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Siemens and Grada International join forces and expertise

Intelligent components and the integration of various systems are essential in the management of large buildings. It is also an essential condition if we want to manage buildings more efficiently and above all in a climate-friendly way. Siemens and Grada International look to the future with a similar philosophy, each from their own field. That is why they now offer their different, yet complementary products in one package on the market.

Grada International has been a reliable partner and expert supplier of smart solutions in the field of air distribution, air control and air comfort for more than half a century. The Belgian manufacturer, based in Lokeren since its establishment in 1963, has its own laboratory with which it can make a difference in the field of R&D. As a specialist in VAV valves, Grada International is in the front row to assess the evolution of this product category. Further development of the VAV range is a constant process for Grada International.




"Since the outbreak of corona, the realisation has grown that we always and everywhere need good ventilation solutions," says Andries Maet, Product Manager VAV at Grada International. "VAV dampers play an important part in this, because they are needed to make demand-controlled ventilation possible - on the basis of for example occupancy, CO² level or air pollution. This in turn improves the energy efficiency of a building. That's why the demand for VAV dampers has grown so rapidly."

The technology behind the valves is also evolving at a rapid pace, especially in terms of the motors. "They are becoming more intelligent and offer more and more communication possibilities. This is necessary in order to be able to integrate them better into building management systems," says Andries. With this philosophy in mind, Grada International and Siemens have been working together for some years. Johnny Mosselmans, Sales Manager at Siemens Building Products, takes us back to the starting point of this fruitful cooperation: "It all started when the people from Grada International came knocking at our door looking for a solution for a project where the building management system had to interact with the VAV valves. By combining our smart motors with their VAV valves, Grada was able to offer a total solution to the customer."

Total solutions

In the years that followed, the contact between the two companies remained and the need for more intensive cooperation grew. "That's because the market is changing dramatically," says Johnny. "Two market trends stand out: components are becoming increasingly intelligent and customers are looking for total solutions. Just as you can't buy a car these days without a standard car radio, the demand for VAV valves with integrated intelligence is growing. After all, buildings need to become smarter and be able to communicate with other buildings: it's a necessary step towards becoming climate-neutral by 2050."

The same vision
That is why the cooperation is being further expanded. From now on Siemens and Grada will go to market hand in hand and integrate each other's solutions into their products. By joining forces, Siemens and Grada are also strengthening their expertise in areas in which they were not specialised until recently. "We offer an unambiguous solution and message to our and each other's customers," says Johnny Mosselmans. "We share the same vision of the future," adds Andries Maet. "We both aim for energy-efficient, intelligent systems and good ventilation, all integrated into a central building management system."

With an example, Andries points out the potential benefits of cooperation in a project. "In an office building with several Grada units, we can use a Siemens DXR motor and a room thermostat or CO² sensor to adjust the ventilation flow to specific parameters. And by combining our product expertise, the control in multi-functional buildings with different needs depending on the function of the room can be better tailored."

Cost savings over the entire service life
The cooperation also offers clear advantages for the installer: the engineering of the installation will be smoother and more efficient. "The cost savings start as early as at the mounting and adjustment stage and continue throughout the life of the installation," Andries points out. "Moreover, the end customer and the facility manager also benefit from thorough communication between the components. The initial extra cost is quickly recouped, because maintenance and problem monitoring run much more efficiently."

Both Siemens and Grada think the market should be better informed about the possibilities. Andries Maet: "At Grada we are surprised that VAVs are still very often sold with analogue motors, without any form of communication. We are convinced that communication on standards such as KNX, BACnet, etc. between the motor and the room controller offers unique advantages.  This is often underestimated. So there is still a long way to go to reach the final goal, a complete and integrated room control with communicating components."