More New Products Designed To Make Buildings Smarter

February 20, 2004
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Echelon calls its new i.LON 600 Server “the ideal solution for connecting everyday devices to one another over corporate LANs, structured building wiring systems, industrial Ethernet systems, and Internet connections.”
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Management for the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition made the right move several years ago by putting together the Building Automation and Control Showcase. This designated area on the show floor places together manufacturers of products and technologies designed to make buildings smarter, more efficient, and more comfortable.

Having all these folks in one place is a blessing for attendees who are interested in finding out what's new in building automation and controls. Not only is it convenient, it saves on foot travel. And at this year's expo, manufacturers in aisles 1000 to 2500 inside the Anaheim Convention Center had plenty of new products to show off.

Echelon (www.echelon.com), for instance, showcased three of its newest products. It said its new i.LON 600 LonWorks/IP Server is designed for peer-based, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications across any IP connection, such as corporate LANs, the Internet, or IP-based WANs. According to the company, its newest server provides secure, reliable routing among LonWorks-based devices.

"We believe that the i.LON 600 Server is the ideal solution for connecting everyday devices to one another over corporate LANs, structured building wiring systems, industrial Ethernet systems, and Internet connections," said Alex Chervet, Echelon's product marketing manager for IP and connectivity products. "The i.LON 600 Server is an excellent solution for applications such as industrial process control, building, utility, transportation, and telecommunications automation that require fast, reliable, and secure performance.

"The addition of the i.LON 600 Server for very-high-performance LonWorks/IP routing represents a significant line extension to our family of IP integration products, both in terms of its high performance and low price point."

Also featured was the i.LON 100 Internet Server, touted by the company as a high-performance network interface that connects LonWorks networks to corporate IP networks or the Internet. It features a built-in Web server that allows Web access to built-in scheduling, alarming, and datalogging applications. Additionally, it exposes a SOAP/XML [Simple Object Access Protocol/eXtensible Markup Language] Web services interface for integration with enterprise applications, noted Steve Nguyen, director of corporate marketing.

Echelon also highlighted its i.LON 10 Ethernet Adapter, "designed to be the most cost-effective piece of customer premise equipment (CPE) available that provides full access to remote LonWorks networks," said Kevin Lynch, director of channel marketing. "The i.LON 10 Ethernet Adapter is designed for applications in which IP connectivity is required for remote monitoring, management, and diagnosis of everyday devices such as load controls, lights, and security systems in homes, apartments, and small buildings."

According to Lynch, the i.LON 10 operates as a remote network interface in conjunction with LNS-based network management and monitoring tools. The adapter is designed to enable homeowners, property managers, and maintenance technicians to monitor and control networks.

Circon Systems Corp. (www.circon.com) announced the availability of the UHC-302-PRG fully programmable, VAV terminal unit controller for integrated damper motors and the UHC-302-XPR fully programmable VAV terminal unit controller for external damper motors. According to the company, its UHC-302-PRG and -XPR are direct digital controls that can be used to implement any unique or custom single-duct, pressure-independent airflow VAV terminal unit control application when configurable-only controllers do not meet the needs.

The new i.LON 100 Internet Server from Echelon exposes a SOAP/XML (Simple Object Access Protocol/eXtensible Markup Language) Web services interface for integration with enterprise applications, noted Steve Nguyen, director of corporate marketing.
The expo marked the launch of several new products for T.A.C. Americas (www.tac.com). On that list was the T.A.C. Vista 4.2, an enhanced version of its LonWorks-based building management software. Lonnie Laue, director of marketing for T.A.C., noted that the Vista 4.2 gives building owners and managers even more flexibility and freedom in their ability to choose, install, and operate a variety of building management systems.

"Like its predecessors, T.A.C. Vista 4.2 provides the market with a solution that can control, check, and analyze the daily operation of a multibuilding campus or a single building as easily and cost-effectively as possible, and provides the flexibility of a future-proof platform that has far-reaching options."

Also introduced was the T.A.C. Xenta 913, a LonWorks-based gateway designed to provide a cost-effective solution for integrating T.A.C. Vista with other commonly used protocols such as BACnet or Modbus. Key features include Internet browser support to provide an easy alternative interface to monitor and control values, the company said.

"T.A.C. Xenta 913 allows building owners and managers to enjoy all the benefits of an open LonWorks-based system regardless of the controls and components on the existing HVAC equipment," said Laue.

It also showcased a Web-based graphical interface, the T.A.C. Xenta 527, for access into T.A.C.'s I/NET Seven high-performance security system, and the OPC Server, designed to connect its security system with T.A.C. Vista.

Automated Logic Corp. (www.automatedlogic.com) demonstrated the integration of XML into WebCTRL®, the company's Web-based building control system. Through an XML feed from the Web site weather.com, the WebCTRL system in Automated Logic's booth was able to anticipate building heating-cooling needs based on degree day weather forecasts. Simultaneously, WebCTRL was able to integrate seamlessly to a separate stand-alone computerized maintenance management software system and demonstrate automating a building's response to a local power company's notification of an overloaded power grid, via XML.

With its native BACnet architecture and support for Modbus and LonWorks, the company said WebCTRL "is the perfect platform for the integration of building subsystem information." In addition, WebCTRL's standard Web services interface uses SOAP/XML technology for cross-platform data sharing with other computer systems.

Siemens Building Technologies Inc. (www.siemens.com) noted that a new Predator® VAV controller application has been added to the Predator family of Staefa® Talon® HVAC controllers. The company said Predators are an integral part of the open-protocol Talon HVAC control system.

It said its new VAV controller with Supply Air Temperature (SAT) response application "improves comfort in spaces served by VAV systems, especially those with DX cooling." The VAV with SAT response application is factory loaded and shipped with Predator VAV actuator with 1AI/DI, 2DO, 1DPS, 1Actuator or the Reduced Point Predator VAV with 4IN, 6DO, 1DPS platform.

Predator VAV actuators are certified to LonMark interoperability guidelines and share data with any LonMark-certified product.

Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence Inc. (www.richards-zeta.com) showcased its Web Express, a single browser-based interface for facility systems and equipment. Using the company's new platform (The Mediator) as the foundation, the company said Web Express allows customers to build and deploy working Web applications quickly, without extensive knowledge of HTML.

The Mediator is a centralized monitoring and management platform for facility systems and equipment. It is designed to provide a remote interface and data aggregation point "that enables users to organize, configure, visualize, monitor, and control systems and equipment from anywhere, any time," said the company.

FieldServer Technologies (www.fieldserver.com), a manufacturer of gateways and a division of Sierra Monitor Corp., introduced several products. Its Model FS-B2011 LonWorks FieldServer is a protocol translator gateway designed to enable devices using foreign protocols to communicate with the LonWorks network. An example is a fire alarm panel using a proprietary manufacturer's protocol needing to supply alarm information to a LonWorks network.

In addition, its Model FS-B4011 BACnet/LonWorks multiport gateway is designed to enable BACnet and LonWorks to interface to multiple devices. In a typical building retrofit, the integrator must adapt several different devices to the building network, including fire alarm panels, boiler controls, chillers, and security. The company explained that its FS-B4011 provides the interface capability needed by the integrator.

Pictured is the TAC Vista 4.2, an enhanced version of T.A.C. Americas’ LonWorks-based building management software.
Plexus Technology Inc. (www.plexus-technology.com) featured its Altitude enterprise manager, a Java-based Web-serving application. Altitude is designed to enable facilities management or process information to be served to standard Web browser clients "without the need to install any special software or plug-ins," said the company.

Kavlico (www.kavlico.com) showed its new pressure sensors. Designed for high-volume OEM applications, Kavlico said its sensors feature voltage or current output, media-compatible housings, pressure ranges from ±1 inch water gauge to 3,000 psig, have high-overpressure capability, and are EMI protected. The company said its pressure sensors are ideal for VAV control, refrigerant compressors and recovery systems, leak detection, fan control, duct airflow, as well as other applications.

Contemporary Controls (www.ccontrols.com) showcased three new products. Because the acceptance of Ethernet in building automation continues to grow, the company introduced its Building Automation Switch (BAS). Joe Stasiek, sales manager for the company, noted that the product offers ease of use to the installer.

"The installer doesn't have to be concerned about using receptacles or extension cords or mounting the unit with Velcro® or duct tape," he said. "It is installed with four fasteners, and it can be powered from the same control transformer that powers other building automation equipment."

The company also announced a managed version of its EISX switches in its CTRLink family, intended for high-reliability situations where outdoor temperatures are expected. The Ethernet EISX Series offers eight 10/100BASE-T twisted-pair ports while supporting SNMP protocol, it said.

The company added three fiberoptic versions of its EISC Series of configurable switches, all designed to provide longer distance and improved network reliability.

Kele (www.kele.com) encouraged attendees to go wireless. Its Frontier wireless I/O system is designed especially for costly retrofits. Via system receivers and transmitters, Kele said a contractor won't have to worry about risks or callbacks; installation is "quick and easy," and there is no destruction or disruption of the jobsite via its wireless system.

Engenuity Systems (www.engenuity.com), considered one of the largest distributors of LonWorks products, announced that it expanded its business, including agreements adding new manufacturers, a product line expansion, and an expanded territory with Echelon Corp. The new agreements add Mamac Systems and Atkinson Electronics to Engenuity's list of more than 55 manufacturers. The company also renewed its distribution agreement with Echelon in which Engenuity's territory is expanded to include Central and South America.

Trane (www.trane.com) announced the release of the Tracer VV550 and VV551 VAV controllers. With the new products, the company said it has achieved its goal to provide building professionals with a LonMark controller for virtually every type of HVAC unit. These controllers are available either factory-commissioned on Trane equipment, or field-installed for retrofits.

"Based on Trane's commitment to making open systems a reality, we are pleased with the evolution of the former LonMark Interoperability Association to LonMark International, a more global and independent organization," said Jay Althof, vice president of Trane, Global Controls and Contracting.

Critical Environment Technologies (www.critical-environment.com), located in Delta, British Columbia, showcased its self-contained gas detectors: the MAC Mini analog controllers. Applications include underground parking facilities, service garages, ambulance bays, and chiller rooms. They are available in one- or two-sensor versions, with various electrochemical or solid-state sensors for a number of gas detection applications.

Nara Controls Inc. (www.naracontrols.co.kr), headquartered in Seoul, Korea, displayed some of the products it makes for the building automation world. Among its new products are the NETX (Network Cross), an interface to Ethernet or BACnet; the VIB (VAV Interface Board), which contains control software; the MCC (Message Communication Controller), a system extension and distribution controller; and the UCM (Unit Control Module), which, the company said, is fittable to air-handling units.

Inovonics Wireless Corp. (www.inovonicswireless.com) was another manufacturer pushing for wireless. The company said it can supply the equipment necessary to help convert applications into the wireless area.

"Wireless may be the answer for your next installation," said a booth spokesperson. "With no wire runs to sensors, jobs that seemed impossible because of challenging architecture, changing floor plans, or excessive bid risk are now within reach. Using wireless designed for HVAC reduces installation time, optimizes system performance, preserves original architecture, minimizes bid risk, and increases profit."

Gems Sensors (www.gemssensors.com) noted that it's making some design changes to its Series 26, 26M, DF, DFS, 16, and 16M conductivity control relays. The Series 26 and DF controls are mainly for use in boiler control, while the Series 16 control is used for makeup water and cooling tower applications.

Profile Systems (www.profile-systems.com) featured its new P1800 system, which the company said "offers comprehensive modular solutions for HVAC and lighting control, critical-conditions monitoring, and energy submetering." Whether it's lighting control or a complete suite of solutions, the company said its product delivers "flexible and customizable functionality that incorporates leading-edge wireless technology and a simple-to-use, robust, Web-based system interface that's remotely accessible from any Internet-connected device."

Control Products Inc. (www.controlproductsinc.com) showed off its Freeze Alarm, designed for those who have winter homes or cabins. As the company explained, bad weather, power loss, or furnace failure can cause significant damage to a home and valuables. FreezeAlarm is designed to call automatically any phone number to alert the owner of a drop in temperature, power loss, or water leak inside the vacation home.

Genesis International Inc. (www.genesis-international.com) presented its new Wizard refrigeration control system and its Lead/Lag cooler control system. The company said the former is an all-electronic control system "that can control the compressors and unloaders in a multiplex refrigeration rack based on a single suction input or a single temperature input."

The Lead/Lag system is a hard-wired, permanently mounted electronic control panel designed for improving operation of the refrigeration system and maintaining stable cooling temperatures inside the cooling room.

The TAC Xenta 913 from T.A.C. Americas is a new LonWorks-based gateway designed to provide a cost-effective solution for integrating TAC Vista with other commonly used protocols such as BACnet or Modbus.
Hochiki American Corp. (www.hochiki.com) highlighted its Firenet analog addressable control panel, designed to communicate with other analog addressable products. An RS-485 bus provides communication to the panel network, while the RS-232 interface allows the convenience of programming via a PC. The panel can support up to 127 devices per loop, which includes sensors and control modules, the company explained.

Advantech (www.advantech.com/ia) said it can provide comprehensive sets of system integration hardware, software, enhanced transaction, and operation automation for e-business Web applications.

"We cooperate closely with our system integrators to help them build added value into applications for their building automation customers," said a company representative.

American Auto-Matrix (www.aamatrix.com) said its new AAM unitary controllers can be networked or can operate in a standalone mode. Many network options are available, including direct connect (EIA-232 or EIA-485), modem dial-up, Ethernet (IPX or IP), LAN, or WAN. The company noted that its product line can communicate and coordinate functions among multiple and differing controls systems within a building or network.

Schneider Electric (www.us.squared.com) introduced an extension to its Powerlink GS lighting control system, designed to provide connectivity with Johnson Controls' N2 building automation systems. The company said its Powerlink NF1000G3N2 controller connects directly to an N2 network, "providing full control over Powerlink G3 remotely operated circuit breakers."

"One of the key reasons the lighting control system is popular is that we work very hard to provide our customers with open systems that can be controlled from a variety of building automation systems," said Scott Jordan, Schneider Electric marketing manager. "It is only natural that we would offer an embedded solution with Johnson Controls' N2 protocol."

Alerton (www.alerton.com) announced the release of BACtalk control modules (BCMs), designed to offer a scalable, modular, global controller and router solution for BACnet building automation systems. The modules mount to a 35-mm DIN rail and connect to one another in series with a ribbon cable, which simplifies hardware installation, said the company. Up to seven integration and control modules can be combined in series with a single power supply module, the BCM-PWS.

According to Mark Behar, Alerton's product manager for the BCMs, "Customers can precisely configure integration options for an existing application, and then adapt that application easily as control systems within a building change. Adaptability and scalability are important to customers who want to protect their capital investment in control systems.

"This new platform for Alerton fulfills that need. As Alerton develops new solutions - particularly for proprietary network integration to BACnet - customers can literally snap those solutions on to their current system."

BCMs available on initial release include the BCM-ETH, designed to support a single BACnet Ethernet and a single BACnet MS/TP network; the BCM-MS/TP, designed to support a single BACnet MS/TP network; and the BCM-MDM, designed to offer a preconfigured V.90/56K modem for alarm dial-out and remote-operator workstation connectivity. Modules for integration to other protocols and network types are currently under development, Behar said.

Publication date: 02/23/2004

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