ATLANTA, GA — Air Technology Systems (ATS) was present at the most recent Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) to display developments in the company’s Desicair line of products. The ATS Desicair division specializes in desiccant dehumidification units and packaged systems with cooling and/or heating options.

One new edition which was present at the expo was the company’s DryTech controller, or as ATS calls it, the “smart” controller.

The Dry Tech controller makes troubleshooting easier by identifying the exact malfunction inside the dehumidifier.

Monitor With Brains

The DryTech controller is not a completely new product for ATS, but an upgrade of an older version. The original controller was used in the company’s dehumidifiers to monitor and detect faults in the system. When the unit begins to function improperly, the controller will notify the contractor or technician.

The new DryTech controller, which was on display at the ATS booth, does much more than just alert people about system problems. According to Thomas Clemens, Desicair product manager, the new device tells them exactly what is wrong with the dehumidifier.

By using a logic board, the controller makes troubleshooting easier by monitoring seven possible areas of malfunction. On the old device, one button would light up to announce a problem in the system. The new device lights up one of seven buttons to signify exactly why the dehumidifier has stopped working.

The seven areas include process and reactivation airflows, low and high reactivation temperatures, rotor rotation failure, and dirty process and reactivation filters.

Other features of the controller include a time delay feature for reactivation cool down when the dehumidifier is cycled off. This permits the reactivation blower/ motor drive to continue operating for three minutes after the process blower-motor is de-energized.

Also, the controller operates from a power supply housed in the dehumidifier’s electrical panel and is designed to function in ambient temperatures ranging from -40° to 120°F.

At the ATS booth, the controller was demonstrated in the company’s DEZ Series 1000 dehumidifier.

ATS manufactures a series of several dehumidifiers, starting at the PTC Series 300, which is one of the company’s smallest units, to one of the largest, the DHS Series 4000.

The company also manufactures a model of industrial dehumidifiers known as the Dry-Handler. The DryHandler model has thus far been a bridge between the commercial and industrial markets.

Commercial Crossover

The DryHandler industrial model has been successfully used in some commercial buildings. Although ATS has specialized in industrial applications, the company is setting its sights on expanding.

To forward this plan, ATS has put together a brochure to promote the benefits of desiccant dehumidification for commercial buildings. “The government has a keen interest in this,” said Clemens about commercial dehumidification.

According to ATS, the process of dehumidifying such spaces as office buildings can have numerous benefits. Two of the greatest benefits are the ability to generate one’s own power and at the same time improve the indoor environment and reduce emission rates. This energy-efficient approach between government and industry is known as the Building Cooling Heating and Power (BCHP) initiative.

The BCHP approach works by using a desiccant dehumidifier with a gas-fired device. This can include a micro-turbine, chiller, or absorption equipment. When a dehumidifier with an enthalpy wheel works with gas-fired equipment, it captures the recoverable thermal energy. While the building is being heated through a natural gas source, the desiccant dehumidifier is controlling the humidity level and improving the indoor air quality.

Energy, Environment

Clemens says that the idea may take some time to catch on, but ATS is hopeful that it can convince business and industry of the importance of desiccant dehumidification. Clemens also says that this kind of technology is extremely beneficial for residents of California. In recent months, the state of California has gone through numerous blackouts due to factors including the amount of energy being used up.

In situations such as the one in California, commercial businesses would no longer have to deal with the threat of blackouts if the building was more in control of its own power source. Currently, commercial buildings are reliant on energy produced from power plants.

Power plants have been known to produce large amounts of thermal energy as well as large amounts of carbon monoxide. The BCHP initiative will try to reduce the amount of pollution in the atmosphere.

ATS is just one of the manufacturers that have partnered with the BCHP initiative. The organization is also made up of engineers, development and research organizations, and industry associations. By working together, the BCHP initiative can get the word out to commercial businesses on the many environmental and energy efficiency benefits to on-site power.

ATS is doing its part by publishing and distributing a brochure on the benefits. Also, the company plans to have its first commercial unit out in the fourth quarter of 2001. The unit will be a more compact, light commercial version of the DryHandler.

Publication date: 04/16/2001