ATLANTA — Johnson Controls Inc. had a big 2018, with the launch of several new products and the acquisition of Lux Products Corp. For Johnson Controls, the Lux acquisition enhances its commitment to thermostats. The move also enables faster product development cycles, improves customer service capabilities, and supports greater product innovation.
“The strong reputation and power of the Lux brand in the marketplace rounds out Johnson Controls’ thermostat offerings,” said Bill Jackson, vice president and president, Global Products, Building Technologies and Solutions, Johnson Controls Inc.
At the 2019 AHR Expo in Atlanta, Jackson said the company is seeing more and more building owners and facility managers investing in building system integration in order to connect, monitor, and control HVACR, fire, security, and life safety systems from a single platform.
“In fact, our annual Energy Efficiency Indicator survey results show that 68 percent of respondents plan to implement building system integration in 2019,” Jackson said. “That’s a 23 percent increase in respondents planning to invest in 2019 compared to 2018 — the largest increase of any measure in the survey. We also expect to see continued integration among building technologies. This is increasing rapidly.”
There is a lot Johnson Controls is looking forward to in 2019, Jackson noted. At the top of that list, the company is excited about building out its digital solutions offerings.
“This involves working closely with customers to first understand their challenges, and then employ transformational thinking to co-innovate ways to solve them,” Jackson said. “We use data from the customer’s own environment — building systems and external sources — to uncover insights, which solve challenges and, most importantly, help our customers achieve their business missions.”
On the show floor, the York® brand of Johnson Controls highlighted two new options to deliver maximum energy efficiency and comfort control to commercial spaces. The 6.5- to 12.5-ton Predator™ series and 15- to 23-ton Large Sunline™ series ultra-high efficiency products achieve improved efficiency with intelligent control and operational flexibility.
With efficiencies reaching as high as 21 IEER, these products comply with requirements set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), ASHRAE 90.1-2013, 2015 International Energy Conservation Code and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency’s Advanced Tier.
“There are a number of other folks offering those efficiencies, but where we differentiated is we actually maintained two refrigeration circuits,” said Eric Newberg, director, commercial product management, Ducted Systems, North America Building Technologies & Solutions, Johnson Controls Inc. “So, if you ever were to develop a leak, half of your system is still operational.”
Johnson Controls is utilizing multistage compressors made by Emerson in both of these rooftop products.
“When that compressor is running at low speed, it’s running at 67 percent of its capacity,” said Newberg. “It’s always going to be 67 percent of that first compressor, which is a really efficient place to run, then it goes to second stage and brings on the second compressor at 67 percent, so both compressors are operating at a super-high efficiency.”
Two UltraTech™ compressors allow for three stages of cooling on 6.5- to 17.5-ton models, while one UltraTech compressor and one set of tandem scroll compressors provide four stages of cooling on 20- and 23-ton models.
Ultra-high-efficiency rooftop units match existing product footprints within the same family for increased flexibility, faster specification, and easier replacement. Serviceability and operation are further optimized with Smart Equipment™ controls that display alarm messages and identify faults. Smart Equipment controls also provide seamless integration with Johnson Controls’ building automation interfaces. Additionally, an optional mobile access portal (MAP) allows users to view and edit equipment controller parameters, set points, schedules, and alarms remotely.
“Everything we do on our equipment is based on Smart Equipment controls,” Newburg said. “Every unit has an incredible brain in there — our equipment doesn’t even really need thermostats. There’s enough technology built in there that, with a couple of sensors operating down in the space, we can actually take over control of the unit and maintain temperature and humidity control. Additionally, that brain allows us to tie in a cost-effective building automation system because everything is already set up to work with Verasys. By having that brain in there, we give ourselves a ton of flexibility.”
This latest Metasys release provides facility personnel with smarter building automation, faster responses to critical alarms, and new integrations with fire detection, security, and lighting systems — all with visibility from a single common interface.
“Metasys has always delivered a strong integration platform, but we’re really excited about how easy we’re making it for customers to integrate both HVAC and non-HVAC systems into Metasys 10.0,” said Chris Eichmann, vice president and general manager, Global Controls Products, Johnson Controls. “Providing our customers with access to critical system data from a single, intuitively-designed interface makes it faster and easier for them to do their jobs.”
Additionally, Johnson Controls announced the extended capacity range of its York YZ Magnetic Bearing Centrifugal Chiller to include chillers beyond 1,000 tons — now up to 1,350 tons of refrigeration. It uses an integral, variable-speed drive and advanced magnetic bearing technology that features a single moving assembly suspended in a magnetic field that does not require lubrication.
On the residential side, Johnson Controls showcased its Guardian brand condensing units.
These R-22 replacement units meet updated DOE regulations, according to Bart Belthazor, product manager, residential product management, North America Building Technologies and Solutions, Johnson Controls.
“Typically, R-22 systems now might have a compressor failure,” Belthazor explained. “At that point, the homeowner or property owner/manager is faced with replacing the compressor of that unit — which has a very short warranty — or replacement of the entire system with an R-410A system, which can be costly. With this option, they can remove the outdoor unit with the failed compressor, install this new unit, flush the lineset, and they don’t have to change out the indoor coil or metering device in most cases.”
The Guardian brand units feature up to 17-SEER performance.
Additionally, the heavy-duty compressor provides pressure and temperature protection, plus the permanently lubricated fan motor does not require annual servicing.
“This is a really good, middle of the road option,” Belthazor said. “It’s especially valuable in the cases where it’s unexpected — like hurricanes, for example.”
Though the product is several years old, Johnson Controls has refocused on it with R-22 continuing to be phased out.
“It’s kind of a niche market,” Belthazor added, “but it’s becoming more popular.”
Publication date: 2/18/2019