Fluke Corp.’s Fluke Connect received the gold award in the Testing & Monitoring category of the 2015 Dealer Design Awards.
Fluke first looked at incorporating wireless technology in measurement tools in 1995, so the company is certainly no stranger to one of the biggest trends in the testing and monitoring section of the HVAC industry.
Fluke’s latest foray into the marketplace, Fluke Connect, came to be after more than 10 years of research through other wireless projects. The biggest driving force behind the creation of Fluke Connect was customer feedback and the advancement of smartphones.
“Our technicians are quite innovative, but the development of Fluke Connect was really customer-driven,” said John Neeley, program manager, product planner, Fluke Connect. “Feedback really drove this process, and one catalyst was our customers’ adoption of smartphones.”
The Fluke Connect system allows HVAC technicians to wirelessly transmit measurement data from their test tools to their smartphones for secure storage in the cloud and universal team access from the field. More than 20 Fluke tools connect wirelessly with the app, including digital multimeters; infrared cameras; insulation testers; process meters; and specific voltage, current, and temperature models.
“We’re trying to make the technician’s job easier and faster. Behind everything is the cloud, which connects everything. By connecting all of Fluke’s software together via the cloud, we can seamlessly connect technicians, managers, and contractors,” said Neeley.
According to the company, technicians can AutoRecord™ measurements and infrared images to Fluke Cloud™ storage from wherever they’re working, without writing anything down. Everyone on the team with a smartphone and the app can see the data. A feature called ShareLive™ allows technicians to share measurements with other team members in real time, get approvals for repairs, or get questions answered without leaving the field.
The Fluke Connect app features EquipmentLog™ history, which allows technicians to assign measurements to specific equipment and create a cloud-based history of test measurement data for access during both troubleshooting and reliability maintenance.
“Fluke Connect is really built on decades of experience, and we are just adding software into the mix that connects to all the tools. It’s much easier to use than other products in the marketplace, and the difference in our software compared to others is, we make it work for the whole workflow,” said Neeley.
According to Fluke, the family of wireless tools compatible with Fluke Connect will continue to grow in the future. The product not only covers electrical- and temperature-based test tools, but vibration- and mechanical-based analysis tools.
The Android®-based UHH2 Universal Handheld Test Instrument from Dwyer Instruments Inc. brought home the silver award.
According to the company, the product is primarily used for building commissioning of the test instrumentation and HVAC systems within a building in order to ensure they are functioning in accordance to specifications. They can also be used to set the damper positions when testing, adjusting, and balancing a building.
The Universal Handheld Test Instrument was developed out of the initial development for a mobile meter, said Justin Foster, software engineering manager, Dwyer Instruments Inc. “The concept for it came about because customers were using mobile meters with their own phones but didn’t like using them in environments that were slightly hazardous. We looked at what was available in the market as far as protection and felt this made sense.”
The hand-held instrument receives Bluetooth wireless signals from Dwyer’s range of wireless probes and modules. It features a built-in camera and location services. It can display and log the measurements of multiple probes simultaneously and can email data reports directly over Wi-Fi, code division multiple access (CDMA), or global system for mobile communication (GSM) wireless protocols. Parameters that can be measured include differential pressure, air velocity, volumetric airflow, temperature, humidity, dew point, and wet bulb temperatures.
The bronze award in the Testing & Monitoring category of the DDA went to the INSIGHT Plus with Tune-Rite™ Software from Bacharach Inc.
According to the company, the product is designed to assist with residential and light commercial HVAC service calls, Tune-Rite™ helps make electronic combustion analysis less intimidating to new technicians while also helping experienced contractors ensure they’ve covered the many variables involved in efficiently tuning a wide variety of heating systems. Tune-Rite software monitors the analysis process along with the user to provide helpful on-screen recommendations as it evaluates the real-time combustion readings.
“The beauty of Tune-Rite in comparison to other products is that, while they just give a list of numbers for you to read, the truth is, you need technician experience to understand what those numbers are trying to tell you,” said Dave Marple, product manager, portable instruments, Bacharach Inc. “An average guy can go to RadioShack and read a multimeter, but that can’t be done with combustion analyzers. Tune-Rite tells you what numbers mean and simplifies the process. It’s truly for everyone.”
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WINNERS
Dwyer Instruments Inc.
UHH2 Universal Handheld Test Instrument
INSIGHT Plus with Tune-Rite Software
Publication date: 7/20/2015