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.

Cambridge has recently decided to test the Andon strategy from the Toyota Production System in conjunction with the lean manufacturing already being practiced at our shop. Andon is a popular form of visual management used in lean, designed to alert operators of problems as they occur in order for corrective action to be taken immediately. Originating from the Jidoka methodology used in Toyota’s production system, the system empowers employees to recognize problems and take initiative to stop the workflow without waiting for their superiors to do so. 

In most cases, an operator would pull the “Andon Cord” - a rope located above the manufacturing line which signals to everyone that a problem has been detected in a specific location on the line. Because of its benefits and empowerment to employees, Cambridge decided to adopt its own form of Andon.

Instead of using a typical Andon Cord, we chose to use the Voxer App.  Voxer is a “walkie talkie-like" app that can be downloaded on smartphones or computers. This app was chosen because, unlike the traditional Andon method, it allows various forms of access to the individuals working the line. However, if expectations are not set clearly on how corrective action should be taken as problems arise, Cambridge will not be able to utilize the full potential of everyone’s ability to help.

Before alerting all operators of an issue, we set up parameters to follow. If an operator can fix the problem in less than 10 minutes, the operator should attempt to solve the problem by his or herself. If the problem will take more than 10 minutes to fix, the operator is responsible to use Voxer to alert other employees for help. 

We also felt it important to set up certain levels of response. The supervisor, team lead and operations engineer are the first to assess the situation when called upon. If they cannot fix the problem, it continues to a higher level of support including engineering, supply chain, etc. If this level cannot fix the problem, it continues to an “all hands on deck” level of support.

The S-Series line is the first place to test Andon because it is an area in the shop that has an actual flow of work happening from one operator to the next. Unlike the other lines, the S-Series line has a takt time of 60 minutes per station when building a heater.

“Andon is about responding to issues immediately, finding the root cause of the issue, and putting a permanent corrective action in place so that the issue never occurs again”, states Cole Drussa, Operations Engineering Manager.

By fully adopting Andon, Cambridge also has the ability to document problems that happen on a daily basis. The data produced from Andon gives the engineering department knowledge of the frequency and severity of problems that interrupt the workflow.

Overall, the goal of Andon at Cambridge is to remove anything that inhibits flow.  Quality problems will be brought to the surface to be identified, the root cause will be established, and a final solution to the problem will ideally be found.  Through Andon, Cambridge plans to document and fix problems permanently. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We applaud any leader's commitment to an improved work environment for their employees, and recognize the huge investment that this commitment can take. Since the heating, cooling and air quality of a building can play such a major factor in a happy and productive environment, we wanted to provide you with some simple mid-year maintenance tips to make sure your commercial and industrial HVAC systems are in check.  Below you can find some recommendations from Ryan King and Mike Bess, members of the Cambridge customer service team.

  1. Check the air filters.  Clean these filters if necessary because dirty filters will reduce CFM and could damage the discharge air sensor. 
  2. Grease the bearings.  The grease should be evenly distributed around the race; however, do not use the standard bearing grease in the Baldor motor.  This motor takes special grease that can be referred to in the technical manual.
  3. Check the belt tension and inspect for wear.  If the belt is too tight, it can  prematurely wear out the bearings and the belt.  If the belt is too loose it can slip or squeal.  
  4. Cycle the unit on and off in all modes of operation.  This ensures things are working per specifications.
  5. Check the discharge temperature.  Use a wired thermistor at the mixing box and calibrate the system if necessary.
  6. Inspect the control panels.  Look for any loose or frayed wire connections and make sure all connections are tight.  
  7. Check and clean the evaporator and condenser coils.  Dirty coils will drastically reduce cooling equipment efficiency and strain the compressor. 
  8. Perform a gas valve leak test.  This verifies the integrity of the valves.
  9. Verify that the manifold differential gas pressure matches the nameplate.  It is extremely important that this is set up properly.  If the manifold pressure is incorrect, the heater temp rises and its efficiency will be affected.  
  10. Inspect direct evaporative media (CELdek).  Ensure that there is proper water flow across the media. 
  11. Check the calibration of digital thermostats.  Press the up arrow and hold it; the display should show 0F.  If not, the calibration may have been adjusted to show a warmer or cooler temperature than desired.

We know you’re busy, and sometimes the easiest way to get direction on a service question or instructions on how to install can best be obtained by a quick “How-To” video. For that reason, we’ve compiled some service videos that you can view at your convenience that may help you with a Start Up or troubleshoot a problem you may be experiencing.

As always, our service team is happy to assist you with any questions you may have. Please call us at (888) 976-4451or email: service_dept@cambridge-eng.com

 

“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

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.

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

We recently heard some great news from our tax advisors: Cambridge Engineering customers can immediately deduct 50 percent of the cost of our HVAC equipment when it is installed as a retrofit in a commercial building. The new rule applies to a variety of building improvements and renovations made in 2016 and 2017 – and HVAC equipment is included as an eligible deduction. This is a big win for building owners! If you’ve been considering replacing your facility’s old or inefficient space heating and ventilation equipment, now is the time to do it.  The 50 percent “bonus deduction” will taper down to lower percentages after 2017, and will go away completely in 2020.

Accelerate Your Depreciation on Building Improvements

This gift from the IRS marks a significant change from past deduction allowances. HVAC equipment has always been considered part of the physical structure of the building, so until now it could not be depreciated at an accelerated rate in the same way that capital equipment can be depreciated. In the past, building improvements have been depreciated over 39 years. That’s a pretty long time to realize the benefits, and not much of an incentive to invest in building improvements. Now, with the new rules, that’s all changed. Tax deductions for building improvements should be on everyone’s minds this year and next.

Save Energy Right Away with HTHV Technology

Here’s another reason to act soon: when you replace old equipment with Cambridge’s HTHV (high temperature heating and ventilation) products, you’ll notice a big difference right away on your utility bills. If you’re replacing old boilers the savings can be as much as 40 to 70 percent. You’ll save at least 20 percent when you replace gas-fired, standard unit heaters. You can’t argue with those numbers. Our customers have enjoyed significant savings on their energy bills! Cambridge HTHV is an investment that keeps paying for itself because of the remarkable energy efficiency.

Find Out More

Want to learn more about the new tax perks for commercial buildings? Here’s a great article from our tax advisors:  http://www.uhy-us.com/News-Events/Article/752/New-2016-Tax-Perks-of-a-Company-Interior-Building-Renovation We urge you to talk to your tax advisor or CFO about your commercial building and how you can qualify for what the IRS is calling Qualified Improvement Property. Just remember that after 2017, the tax benefits begin to shrink. So it’s in your best interest to invest sooner rather than later. Besides HVAC, the tax deduction can apply to improvements to lighting, electrical, plumbing, permanent floor coverings, and non-load bearing walls. Again, half of the cost of these expenditures can be deducted in the year the assets are placed in service. This could be a significant benefit for any companies with plans to remodel. Thanks for taking the time to read our blog. We value every customer and strive to bring you timely, helpful information to make your job and your company a success!