Precision measuring tools like TSI’s AirPro Solutions make contractors’ jobs easier—and more pleasant.
Imagine climbing up a ladder, a meter in one hand, a probe in the other, notebook in your pocket, and pencil behind your ear. You’re trying to take duct traverse measurements, juggling various instruments, and taking notes. It’s not exactly easy.
For many years in the HVACR industry, this is just the way it was. Even as we become more and more accustomed to smartphones and apps, many HVACR contractors still complete the job the way it’s always been completed—with a few extra, even clunky steps. But the team at TSI knew there was a better, more efficient and comfortable way to get the job done. They spent a lot of time looking at old instruments—their own and competitors—before coming up with the perfect fix: AirPro® Solutions. From improved ergonomics to easily shared data, TSI’s AirPro Solutions make life a little easier for everyone. “The cumbersome, archaic menu systems, the bad displays, this is why we came out with AirPro Solutions and why it’s such a game changer in the industry,” says Topher Nelson, global product manager for TSI.
AIRPRO AT A GLANCE
- Smaller and lighter than previous models
- Ergonomic design
- User-friendly display
- Longer battery life
- Easily share data
- Incorporate photos
First off, with AirPro Solutions, you have one hand free. “You can have your phone in your pocket or on your belt and hold the meter with one hand and take the measurements. You can even set up continuous logging,” Nelson says, indicating how AirPro Solutions can record at various time intervals, too. It’s not just faster—it’s safer, especially when you consider the potential for falls.
“Not many companies offer an app with their instruments,” Nelson says. “This type of innovation enables TSI customers to be more efficient with easy to use, highly accurate tools that can be used in environments from new building construction to critical space testing in laboratories, hospitals, and clean rooms.”
Dan Schuster, service engineer for Bayside HVAC Products, has been working with TSI for decades with a focus on hospitals and laboratories. He was an early adopter of AirPro Solutions, picking it up in early 2017. He’d used TSI’s VelociCalc® meters since 2003 and says AirPro Solutions is even easier to use, especially as the highly accurate and durable solution is smaller and lighter. The biggest advantage, he says, is being able to easily generate a report with a photo of the fume hood along with the readings. “The next advantage is less jobsite note-taking and less time trying to decipher my own handwriting,” he laughs.
Schuster says this kind of “smart” tool could also change how millennials view trade work and help with the staff shortages he’s seeing. AirPro Solutions can also read more than five probes at once and log them simultaneously, though Schuster hasn’t tried that yet. “That promises to cut test time even more,” he says. And AirPro instruments also last longer, thanks to the rechargeable lithium battery, so you can work all day.
All in One—and Easy
Traditionally contractors had a handheld meter they put different probes in for different measurements, but now everything is in the app. You can also log in anywhere at anytime to see data, who is using a meter, and even the calibration certificate.
The design is also much improved, Nelson says. The screen display is bigger, crisper, and clearer, with familiar icons and swiping. “We handed this to customers and said, ‘Go ahead.’ Without giving them any guidance they can very easily click on a few icons to set it up and start taking measurements,” he says. “You can see the measurement you’re taking easily, and you can share the data effortlessly.”
The smaller meter is possible because the brains are in the app. “We don’t need as much space,” Nelson says. “Customers love it. It feels easy to hold and maneuver and fits into tight spaces.”
Just seeing and reviewing measurements can be impossible or very tricky with older instruments, Nelson says. AirPro Solutions allows customers to easily see a measurement before it is logged and pull up all the data directly from the app. You can also attach photos to that data—something that isn’t possible with a regular meter. Now, if a contractor sees a clogged filter, for instance, that contractor can attach a photo to show the customer. “A picture is worth 1,000 words. It’s great to be able to attach that right to the data and share that very quickly from your smart device to the customer or back to your own office,” Nelson says.
Getting More Done
AirPro Solutions increases productivity. Take, for example, one customer who travels once a month to complete measurements of 40 fume hoods, ensuring harmful vapors are contained. “It would take him five-and-a-half hours to do this. He got AirPro and it’s now taking him three-and-a-half hours,” he says. “He’s saving two hours every month. It might not seem like much, but that’s just one of his jobs where he uses AirPro. He’s much more productive now.”
Nelson expects that if every contractor used AirPro Solutions, prices in the industry would come down, as employees could accomplish more with less. Companies could do more jobs in less time, and the whole industry would benefit as good companies continue to innovate. “And when you’re going out and doing this kind of work it’s making your whole HVAC system more efficient,” Nelson says, adding that, from a sustainability standpoint, it makes sense.
TSI has been on the cutting edge of new technologies, making better sensors and products for decades. “We’ve been doing it for a long time, but we keep pushing ourselves to do better and bring better solutions to market,” Nelson says. But a lot has changed since TSI was founded in 1961 as Thermo-Systems Inc. by a group of University of Minnesota engineering graduates. They first developed a thermal anemometer to make accurate flow measurements in turbulent combustion—and that was the beginning of TSI’s fluid mechanics instrument line. The company’s first particle instrument debuted in 1966, and in 1977, the company moved to its 142,000-square-foot facility in Minnesota.
“There are some amazing people here who have created some really incredible technologies,” Nelson says. Now the company has almost 700 employees with offices all over the world, from Germany and France to India and Singapore. “It’s great to see how the company has grown and broadened to other markets and different measurement instruments. We’re all excited about what the future holds.”
Educating the Industry
Explore free online videos or sign up for in-depth training that covers everything from basic airflow to how to work with the mobile app when you check out TSI University and the HVAC & IAQ Training Center.
Learn more about the many measurements relating to aerosol science, airflow, chemical analysis, indoor air quality, fluid mechanics, biohazard detection, and more at tsi.com/tsi-university.
Read more about TSI.