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AAON Celebrates Lab Opening that Houses World’s Largest Sound Test Chamber

AAON Celebrates Lab Opening that Houses World’s Largest Sound Test Chamber

By Mary Kate McGowan, Associate Editor, News
From HVAC&R Industry Newsletter, October 31, 2019

TULSA, OKLA.—From snow to high winds to freezing temperatures, HVAC equipment can be put through the ringer at AAON’s new laboratory.

AAON celebrated the grand opening of its Norman Asbjornson Innovation Center (NAIC) Tuesday night. The 65-foot (19.8 m) tall and 134,000 ft2 (12 449 m2) lab has 10 testing chambers specializing in both acoustics and thermal performance. It can test up to a 300-ton air-conditioning system, up to a 540-ton chiller system and up to 80 million Btu of gas heating test capacity, according to AAON.

Mark Fly (Left) and Norman Asbjornson spoke about the lab's capabilities
and how it can help AAON continue to create cutting edge technology and equipment at
the lab's grand opening.event.

Since the groundbreaking of the lab in February 2016, AAON has developed a world-leading research and development facility. AAON says this is the only lab in the world that measures the supply, return and outside sound testing at actual load conditions.

It is home to the largest sound test chamber in the world, which is the only one that can test for both sound and thermal performance, said Mark Fly, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, executive director of the NAIC.

“This is a very unique test facility,” he said.

The sound chamber at AAON's new facility can test for both sound and thermal performance. AAON says 
it is the largest sound test chamber in the world. 

The lab’s environmental application testing capabilities span -20°F (-28.9°C) to 140°F (60°C), up to 8 inches per hour rain testing, up to 2 inches per hour snow testing and up to 50 mph wind testing. The testing chambers allow AAON to meet and maintain AHRI and DOE certification, according to the company.

At the grand opening event, Norman Asbjornson, P.E., Member ASHRAE—the founder of AAON and the namesake of the new facility—said AAON has used the lab already to test products for prospective clients.

“That’s going to give us further insurance and viability for AAON now and in the future,” he said.

Fly said AAON is also using the testing chambers to improve current product offerings and for product development. 

“These test chambers are booked well into next year,” he said.

Gary Fields, president and director of AAON, said the company has about 1,900 employees in Oklahoma, and the company’s strategic plan is predicting continuing growth. He said he is looking forward to building more facilities in the 40 acres of land surrounding AAON’s Tulsa location.