|Our iPad Winner |
For our Social Media promotion last quarter, we gave away an iPad 2 to a lucky Facebook fan. The winner? Nic Holaday from Systems Mechanical, a contracting firm in the San Francisco Bay area of California.
He appears to be pleased with his newest acquisition.
|Another TOBY Nod for KMC |
Once more, KMC has been acknowledged for having products in one or more commercial buildings recognized by BOMA, the Building Owners and Managers Association International, in their annual TOBY Awards (The Outstanding Building of the Year).
Unlike previous years, we were not informed of our products' presence in particular facilities (three last year). Nonetheless, KMC was recognized, with a fairly elite set of companies, as providing products that contributed to the outstanding nature of the facilities. In all, 85 buildings were recognized nationally. The top awards in each of 14 categories can be viewed here.
| "MAMA" Patent Issued |
On July 26, 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued patent number 7,987,247 to KMC Controls, Inc. for its BACnet MS/TP Automatic MAC Addressing (MAMA). KMC Chief Technology Officer, Bruce Westphal, was primarily responsible for the patented method which automatically assigns MAC addresses to controllers on an MS/TP network. The firmware enabling this resides on all KMC BACnet Advanced Application Controllers (B-AAC) and Application Specific Controllers (B-ASC). MAMA provides significant labor savings during MS/TP installations.
| Bold Branding Moves |
A few unique branding opportunities surfaced recently. We jumped in with both feet:
|No, it's not a new corporate vehicle. But Jon Hilberg, KMC CEO, |
decided to show his company spirit by placing a KMC branded wrap
on his personal motor home!
Now, if he can only get his wife trained on all the product questions she'll get as they hit the road!
Danny Kelsey of Performance Facility Services in Texas (see Featured Partner, Q2 2010) also races for M&M Racing in AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) events. We took out a sponsorship of his team that enabled us to place a few logos on his team bikes. Can you spot them?
|Featured Project--OPTODEV, Inc.|
For more than 30 years, OPTODEV, Inc., a subsidiary of Essilor International, one of the leading global players in health care, has been a producer of high-index ophthalmic lenses and ophthalmic optical equipment for the medical sector. Their plant in metro Manila, Philippines is considered a "Center of Manufacturing Excellence" and mass produces much of Essilor's more notable brands such as Varilux®, Crizal®, and Xperio®.
OPTODEV's clean room manufacturing in Manila, Philippines
OPTODEV's nearly 130,000 sq. ft. plant is categorized as a class 1000 clean room manufacturing facility and comprises a ground floor, mezzanine, and third floor. Goods produced at OPTODEV must be protected from contamination of particles and microorganisms from production to packaging. Therefore, the facility must offer unprecedented systems control and clean indoor air quality (IAQ) to meet strict FDA guidelines and ANSI standards for commercialization abroad.
Such sophisticated requirements can be very energy-intensive on the facility and taxing on personnel. Historically, the building's electromechanical, manually-operated HVAC system used a substantial amount of energy to effectively ventilate and eliminate airborne contaminants to meet clean room standards. Further, the company had, for many years, manually monitored their clean environments with traditional chart recorders. These systems and processes were highly inefficient and lacked any sort of alarm mechanism to alert personnel to out-of-specification building conditions.
In search of ways to significantly reduce both energy costs and time spent manually monitoring environmental conditions of the building, OPTODEV turned to an energy management contractor, Asyst Power Technologies. The challenge? Develop a retrofit master plan (four phases) to replace individual, antiquated systems with a fully-open, interconnected BACnet building automation system (BAS). Representing, at the time, Siemens Industry, Inc., Asyst chose the APOGEE BACnet BAS suite for Phase I and began by retrofitting the manually-operated HVAC system with a fully automated DDC system flexible enough to address all specific requirements of system equipment (AHUs, boilers, chillers, etc.).
Initial operating costs savings were estimated at 20% annually, with actual measured costs metrics for the first year showing closer to 25% savings.
While pleased with the initial phase of the retrofit, dissatisfaction with on-going manufacturer support in the Philippines, and the customer's desire for increased energy savings caused Asyst to switch their offering to another BACnet manufacturer-KMC Controls. "We chose to switch our offering to KMC Controls due to their highly interoperable and reliable BACnet product line, and also for their renowned product support," commented Liberato Donato, VP of Operations at Asyst. He went on to say, "Our customer wanted more energy savings, but we had squeezed all we could out of the original system. We needed a more capable solution."
Asyst initiated Phase II of the project, which expanded the overall building system and seamlessly integrated the original system with the more capable KMC BACnet system. Through the installation of a number of BTL-listed, KMC BACnet Building Controllers (B-BC), expansion modules, electronic actuators, and sensors, as well as, the improved customization of control sequences, Asyst was able to better optimize and fully automate complex control functions of the entire building management system. The system more closely monitors and controls the conditioning and use of outside air and better detects and adjusts air-handling devices based on predetermined setpoints and other occupancy conditions. Because the facility runs around the clock, the system's responsiveness is vital to overall performance and energy efficiency.
Asyst's VP of Operations, Liberto Donato, is standing on the far right. Asyst President, Albert Guzman, is second from right. The client is represented by Herman Robles, facility projects section head, who is seated on the left. Other Asyst team members are standing.
All of Phase II process and control upgrades were accomplished while the plant remained at full capacity without any interruption in production and plant cooling. Preliminary savings projections were estimated at an additional 10-15% in operating costs, with initial results indicating savings more in the 15-20% range. The plant has expanded capacity by over 20% in last two years, while measured energy cost metric (KWH/GLC) has dropped by over 20%. Also, due to the automation of data gathering required for regulatory compliance, two plant technicians have been able to be reassigned to more technical tasks.
The flexibility provided by KMC's building automation and control solutions was exactly what was needed at OPTODEV, Inc. "Our highest priority was to find a local systems integrator who could provide reliable hardware and flexible software to meet the needs of our complex sequence of operation, as well as our monitoring and alarming needs," commented Herman Robles, Head of Maintenance at OPTODEV Inc. "KMC Controls and Asyst Power Technologies have met all of these challenges, and provided us an intuitive, simple to understand GUI," he added. By creating an open and sustainable BACnet building automation system, KMC and Asyst have provided for a modern-day level of data input, reduced overall operating costs and have laid the groundwork for future upgrades.
Future plans (Phases III-IV, to be completed by Y/E 2012), include the construction of a new 90,000+ sq. ft. facility to expand OPTODEV's manufacturing space. Further BACnet control via KMC building controllers will be required in the chilled water plant to manage the 400-ton York and 300-ton Carrier machines, associated pumps, cooling towers, and other process water equipment. A KMC Modbus/BACnet gateway is planned to integrate over 30 submeters into the system for monitoring and plant power control purposes.
KMC products installed thus far include BACnet Building Controllers, Building Controller Expansion Modules, electronic actuators, and sensors. KMC TotalControl will soon replace the existing operator workstation for the facility.
Also in Phase III, the KMC TotalControl web-based workstation will replace the existing operator workstation, allowing for improved data-handling capabilities, trending analysis, and automated alarm notifications to facility engineers. TotalControl will also make it possible to record and produce reports denoting exact compliance with, and deviation from, the specified room conditions (e.g., pressure, temperature, and humidity).
In the final analysis, more than 2,000 data points will allow operators to have access to and receive information from all integrated systems.
| KMC Plant Modernization in Motion|
In recent months, we have begun what will be a multi-year project to modernize our facility. The primary motivation in doing so is to be prepared for continued growth and increasing production capacity.
We're starting the facility improvements in the production areas. Offices, engineering lab space, and employee cafeteria renovations will follow.
Where, O Where Did Our Warehouse Go?
For years, we've maintained a considerable amount of floor space to raw materials inventory (used in production processes and not to be confused with finished goods inventory). But, as we re-examined our facility and made plans for its best use, we determined that this floor space was prime territory for production. We are, after all, not in the warehousing business but in the business of manufacturing goods.
So we emptied out our raw material warehouse and began preparing it for world-class production. Changes have included:
- New and efficient lighting
- New Stonhard epoxyed floor with ESD (electrostatic discharge) protection layer
- Three new AAON rooftop units
- DuctSox fabric air distribution
- New pneumatic air lines
- New ceiling-suspended cable trays
- New paint scheme and wall paint
New lighting and paint were the first steps in the transformation from warehouse to world-class production area. Here, workers form the
ESD layer of the flooring.
The finished, epoxy-based flooring.
New SMT Line
The first piece of equipment to move into the remodeled production area was a new SMT (surface-mount technology) line for circuit board production. The new line complements our existing SMT line (which will soon be relocated to the same area).
The new SMT line is nearly 60% more efficient than our existing line. It's also faster and easier to set-up and program. As such, it will be used for custom projects that require greater flexibility. It will, of course, also handle any overflow, standard production needs.
We're making these considerable investments and others so that we are prepared for the production needs of tomorrow.
|Our Corporate Calendar|
|Our Featured Partner--CCSI|
In the southern state of Alabama, all roads lead to Birmingham. And Birmingham is home to Climate Control Systems, Inc. (CCSI).
To refer to CCSI as a manufacturer's rep would be only partially accurate. According to the CCSI web site (www.ccsi-se.com) the company is a "manufacturer's representative and service organization that consults and works with architects, engineers, contractors and building owners."
However you describe it, this hybrid organization has stood the test of time. "Ours is certainly a story of adaptation," says Gary Frith, company Vice President.
Ed Denton, CCSI President, amplifies: "Gary and I left our respective employers (JCI for Ed; Honeywell for Gary) to form a joint venture with Barber-Colman in 1986. In those early years, however, Barber-Colman was acquired and, later, acquired again. Maintaining a relationship of trust through so many changes in leadership became challenging. So, by the early 90s we were seeking other product manufacturers to represent. By the mid-1990s, that led us to KMC Controls."
Today, CCSI represents both equipment manufacturers as well as the KMC building automation line. This "one-two" punch has created an outstanding value proposition for them. "Utilizing the tie-in between equipment and controls," says Gary, "is a great way to go to market today. We are able to package our equipment and KMC controls in a given sale, approximately 30% of the time. And, of course, we can avoid that friction that sometimes exists between equipment and controls installations as far as who has ultimate responsibility to make it work."
But CCSI doesn't stop with product representation. Another significant differentiator for their business model is their service arm. "There is great diversity in equipment and controls representation out there," Ed says. "But relatively few rep firms have integrated service departments and many that do don't do it well."
"Ours is a turnkey service and support division," Gary adds. "Whether we are utilizing our service team to execute the actual work or providing support services and ongoing training for our customers, this strategy enables us to sell solutions. In turn, we get more opportunities to sell and support mechanical contractors and business owners in all markets."
It may sound like an all-too-common refrain, but Ed and Gary are most sincere when they express the true secret to their business success. (The firm has experienced two of their best years ever even amid the recent economic turmoil and recently built a new state-of-the art headquarters building.) "Relationships," says Gary. "Relationships of trust," Ed adds.
These are more than mere words at CCSI. "Our business was built on and is maintained through relationships," says Ed. "We can influence the engineers because of our reputation of having great products and an outstanding support staff. Often times, we pick and choose our desired projects because we have built such relationships."
The Birmingham skyline provides the backdrop for CCSI projects.
"One of the unique things about being a small business is the ability to build long term relationships. Big companies often cannot do this. Being a locally owned firm, we are not going to get promoted and moved elsewhere," Gary adds. "We are active in the community and maintain relationships with so many customers throughout our 26 years in business. We're not going to do anything to violate that relationship of trust. We are in this for the long haul."
That mentality extends to their suppliers as well. "We have abandoned a product line when we could not trust the company providing it," Ed says.
Gary offers his insight into the KMC relationship: "If Wayne, or Doug, or Jim say something, we can take it to the bank." (Wayne Kehler is KMC Chairman, Doug Miller is the KMC sales professional for the CCSI account, and Jim Herdeman is KMC VP of Product Management and a long-time acquaintance.)
"We went through some gnashing of teeth early on with KMC," Ed adds. "It was related to product quality in the early digital offering you had. But the trust that these issues were being addressed was always there. Today, I think that KMC offers the best product in the business." He continues, "I see a night-and-day difference in KMC marketing. Your support has improved dramatically over those early years. The product is fantastic. We love this relationship."
"And the KMC product enables us to pursue multiple markets," Gary notes. CCSI does get involved in several vertical markets from commercial office to schools, to healthcare, to federal, state, and local public projects.
"Tight control is essential in hospitals," Gary explains. "In the past, if someone wanted tight control of temperature or humidity, we'd have to meet those needs through a chilled water system. Today, we can use DX (direct expansion) control. Through heat pumps, rooftops, or split systems, we can get the same control. And we're not just talking about on/off but modulating control in a very efficient manner. We've used such methods even where the tightest control is required, such as in surgery rooms."
Ed Denton has led the CCSI effort in terms of military and other government projects. "Public projects, especially federal government projects such as with the military, can be intimidating to would-be suppliers or contractors. It takes a year or more to get your act together so that you can effectively go after such work. Many give up during this time."
"But once you get in," Gary adds, "you can enjoy the same long-term relationships that you have in the commercial arena."
"That's right," Ed continues. "I hate to keep repeating myself, but it truly is all about relationships. The challenge is getting on the military base and getting to the right people. But once you are in, you discover that these customers want the same thing that a commercially focused engineer or facility manager wants-someone to take care of their needs; someone they can depend on. If you do a good job and follow their procedures, you build a relationship of trust and they will find a way to stick with you for their future needs. Further, they don't care about cost IF they have the budget. Budgets and payback are important to them. Show the payback and they'll use the budget."
One outward indicator of CCSI success is their new headquarters facility.
As the interview for this article concluded, Ed and Gary exchanged final hints for business success:
Ed: "Follow the golden rule."
Gary: "Do what you say you'll do."
Ed: "Be consistent in the message and delivery."
Gary: "Learn to laugh a lot."
Their unique business model and their adherence to such simple rules have led to long-term relationships of trust. In turn, such relationships have led to true success by any definition.
| Climate Change |
© 2011 Ben H. Dorsey III
|Stay in touch!|
Ben H. Dorsey III
VP, Marketing & Communications
LEED Green Associate
KMC Controls, Inc.