Trox move into air-handling units boosts air-conditioning offering

Published:  03 June, 2013

Trox, AHU, air handling unit, air conditioning
The X-Cube compact range comprises a series of standard units, all with heat recovery, for airflows up to 1.7 m3/s.

The development by Trox of a range of air-handling units designed from first principles adds significantly to the company’s capabilities in air movement. The comprehensive range means that the company has a solution for almost every size of project, as Ken Sharpe found out.

Trox has significantly boosted its presence in the air-conditioning sector with the development of two ranges of air-handling units. Designed from first principles by the company, the X-Cube range covers volume flow rates from 1.7 m3/s in the X-Cube Compact range right up to 24 m3/s for the standard X-Cube range. They are produced in a specially built 15 500 m2 extension to Trox’s factory at Anholt in Germany representing a company-financed investment of over E20 million.

This is the first time that Trox has manufactured air-handling units and approached the task with a fresh and open mind. Paul Wenden, technical director of Trox UK, explains, ‘So often in our industry, new models are launched which are just an incremental improvement of a previous model, but with X-Cube we have a completely different situation.

‘Here the designers have started with a completely clean sheet and created a product based on levels of performance, energy efficiency, flexibility and practicality that have not been available to customers in the past. The resulting product ranges rewrite the rules and set new standards for air handling.’

Energy efficiency of the X-Cube range has been assessed by Eurovent and A class, the highest possible.

Numerous design features contribute to the energy efficiency.

Simply looking at a unit, there is no obvious sign of a structural frame. That is because the insulation panels completely enclose the frame, with thermal breaks between these two elements. The panels are thermally isolated and have a foamed seal to ensure low leakage and eliminate thermal bridging.

Very low leakage is achieved by a continuous sealing strip between the panels and the frame. This strip is compressed as the handles operating the securing mechanisms are turned. No matter how many times a panel is removed, the air-tightness integrity is maintained. Indeed, an entire unit can be deconstructed and reassembled on site with just the same integrity and performance as if it had been assembled in the factory.

The minimal heat loss from the casing qualifies it for class T2 thermal transmittance.

Many of the key components are made by Trox itself. They include the attenuators, which have aerodynamically profiled frames to achieve 30% less pressure drop than conventional silencers — again adding to energy efficiency.

Trox, AHU, air handling unit, air conditioning
Fresh thinking for an established market — Trox’s X-Cube range of air-handling units covers airflows up to 24 m3/s and can be tailored to the application.

Filters are also made by Trox. Options include minipleat filters with compact depth or pocket filters. Classes M5 to F9 are available.

Energy-recovery options for the X-Cube include a regenerative thermal wheel with hygroscopically coated thermal mass. Other options include plate heat exchangers or composite circulation systems.

Fan options include a plug fan with an IE2 motor or permanent-magnet motor for even greater efficiency. Both motors ensure high efficiency at partial loads, and the permanent-magnet motor complies with the future IE4 energy class.

The components of the casing are powder coated, and the design achieves smooth surfaces for hygienic operation. An optional version meets AHU Guidelines 01 for even more demanding environments.

The integral control system with touchscreen can communicate with most building-management systems via BACnet, LON, Modbus or OPC. During commissioning and operation, this touchscreen provides virtually all status operation.

There are already a number of reference projects in Europe.

The first installation in the UK is by Kier in a building at Kings Cross in London, with 21 units delivering a total airflow of 150 m3/s.

Moving into the market for air-handling units is a major development for Trox and the building-services industry as a whole.

For more information on this story, click here: June 2013, 95

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