Big Ass Fans: Achieving consistent comfort, savings, and sustainability with IoT solutions

Learn how Big Ass Fans creates tailored solutions for industrial environments through connected equipment, ensuring comfort, cost savings, and sustainability on time, every time with Optra IoT.

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Big Ass Fans uses IoT to connect all the devices and systems within a manufacturing facility to provide an occupant comfort and safety-first ecosystem for those who work in the building.

Identifying IoT opportunities 

At the heart of Big Ass Fans mission are the frontline associates — machine operators, assembly line workers, maintenance technicians, and warehouse associates — who navigate the challenges of suboptimal comfort environments daily. Recognizing the profound impact of thermal comfort controls on productivity and safety, Big Ass Fans set out to bridge the gap, fostering a safer, healthier, and more productive work environment.

Partnering for sustainable success

The collaboration between Big Ass Fans, Lexmark, and Microsoft signifies a shared vision of driving transformative change through IoT technology. By leveraging the expertise of each partner, BAF designed a solution tailored to the specific demands of industrial clients, with an emphasis on thermal comfort, efficiency, and sustainability. 

Lexmark's Optra IoT platform, powered by Microsoft's Azure technology, provided the ideal foundation for customizing solutions tailored to surpass the expectations of industrial clients by significantly improving facility operations and performance. 

Overcoming challenges and setting new standards 

A testament to the relentless pursuit of delivering comfort without compromise, Big Ass Fans journey has been filled with its share of challenges. One such challenge was the integration of devices within buildings, each using different languages for communication. 

To overcome this obstacle, Big Ass Fans partnered with Lexmark to develop a BACnet protocol translator skill, facilitating effective communication between devices and bridging the language gap. 

This collaborative approach not only addressed the immediate challenge but also set a precedent for tackling similar issues in the future. 

Big Ass Fans, in collaboration with Lexmark—and utilizing Optra IoT and Optra Edge—offers a scalable IoT solution that not only reduces energy consumption and improves comfort levels but also results in significant cost savings.

A customer-centric approach 

Big Ass Fans customer-focused strategy was first put into action with the implementation of a 10-month pilot at their own Lexington manufacturing location. The success of this pilot led to the installation of an additional unit in Tualatin, Oregon. With this hands-on approach, Big Ass Fans gathered direct feedback from frontline associates, facility teams, and manufacturing teams, ensuring their solutions are tailored to the specific needs of those on the ground.

The positive feedback received from these implementations has been overwhelming, with zero heat-related incidents or complaints reported in Lexington following the installation of the pilot unit. This success underscores Big Ass Fans commitment to creating solutions that not only meet but effectively address the unique challenges faced by industrial businesses.

Apply Optra IoT climate control data to:

  • Utilize the data to ensure consistent thermal comfort levels at the frontline
  • Monitor the performance of the comfort systems in real time across diverse geographical locations
  • Identify patterns and trends in the climate control data over time
  • Spot any anomalies in the climate control data that could indicate lapses in comfort or identify areas of the facility to be targeted for improvement
  • Compare the climate control data across multiple facilities to benchmark and drive improvements
  • Predict and prevent equipment failures before they occur
  • Analyze the data to optimize energy usage

Remember, the power of IoT lies in the valuable insights derived from the data it collects. By applying these insights, businesses like Big Ass Fans can continue to innovate and provide superior solutions for their customers. 

Experience “Big Ass” benefits at the Edge

Big Ass Fans, in collaboration with Lexmark—and utilizing Optra IoT and Optra Edge—offers a scalable IoT solution that not only reduces energy consumption and improves comfort levels but also results in significant cost savings.

Addressing the limitations of earlier control platforms that lacked scalability, standard hardware, and ease of maintenance, Big Ass Fans uses cloud-based dashboards and analytics to provide enhanced visibility and serviceability for large-scale deployments. This visibility validates the investment in IoT innovation and underscores the transformative impact of the solution on industrial operations.

In essence, Big Ass Fans, in collaboration with Lexmark, presents a new solution with endless opportunities for improving thermal comfort delivery and shaping the future of the industry. It transforms the way we and operate mechanical systems in industrial spaces, making them more efficient, reliable, and user-friendly.

Driving IoT innovation forward with Big Ass Fans

Big Ass Fans is dedicated to creating a future where industrial comfort data unlocks valuable insights into adjacent markets, potentially leading to market expansion. Serving as a conduit for the voice of the customer, Optra IoT allows for a better understanding of customer problems and needs, providing an avenue for real-time feedback without the need for solicitation.

With each innovation, Big Ass Fans continues to redefine what’s possible, setting new benchmarks in the industry. Their relentless pursuit of excellence and their unwavering commitment to their mission make BAF a true pioneer in the realm of IoT-driven industrial comfort solutions. Their story is a testament to the power of customer feedback and the potential of IoT, serving as an excellent example of their continued leadership in the industrial thermal comfort space.

At Big Ass Fans, we’re driven by our mission to create safer, healthier, more productive environments worldwide. What started as a big idea in airflow became a revolution and is now best practice for designers, managers, and business owners across every imaginable industry and application. Today, our products are proudly spinning and serving more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 in 175 countries. From factories to homes and everywhere in between, Big Ass Fans delivers comfort, style, and energy savings to make life more enjoyable. With more than 235 awards, 350 patents, an experiment on the International Space Station and the only HVLS Research & Design lab in the world, we go big every day. For more information, visit

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