Building Automation Center Popular As Ever At Expo
In the thick of things, per usual, was the LonMark Interoperability Association (Palo Alto, CA), which continues to battle BACnet for supremacy in establishing an interoperability standard for control networks. Supported by a who’s who of control companies, the LonMark Association counts among its 300-plus members not only the manufacturers fueling this revolution, but also the end users, equipment specifiers, and system integrators driving its implementation.
“While traffic is about the same as previous shows, people seem to be better educated about the industry, which has made it easier to explain what we do,” said Liza Brocker, manager, Global Public Relations and Marketing Communications, LonMark Interoperability Association. “We’ve signed up a couple of new members over the past two days, and we’ve also had several commitments from companies to become members or certify products.”
Unlike the BACnet supporters, the LonMark Interoperability Association did hold a press conference at the expo, to reiterate its presence in the market. Participating in the media event were TAC Americas (Carrollton, TX), Engenuity Systems, Inc. (Chandler, AZ), CBL Systems Corp. (Hopkinton, MA), FieldServer Technologies (Milpitas, CA), Circon Systems Corp. (Richmond, BC, Canada), and Echelon (San Jose, CA).
PUSHING LONMARKThe biggest news came from TAC Americas, formerly CSI Control Systems International. It announced it had acquired one of its leading business partners, Control Solutions Ltd. LLC (Lebanon, OH). Control Solutions specializes in system integration and energy services for buildings of all sizes. The company has sold and installed TAC products for more than 15 years.
“This important acquisition will strengthen TAC’s capabilities and complement our geographical presence in the Americas,” said Dean Meyer, president of TAC Americas. “It will also widen our existing sales network and improve our market penetration.”
Rich Housh, president and ceo of Control Solutions, founded the company and established multiple U.S. operations as the company grew, primarily in the northeastern United States. Housh will now serve on the TAC Americas board of directors and as a consultant.
“The combined forces of TAC and Control Solutions will create a broader platform for growth,” said Housh. “Control Solutions’ customer base will benefit from products based on TAC’s renowned Lon-based solutions, as well as valuable expertise for a diverse range of applications.”
TAC Americas also noted that Southwest System Monitoring Inc. (Scottsdale, AZ) as its newest “TAC Partner,” for distributing and integrating building control solutions.
CBL Systems pitched its fiber-optic sensing and control solutions for security, infrastructure, automation, industrial control, aircraft, and transportation applications. While it did not have a new product to showcase, CBL Systems noted its range of off-the-shelf hardware and software products use the LonWorks EIA/ANSI 709.4 open standards, and “are all that’s needed to build ultra-reliable, tamper-proof, fiber-based automation and control networks.”
Steve Ferree, director of Marketing for FieldServer Technologies, introduced several new products. Its new Model FS-B2011-01 LonWorks Bridge is a protocol translator gateway that enables devices using foreign protocols to communicate with the LonWorks network. An example is a fire alarm using a proprietary manufacturer’s protocol needing to supply alarm information to a LonWorks network.
Meanwhile, the new Model FS-B4010 Bridge is a multi-channel protocol translator gateway with 10 serial ports, 2 Ethernet ports, and an ISA card slot for additional fieldbus network cards such as LonWorks, DH+, and Profibus. According to Ferree, this single bridge can accept input from a large number of different devices and combine this data into a single data stream over Ethernet or other networks. Thus, the building operator can bring data in from a variety of devices, such as security systems, fire panels, air conditioning systems, boiler controls, and air-handling units, and provide a single BACnet IP output.
Ciron Systems Corp. announced the availability of its SCC-300-RTC, a direct digital controls (DDC) controller designed to provide optimum zone control for packaged rooftop unit applications. According to the company, the SCC-300-RTC comes complete with easy-to-configure rooftop ac terminal unit control software “combined with a cost-effective hardware platform to provide exceptional flexibility.”
It also announced the availability of its SCC-300-UVC, a DDC controller designed to provide optimum zone control for packaged unit ventilator terminal unit applications. According to Circon, the SCC-300-UVC can be used in any packaged two-pipe or four-pipe unit ventilator application. Meanwhile, its SCC-300-HPC is designed for packaged heat pump terminal units.
Engenuity offered two products from Adept Systems, Inc., the GadgetGateway™ and the GadgetNode™. According to the company, both devices tie everyday LonWorks networks to the Internet, allowing for seamless connection, monitoring, and management of LonWorks-based nodes.
The GadgetGateway is an EIA 852-compliant configurable ANSI 709.1 to IP gateway, router, or remote packet monitor. The unit can be configured to work either solely or simultaneously as a point-to-point configured IP/ LonWorks router or a point to multi-point tunneling gateway or a remote packet-monitoring server. Meanwhile, the GadgetNode is a programmable ANSI 709.1 node designed to enable the integration of several LonWorks functions into a single device, including controlling, analyzing, routing, and TCP/IP web support. The company said one GadgetNode can look and act like several LonWorks devices, as this eliminates the need to install multiple devices on the same network.
While Echelon did not have a new product to display, it provided a live energy management demonstration at its booth, served by an Echelon i.LON Internet Server that controlled a building’s hvac system in real time from the expo. At the press conference, it talked about the company’s new headquarters in San Jose, CA, which integrates all the key building subsystems — security, lighting, elevator, and hvac systems — using LonMark certified devices from multiple manufacturers.
BACKING BACNETEven though the BACnet Manufacturers Association (Boston, MA) did not hold a joint press conference, individually each member had something to display.
Teletrol Systems Inc. (Manchester, NH) was proud of the fact its eTRAC BACnet I/O product has successfully passed the testing process to qualify for a listing with the BACnet Testing Laboratories (BTL), which is part of BMA. The company described eTRAC as a “configurable, cost effective I/O product that is part of the eBuilding™ native BACnet product line.”
The eTRAC I/O modules are configurable, supporting analog inputs and outputs, binary inputs, relay and triac outputs, and signal conditioning modules. BACnet MS/TP is used for communication at configurable data rates up to 115.2K baud.
Alerton Technologies (Redmond, WA) announced a new version of its Envision for IBEX operator workstation software. According to the company, the graphical user interface “provides an intuitive, powerful platform to control facility operations and monitor system status.” It said entire sites and multiple buildings can be monitored and controlled from a single graphical workstation.
Envision for IBEX has been updated to a 32-bit application and is compatible with Windows 98, 2000, and XP operating systems. New graphics and animation features were added, said the company, “to ensure that the latest expectations in building operating software are met.”
Automated Logic (Atlanta, GA) announced the release of its latest version of WebCTRL, the company’s Web-based building control technology. WebCTRL was first introduced at the 1999 AHR Expo, and previous versions already included such features as hierarchical scheduling, alarming, and trending — all available through a browser without the need for special software or plug-ins. This latest version adds such capabilities as multilingual support, a spreadsheet-based report generator, and full legacy support, said the company. This allows users who purchase ALC systems as far back as 1985 to step up to WebCTRL without replacing their field hardware, it said.
Novar Controls (Copley, OH) announced its “IQFamily,” a mix of freely programmable controllers, designed to enable them to act independently of a building manager. This family consists of the following series of products:
“The reduction of operating costs is very important when it comes to the management of today’s buildings,” said Dean Lindston, vice president and general manager, Novar Controls. “Our IAQ Family allows the appropriate controller to be located as close as possible to the individual equipment or section of the plant it is controlling, lowering installation and maintenance costs.”
At the Invensys Building Systems (Loves Park, IL) booth, it showcased its Signal for Windows XP, the company’s latest version of its Signal graphic user interface for the building automation
market. Features of the new
version include graphical scheduling, sophisticated alarm processing, real-time and historical trend management, and report generation.
The company also announced the integration of Network 8000™ and DMS into the I/A Series powered by Niagara Framework. Web-enabled, thin client solutions are now available for both Network 8000 and DMS as standalone options or linked to the Lon-based I/A Series through the Niagara Framework. Browser functions include data graphical display, schedule modifications and
calendar event creation, setpoint adjustment and override capability, alarm management, and trend data management and report generation.
Sidebar: Phoenix Controls Introduces Host Of New ProductsATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Phoenix Controls Corp. (Newton, MA) may not have participated in the LonMark Association press conference, but it still had plenty to offer at this year’s expo. It debuted six new product offerings.
It introduced its newest control platform, Celeris 2. According to the company, the system retains the company’s venturi valve as the primary component, and adds LonWorks technology “to create a distributed control architecture.” Using the LonTalk“ protocol, the Celeris 2 controllers distribute control functions and share data to create “an efficient and cost effective environmental control system for temperature, humidity, occupancy, and ventilation control functions.”
Meanwhile, the company said animal laboratories will benefit from using its new Cage Rack Valve for rodent holding rooms. The pressure independent Accel II cage rack valve provides a direct connection from the cage rack to the building ventilation system. Animal cage racks are a type of critical “mini-environment” needed to safely house animals, typically rodents. The company’s new valve has an operating range of 30 to 150 cfm and may be used with racks that have flows in this range.
To verify correct room pressurization in animal laboratories and other critical environments, Phoenix Controls said its new Active Pressure Monitor offers direct measurement and can signal any out-of-range conditions through audible and visual alarms.
Also, the company’s primary product, the Accel II valve for laboratory ventilation, is now available with high-speed, electric actuation. It is engineered specifically for fume hood and laboratory applications in which speed of response, accuracy, and reliability are key. A new fume hood monitor, the Slim Line Monitor, is approximately one-fourth the size of the company’s standard model. It mounts on the front frame of any manufacturer’s fume hood and has a very slim profile, measuring 1 in. (24mm) wide and 41¼2 in. (112mm) high.
Also appearing at the 30-ft exhibit was the IAQ 100, a portable monitoring device designed to quickly diagnose levels of several indoor air parameters, including mold and pollen, and automatically send analysis and reporting information to a secure website for viewing.
— Mark Skaer
Sidebar: Carrier Links With TridiumATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Tridium, Inc. (Richmond, VA), a provider of Internet-based control and automation infrastructure, announced at the 2002 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition the formation of a development and sales agreement with Carrier Corp. (Syracuse, NY).
The agreement will provide Carrier with a Web-enabled software platform, Tridium’s Niagara Framework, to further broaden Carrier Comfort Network™ (CCN) products and services.
The marriage of Carrier’s CCN products and Tridium’s Niagara Framework will allow Carriers’ customers to access and control their building systems using the Internet. Tridum said its Niagara Framework provides an economical upgrade path for existing customers allowing them to maximize prior investments while moving forward into a true open protocol environment to take advantage of new products and technologies, a key element to customer satisfaction in the buildings market.
“Open protocol integration, coupled with the Web-enablement of our CCN platform, provides building owners and facility managers with more options for real-time access to their hvac systems,” said David Weber, general manager, Carrier Commercial Controls, in a prepared statement.
Tridium’s Niagara Framework will allow Carrier to build Java-based, energy management software applications that integrate open protocols (such as LonWorks, BACnet, and Modbus) and monitoring-control systems.
“We are extremely pleased to enter into this agreement with Carrier,” said Jerry Frank, Tridium’s president, founder, and ceo. “Together, we will enable these customers to receive increased value for their control system investment. I’m excited about the possibilities.”
— Mark Skaer
Publication date: 03/18/2002