Ability Projects Ltd, Wimborne, Dorset, has introduced an updated ‘commission-less’ version of its acclaimed EC Matrix fan coil unit.
The ‘commission-less’ Matrix II fan coil unit is unique, in that its individual air volumes per duct run and design heating and cooling water flow rates are loaded into the terminal controller strategy during manufacture at the Ability factory. Thus, when units are installed on site, they are able to sense their surroundings and adjust automatically to provide and maintain the factory preset air volume and water flow design values. Furthermore, after a fit out, any value within the control strategy can be altered and transmitted to either a single fan coil, a group of fan coils, or the entire building system can be re-set in seconds through the software alone.
The original Matrix was also unique in that, although it incorporated EC infinitely variable fan technology, it controlled fan speeds individually rather than as a unit. Thus each fan, serving only one discharge grille, enabled an installer to commission and balance the air volume in each duct by fan speed alone, rather than by expensive volume control dampers.
Matrix II however, has two important extra facilities. First, instead of adjusting fan speeds up and down, the required air volume per duct run is typed directly, as a value, into the software. If for example, the design specification calls for 75 litres per second per duct, then precisely that is entered. Once installed, each fan coil will establish exactly the correct air volume as a total and along each individual duct, irrespective of the external static pressure of the ductwork system. Subtle variations between ductwork runs do not matter because the fans self compensate.
Matrix II also allows maximum water flow rates to be self regulating. The design water flow rates for both heating and cooling are entered into the Matrix software along with the air volumes. When installed, the fan coil control valve – a two port pressure independent unit — modulates between 0% (closed) and 100% (design water flow rate). This concept may appear similar to other valves of comparable style but the vital difference is that the water flow rate can be adjusted at any time through the software or the BMS, without the need for access to the fan coil itself. Flow rates are set with an accuracy of +/-2% on the maximum flow rate, and often even closer. The commissioning process therefore, becomes one of mere ‘checking’ rather than ‘setting’.
Thus, as well as banishing volume control dampers, Matrix II also removes the need for flow regulating devices, double regulating valves or similar, in the hydraulic system.
Like its predecessor, Matrix II also helps limit energy consumption. Its use of purpose designed lap top software, enables air volumes to be gradually reduced or increased in parallel with thermal load – as well as allowing the fan coil to react to an ‘unoccupied/occupied room’ situation by relaxing cooling and heating set points. Thus, when a person enters a meeting room for example, the fan snaps into its normal occupied mode and from then on its speed tracks and matches thermal demand precisely, saving energy and generating less noise. Conversely, once the room empties, the fan reverts to set back mode and maintains the room in a ‘holding’ condition. This software and all Matrix features can be integrated into any BMS system.
Ability offers factory demonstrations and will exhibit Matrix II at Ecobuild in March
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