors PM base grows, a typical contractor invests more in people, systems and software to keep track of a growing the PM base.  

The Challenge With Calendar Based PM Services

Over the next decade, the national shortage of qualified HVACR technicians is expected to intensify. Based on a 2014 study, the average age of a journeymen service technician is 35-45 years depending on the market. With market requirements expanding, and less HVACR technicians entering the field, it is expected that getting work done will be a continually growing challenge.

What does that mean to PM agreement holders? Read more to find out.

Read more: Is Scheduled PM's (The Holy Grail of an HVACR Business) a Thing of the Past?