AHR 2012 Building Automation Show Sets New Record | Automation.com

AHR 2012 Building Automation Show Sets New Record

May 252012
AHR 2012 Building Automation Show Sets New Record
Chicago, IL - January 23-25, 2012
By Bill Lydon, Editor
Energy conservation and sustainability were common topics at AHR 2012 with exhibitors showing a variety of products including primary equipment, sensors, controls, services, and building automation systems. AHR 2012 had record attendance with over 39,000 Contractors, Engineers, Distributors, Facility Managers, Manufacturers, Reps and other HVAC&R professionals. More than 2,000 companies exhibited their latest products and technologies in over 429,000 square feet of exhibit space making it the largest HVACR exposition of all-time. The show had close to 60,000 visitors including exhibitors from all 50 states and more than 120 countries. More than 300 exhibitors were from 34 different countries and there were more than 130 first time exhibitors.
As usual, AHR 2012 had a number of learning opportunities including 130 educational sessions and workshops addressing all facets of the HVACR industry offered by leading industry associations and organizations during the three days of the Show. Sponsored by nearly two-dozen of the leading industry associations and trade publications, 43 free educational sessions covering a variety of critical topics were offered during the first two days of the show.  Topics ranged from technical topics such as “New Open Source Technologies” to more general/business topics, such as “Selling Energy Efficiency in Todayʼs Marketplace.” In addition to the free educational sessions, ASHRAE presented 18 sessions at McCormick Place and Palmer House hotel covering a wide range of topics. 
These are products that caught my eye as I walked the show.
BACnet Power Meter - Continental Control Systems
Continental Control Systems has introduced a BACnet version of the WattNode meter which already supports Modbus and LonWorks. WattNode meters provide line-powered single and three phase capability up to 600 VAC and 6000A. The unit supports full self-discovery of the meter and all of its objects. This is another example of smart devices communicating directly to building automation and other systems. www.ccontrolsys.com.
HVAC Drives - Eaton
Eaton demonstrated the H-Max Series of HVAC Drives designed to improve energy efficiency and lower utility bills for commercial buildings claiming higher efficiency and stability over traditional variable frequency control methods for HVAC customers using an embedded energy control algorithm. The new series incorporates advanced DC capacitors and insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), real-time clock and calendar. The company claims that since the drives can be tuned to actual energy needs, tapering system requirements during off hours, weekends, and holidays, it provides customers with significant cost savings.  www.eaton.com/drives
Three-Phase Power Quality Analyzers - Fluke
Fluke demonstrated the Fluke 430 Series II three-phase power quality analyzers that incorporate a patented algorithm to measure energy waste and quantify its cost to help users develop ROI justification to mitigate power quality issues.   In particular, the 430 Series II power quality analyzers allow facilities to assess the impact of new energy-efficient, electronically-driven systems including lighting, motor controls, and HVAC equipment that consume less energy but may increase the level of power quality disturbance in the overall electrical system. In addition, the 430 Series II Inverter Efficiency function simultaneously measures the input and output power of inverters in solar systems, wind turbines and uninterrupted power supplies, allowing the operator to see how much electricity the inverter itself is consuming and the operating efficiency. www.fluke.com
Thermal Imagers - Fluke
Fluke also demonstrated the TiR3FT and TiR4FT Thermal Imagers for building diagnostic applications.   All Fluke TiR Series models include their IR-Fusion Technology to assist users in analyzing building problems. IR-Fusion captures both a visual (or visible light) image and an infrared image and fuses them together, aligning the two of the images for a more accurate view at any distance. Applications include roofing surveys, energy audits, moisture audits, and mold remediation. www.fluke.com
Compact Room Controller - Beckhoff Automation
Beckhoff demonstrated the new BC9191 Room Controller which is freely programmed using their TwinCAT automation software that conforms to the IEC 61131-3 worldwide programming standard. The controller has two Ethernet ports with integrated 2-channel switch, 3 – 24 volt DC digital inputs, 5 analog inputs, 6 – 230 VAC (1, 10 amp; 5 1 amp) digital outputs, and 2 analog outputs. Additional I/O modules may be added via the integrated K-bus interface. In order to implement additional functions, the BC9191 Room Controller can be modularly extended with the entire range of Beckhoff I/O and interfaces for building automation including EnOcean, LON, EIB, DALI and M-bus.  www.beckhoff.com/BC9191
BAScontrol Sedona - Contemporary Controls
Contemporary Controls demonstrated their new BAScontrol that is a 20-point field controller with a direct connection to an IP/Ethernet network and is BACnet/IP compliant with a B-ASC device profile. The controller can be used as remote I/O that is configured using a standard web browser or as a distributed controller since it incorporates a Sedona Virtual Machine (SVM). Control applications are configured using the Sedona Workbench.
The BAScontrol has eight configurable universal inputs (thermistor, analog voltage, contact closure, pulse inputs), four contact closure or pulse inputs, four analog voltage outputs, and four relay or triac outputs. www.ccontrols.com/ahr
Mobile Energy Efficiency Graphics - QA Graphics
QA Graphics unveiled a new mobile application feature for their Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard product. QA Graphics’ Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard makes building performance visual and easy to understand. Users can access building performance information on the go, and compare it to other organizations that have an Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard in place. The new app is capable of accessing real-time building data from multiple locations and different building automation systems simultaneously.    www.qagraphics.com
Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard
Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard Mobile Application on iPad
In addition to iPad support, QA Graphics has an app available for Android that is downloadable from the Android Market for users of their V3 Gateway product.
GENESIS64 Building Automation Suite - ICONICS
ICONICS announced and demonstrated what they believe is the first 64-bit, Advanced Workstation designed for BACnet B-AWS certification. The ICONICS Advanced Workstation solution is a vendor independent open platform for integrating any BACnet, SNMP, Modbus, Web Services, OPC or OPC-UA-based BAS system.   The ICONICS GENESIS64 Building Automation Suite utilizes the latest technology from Microsoft, such as 64-bit multi-processor technology, multi-touch natural user interfaces, 3D and 2D hardware-accelerated graphics processing, alarming, scheduling and long term data logging. ICONICS Energy AnalytiX adds optional Microsoft SharePointcollaboration portals and more.
ICONICS offers a suite of software for building automation including new Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) technology and AssetWorX. www.iconics.com
Z1000 Family of Drives - Yaskawa
The Drives & Motion Division of Yaskawa America, Inc. demonstrated the Z1000 family of HVAC drives with an optional Bypass Package designed specifically for commercial HVAC applications. Its features an LCD operator panel with Hand-Off-Auto functions, internal real-time clock with time /date stamping and timer controls enabling speed variations without the need for external controls. A built in 5% line impedance reduces input harmonic distortion, while a 5 kHz carrier frequency with dynamic noise control provides quiet motor operation and on-board C 61800-3 compliant EMI/RFI filter. All Z1000 drives have BACnet communications (BTL certified), along with Modbus/Memobus. Closed loop control of fans and pumps for pressure, flow, or temperature regulation is accomplished via the Z1000’s PI feature, which eliminates the need for a closed loop output signal from a BAS. www.yaskawa.com
Yaskawa Z1000 with Bypass                                                                Yaskawa Z1000
Wireless Sensors - KMC
KMC demonstrated EnOcean based wireless sensors that communicate to KMC’s BACnet network through an EnOcean-to-BACnet gateway powered by CAN2GO. Current models of KMC wireless sensors include those for temperature and humidity sensing as well as user control of setpoint. A further expansion of this line is planned. Both CAN2GO and KMC Controls are members of the EnOcean Alliance. www.kmccontrols.com
CAN2GO Supports Belimo MP-Bus
CAN2GO introduced a new line of smart wireless devices including the TE2 terminal unit and the DA2 proportional damper/valve actuator, based on the Belimo MP-Bus platform. The DA2 received a 2012 AHR Expo Innovation Award honorable mention. The TE2 and DA2 are both individually programmable and have local memory. They communicate wirelessly with CAN2GO controllers which automatically convert their points to BACnet.  The DA2 combines CAN2GO’s wired and wireless multiprotocol integration capabilities with Belimo’s damper actuator technology. It is suitable for water-based central heating/cooling systems, geothermal systems (ground source heat pump), chillers and cooling towers, chilled beams and ceilings, water source heat pumps and radiant floors or chilled slabs.  The TE2 is a terminal control unit made for 2-pipe and 4-pipe fan coil units, as well as heat pumps and dehumidification units. The units have distributed intelligence and redundancy for autonomous control. They will keep functioning even if the control system goes down. www.can2go.com
Thoughts & Observations
After the show someone that could not attend asked me if I saw anything revolutionary? I did not see anything revolutionary. The industry is evolving and industry communications standards (BACnet, LON, EnOcean; ZigBee) are allowing more companies to plug their innovations into these ecosystems.
Building automation functions can be applied to smaller buildings as the costs continue to come down and ease of use improves. This includes simple thermostat products that are being expanded with functions to better serve light commercial buildings. For example ecobee expanded their intelligent thermostats to serve the needs of light commercial buildings.
Wireless is becoming more common with a wide range of propriety and open standard solutions. EnOcean and ZigBee are the prominent open standard solutions. In addition Wi-Fi (802.11) is being used for networking in building automation systems and there are Wi-Fi smart thermostats from nest and ecobee.
The Tridium Sedona architecture seems to be slowly gaining traction with a small number of early adopter OEM’s including Solidyne, Contemporary Controls, and AIC Wireless. I think it is still too early to make a call on how much adoption there will be of the Sedona architecture but it is the first open source control architecture in the industry.
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