Modems minimise maintenance
Keston has been manufacturing boiler rigs since introducing them to the market in 1996 and we are still the only company to supply fully bespoke and pre-assembled models. The modular design of rigs means that almost any heating solution can be provided, leading to a complexity of design that can leave maintenance personnel scratching their heads. Keston’s advanced technology and sophisticated controls do mean that very little can go wrong but wouldn’t it be great not to have someone constantly on site to monitor the rig’s performance?
The connection of a modem to a boiler rig allows, in effect, the rig to communicate with a remote address, acting as a gateway to the outside world via the telephone network. This enables the rig to be monitored, and even modulated, without anyone being in attendance.
Keston has introduced modems as an option on all our boiler rigs specifically to give peace of mind to customers that the rig is always monitored, ensuring it is operating at peak efficiency at all times and that maintenance call outs are kept to a minimum. In the current economic climate, where each penny counts, businesses need to harness every opportunity to reduce running costs and increase energy efficiency. Modems provide such an opportunity.
Modems can work in one of two ways: as a fax modem and/or as a computer modem. Used as a fax output, the modem will send a message to a pre-programmed fax machine with either a weekly status report or a fault alert. The fax message will act as a warning that the rig requires attention or adjustment.
When acting as a computer interface, the modem will communicate in a similar way directly with a remote computer, with the added benefit that any adjustment needed to the rig can also be actioned from the same computer. There may be no need to visit the site and, if required, further reports, including historical records, can be downloaded to the computer.
Either fax machine or computer could be located in the same commercial building as the rig, or at the company’s headquarters, or at its maintenance contractor’s premises. In all cases, having no maintenance people on site is a more cost effective way of managing staff resource, whilst being confident that nothing can go wrong. Keston will even monitor rigs on a customer’s behalf free of charge during the warranty period.
So how have modems on rigs worked in practice? Recent applications of the Keston modem include a hotel and conference centre in Kegworth, Derbyshire. We supplied a four-boiler rig to power both the heating and hot water requirements. As with most hotels, peak demand was early evening and early morning, and, as the hotel also includes a swimming pool and spa, the hot water demand was significant. To help address this demand Keston designed a solar pre-heat system, incorporating this onto the rig, which ensured the fuel bills were kept to a minimum.
Because the boiler room was located on the top floor of the building, it was some distance from the reception area. Consequently, the hotel management was concerned that, if for any reason a boiler failed to function correctly, the first they might know about it would be a complaint from a customer that there was no hot water available in their shower. Clearly this was not acceptable as it could affect the hotel’s reputation for excellent service and facilities. The solution was a rig modem. In this instance, the hotel opted for the fax alert. Should there be an error with the rig’s operation, the modem will fax the reception desk to advise them that action is required. This has avoided the need to instigate daily system checks and reassured the management team that its guests’ comfort is guaranteed. So far, there has been no need for a fax alert and no complaints from the hotel’s customers.
A similar application called for a modem in a large house in central London. Here, the three-boiler Keston rig was positioned in the attic. As the ceilings were very high, it meant that day-to-day access to the attic was virtually impossible. A fax alert was also the most appropriate option here and the modem was installed so that it would send a fax to the housekeeper to keep them aware of the boilers performance.
Probably the most interesting recent application has been for a property developer, again in London. The properties were being developed for conversion to flats and apartments for lease. As with many properties around the capital, it was difficult for the developer to keep a watchful eye on each rig system installed. What he needed was remote access from a central location to minimise the number of occasions that he or his personnel needed to visit each site and to give him confidence that he would be the first one to know of an error should one occur. As well as emergency alerts, Keston’s modem sends regular, standard reports to the developer’s office so that he is able to monitor the rig remotely and adjust boiler temperatures and timings as required.
These three applications have each significantly benefited from including a modem on their Keston rigs by improving their customer service, ensuring continuous comfort for the buildings’ occupants and by reducing the need for onsite maintenance checks. With the peace of mind that modems bring, no rig should be without one.