The importance of the efficient performance of HVAC-R systems in residential and commercial buildings cannot be overstated. Building systems are the lifeblood of any facility, and as such, routine maintenance checks are crucial to ensure optimum performance of HVAC-R equipment, extend asset life, reduce energy usage, and avoid system failures and outages. However, the acute shortage of qualified HVAC-R technicians has rendered round-the-clock monitoring and scheduled maintenance a challenge for many HVAC-R contractors and facility managers. Taking heed of this critical situation, North Park Innovations Group offers high-tech solutions that are focused on empowering HVAC-R technicians and facility managers with accuracy and efficiency through predictive maintenance. Leveraging years of experience in the HVAC-R space, North Park Innovations made a revolutionary breakthrough in digital manifold technology with the introduction of its iManifold product line.
“With the iManifold, we provide HVAC-R technicians and contracting companies with a platform for consistency, quality, and real-time data collection while offering them visibility into the operation of building owners’ assets or HVAC-R systems,” comments Bill Northrup, the CEO of North Park Innovations Group. By combining iManifold with smart applications and cloud-based solutions, North Park Innovations empowers HVAC-R contractors with the ability to diagnose and measure corrective actions for maintenance purposes. The iManifold gauge set and wireless probes have fundamentally transformed the way HVAC-R systems are monitored and maintained. Notably, their wireless digital products eliminate the need for manual calculations and analysis while presenting the data in an easy to read format on users’ smart devices through the iManifold App 2.0. To enhance the capabilities of its iManifold platform, North Park Innovations has recently unveiled the iManifold PULSE! (“Pulse”)—a groundbreaking commercial HVAC-R monitoring product for contractors and building owners. The Pulse is a leave-behind HVAC-R analytic device that technicians can install on each unit, regardless of the brand they service. With a nominal monthly subscription fee, the device continuously monitors the HVAC-R unit and immediately alerts contractors and property managers if the unit malfunctions or its performance declines.
Once connected with the air conditioning, refrigeration, and heat pump systems, the Pulse collects device data and performs system diagnostics to analyze the data with the help of custom algorithms, which, in turn, helps predict when a system would require servicing. For instance, if an HVAC-R unit functions outside the desired parameters, the Pulse notifies the users/contractors on their smart devices. Imbued with the power of predictive maintenance, users can ensure that the HVAC-R equipment works in optimal condition for longer, with better performance and minimal failures.
Amidst today’s glaring shortage of technicians in the HVAC-R industry, the Pulse reinforces their service capabilities and enables them to be more proactive. For facility managers, it mitigates the hassle of emergency system shutdowns and repairs. Northrup says, “Using iManifold PULSE! is like leaving behind your best technician for constantly monitoring each HVAC-R unit 24/7 and being aware of problems in real time.” Suffice to say, iManifold PULSE! is primed to revolutionize the way HVAC-R units are currently serviced and maintained, while reducing the carbon footprint and facilitating savings estimated to be 12 percent or more of electricity.
In addition to the Pulse, North Park Innovations offers iManifold Pro+ subscription, a cloud reporting solution for in-field generated HVAC-R diagnosis reports. iManifold Pro+ has a two-fold functionality. The first functionality enables users to log equipment data anytime and from anywhere to permanent cloud storage and access the data through the app when they are off-site. With the performance reports of equipment logged in iManifold Pro+, it becomes easier for contractors to view and compare the past iManifold Cloud Reports and deliver a better quality assurance in the field. The reports can be quickly generated, emailed, stored, and printed from iManifold Pro+ accounts. The second functionality focuses on diagnosing a system with the help of specific algorithms running in the background, which leads the technician or contractor down the right path to get to the root of a problem, with a full suite of reports to document the work.
Available with iManifold Pro+, the ‘Tech Connect’ access helps on-location technicians communicate with their service managers. The Tech Connect feature has the option for real-time communication and data sharing between service managers and field techs so that they can address an issue together, eliminating the guesswork and the requirement for call-back visits. Besides, by incorporating Zigbee mesh network within digital manifold devices and probes, North Park Innovations enables multiple-path, long-range intercommunication between its devices and iManifold cloud in an easily expandable network that covers up to 1,400 feet.
Having already established itself as one of the leading forces in the HVAC-R space, North Park Innovations is now looking to further develop the capabilities of iManifold PULSE! so that it can handle large chiller applications as well as residential settings. Also, the company is building a heating program, set on natural gas, propane, and oil, while integrating additional tools into its platform to assist contractors with verified measurements from technicians. Northrup adds, “We are rolling out a building automation training program and curriculum for HVAC-R technicians, equipping them with the installation and best practices of iManifold PULSE!” North Park Innovations has also collaborated with the University of Buffalo (UB) and is working with the head of their AI lab to launch a machine-learning algorithm by leveraging the data collected over the last five years.