An interview with Jim Robertello of Buffalo Air Handling
Drawing on more than a century of experience in fans and coils, Buffalo Air Handling specializes in the manufacture of custom-designed commercial AHU systems. In their long history, it’s supplied specialized solutions to a range of industries, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology labs, hospital and health care environments, and more.
Designing Fully Custom Solutions
Each unit from Buffalo Air Handling is tailored to the customer’s specific heating, cooling, heat recovery, or humidification requirements. The units can be fully customized in so many ways that the variations are almost endless. These fully custom and highly engineered products are built on a standardized three-inch construction of the wall panels and the roof.
Success in the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industries
Buffalo Air Handling’s work with the pharmaceutical industry expanded with the boom of pharmaceuticals in the 80s to early 90s. The company’s specialization in this market continues today, and many of its sales are for pharmaceutical installations.
For example, the company was asked to provide air handling equipment that would meet the specific needs of a northeastern pharmaceutical company. The units needed to have a thermal break construction with supply and return fans, heating and cooling coils, filters, dampers, humidifiers, and sound attenuators. They were also required to meet low-profile construction specs to comply with space constraints in the facility. Buffalo Air Handling created designs with notches so that when laid end to end on the site, they created an air handling unit over 180 feet long. Finally, all the AHUs needed to pass rigorous testing requirements in the factory and on-site. Pressure and leakage testing were conducted to verify a maximum permissible leakage rate of 1% at 10-inch static pressure water gauge.
Robertello explains, “As we create customized AHUs for more and more locations in the pharmaceutical and healthcare markets, the low leakage and varying degrees of fan arrangements created greater efficiency gains. So, our products are not only highly customizable but also exceptionally efficient.”
Importance of Customer Feedback
The company places importance on following up with customers after installation to ensure satisfaction and to get feedback. Robertello explains, “For example, if we have a customer who is not fully satisfied with the appearance of a unit, we can address that with engineering and production to figure out how we meet their aesthetic goals. We work with the people on the plant floor who often have great ideas that we incorporate directly into the design of our units.”
This kind of employee input is essential. “We have a press used for punching holes in a sheet of metal that we for various coil casings,” Robertello says, “and it has a rough surface when you flip that over from the process of punching of the holes. One of the employees on the plant floor suggested using the flip side for anti-slip construction on wet surfaces. There is often a specification requiring a non-slip surface for any floor which could become wet. We made little tweaks to the design, and lo and behold; we now have a really effective way of making anti-slip for wet surfaces.”
High Profile Installations
Buffalo Air Handling often handles very large projects and has installed units in a number of high-profile applications. For example, the company recently worked with the National Toy Hall of Fame in upstate New York.
Buffalo Air Handling units were supplied to Grand Central Station in New York City, replacing three existing Buffalo Air Handling products dating back to 1918 and adding eighteen new units. The solutions included supply and return fans, heating and cooling coils, pre-filters, final filters, dampers, and louvers.
The New England Aquarium in Boston was another recent installation. “The design needed to fit in the existing space, which was a challenge,” Robertello explains. “The new unit had energy recovery, which takes up quite a bit of space, and space is one thing we just didn’t have on that design. Our engineers really worked their magic with the Buffalo Air Handling selection program. They developed a solution that would fit in the existing footprint and even came up with some bonus components. We were able to do it and meet all the design requirements.”
Buffalo Air Handling supplied the replacement of 68 units for one of the world’s busiest airports: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJAIA). The project could not have any interruption in airport services, so Buffalo Air Handling devised a design, implementation, and production plan that could satisfy this requirement.
Want to Learn More About Buffalo Air Handling?
Coward Environmental Systems, Inc. proudly represents Buffalo Air Handling in the Philadelphia region, Lehigh Valley, Central PA, and Delaware. Contact us today to discover how Buffalo Air Handling can be a part of your next project.