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March 2022

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How to safely work with industrial robot systems, from OSHA and NIOSH


Increasingly, U.S. industries are using robotic technologies to perform dangerous or repetitive tasks, and these systems are becoming more collaborative and mobile in nature. While these advances add new capabilities to work and the workplace, they also introduce new workplace hazards for those who work with and alongside the industrial robots.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Association for Advancing Automation (A3, formerly the Robotic Industries Association) formed an alliance to share technical knowledge, improve awareness about workplace hazards and appropriate safeguards, and identify needed research on the use of traditional industrial and emerging collaborative robotic technologies.

Recently, the alliance updated and expanded Chapter 4 in the OSHA Technical Manual, “Industrial Robot Systems and Industrial Robot System Safety.” The collective effort has made significant updates to the manual, including up-to-date technical information on the hazards associated with industrial and emergent robot applications, safety considerations for employers and workers, and risk assessments and risk reduction measures.

Read more . . .

Armstrong service plans for fluid-flow systems can improve performance


Armstrong Fluid Technology, a global innovator in the design, engineering and manufacturing of intelligent fluid-flow equipment, has just announced a new tiered suite of service plans to help customers in North America improve building performance and reduce energy costs.

The new Silver, Gold and Platinum service plans provide customers with cost-effective options to implement Active Performance Management practices, as they seek to optimize building performance and business results. All three levels of the program provide analytics, phone support and structured reports on asset performance. The more comprehensive plans include replacement parts and annual site visits.

Todd Rief, Armstrong CEO, stated, "Our 360 Services and Support plans are designed to help customers achieve maximum uptime, while minimizing their energy and maintenance costs. These plans, enabled by the power of digital twins and predictive analytics, embedded in our Active Performance Management architecture, help elevate the performance of a building through its lifecycle. We invite our partners to join us and learn more about new developments in our Active Performance Management architecture and our Service offering."

Read more . . .

How do high-volume ceiling fans impact exposure to Covid-19 in warehouses?


Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA) International, in collaboration with Concordia University and a team of engineers and scientists, has released the results of a year-long study of the impact of large-diameter (greater than 7 ft [2.1 m]) ceiling fans — also known as high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans — on coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) exposure in a warehouse in the United States.

Applicable to large open indoor spaces with low occupancy as well as to warehouses, the findings are based on more than 220 parametric computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) simulations varying worker and packing-line locations and fan speed (20 percent to 100 percent) with and without racking.

William P. Bahnfleth, PhD, PE, professor of architectural engineering at The Pennsylvania State University and chair of the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force, who served as science-team leader for the project, stated, "This well-constructed and executed study by Professor (Liangzhu [Leon]) Wang and his team … is a significant contribution to knowledge about the effects of HVAC systems on risk of infection transmission and will be helpful both to building operators and to organizations developing guidance for airborne-infection-risk mitigation."

Read more . . .

Smart buildings promote AI and predictive maintenance software, finds CABA


International not-for-profit intelligent buildings association  CABA recently announced the close of its research on AI and predictive maintenance in intelligent buildings. 

Using stakeholder surveys, expert interviews, and detailed market analysis, this project set out to understand how use cases, customer environments, buying behaviors, and ecosystem interactions all impact and influence the development of these technologies.

Significant catalysts are currently pushing the intelligent building community towards widespread adoption. The most prominent of these are the promised return on investment stemming from the reduction in operating expenses, capital expenses and unplanned downtime, concludes the report by Harbor Research, commissioned by CABA.

According to the report, predictive maintenance can be characterized as a suite of software and platforms tools that leverage data from control and automation systems, distributed sensor networks, and external business intelligence to predict the next system “event.” The growing demand for greater visibility and control around system and machine health, in conjunction with the increasing availability of emerging technologies, has led to a consistent cycle of innovation and progress in this space.

Read more . . .

Richard Conohan: Falling into FM; teaching the next generation with ProFM


ProFM Coached Self-Study instructor profile

Like many facility managers, Richard Conohan, ProFM, CFM, AssocRICS, FMP, SFP, CRL, didn’t begin his career intending to work in facility management. Instead, he found himself there as many do, by accident. Before beginning his current role as an Alliance Director at CBRE, Richard got his start as a security officer at a major shopping center. From there, he made connections with the maintenance team and began his journey into the FM profession.

“The operations supervisor at the time took a chance on a young me with no maintenance experience,” Conohan said. “And with his support, my first steps towards being in an FM role were taken.”

From there, Richard moved into the semiconductor industry as a building operator, which turned into a role as a Health, Safety and Environment manager before transitioning to CBRE as a senior facility manager, and finally to his current role as an Alliance Director at CBRE in the Energy, Oil & Gas sector.

Read more . . .

Hitachi's state-of-the-art VRF controllers manage multiple HVAC systems


Global heating and cooling technology provider Hitachi says it has raised the bar for Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) control with its latest line of controllers. Featuring intuitive designs and robust capabilities drawn from a long heritage of precision Japanese engineering, these new models provide state-of-the-art control of multiple systems.

The systems can be ideal for applications such as offices, hotels, restaurants and schools. They provide a variety of features for HVAC professionals and building occupants, including the airCloud Pro, VRF Central Touchscreen Controller, and Advanced Color Wired Remote Controller.

airCloud Pro

Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) professionals can enjoy anytime, anywhere control of an unlimited number of VRF systems with the airCloud Pro, says Hitachi. On the web or through a smartphone, the intuitive interface enables technicians to:

  • Adjust temperature, fan speed and equipment modes
  • Set operations schedules
  • Receive error and maintenance alerts
  • Add users with customized permissions

Read more . . .

NFMT: Healthcare FMs can gain insight on building systems issues


The unique needs of hospital and healthcare facilities professionals are addressed in a selection of sessions during the National Facilities Management & Technology (NFMT) Conference & ExpoMarch 29-31 in Baltimore. “Facility managers are ready to return to in-person events,” says Dan Weltin, editor-in-chief, facility market at Trade Press Media Group. “Virtual conferences have been helpful during the pandemic, but they are no substitute for a live trade show. NFMT will be the best opportunity to learn about the latest trends and see new products.”  

Eileen McMorrow, editor-in-chief, The McMorrow Reports/ Healthcare recommends sessions for facilities professionals in healthcare, among others, at the Read more link:  

Read more . . .


Fast Reads

AFE Updates


New! AFE Credential Holder Directory

If you are looking for a credentialed engineer or facilities professional for an opening at your company or organization, be sure to click on the new AFE Credential Holder Directory. The listings offer professionals holding the Boiler Level 2, CPE, CPMM, CPS, and those who have earned the AFE Fellow designation.


AFE Career Center

Visit the AFE Career Center to post or find a facilities engineering-related position. Companies, organizations and government agencies posting jobs in recent weeks include Herbein|Mosteller HR Solutions; U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO); Burns & McDonnell; Great Hollow Nature Preserve & Ecological Research Center; JLL; Fred Hutch & Seattle Cancer Care Alliance; McKesson; Trimble and many more.

AFE Certifications

Certifications from AFE include: Certified Plant Engineer (CPE), Certified Professional Maintenance Manager (CPMM) and Certified Professional Supervisor (CPS). Click the image below to learn more about core topics, courses to prepare for the exams, and eligibility.


Upcoming Events


Mar 20-22: NADCA 33rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (HVAC cleaning)

Mar 22-25: International Security Conference and Exposition (ISC West)

Mar 23-24: AEE East Energy Conference & Expo

Mar 29-31: National Facilities Management & Technology Conference/Expo (NFMT 2022)

Apr 1: AFE CPE Exam - Q1 2022

Apr 3-8: 2022 AFE Emerging Professionals Week

Apr 4: AFE Day with a Facilities Professional (DWFP) NYC

Apr 5: AFE Day with a Facilities Professional (DWFP) Binghamton / Vestal

Apr 6: AFE Day with a Facilities Professional (DWFP) Chicagoland

Apr 7: AFE 23 Emerging Professionals Day

Apr 8: AFE Day with a Facilities Professional (DWFP) Twin Cities

Apr 8: AFE 4 Cigar Classic XVI

Apr 11: AFE CPMM Instructor-Guided Online Review Course



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