Rathbone Market in East London has installed Optidrive compact AC drives from Invertek Drives to improve safety and reduce energy usage in HVAC systems installed as part of a major redevelopment.

Crawford Controls, one of Invertek Drives’ UK sales partners, recently completed installation of 11 Optidrive variable speed drives in the Rathbone development, working with smoke ventilation and fire engineering firm, Interactive Special Projects.

Rathbone Market is currently undergoing substantial regeneration which will result in a new market, homes, retail and commercial units on the historic site. Interactive Special Projects was contracted to supply smoke control systems for the project to ensure compliance with the latest building regulations.

Interactive employs a wide range of the latest technology to ensure that buildings and escape routes are maintained free from smoke and fumes for the occupants, as well as a clear means of access for fire fighters and other emergency services.

The project required highly reliable variable speed drives to control the speed of smoke extraction and pressurisation systems inside the high rise building – previously systems relied on mechanical and electromechanical dampers that needed regular maintenance and adjustment. Operators didn’t have any control over extract rates with the old system either – fans ran at full speed regardless of the necessity.

Interactive contracted Crawford Controls to supply Optidrive VSDs that have been developed specifically for HVAC applications. The contract award was based on a number of factors including low maintenance requirements, reliability, energy efficiency, economy and controllability.

Interactive senior consultant, Andy Baker, said, “The significant reduction in energy consumption that will result from installing the Optidrives mean systems can now be used for day to day ventilation – running fans at low speeds on a daily basis. The system originally designed was a standby fire only set-up using additional fans for environmental ventilation and therefore not cost effective.

In the event of a fire, fan speeds are automatically optimised. Using PI pressure sensing control, the new systems are far safer than older versions – lobby pressures are limited, minimising the likelihood that people may get trapped trying to escape a hazardous situation.”