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Air power

Keeping it clean at Toronto's new forensics lab.


DV System’s oil-free system covers applications from the mechanical bays and garage to HVAC control, lab and autopsy stations.

When DV Systems promises to produce compressed air that’s of better quality than the air we breathe, it says a lot about the CEO’s confidence in his made-in-Canada operation. But it also helped the company land a significant contract.

The Barrie, Ont.-based manufacturer of air compressors has installed its oil-free systems in the soon to be operational Forensics Services and Coroners Complex (FSCC) in Toronto.

One of the largest facilities of its kind in North America, the 550,000 square-foot complex in Downsview, part of Toronto’s North York district, will open this fall housing the Centre of Forensic Sciences, the Office of the Chief Coroner and the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit under one roof. The facilities it replaces are more 30 years old.

DV Systems’ 45,000 square-foot plant is staffed by 45 employees, four of them engineers who focus solely on R&D, developing products such as a new line of 200 horsepower air compressors.

Its products are made in Canada, a point of great pride to Bogdan Markiel, the company’s CEO. That might not have been the case if Markiel and his partner (and president) Garth Greenough hadn’t come along.

It all started with DeVilbiss Co. of Toledo, Ohio, which began producing air compressors in Barrie in 1954.

“When Garth and I bought the company in 2006, that’s when the Canadian company truly began,” says Markiel. Indeed, they bought it from two Americans who were shipping business segments elsewhere, including to Mexico.

“We wanted to develop a reputation for reliability and design products around that idea – simple in concept, but sophisticated and reliable in construction. And we wanted to make them in Canada.”

Everything the company designs with variable speed drives is to reduce energy and the CEO says a flexible manufacturing line gives DV Systems a competitive advantage.

“We cross-train our employees so they’re able to work in different locations along the line, which enables us to build a variety of products and move people around when demand for certain products peaks or decreases,” he says. “That allows us to be extremely responsive to the market and reduce delivery times because we produce everything to order. We’re able to have orders out the door in less than four days.”

System reliability helped to secure the FSCC contract, which the company completed in December.

“The system had to be fully redundant, so we installed isolation valves along the entire system in case one device has to be serviced,” says Markiel. “The compressors are sequenced so they alternate; giving each other a break.”

The facility adheres to LEED Gold Certification standards for the control of highly infectious airborne diseases, which includes a separate and distinct Containment Level 3 (CL3) autopsy zone, the first in Canada for a forensic facility. It also includes a dedicated air handling system with cascading pressurization and HEPA filtration of exhausted air;a ‘kill tank’ using heat from the treatment of liquid effluent; a dedicated body receiving area and coolers; autopsy and x-ray rooms; an evidence screening laboratory for the CFS; male/female walk-through decontamination showers to and from gowning areas; and an autoclave with a “dunk tank” for safe removal of waste materials and specimens.

Critical components in the compressed air system include two of DV Systems’ J75 Mohawk variable speed drive rotary screw compressors, one 50 hp rotary screw compressor, two desicant air dryers, and two ETC catalytic converters.

System critical
The compressed air has multiple applications from the mechanical bays and garage area to HVAC controls, lab stations and autopsy stations.
“The compressors sit on vibration pads, on poured concrete platforms to keep them as stable as possible and we’ve installed stainless steel pipe to reduce the chance of pressure drops,” says Markiel.

Working alongside contractor Modern Niagara Inc., which managed the FSCC’s critical mechanical systems, DV Systems had to ensure the entire facility would have a continuous compressed air supply. The ETC oil-free compressors remove oils suspended in ambient air according to ISO 8573 class 0, and they achieve class 1 even with hydrocarbon concentrations up to 154,000 parts per billion. A clean condensate with a hydrocarbon concentration downstream of the ETC is less than 1.93 parts per billion.

The system also produces a condensate that’s not acidic compared to other oil-free compressors, achieving pH levels of less than seven. The catalytic process minimizes bacteria, fungus and microbial content. And a protective shutdown unit prevents oil-containing compressed air from entering the network in the event of a malfunction.

Not that guests in the morgue or autopsy area would care, bottom line, the compressed air is better quality than the air we breathe – promise kept by DV Systems.

Check out a video of how the ETC compressors work here.

This article appears in the May/June edition of PLANT.
Comments? E-mail mpowell@plant.ca.