There has been a dramatic rise in the use of underfloor air distribution (UFAD) systems over the past few decades. With benefits including improved occupant comfort, 30% lower energy costs, easier access to building services, and aesthetic appeal, UFAD is paying dividends for building owners worldwide.
UFAD works by directing airflow through pressurized plenum spaces underneath a raised access floor. This air is distributed into an occupied space through floor grilles, making them a key component of any UFAD system. In addition to delivering required airflow capacities, floor grilles are engineered with high load-bearing ratings and aesthetic qualities in mind.
However, not all UFAD grilles are created equally. Because of the high demands placed on them, inferior-quality floor grilles can be the weak link in the chain, which is why it’s critically important your UFAD system uses only the highest-quality products.
With the largest line of UFAD products in the marketplace, AirFixture continues to develop and test new innovations that push the limits floor grille technology. Let’s take a closer look at AirFixture’s line of stainless steel linear grilles, and why this unique solution is superior to similar conventionally designed products on the market.
Architectural and design aesthetics are among the key features of UFAD systems. Raised access flooring affords designers a unique opportunity to improve sunlight access thanks to greater ceiling heights, and the modular design offers unlimited possibilities for stunning layouts and floor plans.
With that in mind, AirFixture makes a variety of stainless steel grilles using roll-formed bars. The rounded face bars are spaced strategically for the highest aesthetic and heel penetration considerations, with superior polishing and finishing on the top grille surface that adds a soft and pristine visual touch to any space.
High Load Ratings
Load rating is an important consideration for a UFAD floor grille. It has to be capable of securely handling repeated foot traffic without damage or significant wear.
A grille’s load rating is usually governed by the strength and spacing of the crossbars or “combs”. Typically, most UFAD grilles on the market have load ratings as low as 300 lbs, which can invite the risk of potential injury and damage from heavier than anticipated loads.
Thanks to AirFixture’s use of high-performance roll-formed bars, our grilles are capable of carrying any reasonable load, typically around 900 lbs. While load ratings above the 1,000 to 1,250 lbs range are rarely needed, our grilles can be engineered to handle these or virtually any weight requirements.
Welding vs Mechanical Interlocking
The traditional way to make grilles with bar stock is to weld them. When this is done, however, the grilles twist, bow, and warp like bacon in a frying pan. As well, welded floor grilles:
- Can come loose from their housings
- Can have mismatched or misaligned bars
- Lack a uniform appearance
- Have noticeably inferior finishes
- Can rattle when walked over
- Are prone to breaking from wear and tear
AirFixture’s approach is radically different. We use patent pending mechanical interlocking method that overcomes these issues with either framed or frameless models available. With this manufacturing method, our grilles can be precision roll-formed to specification, ensuring evenly-spaced, high load-ratings, and greater durability.
As well, this process allows us to significantly reduce order lead times, with delivery times often as low as within five to nine weeks as opposed to the more typical three to five months.
Our grilles won’t come loose, won’t rattle, can be delivered faster, and allow for the kind of stunning finishes that welded models simply can’t match.
Another benefit of AirFixture’s unique manufacturing process is our ability to offer stronger grilles with fewer materials.
The raw cost of the stainless steel for grilles manufacture is 50-75% of the cost of the product. However, our newer design uses 27% of the steel that the typical solid bar design requires (after adjusting for bar spacing). And since AirFixture’s design uses prefinished sheet material, the finishing time and cost can be reduced by as much as 80%.
As a result, our new designs can sell for about $35 to $50 per square foot, compared to $100 to $125 from competing manufacturers.
The Next Generation of UFAD Grille Technology
AirFixture has spent years designing, developing, testing, and refining UFAD products so that buildings and businesses can take advantages of the benefits a commercial HVAC system can bring.
Our technology innovations continue to push the limits of UFAD floor grille technology, with components that are stronger, have better aesthetics, and cost less than competing brands. Contact us today to discover the AirFixture line of floor grilles, and how they can revolutionize your commercial space.