expands chilled beam cooling equipment manufacturing here
WESTFIELD There is a hotel room just off Exit 3 of the Massachusetts turnpike here where the air conditioner never makes a noise, even when the world outside its window gets as hot and humid as Panama.
You can’t rent it for the night, but Westfield based Mestek Co. and its Dadanco division wants you to buy the super efficient made in Westfield HVAC technology the company has installed in that room and in the replica hospital room, laboratory, elementary school classroom and office at its Luxton Reed Center. Smith assembly factory at 47 industrial Park Road. Luxton Reed is zero net energy with the 406 solar panels on the roof making more energy on a good day than the facility uses.
The idea behind the demonstration rooms, said Chris Lawrence, Dadanco’s vice president of sales and marketing, is to give builders, architects and developers a real world taste of what Dadanco’s technology can do. Dadanco sales people can heat up the space outside the hotel room’s window to demonstrate a tropical location. Green Building Council and the World Green Building Council. The Green Building Council is behind the LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation.
The Luxton Reed Center is itself a LID certified building and Dadanco’s technology can help builders reach Leed goals.
The technology works, Lawrence said, by using chilled water to cool buildings. Dadanco equipment takes a relatively small amount of air from a chiller, so that it is dehumidified, and passes that air over the cold water pipes at high speed. This creates negative pressure and draws room air over chilled pipes as well, cooling that room air.
Pumps for water are more efficient than fans for air, so moving less air is and more water is more efficient. Also, water has a higher specific gravity than air and thus holds its temperature better. A chilled beam system can be 30 percent more efficient than a traditional system.
Mestek started distributing Dadanco, an Australian company’s, technology in 2007, said Stewart Reed, Mestek’s CEO and son of founder, John Reed.
Mestek bought out Dadanco, moved manufacturing and management to Westfield and started work on the Luxton Reed center, named for John Reed and for Russell E. “Sam” Luxton who developed some of the technology.
“(The Center) was a major investment for the company and we are proud of it,” Stewart Reed said.
Since bringing Dadanco to Westfield, Reed said Mestek has hired 12 additional manufacturing and design workers and is in the market to hire more engineers and designers.
“We will scale up manufacturing as we sell more of the technology,” Reed said.
The products are built in Mestek’s south Factory, elsewhere in Westfield. Manufacturing employees in all Mestek’s operations here earn about $29 an hour when benefits are figured in. overall, the Mestek has 1,800 employees with 350 in its Westfield locations.
How can Mestek afford to manufacture its products, including Dadanco, in a high cost area? Reed said efficiency is the key. They just installed a brand new painting facility, for example.
And manufacturing employees go through rigorous LEAN training to eliminate waste, a program based on Toyota manufacturing methods.
“As they get more versatile they become more valuable and we can pay them more,” he said. “We can do it here because of the quality of the people we have been able to attract.”
Reed said he also is working to make Mestek an attractive buyer for company owners looking to sell.
“Owners are not looking for every last dollar,” he said. “They want a fair price, but they want to know the company is going to be in good hands. That is where I want to position Mestek.”
Mayor Daniel Knapik said the city offered tax incentives to get the Luxton Reed Center built.
According to city records it was a 9 Year tax increment financing agreement that expected to save Mestek $62,180. The state approved $133,200 in investment tax credits. Mestek, Inc. also will benefit from the state’s 10 percent abandoned building deduction.
“It’s part of a trend we have seen with manufacturing jobs coming back to this country,” Knapik said. “Those jobs are the gold standard. Manufacturing jobs set the tone for the rest of the economy.”
“We added a million jobs when everyone else was laying people off,” Gottfried said of the industry as a whole. “This is not hug a tree, send $50 to the Sierra club and get the Birkenstocks. This is the billionaire of future.;