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Geoff Maitland, president of Bronswerk Group, says his company has become a global leader in HVAC systems

As part of Canada’s NSS (National Shipbuilding Strategy), construction on the first Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) has begun at Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax and Bronswerk Group, a Canadian company based in Brossard near Montreal, has been awarded full system responsibility for the design of the HVAC-R system as well as the supply and installation of the complete system on all planned AOPS vessels.

When asked how an HVAC company can be Irving’s third largest supplier on that program – surpassed only by the propulsion and the weapons systems providers – Geoff Maitland, President of Bronswerk Group explained, “It is often surprising to most of our customers that HVAC-R represents 20% of a ship’s volume. We are also global leaders in designing, manufacturing and testing a wide range of specialized equipment from NBC units, radar environmental control units, SCUs, FCUs and chillers to name a few. Combine these together and our projects become quite large.”

Given the importance of NSS, the need for Bronswerk to truly differentiate itself from their competitors was critical so Bronswerk, a Canadian company with its head office and manufacturing operations in Quebec, established offices in Halifax and Vancouver where they have growing teams of installers, engineers, ISS and Refrigeration Technicians that situates the company close to its customers on both the East and West coasts.

Bronswerk was also the HVAC-R OEM for the Canadian Patrol Frigate program back in the 1980s and since that time the company has continued to develop an impressive reputation around the globe in its field.

In fact, Bronswerk Group’s Canadian success has been built on the company’s cutting edge HVAC system, integrated NBC and refrigeration and cooling equipment. Bronswerk’s Maitland said that in anticipation of NSS the company has been researching and testing its equipment designs to make them truly suitable for a true global combatant ship, “One of the specific challenges with AOPS, which must also be overcome for CSC, is the operation of critical systems in both extremely low and extremely high temperature environments.”

He explained, “Paradoxically, the extremely low temperatures of Canadian winters often create overheating issues that can lead to failure of critical areas of the ship such as operation rooms, communication rooms, munitions rooms and radar domes. Most suppliers do not design their cooling equipment for arctic conditions which means that their chillers will cut out and other critical equipment will overheat and become unavailable.”

Maitland, added, “A situation like this in Canada can leave our Naval and Coastguard vessels vulnerable and unable to execute defensive operations should they come under attack in these [winter] conditions.”And, Bronswerk has solved this uniquely Canadian issue with the tested and proven solutions currently being implemented on AOPS allowing those ships to be fully operational in any temperature, in any area of the world.


For Bronswerk, modular has become its watch-word and it has set out to equip the Canadian AOPS ships with primary and secondary systems which include stand-alone and modular chillers that are self-contained, energy-efficient, and deliver full capacity with sea-water temperatures ranging from -2°C to 36°C.

The primary air system can be fully integrated with Bronswerk’s Canadian designed and manufactured NBC system on combatant ships to ensure that the crew remains secure and comfortable, while still being able to carry on operations under ship’s most heavily armoured section.

The primary air systems are made up of several air handling units which are equipped with automated controls that distribute temperate clean air through a duct system. The secondary air system is comprised of high efficiency fan coil units and secondary modular CUBE units that are local to the technical spaces which have high heat generating equipment. Self-contained units are utilized for similar spaces located outside the citadels. All equipment is designed with vibration and shock dampers as well as speed control, when required, to ensure sound and signature emissions are kept to a minimum.

To ensure the citadel and sub-citadel are both fully protected, they must be gas tight, pressurized up to 500Pa and equipped with over-pressure relief valves. Bronswerk also provides automated spring-loaded barometric valves to maintain the citadels’ pressure.

Bronswerk has full responsibility for HVAC systems on the new AOPS ships


Since Chillers are a key component of the complete HVAC design, Bronswerk invested in research and development designing and testing two different series in 2015; Navy Chiller Series, and the Modular Chiller that can be grouped in sets of up to four. The Navy Chiller is a rugged, energy efficient solution with models that deliver capacities of up to 500 kW. This chiller was proven to withstand MIL-Spec Tests: Shock (MIL-S-901), Vibration (MIL-STD-167) and EMI (MIL-STD-461).

It also continues to operate when tilted at acute angles up to 45°. The modular design can be linked in a series of up to four chillers. The benefit of this design is that critical equipment can be cooled even in frigid environments that normally cause most chillers to cut-out. Both the Navy Chiller and the Modular series were designed to deliver full cooling capacity anywhere around the globe.

Bronswerk’s Maitland emphasized, “The Modern Navy needs to operate around the globe and Canada’s new fleet of warships will be no exception. The latest iteration of HVAC-R system integrated with NBC capabilities and cooling equipment that Bronswerk Group has fine-tuned to run in frigid conditions has differentiated the company from the pack today and also into the future. Combined with our latest in-house automation controls that have also been fully tested for EMI MIL-STD-461 we can design and manufacture to suit any requirement.”

Perhaps it is precisely this capability that truly differentiates Bronswerk Group from the other major players who purport to deliver military spec HVAC. Besides providing the latest in military HVAC-R that delivers comfort and safety to the crew and the ships key systems, the company’s success is based on a range of elements. The company provides custom solutions to meet its client’s needs from the conception of the complete 3-D modeled HVAC system design, the manufacturing of specialized refrigeration and chiller units, to after-sales support. They also offer installation and full service maintenance and repair support in a number of different locations around the world.

Maitland concludes, “To put it in the most basic of terms, we want to satisfy our customers. Our team focuses on delivering a quality solution.We don’t let our clients down and we never walk away from a problem. Our satisfaction ratings are consistently over 88% in all our locations and I think that is because our employees are dedicated and proud of what they deliver.”

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