Retrofit Solution Eases the Pain of DDC Conversion at VA Hospital

    Posted on Tue,Feb 04, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

    Making the switch from a pneumatically controlled HVAC system to a DDC system opens the door for tremendous energy savings. It is also one of the most costly and complex renovations a facility can undertake. A significant portion of this investment of time and resources involves the replacement of existing valves and/or actuators. Actuator replacement alone can be a long and tedious task, especially if there are hundreds of terminal units involved. If both actuators and valves must be replaced, the breadth of labor and cost go up significantly since welders and pipefitters are required. However, thanks to new actuator retrofit technology from Belimo, the process of converting a pneumatic building to a DDC system is a lot less painful. In Spring 2013 Oklahoma City VA Hospital was the first to receive the cure.

    Engineered Systems & Energy Solutions, Inc. (ES2), a building automation contractor in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was granted the opportunity and the challenge to bring the 30-year-old VA hospital’s HVAC control system up-to-date. The hospital was ready to begin the long, arduous process of converting its pneumatic system to DDC. Through a competitive bid process, ES2 was awarded the contract to convert the existing proprietary protocol system to a non-proprietary BACnet system from Automated Logic and retrofit all existing control valves with new DDC actuators. The latter would ultimately include actuator retrofits to over 600 globe valves serving variable air volume (VAV) boxes and fan coil units, many of which contained both hot and cold-water coils.

    Technology Worth the Wait
    The existing globe valves were in good shape and didn’t warrant replacement. This wasNew Generation Globe Valve and Retrofit Linkages fortunate since valve replacement, as opposed to retrofitting new actuators, would have dramatically increased labor cost and complicated the permitting.

    “We would have had to hire both pipe fitters, and also insulating contractors for the cold water valves. Plus, we would have had to acquire additional “Hot Work” permitting for the use of blowtorches on hospital premises,” explained Bill Kinser, President of ES2.

    Still, the actuator retrofits would have been tedious and time consuming on their own had it not been for Belimo’s recently released New Generation Linear Globe Valve Actuators and Retrofit Linkages. Several months before the first retrofit linkages left the factory, Kinser decided the new actuators and linkages would be an ideal fit for the VA hospital project. Kinser was so impressed with the product previews he had received that he and his team decided to delay the retrofits until the first retrofit kits were available! According to Kinser, it was worth the wait.

    The new generation valves and retrofit linkages are not only designed to deliver greater power than previous models, but extraordinary flexibility. The actuators are engineered to fit a broad range of HVAC applications and the linkages are universal so they can adapt to almost any globe valve body. No special tools are required for the installation, which only takes minutes. A self-centering device that is included with the linkage makes aligning the stems of the valve and actuator fast and simple. This feature alone was enough to convince Jeff Woods, Control Technician for ES2 that waiting for the new retrofit kits was the smart thing to do.
    “A single retrofit only takes about 30 minutes to complete, which is about 45 minutes less than a typical retrofit. The self-centering device and stroke indicator features are very intuitive and really helped cut our installation time. All other linkages require some disassembly of the valve,” said Woods.

    The Oklahoma City VA hospital was the very first project to use the new generation actuators and linkages. The fact that ES2 was not only willing to wait for the product, but be the first to use it, is indicative of their confidence in Belimo technology and innovations. Neither Kinser nor Woods had any reservations about being the first to use the product.

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    Tags: Featured Case Studies, Retrofit Solutions

    HVAC Retrofitting – Small Changes Can Make a Difference

    Posted on Mon,Oct 14, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

    Facilities professionals often choose not to invest in energy-efficiency upgrades because of perceived high upfront costs. But if armed with the right information, they can see that energy savings can make a retrofit project a more worthwhile investment.

    Example: William Pecor, Assistant Supervisor  of UCONN’s building operations had problems on hand with the pneumatic actuators that controlled the movement of fan blades to circulate air. The current pneumatic actuators were expensive to repair and replace as well as the process would be extremely time consuming and labor intensive.

    The chemistry building management system at UCONN either calls for heating or cooling and when it does it needs the air quickly and at variable speed and volume.  FanThe chemistry building mechanical room consists of four large Air Handling Units (AHU,) that are approximately ten feet high by forty feet long.  Each AHU has two chambers consisting of large guide vein fans that have variable angle blades, which controls the air velocity by Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM).  These blades are currently controlled by a pneumatic linear actuator.  The arm attaches to the actuator to pull or push to increase or decrease the angle of the blades.  The arm moves approximately two inches in total in either direction and is controlled by the Building Management System (BMS). The critical part of the application is not the precision of movement, but the down time of the unit if the fan fails. If both fans were to fail at the same time, this would cause a handicap to the buildings access of fresh air and air across the coils.

    In front of these fans is a large 8’ x 8’ damper section that is pneumatically controlled.  When the fan is turned on the dampers open to allow more air to the coils.  The entire Uconn Fanbuilding runs most of their HVAC devices off pneumatic actuators.  The units have two chamber sides for redundancy with only one fan running per side at any given time.  The fans are manufactured by Joy Fan Company, a division of Howden a world leader in fans and rotary heat exchangers.

    Tower Equipment Co. with guidance from Belimo retrofit team was able to create a retrofit solution. The design included two fabricated UFSP0014 linkages utilizing a SY4-120MFT, non-spring return actuator with a crank arm. Calculations determined the SY4-120MFT with 3560 in-lbs of torque would move the arm of the fan at full speed. The SY would work off a 2-10 VDC control signal and would have a speed of 15 seconds.  The MFT software would be utilized to limit the rotation to only 40 degrees for a 2” movement of the blade.

    The linkage cost with the SY actuator outweighed the cost UCONN would have had to pay for replacing and repairing the pneumatic actuator unit. To purchase and/or repair the pneumatic were approximately $3000 to $4000 net with weeks of dangerous downtime.  The Belimo fabricated retrofit linkages and SY actuator solution was installed in less than one week for less than $2000.00.  Pecor was amazed and excited that a retrofit solution could be created that met his needs, kept within the specifications and carried a 2-year warranty. Since the install on the first two units, UCONN has moved forward with the installation of the next four fan units.

    Pecor saved money, reduce down time, and kept the chemistry department running.  The cost savings associated with switching to electronics also benefits UCONN in energy savings and a reduction in replacements.  Speed of repair and installation was important with only one fan and no additional backup.

    HVAC retrofit involves any project aiming to improve the efficiency of the system. HVAC upgrades can range from installing continuous environmental management systems, to replacing or retrofitting individual components of a system (valves, actuators, heat pump, air-side economizers, etc.). Belimo offers a retrofit technical documentation book for Valves, Actuators and air economizer HVAC. This book can be downloaded for free or request your free copy.

    HVAC Guide to Retrofitting

    Tags: Retrofit Solutions

    How to Retrofit Actuators and Valves in HVAC Systems: A Simple Guide

    Posted on Mon,Oct 15, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

    HVAC equipment installed in the early to late 1990s is coming close to the end of its service life. You can immediately lower your HVAC energy and repairs costs in the near future with Globe Valve Retrofitretrofit solutions.

    Spending time and money to revitalize old actuators and valves only delays the inevitable and will result in unplanned downtime. Retrofitting can provide you with a lower investment, lower overhead costs and peace of mind.

    With facility managers and owners looking for cost effective solutions, Belimo has provided custom solutions:

    • Offset mounting of SY actuators for valves with clearance issues
    • Replacement linkages for globe and butterfly valves
    • Replacement linkages of “industrial” ball valves
    • Replacement of damper actuators using SY series actuators
    • Pneumatic to electronic actuator conversion kits
    • Custom application specific solutions
    • Short stroke globe valve linkages

    This is the short list of solutions which provided reduce maintenance, repair and operating downtime. Technical sales support can provide a site survey to determine the condition of the existing equipment and evaluate the system and loads within the unit(s). At this time you can identify and address comfort, indoor air and water flow issues. Technical sales support specialists can offer different custom options to fit your needs. From product selection and custom linkage solutions to installation direction – Belimo is your retrofit provider.

    Save energy and decrease installation costs with HVAC retrofit replacement solution - Get started today, download:

    Tags: Retrofit Solutions

    Jackshaft Linkage is Now Compatible with EF Series Damper Actuators

    Posted on Mon,Jul 16, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

    Belimo EF on Jackshaft LinkageBelimo ZG-JSL linkage is now designed to facilitate the attachment of the EF spring return actuators to a damper's jackshaft. The EF actuator utilizes rugged components in a pressure cast aluminum housing for added strength and reliability. It offers a high torque output of 270 in-lbs and a NEMA 4 option to meet tough environmental conditions found in many HVAC applications.

    The ZG-JSL linkage simplifies typical installations and eliminates the difficulties where jackshaft bearings are hard to access. The ZG-JSL linkage has a built-in shaft which allows the direct coupling of Belimo actuators. The anti-rotation plate enables the installed actuator to be rotated 90 degrees for space saving applications.

    Customers will need to order the ZG-JSL as an accessory ($250 list price), ZG-121 bracket ($53 list price) along with the purchase of an EF spring return actuator. Preassembled is not an option with the EF at this time.

    By improving the method of installing actuators onto jackshafts, the installer saves on installation time translating into a cost savings. The quicker the install, the sooner the installer can move on to the next project. Now with the ZG-JSL linkage all jackshaft installations will only take minutes!

     

    Tags: Belimo News, Retrofit Solutions

    Medical College of Wisconsin Demands Reliability

    Posted on Mon,Oct 17, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

    It’s all about research and discovery at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s sprawling facility in Milwaukee – especially inside the campus’ new Translational and Biomedical Research Center (TBRC). Research conducted at this facility plays a crucial role in the study of everything from high blood pressure to organ transplants. So when chronic equipment failures threatened to interrupt research activity at the TBRC, Mark Seymer, Maintenance Mechanic at the College, had to do a little research of his own.

    “We were experiencing a lot of failure with damper actuators in our research areas,” explained Seymer, who has been with the Medical Center for 25 years and supports over 2 million square feet of building space. Throughout the 248-acre campus the mechanical controls are almost entirely pneumatic except for the sleek, new Translational and Biomedical Research Center (TBRC) which was designed and built with electronic control valves and actuators. Unfortunately, this was the area that was giving Seymer and his staff the most problems. Damper actuators on the individual air handlers that served the closely controlled research laboratories were failing regularly. Each failure event required immediate attention, as the integrity of these environments must be held within the strictest of temperature and humidity tolerances to assure the wellbeing of the college’s research facilities.

    On the intake side of the air handling units (AHUs) that served these spaces, the dampers and actuators were failing and the linkages were breaking. Part of the problem was that the actuators were rather large and bulky. The size and weight of the actuators not only contributed to premature failure, but also made replacement an awkward and time consuming task.

    “It was a real hassle,” said Seymer. “We really don’t have time to be dealing with these types of failures.”

    Seymer turned to Mike Hibbard of Minvalco, a heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration controls wholesale distributor, for help. Hibbard, an outside sales representative for Minvalco’s West Allis branch near Milwaukee, had worked with Seymer and the Medical College for many years and was aware of the inordinate number of replacement actuators that Seymer had purchased.

    “The Medical College has been a customer for many years. In fairly short order, an Actuator 101 Course was arranged on behalf of the mechanical staff at the Medical College. This course provides hands-on training on the operation and maintenance of control valves and actuators.Belimo Pressure Independent Characterized Control Valve Mark Seymer and several of his staff were in attendance. By the end of the class, Mark Seymer was ready to have the campus examined not only the dampers on the AHUs in the research laboratories, but other actuators and control valves located throughout the campus. Seymer was aware that the Medical College was on a steady path toward replacing all of the existing pneumatic valves with electronic valves would be less problematic solution than the existing electronic actuators in the TBRC building.

     

    Tags: Retrofit Solutions

    Southland Industries Discovers Labor Saving of New Linkage Technology

    Posted on Mon,Oct 03, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

    Andy Cummings of Southland Industries has suffered through his share of cumbersome damper actuator installs.  With over 30 years of experience in the sheet metal industry, he knows that the process is not only time consuming, it can yield disappointing results if the connections are in any way unstable.  Damper blades can become twisted or bent,Belimo in Fort Belvoir Hospital linkages can bend or even break, etc.  Meanwhile, the last thing a busy design, build and maintenance firm like Southland Industries wants is to revisit a failed installation that was already labor intensive to begin with!

    Unfortunately, the industry has not served up many solutions for this universally recognized problem; at least not until the release of the ZG-JSL jackshaft linkage. The company was so intrigued by the possibilities of this revolutionary new connection tool that they made arrangements to purchase the first 200 pieces Belimo released even though it would be months before the linkages were available.  The ZG-JSL’s release just happened to coincide with a fast track military project of Southland’s.  The contractor had already installed a 20’ x 40’ bank of dampers (and actuators) in the generator room at the new Fort Belvoir military hospital in Virginia.  However, these dampers proved unsatisfactory for the generator application because they did not provide the 100% seal that the Army Corp of Engineers desired to minimize heat loss from the generator room.  Because of this, Southland would have to remove and replace all of the existing brand new equipment – pushing the project’s already tight schedule to the limit. It was the perfect opportunity to try out the new linkage and see how much time it really saved.  Since Southland had already installed the exact same project using conventional angle plates and rods, it would also provide a perfect apples-to-apples comparison of the two installation strategies.

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    Tags: Retrofit Solutions

    Thinking out of the box saves time, money and energy for UCONN.

    Posted on Mon,Aug 22, 2011 @ 10:00 AM
    Application Overview  
    William Pecor, Assistant Supervisor of UCONN’s building operations
    had problems on hand with the pneumatic actuators that UCONN Fan Unitcontrolled the movement of fan blades to circulate air. The current pneumatic actuators were expensive to repair and replace as well as the process would be extremely time consuming and labor intensive.

    The chemistry building management system at UCONN either calls for heating or cooling and when it does it needs the air quickly and at variable speed and volume. The chemistry building mechanical room consists of four large Air Handling Units (AHU,) that are approximately ten feet high by forty feet long. Each AHU has two chambers consisting of large guide vein fans that have variable angle blades, which controls the air velocity by Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM). These blades are currently controlled by a pneumatic linear actuator. The arm attaches to the actuator to pull or push to increase or decrease the angle of the blades. The arm moves approximately two inches in total in either direction and is controlled by the Building Management System (BMS). The critical part of the application is not the precision of movement, but the down time of the unit if the fan fails. If both fans were to fail at the same time, this would cause a handicap to the buildings access of fresh air and air across the coils.

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    Tags: Green Building Technology, Retrofit Solutions

    New UGSL1200 Short Stroke Valve Linkage

    Posted on Mon,Aug 01, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

    New UGSL1200 linkage with either a CM or TF is the actuator for the small valve. If replacing the Powermite MZ/MT valve with a Characterized Control Valve or High Temperature Characterized Control valve is not an option, keep the valve in service and only retrofit the actuator. The new UGSL1200 retrofit linkage provides a compact solution that saves time and money when budgets are tight.

    The UGSL1200 direct fit linkage will keep systems online and offer superior actuation with Belimo CM or TF actuators - each with Belimo's exclusive 5-year warranty. Typical control applications for the Powermite and UGSL1200 combination include hot/chilled water or steam for convectors, fan coil units, unit conditioners, and radiation; reheat coils, and other terminal units.

    UGSL1200 Short Stroke Valve Linkage *Not recommended with on/off TF actuators. 
    **CM has a -R (right) and -L (left) for modulating direction. Linkage runs in the CW direction.


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    Tags: Retrofit Solutions, Product Updates

    Retrofit Solutions for Replacement of Damper Actuators

    Posted on Mon,Jan 24, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

    By improving the method of installing actuators onto jackshafts, ZG-JSL Jackshaftthe installer saves on installation time translating into a cost savings. The quicker the install, the sooner the installer can move on to the next project. Now with the ZG-JSL linkage all jackshaft installations will only take minutes!

    The ZG-JSL linkage simplifies typical installations and eliminates the difficulties where jackshaft bearings are hard to access. The ZG-JSL linkage has a built-in shaft which allows the direct coupling of Belimo actuators. The anti-rotation plate enables the installed actuator to be rotated 90 degrees for space saving applications.

     The ZG-JSL linkage is designed to facilitate the attachment of select Belimo actuators to a damper's jackshaft. The unique open ended design allows the linkage to clamp on to any part of a jackshaft measuring from 1/2” to 1.05” in diameter.

    The ZG-JSL linkage transfers actuator torque to the jackshaft. There is a torque reduction when using the ZG-JSL linkage with the following actuators. Ensure application requirements before ordering. Order the actuator and linkage assembled at the factory and save on cost with the ZG-JSLA option.

    The ZG-JSL linkage can be purchased as an accessory for a list price of $250.00. Belimo can factory mount the ZG-JSL to any of the actuators shown for a list price of $200.00 plus the cost of the actuator.

    5-Year warranty on ZG-JSL linkage when used with a Belimo installed actuator only. Ordering example for ZG-JSL linkage assembled with AMX24-3 actuator: ZG-JSLA+AMX24-3.

    A closer look:

    The ZG-JSL linkage will be on display at AHR Expo, January 31 to February 2, 2011 at the Belimo Booth N5162, Las Vegas Convention Center, Nevada. Or contact Belimo for more information www.belimo.us.


    Tags: Retrofit Solutions

    Globe Valve Retrofits A Cost Effective Solution

    Posted on Mon,Nov 29, 2010 @ 10:00 AM

    So you’ve got a globe valve that is no longer functioning correctlyGlobe Valve Replacement Solution (or at all) because of a broken linkage, leaky hydraulic actuator, non-functioning electric or pneumatic actuator.  No need to throw the baby out with the bath water!  Many valves can be retrofitted with new linkages and actuators, putting them back into service in as little as an hour.  If the valve requires customized linkages, the process will take a bit longer.  The good news is that most valves (assuming they have adequate service life left) can be retrofit, often with off-the-shelf kits that can be easily installed at the jobsite.

     

    What You’ll Need For A Successful Retrofit

    Precision is the key to a successful valve retrofit.  This begins with taking careful measurements of the existing equipment and providing all of the proper installation and product information to the retrofit supplier.  This process starts with the proper measurement equipment, preferably using a vernier caliper with a depth gauge or probe. Rounding off to the nearest 1/8 or 1/16 inch will not result in optimum performance.  Belimo retrofit kits, for example, are typically within a ±.005” tolerance.

    Make sure you have accurate recordings of all of the following to submit to your supplier:

    Valve Details

    • Valve style (i.e. internal packing nut, external packing nut, etc.) and the corresponding dimensions.
    • Stem style and corresponding dimensions
    • Valve model number, series, and manufacturer
    • Is it a 2-way or 3-way valve?
    • Is it a steam or hydronic valve?
    • What is the system temperature and pressure?

    Actuator Details

    • Model number of existing actuator
    • Control type (i.e. on/off, floating point, vdc, or pwm)
    • Is the actuator fail safe
    • Is the actuator for an indoor or outdoor application

    It may seem like a lot of effort but remember that replacing a valve along with the actuator, or trying to determine how to fix a linkage, is not always practical. Furthermore, taking a system off-line to replace a valve assembly can have a cost impact that extends well beyond the the replacement itself. Retrofit solutions are, quite often, the most practical and cost effective solution.

    Belimo Aircontrols has retrofit solutions for almost any globe, butterfly or ball valve application and can even build customized linkages for those valves which have no direct retrofit solution.  If you are trying to work through any type of valve or damper actuator retrofit challenge, Belimo has an essential document which will carefully walk you through every step of the process from taking proper measurements to the installation of the new linkage. 

    For instruction on how to retrofit, take free online training. Sign up now.

    Tags: Online Learning Resources & Tools, Retrofit Solutions