Environmental Control Units (ECUs)

Advanced Cooling Technologies has almost 20 years of experience designing and manufacturing rugged environmental control units under its Tekgard brand.

Custom Engineered Environmental Control Units

What is an Environmental Control Unit?

Environmental control units or ECUs are a critical piece of military infrastructure. These machines are responsible for taking in the ambient air, cooling (or heating) it, and returning the conditioned air to the relevant space, which may include shelters, base camp facilities, or command centers. This keeps personnel both comfortable and safe in their operations.

Unlike commercial air conditioners, ECUs are designed to be rugged. They must survive the rough terrain that the military encounters daily and they need to remain operational at the extreme temperatures and conditions to which they will be exposed. ECUs are mobile, capable, durable solutions for environmental control needs.

Types of ECU Configurations:

  • Unitary: Compact ECU; 2 Ton units are lightweight at just 250 lbs. and easily transportable
  • Horizontal: Most common ECU; available in 3.5 Ton, 4 Ton, 5 Ton, 8 Ton, 12 Ton, and 26 Ton capacities. (Available in trailer- and skid-mounted installations)
  • Vertical: Perfect for rigid wall shelter cooling; available in 12,000 BTU/hr, 40,000 BTU/hr, 46,000 BTU/hr, 72,000 BTU/hr and 96,000 BTU/hr cooling capacities
  • Split: Custom options to combine units for performance optimization

Environmental Control Units (ECUs) are used to cool military shelters for a variety of uses in rugged environments

Accommodation for Various System Interfaces:

  • Shelter connection: Both direct and flex duct mounted connections are available
  • Input power: 120-480 Voltages, single or 3 phase, 50 HZ, 60 HZ, 400 HZ and DC power options available

Additional Custom ECU Features

  • Remote Control options
  • Active Dehumidification
  • Soft Start & Load Shedding capability
  • EMI/RFI/HAEMP compatibility:  Many systems have undergone Mil-Std testing for emissions and susceptibility
  • Variable Speed Fans available for many sizes
  • Custom ducts available (diameter, length, and color)
  • Adapter plenums for updating existing systems

Engineering Design Excellence and Support

The experienced engineering staff at ACT’s York location have almost two decades of experience designing effective and reliable systems. Over the years, it has become apparent that accurately defining the requirements of a project early on results in ECUs that are the correct size for the application, thus limiting cost and weight. At ACT, we want to be involved in the planning process and assist in defining the project requirements to ensure that the entire system works as expected for the end-user and that our ECUs meet all relevant military standards.

How to work with ACT to design an ECU system?

Fielded Examples of Tekgard Environmental Control Units

The Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS) Program

This Textron program serves as the backbone of a variety of unmanned aircraft systems for the Department of Defense. Tekgard U24-T109 units provide the environmental control functionality that supports the personnel and electronics operating within the control station.

U.S. Army’s Standard Integrated Command Post System (SICPS) Program

As a supplier to DHS Technologies (now a part of HDT Global), Tekgard manufactured thousands of 5 and 12 Ton ECUs to support the DRASH® Trailer Mounted Support System. In conjunction with Northrop Grumman’s Command Post Platform, this system provided the Army with mobile tactical operation centers that could be rapidly deployed for command, control, and communications on the battlefield.

Patriot Air and Missile Defense System FMS Cases

As a subcontractor to Tyonek: Tekgard developed the 24K BTU ECU systems for the shelters of the Patriot Missile Defense system. This MIL-STD-qualified equipment proved to be reliable in some of the harshest weather conditions on the planet.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Program

An Army defense system that was able to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles during the terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach. Our ECUs provided the necessary cooling capacity that allowed the THAAD system to carry out its important missions.

AN/TPS-77 Long-Range Radar System Program

This Lockheed Martin multi-mission, ground-based radar system provides complete air surveillance to military applications for more than 30 nations on six continents. Tekgard’s environmental control systems and technical support have ensured the operational sustainment of this important radar program.

Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Program

ACT’s Tekgard Environmental Control Units, supported flight line operations preparing the unmanned aircraft to launch real-world operations for the U.S. Army.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are Environmental Control Units (ECUs) Used?

The most common use of ECUs is as HVAC solutions for the military as shelter cooling or electronics cooling. ACT prides itself on being able to provide our nation’s military with the most premier thermal management systems under its Tekgard brand, capable of meeting any heating and cooling requirement they may need to sustain operational readiness. Our ECU systems have gone through rigorous qualification testing to ensure full compliance with military standards and specifications.

What Types of Qualifications does an ECU need to pass before being fielded?

Each custom-engineered ECU system will have its own set of pre-determined specifications. ACT’s Tekgard brand puts every single unit through rigorous, ASHRAE compliant testing before leaving our facility.

Some of the qualifications our systems have achieved include:

  • MIL-STD-810 (Environmental Conditions Testing)
  • MIL-STD-461 (Electromagnetic Interference & Compatibility Testing)
  • MIL-STD-464 (Electromagnetic Environmental Effects Testing)
  • MIL-STD-188-125 (High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse Testing)
  • MIL-STD-2169 (High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse Testing)

As a supplier of thermal management solutions for the Department of Defense (DoD), ACT’s products must be able to perform wherever the nation’s warfighters need them, and each theater of the DoD’s operations can offer a unique environmental challenge. The temperatures of an African or Middle Eastern climate will be dramatically different from those of the Arctic reaches of Europe. Click for fielded examples

What does the design process look like when working with ACT on Tekgard brand products?

  • After asking some key questions about the project, engineers will use internal load calculation tools to ensure that the appropriately sized cooling and heating equipment is being provided.
    • Key design features such as system airflow, ventilation requirements, and the associated loads influence the demands on the ECU and are significant in defining the overall performance required. Not to mention the importance of the ambient environment (and worst-case) conditions under which the shelter and ECU will be operating.
  • A collaboration between sales and engineering both at ACT and the customer results in a quotation for a custom-designed ECU.

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