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Motorola Finds HVAC Solution with the Kingspan KoolDuct ® System

Training Facility Gets Retrofit with Pre-Insulated Ducts

Kingspan Case Study: Motorola Solutions Training Facility — Elgin, IL
Building Type: Corporate Training and Manufacturing Center
Kingspan Insulation Products Used: 
2,700 R6 7/8” KoolDuct ® panels w/ hardware
Product Installer: 
Sheet Metal Werks, Arlington Heights, IL






Motorola Solutions Training Facility — Elgin, IL

Motorola Solutions recently invested $18 million to update a vacant, relatively new, 300,000 square-foot building in Elgin, Illinois for use as a training and manufacturing facility. The company produces communications technologies for government, police, fire and security agencies in more than 100 countries.

Located in the Northwest Business Park on Galvin Road, named in honor of the Galvin family that in 1921 founded what would become Motorola, Inc., the goal was to have every component of the facility brought beyond state-of-the art. It was imperative that the HVAC system could maintain a clean air environment while providing excellent thermal performance. For each of these reasons, the Kingspan KoolDuct ® System, an advanced and innovative system of pre-insulated phenolic ductwork, was specified.

Scope of Work

Although the building was a recent construction, Motorola Solutions wanted certain areas to undergo a retrofit to meet the company’s specific needs. The original HVAC ductwork installation was conventional sheet metal with insulation wrapping and was targeted for replacement.

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Sheet Metal Werks (SMW), based in Arlington Heights, Illinois, was contracted to fabricate and supply an entirely new system of ductwork. “The engineer wanted the ductwork to have a thermal performance rating of at least R-6,” said Kevin Ryan, president of Sheet Metal Werks. “We specified Kingspan KoolDuct ®, a complete HVAC ducting system that offers superior performance for industrial, commercial and even residential applications.” Approximately 137K sq ft of R-6 7/8” KoolDuct ® panels were installed on this project.

Kevin Ryan identified three primary benefits he believes KoolDuct ® gave to the Motorola Solutions project. “First is the lightweight construction of the material that reduced the total weight of the job by 100 tons,” he said. “For a standard job of this size we would have needed 250,000 pounds of galvanized metal. But we only needed 50,000 pounds of KoolDuct ® for the Motorola Solutions job.”

Ryan was also very pleased to discover that KoolDuct ® offered energy efficiency and a virtually leak free system. “We were tested in the field at 4” p.c. and we came in at a .005,” he said. “With KoolDuct ®, air leakage can be reduced to a fraction of what typical sheet metal ductwork allows.” According to Ryan, the product’s lighter weight was another primary reason the engineer chose KoolDuct ® and it allowed the Sheet Metal Werks crew to greatly reduce its job completion schedule. “By picking up time in the field we were able to turn around this job in 10 weeks total,” he recalled.

The Phenolic Factor

The Kingspan KoolDuct® System is based on an important manufacturing shift that has occurred in commercial and industrial ductwork systems. The heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) industry has entered a new era as phenolic pre-insulated ducts are replacing those fabricated with galvanized sheet metal. Phenolic pre-insulated ducts are constructed from phenolic insulation panels, which comprise a fiber-free insulation core with a factory applied reinforced aluminum foil facing on both sides.

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KoolDuct ® ductwork can be installed internally, externally, concealed above a false ceiling or visibly mounted. Designers and engineers like this versatility aspect because it enables individual system components such as plenums, risers and straight sections to be easily integrated to form the network of ducts. Kingspan KoolDuct ® ductwork sections can be up to 13′ long. The system comes with a complete line of accessories that are used to assemble ductwork that can yield significant energy savings because of reduced heating and cooling loads.

The Future Is Calling

Future 1Ductwork fabricated from the KoolDuct ® System is particularly suitable for use on high specification projects in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, and all areas that need clean air in hygiene controlled environments. It is also excellent for high humidity areas such as swimming pools, sterile sections of medical facilities and even computer server rooms in data centers where non-fibrous insulation is required.

Sheet Metal Werks has installed duct delivery systems in the Chicago area for almost three decades and is the dedicated KoolDuct ® fabrication company in that market. The company held a special event last fall to demonstrate the Kingspan KoolDuct ® system that drew nearly 200 HVAC contractors. Kevin Ryan feels these pre-insulated ducts will become the standard ventilation material on commercial buildings in the future. “Without question, with its all-around performance and cutting edge technology, KoolDuct ® will surround the market for sure in the Chicago area,” he said.

The Motorola Solutions Training facility was Sheet Metal Werks’ third project using the Kingspan KoolDuct ® System and was an excellent teaching job for Kevin Ryan and his workers. “We plan to continue enhancing our fabrication skills with this system,” he said. “In my 30 years as a sheet metal fabricator, I have not seen a product that has the potential to revolutionize the industry like KoolDuct ® can — and will.”

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