Guardian Manufacturing is an industry leader in the design and integration of industrial and commercial control systems for many sectors including automotive, food and beverage, agriculture, laundry, zoological, aquaculture, home building products, space, entertainment, and pharmaceutical.
Guardian Manufacturing was founded in 1993 by Chuck Smith and Joe Sheram as a manufacturer of second generation alcohol interlock devices for the automotive industry. These are blood alcohol breathalyzers, connected directly to the ignition of an automobile, and are designed to prevent impaired driving. The operator must breathe into the device and pass a blood alcohol concentration test before the vehicle can be started. According to the company website, Guardian designed and manufactured 35,000 of these devices between 1993 and 2003, when Smith acquired all ownership interest in the company.
In 1995, Smith began expanding Guardian’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities, and in 1997, he began exploring industrial and commercial applications for ozone. Today, Guardian is recognized as a leader in ozone generation products and antimicrobial water treatment systems, having developed a range of diverse products including energy efficient ozone laundry systems, water-based ozone antimicrobial treatment systems, ballast water treatment systems, ozone sanitation systems, gaseous ozone treatment systems, cold room ozone, custom vacuum chambers, commercial lighting controls, audio/video panels, EMI filters, hazardous gas monitoring systems, real-time vision systems, ozone systems, and RFID systems.
Ozone is an oxidant approximately 50 percent more powerful than chlorine, making it an ideal choice for numerous applications such as a bleaching agent in commercial laundry, textile, and paper production, as a sanitizer in food processing and storage, and as a disinfectant in water and wastewater treatment systems. An ozone generator works by exciting oxygen molecules, either ambient or fed in from a tank, with high voltage electricity. The energy breaks up the oxygen molecules which reform into ozone molecules. Ozone molecules are highly volatile and interact rapidly with other surrounding molecules, breaking bonds and destroying chemical compounds, cell walls and other microorganisms.
With nearly two decades of experience designing and integrating ozone systems, Guardian has worked on some very interesting projects. The company recently worked with the San Diego Zoo to implement ozone decomposers for the newly opened Elephant Odyssey and jaguar water exhibits. The water in these exhibits is sanitized using an ozone sanitation system. The decomposer was integrated into the monitoring and alarming system already in use, and its function is to neutralize ozone off gas through high heat and catalyst materials, as explained on Guardian’s website.
Over the last several years, Guardian has in fact become a key supplier to zoos and aquariums, and as a result has learned much about designing aquatic life support systems. The team’s lead scientist in Research and Development, Thoram Charanda, has spent more than 20 years in aquatic life support operations and has presented at the AALSO (Aquatic Animal Life Support Operations) conference.
Ozone’s antimicrobial properties are also used for agricultural applications, and in 2014 Guardian’s Ensure Smart system was installed in 75 apple and pear storage facilities in Washington State. The Ensure Smart system is an ozone generator with a powerful control platform used to monitor and precisely regulate ozone in multiple rooms simultaneously from one central interface. The company’s website explains that ozone is used to enhance the storability of produce, but regulating the levels of ozone gas in the room is paramount to protecting the crop from damage. The Ensure Smart system has a powerful archival logging system that allows the operator to view historical and real-time ozone levels through a computer or mobile device.
Washington fruit producer FirstFruits uses Guardian ozone systems in its cold storage facilities for organic fruit. Unlike in conventional fruit storage where fungicides and antioxidants might be used, producers are limited in what they can do with their organic crops. “Ozone fits the area nicely because it leaves no residue and it is a great decay controller,” says Bob Franklin, storage manager for FirstFruits. Storing fruit with ozone minimizes decay, giving agricultural companies that depend on cold storage, like FirstFruits, the ability to store the crop longer and take advantage of the market. “While some people are running out of fruit, we still have some,” says Franklin.
Ozone has many applications beyond the zoological and agricultural sectors, and Guardian Manufacturing has developed equipment for many of them. The company has built and integrated treatment systems for municipal drinking water, wastewater, groundwater, and public swimming pools, as well as fish and shrimp farm water disinfection systems, disinfection in water attractions, aquatic life support systems and on-premise laundry equipment.
Guardian Integrated Services is a division of Guardian manufacturing specializing in ozone laundry systems, ozone wastewater systems, ozone chemistry service programs, and equipment service solutions. With over 20 years of experience, Guardian is well qualified for integrating ozone laundry systems in laundry facilities of all sizes and has worked with many impressive clients such as the United Space Alliance and NASA. Its systems are remotely monitored by integration staff after implementation so the team is notified immediately of any anomalies, I/O issues or out of range limits; the system can be updated remotely.
After more than 20 years of collaboration between Guardian and a manufacturer of high-voltage transformer products out of Racine Wisconsin called Plasma Technics Inc, a partnership was formed that eventually became known as Pinnacle Ozone Solutions. Bringing together a group of experts with over 100 years of combined experience in the ozone industry, Pinnacle’s mission was to build the most technically advanced, reliable, low cost and energy efficient ozone systems on the market. With the invention of the fully modular Quadblock Cell, the firm feels that it has succeeded.
The benefits of ozone have been known to industry for more than a century, but integrating traditional ozone systems has always had a high barrier of entry. The equipment is expensive to install and maintain, and difficult to monitor and operate. Pinnacle’s solution is to simplify the process with a small, modular ozone generator device called the Quadblock Cell. These modules are fully independent ozone generators designed to plug into Pinnacle’s fully standardized platforms. They are rugged, silent, and require virtually no maintenance. Pinnacle’s ozone systems provide the lowest energy consumption, measuring about 20 to 40 percent more energy efficient, with the lowest total operating costs providing twice the capacity for half the price, and are about 50 percent smaller than competing systems in the market.
Pinnacle has worked with many clients, integrating its state-of-the-art ozone systems in a number of facilities. The water treatment plant in Becancour, QC runs on a Pinnacle Summit Series ozone system. Michel Carbonneau, Becancour’s superintendent of environmental health is one of the industry’s top treatment plant operators, and has taken care of Becancour’s water since 1989. According to Carbonneau, one of the main advantages to the Pinnacle system is that the modularity of the Quadblock cells allows him to implement a high level of redundancy by adding just a few additional cells, rather than implementing multiple large scale platforms. In Quebec, in order to be eligible for a disinfection credit, a treatment system must meet a standard of 20 percent redundancy at maximum capacity, meaning that when the system is running at maximum capacity, 20 percent of the equipment should be able to fail without affecting operation, as it would be replaced by backup equipment. This can be an expensive measure, as traditionally the failing system would need to be fully replaced with a secondary copy as its backup. With Pinnacle’s modular approach, if a Quadblock cell fails, rather than the entire system being replaced, you simply swap out the malfunctioning cell.
In 2014, the city of Sherbrooke, QC was also looking to upgrade an outdated ozone system that had been in operation since 1977. Yves DeFontaine, a technician at the Sherbrooke water treatment plant, learned about Pinnacle’s system from other operators at the Americana trade show in Quebec. A team from Sherbrooke then visited the Becancour site to see the system in operation. According to DeFontaine, Pinnacle installed the system on a Monday, and after initial testing, it went into production the following Friday.
“There are many advantages to this system,” says DeFontaine, noting its flexibility, size, ease of use, and zero maintenance. “You should come and see the system working, and get more information; you’ll be glad you did.”