US firm M.A.T. eyes GCC's building operator market

CW Staff , April 2nd, 2017

Please outline your product portfolio and operational presence within the GCC.

Metropolitan Air Technology (M.A.T.) offers a full line of commercial HVAC dampers, a specialty line of comfort control products, and a family of industrial dampers for the oil and gas market. We have been operating in the GCC for five years with local sales partners in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman.

Qatar was the first GCC country that we entered and it continues to be our busiest. We are just finishing up Phase 3 of the Msheireb Downtown Doha project. The UAE and Kuwait are also active markets for us.

Which regional projects – new or refurbished – have your products been installed in?

Our project portfolio includes developments such as Msheireb Downtown Doha – Phase 1 and Phase 3; Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies; Boubyan Bank; retail stores in Qatar and Kuwait; the Hamad International Airport in Doha; and Qatar Tower.

How do your products enter a building’s supply chain?

Our products are generally specified by MEP consultants, therefore we typically do not work directly with FM or property management firms yet. However, we have a line of comfort control and energy savings products that can be retrofitted into existing HVAC systems. We believe these audiences will have an interest in the availability of our products, so we are now reaching out them.

Since our products that cater to the interests of property owners and HVAC operators are not well known in the GCC, we have begun introducing them to these audiences, and the purpose of reaching out to these groups is two-fold. We want them to know that M.A.T. has products that can be installed in existing systems to improve comfort and/or help reduce energy [consumption]. Eventually, these stakeholders could also influence MEP consultants on future projects.

How would your products meet the requirements of GCC’s FM and energy services markets?

M.A.T.’s line of products that serve the interest of the FM and energy services market include remotely operated airflow balancing dampers, individual comfort control products, and the 75F Dynamic Airflow Balancing system. Our remotely operated balancing dampers offer the architectural and design community an attractive solution for balancing branch ducts and takeoffs located behind hard ceilings. They provide easy access to HVAC dampers for airflow balancing and rebalancing, and allow for room side damper adjustment when access to the ductwork is restricted by hard (gypsum) or high ceilings.

Individual comfort control products go one step further by providing room occupants the ability to control airflow, or the temperature in their space to meet their requirements. Our Solo-Control Individual Air Volume Control System is a simple solution for individual room comfort control. Push button damper adjustment allows room occupants to control airflow to match comfort needs.

The Standalone MicroZone system allows the occupant to set a desired temperature for their space. The Wall Room Module (WRM) thermostat/controller senses room temperature, humidity and discharge airflow temperature. Automatically sensing heating and cooling modes, the WRM controls the M.A.T. damper to modulate airflow to match individual comfort requirements of the space.

Please outline the features of M.A.T.’s Dynamic Airflow Balancing.

In partnership with 75F, M.A.T. offers Dynamic Airflow Balancing. This product incorporates M.A.T. Smart dampers into a full HVAC Building Intelligence solution that uses predictive analytics to develop the optimal strategy for achieving occupant comfort and energy savings.

In contrast to a reactive building automation system, the 75F solution is proactive. Using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that gather data from occupant spaces, the system uses machine learning to model the thermal behaviour of the building and proactively instructs HVAC unit operation and balancing damper position. The system also creates a continuous dialog between multiple HVAC units in a building, ensuring they work together to reduce energy usage. Dynamic Airflow Balancing has demonstrated energy savings ranging from 30-70%.

How would your products benefit building operators in the GCC?

Energy efficiency is a priority for all building operators. At the same time, they are constantly responding to occupant comfort problems. M.A.T. offers products to specifically address these concerns. [Our] solutions are fast and easy to install, thereby lowering cost and minimising disruptions in case of a retrofit.

What are the key trends in the regional MEP and HVAC market?

Energy efficiency continues to dominate the landscape, and this will continue to be the trend for the foreseeable future. For some time, manufacturers have been introducing new equipment and systems aimed at energy savings. However, this has greatly increased the complexity of the solutions and technical expertise required of MEP consultants and operators. This presents a challenge and an opportunity for manufacturers.

Can they introduce technologies that not only offer low upfront installed cost but lower ongoing operational costs as well? The latter can positively impact return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO). The Middle East market has shown itself to be open to the application of newer technologies. We expect that to continue in the future.

Which tech trends in are your product designs based on?

Our product development strategies are closely tied to technology trends and new industry standards or regulations that affect the air flow management industry. The emergence of IoT and Cloud computing is dramatically changing the landscape.

Harnessing the power [of] machine learning provides an opportunity to offload much of the reactive actions required of FMs, relieving them to do more significant tasks. M.A.T.’s product development activities, as they relate to the FM audience, will remain focused on more effective means of ensuring occupant comfort and HVAC efficiency.

What are your product and operational plans for 2017?

2016 was a positive year for M.A.T. The US commercial construction market was very strong and we continued market expansion across the GCC. In 2017, our priority is to achieve greater presence in the UAE’s commercial market. New product initiatives include the expansion of the 75F solution to the optimisation of chilled water systems and a retrofit damper package for precise control of outside air.

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