Energy recovery anchored in engineering evidence
For 40 years, our polymer energy recovery wheels have provided engineers with the most efficient, high-performing options on the market. Desiccant that doesn’t degrade. The only cleanable option. And the only truly segmented wheel that makes installation and maintenance incredibly easy.
Yea, it outperforms metal. More than 90% of OEMs trust it. See why you should.
ASK THE ENGINEER.
Our Expert Answers Your
We get it. Engineers want to hear from other engineers – not the marketing & communications team. Experts need expert guidance. That’s why we’re giving you direct access to our applications engineer, Adam McKnight, to answer your everyday questions (and those that aren’t as common, too).
So, peruse the Q&A below, check out the reference links, and if you don’t see your question, submit it. We promise to answer it promptly. And we’ll do so without bugging you 100 times with marketing material.
Why should I use a polymer Airxchange® wheel over an aluminum wheel?
I get this one a lot, and I understand why. Perception would lead many to believe metal is stronger and has to last because, well, it’s metal. A lot of engineers turn to it because it’s what they’ve always used. They see it as heavy and durable.
The thing is, that’s not the case when it comes to energy recovery wheels. I like to use a backpacking analogy. Yes, you could haul a heavy tent, metal poles, dense coolers and other cumbersome gear on a hiking trip. But technology has advanced. The lighter gear isn’t only easier to carry. It’s lighter, more efficient and as reliable as its heavier, bulkier counterparts.
The same goes for Airxchange®’s polymer wheels.
First and foremost, they’re efficient – our polymer wheels reduce outdoor air ventilation loads up to 80%. That means your customers see an ROI much faster. The “Payback” report in our white paper section lays this out nicely.
They’re lighter and more compact. Because we use a patented polymer media, our wheels aren’t as deep and of course, are lighter than metal. They don’t take as much space in a cabinet, are easier to remove (they’re segmented), and installation is simple – no cranes needed.
The desiccant doesn’t degrade, meaning performance levels remain consistent. I’ll get it into this more later.
Do you have proof polymer wheels can really save our customers money?
We can point to tons of examples, but a simple one is this: Take two 81-inch wheels. Those are fairly large. With an aluminum wheel, you’ll see payback in roughly two years. With ours, because they’re more efficient, your customer will see an ROI in 1.5 years. That’s six months where they’re saving significant money in energy costs.
I love talking through the specifics. Anyone who wants to go into the details should reach out directly. Email me at AdamMcKnight@airxchange.com.
What about longevity? Does the polymer media and desiccant really hold up?
There is a reason more than 90% of OEMs trust our wheels and why Airxchange® has led the industry for 40 years – and this is among the top reasons. Here’s why they last AND perform for years:
The wheels are segmented – truly segmented, unlike others on the market – which means you can easily remove one piece of the pie to clean it or replace it.
The desiccant is permanently bonded to the wheel through a patented process. You can wash it and run it for years without performance degradation. The independent report from Arthur D. Little independent report from Arthur D. Little featured on our white-paper page, lays out the science and evidence any engineer will demand. I point to this paper quite regularly because it’s credible and thorough.
Why should I care about having a wheel that’s cleanable?
Indoor air quality is finally getting the attention it deserves. It’s sad it took a pandemic to reach this point but the world now has a real opportunity to improve the air we breathe inside our offices, schools, hospitals and, well, everywhere else.
Airxchange® makes the only segmented, cleanable energy recovery wheels on the market. This isn’t a marketing gimmick. Because they’re cleanable, you can remove VOCs and other buildup from the wheel. This prevents it from entering your airstream, but also improves performance. A clean wheel works better. It’s that simple.
And the beauty is that because of the wheel’s design you have minimal downtime. A wheel can be removed, cleaned and replaced in less than a day. Often, clients will take one wheel offline while others continue to operate to further minimalize impact.
When you say your wheel is fully segmented, what do you mean by that?
It comes down to our commitment to offering a solution that is truly “plug and play.” Because we don’t use metal, each segment of media or “pie slice”, is removable. That means you can take it out, replace it or clean it.
While we focus on the ability to clean the wheel, it’s such a benefit for installation as well. A lighter, segmented wheel is cheaper to install and remove. Why? When installing, you don’t have to try and fit a large, unwieldy wheel into tight building corridors and other tough-to-access spaces.
When other wheel manufacturers say they have a segmented wheel, they mean that it can be broken down to make installation somewhat easier – that’s it. With a metal wheel, installation still often requires a crane and additional workers.
The same goes with removal. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve worked with a client to replace a metal wheel with one of our segmented, polymer wheels. Removing a metal wheel requires hours of labor to get the old wheel out. You often have to cut it out with a reciprocating saw. No one needs that kind of additional work.
Does the polymer wheel last in corrosive environments?
The easy answer is yes. But this is another primary concern for design engineers. I like to look at case studies, and I know other engineers do as well.
Two of my favorites to point to feature Seagate Towers and Jersey Shore Medical. Each is in an environment where corrosion is a major factor. From saltwater to high humidity, numerous factors could corrode wheel media.
Because our wheels feature a polymer media, they obviously don’t rust. Additionally, as noted above, the desiccant doesn’t degrade under harsh conditions. You can dive into the data from the Seagate and Jersey Shore Medical stories on our case-study page.
Your frames are metal? Do they withstand corrosion?
We use G90 steel in our frames, unless a customer specifically requests an alternative., The stainless-steel frame is then powder coated to further resist corrosion.
I like the performance of a wheel but worry about moving parts. How does Airxchange® address this issue?
There is no denying that any energy recovery wheel will have moving parts. But we have worked to minimize that impact over the years. We use permanently lubricated bearings with a minimum L-10 design life of 30 years, best-in-class electric motors and a single-belt system.
Additonally, because the wheels are segmented and washable, you can remove and replace the wheel with minimal downtime. Also, plates require more space in a cabinet and are less efficient. Two issues that cost your client money in the end.
Do you have performance comparisons for all your wheel sizes?
Yes. We can compete – and outperform – other wheels basically every time. But to provide an engineer with proper data, I need to understand the cabinet ID or configuration. The easiest thing is to email (AdamMcKnight@airxchange.com). and I can get those numbers pulled quickly.
Can Airxchange® use a 3A or 4A molecular sieve?
We can, but we don’t recommend it. Generally, this is a spec-driven request and it’s what the industry relied on in the early days. You’ll lose performance but we can fulfill the request. We use silica gel desiccants in all our standard wheels for improved performance, longevity and efficiency.
If you want to read more, check out “Use of Type-A Silica Gel in Airxchange® Energy Recovery Ventilation Wheels” in our technical notes section.
What motor voltages are available?
We have every voltage you could need for any project around the world. Also, all our three-phase motors are compatible with variable frequency drives (VFD). More on VFD motors is available, here.
Are your products AHRI certified?
Of course. They all are AHRI 1060 certified.
Are your products UL Listed?
They are. They are under UL 900 and UL 1812. If you want more information, the UL Standards site is a sound, third-party resource.
You’re an engineer. You demand specifics. Send us any questions, any time.
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Take a deep dive. Technical Resources for you.
White Paper Wonderland
Independent performance reports. The ROI of polymer wheels. Get in the weeds and see the value of energy recovery wheels.Learn More
Case Studies: Validation You Need
When you make the most-used energy recovery wheel in the market, you have a few stories to tell. See what customers think about our polymer wheels, and how they perform in an array of climates and industries.Learn More
Technical Notes - Because Details Matter
Find all the technical documents needed to ensure you understand important aspects of our wheels, and whether they fit your needs.Learn More