Mitsubishi Electric Develops Airflow Visualization & Control Technology for Commercial Air-Conditioning Systems

 Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announced that it has developed a new airflow-control technology that both visualizes and analyzes airflow from air-conditioning systems and temperature distribution for optimized room-wide comfort.

 The technology predicts airflows and temperatures, which vary according to the room shape and air-conditioning system layout, to determine how to minimize uneven temperatures and discomfort due to excessively strong airflow.

As such, the technology contributes both to occupant satisfaction and to building asset value. Mitsubishi Electric also expects to use its new solution to advise building owners and designers on how to enhance indoor layouts for increased comfort.

Key Features

1. Predicts airflow and temperature distribution to determine optimal conditions

  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is used to predict airflow and temperature distribution in out-of-the-way places, such as under desks or behind partitions, or due to other A/C units nearby.
  • Using airflow and temperature distribution as comfort indices, ideal airflow angles and volumes are automatically determined and controlled for optimized room-wide comfort.

Conventionally, indoor airflow is controlled independently by each A/C unit using data from its built-in sensors. But depending on the room layout and/or position of each unit, airflow may not reach areas such as corners. Also, the operation of adjacent units can disrupt intended airflows. 

Mitsubishi Electric's new technology, however, generates three-dimensional models using information on room and air-conditioning system layouts, and it also predicts airflow and temperature distribution using CFD analysis to test various conditions, including airflow angles/volumes and heat levels. From CFD analysis results, the technology selects the most ideal conditions and controls the A/C system's actual operation.

As a result, the technology enables airflow to be optimized, including when multiple A/C units are operating in the same room. Airflow analysis enables the prediction of complex airflow and temperature distribution, which is used to determine ideal airflow volume and direction required to maximize room-wide comfort, including in spaces near the floor and behind obstacles. 

2. Generates models to visualize airflow, temperature distribution and ventilation effects

  • Data required for airflow analysis, such as the locations of walls, floors, columns and A/C equipment, is extracted from building-information modeling (BIM) data to generate three-dimensional models.
  • Airflow analysis is performed by virtually testing models incorporating different furniture, indoor units and ventilation system layouts to visualize airflow, temperature-distribution and ventilation effects.

Constructing indoor models for CFD requires time and effort, and experts capable of analyzing the resulting information are limited. In response, Mitsubishi Electric has developed technology to lighten this workload and to simplify the processes of determining ideal settings as well as visualize and display the results intuitively. The solution collects information on room, indoor units and ventilation system layouts using BIM data (method for centrally managing and utilizing building lifecycle information) and then generates three-dimensional room models for airflow analysis. Room, indoor units and ventilation system layouts can be changed easily on-screen and the model numbers of specific Mitsubishi Electric A/C systems can be entered from a database.