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The modern technological world is filled with ‘extrusions’. They are all around us, in the form of small and not-so-small cross sections. The function of an extrusion is to form seals between components of complex machinery and keep them functional. And, depending on the ‘type’ used, they can make a big difference to how a machine operates. Some of the most desirable types of extrusion — and especially for use in HVAC systems — are those made from silicone. Silicone, which is a type of rubber, has a robust set of properties. For one, silicone can withstand extreme temperatures, both high and low. Semi-Exterior environments Ranging from -60°C to temperatures exceeding 200°C. (And there are even higher grades that can be manufactured to withstand temperatures well above 200°C.) Ideal for HVAC units that work round the clock to keep large numbers of people in large buildings comfortable in summer and winter conditions. In addition to this, silicone is also one of the more resistant properties to the constant vibrations of working machinery. It can be difficult to locate the source of the problem if a tiny extrusion has dislodged. Vibration-resistant properties make silicone extrusions less likely to disengage or fall out of place, therefore minimizing the need for costly repairs. Finally, silicone is also more durable than most other materials when it comes to exterior or semi-exterior environments, such as that of rain or ultraviolet light. Protecting electrical components Silicone is useful in HVAC systems because it offers enhanced sealing and compression protections As a result of this favorability, there is already a considerable number of different types of silicone extrusions that can be found in a lot of HVAC systems. These include HVAC sealing gaskets, hatch seals and vibration isolation pads. But also silicone sponges, which act as a protective layer of thermal insulation. As well as providing thermal insulation, silicone sponges can double-up as a form of acoustic insulation, with considerable noise reduction and anti-squeal properties. Silicone enclosure gaskets protect electrical components, and environmental seals — as the name suggests — help to keep everything protected from the sometimes harsh elements of the environment outside. Silicone is useful in HVAC systems because it offers enhanced sealing and compression protections over most other materials. Closed cell structure On a material level, silicone has a ‘closed cell structure’, which helps to keep out moisture ingress, along with water and dust. The combination of a closed cell structure, along with sealing and compression benefits, makes silicone ideal for exterior seals and gaskets in and around HVAC systems. The softer grades of Silicone have an excellent memory and low stress relaxation, which in turn helps to prevent common faults with HVAC systems — usually caused by gasket failures made from other materials that soften and compress inaccurately. The low stress relaxation properties require minimal force on behalf of the engineers sealing the enclosures, while the memory-properties of the silicone allow it to conform to awkward shapes and gaps of various widths. Manufacturing HVAC systems proactively with silicone in mind can allow more design flexibility on behalf of the engineers. Inevitable rapid movements General purpose solid silicone or silicone sponge is suitable for many HVAC applications And, as mentioned above, vibration isolation pads work as dampers to protect against the inevitable rapid movements of the systems as they power along. But also to help withstand the vibrations of HVAC units on transport systems, such as buses and trains, which naturally vibrate as they run over imperfections on rail and road tracks. As it happens, general purpose solid silicone or silicone sponge is suitable for many HVAC applications, not just those discussed above. The designs of the extrusions would be different, reflective of their function, but the material would be the same. In some instances, customers may also require a flame retardant silicone — certified to UL94 specifications — in order to meet safety standards in certain situations or environments. Great temperature ranges For all its material advantages, silicone is generally more expensive than the other types of material rubber that are used to manufacture extrusions, such as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). And while other materials do of course have stand-out benefits of their own — EPDM for example is more hard-wearing than silicone — silicone is still often the extrusion ‘type’ of choice because of its ability to withstand great temperature ranges. This is very important for heating and air conditioning systems. Because some of the most common factors that cause HVAC systems to break down are as a result of seal and gasket failure, which can come about as a result of an overheating unit. Very cold environment Chances of a unit overheating can be just as likely — in fact perhaps more so — where the system has to operate in a very cold environment. With the threat of climate change etched more than ever into the public discussion, we can predict that there will be a steady increase in the amount that this material is used to make up the HVAC seals. And not just because, as temperatures continue to increase and summers get hotter and more prolonged, there will be an increased demand for them. Effective public relations It is no secret that HVAC systems can be relatively expensive to run It will become a matter of effective public relations for managers, building regulators and transport officers to make sure that the equipment they are using — and making — is ‘green’. By using the right materials that help conserve energy and increase efficiency, this will not only sit right with the general public, it should also be more economical, too. It is no secret that HVAC systems can be relatively expensive to run. Minimizing wastage, and the time spent on call outs and repairs will make a notable difference. Of course there are many other ways to also set about making air conditioning and heating units more efficient. Using seals or gaskets made from silicone is just one small piece of the puzzle. But utilizing them will almost certainly be more beneficial than you might imagine. And anything that is a step in the right direction is a welcome change.
As the UK continues to battle through the coronavirus crisis, HVAC business owners and installers can be putting some of their enforced downtime to good use. This period of subdued trading is a rare opportunity to get into better shape for when economic activity picks up. One way of doing this is by sharpening the focus on markets which promise strong growth – and few markets are growing faster than that for heat pumps. The potential here is huge. Some 28,000 heat pumps are currently installed in the UK every year, and before the pandemic this number was rising annually at a rate of 15-30%. That equates to sales doubling every three to five years. New-builds account for the majority of those sales, but 30% are retrofits, and about 30% of those retrofits are in private residences. This means there’s a big opportunity for doing conversions from oil boilers to heat pumps at rural homes not connected to the gas grid. The ‘New Normal’ and Heat Pumps It is only realistic, of course, to expect a lingering dip in HVAC sales of all kinds, including heat pumps, until the post-pandemic world gets back on its feet. But when we do turn the corner into the ‘new normal’, heat pump sales will again climb strongly. One reason for this is consumer demand, the other is government policy. End-users are now increasingly aware of the dangers and disruptions threatened by carbon emissions and climate change – informally known as ‘the Blue Planet Effect’ – and more are being guided by their consciences to make environmentally-responsible heating choices. An Expected Spike In Demand Many end-users are also encouraged by the prospect of receiving payments from the government through the Domestic RHI tariff. When we do turn the corner into the ‘new normal’, heat pump sales will climb strongly If RHI tariffs are the carrot, however, the government is also going to wield a big stick. The Chancellor’s spring statement last year dropped the bombshell that low-carbon heating systems, not fossil-fuel heating, should be installed in all new homes built after 2025. Though this policy might perhaps get slightly delayed and diluted, there can be no doubting that radical change is on the way. With all this in the pipeline, the industry should be preparing now to cope with the increased demand. But there’s some way to go: of the UK’s 120,000 registered gas engineers, merely 600 or so are MCS-registered to install heat pumps. Many more will be needed. MCS Certification Some installers are already recognizing this opportunity. Some 28,000 heat pumps are currently installed in the UK every year, and before the pandemic this number was rising annually at a rate of 15-30% This is evident in the heightened level of interest in the one-day introductory heat pump courses run nationwide by the Viessmann Academy. These courses provide a useful overview of what heat pump installations involve, helping participants decide whether or not they would like to go on to qualify with the MCS quality assurance scheme. This is a crucial decision, because having MCS certification is an obligation when installing equipment eligible for Domestic RHI payments. Some course participants decide to take the next step to MCS certification straight away, others decide to wait a while – but standing still in a fast-moving market can mean getting left behind! F-Gas Certification So what else must HVAC businesses and installers consider about heat pumps, in order to stay ahead of the game? In addition to MCS certification, F-Gas certification is also necessary when split air source heat pumps are installed. This is because the outdoor and indoor units have to be connected on-site with refrigerant pipework. Some installers choose to get F-Gas certified themselves, others sub-contract this part of the job to someone who’s suitably qualified. Of the UK’s 120,000 registered gas engineers, merely 600 or so are MCS-registered to install heat pumps It is possible to sidestep this need, however, when it is appropriate to install a monobloc heat pump – and the widening choice and affordability of monobloc designs is making them appropriate for a wider range of properties. A good example of this is Viessmann’s new Vitocal 100-A, an outdoors unit which has no need for a complementary indoor unit and is also easy to install because most components are integrated in the unit. New, compact and affordable air source heat pumps such as this, offering much-needed space-saving solutions for urban homes, are another reason why the heat pump market will boom. The Challenges Of Heat Pump Installation Though technological advances are making things easier, installing a heat pump isn’t ever going to be quite as straightforward as replacing an old boiler with a new one. Before starting an installation, first it is necessary to assess whether a heat pump is suitable for the property. This means checking that the property is well-enough insulated; checking the existing system’s radiators, which may need supplementing or replacing with bigger radiators or underfloor heating because of the lower flow temperatures of a heat pump system; and calculating the required size of the heat pump according to the building’s heat loss (and not including hot water demand). This period of subdued trading is a rare opportunity to get into better shape for when economic activity picks up At the installation stage itself, much of the work will be familiar to boiler installers, though weather compensating controls are obligatory for all MCS-approved work and as part of building regulations Part L. It’s also important to note that planning permission requires minimum distances between the heat pump’s outdoor unit, the plot’s borders, and neighboring properties. If this seems complicated, it doesn’t have to be: some heat pump manufacturers provide a calculator to simplify the task. Now Is The Time To Be Proactive Just as installers need a little time to assess whether a property should switch from a boiler to a heat pump, end-users also need a little thinking time, to consider adopting a technology new to them. By being proactive, HVAC businesses and installers can reap what they sow When customers get in touch because their existing boiler has broken down, the pressure for a quick fix can rule this out. But right now, when many of us have time on our hands, there’s the chance to inform customers of alternative heating solutions before their boiler needs replacing. Taking such pre-emptive action, by emailing information or mailing leaflets to customers, does require a little effort, but at least now there’s the time to do it. We are heading into a new era which will see boiler sales decline while heat pump sales rise. By making preparations for these profound changes, and by being proactive, HVAC businesses and installers can reap what they sow.
Recognizing the critical need for reliable temperature-controlled airfreight solutions for safe transportation of vaccines and pharmaceuticals, Thermo King, and Envirotainer have announced that they are ready to meet the increasing shipping needs of the healthcare and aviation industries. Thermo King, a brand of Trane Technologies is a global provider of intelligent end-to-end active temperature-controlled transport and storage solutions, across the entire cold chain. Envirotainer is one of the global market leaders in active cold chain solutions for air transport of pharmaceuticals. heating and cooling air cargo In 2005, Envirotainer together with Thermo King, developed and produced the first active, heating and cooling air cargo container validated by aviation authorities. This set a new standard in transporting pharmaceutical and other temperature-sensitive products by air. “When a vaccine is ready, the challenge for the pharmaceutical market will be getting it to the patient as fast as possible by maintaining the integrity of the cold chain,” said Francesco Incalza, President Thermo King EMEA. “Our intelligent solutions can help address logistics complexities by maintaining temperature control and tracking the integrity of vaccine shipments at all points along the journey, including during air transport. We are ready to meet the needs for the mass global distribution of the expected temperature-sensitive vaccine.” controlled room temperature Our long lasting partnership with Thermo King has led us to setting new standards in the industry" “Once vaccines become available, we know they will require temperature-controlled air freight and a global distribution in very large quantities,” said Michael Berg, CEO at Envirotainer. “Our long lasting partnership with Thermo King has led us to setting new standards in the industry. We have by far the largest container fleet and network in the industry, and we are ready to support fast and secure delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to the people that need them, wherever they are in the world.” The active containers were designed for the exacting requirements of the pharmaceutical industry. The one pallet RKN e1 container, using Thermo King Air 100 refrigeration system, and larger RAP e2 container, using Thermo King Air 200 refrigeration system, maintain product temperatures in the +2 to +8 Celsius range, controlled room temperature (+15 to +25 Celsius) range or at any chosen set temperature between ±0 and +25 Celsius in nearly any ambient condition. air cargo container Unlike passive containers, the active solutions operate on batteries in-flight, and on the ground, through an electrical connection that maintains the air-cargo container’s inside temperature while charging the batteries. Since their inception, the Envirotainer active containers have performed hundreds of thousands of real life pharmaceutical shipments. The RAP e2 is the most environmentally friendly temperature-controlled air cargo container available in the market. Delivering pharmaceuticals using the RAP e2 emits 0.9kg CO2e per vial shipped. This can be compared to, for example, a smaller passive solution’s 11.6kg CO2e per vial shipped. Both RKN e1 using Air 100 refrigeration unit and RAP e2 using Air 200 refrigeration unit are fully certified by both European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), and are qualified as Good Distribution Practice (“GDP”) compliant for pharmaceutical transport and storage.
Trane China has recently launched a new suite of Air Cleaning System that applies advanced technology to reduce containments including particulates, gases and viruses, in indoor environments. The system comprehensively improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and building environmental safety under the new normal with the COVID-19 epidemic, and meet people’s added requirements for a safe, healthy and comfortable indoor environment. As healthcare, business, education and other industries are in orderly operation under the new normal of the pandemic in China, the government and all walks of life focus on how to improve IAQ, especially in public places. Due to the impact of COVID-19, people’s requirements for a safe and comfortable indoor environment have risen to an unprecedented height, which also makes the demand for high quality air conditioning and ventilation system in buildings become a new normal. Anti-virus capabilities “To prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, the State Council, the Architectural Society of China and other industry associations have issued policies, regulations and guidelines for the safe operation of air conditioning and ventilation systems in various public buildings to improve the health of the building environment,” said Steve Yan, president of Trane China. “As a global leader in HVAC, Trane has a long history of innovation. To tackle the challenges in the pandemic, we quickly developed and launched a new suite of Air Cleaning solutions with strong anti-virus capabilities that protects and improves IAQ while safeguarding public health and promoting the restoration of social and economic vitality.” Improve Indoor Air Quality by Advanced Technologies With their oxidation and iconicity, these bactericidal ionic groups can rapidly decompose chemically harmful gases Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI), High Voltage Electrostatic Filter and Anion technologies, which can be applied together or independently, to improve IAQ and protect indoor environment by providing external connection and plug-in options. This innovative solution can not only quickly and easily reduce the risk of transmission of pathogens, but also effectively degrade toxic, harmful gases and odors in the air, and filter out PM2.5 particles to achieve more effective air cleaning results. Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), through a process called photo-catalysis, uses the ultraviolet radiation to illuminate the photocatalytic material and combine the water and oxygen in the air for photocatalytic reaction, rapidly producing the high concentration of bactericidal ionic group. With their oxidation and iconicity, these bactericidal ionic groups can rapidly decompose chemically harmful gases and odors, settle suspended particulate matter, kill microbial pollutants such as viruses, bacteria and molds, and convert harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to simpler chemicals, such as carbon dioxide and water. High Voltage Electrostatic Filter UVGI has a dual purpose: its primary function is an energy source for the catalytic reactions of the PCO process, while it also provides a germicidal effect on micro-organisms by using ultraviolet light in the “C” band (UVC) to damage the DNA or RNA and inactivate a wide range of micro-organisms, including fungi, bacteria and viruses commonly found in buildings. High Voltage Electrostatic Filter technology intercepts and filters out the large dust particles in the air, and then kills the suspended bacteria and other microorganisms through the powerful electric field force energy released by the high voltage electric charge instantly, making them lose their bioactivity, so as to achieve the purpose of disinfection and sterilization. Trane Air Cleaning System Our solutions will help reduce the transmission and spread of airborne diseases, such as the influenza" Anion technology can make particles with a size as small as 0.01 micron invisible to the naked eye as well as floating dust and odor molecules sink to the ground, and effectively destroy the molecular protein structure of bacteria and viruses so as to produce an antibacterial effect. Anion technology can also effectively reduce allergens and provide cleaner air. “Our unique Trane Air Cleaning System combines four technologies: High-voltage Electrostatic Filter, PCO, UVGI and Anion technologies. They can effectively remove pathogens and particles in the air,” said Bruce Gu, vice president of Engineering and Technology, Trane Technologies, Asia Pacific. “Our solutions will help reduce the transmission and spread of airborne diseases, such as the influenza, even in areas with high risks, such as medical institutions, providing more effective safety and health protection for indoor air environments in various buildings.” Low air resistance Through testing and certification by authoritative organizations, the Trane Air Cleaning System is shown to effectively ensure a healthy and safe indoor environment. The POC product can kill up to 99.9% of staphylococcus albus, and remove up to 99% of A virus like H1N1. The high voltage electrostatic filter product can achieve a purification efficiency of up to 99.3% for micro-organisms, and an effective filtration efficiency of over 99.9% for PM2.5 particles. The solution has been successfully applied in various market segments and received positive feedback Meanwhile, there is no significant increase in ozone during the process. Furthermore, the solution is characterized by low air resistance and almost no additional energy consumption on the air-conditioning system, which better support the sustainable development and operation of building owners and operators. Safeguard Public Health and Safety As a trusted partner of developers and building operators around the world, Trane has received more than 3,000 inquiries from 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and has signed more than 230 orders with customers from a variety of industries. The solution has been successfully applied in various market segments and received positive feedback from customers in different industries. What’s more, Trane Technologies recently established a “The Center for Healthy & Efficient Spaces”, taking advantage of its internal and external expertise, together with innovative technologies from external experts and partners, to help customers cope with indoor environmental challenges during and after the COVID-19 outbreak, and jointly create a new normal of more sustainable development. IAQ and air-conditioning system In order to provide patients with a safer and more comfortable medical environment, and to prevent the secondary contamination of medical equipment and the invasion of other germs and viruses, the air-conditioning system in the medical industry should not only control the appropriate temperature, but also ensure absolute compliance with air quality standards. A well-known hospital in Nanjing and an elderly care facility in Suzhou of Jiangsu Province have recently applied Trane’s newly launched solution to meet the high standards and strict requirements for IAQ and air-conditioning system. People at educational facilities, which are six times as crowded as commercial and retail venues, are accordingly more exposed to the risk of contracting airborne diseases. In order to protect the health of students with efficiency and safety, a stable, reliable and efficient sterilizing air cleaning system is particularly important for schools. A middle school in Ningbo of Zhejiang Province is stepping up the construction of its comprehensive gymnasium, which uses Trane’s central air-conditioning system together with the Air Cleaning solutions, to create a healthier, safer and more comfortable environment for students, and provide parents with greater peace of mind for their children’s safety at school. HVAC duct system The health and safety of indoor air is also particularly important for exhibition halls In addition, in early October, Trane Technologies, in partnership with Synexis, launched a more innovative technology in indoor environmental quality, which is incorporated into Trane's comprehensive portfolio of products and services for K-12 schools, aiming to further improve IAQ in school buildings. The technology, which can be integrated into the HVAC duct system or applied as a stand-alone to individual rooms or spaces, uses dry hydrogen peroxide (DHP) to reduce pathogens in the air and on surfaces. Duct-mounted systems The health and safety of indoor air is also particularly important for exhibition halls. An exhibition center in Nanjing also applied the Trane Air Cleaning System for the first time during the construction of the third phase of its venue, to create a safer, healthier and more comfortable environment for visitors and exhibitors. Trane is driving the industry to ensure a safe and comfortable indoor environment under challenging circumstances via proper air handling, filtration, ventilation and purification. Moreover, the Trane Air Cleaning System is versatile, catering to multiple applications, such as fittings to a new building, field retrofit into existing Trane (and other brands of) air handlers and duct-mounted systems.
Trane Thailand, manufacturer and distributor of Trane air conditioning, parts and solutions, has launched innovative technology solutions for the “Now Normal Indoor Air Quality” to help hotels and shopping malls improve the health, safety and efficiency of their indoor air environments. Trane air cleaning systems use PCO + UVGI – Photocatalytic Oxidation and Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation to improve indoor air quality in buildings, such as hotels, shopping malls and office towers. Hotels have been among the first sector to apply the technology as they recover from a pandemic-driven downturn. The tourism sector is one of Thailand’s economic engines, accounting for 18 percent of GDP in 2019. Arrival of tourists from abroad during the first six months of 2020 dipped by 66 percent. Due to the spread of the virus and travel restrictions, tourists are more cautious about traveling and staying at hotels. PCO+UVGI Industry research indicates that HVAC technologies can mitigate the risk of exposure to infectious aerosols “We are the first in our industry in Thailand to launch a new suite of solution that applies advanced technology in commercial air conditioning systems to reduce contamination of pathogens. Industry research indicates that HVAC technologies can mitigate the risk of exposure to infectious aerosols in built environments, though the transmission and mitigation of COVID-19 in buildings is yet to be tested and confirmed.” “ Trane’s unique solution uses a combination of technologies called PCO+UVGI, which can control and reduce contaminants in the air, including particles, gases and viruses,” according to Mr. Phanlop Techasuwan, Managing Director of Trane Thailand. Volatile organic compounds Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) applies a process called photo-catalysis, which uses ultraviolet radiation creating powerful oxidizing agents to oxidize many biological contaminants to break them down. In this process, those harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are converted to simpler chemicals, such as carbon dioxide and water. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) has a dual purpose: its primary function is an energy source for the catalytic reactions of the PCO process, while it also provides a germicidal effect on microorganisms by using ultraviolet light in the “C” band (UVC) to damage the DNA or RNA and inactivate a wide range of microorganisms, including fungi, bacteria and viruses commonly found in buildings. High Voltage Electrostatic Filter This unique technology can be installed in larger airside systems or in smaller air conditioning equipment as plug-in units to facilitate retrofits in buildings of different sizes and purposes, without any change in the air conditioning systems. As tested, the solutions are effective in delivering an improved air environment with more than 99 percent effectiveness in removal of both H1N1 virus and microbial contaminants (e.g. Staphylococcus albus bacteria). Besides PCO+UVGI, Trane’s suite of technological innovations in response to COVID-19 pandemic also include High Voltage Electrostatic Filter, Trane Catalytic Air Cleaning System (TCACS), Dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS). Trane also will soon launch new fan coil units designed for the Hotel segment. Trane Technology Helps Hotel Guests Feel Safer Our guests include families with little children and seniors who may particularly feel concerned about health" Mrs. Chanpen Chantanavaranon, Deputy General Manager of Pattaya Park Beach Resort Hotel, says that the COVID-19 pandemic creates concern for her hotel’s guests. To prevent contamination and increase safety, the hotel complies with safety regulations and guidelines and implements safety measures like temperature screening for guests, and masks and gloves for all staff. To further prevent contamination, the hotel recognizes the air conditioning system as one of the key elements for property and environmental management. The hotel is applying the advanced PCO+UVGI technology from Trane Thailand to reduce air contamination risks for two floors of the revolving restaurant tower, each of which can accommodate about 250 - 300 customers per floor. Reduce virus contamination “We are the first hotel in Thailand that is using Photocatalytic Oxidation and Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (PCO+UVGI). Our guests include families with little children and seniors who may particularly feel concerned about health. We look for new technology or innovation to apply at hotel to build confidence among guests as well as other customers.” “Trane’s latest innovative air cleaning systems with advanced technology that can reduce virus contamination will help increase safety in indoor air environment and build guest confidence incredibly to help us cope with the current situation,” Mrs. Chanpen says.