Fläkt Woods, part of FläktGroup, a leading supplier of indoor air and critical air solutions, has selected Danfoss HVAC VLT® variable speed drives (VSDs) for use in its groundbreaking fully tested and certified high temperature fan/VSD range. The packaged solutions in this new range, all of which offer full compliance with the latest EN12101-3:2015 standard, will make it significantly easier for designers to provide efficient and dependable smoke control in buildings during fire events.
EN12101-3:2015 came into effect on 8th April 2017 and offers three options for the control of fans that must continue to operate during fire events. These are to use a fully tested and certified high temperature fan/VSD package, to bypass the VSD controlling the fan motor during fire events, or to de-rate the fan motor by 20% and fit a voltage waveform filter. Whilst they could already offer the second and third solutions, Fläkt Woods considered that, in most applications, the first option would offer significant benefits in terms of increasing building occupant safety.
“Bypassing the VSD during a fire event means that the fan must run at full speed, which makes it difficult for designers to implement their required smoke control and extraction strategies,” said Andy Cardy, Product Manager for Axial Fans at Fläkt Woods. “And using a non-certified fan/VSD package means fitting an oversized motor and an expensive filter that may well cost more than the VSD. With all of this in mind, we decided to go ahead with developing a tested and certified fan/VSD solution.”
As Fläkt Woods is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of ventilation and smoke extract fans, the company used their recently updated in-house development laboratory and the expertise of their dedicated research and development team to support the deployment of this product solution.
For the VSDs and for advice on motor selection, the company called on the resources of another acknowledged leader in its field: Danfoss Drives. The decision to work with Danfoss was based on the company’s outstanding reputation for innovation and product quality, its extensive experience in the HVAC industry and its supportive approach to helping achieve the goals of this important project.
Engineers from Danfoss worked closely with their counterparts from Fläkt Woods for more than two years, investigating and evaluating all of the permissible options for controlling fans during fire events. Ultimately, they developed the package solution comprising Fläkt Woods fans and Danfoss VSDs with operating parameters specifically selected for this demanding application. After the development work had been completed, the finalised product offerings were subjected to rigorous third party testing at BSRIA, as required by EN12101-3:2015, with the Danfoss engineers continuing to provide support throughout the test period.
The exceptional quality of fans and VSDs ensured that the testing programme was successful, making Fläkt Woods the first company to bring to market certified fan/VSD packaged solution.
“We see this as an important breakthrough in building safety because knowing that they will retain full control over fans during a fire event gives designers many more options for efficient and effective smoke control”, said Andy Cardy. “We are, of course, very pleased to have achieved certification for assemblies that include our fans, but we’re happy to acknowledge that the HVAC VLT® VSDs from Danfoss Drives are also a crucial component of the package. In a nutshell, the success of this important project is the result of the happy marriage of products from two companies that are equally committed to safety, quality and innovation.”