The NEWS’ 2017 Dealer Design Award gold-winning Testing & Monitoring product, the AVUL Air Velocity Transmitter from Dwyer Instruments Inc., was designed to quickly and accurately measure air velocity or volumetric air flow in variable air volume (VAV) units, HVAC ducts, fume hood exhausts, and/or air-handler units. It is used to set fan speeds to improve efficiency of the air handler and can also be used in VAV systems to set the damper position or in hospital/clean room applications to verify the number of air changes and ensure the room is maintaining positive pressure.
“It’s easy to use and appears to be accurate,” one DDA contractor judge commented.
“The AVUL transmitter is being applied as part of an IoT solution we have developed, engineered, manufactured, and launched,” said Ed Catanzaro, forensic mechanical engineer, Powertron Global Corp., Austin, Texas. “This device works exceptionally well. It has been a Godsend for us. The price is good, and the productive delivery is acceptable for real-time cfm or velocity measurement.”
The simultaneous current and voltage outputs on all models provide universal inputs and allow for contractors to commission or test the units without disconnecting the signal wires. DIP switch selections of the range and engineering units allow the single model to be used for most applications. Additionally, the optional, integral display or the portable remote display tool provide a convenient way to locally monitor process values and configure the unit. Optional BACnet or Modbus® communication protocols allow for units to be daisy chained together to reduce field wiring and also reduce the number of input ports required on the controller.
“The AVUL Air Velocity Transmitter was designed with a newly engineered coating on the sensor,” said Andrew Goldschmidt, product manager, air quality, HVAC temperature & electrical sensors, Dwyer Instruments. “Other air velocity transmitters on the market incorporate conformal coating on the velocity sensor, which breaks down over time, leading to a shortened sensor life or premature sensor failure in harsher environments. The coating used by Dwyer Instruments Inc. was developed with a smoother, glass-like finish that allows for improved flow across the sensor and minimizes eddies introduced into the flow of the system from the transmitter. Additionally, the selectable ranges and optional BACnet and Modbus communication features support HVAC contractors by minimizing the time spent selecting models that will fit different applications and lessen the amount of time needed to install the sensor into a system.”
According to Goldschmidt, research on the AVUL transmitter began approximately three years ago and included time for computational fluid analysis of the sensors as well as implementation of the sensor into the final product.
“The AVUL was created due to both contractor demand and company innovation,” he said. “HVAC contractors preferred the ease of installation of a thermal-based air velocity transmitter but were unable to use this type of technology on many projects due to high costs. Dwyer worked with HVAC contractors to determine the specific application requirements and developed a velocity sensor that improves manufacturability while maintaining a cost point that will allow thermal-based sensing technology to be integrated into more HVAC projects.
“Feedback from HVAC contractors and equipment manufacturers helped to shape the features and options that have been integrated into the product,” he continued. “Selectable flow ranges and output signals were integrated with contractors in mind. This integration allows contractors to have a single product that can be used in a multitude of applications without worry if the right model was selected at purchase. Dwyer has big plans to continue to innovate and enhance the AVUL Air Velocity Transmitter. By designing a modular sensor, Dwyer will be able to incorporate this sensor in other applications and flow products.”
J Flow Products LLC’s NoFlow Core won the silver award in this category.
This valve core is an alternative to the locking caps on the market today that protect against refrigerant tampering, huffing, and refrigerant loss. The main function is to prevent anyone from tampering with the refrigerant in the air conditioning unit. The product is made of all brass stock construction with no moving parts. Unique construction on the top makes it tamper-resistant and removable with a unique tool tip on the service valve. The sealing material around the NoFlow core covers most of the bottom of the brass part to make it more leakproof than a standard O-ring on locking caps. The NoFlow core can only be taken off using a unique tip tool that also takes off the regular Schrader core, essentially rendering it two tools in one.
The NoFlow core is a one-size-fits-all R-22 or R-410A service valve, eliminating the need to carry two different sizes. Because of its brass construction with no moving parts, it can be manufactured at minimal cost and sold at a better price.
“The product spent three years in development,” said Jorge Fraga, president, J Flow Products. “We not only had to come up with the product, but the tooling, too, at the same time in order for the product to work. We wanted something that was different from what was currently out in the market — something a little more innovative. Our incentive was more geared toward the problem of kids huffing refrigerant. We saw some products currently in the market that were not really safe because kids could take them out. We also found that there were so many locking caps out there and everybody had a different key, so we wanted to make one tool to use on everything out there and make it easier on technicians by not having to spend more money.”
Taking bronze is the KE2 LDA Local Area Dashboards & Alarms from KE2 Therm Solutions Inc.
The KE2 LDA is a multifunctional communication device that monitors, controls, and receives alarm notifications for up to 10 KE2 Therm Ethernet or Serial-ModBus controllers in a single view. And, as with KE2 Therm’s controllers, there is no proprietary software to purchase and install.
The KE2 LDA provides the ability to serve as a permanent Wi-Fi service tool; displays a local area dashboard showing the controllers connected to the local network; sends email alarm notifications for all connected controllers to multiple email recipients; creates a wireless tether to the local network (wirelessly connect a controller to existing Wi-Fi); views serial devices in a webpage; makes changes to set points; receives alerts via email or text message; connects controllers to KE2 SmartAccess customer portal to view through the internet; connects Ethernet controllers with older firmware to KE2 SmartAccess without requiring controller upgrades; and uses the KE2 Flash Drive to record 366 days of room temperature data.
While the KE2 LDA is a local area network device, it enables customers to access their controllers over the internet by functioning as a conduit to KE2 SmartAccess, a KE2 Therm hosted portal, which is available for a nominal monthly charge.
“The product was developed over four years,” said Ryan Kliethermes, product manager, KE2 Therm Solutions. “Much of the input for the direction we took with the design of the KE2 LDA was from our contractor customers. While our KE2 Evap and other Ethernet controllers have always had the ability to communicate locally or over the internet, the Serial Mod-bus controllers have not. Contractors that used both types of controllers requested a path to access these controllers, as well. Additionally, they needed the device to be simple to install and to largely eliminate the need for IT support, which has been the biggest obstacle for most of our customers trying to take advantage of our controllers’ communication capabilities.
“We feel this is the first product that easily and affordably provides communication capabilities — monitoring, control, alarm notifications to refrigeration systems — that cover the majority of refrigeration applications,” he continued. “The LDA sends email alarm notifications for all connected controllers to multiple email recipients, which allows technicians as well as facility owners/managers to have peace of mind. It takes the next step in refrigeration monitoring by adding the ability to control the refrigeration system instead of only receiving notification that the temperature is out of range.”
Publication date: 7/24/2016