Touring Twa Panel Systems’ Manufacturing Facility in Nisku, Canada

Since we (Bryan, Jo-Anne, Nik and Kate) were going to Edmonton, Canada to visit Bryan’s family for Canadian Thanksgiving, Bryan took the opportunity to visit Twa Panel Systems, Inc. in Nisku, Alberta.  Markus Benzenhofer arranged for Bryan to meet with Dave Selmser and tour the manufacturing facility.

Background

We are using geothermal heat exchange and a ground source heat pump to heat and cool our house.  The system that Ken Martin, from Silicon Valley Mechanical, refined the design of includes two insulated water tanks, one holding hot water and the other tank holding cold water.

The tank of hot water will be used to satisfy heating calls and the cold water for cooling calls.  In order to cool our wine, there will be radiant cooling panels in the ceiling of the wine cellar.  Actually, we will not be cooling the wine cellar but, rather, moving the BTUs (energy) from the wine cellar into the house (heating the house).

We met with Markus Benzenhofer of Twa Panel Systems, Inc. on October 29, 2009 at our project site.  Markus reviewed our required and completed the preliminary design of a radiant system that could meet our requirements.

Currently, Ken Martin is integrating and refining the preliminary design.

Touring Twa Panel Systems’ Manufacturing Facility in Nisku, Canada

Since we flew into Edmonton International Airport (YEG) at 12:30 pm and were being picked up, Bryan arranged to meet with Dave Selmser at 3:30 pm.  Nisku is just East of YEG so it was only minutes away from Bryan’s parents’ house in the South part of Edmonton.

Since Dave Selmser was in a meeting, Chris Tse showed Bryan Twa’s products that were installed in their building.  This was valuable before the tour of the manufacturing facilities as Bryan had not seen all of Twa’s products.

As soon as he was finished, Dave met Bryan and picked up where Chris left off.  Dave explained the evolution of radiant cooling panels and his role managing the modular active chiller beam product line at Twa Panel Systems.  All of the products manufactured by Twa Panel Systems are modular so a complete and integrated system can designed to work together using various components in a flexible manner.

Evolution of Cooling Panels to Chilled Beams

In describing the product line, Dave explained that the evolution of cooling panels started with radiant cooling panels in a ceiling.  These panels received chilled water and transfered heat (energy) from the room to the chilled water, heating the water, and then moving the water (heat) out of the room.  This system was inherently more efficient than moving chilled air into a room since water can carry more energy than air.

The evolution continued when the ceiling panels were perforated to allow air to flow around the radiant panels, using convection to increase the heat transfer from the room to the chilled water (heating the water), and then moving the water (heat) out of the room.

To increase the efficiency of the convection, the next phase of the evolution was passive chilled beams.  These passive chilled beams had fins attached to the copper pipes carrying the water into and out of the room.  The fins provided a larger surface area to transfer energy and relied on convection to move air over the fins.

Moving air over the fins was enhanced by the use of fresh air, supplied by the HVAC system.  The moving air was supplemented by small vents that would mix the incoming fresh air with existing air from inside the room, to increase the efficiency of the system while dramatically increasing indoor air quality.

Wikipedia includes a complete description of chilled beams, including the basic concepts and types of chilled beams.

Being picked up at Edmonton International Airport (YEG).

Being picked up at Edmonton International Airport (YEG).

Twa Panel Systems, Inc. facility in Nisku, AB, Canada.

Twa Panel Systems, Inc. facility in Nisku, Alberta, Canada.

Entrance to Twa Panel Systems, Inc. in Nisku, Alberta, Canada.

Entrance to Twa Panel Systems, Inc. in Nisku, Alberta, Canada.

Our host, Dave Selmser, at his desk ready to take Bryan on a tour of the manufacturing facilities.

Our host, Dave Selmser, at his desk ready to take Bryan on a tour of the manufacturing facilities.

Dave shows a modular passive ceiling radiant heating/cooling panel. This panel is not finished. Note the copper supply/return pipes.

Dave shows a modular passive ceiling radiant heating/cooling panel. This panel is not finished. Note the copper supply/return pipes.

Dave shows the back of the passive modular ceiling panel, with the copper pipe that transfers energy (heat) to the aluminum ceiling panel.

Dave shows the back of the passive modular ceiling panel, with the copper pipe that transfers energy (heat) to the aluminum ceiling panel.

Passive convection ceiling panels where air circulates through the cooling panels in the ceiling.

Passive convection ceiling panels where air circulates through the cooling panels in the ceiling.

Close up of the perforations in the ceiling where the air circulates.

Close up of the perforations in the ceiling where the air circulates.

Actual passive linear chilled panel in the ceiling.

Actual passive linear chilled panel in the ceiling.

Active chilled beam in the ceiling.

Active chilled beam in the ceiling.

Look closely and you can see the venturi for the active chilled beam.

Look closely and you can see the venturi for the active chilled beam.

Open ceiling panel, showing the finned cooling tubes that the air flows through.

Open ceiling panel, showing the finned cooling tubes that the air flows through.

New roll of soft, annealed copper for the modular chilled panels and chilled beams.

New roll of soft, annealed copper for the modular chilled panels and chilled beams.

Shaped copper piping for use in modular ceiling panels.

Shaped copper piping for use in modular ceiling panels.

Inventory of various extruded aluminum saddles and linear panels.

Inventory of various extruded aluminum saddles and linear panels.

Work in process - perfectly welded aluminum frames for modular ceiling panels.

Work in process – perfectly welded aluminum frames for modular ceiling panels.

New, Trumatic 500 CNC stamping machine for making perforations in aluminum panels.

New, Trumatic 500 CNC stamping machine for making perforations in aluminum panels.

Performations in sheet aluminum, made by the Trumatic 500 CNC machine.

Performations in sheet aluminum, made by the Trumatic 500 CNC machine.

Production area for linear panels.

Production area for linear panels.

Linear panels showing saddles ready for copper tubing.

Linear panels showing saddles ready for copper tubing.

Completed modular linear panel with copper tubing in place.

Completed modular linear panel with copper tubing in place.

Completed modular linear panels ready for packaging.

Completed modular linear panels ready for packaging.

Components for active chilled beams, ready for assembly.

Components for active chilled beams, ready for assembly.

Shroud for active chilled beam, ready for assembly.

Shroud for active chilled beam, ready for assembly.

Completed active chilled beam, ready for packaging.

Completed active chilled beam, ready for packaging.

Completed modular linear panels, ready for shipping to Rexall Center in Edmonton.

Completed modular linear panels, ready for shipping to Rexall Center in Edmonton.

Completed modular linear beams, in custom packaging (using Tyvek), ready to be picked up.

Completed modular linear beams, in custom packaging (using Tyvek), ready to be picked up.

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