Many of us that work in office buildings take our air
conditioning for granted. We expect that, in the middle of the summer, we’ll be
kept cool and comfortable. But that’s not the case for many people at work.
There are a number of industrial spaces, workshops and other workspaces that
don’t have any air conditioning at all – leaving employees to sweat the day
away in the hottest months of the year.
If you’ve ever visited a distillery or brewery in a converted industrial space during the summer months, you probably know what we’re talking about. They get pretty stifling. You might say that it’s enough to drive people to drink.
To combat that problem and keep their employees cool, many of these companies buy a Big Ass Fan. And we’re not being glib. That’s actually the name of the company.
Big Ass Fans is a company that specializes in…well…really big fans for a number of commercial and industrial uses. However, that’s not all they make. The company also manufactures lights and residential fans, as well. And, while the company is often known for keeping those cool who don’t have A/C, their products are also used in places with air conditioning to help reduce the amount of time that those systems are needed and save companies money.
Big Ass Fans was one of a number of fan companies that participated in the AHR Expo earlier this month. Following the event, we had an opportunity to sit down with the company’s spokesperson, Alex Risen, to talk about trends in fan manufacturing, and if the fan market is experiencing the same innovation that is shaping today’s larger HVAC industry.
Here is what he had to say:
Modern Equipment Manufacturer (MEM): Can you tell our readers a bit about Big Ass Fans? What types of industries does the company serve? Where might our readers encounter a Big Ass Fan?
Alex Risen: Big Ass Fans was founded in 1999 as the HVLS Fan Company. In 2003, we changed our name and now have products in more than 170 countries on six continents. We’ve conducted an airflow experiment on the International Space Station and serve more than 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies.
From your house to work, restaurants and gyms, to your vacations – you can find Big Ass Fans products serving you throughout your day.
MEM: Over the past few years, we’ve seen a trend towards smarter, more connected HVAC devices. Is this something that we’re seeing in the industrial and commercial fan marketplace? Are Big Ass Fans becoming Smart Ass Fans?
Alex Risen: We developed the world’s first true smart fan and continue to provide the latest innovations in the industry.
Our SenseMe technology combines occupancy, temperature, and relative humidity sensors for self automation based on customers’ preset comfort settings which can be changed via our smartphone app manually overridden with voice control technology and integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and more.
For our big fans, our SmartSense technology provides similar operation and our plug-and-play tie-ins to any BMS via BACNet adapters.
MEM: Are fans part of the larger HVAC system? Are smart HVAC systems taking fans into account when they regulate temperature? If so, what is making that possible?
Alex Risen: We serve both conditioned and unconditioned spaces. Using fans to provide comfort is significantly more efficient than running HVAC in conditioned spaces. Again, our smart products and integrations allow us to use the fan before using HVAC systems.
MEM: In advance of the AHR Expo, we sat down with some of the show organizers, including the show manager, Mark Stevens. One of the hot topics that came up in that discussion was the evolution of HVAC as a Service (HVACaaS). Do you see these “as a Service” offerings becoming a big trend in the larger HVAC industry? What will it take for HVAC manufacturers to make HVACaaS a reality?
Alex Risen: It’s certainly a trend in the industry as it is across the board in many industries and a great customer touchpoint.
The model can look different for every manufacturer based on what the manufacturer sells and the model in which they sell / distribute. It’s just a matter of everyone figuring out how it works best for them.
MEM: Do you anticipate this “as a Service” trend making its way into the industrial fan market? Is that something that Big Ass Fans is contemplating? What would the benefits be to the company? What would the benefits be to the equipment owner?
Alex Risen: We’re always pushing the envelope in our industry and creating the curve as opposed to following it. Reminding customers of scheduling any service or maintenance would be the best touchpoint.
MEM: Did the company make any exciting announcements at this year’s AHR Expo?
Alex Risen: We rolled out our SpecLab software and mixed reality experience using Magic Leap. Our Powerfoil D had been featured at other trade shows to close out 2019, but it also made its first appearance at AHR this year.
To learn more about Big Ass Fans and their solutions, click HERE. To learn more about the rise of HVACaaS and its impact on the HVAC industry, click HERE to download a complimentary copy of the eBook, “The HVAC as a Service Revolution.”