Wilko, one of the UK’s largest family owned DIY, homeware and garden retailers, has confirmed it will start rolling out a nationwide upgrade programme for all the electric motors that drive HVAC air conditioning systems in its stores.

Following an extensive and successful trial period, the retailer has invested in a new patented IoT-driven Switch Reluctance Smart Motor system, manufactured by Silicon Valley-based SMC Motors and supplied and installed by ‘green tech’ start up, Future Motors Limited, SMC’s exclusive distributor in the UK.

The staged installation of nearly 400 SMC motors in over 100 wilko stores across the UK commenced in July 2020 and was completed within five months, helping to ensure the fastest possible return on investment for the retailer.

Daniel Stanton, Group Facilities Manager, wilko, said: “We have worked closely with Future Motors over the last six months and intensively trialled the SMC Switch Reluctance Smart Motor system across a select number of stores including Grimsby, Hemel Hempstead and North Shields, comparing its productivity, efficiency and energy and cost savings against our incumbent HVAC electric motors. The results have been extremely impressive and we are very pleased to now be announcing the start of a nationwide installation programme.”

The SMC Switch Reluctance Smart Motor’s built-in software and connectivity provides constant real-time monitoring of energy use, speed, torque, and temperature which allows automatic diagnosis of HVAC system issues. This connectivity also means remote controllability, maximising energy efficiency as well as enabling demand-side management to avoid higher energy tariffs and enjoy demand side response revenues.

The wilko stores selected for the trial were chosen on the basis that they all presented a diverse range of challenges in terms of installation, measurement and environmental conditions – so wilko could see how the motors would perform in a variety of conditions.

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