The Need for Modernization of Industrial HVAC Equipment

Industrial HVAC systems are used in a variety of industries to provide a controlled environment for various facilities. These systems are responsible for maintaining temperature, humidity, and air quality within a facility. However, traditional HVAC systems can be energy-intensive and costly to operate. This is because they lack the ability to monitor and adjust their performance in real time. This can lead to wasted energy and increased costs.  

The Current State of Industrial HVAC 

Here are the three major drawbacks of traditional HVAC systems. 

Energy Inefficiency 

A traditional HVAC system may not have the ability to detect and adjust for changes in temperature or humidity within the facility. This can result in the system consuming more energy than necessary to maintain the desired conditions. Additionally, traditional systems may not have the ability to detect and diagnose problems, leading to inefficient operation, and costly breakdowns. 

Performance Optimization 

In addition to energy efficiency, performance is also an important consideration. Industrial HVAC systems are required to operate in demanding environments, and they need to be able to withstand the wear and tear of continuous use. Traditional industrial HVAC systems often rely on mechanical or pneumatic controls, which can be prone to failure and require regular maintenance. Additionally, these systems may not have the ability to adjust their performance in real-time, which can lead to decreased efficiency and increased downtime. These systems can be prone to breakdowns, which can lead to costly downtime and lost productivity. 

Costly Maintenance Operations 

Maintenance is also a major concern for industrial HVAC systems. Maintenance of traditional industrial HVAC systems can be costly and time-consuming. These systems are complex and require regular maintenance to ensure that they operate optimally. These traditional systems can be challenging to service, and parts can be expensive to replace. These systems often require regular services, such as cleaning and lubrication, to keep them running at optimal efficiency. Additionally, because of the age of the equipment, it can be challenging to find replacement parts, and the replacement part can be costly. This can increase the overall cost of ownership for the equipment. 

Connected HVAC Asset: A First Step Towards Equipment Modernization 

Connected HVAC assets refer to industrial equipment and systems that are equipped with sensors and communication capabilities, allowing them to connect to the internet and transmit data in real time. This technology is known as the Internet of Things (IoT) and it allows for the remote monitoring and control of equipment through a centralized platform. 

The key feature of connected assets is their ability to connect to the internet and transmit data. This enables the collection of real-time data on the equipment’s performance, status, and environment. 

This data can be analyzed to identify patterns and trends, providing insights into the equipment’s performance and efficiency. This can help to identify potential problems and optimize the performance of the equipment, which can lead to improved energy efficiency and reduced downtime. 

The sensors used in connected assets can vary depending on the type of equipment, but they typically include temperature, humidity, pressure, vibration, and other environmental sensors. These sensors collect data which is then transmitted over the internet to a centralized platform where it can be analyzed. Some of the platforms that can be used for this purpose are cloud-based, and some are on-premises. 

Additionally, connected assets also have communication capabilities, which allow them to connect to the internet. This can be done through wired or wireless communication methods such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Zigbee, or cellular. Once connected, the equipment can be controlled and configured remotely through a web-based or mobile application. 

Reasons for Equipment Modernization 

While each company has its specific reasons for seeking equipment modernization as a transformation strategy, some of the common reasons include. 

Obsolete Equipment 

All machines become obsolete as time changes, and when they do, it becomes a challenge to repair, find parts, and people skilled enough for machine upkeep. Modernization can keep the equipment life cycle operational, bring in the latest technology, and support scalability for the future. 

Reduced Performance 

When the equipment fails to perform at the standards required, it calls for equipment replacement. The performance of the machinery also determines the quality of the output. When you produce an output that is incapable of keeping pace with desired result, it is an opportunity to acquire technologically advanced modern equipment. 

Safety Concerns 

Machinery modernization can also improve the safety standards of the asset. Eliminating manual processes, putting in greater control, and adding advanced features to the machinery lowers the safety risks. 

Strategies for Equipment Modernization 

When pursuing equipment modernization, it is important to focus on your requirements, the timelines, the budget and most importantly, the intended outcome of the project. 

Life Cycle Planning 

When designing an equipment modernization strategy, it might be tempting to forget about the whole picture and focus solely on bringing the new asset to the floor. However, modernization is much more than just an expensive purchase. 

Although new equipment will come with advanced features and capabilities, remember that these machineries should be capable of handling existing operations as well. Ask yourself, what you want the machinery to do in the future, the anticipated product needs of the future, the current production standards, and other obligations that could be met by the modernization project. 

Build for Speed and Flexibility 

Your modern equipment should be adaptable, flexible, and keep up with the changing needs of the market. The earlier technology focused on functionality, and the organization concentrated its efforts on using the functionality well. However, as the organization has started to rethink its focus, the equipment and structures are unable to keep pace. 

The old equipment is not equipped to handle sensors, future-ready IT systems, configurations, and connections. When deploying modern equipment, it is important to rethink the direction your modernization plan is taking and how it can impact the future needs of the market. 

Build New Revenue Streams 

Building new revenue streams is not always a high priority for HVAC industries. However, the need for digital services and products can provide a competitive advantage to the machinery business. Thanks to the changing technology landscape, the business unit can offer advanced equipment to customers on a usage-based model. 

Boost Operational Excellence 

Connected equipment can provide better operational excellence and optimized productivity. When businesses do not recognize the importance of IoT devices in the modern context, they will not be able to explore the data-driven insights provided by IoT. 

Focus on Customer Experience 

When equipment and data are connected, they give way to innovative and quality products which in turn enhance the user experience. Using the ability to accurately predict when some equipment or product is deviating from the standards, it is possible to take corrective remedial action before it affects the customer. 

For example, using connected sensors and IoT servers, car manufacturers can accurately inform their customers when their car engine is lacking in performance or needs repairs. This changes the game in a customer-business relationship.  

Strengthen Workforce and Culture 

Any equipment modernization strategy that doesn’t include employees is doomed to disaster. Equipment modernization is about changing technology, but without the support of the workers, it is going to be a challenge to implement. 

In addition to the cultural change needed for transformation, upskilling, training, recruitment, and workforce changes should also be considered before implementing the strategy. 


The need for modernization of industrial HVAC equipment is crucial to improve energy efficiency, performance, and maintenance operations.  

Connected HVAC assets equipped with sensors and communication capabilities offer a solution to these drawbacks of traditional HVAC systems. The IoT technology provides real-time data analysis, which can be used to optimize performance and reduce downtime.  

Some of the reasons for equipment modernization include obsolete equipment, reduced performance, and safety concerns. When pursuing equipment modernization, companies should focus on their requirements, the intended outcome of the project, and consider the whole picture through life cycle planning and building for speed and flexibility. 

Author: Sanket Pathak
Business professional in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Consultative solutions professional with over 13 years of rich experience in B2B solution sales, global business engagements, new business strategies, territory management and channel development.

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