A number of software programs are available that make duct design easier and faster than ever before.

Right-Suite Commercial is available now, according to Bill Wright, interviewed at the ACCA convention in Las Vegas. The new program combines four critical functions, according to Wright: system layout, load calculation, duct sizing, system proposal and part selection.

Using Wrightsoft programs, you can quickly sketch a floor plan that automatically does its own takeoff, then computes its own load. These loads are automatically connected to the duct sizing program, which can then lay out the ducts for you - eliminating tedious data entry, manual measurement, and parts selection.

Did you know that South facing zones frequently peak in the fall? And that East zones frequently hit their peak as early as 8 a.m.? It helps when your software program intuitively "knows" this. In addition to computing every hour of the day for July, Right-CommLoad (RCL) can compute every hour for a design day in every month.

Once space loads are calculated, the software assigns the spaces to VAV boxes, or to air handlers, groups them according to zoning thermostats.

Right-CommDuct uses ASHRAE's duct fitting data base as the foundation of its commercial duct calculations. The contractor can select equal friction, modified equal friction, static regain or even put in your own duct sizes. All these methods compute duct and fitting size based on air flow with appropriate velocity limits, and then the software tells you the required fan pressure and total air flow. The methods work for sheet metal, fiberglass, vinyl flex and metal flex in rectangular, round or oval.

Wrightsoft president Bill Wright said, "ASHRAE calculations are now world standards, and we started from that basis. We wanted to make a program that fills a real gap in the market - a graphic input program that can work like an automatic assistant. There's no reason for designers to spend their time doing and re-doing tedious selections, and entering data that we all know they want entered."

Right-CommDuct has an additional calculation mode, Existing System, which allows you to specify the available fan pressure, draw an existing real world duct system, and then specify the actual duct sizes. It even calculates the air flow that will come out of each register.

An ASHRAE fitting can be preselected, for each material type. In drawing a trunk with reductions, or when a takeoff is required, Right-CommDuct knows which ASHRAE fitting to use, automatically.

"With Right-Suite Commercial," Wright said, "you can actually change the size of a glazing and watch not only the room air flow change, but you'll also see the ductwork change size if needed."

He adds: "Even beyond your productivity increases will be the increased quality of your designs. Never before could play 'What if?' just by dragging a room, or by moving a register with your mouse. You can now afford to try different approaches, just because it will take so little time to get the answer to your question."

Loads are automatically transferred to the duct sizing and layout engine, which can perform a complete range of calculation methods, including equal friction, modified equal friction, constant velocity, static regain, and as-built systems, for sheet metal, metal flex, vinyl flex, and fiberglass ducts in round, rectangular, or oval shapes. Under a license with ASHRAE, ASHRAE's 220 duct fitting database enables designers to preset their own preferences for fitting types in over 60 common situations such as elbows, takeoffs, reducers, etc.

At the end of the automated design chain is Wrightsoft's new Right-CommProposal, which includes a sophisticated parts takeoff engine feeding into a proposal generator. Using automated takeoff rules, Wrightsoft compiles a bill of materials for duct components, equipment, controls, etc. This bill of materials is pulled out of Right-CommProposal's user-customizable parts database. Program users can load the database with their own parts pricing and descriptions. Right-CommProposal makes it easy for users to generate lists of specific manufacturer parts for accurate costs estimates.

For more information contact Wrightsoft Corporation, 394 Lowell Street, Lexington, Mass. 02420; phone 800-225-8697; e-mail sales@wrightsoft. com; or www.wrightsoft.com.