- InTouch, Q2, 2013
- InTouch, Q3, 2012
- InTouch, Q2, 2012
- InTouch, Q3, 2011
- InTouch, Q2, 2011
- InTouch, Q1, 2011
- InTouch, Q4, 2010
- InTouch, Q3, 2010
- InTouch, Q2, 2010
- InTouch, Q1, 2010
Our corporate theme, In touch®, serves as the foundation of all our activities, including customer communications. Here, you can access the latest edition of, KMC In Touch, our premier customer newsletter and subscribe to future editions.
| Wanna Win an iPad 2? |
Here's your chance to snatch one of the hottest items on a techie's wish list-the Apple iPad 2. It's easy, it's free, and it'll take just 15 seconds of your time.
We're looking for a few good followers. Become a Facebook fan of KMC Controls and you'll be entered for chance to win the iPad. Already a fan? No worries. You are already eligible.
Here's how to enter:
- Go to www.kmccontrols.com.
- Click the contest graphic (depicted above) just above the social media logos.
- If you are a Facebook member, this will direct you to our Contest page on Facebook. Click the "Like" button and you're entered!
- If you are not yet a member of Facebook, you'll have to create an account first.
- Be sure to do this in the next few weeks. The contest ends on June 17.
| Get Answers About Building Automation |
The control of a modern commercial or institutional facility can be a complex matter. But you can know what is important to discuss with your system integrator, controls contractor, or energy services provider.
We've created some topics designed to help you understand the role that building automation can have for your facility and how it can help you achieve the following goals:
Of course you can find such answers on our web site. Just go to our Answers & Education page.
- higher energy efficiency
- lower operating and maintenance costs
- better indoor air quality
- greater occupant comfort and productivity
Another source for such information is a new Building Automation channel on the online presence of Today's Facility Manager magazine. Here's a direct link to the channel which provides case studies, educational topics and more to explore.
You know what they say: knowledge is power. So, go get some!
|Featured Project: Seattle Life Sciences Building|
Seattle, Washington is home to numerous firms in the life sciences arena. The buildings that house them are often described as mixed use with office, laboratory, and research space. Unlike many such facilities throughout the metropolitan area, however, the Seattle Life Sciences Building at 1124 Columbia Street is located in the heart of the city. It's within a short distance of major medical centers, Seattle University, and many other downtown attractions.
Built in 1976, this 7-story facility (192,290 sq. ft.) is home to medical practitioners as well as research and biotech firms with names like Cellnetix Pathology, Theraclone Sciences, the Infectious Disease Research Institute, Dharma Therapeutics, the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, and more. The facility is owned by Alexandria Real Estate Equities (ARE), the international leader of, and largest owner of, real estate in the life sciences industry.
The building's mechanical systems have been served by a proprietary control system for many years. In more recent years, ARE representatives have desired a more open approach. As a result, a BACnet automation system from Alerton has been in place for a portion of the building. Still more recently, however, building needs have grown beyond that for which the automation system was intended.
That's when the challenge fell to Steve Depew and Roger Norman. Steve is a consulting/design engineer with Engineered Building Controls of Burien, Washington and Roger is owner of Northwest Automation of Tonasket, Washington. Roger's company, a building automation and energy management system contractor, is also an authorized representative of another BACnet manufacturer, KMC Controls.
The challenge? Create a heat recovery system using heat reclaimed from exhaust fans and waste steam condensate.
Interestingly, a privately held utility, Seattle Steam (http://www.seattlesteam.com
/), delivers reliable heat to over 200 downtown buildings in the form of steam. One of Seattle Steam's customers is the Seattle Life Sciences Center. While the utility has taken admirable steps toward sustainable generation of this steam, there remains tremendous waste following its use by various Seattle Steam customers. (All of the steam produced is used on a "once through" basis; no condensate is returned to the steam plant.)
The Life Sciences Building uses the steam for several processes including AHU heating, CAV and VAV reheat, humidification, and autoclaves (for sterilizing medical equipment and supplies). Once used, however, the condensate from the steam's use was collected and dumped down the drain. Further, the hot condensate was tempered by domestic water to protect the city sewage system from being overheated and to protect the glass drains throughout the building from breaking.
This was certainly not a sustainable approach favored by ARE, its tenants, nor the City of Seattle in general.
Steve, Roger, and their respective teams designed and installed a system that captures all of the hot condensate throughout the building. This hot condensate is then pumped to storage tanks in the mechanical room.
In addition to the reclaimed heat from exhaust fans, a plate-and-frame heat exchanger is also used to extract heat from the stored condensate. In turn, the condensate is put down the drain at acceptable temperatures. Captured, heated water is used to preheat the 100% outside air at the AHU intake, thus dramatically reducing the need for steam heat. During warmer weather, the heated loop water is diverted to exhaust fan coils for heat rejection to the outside air.
Not satisfied with only addressing energy efficiency and heat recovery, Steve also saw an opportunity to protect the existing steam coils from freezing and used the heat recovery system to provide freeze protection. This meant no more cracked steam coil headers flooding the lower floors and no more 3:00 a.m. AHU freeze- protection shutdowns requiring emergency calls to the facility engineers!
Of course, such a creative approach requires precise control. The entire heat recovery system and 4 Air Handling Units (previously under proprietary control) are controlled by the BAC-A1616BC BACnet Building Controller (B-BC) from KMC Controls. Its capabilities are further extended through the use of 4 KMC B-BC expansion modules. Various KMC valves and sensors complete the control sub-system functionality.
The powerful KMC building controller serves up its own web pages. These pages are integrated nicely into the operator workstation of the existing Alerton BACtalk control system. Thus, the newer control functions become a seamless part of the overall building automation scheme.
Owners anticipate a 3-year payback for the heat recovery system through measures such as the following:
- reduced steam demand
- elimination of water used for tempering condensate before dispelling
- reduced sewage charges due to lower volume of water dispelled
| It's About Time|
In recent times, we have observed tremendous change throughout the markets we serve as well as in our distribution channels that serve them. Suffice it to say that manufacturing has also been subject to upheaval. For several months, we've been questioning standard procedures and re-thinking our practices in light of marketplace changes.
For many years, we have embraced lean manufacturing practices as well as related inventory and quality system components. We've had cellular manufacturing units, a Kanban system for inventory management, and other just-in-time (JIT) production practices. Such practices were optimized for high-volume, low-mix manufacturing. In other words, we sought, as most manufacturers seek, to optimize our processes to produce many of a particular kind of product. We were (and still are) happy to produce tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of a particular product.
But today's marketplace requires a more flexible approach-an approach optimized for the new realities-lower-volume, higher-mix products.
Enter QRM or Quick Response Manufacturing. QRM is a time-based approach to manufacturing. Its goal is to eliminate wasted lead time throughout the manufacturing process, thereby increasing efficiencies, adding capacity, and making manufacturers more responsive.
QRM was developed under the leadership of Rajan Suri, then of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1993, Mr. Suri formed the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing, a consortium of academic and corporate partners. He has also written two books on the subject.
Beginning last year, KMC embarked on a strategic initiative to implement QRM practices. We joined the Center for QRM (http://www.engr.wisc.edu/centers/cqrm/). Our senior staff and key employees were trained by Rajan Suri himself and a core team was formed to guide the implementation.
You may wonder why lead time is so important to us. You think of lead time as the time between when you place an order and when you receive that order. To us, it is much more comprehensive, examining the entire process of getting or making raw components used in assembly. Value-added or "touch" time is the time used during the actual assembly or the handling of your order. But, there remains lots of non-valued-added time where one process waits on another or where, for example, component parts sit on a shelf waiting to be pulled for an order.
So, why should you care, especially if YOUR lead times are good? Because wasted time in our processes eventually affects our overall efficiency. And, inefficiency leads to higher costs-costs that may be passed on to you.
Have no fear, however. We are becoming time bandits. Stay tuned for further QRM insights in future editions.
|New Tool-Making Tool|
The newest addition to our engineering tool room (mold shop) is an Agie-Charmilles Progress VP2 wire EDM (electrical discharge machining). It joins several other EDM machines in the shop. This one offers ultra-high precision, operating with a resolution of 20 millionths of an inch and using wire that is 0.002 inches in diameter. We'll use it primarily for actuator gear molds but it is versatile enough for machining a variety of parts.
Our newest EDM wire machine and a sample gear mold it created.
|Our Featured Partner--Nailor Industries, Inc.|
Pushing the Envelope
Some companies are content to find some success and rest on their laurels. Nailor Industries (Nailor International Group) will never be among those so charged.
Words like "innovation," "customized," and "flexibility" dominate the language of Nailor employees as well as the work they perform. This culture drives product development and the delivery of related services. In turn, this culture has led to continuous growth in both sales and market share, even through macro-economic turmoil.
The Nailor "group" (www.nailor.com
), headquartered in Houston, Texas, consists of highly synergistic subsidiaries with plants in Toronto, Calgary, Las Vegas, Houston, and Thetford, England. Collectively, they create leading-edge solutions for air distribution, air control, and mechanical equipment including terminal units, fan coil units, and air handlers.
Nailor operates out of a half dozen facilities headquartered in Houston. "In the past 18 months alone," says Curtis Peters, one of Nailor's Regional Sales Managers, "we've acquired two new buildings totaling over 100,000 square feet. That gives us a total of more than 12 acres under roof in Houston."
This investment in real estate is related to Nailor's vision for growth. "The investment in real estate has been accompanied by a significant investment in software development," says Peters. "This infrastructure enables us to develop the tools that will support our customers in the future."
These, and related investments in product development and manufacturing, reflect the optimism that exists within company management that they have their fingers on the pulse of future customer needs.
"We deal extensively with the engineering community," says Greg Rodgers, Nailor Marketing Manager. "In addition" he continues, "we chair and participate in several committees within industry organizations such as AHRI and ASHRAE. We do so to both see and influence what's coming down the pike."
"In turn," adds Peters, "we can put products in the development pipeline now so that they're fully vetted when the market window opens."
One reason Nailor can illustrate such dynamic flexibility is due to the fact that the company remains family-owned despite its growth. "We can't hide in corporate policies and processes," Curtis Peters says. "Our reps know that whether they have good news or concerns to share, they can pick up the phone and talk to Steve Nailor directly." (Steve is Chief Operating Officer.)
"By the same token," adds Greg Rodgers, "we are not limited to selling exclusively out of our catalog. We built this business on highly engineered and highly customized products. Accordingly, we won't shy away from any engineering challenge."
"We're seeing, for instance," says Rodgers, "more focus on standards in the critical care arena. There have always been multiple ways of meeting a particular mechanical challenge in these environments. With our participation, ASHRAE is trying to standardize the design criteria, not only to maximize energy use, but to minimize contaminants. Our focus is to help engineers understand proper design practices."
Above: Corporate headquarters in Houston serves as
the hub for R&D, manufacturing, sales, & marketing.
Below: Nailor's Toronto, Ontario facility.
Customizable solutions from Nailor exist in many forms. Their pioneering use of ECM motors led to their endeavors in fan-powered boxes and fan coil units. In turn, that led to a complete product offering.
Not long ago, Microsoft approached Nailor seeking a solution for an installed underfloor air distribution system in Redmond, WA. They were looking for better thermal comfort, controllability, leakage rates, and improved energy consumption. This prompted Nailor to make a considerable capital investment in producing a new 10" aluminum UFAD swirl diffuser. The installation of this new product resulted in significant improvements on all fronts, including a major reduction in central plant energy consumption. This is yet another example of flexibility and customization translating into a major addition to the Nailor product line.
Nailor's new high-capacity swirl diffuser for UFAD applications offers a low profile, a low pressure drop damper assembly, and
cast aluminum construction. It meets NFPA 90A requirements
and was tested to UL 2043.
Their air handling division, Thermal Corporation, has released several new configurations which promote sustainable design concepts. One example is a dedicated outdoor air handler with multiple energy recovery wheels which is used to supply pre-conditioned outside air to chilled beam systems. Such sustainable innovations are finding receptive buyers among "green" professionals. Also from this same division, Nailor introduced to their rep channel a software package, four years in the making, that enables their reps to sit down in front of engineers and model a custom air handling solution. The software package can then output pricing, CAD files, scope of work, and quotes.
Custom air handling equipment characterizes the work of Thermal Corporation, one of Nailor's operating divisions.
Making their reps successful is a driving force for Nailor. "We take care of our software programming in house, which allows us to update and release our products to the market in a very aggressive manner," says Peters. "Our motivation is to help our distribution channel to be as efficient as possible, which gives our reps more time for sales-related activities. And, as a supplier of both sheet metal and equipment, along with the widest diversity of product offering, we can be very competitive." As a result, the majority of Nailor reps are exclusive to Nailor."
The working relationship with reps is handled by Nailor's Regional Sales Managers such as Curtis Peters. "'Regional' is somewhat misleading," Curtis explains. "In reality, we pair up sales managers and reps according to backgrounds, experience, and like market interests. In this way, we can form a true partnership."
It seems that such a partnership mentality also extends to Nailor's suppliers: "Seventy-five percent of all our new products are highly engineering with controls," Peters says. "That's why we value our corporate partnership with KMC."
"Visionary," "Innovative," "Flexible" "Customer Care." Such words have always defined Nailor and supported its reputation for customized solutions to air distribution, air control, and equipment challenges. But they may be among the few constants for this dynamic company that is always inclined to push the envelope.
| Climate Change |
© 2011 Ben H. Dorsey III
|Stay in touch!|
Ben H. Dorsey III
VP, Marketing & Communications
LEED Green Associate
KMC Controls, Inc.