PROVIDENCE, RI — The manufacture of pens and other fine writing instruments has advanced technologically. Likewise, the heating-cooling systems in the process area had to advance in their design and sophistication.

Novar?ngineers here recently served as prime consultant in a $1 million project to update the heating and cooling system for five contiguous buildings on the A.T. Cross campus in Lincoln, RI.

As the technology of manufacturing fine writing instruments has progressed to include pen computing products, as well as innovative mechanical products, A.T. Cross needed to provide both heating and cooling simultaneously in its manufacturing plants.

Its approximately 30-year-old, two-pipe system was capable of circulating hot or cold water, but not both simultaneously, throughout the 1 million sq ft of building space. Novar?ngineers designed a four-pipe system to provide the flexibility of operating air-handling units throughout the campuses in either heating or cooling mode, as required in the respective space conditions.


As part of a 10-year plan for upgrading and maintaining its facilities, about 30 air-handling units (AHUs) involved in the system are being inspected and replaced, as necessary. The project included three phases implemented over four months. The first involved detailing current as-built conditions, including AHU locations, sizes, and current coil configurations. The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers also documented existing pump room conditions and the two-pipe distribution system.

Under Phase II, Novar?ngineers recommended a phased construction process that included consideration of construction costs, pipe routing, useful remaining life of existing units, and the plant’s overall operations.

The third stage involved preparation of detailed construction documents to enable contractors to implement a phased construction process with minimum disruption to A.T. Cross’ operations.

Publication date: 07/23/2001