A sign of a great product is when it can solve multiple problems. That is exactly what the CRV Flex from The Metraflex Co. (Chicago) accomplishes, and it was one of the many reasons the product took first place in the Commercial HVAC division ofThe News'second annual Dealer Design Awards. This product was helpful at the Indiana University Cyclotron Facility (IUCF), which is a facility performing research, development, and application of accelerator physics, nuclear physics, nuclear science, and material science. Research activities from NASA and around the world are carried out at IUCF. By installing the CRV Flex, the facility improved pump performance and achieved a 25 percent increase in suction pressure.

The second place winner was Ruskin Air & Sound Control (Grandview, Mo.), with its Valueflo Balancing Damper.

The judges applauded the design of the AquaSnap chiller by Carrier Corp. (Syracuse, N.Y.), which finished third in the commercial category. "Excellent concept combining the hydronics kit with the chiller package," said one judge.

GOLD: The CRV Flex product can solve several problems.

Gold Winner

The CRV Flex from Metraflex (www.metraflex.com) consists of a specially designed set of stationary vanes placed upstream of an elbow, typically as an integral part of the pump connector. The CRV vane imparts a gyroscopic motion to the fluid, causing it to pass through the elbow uniformly and exit with a flat velocity profile.

"The CRV Flex is a more efficient, energy-saving solution to condition flow entering pumps," said Jim Clauss, regional sales manager for Metraflex. "It is well known and documented that pumps require conditioned, nonturbulent flow to operate as indicated on its performance curves. Turbulent flow entering a pump will result in poor pump performance, cavitation, and a shorter pump life."

"Compact design and simple principle are attractive," said one judge. "Doesn't appear to require servicing and looks like it will lengthen component life."

This product provides many benefits to the contractor. Using the CRV Flex eliminates the suction diffuser.

By delivering ideal flow conditions to the pump, the CRV Flex simply makes the pump work better, preventing the potential of time-consuming and costly startup and operational problems. "I can see that this product can solve many problems," said another contractor judge.

SILVER: The Ruskin Valueflo balancing damper has a labor-saving air measuring station feature.

Silver Winner

The Ruskin Valueflo VFBD25 (www.ruskin.com) is constructed of 20-gauge galvanized steel (frame and blades) and has roll-formed mounting beads for easy installation in a spiral duct. It is designed for round duct applications and is great for dialing in branch airflow.

Perhaps the best feature is the labor-saving air measuring station. When a portable manometer is connected to the air measuring ports on the side of the unit, the manual locking quadrant can be used to select the proper flow for each branch in the system. This means no more flow hoods, which simplifies balancing.

"This balancing damper with pressure across monitoring station chart looks like an installation-friendly damper. The claim that it eliminates the need for flow hoods should make balancing a lot quicker," said a judge.

Ruskin believes this product stands out. "The gear-driven blade arrangement maintains accuracy," Ruskin product manager Tim Vogel said. "Exact blade position to manual locking hand quadrant relationship is held true with the gears and hexagonal output shaft. The tight construction means great repeatability. The velocity range is 50 to 1,500 feet per minute."

BRONZE: Carrier says the AquaSnap is designed to minimize installation costs.

Bronze Winner

The AquaSnap chiller by Carrier (www.carrier.com) offers contractors unique benefits. One such benefit is the optional hydronics kit. By using this kit, customers can save time and money on installation. In addition, the chillers offer integrated part load efficiencies up to 14.2 EER, which translates to lower operating costs.

The packaged air-cooled chiller ranges from 60 to 390 tons. The product uses Puron refrigerant and scroll compression.

"AquaSnap can be applied to any new construction, replacement, or retrofit opportunity requiring an air-cooled chiller," said Jennifer Morani, assistant brand manager for Carrier. "Applications range from schools and office buildings to manufacturing processes. AquaSnap is especially well suited for process applications when installed with the optional integrated hydronics package."

The chillers come standard with ComfortLink controls. The controls offer a large scrolling marquee display that provides easy access to the units operation. Critical information is at the user's fingertips without the need for gauges. The controls also provide vital diagnostic information, including run hours, compressor cycles, and alarm history. "ComfortLink looks like it would help inexperienced techs diagnose problems more quickly," said one judge.

Ease of installation also endeared the product to the contest judges. Its frame is constructed of 1/4-inch steel and can be point loaded.

"This can save up to $2,000 on install costs for applications that would traditionally require an additional perimeter baserail," Morani said. "It is estimated that installation time can be reduced up to 80 hours using the factory-installed integrated pump package."

Honorable Mention

Receiving honorable mention from the judges was Liebert DS from Liebert Corp. (www.liebert.com).

Publication date: 07/18/2005