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Pneumatics for the 21st Century

Air today... doesn't have be gone tomorrow

Air. What would we do without it? Many buildings are still operated by venerable air-powered controls, and KMC Controls supports the long legacy of cost-effective, durable, and reliable pneumatics.

Pneumatic systems were the standard HVAC control systems for commercial buildings until just a few decades ago. Although few pneumatic systems are installed in new construction today, more than two-thirds of all commercial buildings still have pneumatic controls, with perhaps 60 million pneumatic thermostats still in use. The currently installed base is a colossal investment that will need maintenance and support for decades to come...even though times are changing.

Air today, however, doesn’t have to be gone tomorrow. Your pneumatics control system has served you well, and now may not be the best time economically to consider a system upgrade. But it’s not just about saving money anymore. Energy efficiency and “recycle and reuse” of existing materials are also important. Most agree that being “green” is good, but it often involves trade-offs when it comes to HVAC systems. Replacing a legacy pneumatic controls system with a new digital system should increase energy efficiency and lower operating costs, but a large-scale technology retrofit is costly and produces considerable quantities of metal and plastic (from the old controllers, actuators, valves, and related materials) that will need to be recycled or end up in a landfill. Furthermore, although digital controls excel at attaining high energy efficiency while optimizing comfort, replacing a system involves energy for manufacturing, transportation, and installation of the all-new system (which reduces the life-cycle energy savings of the digital system retrofit).

In economically and ecologically sensitive times, KMC Controls can help you extend the life of your old pneumatic system, replacing or upgrading only the parts needed to save considerable “green” in labor and materials and to reduce waste products. We have been manufacturing pneumatic products since 1969, and our full line of pneumatic products is still going strong. At KMC, we love air. Why cast your old pneumatic system to the winds when you can repair it, improve it, and make it last for years to come?

Air is not proprietary, and pneumatics was HVAC’s original “open system,” in which one manufacturer’s device could be replaced by that of another manufacturer’s. Thus, for almost any pneumatic HVAC control device out there, KMC has a replacement part for you when you need to maintain your present system.

Our venerated pneumatic products may not have the glamour of the latest digital devices, but they still fill a vital role in cost-effectively sustaining existing installations. While other manufacturers have abandoned pneumatics, we still provide innovative, quality products. For example, our recent VCB series ball valves with MCP-3631 series rotary pneumatic actuators give a new level of flexible control in pneumatic applications. The three-way VCB-46 can be used in both mixing and diverting applications, depending only on how it is connected. Plus, all the VCB valves’ fail direction can be easily changed in the field if necessary by just flipping over the actuator. KMC is the only manufacturer to offer the advantages of ball valves for pneumatic installations.

Our robust devices are built with exacting care. The quality processes of KMC Controls have been certified to ISO 9001 standards. Strict quality control ensures every component is properly designed and manufactured for long-term product reliability and performance. Our pneumatics are better than ever and ready to support your applications well into the 21st century.

If you want to transition to more efficient digital systems, however, KMC offers a variety of pneumatic-electric and electric-pneumatic relays, switches, and transducers (e.g., CCE series and XEC-3000 series) to help “hybridize” and integrate pneumatic and digital control systems. Plus, KMC has an OEM relationship with Cypress Environsystems. We build the pneumatic thermostat heart of their award-winning Wireless Pneumatic Thermostat. Replacing existing pneumatic thermostats with wireless-capable devices greatly expands the monitor and control capabilities of a pneumatic system. And since thousands of feet of pneumatic tubing do not have to be torn out and replaced with electrical wiring, the time and cost required for installation of wireless two-way communicating thermostats is a tiny fraction of retrofitting with traditional wired thermostats.

Of course nothing can last forever. KMC Controls (formerly Kreuter Manufacturing Company) pioneered pneumatic control devices for HVAC applications. We were leading participants as analog electronic controls took hold in building system design. Later, we established a complete line of fully programmable digital products to fulfill the toughest challenges in today’s building automation and energy management arenas.

When the time does come that a building’s venerable pneumatic system needs to retired and completely replaced, we also have the digital products for you.

Pneumatics Brochures

Pneumatics Overview Brochure (SB-031) and Pneumatic Kits Brochure (SB-055).

Benefits of Controls in Green Buildings

Why Green Buildings Are Good

Controls and Green Building Certifications

Obtaining your LEED credentials


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