A Custom HVAC Vibration Safety Solution for a Large Commercial Property

EDC has worked with many high-profile buildings in NYC for decades and has the necessary security clearances to access sensitive facilities.  This is a case study of one client with whom we worked to create a custom solution to a potentially very dangerous problem.


A prominent commercial property in NYC was periodically experiencing severe vibration with the chiller fans in their HVAC system.  The vibration was sometimes so severe that the property management team was concerned that a large fan blade could come loose, creating an extreme safety hazard for employees, tenants, equipment as well as the facility.



Electronic Drives & Controls implemented a custom safety system on the commercial property’s rotating equipment.  This turnkey installation automated the shutdown of a series of fans if the vibration level exceeded a specified level, ultimately preventing issues by allowing management to address the problem before allowing the fan to restart.

EDC installed sensors in the fan handling units to detect the vibration velocity of the fans.  The solution consisted of a programmable logic controller (PLC), variable frequency drive (VFD), vibration measurement hardware, network gateways, and wireless spread spectrum radios. EDC subcontracted the appropriate trades and also worked in conjunction with the building management system (BMS) provider to interface the EDC system with the BMS via Modbus TCP/IP.  Due to the physical location of the equipment, the information was transmitted over a 2.4 Ghz FM spread spectrum secure link.

Knowing there would be occasions where the fan needed to maintain continued full operation when the VFD is shut down, EDC configured a bypass to disable the VFD and communicate directly to the motor to run at full speed. This would keep the HVAC system completely functional and operational during exceptions, such as when EDC is performing preventive maintenance (PM) tasks.  Additionally, the bypass circuits were also modified to shut down and stop the motor if the vibration sensor detects vibration outside the established velocity parameters.

At EDC, we pride ourselves in helping our customers keep their facilities running at peak efficiency and safety. We are a factory authorized/factory trained service center for over 40 drive brands, and have alliances with world class hardware and software providers. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact us, we are here to help!