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Mon 14 Sep 2009 04:00 AM

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Actual training

Belimo Automation FZE, which has supplied fire and smoke damper actuators for the Dubai Metro, Burj Dubai and control valves for the Al Barari luxury villa development, among others, has launched a hi-tech training facility at its premises in Dubai Aiport Free Zone. MEP Middle East takes a closer look.

Actual training
Actual training
The training facility has its own ventilation and extraction system.
Actual training
Major Ibrahim Abdulrahman Bin Saif from Dubai Civil Defence, Belimo Automation FZE GM David Stevenson and operations manager Bashar Mansour.
Actual training
Colin Shepherd, a senior executive from Belimo Automation in Switzerland.

Belimo Automation FZE, which has supplied fire and smoke damper actuators for the Dubai Metro, Burj Dubai and control valves for the Al Barari luxury villa development, among others, has launched a hi-tech training facility at its premises in Dubai Aiport Free Zone. MEP Middle East takes a closer look.

Based in Switzerland, Belimo Automation took the decision to open a Middle East subsidiary in 2006, which officially opened its doors on 1 April 2007. "This seems like a long time ago, but we have progressed terrifically in a relatively short period, having supplied product to some very prestigious projects, including the supply of thousands of fire and smoke damper actuators for the Dubai Metro," says Belimo Automation FZE GM David Stevenson.

"We have many customers in different countries, and constantly realise that there is a real need and desire for education and training in the market. So with this in mind we decided to commit to the investment in our new training facility and knowledge centre, which caters for contractors, consultants, graduates or even senior partners.

"Our focus will be on two key areas, namely energy-savings, which is in line with the Dubai Government's pending ‘green' regulations, and fire and safety, which is in line with the civil defence regulations throughout the Middle East. Over the coming months we plan to embark on numerous training sessions based on real-life scenarios," comments Stevenson.

DubaiCivil Defence

Present at the official opening of the new training facility was Major Ibrahim Abdulrahman Bin Saif from Dubai Civil Defence, Nigel MacKenzie from Pacific Control Systems, a notable end user of Belimo Automation products, and Colin Shepherd, a senior executive from Belimo Automation in Switzerland.

"A main reason for such a major investment is to emphasise that Belimo Automation is not just a component manufacturer. Its ambit reaches far beyond just supplying products. We are a total solutions provider, and therefore need to be training our customers prior- and post-project," says Shepherd.

"So in the initial stages we need to sit down with the consultant and thrash out various scenarios for a particular project. The respective OEMs can then visit our training facility, where we can, for example, install their particular VAV box. This can be connected to different controls, allowing us to simulate varying system pressures. We are also able to demonstrate the cost/benefit ratios for different ‘smart' systems, on the basis of both ‘green' issues and health and safety," explains Shepherd.

"It is critical the industry as a whole look at the total project cost rather than only the primary cost. One of the biggest problems in the Middle East market is that contractors and consultants tend to focus on the initial cost at the expense of the overall cost and its associated long-term benefits and payback implications," argues Shepherd.

6-way valve with room-temperature controller

The K3B2 control valve from Belimo Automation has been designed especially for use in chilled and heated ceilings. It is very compact in that it unites the functionality of up to four straight-through valves, thereby saving on space, material and installation time, while the risk of wiring errors is minimised.

The valve's two heating and cooling circuits are decoupled hydraulically thanks to an innovative ball design. However, they can be controlled individually and precisely by means of a rotary movement. As the valve is always air bubble-tight in the closed position, it also prevents energy losses and helps reduce operating costs.

Two sections

Looking at the training facility in more detail, Shepherd says it is divided into two distinct sections, namely energy-saving and fire and safety. "We are demonstrating some of Belimo Automation's innovative control products, such as pressure-independent valves offering significant savings in energy-efficiency, comfort level and installation time.

"VAV, or Variable Air Volume, is a highly energy-efficient means of distributing air in an HVAC system. VAV is relatively new in the Middle East. It is a bit of a ‘black art' for some contractors as they do not fully understand the concept behind it. Here we are able to demonstrate this technology by using real-life scenarios," says Stevenson.

The training facility also serves as a working display of Belimo Automation's ringbus system for fire and smoke damper actuator control. Operations manager Bashar Mansour says that, "in case of fire, it is important that everything functions as it was designed for. With this system you can monitor thousands of damper actuators from a centralised point via touch-screen control." It is critical to test smoke and fire damper actuators on a regular basis, especially as they tend to be left in one place for significant periods. "These actuators need to be tested regularly to ensure they are operating correctly.

Convenient testing

"Our system not only provides convenient testing in this important regard, but also reduces 80% of the associated cabling cost, which can amount to millions of dirhams on a large project," says Stevenson.

"Conventional control and monitoring of a fire and smoke damper actuator requires eight wires for a single actuator for correct interfacing with a BMS. The Belimo ringbus solution can supply power and control and monitoring over four wires, wired in a daisy-chain method It allows for 16 rings on a single server, and 500 modules on each ring.

"This makes for a very flexible and cost-effective control and monitoring solution. The system is also very safe, as it features short-circuit and induction protection, for example. If there is a single fault, it will still function properly and communication will not be lost, as it is a dedicated system that is independent of the BMS," explains Mansour.

The flexibility of the system also means that all possible fire protection designs for a single building can be catered for. Once a particular system has been installed, it can also be retrofitted as and when required.

"It is a totally dynamic system that allows changes to be made to an operating building," notes Stevenson. This inherent flexibility means that the system soon pays for itself many times over.

Actuators for HVAC control devices

Belimo has been designing, manufacturing and marketing electric actuators for motorised control devices in heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems since 1975. The company's innovative, high-class technology ensures trouble-free operation for all kinds of HVAC control devices.

This not only means greater comfort and convenience, but also increased safety for occupants.

Belimo products are helping to improve the economic performance of all kinds of HVAC plant and equipment.

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