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POWRMATIC LTD - Air Rotation – The Hot Topic For 2011

Concept of Air Rotation
Until recently, heating acres of indoor spaces such as warehouses and distribution centres with high density racking was challenging for environmental engineers and often costly for the building operator. Things have moved on in a big way since the advent of air rotation technology. End users employing air rotation heaters can expect to see considerable savings in both capital and operating costs compared with current alternative methods of heating.

Air rotation heating systems typically comprise of a small number of heat modules strategically positioned within or external to the heated space and work by circulating high volumes of air at low velocities and temperatures. The maintenance of constant air circulation within the building reduces the stratification effect often associated with conventional warm air systems and provides a uniformity of heat that is difficult to match.

In operation the air rotation system for the heating of the building is best applied in a 24-hour, seven-day continuous operation. During the periods when the building is not in use it can be set back to a temperature which would generally be 8-10°C below the day set point operating temperature. This will have the effect of maintaining air circulation throughout the building and will maintain a background temperature, when required the building will quickly return to the day set point design temperature.

With the air rotation units in continuous use no allowances need be applied for a pre-heat period, therefore a lower heat input is applied and with the use of either hi-low or modulating burners, lower usage and running costs will result.

The primary reason for a site client to choose an air rotation system in preference to either radiant heating or suspended warm air heating may well be the promise of lower costs. However cost benefits do not tell the whole story. Rotation heaters have many other advantages. Alternative suspended heaters or ducted systems will have been designed to suit the building and racking layout. Such systems restrict future layout changes whereas rotation heaters leave the working zones clear permitting greater flexibility in use. Also, because the units are floor standing long term service costs will be lower as there will be no need for the high level access equipment that would be required to service and maintain high level radiant and suspended warm units.

As the units are all floor mounted, either within the building or externally, they offer the ease of installation that comes with working at low level, whereas any high level heating scheme will require high level access equipment to carry out the installation leading to both longer times to carry out the installation and higher installation costs.

Real world example – J&L Industrial Supply installation
The example shown displays the temperature readings taken from an actual air rotation installation with no other forms of heating or destratification fan units being used. The readings were taken on a normal working day with loading bay doors in use.

This clearly indicates the excellent heat distribution and temperature control that an ‘air rotation’ system offers.

Application of systems
Any new type of new build warehouse/distribution centre will lend itself ideally to air rotation heating. Such systems can also be installed retrospectively into existing buildings.

Depending on the individual installation site, there is a choice of gas or oil fuelled operation: the cost of oil is generally higher per kw/h than gas but whichever type is installed, operators can rely on reaping the benefits of lower running costs.

Another argument for the end user to consider an air rotation system is that the heaters qualify for the Governments Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme (ECA) and the project may also be eligible for the interest free loan scheme operated by the Carbon Trust.

Whether installing air rotation heating into a new building or replacing a less efficient system, the arguments are compelling: it is low on emissions, low on running costs, high on efficiency, swift to install, easy to maintain and offers a speedy payback on the investment in terms of energy cost.

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