ATLANTA — Regulations are coming. The Fan Energy Rating (FER), in particular, which goes into effect on July 3, will require HVAC manufacturers to comply with the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) energy conservation standards for residential furnace fans. The DOE published a final rule (79 FR 38129) prescribing the standards for residential furnace fans on July 3, 2014. DOE predicts the new standard for furnace fans will save approximately 3.99 quads of energy, reduce carbon pollution by up to 34 million metric tons (equivalent to the annual electricity use of 4.7 million homes), and save Americans more than $9 billion in home electricity bills through 2030.
Regal Beloit Corp. has become an expert in FER compliance by redesigning its products to meet the new standards, including the Genteq® Ensite® motor, DEC Star® blower assemblies, and a new electronically commutated motor (ECM) to provide FER compliance for entry-level fans. These products were on display at the 2019 AHR Expo.
“There are two things we’re excited about the most: One is, this product [Ensite] is enabling our OEM customers to be compliant with the FER regulation,” said Paul Selking, HVAC business leader, Regal Beloit America Inc. “This product helps them get compliant. At the same time, the exciting part is it’s also bringing new features for them to use with the contractor.”
The Genteq Ensite motor was the winner of the AHR Innovation Awards in the Heating category. The ECM offers premium features such as advanced Blak Box® motor diagnostics technology, Electrand™ wand compatibility, and near field communication (NFC) that provides IoT and preventative maintenance capabilities.
The Genteq Electrand Wand for the Ensite motor is a rechargeable, wireless device designed to work with compatible Genteq motors. It enables customers to easily communicate with compatible motors via NFC for programming or extracting motor data for verification and/or diagnostic purposes. This data can be uploaded by means of Bluetooth or USB to personal computers, mobile phones, and tablets. The Electrand wand is designed for easy programming at a push of a button. The wand has a flexible arm design that allows access to the NFC antenna in the motor, which is installed inside the appliance. It gathers diagnostic data without removing the motor from the factory line in order to program without physically connecting to the motor or supplying power to it, saving hours of labor per day.
“There are two aspects to it,” Selking said. “The OEM can program this in its factory line very quickly and easily. In the past, they had to hook up manual cables. One of the neat things about the technology is it doesn’t have to be powered. I can have the motor sit right there on the counter, and I can walk up to it with the device, hold it next to it, and it programs it. The second aspect is, it works the same for aftermarket. This can be out in the field to be used for aftermarket replacement in the same ease of use. We’re engaging and enabling the regulatory requirement for the OEM, but we’re doing it by bringing new features at the same time. That’s kind of unique.”
Regal also displayed the DEC Star blower assembly with forward-curved Kooluk™ wheel for applications such as furnaces, fan coil units, packaged units, ground coupled heat pumps, and more. The product features a high-efficiency blower housing, and the impeller is driven by an Axial Flux BLAC motor with full featured Sinusoidal EON® motor control technology; a 9-inch diameter wheel with various widths available; an operating speed range of 250 to 1200 rpm; variable-speed constant torque/constant airflow ECM; and more.
“There are some applications where it is really hard for the OEM to get compliant,” Selking noted. “They really need to save a lot of energy — more than what the Ensite will provide. So to help them do that, we have the DEC Star. The axial technology removes the motor from the blower inlet, eliminating restriction and improving system efficiency. This axial technology has a much higher effective use of the material. It uses the magnets, copper, steel, in the most efficient way possible. It enables OEMs to use less electrical consumption to meet FER.”
Other benefits of DEC Star include using efficiency gain to remove coils and bring down full system cost, balancing input from both inlets, providing a uniform airflow output, improving heat transfer, reducing hot spots and pressure drop across appliances, and more.
Regal also featured the recently launched Glacair® low-profile fan pack during the AHR Expo. The Glacair utilizes an axial flux ECM design for higher-efficiency commercial refrigeration applications such as display cases and reach-in coolers. The GlacAir motor and fan offers customers a more compact, versatile design through approximately a 1-inch reduction in the motor profile, allowing for flexibility with motor placement. The motor also provides a quieter airflow solution to complement smaller systems with a lower ambient noise while offering compatibility with the natural refrigerant R-290 (propane) through the motor’s ATEX certification.
“As more customers migrate to a propane-ready solution, which has a very low global warming potential but is also highly flammable, our GlacAir motor is ATEX certified and is not an ignition source; so, it is suitable in operations with the flammable refrigerant,” said Jim Steele, business leader, commercial refrigeration group, Regal. “In addition to compatibility with R-290, we focused heavily on a smaller motor design so that the retail space within a display case or reach-in cooler can be even further maximized and as a result, increase the potential retail space throughout a store.”
Publication date: 2/18/2019