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Ability Fan Coils Provide Purpose Designed Trading Desk Cooling Solution


Ability Projects Ltd, Wimborne, Dorset, has successfully partnered with trading desk designer and supplier, DAS Business Furniture to supply trading desks with integral cooling capability to one of the largest trading floors to be fitted out to date at Number I, Angel Lane, London for Nomura.

Ability supplied 985 cooling modules serving nearly 2000 trading desk pairs. The chilled water for the desk cooling modules flows around a secondary circuit linked to the primary air conditioning chilled water circuit via heat exchangers, this enables the transfer of cooling energy from the main air conditioning system to the desk air conditioners. It also allows the desk air conditioners to operate at a raised water flow temperature of 160C in order to obviate any risk of condensation affecting the computers. All the modules are linked together by flexible hoses and quick release connectors.

Each module is fitted with EC fans, providing 2.3kW (cooling) at full speed with 155lit/sec air volume, also at full speed, although the air volume varies according to cooling demand from the desk computers. An integral BACnet controller on each module allows inter module networking and connection to the building management system, if required. The BACnet controller strategy, written entirely by Ability, also modulates fan speed based on heat gain beneath the desk and can initiate an alarm, if necessary.

The fundamental problem associated with cooling the trading desks was the lack of space in which to fit the cooling unit. Although the desks themselves are of a fairly standard dimension every trader needs between 1 and 4 computer units beneath the desk or, in other words, up to 8 computers beneath each pair of opposing desks. In addition, power and communications wiring plus a bank of up to 8 flat screens per trader also had to be taken into account.

Ability's solution utilises a variable speed strategy driven by cooling demand. Thus, when the trader or traders are away from their desks and computer heat output is low, the fans automatically adopt a set-back fan speed condition, thereby saving energy and reducing noise. Conversely, when the trader returns, the fans speed up to deal with the higher level of demand. Furthermore, as the air velocity increases the cooled air stream driven up between the opposing banks of trading screens induces air away from the trader's face, picking up heat as it passes over the screens and delivering it unobtrusively into the ambient space.

Some contemporary dealer CPU cooling solutions are 'sealed' in that they enclose the CPU area and deal with the heat from the CPUs alone while being isolated from the general space. The 'open' cooling solution adopted by Ability however, is able to work alongside the installed conventional air conditioning. In the event that a single 'closed solution' trading desk cooling unit fails, the CPUs inside the desk are isolated from any form of support and so the temperature rises rapidly. If an 'open' solution desk is struggling however, the fan coils in the adjacent desks plus the normal air conditioning help out so that the impact on the affected CPUs is barely noticeable.

Should the need arise, the flexible hose connection kit and its associated quick release pipe fittings, allow rapid disconnection of the cooling module from the adjoining desks and its replacement. The brief called for this procedure to be carried out in less than 30 minutes during trading hours but as the 'open' nature of the Ability module has the built in margin of safety afforded by the support of its neighbours, any servicing or replacement of an Ability product can in practice wait until the trading day is over.

Following the success of the Number 1, Angel Lane project, DAS and Ability are currently supplying and installing numerous cooled trading desk solutions throughout the world.

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