BSRIA technicians analyse the data on the new air curtain

UK: A new heat pump-based air curtain has passed independent tests by BSRIA and been accepted onto the Energy Technology List.

The unit was developed by Fred Shaw & Co, the Huddersfield-based ventilation and ductwork manufacturer, in conjunction with engineers from Toshiba Air Conditioning UK.

Unlike conventional electrically-powered air curtains, the new air curtain connects to a VRF or multi-split system, with attendant improvements in  efficiency.

As well as being designed to significantly cut end users’ energy costs, the new system is said to be exceptionally easy to install and service.

It was subjected to a battery of live tests at BSRIA’s laboratories in Bracknell, to evaluate its thermal efficiency, acoustic and air-flow performance under internationally-recognised test conditions.

The results showed the air curtain’s air outlet velocity uniformity was 91%, against a target of 85%. The acoustic test results showed sound pressure to be 54dB(A), while the COP was determined to be 3.

The tests proved the technology met the performance requirements of the UK Energy Technology List for air curtains, and it has been accepted onto the scheme.

Setting up the tests at BSRIA

The air curtain is available in two chassis lengths, 2,200mm and 1,500mm, both suitable for surface or recessed installation. Surface mounted units have an optional mounting flange accessory enabling use with ceiling tiles.

There is an optional electric back-up heater, which automatically switches in during heat pump defrosts. The heat pump-driven system gives the air curtain additional optional capabilities, says Toshiba, which users can specify to augment the air curtain’s functionality.

Ease of installation and servicing was a key design principle. The unit has a hinged front panel to give engineers full access to the coil, drain tray, filter and electrics. This can be opened by one person for servicing, while other air curtains require the whole front panel to be removed, requiring two people for safe working.

For enhanced energy efficiency and performance, the air curtain uses EC motors with full 0-10V speed control, enabling air speed to be precisely matched to the unit’s mounting height. Precise control of motor speed also gives low operational noise.

Other features include a filter clean warning light, and defrost on, power on and operation on lights as service aids. The PCB can be easily accessed via a sliding back-plate. The unit can be powder-coated to any RAL code to match interior decor or branding colour-way requirements. 

Gary Tingle, director at Fred Shaw & Co Ltd, said: “Air curtain technology has not moved on for decades. Conventional electrically-powered systems can be costly to run, and difficult and expensive to maintain.

“Working with Toshiba Air Conditioning UK, we have taken a fresh look at this whole area and believe a heat pump-based system, harnessing the inherent thermodynamic efficiencies of VRF and multi-split systems, represents a huge leap forward.”

Fred Shaw & Co Ltd