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folder Case studies, Humidity control

Condair in tune with Steinway

Condair’s steam humidifiers are playing a vital role in maintaining the exceptional craftsmanship involved in the production of Steinway’s famous pianos.

Steinway & Sons, synonymous with building the world’s best and finest pianos for over 160 years, recently refurbished its impressive London showroom in Marylebone. The company required its contractor to create the optimum environmental conditions to prevent the wood used to craft these precision instruments from warping. Condair’s resistive steam (RS) humidifiers were specified and then installed in three rooms in the building, including the basement where the workshop is situated. All the units are feeding steam into air handling units to maintain the vital humidity levels required.

Steinway’s UK managing director, Craig Terry, explains: “Incredibly rare and expensive wood is used in some of our models – but actually any type of wood is susceptible to changes in environmental conditions. Dryness is the enemy of pianos so humidity is really important. We need 40% to 50% humidity all the time to protect the wood, whether they’re in the showroom or the workshop. Condair’s units are ideal for the job.

“And because we rely so heavily on the reliability of the humidifiers, we also contracted with Condair to service the humidifiers at regular intervals. Would I recommend Condair? Oh yes, they’ve supplied great service.”

If these precision musical instruments, which are worth many thousands of pounds each, are exposed to dry air it can change the instrument’s dimensions very slightly. This would be detrimental to their performance and result in them requiring much more frequent tuning, eventually leading to permanent deterioration over time. Thankfully, Condair’s RS humidifiers provide the perfect protection.

The Condair RS humidifiers installed at Steinway are capable of creating up to 16kg/h of humidity but the range has models offering maximum outputs from 5 to 160kg/h. The humidifier delivers accurate control without the expense of plastic disposable boiling cylinders, simplifying maintenance and keeping downtime to a minimum. Scale that forms on the heating elements breaks off under normal operation and falls into the externally located scale collector tank. Scale removal is a simple process of draining the tank with the push of a button, allowing the unit to cool then disconnecting the tank and emptying it.

An advanced touchscreen control panel makes operation simple, while providing detailed diagnostic reporting. In addition, a USB connection allows performance data to be downloaded into Excel and the humidifier’s software to be easily updated.

Dave Marshall-George, UK Sales Director at Condair, added: “Humidity control for Steinway is of particular importance during winter in the UK. As soon as the weather turns cold, indoor humidity may drop below the required 40%RH. However, air conditioning systems will also dry the air, so the humidification system will have been in regular use. Basically, whenever there’s a requirement to precisely control the environmental conditions around the pianos, the humidifiers will automatically do exactly what’s needed of them.

“We really value our relationship with Steinway and appreciate their faith in both the capability of the Condair RS humidifiers and our service engineers, who keep them running in tip top condition.”

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