Fresh thinking on fan-coil units and diffusers
Steering a new course — Colt (represented by Simon O’Hea, left) and Trox (represented by David Leatherbarrow) have combined their respective expertise in fan-coil units and grilles and diffusers to offer the industry a guaranteed-performance package covering noise, thermal performance and air distribution.
The traditionally separately supplied products of fan-coil units and diffusers are now offered as a single package with guaranteed performance.Fan-coil units in ceiling voids, which is where most of them are installed, must inevitably be associated with some form of grille, louvre or diffuser. Because these products are made by separate manufacturers, their selection and specification has fallen to the consulting engineer. Problems, notably with noise, are all too common — especially when a consulting engineer does not know how much credence to give to performance data. According to market research carried out by Trox in the UK, 53% of consultants have had noise problems with fan-coil units. The same research found that for any major project, 79% of consultants would require a mock-up test before specifying particular projects. Such a test carried out at BSRIA could cost £15 000 to £20 000. These problems, and others, have been addressed by a system-engineering approach developed by Trox. Fan-coil units and diffusers are provided from a single source, with guaranteed noise levels, thermal performance and air distribution. Indeed, diffusers and fan-coil units can be supplied prefabricated on a common raft. Trox, of course, does not make fan-coil units, but the company has teamed up with Colt International to market its Phantom range in the UK. They are offered with both waterside and airside control. Simon O’Hea, director with Colt Group, says, ‘The Phantom was the one product within the Colt portfolio that really fit easily. Whereas we can add value with our core business, the fan-coil unit is really part of the fit-out package — something that Trox is very good at.’ Terry Farthing, Trox (UK) sales director. explains, ‘Most fan-coil designs are carried out by looking at the performance of each component in the system, whereas we are offering to engineer the complete system. ‘There is a whole array of benefits that flow from this approach. For example, we are offering a single point of responsibility and greater opportunities of prefabrication — and the cost, safety and quality benefits that come from that. Through the Trox Design Bureau, we can assess and test the compete system and offer these guarantees to the design team.’ In addition to guarantees, a design team will have access to Trox’s laboratory facilities, where tests and mock-ups can be arranged to ensure that noise levels, thermal performance and air distribution satisfy requirements. One major benefit is the potential to reduce costs by value engineering. Trox’s confidence in its development and selection software enables the company to consider alternative approaches. Using conventional selection procedures, marketing manager Guy Hutchins suggests that a thousand fan-coil units might cost around £530 000. A system approach might enable different figures for external static pressure to be used and a lower supply air temperature, perhaps with a swirl diffuser instead of a louvre for more effective air distribution. Overall, it is suggested that fan-coil units two sizes smaller could be used, with a cost reduction of well over 10% and, perhaps, 15% in some cases. This new distribution channel for Phantom fan-coil units will, believes Simon O’Hea significantly increase the number made in its Havant factory. He concludes, ‘We believe that the combination of our two organisations will provide the customer with a product offering that is greater than the individual parts.’ firstname.lastname@example.org