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Pre-Insulated Duct: Turning the Tide

November 7, 2019 by Ductus  



Revolutionary

change within a long standing, multi-billion dollar industry occurs

infrequently at best. For such a change to occur the expected results would

have to significantly overcome the initial expense; but more so our own

perception and way of doing things. Pre-Insulated duct

seems to be achieving just that.


For almost a

century now, metal frame duct ventilation systems have been the only viable

option for commercial HVAC systems. Consumers have needed to cover the cost of

the product as well as the added expense of installing and maintaining tons of

large metal sheets, layered with large volumes of fibrous materials for

insulation.


Organising

installers takes time and increases the potential for human error. The heavy

and cumbersome nature of the material also increases risk to health and safety

while the considerable storage space needed remains unproductive and a constant

inconvenience throughout the entire installation period.


Withstanding

all this, sheet metal fabricators have grown into large companies benefitting

from a niche market affording them constant and specialised work. However,

emerging trends to produce greener and more efficient products have prompted

governments to impose stricter sanctions; limiting carbon emissions and forcing

manufactures to devise products requiring less energy to build and operate.


The global

warming potential or GWP of a product takes into account the energy needed for

its production and lifespan. The total embodied energy of a product can then be

calculated and given an efficiency rating.


Recent

advancements in closed-cell technology along with the need for better standards

encouraged manufacturers to engineer a much lighter and rigid panelling system.

Pre-insulated duct or rigid duct eliminates all the additional costs associated

with metal ductwork. One particular example; the ALP system has been measured

outperforming sheet metal systems by a very noticeable 85%.


This

incredible revelation caught our attention when it was first introduced into

the Australian market in 2015. Pre-insulated duct has of course been around for

quite some time but had previously offered no real incentive and therefore

gained no traction.


News on the

considerable savings in carbon emissions, time and money prompted interest from

regulators and engineers who have since supported the use of pre-insulated duct

through approval ratings and recommendations. Savvy businessmen have also shown

interest; and as such have now found themselves an opportunity to capture a

large proportion of the HVAC insulation market, long held by the sheet metal

giants.


Jim Malek of

Ductus

Air has been providing HVAC solutions for 15 years. His knowledge of the

industry as well as prior laboratorial experience allowed him to foresee the

rising demand for a new system and has been leading the charge ever since. I

spoke with him on how he sees the industry’s future and what he thinks will

happen to his sheet metal competitors.

……

After

speaking with Jim I did my own research into the advanced chemical and HVAC

industry market to see what others had to say. I was particularly interested to

see what market insights I could find regarding market share and sale volume

figures for the industry. Global market analysts collect raw data to define

trends in business sectors to enable informed decisions on potential market

outcomes.


After

reading through some of the reports on the global HVAC industry as well as the

industries supplying the materials used to manufacture both pre-insulated duct

and the fibreglass materials used in sheet metal systems; the demand for

pre-insulated duct is predicted to increase significantly.


Other

notable points to consider in this David and Goliath battle were that the

global market for this sector was predicted to rise significantly over the

coming years with the entire HVAC global market predicted to reach US $183

billion by 2025. Most of the demand in this sector would come from construction

projects within the Asia Pacific region where the demand for the fibreglass

materials associated with sheet metal ductwork is for the first time in history

expected to decline.