- February 15, 2023
- Posted by: Sanket Pathak
- Categories: Device Engineering, Thought Leadership
The industrial HVAC industry has undergone significant changes over the years. As technology advances, businesses are recognizing the importance of modernizing their HVAC equipment to increase efficiency, reduce energy costs, and provide better indoor air quality.
This blog will discuss the various technologies driving industrial HVAC equipment modernization.
The Importance of HVAC Equipment Modernization
The importance of modernized and connected HVAC equipment’s cannot be overstated.
A modernized HVAC system can significantly reduce energy costs, improve indoor air quality, and provide a comfortable and safe working environment for employees.
According to the Department of Energy, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems account for approximately 40% of the total energy consumed in commercial buildings.
By modernizing HVAC equipment, businesses can reduce their energy consumption and save money on their energy bills.
Benefits of Industrial HVAC Equipment Modernization
Modernizing industrial HVAC equipment can bring numerous benefits to businesses. Here are some of the advantages of modernizing HVAC equipment:
Increased Energy Efficiency
Modern HVAC systems are designed to be more energy-efficient than older models. By modernizing HVAC equipment, businesses can reduce their energy consumption and save money on energy bills. Modern HVAC systems can provide the same or better performance than older models while consuming less energy.
Reduced Operating Costs
Modern HVAC systems are more efficient, require less maintenance, and have a longer lifespan than older models. By modernizing HVAC equipment, businesses can reduce their operating costs by reducing energy consumption, maintenance costs, and downtime. These savings can add up over time and provide a significant return on investment.
Improved Indoor Air Quality
Modern HVAC systems come with advanced air filtration systems that can remove pollutants and allergens from the air. This can provide a healthier and more comfortable working environment for employees. By modernizing HVAC equipment, businesses can improve indoor air quality, reducing the risk of respiratory problems and increasing employee productivity.
A comfortable and safe working environment can increase employee productivity. Modern HVAC systems can regulate temperature and humidity levels, ensuring that employees are comfortable and can work efficiently. In addition, modern HVAC systems produce less noise, reducing distractions and improving concentration.
Reduced Environmental Impact
Modern HVAC systems are designed to be more environmentally friendly than older models. By reducing energy consumption, modern HVAC systems reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have a smaller carbon footprint. This can help businesses reduce their environmental impact and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
Overview of the Technologies Driving Modernization
The HVAC industry is not new to modern technologies and transformative change. The most significant change of all could well be the new wave of technological changes that have become the representative trait of the HVAC Industry.
The future of HVAC relies on the interconnected network of physical and digital devices embedded with communication technology that allows real-time interaction between the applications and the equipment. With internet-enabled sensors dotting HVAC assets, it is easy to collect large amounts of real-time valuable data about the equipment, inventory, components, and supply chain that can be analyzed and critical on-time decisions taken.
The IoT sensors market, globally, is predicted to touch $29.6 billion in 2026, registering a CAGR growth of 28.6% from $8.4 in 2021.
The commercial availability of IoT sensors and technology such as 5G, LTE-M, Satellite, Bluetooth, and WiFi is pushing for IoT solutions at the necessary service level. The vast variety of sensors is available; the computing technology is exceeding the performance requirements; the storage is unending, and the battery power has increased significantly, pushing IoT solutions deployment at scale.
Networks and Gateways
The advancements in IoT gateway technology act as a catalyst for equipment modernization. An IoT gateway is much similar to a network router transferring data between IoT sensors and the cloud system. Yet, an advanced IoT gateway behaves more than just a traffic router. They preprocess data at the edge locally before forwarding it to the cloud. This way, the data volume sent to the cloud is reduced, and the response time is also increased.
With industries going beyond the pilot phase of IIoT implementation, cloud computing is the driving force furthering large-scale implementation. The increase in cloud computing platforms such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon, Web Services, Microsoft Azure and others have accelerated interoperability.
Not all computing or analysis can be done in leisure – for the data collected to be actionable, it has to be analyzed on the ‘edge’ close to where the data is generated. The reduced latency from data creation to generating a response proves useful for the asset. Detecting machine or quality issues requires real-time data analysis since the time taken to gather, transfer and analyze data from the machine and back will be too lengthy and impact the reliability of the system.
An IIoT-enabled HVAC asset uses connected sensors, automation software, and cloud computing technologies to gather, analyze and use valuable data. The gathered data is sent to a cloud platform for faster data analysis. For example, when equipment vibration data is sent to the asset’s control system, it becomes one critical value component for analysis. The other value component would be the dynamic data in the cloud storage. Cloud engineers will analyze the current data against the harmonic signature of the equipment to accurately pinpoint the root cause of the problem.
In cloud computing, interoperability paves way for the seamless transfer of data as it is critical for increasing value potential. For example, to accurately predict when equipment might require service or repair, you need to gather data from different systems and not rely on only one value component.
AI and ML
While having local data storage devices is not always the most feasible agile solution, the answer could lie in cloud computing. A cloud computing service that is located on a remote server, and can be assessed by workers through robust connectivity is the solution to many problems faced by manufacturers.
Yet, the problem with relying entirely on remote cloud computing is not a radical decision – because even a slight latency in data transfer and processing will not yield reliable results. The solution lies in having machine learning algorithms handle the computing aspects of the cloud while the sensors can handle the on-premises aspect.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence give the HVAC unit the ability to handle large quantities of information generated not only from the asset but also from disparate third- party sources. With ML and AI, OEMs can gain greater visibility into their performance, automation and predictability, and decision-making capability.
Digital Twin is another groundbreaking technology that is pushing modernization. A digital twin is a virtual replica of physical assets. The digital models of the assets save time, money, and resources in identifying machine problems, issues with performance, and real-time physical conditions of the asset to reduce downtime and boost quality.
AR and VR
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are the latest alternative reality solutions that help manufacturers simulate equipment usage without its related dangers. VR headsets, a part of wearable technology, provide immersive experiences to engineers to visualize, analyze and diagnose problems without havingwoed to physically be present on site. Together with the data from the sensors, engineers can correlate the cause and effect of problems or poor output.
VR and AR are used to significantly improve training, remote control of equipment, research, and data collection. Additionally, OEMs enjoy faster resolution to machine downtime or equipment failure as VR technology brings the experience and knowledge of experts without requiring their actual presence.
The modernization of industrial HVAC equipment can bring significant benefits to businesses. Advancements in technology have led to more energy-efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly HVAC systems.
These systems can improve indoor air quality and increase employee productivity. By investing in modern HVAC systems, businesses can reduce energy consumption, operating costs, and their environmental impact while improving the health and well-being of their employees.
The technologies discussed in this blog are just a few examples of the advancements in the HVAC industry driving modernization. Businesses that invest in these technologies can achieve a more efficient, cost-effective, and safe working environment for their employees, ultimately contributing to their overall success.