Tradesmen take pride in their work, so who could blame employees at Triple S Air Systems Inc., if they pray for a little rain in late August 2018. That's when the world of professional tennis descends upon the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, N.Y., for the U.S. Open. SMACNA member Triple S fabricated and installed a complex HVAC system in the stadium where tennis' elite will compete for a Grand Slam title.
Rain frequently caused delays at recent U.S. Open tournaments, so the United States Tennis Association (USTA) invested $150 million to install a retractable roof over the formerly open-air venue. Now, when the HVAC system is on, the Arthur Ashe Stadium can keep its court and 24,000 seats dry and climate controlled.
The team at Triple S, based in Ronkonkoma N.Y., doesn't shy away from high profile projects. In fact, they see the benefits of taking on challenges like the Arthur Ashe Stadium job.
“I believe, when projects have a sense of urgency or a higher degree of difficulty, it intrigues and focuses our team to think of new ways to accomplish tasks,” said Steven Benkovsky, president of Triple S.
The main objective of the new HVAC system—divided into four quadrants, 16 air handling units (AHUs), and 2,300 linear feet of 76-inch diameter spiral ductwork—was to manipulate the air flow through a system of internal dampers and external modulating plenum diffusers, all controlled by a BMS system.
The first challenge was the initial design of the automatic louvered damper plenums. Benkovsky was concerned with the design of the external plenum, which housed the internal automatic dampers, as well as affected the integrity of the 18-gage spiral ductwork by cutting into it. He worked closely with the engineers to modify the design, so it would be better for fabrication, shipping, and installation, as well as making it aesthetically pleasing from the seats below.
Logistics was also a challenge, due to the size of the ductwork. Triple S fabricated sections at their shop using a spiral duct machine. They installed internal 2-inch Spiracoustic® lining, and galvanized Spiralmate® companion flanges to connect sections. External plenums, which housed the modulating dampers and diffusers, were then installed onto the sections. Built sections (each 24 inches to 12 feet long) weighed up to 1,250 pounds.
Triple S used a crane on-site to lift the ductwork up onto scaffolding 125 feet above the tennis court. From there, sections were placed on specially made dollies fabricated in the Triple S shop and rolled into position for installation.
Triple S worked with Gripple Inc. (a SMACNA Associate Member) to design cable hangers to attach duct to the tubular steel roof supports, as well as a catenary cable system for areas where steel was not available over the ductwork. “The cable hanging systems worked very well for us and it is something that we are now using on other projects,” said Michael Albers, project manager with the company. Triple S also had to seismically brace the entire run of 76-inch round ductwork back to the tube steel utilizing Unistrut® metal framing.
At the August 2018 U.S. Open, members, along with more than 1 million television viewers, will take a look at Triple S Air's incredible work, rain or shine.