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Gold winner Thermodynamic Process Controls’ TPC-FI SoloNet control is a hydronic mechanical room control designed around a wireless platform. Silver winner Controlled Air Systems Inc.’s control temperature system, Optic-Stat (TC1 Series), is a precision temperature control. There were two bronze winners in this category; Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corp.’s BurnerMate Universal, a complete boiler control, and Honeywell Building Control Systems’ WebStat® controller thermostat.
GOLD WINNERThermodynamic Process Controls’ TPC-FI SoloNet control is a hydronic mechanical room control designed around a wireless platform for easy installation and setup.
Using the patent-pending Flow Intelligence, it has the ability to read precisely the amount of energy a building is using for heat in real time, then modulate hot water boilers to replace only that energy. The unit also has the ability to control every piece of equipment in the commercial hydronic heating mechanical room. With the TPC-FI SoloNet, all the pieces of the system show up in a plug-and-play wireless network, where integration can be as easy as loading new software on a computer, said the company.
SoloNet is also a meshing, self-organizing network, so there are no routers to install and no communication paths to set up. Individual modes on the network find new communication paths on their own if their usual path is busy or blocked. It also has 128-bit encryption, so all communication across the network is safe and secure. The devices come with hard-wire backup through RJ-11 phone jacks.
“The control sounds great,” said one contractor judge. “It is very sophisticated.”
The control also provides all the information it is using to building management systems (BMS) via a Modbus RS485 open protocol, effectively turning the TPC-FI SoloNet into the front end for a BMS to the mechanical room.
It will keep an hour-by-hour history of all system equipment for 365 days. Where a BMS is unavailable, contractors can use the SoloSpec Windows-based program, which will let them monitor their systems from anywhere in the world.
SILVER WINNERControlled Air Systems Inc.’s control temperature system, Optic-Stat (TC1 Series), is a precision temperature control that operates HVAC systems to maintain the rooms or building at precise temperatures. Designed for fan coil, heat pump, PTAC, or a/c and heating systems, the TC1 Series - when used in retrofitting of bimetal thermostats - uses the same wiring.
It can monitor the HVAC systems’ operation and identifying when problems develop with the system, such as supply temperatures not reaching desired temperatures within a specific time period, turning off the HVAC system when the blower drops below a specific cfm or the drip pan is ready to overflow, etc. By connecting various sensors, the thermostat identifies when the system requires service soon. If it requires service immediately, the system is turned off, effectively preventing damage to the equipment.
Using this control, contractors can provide their customers assurances that the HVAC system is operating at high levels of efficiency and not wasting energy. A display indicates when service is required; the control has adjustment features so the performance of the temperature sensing can be customized to offset airflow, hot and cold spots, etc. Just as the differential can be adjusted, temperature can be offset and cycle rates adjusted, thus providing customized sensing.
The TC1 has capabilities of using motion, light sensing, and other means to change to the occupied/unoccupied settings. This type of sensing helps eliminate programming and contractor callbacks.
BRONZE WINNERPreferred Utilities Manufacturing Corp.’s BurnerMate Universal is a complete boiler control in an off-the-shelf, preprogrammed controller. Separate processors are used for flame safeguard and combustion control for National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 85 compliance. Configuration is done in the field using the LCD touch pad, optional touch screen, or the company’s MS Windows-based wizard. Intended for firetube, firebox, and watertube boiler applications, the BurnerMate Universal uses industry-standard digital and analog inputs, allowing it to wire intuitively like a programmable logic controller (PLC).
Troubleshooting is simplified because each time the unit trips, the controller provides a date- and time-stamped error message that pinpoints the cause of the problem. In addition, the controller takes a snapshot of more than 140 bits of process information to aid in determining the root cause of a burner trip. Error messages are in plain English for easy identification of problems.
Installation contractors benefit from the fact that the BurnerMate Universal does not require special sensors or field devices. It works with standard American boiler trim components, so it is compatible with a wide variety of field devices readily available in the United States. The wiring is consistent with industry-standard practices as well.
BRONZE WINNERHoneywell Building Control Systems’ WebStat® controller combines communicating thermostat advantages with simplicity and cost savings, said the company. “The WebStat controller provides a step up from the standalone thermostat to the automated T7350 communicating thermostat platform without incurring any excessive direct digital control (DDC) cost or complexity,” the company said.
Ideal for strip malls and small office buildings where Web-based remote facility monitoring and programming is desired, WebStat provides economizer integration, 365-day scheduling, special event schedules, and room integration features like motion detection inputs, time-of-day relay outputs, and remote monitoring and control of T7350 communicating thermostats.
Contractors are not required to have a special tool for programming. The only requirements include a unique IP address, Web browser, and Internet access. Plug-and-play setup, trending, and alarming allow contractors or tenants to track everything from temperature and humidity to discharge air temperature, outdoor air temperature, and more. Installers can remotely configure, program, and commission thermostats through an easy-to-use graphical interface.
“This product provides access of cost-saving controls to small business applications,” said a contractor judge. “It should help contractors sell to green-conscientious small businesses.”
Honorees: Commercial Controls, Including Building AutomationGold
Thermodynamic Process Control
TPC-FI SoloNet Hydronic Mechanical Room Control
Controlled Air Systems Inc.
Control Temperature System Optic-Stat
Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corp.
Honeywell Building Control Systems
Publication date: 07/14/2008