Meat processing plant beginnings evolved into a world leader of fabric HVAC duct innovation for education, retail, office and other commercial applications.
FabricAir® Inc., Lawrenceville, Ga., the original manufacturer of fabric HVAC duct, is celebrating its 45th anniversary campaign “45 Years of Proven Track Record” this month in North America and throughout its 10 international subsidiaries.
The first modern fabric duct was developed and installed in a slaughterhouse in 1973 by FabricAir’s precursor, Denmark-based IPS Dansk Presenning A/S, a company in the Eletrolux Group. The early fabric duct model designs successfully provided a safer environment for employees and more sanitary production lines by preventing condensation accumulation, corrosion and industrial hygienic challenges associated with food processing and conventional metal HVAC duct.
Retitled IPS Ventilation A/S as it spread across Europe in the 1980’s, new models were developed for applications beyond food processing. Soon IPS Ventilation A/S was the world’s leader in fabric duct by the 1990’s.
The 1990’s helped form the company’s leadership and product innovations that are still staples of ventilation today. Brian Refsgaard, FabricAir’s current CEO, joined the firm as a sales and business development manager. The research and development (R&D) department developed innovations such as NozzFlow–plastic nozzles for precision spot ventilation; Trevira–a cutting-edge permeable and washable fabric woven with flame-retardant materials; and a host of different vent designs to embrace most airflow challenges.
FabricAir made its North American market penetration in 1989, which led the company beyond refrigeration and into many HVAC applications. Retail, office, education and other commercial uses were commonly specified by engineers seeking uniform air dispersion. Meanwhile, contractors welcomed its installation labor reduction of up to 60 percent versus conventional round metal ducting in the booming open architectural ceiling ventilation market.
“Make it better and make it easier” was the motto driving new product developments after 2000, such as the All-In-One suspension system, a popular product with architects because it aesthetically keeps an inflated appearance whether the air handler is operating or not. After the world recession began in 2009, FabricAir gained an even larger foothold in the ventilation market as value engineering became important in new construction projects.
Today, FabricAir is still innovating and expanding. It recently introduced its new R&D AirLab, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis service, and state-of-the-art enhancements to its laser-cutting technology. Its U.S. operation is one of 11 international subsidiaries that help make it a world leader in fabric air ducting. “We foresee FabricAir growing exponentially another 45 years and beyond, while also remaining a worldwide leader in fabric HVAC duct innovation,” said Brian Refsgaard, CEO, FabricAir.
About FabricAir: FabricAir designs and produces custom air dispersion & air distribution solutions for a wide range of applications. In 1973 we installed the world’s first fabric ducting system, which heralded a whole new way of thinking within HVAC and indoor climate. We continue to be at the forefront of innovation and proudly deliver superior air dispersion across the globe through sales companies and a substantial distributor network. Our experienced engineers ensure ideal air flow regardless of project complexity. We are headquartered in Denmark and all systems are produced to measure at our facility in Lithuania. For more information on the VarioDuct or other FabricAir duct and accessories, please visit www.fabricair.com; or contact customer and technical support departments at sales-US@fabricair.com or by calling (502) 493-2210.
Charles J. Justice—National Sales Mgr.
John Parris Frantz