With assistance from CSIRO SME Connect, and funding support from the Australian Government's Entrepreneurs' Programme, we helped Airconstruct identify substantial cost-savings in maintenance of Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems.
Airconstruct is a Queensland based business designing, constructing, integrating and maintaining Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in government, construction, mining and infrastructure sectors in Australia and the South Pacific. They identified a need for better preventative maintenance scheduling, developed an interface concept and collaborated with CSIRO through an Innovation Connections project with support from the Australian Government's Entrepreneurs' Programme.
HVAC maintenance schedules are historically based on equipment duty cycle (per cent of time it operates in a given period), with most having duty cycles of nearing 100 per cent. This results in high frequency servicing and costs when the maintenance may only be simple.
Airconstruct identified substantial cost saving potential if maintenance was driven by condition rather than time, especially when the environment plays a part in the effectiveness of HVAC systems, such as in the mining industry.
With advice and support from the Entrepreneurs’ Programme and Innovation Connections Facilitator Mario Martini, Airconstruct received an Innovation Connections grant to support the development of a remotely monitored maintenance system for split type air conditioning/HVAC units.
CSIRO's Dr Josh Wall helped Airconstruct identify communication protocols, capture real-time condition data, and apply pre-emptive maintenance activities based on condition priorities.
The project generated extensive operational datasets using Airconstruct and CSIRO's test rigs. It also developed Fault Detection Diagnosis and predictive maintenance monitoring technology for heat-pump air conditioning systems; and evaluated the technology using real-world systems.
Airconstruct saw a substantial cost saving in the total cost of ownership for HVAC equipment and can now offer HVAC plant maintenance as a service. Highly skilled staff can be retained on priority tasks, while non-invasive maintenance tasks can be performed by cleaning staff trained with HVAC Hygiene at certificate 2 level.
Our collaboration with CSIRO and grant funding support from Innovation Connections was of great value in helping us develop and validate our innovation which has given us the confidence to proceed with more investment to the next phase. The Innovation Connections project helped us to explore our idea, with industry best researchers, which was in turn perfect for us, as we were unable to prove this outcome could be achieved.
—David Jones, Managing Director, Airconstruct