Tag Archives: Delta Controls

7 Keys To Successful Building Automation

Automation Integrator Guide: Successful automation projects contain these seven elements. How many will your next project contain?

Congratulations on your decision to automate. You want to build it faster, build it better, and build it safer. But with so many potential automation solutions available, it can be overwhelming for an engineering team to decide where to start. Once you have justified the need for automation, feasibility, and payback to your business, you are faced with a difficult question: How do you ensure your road to automation is successful?

Seven keys to successful automation follow.

1. People communication

Communication among all stakeholders is paramount. When creating system requirements for the automation solution, the various teams involved must work hand-in-hand. Clear and open communication may seem like an obvious key to success, but too often teams are not brought together until late in the automation process.

Each stakeholder will have different goals in mind. The quality team wants zero defects, the production team wants output increased, IT wants a sustainable and maintainable solution. Before you know it, an operator at the end of the line has an error-proofing application, a shipping application, and an inventory application all running on the same computer, yet none of the systems communicate. The operator is left to manually transfer data between the three systems, and operations become less efficient than pre-automation.

By working with all the teams from the start, you will be in a better position to make sure the solution accounts for the perspectives of all parties involved, and also meets as many requirements as possible. A system integrator can often act as a mediator to help remove the politics from meeting all stakeholder goals and assist in solving what can sometimes seem to be contrasting goals to create a solution that works for all.

When trying to collaborate with teams, one of the largest communication issues we see as an integrator is scheduling. It is difficult to free up all of your team members to be in the same place at the same time. Consider meeting off-site with all of the stakeholders and away from the production facility at the start of the project. Simply removing people from their day-to-day chaos allows the team to focus on the problem at hand. Most likely no one will be able to be away for more than a day or two, but the tight timeline to develop requirements will keep everyone’s focus razor sharp.

2. System communication

You may already have some automated processes in place, but these processes are often developed independently from one another and may not communicate with each other. System segregation leads to data segregation. Data segregation leads to inefficiencies and manual reconciliation, which can cause data loss or, worse yet, data corruption. To avoid this, you want to store as much data as possible in a normalized manner and in a centralized location.

To accomplish this, integration and automation should go hand-in-hand. Getting two automated systems to communicate can be just as important, if not more important, than automating a single process. A system that is a “black box” provides little value if it cannot communicate with other systems.

3. Standardized processes

Before addressing the potential automation of the manufacturing process, you should first standardize the process. Standardization of the process allows for reduced variation and reduced operator training, and aids in root cause analysis.

Without standardized manufacturing processes it can be difficult to identify how automation should be implemented. If you have “loose” processes in place, an automation project is the perfect opportunity to address standardization. Usually this occurs a naturally as a side benefit associated with automation. Let standardizing the manufacturing process help drive the automation process and vice versa.

4. Standardized (yet flexible) framework

When you are developing standards for your framework, focus on the data that is most important. Force the team to keep the same important pieces of data as a baseline for your enterprise to build on. By developing standard interfaces for systems, you can create a model framework for other facilities. Avoid making the framework too rigid so that it can be flexible enough to apply across operations.

With a standardized framework, your team shouldn’t be as bogged down determining how to implement a solution. Instead, they will be focused on developing solutions that will promote production innovation. A standardized framework promotes collaboration so that groups work together, share information, and are positioned for success.

5. Standardized data

Data is king in today’s manufacturing environment. For that reason, you want to avoid proprietary and closed systems as much as possible. Focus on getting, keeping, and sharing your data. You likely already have proprietary systems in place to solve manufacturing problems, and minimizing manual transfers of information between these systems is crucial. Automating important transfers between systems allows employees to focus on their job instead of the white noise.

6. Pick your integration strategy, not your solution, first

Identifying what data you expect your automation solution to provide before you select a solution will also help minimize inefficiencies. All too often clients decide on a solution before they have outlined what data they need. This can lead to two potential downfalls. Either the solution needs to be vastly modified to meet the requirements, or the solution cannot be changed and some of the requirements simply are not met.

The more industry knowledge you can obtain about what solutions are available, the better. This is where a true systems integrator should be able to help. A systems integrator should be able to match a solution to specific goals. Whether it is a custom software solution or an off-the-shelf software package, you want established business processes dictating software solutions used, not vice versa. Keep in mind that whatever solution is selected, it should be a solid and expandable one that the team in place can build upon.

7. Commitment to support

Consider who the end owner will be. Whoever will be supporting the automation solution, the infrastructure, and software should have buy-in from the start that the solution is both maintainable and supportable from a technological standpoint.

Over the past 10 years there has been a transition from the manufacturing team managing software solutions to IT managing the software solutions. While it may be the manufacturing team developing the automation systems, it is more frequently the IT team’s responsibility to maintain the system. With IT becoming such a key player in the process, it is important to get them involved early and often. By including IT at the beginning of the process, you can help ensure a smooth transition from conception to production.

An automation project can seem daunting, especially when you are faced with legacy systems, siloed teams, minimal framework, and varied processes. But if done correctly, automation can provide all the benefits to build it faster, better, and safer. With some planning, standardization, and communication, and maybe a little help from an integrator, the automation project should be headed for success.

Article By:

– Chris Mikola is a project manager at Leidos, formerly part of SAIC. He currently directs the software programming group within Leidos Engineering’s systems division. The programming group specializes in quality information systems, real time production information systems, and custom software development. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.

Integration: Building automation and fire alarms

The building automation system can control all aspects of a building or campus, including its fire alarm system. This outlines best practices for integrating a fire alarm into a BAS.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the efficiencies of integrating building automation with fire protection systems.
  2. Name various communication protocols, such as BACnet and LonTalk.
  3. Learn about inspection and testing of systems.

The responsibilities of a chief building engineer are becoming more challenging as technology advances. Bigger and taller buildings are being constructed with an increasing emphasis on energy efficiency and comfort, and the ever-increasing demand to keep construction costs and operating expenses down. In addition, building codes are changing the way these buildings are constructed in order to improve safety with an eye on new construction methods and materials.

There is also the somewhat traditional mind-set among those within the design and engineering community that building automation and fire alarm systems should maintain a significant level of separation with minimal connectivity or interaction. Most of this belief stems from the fear of the unknown and the desire to mitigate risk along with the old adage of “This is the way we’ve always done it.” In reality, the integration of building automation and fire alarm systems can result in overall reduction in equipment, installation, and maintenance costs while still maintaining the level of safety required for these systems to operate.

With the advent of smart building technology, heating, cooling, electrical, lighting, security, and other systems need monitoring and intercommunication for optimized efficiency and operation. With sophistication comes the need for a building automation system (BAS) to allow for nearly seamless operation of these various interrelated equipment.

Like BAS, fire protection and alarm systems have also evolved into sophisticated computer-based systems, which integrate fire detection and emergency communication systems as part of overall building operations during an emergency event.

Often fire protection and alarm systems must interact with other building systems to provide a proper level of protection. While the fire alarm system is fully capable of performing and initiating the necessary actions to accomplish the fire alarm and building systems’ responses, efficiencies can be obtained by integrating with the BAS. These efficiencies include minimizing additional equipment, expediting system acceptance testing, reducing installation costs, and sharing and consolidating information at a central location where all of the building systems can be precisely monitored during emergency incidents.

Smoke control systems are a good example of the marriage of building mechanical systems with fire protection/fire alarm systems. Fans are starting or stopping, dampers are opening or closing, and doors may be closing or unlocking while elevators being recalled. Although both the BAS and fire alarm systems have specific tasks to perform, there is a certain level of priority and sequences that must be followed. Failure to follow the proper priority or sequence may not only be non-code compliant, it may also lead to equipment damage or risk to human life. For example, if a smoke control fan operates before dampers open, ductwork may be damaged or door opening forces may be increased beyond acceptable levels for egress.

Communication

When the fire alarm system takes control of equipment that is not a listed component of the fire alarm control unit, the fire alarm system must either override the natural operating mode of the building equipment or pass off that command via a simple switch or data communications to the building mechanical systems. Likewise, each manufacturer’s BAS has its own protocol for monitoring conditions and communicating operational commands to maintain the proper building environment and efficiency. There are also standard open communication protocols such as LonTalk and BACnet that can be used to communicate with a multitude of equipment from various manufacturers in order to achieve an integrated building system.

The communication protocol for a fire alarm control unit to communicate to and from its indicating (input), initiating (output), and sometimes notification appliances is typically an analog or digital communications signal carried over what is referred to as a signaling line circuit (SLC). Because communications signals are typically proprietary protocol, each SLC is dedicated to a specific manufacturer’s equipment and cannot include connection of incompatible devices that use a different signal protocol.

Therefore, in order to integrate system alarm and control functions with the BAS in a manner other than relay logic, fire alarm system manufacturers had to also design and support the open communication protocols used for building automation, in a manner that would not compromise the integrity or the operation of the fire alarm system. This process of sharing information between both fire alarm and BAS came to be known as bridging, or open gateway processing. Because of the strict code and listing requirements of fire alarm systems, much of this communication has been primarily limited to one-way communication. However, some manufacturers of both fire alarm and BAS do produce equipment such as gateways that are listed for bi-directional communication with their equipment.

The use of these open gateway processors has the potential to eliminate the need for costly interface equipment and enclosures. A single gateway can replace hundreds of conventional or electronic relays and input sensors for control and monitoring while also eliminating the need for multiple wire terminations that can decrease the potential for system failure points.

Article By: Jon Kapis; Rick Lewis; Craig Studer, PE; The RJA Group Inc.

Coppertree Analytics- Empowering People to Realize Their Building Potential.

Coppertree Analytics is about empowering People to Realize Their Building Potential. We believe building technology is not fulfilling its potential and we’ve made it our mission to change that. By gathering data, analyzing it and providing our customers with actionable insight, we help them to avoid problems, optimize performance and take control of their buildings. In short, we believe in working with you to realize the potential of your building.

To learn more visit Coppertree or Contact Setpoint Systems Corporation for a live demo!

The Global Market for Building Energy Management Systems will Reach Over $23bn by 2017

The Global Market for Building Energy Management Systems will Reach Over $23bn by 2017, Predicts Memoori Research Article By: Businesswire.com

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In 2013, the total world sales of Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) will be $16.7 billion at an installed value and Memoori forecasts that it will grow to $23.14 billion by 2017. This represents a CAGR of approximately 8.4% over the 5-year period.

“The Market for Building Energy Management Systems & Enterprise Energy Management”

Energy savings remain the key driver for the BEMS & EEM markets. Global attention is on the efficient use of energy resources and reduction in CO2 emissions. With buildings accounting for around 40% of primary energy usage, savings here can make a significant impact.

The major multinational companies Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, Siemens and UTC dominate the products business in most countries across the developed world. We estimate that between them they take as much as 70% of the world’s product business and they have held this position for 15 years through an active acquisition strategy.

The Smart Buildings technology landscape is getting more competitive by the day. This is good news for end users, as vendors are competing to bring the most productive and cost effective solutions to market. Industry heavyweights from IT and building automation are being joined by niche energy management software providers, in the race to deliver sophisticated energy management solutions for automating and transforming facilities in buildings.

About the Report

At 155 pages with 16 charts and tables, and for only $999 USD, “The Market for Building Energy Management Systems & Enterprise Energy Management” reviews the growing business of energy management in commercial buildings. You can learn more at the reports Website;http://www.memoori.com/portfolio/bems-market-2013-to-2017/

About Memoori Business Intelligence Ltd

Memoori is an independent market research and investment advisor. Our research helps companies create sound marketing and investment strategies for Security, Smart Grid, Smart Building and Lighting markets. For more information, visit http://memoori.com

 

Contacts

Memoori Business Intelligence Ltd
Jim McHale, Director
support@memoori.com
+44-207- 193-1004

Commercial And Retail Buildings To Be The Fastest Adopters Of Remote Monitoring Services In Intelligent Buildings

London — Commercial and retail end users will drive the growth of remote monitoring services in intelligent buildings, accounting for more than 80 percent of the $400 million market in 2016, according to a new study by IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

Remote monitoring in intelligent buildings is a service offered by third-party companies that audit and report on the operational performance of a building. The services have two key selling points. First, auditors can make recommendations to save energy costs by determining, for instance, a more efficient schedule for the building automation system. Second, the building owner can reduce internal staffing costs for the facility by using a third-party service provider.

The figure below presents the forecast growth for remote monitoring services used in commercial and retail buildings from 2012 to 2016, with a snapshot of what the market will look like by 2021.

“Remote monitoring services are gaining increased traction as building owners find significant savings to be made, in terms of both decreasing energy bills and reducing staffing costs,” said Sam Grinter, market analyst for building technologies at IHS.  “The drive to reduce overheads has been reinforced over the last five years by tough economic conditions.”

“Commercial and retail end users have been the fastest to take advantage of remote monitoring services in intelligent buildings”, Grinter noted, “Because the slashing of operational expenses has been a higher priority for them than for government or institutional end users”.

Remote monitoring service providers have found success with commercial and retail end users by demonstrating the effectiveness of the systems in trial deployments. Then, once the return on investment is demonstrated, services are rolled out throughout the wider building portfolio. The services in intelligent buildings are looked upon as a competitive advantage, which explains why adoption has spread relatively quickly.

As the market develops further, other end-user industries such as education, government, data centers and hospitality will increasingly take advantage of the services, IHS believes. The systems are expected to not only improve building efficiency but also reduce internal staffing costs for monitoring and maintaining buildings.

Coppertree Analytics- Facility Manager

facility

Manage Alarms

Coppertree Insights

The word ‘insight’ carries the idea of a clear and deep perception of a situation. Coppertree Analytics’ Insights are designed to give you a different pair of eyes to look at your facility. Insights give you an awareness and understanding to:

  • The past: see what changed in your facility yesterday
  • The present: see how your facility is performing today
  • The future: see what changes are needed in your facility tomorrow

Mobile Insights

Insights can be accessed via tablets, desktops and any device with a web browser. Or better yet, Coppertree can deliver them to your personnel on duty directly to their mobile devices.

Fault Detection

Our insights are the basis for a more pro-active approach to facility management. Coppertree Analytics’ sophisticated engines are continually examining data from building automation systems, executing fault detection and diagnostic rules and engaging algorithms to perform statistical and pattern analyses. Whether you choose to use our growing library of analytical rules or to create your own rules, setting them up to run on your site is straight forward. once they are set up, they run automatically whether you are looking or not.

Planned Maintenance

Prioritize Time

Traditional scheduled preventative maintenance programs rely on an exhaustive re-commissioning process requiring many man-hours with the final outcome being a deficiency report detailing problems and required fixes. Further man-hours are then required to perform the corrective measures. Coppertree Analytics’ intent is to raise this process to a new level by generating performance reports or score cards from the data collected. This information will help you pinpoint specific problem areas and prioritize the work required to take care of them, effectively automating the report creation process.

Efficient Manpower

Shifting to a planned maintenance approach, the re-commissioning man-hours required in traditional programs can be re-allocated to the man-hours required to take action, hence maximizing your resources, increasing your efficiency and gaining control of what goes on in your facility.

Maintain Performance

Besides performance reports, Coppertree Analytics’ integrity portfolio of services continually probes your building automation system with an array of fault-detection-and-diagnostic rules to give you insights into your building operations. The key in maintaining performance is continuous auditing. It is as if you had a commissioning agent perpetually examining your building and advising on any areas of concern.

Reporting

Golden Standard

As a facility manager, generating reports is not the end in itself; it is the change from the ideal condition that is important. For instance, would you benefit from a detailed report that tells you how your building automation system has changed since the last time a ‘snapshot’ was taken during the initial commissioning? It might be tedious to generate what we call a golden standard report manually, but Coppertree can deliver it to your inbox daily, weekly or monthly through constant comparison between the current state and a Golden Standard you define.

KPI

Coppertree Analytics’ goal is to provide reports that are easy to understand, appropriate for the audience reviewing them and readily available when needed… all this to help you achieve your goals. Key performance indicator reports are excellent auditing tools to measure the overall success or failure of your facility to achieve a specific target. Is like getting a score card for your building and showing you where you need to direct your resources.

Live Trends

Coppertree report libraries range from detailed reports of specific systems or points to summary reports and executive reports available for viewing via web portals on desktops, tablets and mobile devices. The challenge is always to keep your reports up-to-date. Coppertree Analytics’ integration with the building automation system, and it’s abilty to overlay live trend logs on historical data all reporting can be accomplished seamlessly.

If you would like to learn more please visit: Coppertree here or contact a Setpoint Systems Corporation Account manager here for a live Demo!

Energy Manager

 

Measure Utilities

Trends

Of course your goal is to conserve energy. However measuring your savings from individual sources can be challenging. With the Curator software suite, you can track, estimate, and compare your energy conservation efforts with previous periods. Compare performance between years, months, weeks, days, or even by the hour through any period, or baseline, of your choosing. Receive Copppertree insights directly on your mobile device when your current energy consumption exceeds expectation.

Bill Management

Tracking your utilities is the first component of an effective energy management strategy. Coppertree’s Curator software provides you with an easy way to organize your utility bills. Import CSV data from historical sources, enter your bills manually, and insert manual readings for comparison. Input vendor information to fully customize your local rate structure. Add physical sub meters to your data gathering engine for tenant billing or create virtual meters from mechanical system data for complete energy monitoring of every component.

Compare Readings

Do you measure utilities manually? You no longer have to wonder whether your energy provider miscalculated your bill, or whether your meter requires calibration because Curator allows you to compare manual readings to the automated data that you receive from your Building Automation System. Add the comparison to your reports through downloadable visuals and tables.

Conserve Energy

Baselines

How can you set energy conservation targets if you don’t know what you are comparing with? Comparing with a previous period or last year is good, but not the best solution. The Curator software suite provides the best, with the tools that allow you to create custom baselines for your facility in compliance with the IPMVP protocol (Option C). Evaluate and report on the energy consumption of your facilities in real-time, and compare these to your baseline to have an instantaneous measure of energy retrofit performance.

Carbon Accounting

Stakeholders have carbon-reduction goals and the general public expects annual sustainability reports from you. Impress your colleagues in management and public relations by showing them yearly, monthly, daily, weekly, or even hourly carbon emission info associated with real-time energy use. All that is required is a simple setup and Curator automatically translates energy usage into quantifiable, and reportable, greenhouse gas emissions.

Instant Notification

It is hard to know exactly when your energy will surpass peak demand and accrue additional charges. It is also hard to detect faulty pieces of equipment leading to overconsumption of energy. Curator provides customizable insights sent instantly to your computer or mobile device whenever energy conservation is being compromised, allowing you to take action the instant problems occur.

Demonstrate ROI

Reports

You are in charge of communicating ROI to your stakeholders and it isn’t always easy. We know it can take hours to create a report so Curator allows you to easily view, gather, and collect the data you need for reporting though Coppertree’s automated reporting tool. Create reports showing instantaneous savings and monthly summaries. Compare with other buildings and baselines, and send these reports automatically to stakeholders. Build exactly the report you need to easily illustrate your building’s ongoing efficiencies.

Dashboards

Curator puts you in charge by allowing you to fully customize your energy dashboard. Keep tabs on specific departments, buildings, or meters and visually compare them with the baselines you define. You are in control and can determine which information is important to you. After you decide on the information to be shown, share the dashboard with building occupants so you can educate your colleagues, show stakeholders ROI using live data, or present the dashboard during presentations and conferences with your clients.

Rate of Return

See the impact on your budget and cash-flow to determine the net present value and ROI to verify whether you are making sound investment. Curator’s built-in rate of return calculation tool allows you to have easy access to all the energy, cost, and savings data in one place to help you with decision making regarding equipment upgrades, retrofitting projects, or any other energy improvement initiatives.