This post was guest-authored by Doug Eisenhart, VP of Sales, Service and Marketing at Cambridge Engineering.

How do you answer "What do you do?" 

Changing perspective might be your game changer. It certainly was ours.

“Helping Leaders Create Better Working Environments for Hard Working People” is the message on the home page of our website. It signals for the reader, the answer to the question, “What is it that you do?” For years, we answered that question by saying that we are an HVAC manufacturer. Technically, that is true - however, “What we do” is help business leaders support their people by delivering a system along with our equipment that creates comfort and well-being for an organization’s most valuable asset – their people.

Leaders support their people through comfortable indoor temperatures? How?

Facility and operational leaders can make an impact on an employee's health and employment satisfaction by focusing on the quality of the environmental conditions in which they are working. In our HVAC world, it’s about providing fresh outside air ventilation for improved indoor air quality (IAQ) to evenly heat manufacturing and warehousing spaces during the winter months and to provide cooling during the summer months. To provide an example, in our own manufacturing facility, we know the toll that the hot and humid St. Louis summers have on our people and are taking the steps to install and operate a two-stage (Indirect/Direct) evaporative cooling system to lower temperatures in our factory. These evaporative cooling and ventilation units will boast a dramatic operational cost difference compared to traditional mechanical or DX cooling systems, but that is merely a perk to making the plant temperature more comfortable for our employees. More comfort translates into more joy at work. More joy means more people engagement, more employee genius and more fun.

The difference between “What you do?” versus “Who you do it for?”

In Patrick Lencioni’s book "The Advantage,” he challenges business leaders to invest significant time in the development of organizational health. Patrick states, “an organization’s health trumps all strategy.” We agree wholeheartedly. While we work on sales and technological strategy, we recognize that our work on organizational health is first and foundational.

We talk about organizational health frequently. We invest in organizational health continuously through our lean methodology that includes daily meetings with the whole organization and a time commitment made to improving things every day. The organization blocks time out for everyone to work on improving their job daily. This time commitment to improvements as a daily rhythm puts people in contact with one another to solve problems and collaborate on solutions.  Whether a process improvement, safety improvement or product improvement, we are working to improve the quality of our customer’s experience with our brand. Ultimately, a better working environment translates into superior quality and performance of our products for our customers. One’s working environment can have a big impact on the organization.

We welcome business leaders to come visit us in Chesterfield and share your great ideas on how you are investing in better working conditions for people. Come and see us and let’s continue the conversation.

“Comfort” is an interesting word that we use a lot at Cambridge.  Since we are an HVAC company, it is usually in context with making sure the people in your industrial facility are breathing fresh, tempered air, or making sure that your employees in high-bay buildings aren’t freezing in the dead of winter. There’s also “comfort” in the realm of making sure your employees know that you’ve got their backs and have a genuine interest in their personal health and professional growth.  (see blogs on Dale Carnegie Leadership Training and Stretching Your Way to Workplace Safety to generate ideas of how to boost comfort both personally and professionally).
 

Still, most companies overlook the importance of physical employee comfort, and are losing real talent and real opportunity to grow with those employees when they leave to pursue a workplace that can meet and exceed their basic requirements of a healthy working environment.
 

Not convinced? Here are four reasons that we think will back us up.
 

Safety protocol alone is reason enough.

According to OSHA – your workers have the right to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.  The OSHA website starts with a dire warning: “The quality of indoor air inside … workplaces is important not only for workers' comfort but also for their health. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.” This safety protocol is actually far, far above a “comfort” suggestion – and could be downright dangerous if ignored.
 

And even though we could stop after the safety reason, here are three more reasons to consider:
 

You can’t exist without them.

Unless you are a completely automated company or self-employed, you depend on at least one employee to get your product or service sold, produced, billed, you name it. Employees know that they have employment options – especially in trade professions, where there is a serious labor shortage. Don’t doubt that even if an employee feels fairly compensated, they might still leave because of continuing discomfort in their workspace.
 


 

Continuous improvement falls apart when it’s not the priority.

Imagine a humid July day in a distribution facility, when you can’t imagine doing anything but cooling off. We spend a portion of every day identifying opportunities for lean improvement in our processes and workspaces, but even we know that these can fall by the wayside when it is just too hot or too cold.
 

They are your brand ambassadors.

Client services to your customer.

Seasoned laborers to new hires.

Any employee to the world on social media.

Your employees can and should be your biggest advocates, because they are treated right (and physical comfort plays a big role) and believe in your product or service. The opposite of these two things can destroy every sales opportunity on your books this year.

There are so many ways to make your team feel comfortable – and they deserve it, so make it a priority to figure out the right investment to provide them a workspace in which they can reach their full potential.

When Mr. Ritsuo Shingo - whose father developed the process of SMED (Single Minutes Exchange of Die; a literal translation) - visited Cambridge last week, we were treated to an overview of how the process was implemented to be part of the famed Toyota Production System. To watch a brief summary of his presentation to Cambridge employees and Lean tour guests, click here. The operational engineers at Cambridge, having been familiar with SMED through their Lean training, found the first two opportunities to perform our own SMED events in the M-Series and S-Series lines.   First, the facts. Our S-Series testing process was clocking in at 2 hours and 13 minutes from start to finish. To be able to review the whole process, we set up a tripod equipped with an iPhone to record the tester and equipment as they would naturally unfold. Then, a group of engineers, team leads and testers watched the footage to identify areas of improvement, leading to some easily obtainable adjustments such as moving one test to another line and using battery powered tools rather than hand tools for adjustment. Five minutes have been shaved off so far in this SMED event, though other opportunities for improvement were noted and are in differing stages of implementation. Similarly, the M-Series SMED event was able to cut 9 minutes from their testing time - from 2 hours and 48 minutes to 2 hours and 39 minutes. All in all, we’d call these first two SMED events for Cambridge a success as total process time was cut down. We are looking forward to conducting a Kaizen event to improve the process of Design through Cutting.

Is the heating bill for your plant or warehouse too high? What about cold dock door areas and unbalanced temperatures? Is negative building pressure a problem? Do your employees complain about it being too cold making it harder for them to do their job? Do you have high maintenance costs from existing heating equipment? These are just a few common problems that result from selecting the wrong heating system, misplacing your heaters so they can’t reach their full potential or using obsolete technology. What factors determine the best space heating system? Everyone wants a heating & ventilating system that meets their unique requirements at the lowest total cost. Before selecting a heater, define the heating/ventilating requirements and understand all the cost factors that determine the true lowest total cost solution for a specific facility.

BOILER SYSTEMS

One of the oldest forms of heating, boilers have been in existence since about the 1800’s and are still a preferred Boiler Heating Systemsystem of heating in large industrial facilities where remote plants deliver steam and hot water to satellite locations to circulate through heat exchangers. These exchangers can be part of unit heaters, make up air systems, or anywhere a heat exchanger can be installed. While huge advances in boiler technologies have evolved over the past few years, boiler systems are typically the most inefficient heating technology – with the highest overall installed cost, the highest cost to maintain and repair, and a huge level of stratification of the surrounding air. When discussing boiler replacements or supplemental heating with contractors, it’s very important to consider the overall operating and maintenance costs of these systems. Boilers require maintenance to ensure they operate at their peak efficiency.  Parts such as valves, traps and fittings wear out over time. While the boiler system generates the heat, they also require a distribution system – such as unit heaters or make up air systems.  A lot of mechanical components to consider.

Unit Heater Heating SystemUNIT HEATERS

The most basic of all heating technologies, unit heaters are inexpensive to purchase and have good familiarity by most contractors and engineers. The redundant design makes servicing by contractors very simple. They are fairly effective in zone heating. Unit heaters promote poor indoor air quality and huge levels of stratification in the space upwards of 20-30 degrees without adding additional HVLS fans.  They offer a low temperature rise versus direct fired technologies, a higher operating cost, and cannot combat dock door infiltration.

INFRARED OR RADIANT TUBE HEATERS

While infrared or tube heaters are good for zone and spot heating applications, they should never be used as the sole source of heating large spaces.  Radiant heaters offer a relatively low operating cost and a way to heat tools, work stations, and people without consuming floor space.  Radiant heaters do not offer indoor air quality benefits nor any ventilation in the summer. They do not promote air mixing and have a high installation cost due to line of sight restrictions and coverage limitations.

RECIRCULATION 80/20 SYSTEMS

Recirculation systems or 80/20 systems are typically thought to be more efficient than other technologies due to the fact that a large amount, up to 80% of the air moved is recirculated, thus not requiring a large amount of gas to heat it up. Recirculation units are widely used to combat facilities with mechanical exhaust systems, especially when variable CFM is needed. They typically regulate the amount of outside air they introduce, based off the CFM needs of the building itself. Typically, fewer units are necessary and they do a decent job of providing summer ventilation. Recirculation systems are draw thru systems with a minimal effective temperature rise of about 40-50F. When dock doors are open in a facility, the recirculation units will be driven to 100% outside air and with discharge temperatures ranging between 80-100F, they must run continuously to cycle enough CFM to make up the temperature and pressure drop. The recirculation units are very large and heavy, requiring larger cranes, structural modifications, and much larger first cost and operating costs. They are not certified for use in Canada and with recirculation of air and contaminants, products of combustion can build up in the space.

Air Turnover Heating SystemAIR TURNOVER (AIR ROTATION)

Air turnover has been marketed as a package system to industrial customers since its inception in the 1920’s.  While marketed as a single piece of equipment (a large tower set in the corner of a warehouse space), the greatest advantage of air turnover is the ability to provide BOTH tempered heating and cooling to a space.  Air turnover systems offer decent heating with limited stratification due to the massive volume of air they recirculate in the space.  This air mass is moved due to a continuous operation and very large horse power motors driving the fans.   Air turnover units provide a very low temperature rise of between 20-30 degrees and a discharge temperature of about 80-90 degrees.

DIRECT-FIRED MAKEUP AIR SYSTEMS

Direct-Fired Makeup Air units provide required ventilation to meet indoor air quality needs with efficiencies between 90-92% AFUE.   Widely beneficial in buildings with fixed CFM needs due to mechanical exhaust, makeup air units provide a fixed volume of air independent of the heat they provide.   With a lower discharge velocity at the plenum, air typically does not hit the floor to sweep and de-stratify the space and can lead to lower employee comfort levels.  The fixed CFM blowers require larger HP motors with over-pressurization of spaces a reality.  Larger motors, lower temperature rise, and less efficient design require more energy to run. While Cambridge uses our Blow-thru design of the S-Series and SA-Series heaters to heat, a lot of manufacturers use makeup air units attempting to do the same.  In places where there are warmer climates and less winter cold, makeup air systems offer a way to temper the outside winter air thru a lower temperature rise of between 100° and 120°F and a draw thru design.  This places the mechanical components in the hot air stream.  For heating applications, we recommend our S-Series and SA-Series heaters.  With a Blow-thru design, our mechanicals are in the cold air stream.  The position of the blower relative to the burner and the burner’s ability to discharge 160°F, provides advantages over ANY makeup air unit – more air mass and higher temperature rise.  This provides the most BTUs per CFM from any manufacturer. Cambridge’s M-series make up air units are designed to temper the air in situations where there is a lot of fixed or variable exhaust.  They can be interlocked with existing exhaust fans or outfitted with variable frequency drives.  Our units can come with fully modulating burners and automatic profile adjustment dampers. Hopefully, the topic we’ve outlined today will help prepare you to address any technology claim from other manufacturers. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions. We can easily accommodate lunch and learns, audio and video conferencing, phone, or face to face sales calls.

For years High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV), a direct-fired 100% outside air technology, and 80/20 direct-fired units have been heating solutions used for new construction and retrofit projects throughout the US with little attention to the differences in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) from both products. However, when it comes to IAQ there are significant differences between these two technologies – HTHV being the clear winner. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance1. Among the frequently asked questions on the OSHA website is one concerning IAQ:

What is considered good IAQ?

The qualities of good IAQ should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building2. It is these pollutants, and the amount of the pollutants in parts per million (PPM), that differentiate 100% outside air HTHV technologies apart from 80/20 units. Both OSHA and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) set limits on what the acceptable PPMs for different pollutants are for working environments. The performance and safety standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are z83.4 for 100% outside air non-recirculating direct gas-fired industrial air heaters and z83.18 for 80/20 recirculating direct gas-fired industrial air heaters. The infographic below helps illustrate the differing amount of pollutants in PPM between HTHV and 80/20 units along with the acceptable limits for these pollutants in both the US and Canada.
1 Reference OSHA website: www.osha.gov/about.html 2 Reference OSHA website: www.osha.gov/OSHA_FAQs.html

Did you know that part of the Cambridge package includes a free and customized recommendation on unit placement in your facility? Our experts Denny DeGreeff and Mark Struckmann offer up some tips to consider when planning for ultimate Indoor Air Quality and Comfort using commercial heaters.

4 TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR COMMERCIAL HEATER LAYOUT 

1. Consider your facility layout.

Locate the heaters near the perimeter of the building, blowing towards the center. Due to the high velocity discharge of a Cambridge heater, you might be able to locate the heaters near a gas main to save on piping costs. 

2. Find your source of Heat Loss.

Place the units near largest source of heat loss, typically dock doors. This can eliminate the need for extra heating equipment such as infrared tubes and door heaters. Also, make sure the heat from your unit can reach the floor (Refer to the Typical Discharge Height Chart in your Engineering Spec manual as a guideline).

3. Note Obstructions.

You do not want to blow directly in to an obstruction such as a rack or interior wall.  If the racking layout allows, align the heater up with an aisle and blow lengthwise. 

4. Adapt the heater configuration to work for your space.

Cambridge heaters can be customized to almost any building structure and installation requirement. If you have limited space inside the building for heater install, consider a different type of configurations, such as a vertical or roof-top installation. 

When it comes to determining they types of Cambridge Engineering units that you would need to heat and ventilate your facility the answer is not always easy. You might have a small building with just basic heating needs. Or you might have a large facility that has mechanical exhaust and you need equipment that provides both exhaust replenishment and heating. Either way, knowing which products you need to provide the best indoor air quality for your facility is not always cut and dry. So take a minute and read over the infographic below.  It asks some very basics questions that can provide a general guide as to what Cambridge products are available to help you with your heating, ventilation and exhaust replenishment needs.   But don't stop here. Take the next step and engage our exceptional sales team who will work with you to determine the size and type of Cambridge units that you will need to meet your facilities requirements. Just visit us a www.cambridge-eng.com or click heres to schedule a meeting with our sales team.

Patten CAT is a 4th generation Caterpillar sales and service organization that began back in 1933. Their relationship with Cambridge Engineering heating products started in 2005 when they purchased their first Cambridge S-Series unit to retrofit a less efficient heating system at their Oglesby, IL location. Fast forward 12 years later and Patten has over 25 Cambridge units heating 6 of their locations throughout the Chicagoland area.

  • Oglesby, IL –  5 Cambridge s-series units
  • Wauconda -  2 Cambridge S-Series units
  • Rockford – 5 Cambridge S-Series units
  • Hammond – 4 Cambridge S-Series units
  • Joliet – 1 Cambridge S-Series unit
  • Elmhurst – 7 Cambridge S-Series units and 1 Cambridge M-Series unit
In the beginning the units were purchased to retrofit older less efficient heating units which were not as effective in heating their facilities. Today they have used the Cambridge units to not only retrofit their existing locations, with the latest retrofit qualify for NiCor gas energy efficiency rebate, but to heat their location in Wauconda, IL which was a new construction project. For Terry Flick, Patten’s facility manager, Cambridge is his go-to heating products for Patten facilities. According to Flick, “Cambridge units are long lasting and are economical enough for people to purchase. Whenever I have to update something I keep going back to Cambridge.” There are other benefits that Patten realizes from using Cambridge equipment. Since the units are a 100% outside air heating technology the units help provide a little positive pressurization for their buildings. This helps keep the cold air out and improves the indoor air quality for their employees during the winter heating months. As Flick points out, “even on a zero-degree day the units still provide a 160-degree Fahrenheit discharge temperature which keeps our facilities nice and warm.” The other competitor’s units struggled to achieve a 60-degree discharge air temperatures when the outside temperature drops down to zero. And with their many Chicagoland locations they see quite a few zero degree days during the Chicago winters. Cambridge is honored to be the heating solution of choice for Patten CAT and we hope to continue our relationship with Patten for many years to come.

For the facility’s unique processes and requirements, your team has designed and optimized every aspect of your operation. This optimization has become a minimum requirement for continued operation. But utilities and your HVAC systems are often thought of as ancillary systems. They become outdated and even neglected, despite this optimization of processes. For facility leaders, minimizing or eliminating any process interruption is always top of mind. And you must ensure that regulatory and safety requirements are met at all times. As a result of these and other operational pressures, you probably undertake frequent routine maintenance if you have an aging facility system. For you, these aging systems with like-for-like replacement lead to increased labor investment, higher operational costs, and shorter total system lifecycle. Production processes and technologies have changed Many facilities’ current boiler-driven process systems barely resemble their original design. Increasing the size of these systems to handle the heating requirements as well as the process loads added massive complexity and simply doesn’t make sense today. Instead of investing incrementally in an antiquated system, it is far more efficient financially and energy wise to take advantage of the dedicated system technology available today. Rather than continual reactive fixes, a proactive plan pays big dividends for the entire operation, from production efficiency, to air quality, comfort level, and more. By retrofitting your existing heating, ventilating, and process steam systems with right-sized and right-located dedicated systems, you can:

  • Reduce energy costs
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Reduce asset replacement costs
  • Reduce system complexity

 Dedicated space heating is better  Dedicated direct-fired High Temperature Heating & Ventilating technologies like the Cambridge S-Series can provide the most cost-effective way to meet comfort requirements year round. With 20% to 70% energy savings, flexible installation configuration, and minimum operations interruption, these dedicated systems can be used to solve a myriad of problems. Dedicated makeup air is better  Dedicated direct-fired natural gas Outside Air Units (makeup air units) like the Cambridge M-Series provide extreme efficiency and effectiveness to solve complex building pressurization problems. Left unresolved, these pressure challenges could cause comfort, process, or indoor air quality problems. With full gas modulation and optional Variable Frequency Drives, the M-Series ranges from 1000 CFM to 100,000 CFM and 100MBH to 9000MBH, meeting the toughest of ventilation requirements. Once you have dedicated systems handling the space heating and ventilating loads, your team can concentrate on meeting the unique process needs with the most energy-efficient and code-compliant boiler. Additionally, since the process load has been isolated, you can run the boiler at a more consistent operating window, raising the efficiency even more. Minimizing the size of this unit significantly decreases maintenance cost and complexity with fewer steam traps, steam leaks, and miles of pipes to manage. By embracing cutting-edge dedicated systems technology, facility leaders can spend less initially to purchase and install right-sized boiler systems. Additionally, you will realize ROI quickly with lower energy consumption and operating costs, as well as longer system lifecycle.   For more information on our industrial retorfit solutions visit www.cambridge-eng.com/irg

High Temperature Heating & Ventilating (HTHV) direct-fired 100% outside air technologies

HTHV with High Velocity Blowers provides destratification. Temperature stratification is a major issue in all high-bay industrial applications in the wintertime and must be addressed through the proper selection of destratification technologies. A recent study published by the Department of Energy titled Field Study of High Efficiency Gas Heaters looked at the energy savings accomplished with HTHV 100% outside air direct-fired technologies. The report states: “As evidenced by the temperature readings near the floor and ceiling, the new (Direct-fired 100% Outside Air HTHV) gas heaters reduced stratification, maintained more uniform temperature distribution, and consumed 20% less natural gas.”

HTHV provides continuous or intermittent control options and heating and ventilating in a single unit

Direct-fired 100% outside air systems provide controls to operate either continuously or intermittently based on occupancy schedule, process conditions, pressure, or any number of other control requirements. There are actually three primary modes of operation for these HTHV 100% Outside Air Technologies:
  • Ventilation/Exhaust Replenishment
  •  Space Heat & Ventilation
  • Space Heat

 HTHV provides pressure control design flexibility

There are many different ways to pressure control a building. 100% outside air direct-fired technologies are completely capable of being controlled at positive, negative, or neutral pressure. There is significant debate on what is the “best” pressure control methodology for a building in the winter. Negative reduces risk of condensation, and positive decreases draftiness. However, both methods increase energy consumption over neutral. The HTHV technologies have become the gold standard for energy-efficient industrial warehouse heating in North America over the past 20 years. These technologies are now being launched into the broader commercial heating and ventilating market because of their energy efficiency and low installed costs. The 100% outdoor air introduced through ANSI Z83.4 technology is designed and installed to improve the indoor air and environmental quality of the facility. Any level of required ventilation, including ASHRAE 62.1 levels, can be achieved and maintained through these technologies. Many offerings include optional MERV13 filters added to the inlet air of this device, further improving indoor air quality. ANSI Z83.4 equipment can be installed with a minimum amount of ductwork, providing an efficient and cost-effective installation. Additionally, the technology can be installed indoors or outdoors or in horizontal or vertical configurations, permitting added flexibility while always providing 100% fresh outside air. Our website cambridge-eng.com is a great resource for additional research on specialized high-efficiency equipment. Let me know what you think about HTHV.