FATs at Smardt Reduce Risk for Innovative Commercial HVAC Solutions

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Innovative commercial HVAC solutions often involve custom configurations requiring ingenuity, flexibility, and thorough testing.  These solutions push the boundaries of traditional HVAC systems, aiming to combine efficiency, effectiveness, and environmental friendliness in new ways.

Coward Environmental Systems, Inc. (CESI) specializes in tackling the challenges posed by clients seeking innovative HVAC applications.  We understand that alongside the excitement of developing new configurations, there is a need for careful trial evaluations to ensure the engineering meets the required standards of performance and reliability.

The Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) is an essential step in this process.  While most HVAC equipment undergoes a Site Acceptance Test (SAT) after installation to verify proper operation, FATs are conducted at the factory before shipment. FATs are critical for reducing risk by identifying and addressing any issues or defects early in the process, minimizing the likelihood of problems during installation or operation.

By conducting FATs, CESI can verify that the innovative HVAC solutions we develop not only meet the client’s specifications but also comply with relevant standards and regulations.  This helps to ensure the installation’s success and the equipment’s long-term performance.

Experts Join Forces

CESI recently collaborated with Johnson Barrow, Introba, P Agnes, and Swarthmore College to pioneer the development of large SMARDT heat pumps powered by geothermal energy.  The decision to use geothermal energy was driven by the end-user’s commitment to achieving ambitious environmental objectives.

Greg Munter, Partner/Sales Engineer, PE at CESI, highlighted the unique challenges of this project, stating,  “We were tasked with implementing uncommon configurations on a larger scale than ever before.”  He emphasized the importance of the CESI team’s involvement in the process, stating, “CESI team members worked closely with stakeholders, traveling to Montreal to participate in Smardt’s Factory Acceptance Test of the units.”

During the FAT, Smardt assembled the units exactly as they would be on-site, subjecting them to a battery of stress tests based on submittals and the factory test plan.  This meticulous testing process was essential for ensuring that the heat pumps would perform reliably and efficiently once installed, meeting the client’s stringent requirements.

By partnering with industry leaders and leveraging innovative technologies, CESI can continue to push the boundaries of HVAC solutions, delivering sustainable and efficient systems that align with the evolving needs of organizations committed to environmental stewardship.

FATs Reduce Risk

In these tests, FATs involved placing the equipment on a test stand to verify that they can cool or heat to the specified capacity.  Given the size and complexity of these units, ensuring their functionality before shipping was paramount to avoid costly transportation expenses and project delays.

Furthermore, the FATs allowed stakeholders to verify that the equipment met the specified design and performance criteria.  By conducting these tests, potential risks associated with the equipment could be mitigated, ensuring it complies with relevant standards and regulations.

Conducting thorough tests and involving all stakeholders significantly reduced the risk of equipment failure or malfunction, leading to successful installations and operations.

Specialists Focus on Different Performance Indicators

Having the entire team on-site during FATs is considered a best practice.  This approach allows each stakeholder to focus on their specific area of expertise or interest, whether it’s performance, balance, or other aspects of the equipment.  This collaborative effort helps to identify and address any defects or issues early in the process, minimizing the likelihood of problems on-site.

Different stakeholders are focused on various aspects.  “We tested how the units work with geothermal connections.” Munter notes.  “We also looked at location, size, and construction to ensure the order is easy to install and works seamlessly with the prepared site.”

By conducting FATs, the team was able to spot potential risks and address any issues before the equipment left the factory.  FATs also ensure that the equipment complies with relevant standards, regulations, and codes, including any special considerations set forth by the end user.  This is especially important in industries where safety and reliability are critical factors.

Contact Us to Learn More

CESI has a team of experienced sales engineers ready to help customers identify critical performance features and coordinate FATs.  Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your next commercial project.