TORONTO — Toronto-based S.A. Armstrong Ltd., which operates fluid-flow equipment manufacturing facilities on three continents, recently announced it has rebranded and united its various entities under one name: Armstrong Fluid Technology. The company celebrated the global rebranding at its annual Armstrong Media Days, held this June in Toronto.

Though the two-day event drew hundreds of participants and featured factory tours, networking events, and presentations from several industry leaders, the underlying theme of the gathering was the pump industry’s need to move toward more technologically advanced and energy-efficient products — and how Armstrong is ahead of the pack.

Design Envelope Technology

Founded in 1934, Armstrong now employs more than 1,000 people and manufactures products for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Along with its rebranding in May, the company has begun actively marketing its design envelope technology, which was introduced in 2011 and “integrates the latest selection, control, and hydronics tools into heat-transfer solutions that naturally accommodate changes in building design and demand to ensure system performance is at an optimum at any given time,” the company said.

“The design envelope is the greenest, most cost-effective, and most flexible fluid solution on the planet,” Lex van der Weerd, CEO of Armstrong Fluid Technology, said during a presentation at Armstrong Media Days. “We feel very strongly this is a concept that will allow you to make a difference.”

Van der Weerd noted that a significant amount of energy — up to 20 percent of all motor-driven electrical energy usage — is consumed by building pumping systems. He said that number could, and should, be much lower.

“It’s pretty scary, because energy is a finite resource, for the most part,” he said. “This (technology) is something we can and have done today, yesterday, and the day before that.”

David Lee, marketing manager at Armstrong Fluid Technology, said many pumping systems are designed to be most efficient at peak load, despite the fact that building pumping systems spend an average of less than 2 percent of their time operating at that load.

“Ninety percent of the time is spent at 60 percent or less of the peak-day requirements,” he said. “Our approach is that we should be designing our pumps for the best efficiency. If we’ve oversized our pump equipment, we’ve completely missed our pump curve.”

Sherif ElMaddah, global marketing manager at Armstrong Fluid Technology, agreed with Lee.

“Even across the same day, there is a different demand, and the pattern changes from weekdays to the weekend,” he said. “The most efficient pump is one that does not operate during no-flow times.”

Brent Ross, director of core/hydronics products at Armstrong Fluid Technology, said the design envelope technology offers an energy-saving solution for building owners that is affordable throughout its life cycle.

“Current thinking is that you’re going to pay a lot more for better performance, but with Armstrong’s design envelope, you’re going to pay a lot less,” Ross said. “There is very low-hanging fruit, and we can achieve very significant improvements in energy consumptions. We can give the lowest cost and lowest life cycle cost — the operative word being ‘and.’”

Future of Armstrong

At a lunchtime press conference for industry media members, van der Weerd further discussed Armstrong Fluid Technology’s decision to rebrand and unite under one name.

“We’re changing our brand identity and emphasizing the technology part of it,” he said. “We’re really trying to make a streamlined global organization.”

“We’re no longer going to be an undiscovered gem,” added Steve Lane, communications manager for Armstrong Fluid Technology.

The company is also revamping its training courses, putting many courses online, and redeveloping its website, which now includes a sustainability dashboard that displays a company’s energy savings and associated carbon emissions savings related to design envelope installations around the world, as well as the continuous improvements in energy performance of the company’s own global operations.

“It’s a life counter that shows how much we have saved in terms of kWh and carbon dioxide emissions, and in terms of taking cars off the road,” van der Weerd explained. He added that, while the company has made great strides in improving energy efficiency and lowering emissions in recent years, there is still much work to be done.

“I think we’re not even beginning to do justice to the power of the concept,” he said. “We really need to step on the gas and accelerate these counters, because I believe the design envelope concept is so powerful and unparalleled in the industry. There’s a lot more benefit we can give the world from this technology.”

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Publication date: 8/19/2013 

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