It’s no secret that companies like to promote themselves using their biggest projects. After all, large projects show the world what a company can do when it rises to the challenge. Here at Fidelix, we have made a name for ourselves by completing key projects for the Helsinki Music Centre, a concert hall located on a prestigious site between Finlandia Hall and the museum of contemporary art, as well as Oodi Library and Amos Rex, the interestingly designed Helsinki Central Library and art museum, respectively. “We’re proud of our big projects,” says Asko Määttä, Head of Product & Solution Sales at Fidelix. “It shows that there is no limit to the complexity and size of what Fidelix systems can handle.”
But while Fidelix is proud of this list of achievements, it doesn’t represent the day-to-day work that the company lives and breathes. The truth is, Fidelix products are just as suitable for small- and medium-sized projects as their larger counterparts – if not more. “Long story short, you don’t need to be a big corporation to work with us,” says Määttä. “We have handled projects that involve over 100,000 data points, but often that number is much, much lower. We’ve completed projects that ended up using fewer than 100. That’s our bread and butter, our everyday.”
Partial energy flow renovations or refurbishments
One of the most common types of small- to medium- sized projects that Fidelix handles, especially in colder environments, is a partial energy flow renovation or refurbishment. Rather than overhauling all systems in the building, maybe even including lights, access control and full building automation, Fidelix focuses on energy monitoring, control, and consumption optimisation.
“Sometimes it’s better to think smaller,” says Määttä. “Instead of proposing a complete replacement of the automation systems, we might solely focus on optimising the ventilation or heating. That way, we obtain maximum savings at minimum effort and cost, proving that bigger isn’t always better.”
Small- to medium-sized buildings
Fidelix also handles small- to medium-sized buildings such as blocks of flats in which there are usually three air handling units or fewer. In blocks of flats, there could be a heating unit, maybe an air handling unit, and a few I/O points to control outdoor lighting, locks, saunas, and so on. But this type of work could also mean small office buildings and warehouses.
“These are our most common projects,” says Reinout Ederveen, Product Support Lead at Fidelix. “Projects with a single district heating room, two air handling units, three staircases with outdoor lights, and four saunas to be managed. We’ve done thousands of projects this size.”
“Heated streets and playing fields are something else our products are used for,” adds Määttä. “If you walk around downtown Helsinki, by Stockmann, there’s a Fidelix system running the ice-melting system there. You never see it, but it’s there, keeping the road ice-free. That’s what it’ll be doing right about now, in fact!”
One of Fidelix’s recent custom projects was the development of a dedicated controller for a public hot spring in Iceland. The hot spring makes use of five baths in which customers can enjoy naturally hot water, but this temperature needs regulating because the spring water is boiling when it leaves the ground. Fidelix’s controller mixes the spring water with cold water using valves to create a temperature of 37-40°C.
“They needed an easy-to-use, always accessible overview of all the hot tubs available to the staff members at the spa,” says Ederveen. “So, we created a solution for them using our FX-SPIDER-40/10 controller. We placed a display at the admin desk that gives an overview of the hot tubs with the inlet and outlet temperature and a blinking alarm if the temperature deviates from the limits. On the surface, this is a small thing. But it offers an easily accessible and understandable way to make sure that even after cleaning or other maintenance, there is never water in the hot tubs that is too warm.”
“The challenge was, that by default, our displays go into screen saver mode after a few minutes, which was exactly what the customer didn’t want, so we borrowed special OEM firmware that made use of an always-on feature,” adds Määttä. “So, it’s not just the large projects that we customise products for, it’s for smaller projects too.”
Fidelix is a good partner for small- to mid-size projects
In 2020, Fidelix was chosen to create a building automation solution for Tripla. The solution covered all areas of the mall, from parking facilities and the renovated train station to the surrounding office buildings, homes and hotel.
When communicating the success of this project to the world, it makes sense to include the detail that the project was the largest that Finnish construction company YIT has ever undertaken. What is less known, however, is the fact that projects of this scale come with pretty unique challenges – the sort of challenges that are much easier to solve together with customers when there are fewer people involved.
“We have so many substations at Tripla that even our own internal communications between controllers have at points been too slow for handling certain functions,” says Ederveen. “So, we developed a new communication channel between the controllers dedicated to a single feature. And while this shows that we are ambitious and relentless problem-solvers, you just don’t have to deal with these things in smaller projects!”
Määttä concludes: “Smaller partners often require fast response times, because that’s just how they work. This suits us perfectly at Fidelix because that’s how we work, too. We pride ourselves on having fast turnaround times. Our customer support will always answer, if not within the hour, certainly within the same day. So, on the same day you contact us, you will get at least a response, but often the full solution. That’s just how we operate.”