RIDLEY PARK, Pa. - The Boeing Company has seen an increase in demand for parts for its line of Comanche helicopters. This increased production required the relocation and renovation of the manufacturing facility at Boeing's Ridley Park Plant; the renovation included a new HVAC system for this security-sensitive building. The job went to mechanical contractor JJ White Inc. of Philadelphia.

When it begins flight in 2006, the Comanche will be the world's most advanced helicopter, and as such, its production facility must meet high standards of cleanliness and temperature stability. Since many of the aircraft's parts are classified as top-secret, it is vital that the climate control system be extremely reliable and effective to reduce the need for service calls that might compromise security. In addition, JJ White's plans had to meet the approval of both Boeing and the Department of Defense, as the Comanche helicopter will be used by the U.S. Army. Finally, the large number of products, materials, and equipment used in the project had to be stored with minimal interruption to the function of the plant.

To reduce the necessity of maintenance calls within the actual plant, JJ White determined that rooftop air handlers outfitted with chilled water coils, steam coils, steam humidifiers, and high-efficiency filtration systems should be installed. A DDC control system would monitor all functions of these air handlers, as well as operate the pneumatic valves and dampers in each of the five systems.

This arrangement allows virtually all servicing of these systems to be done without setting foot in the production area. JJ White's size and versatility allowed all of this work to be completed smoothly and on-time. The experienced labor pool for this job included steamfitters, plumbers, boilermakers, carpenters, millwrights, laborers, and HVAC service technicians, all of whom JJ White can make available for any HVAC project.

Boeing now has a state-of-the-art HVAC system that efficiently services the production area, while maintaining the secrecy required by such a facility.

Publication date: 07/05/2004