HVS Engineering Pte Ltd is a local enterprise that provides automated maintenance solutions for heat exchanger systems in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) industries. The current patented HVS Automatic Brush Ball Cleaning System is a self-contained cleaning system which utilises design-specific resilient brush balls circulating within part of the heat exchange system to clean fouling at the initial stage of formation. It is able to continuously circulate the brush balls through the tubes as compared to the intermittent cleaning sequence of the old system, ensuring that fouling will not occur. 

Fouling refers to the accumulation of unwanted material on solid surfaces that impede function. Choked tubes would also need the compressor to work harder to drive the fluid through the tubes, increasing energy consumption and higher electricity bills. 

With the intent to expand their business into the oil and gas industry, in particular addressing crude oil preheater fouling issues, HVS Engineering was looking for an advanced material to replace its existing HVS brush ball which was not designed to withstand the high temperature and harsh oil-based environment in the oil and gas industry. Through TechInnovation, a technology-industry brokerage event organised by IPI in 2013, HVS Engineering learnt that the Materials Centre of Innovation (MCOI) at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) has a new elastomeric nano-composite material with high thermal stability and chemical resistance. HVS Engineering was interested in this new material and the discussion continued after TechInnovation.

HVS Engineering received funding from SPRING’s Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV) and a research collaboration agreement was inked with the MCOI on 1 December 2013 to develop a new material for HVS’ brush ball. The two-month project yielded a material that can maintain mechanical and thermal stability even at temperatures of at least 250°C in petroleum environment.

“We are pleased to share our technical needs with MCOI through TechInnovation. Our successful research collaboration has enabled us to integrate a new technology to develop an enhanced product. With the new HVS brush ball material, we are able to enter into a new niche market in the oil and gas sector, and further grow our customer base,” said Alex Chow, Managing Director, HVS Engineering.

“Through TechInnovation, we had the opportunity to connect with many SMEs and get to understand their businesses as well as the challenges that they face. It has been most rewarding that we managed to effectively tailor our materials technology to suit the needs of companies such as HVS Engineering,” commented Dr Leong Yew Wei, Manager, MCOI.