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Product selection software in the HVAC industry

There are a great number of alternatives available, and choices to make, when designing a solution for ventilation, heating and cooling. Experts in the industry have, with long-time experience, identified how to improve the decision making process and ease the product selection. Want to learn more, and know how it benefits the customer? 

In the digital age, consumers have witnessed an unprecedented transformation in the way they make purchases or investment decisions. Gone are the days of rushed buying procedures and standardised options. With the rise of e-commerce, a remarkable shift has occurred. The buying process starts earlier, while customisation and personalisation is placed at the forefront of the buying experience. Customers have come to expect nothing less than the ability to make themselves well informed, they want to tailor their choices to their exact preferences, and manufacturers as well as retailers have responded accordingly by offering easy access web-based software. 

Early buying processes and customisation 
Consider the market for personal electronics, companies allow customers to start their buying process early and make detailed specifications of for instance processor speed, storage capacity, and screen size, which enable them to design a device that perfectly aligns with their needs and preferences.  

Another example is the automotive industry which in some cases has closed the door to a traditional dealership and entered a completely web-based purchase process. Online software allow for an easier decision making process and consumers’ demand for individuality is being met. Virtual design studios allow customers to easily make choices, and revise them, follow specifications and prices, and to personalize their products to something that feels uniquely theirs. This kind of early decision making and customisation does not only grant customers the freedom to craft their ideal product, but it helps them to avoid unnecessary time at the point of purchase and to minimise costs for features they won't use. Customers have today become the architects of their purchases. 

What does the HVAC customer expect from product selection software? 
The above is also becoming increasingly common in the industry of ventilation, heating and cooling (HVAC). Experts have identified that consultants, and even end-users, have raised expectations on being able to use web-based design software to help them select, size and configure units and entire HVAC-solutions. They want such software to allow them to perform advanced energy calculations, create sustainability reports and generate other data relevant to their project. Further, the resulting designs are expected to both be printed and exported to industry-standard file formats, this for inclusion in CAD drawings and architectural plans. 

From a user perspective, product selection software needs to be intuitive, give rapid response but also provide the latest line-up of products, smart tools and supporting functions. Considering software for the selection of air handling units, this means guiding the user step-by-step to the optimal configuration and tools to calculate the energy consumption so that pay-off calculations can be made. It should also include tools to support the project design, installation and commissioning phases.  

AHU Design - a software with clear advantages 
At Swegon we have a wide range of system design software solutions, one of which is AHU Design, which is used for the selection of air handling units. The software supports customers with initial concept design, and is used together with customers from the early stage space planning, all the way to production of the selected unit. It has been received favourably by customers since it was introduced to the market about five years ago, and Scott Francis, Area Sales Manager for Swegon in the UK, says that it might be so thanks to two significant advantages. First, it is easy to tweak and quickly try out different setups and configurations from all of the available Swegon air handling units, customers are not limited to a single product range. Secondly, the detailed level of technical output available, such as electrical loadings, humidity levels and the integrated Mollier graphs are great assets for consultants.  

One of the UK customers, Sam Shulver, a Principal Engineer at Skelly & Couch, a consulting firm for building environment and services engineering, says “AHU Design is user-friendly compared to others, and you don’t need as much support. It lets me draw up specifications at an early stage, sizing plant rooms and areas. It’s a good sizing tool for consultants. I get an early understanding of flow rates, and it’s easy to test different solutions and configurations. It’s very user-friendly with clear inputs and outputs, and we can get pretty detailed early specs. It lets me do a lot of the work before even contacting Swegon, and I can come to them with a rough plan already in place.” 

In summary, design software are becoming increasingly important in the industry of ventilation, heating and cooling. However, unlike some businesses, where the underlying goal of online services aim to shift the workload to the end customer, the driving force in HVAC is to ease the process for the customer and facilitate increased cooperation already from the early stages of a building project. Our Swegon AHU Design product selection software simplifies the process of sizing and configuring of Swegon’s air handling unit ranges and it allows advanced energy calculations to ensure that the solution is optimised to meet set requirements. The possibility of creating fairly detailed specifications enable us to support our customers from the early stages of a project through to commissioning. Get familiar with AHU Design.