The global pandemic has inevitably changed the daily routines of individuals and regular operations of businesses worldwide. While businesses begin to reopen and civilians adjust to their “new normal” version of daily life, it is important now more than ever that organizations deliver products and services that are safe and reliable. While hospitals and health care facilities have implemented new protocols for effectively treating patients, they are now also faced with the need to run normal operations while maintaining the highest level of safety for anyone who enters their doors. 

This safety standard applies not only to hospital staff and the patients they are treating but must also be considered for individuals who interact with hospitals outside of daily operations, such as contractors and installers for new construction projects. For HVAC-related construction projects, selecting a variable frequency drive (VFD) that features remote startup can decrease the number of individuals needed on-site for installation and provide valuable safety benefits to hospitals and health care facilities. 

Consider this situation; during the peak of the global health crisis, a local hospital is faced with the need to set up a new isolation wing for COVID-19 patients. The isolation wing has several HVAC fans that require VFDs with bypass to be installed and started. Typically, an installation of this nature would require multiple physical interactions with the product, by one or more individuals, to successfully set up, program, and startup the drive. When a highly contagious virus is present in this type of environment, any additional time spent during the installation process or extra individuals that need to be present can increase the risk of exposure and cross-contamination.  

Remote VFD operation enhances safety by minimizing the need to physically interact with the drive while you are within connectivity range (approximately 100 feet). Utilizing Bluetooth® technology and an intuitive mobile app, mobile devices can connect directly to the VFD for guided startup and step-by-step operation instructions. This means that when a drive is installed within an isolation unit, it can be set up without an individual having to physically enter the unit and expose themselves to a potentially harmful environment. 

This technology also allows for custom drive configurations to be saved as templates and applied to additional units when commissioning multiple drives. This saves ample time on-site by eliminating the need to set up each drive individually. After setup is complete, remote monitoring and control make the drives easier and safer to maintain. Commissioning reports can be easily generated, signed, and emailed through the app in place of manually recording with pencil and paper for submission. This feature vastly improves and shortens the reporting process for operators.

Remote startup technology for VFDs provides a more practical and convenient option for installers and end users during HVAC installations. Particularly for hospitals and health care facilities, VFDs that feature this technology offer these additional safety and time savings benefits that are essential now during a global pandemic and in the future.