The commissioning and adjustment of air handling units can be time consuming, and due to the human factor, the units are not always set-up as intended, resulting in inefficient operation. But this may soon be history, the tools to streamline the whole process are already here. And the trend is clear: On-site efficiency is all about how we work off-site.
Documentation has usually been made by the commissioning engineer by hand. However, it is not uncommon that the parameters needed to commission the unit have not been available to the commissioning engineer. This means that the system is not set up as designed and because the documentation is made by hand, it is subject to human error.
Once built, it is common that the usage of the building is changed quite often. That, of course, often means making adjustments to the ventilation system and to do that quickly and efficiently we need to know exactly how the air handling unit is set up. With incorrect commissioning protocols and documentation which may not be easily accessible, this may be a challenge.
Factory fitted controls is in demand today
There is a clear trend towards factory fitted controls because it gives a quick and simple installation. Connecting the unit to a BMS system is also easy if a standardized communication protocols is used, and commissioning of the unit is fast because many of the parameters are preset.
The very latest developments use the advances in connectivity and selection softwares, and the most clear-cut examples can be seen in the latest versions of Swegons GOLD air handling units. Here the unit automatically produces a commissioning report, which saves time and secures quality of the information, eliminating human errors and the risk of missing information. The commissioning report is saved in the unit so that it is easily accessible. The controls also have the operating and maintenance documentation built in and have support for fault finding as well as a well-developed full text alarm system.
A streamlined process to adjust air handling units
With the selection software AHU Design the controls of the GOLD unit can also be configured and documented as required for the specific application and BIM data customized to the exact settings for each GOLD unit is available for MagiCad; which is available for both REVIT and AutoCad.
The GOLD controls are also configured with all needed parameters in the selection software, and distributed as a commissioning file for downloaded into the unit on site – in effect automatically commissioning the unit. This means a seriously streamlined process, making sure the unit is working exactly as intended, providing the right indoor climate as energy efficiently as possible, and making sure it is properly documented for any future updates.
What does the future look like?
Ventilation units with factory installed controls and with BIM (Building Information Modeling) bring us closer to the ideal industrialised building set-up. By connecting BIM data with the controls further value can be created in the future. For example, the building model could be updated in real time by the Air handling unit so that current operating energy data could be monitored in the building model.
In the future, we will see that the unit can send BIM data to the building model live. This means that the model is updated as adjustments are made and the digital building will mirror the actual building down to the least setting. This will make it more or less irrelevant if you are standing in front of the unit or accessing it remotely. Taking into account the value of being able to commission and adjusting the unit exactly when needed, and saving time of travels and access, off-site will always win.