AHR Expo 2011 - Building Automation Highlights from Las Vegas

  • May 11, 2011
  • Feature
May 2011
By Bill Lydon, Editor
January 31-February 2, 2011 at the Las Vegas Convention Center
This was the largest AHR Show ever held outside of Chicago or New York with over 54,000 registered HVACR professionals (34,000+ attendees and 20,000+ exhibitor personnel).  Attendees visited the 63rd AHR Expo to see all the latest products and innovations on display from 1,938 exhibiting companies covering 379,360 square feet of exhibit space.  
The 1,938 exhibiting companies also rank as the second largest number for any previous AHR how. Included in the record-breaking number of exhibitors were over 200 first-time exhibitors and nearly 400 international companies from 31 different countries.
Other highlights of the show were:
  • Over 130 Conference Sessions, Seminars & Workshops
  • Seventy-Three New Product Technology Theater Free Presentations
  • Nine Emerging Technologies Sessions
  • Building Automation & Control Showcase (Over 100 Companies)
  • Software Center (Over 50 Companies
  • Sustainable Technologies Demonstration Training Trailer
UA Green Trailer
The United Association (UA) showcased its Sustainable Technologies Demonstration Training Trailer. The UA is a multi-craft union representing plumbers, pipefitters, sprinkler fitters and HVACR service technicians throughout North America. The trailer is used to demonstrate many items including solar energy production and storage, energy efficient appliances, solar water heating, high efficiency/low flow plumbing fixtures, gray water systems, geothermal heat pump system, rainwater catchment systems, and fire prevention mist system. Since it was created almost two years ago, the demonstration trailer has visited nearly three dozen states and trained over 2,000 professionals as part of UA’s Green Awareness Training Program.
Interesting Products
Titus – Solar Powered Diffuser
The Titus EOS first solar-powered, energy harvesting diffuser may be the most innovative product I saw at AHR 2011. It is an elegant solution in function and simplicity - the EOS is powered completely by natural light! The EOS uses ambient room light to power an internal actuator based on supply air temperature and automatically adjusts the air pattern for horizontal airflow (cooling) or vertical airflow (heating). The EOS utilizes a specially-designed logic system that monitors air temperature and adjusts the air discharge position using harvested power to complete the diffuser’s auto-changeover function; ensuring the proper discharge position for heating or cooling. www.titus-hvac.com
Jade Economizer
Honeywell demonstrated their new economizer, the Jade Economizer Controller. It is a self contained controller with an LCD screen for information messages, diagnostics information, and system status. The unit has built-in fault detection and diagnostics to identify sensor failure or loss of communication. There is no programming required to install the unit. The unit has a two-wire Honeywell Sylk bus communications interface for integration and future expansion.
Gas Detection
Honeywell Analytics introduced a new gas detection system to detect toxic, combustible and refrigerant gases in boiler and chiller equipment. The system satisfies compliance with ASHRAE 15, CSA-B52 and International Building Code. The systems can be standalone or networked to a BAS. Critical new components are the E3Point, capable of detecting a wide range of toxic and combustible gases; Sensepoint XCD for monitoring toxic combustible and oxygen gas hazards in potentially explosive atmospheres; and the 301C controller. http://www.honeywellanalytics.com
Silentium - Quieting Fan Noise
Silentium demonstrated their active noise reduction technology to lower noise generated by a range hood. The company also is offering their evaluation kit for $695. The S-Cube™ Development Kit allows designers to develop a custom noise reduction solution for loud equipment.   It can be used in any application where the constant humming of fans used in the cooling of electronic equipment causes irritating noise in the surrounding area. www.silentium.com
Yaskawa – Drives with Integrated Pump Control
Yaskawa demonstrated the iQpump controller that is integrated into variable frequency drives and configured with the iQpump software to properly run and coordinate multiple pumps without using an external controller. The iQpump controller will automatically adjust pump operating conditions, as the process variables change, while still maintaining optimum pump performance and protection.  iQpump can also replace phase converters when converting from a single phase to a three phase pump motor.   iQpump supports up to 8 pumps using  integrated Modbus RS485 communication. iQpump provides a range of logic that is user configured without programming including automatic starts, stops, Lead/Lag pumps on system demand, and alternate all pumps for even mechanical pump wear. www.yaskawa.com
ICONICS introduced and demonstrated three new products for the non-residential buildings industry. 
Energy AnalytiX provides calculation, aggregation, analysis and visualization to create dashboards and gain insight into energy consumption patterns.   Information can be accessed from the control room, office, home or phone as visualization is delivered via the latest Web 2.0 and Microsoft Silverlight technologies. Reports can be scheduled based on Date, Time, Value, Alert or on User Adhoc Requests. Operators can be notified of energy issues via SMS, Email, or Phone Alerts.
Facility AnalytiX is Predictive Facility Intelligence Software for facilities management. It incorporates an advanced Fault Detection and Diagnostics Engine that weighs the probability of a fault and advises management, operators and maintenance personnel of actions to prevent equipment failure or excessive use of energy.  The software provides automatic guidance to a list of causes sorted by probability. ICONICS’ solutions for fault detection, determination and diagnostics are based on advanced research standardized by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). The communications infrastructure of Facility AnalytiX is built on industry standards including OPC Classic, OPC Unified Architecture, BACnet, SNMP and Modbus. 
FacilityWorX Version 9.21 is ICONICS’s open integration platform that provides a complete user interface.  Users create visualizations for real-time operational views of buildings or campuses. Asset Tree Navigation simplifies integration of lighting, elevator, boiler, chiller, fire, access and HVAC control systems into an easy-to-configure operational console.
FacilityWorX integrates with existing Building Automation Systems and is based on open standards including BACnet, OPC, SNMP and Modbus. FacilityWorX is certified for Microsoft Windows 7 and the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems. www.iconics.com
Beckhoff Automation
Beckhoff continues to expand its capabilities in the Building Automation industry. This year they demonstrated BACnet controllers and specialty I/O interfaces such as the KL3403 Power Monitor for sub-metering. www.beckhoff.com
IPSO Alliance
The IPSO Alliance had a booth that was sponsored by member company Tridium. The booth featured product demonstrations from key industry companies including Intel, NXP Systems and First International Computer  (FIC) using Tridium’s Sedona Framework as a common platform.  Along with various Sedona products, all of these products communicated to remote devices via the Internet signifying the reality of IP for smart objects.   The IPSO Alliance is an advocate for IP networked devices for use in energy, consumer, healthcare and industrial applications. The IPSO Alliance is a non-profit association of more than 50 members with the mission to enable the foundation for a network that will allow any sensor-enabled physical object to communicate to another, just as individuals do over the Internet. Membership is open to any organization supporting an IP-based approach to connecting smart objects.  www.ipso-alliance.org
Tridium continues to grow and refine its product offerings. The Tridium software architecture has become pervasive through adoption by partners, users, and OEMs.
Open ADR Driver
Tridium has developed an OpenADR (Open Automated Demand Response) simple client driver for the NiagaraAX Framework based on the OpenADR specification 1.0. This enables communication between NiagaraAX Hosts and Utilities for Automated Demand Response Programs. 
Tridium’s JACE-NXT is a Windows-based controller configured with the full functions of the Niagara Framework. The JACE-NXT is the fastest JACE within Tridium's embedded controller portfolio and includes a built-in Lonworks FTT10A communications port as well as an RS-485 and RS-232 port for integrations of a variety of communication protocols.
Tridium Sedona
The Tridium Sedona architecture is spawning a new growth pattern for Tridium that includes pure IP based devices, 6LoWPAN, and wireless.
Wireless Survey Kit
Tridium unveiled a new Sedona Wireless Survey Kit that allows system integrators to survey the RF environment in order to plan for system installations. The Kit includes 4 end-node devices, 2 RF routers, pre-built application hosted from a JACE. The application captures long term information about the RF environment and analysis results are provided to the user through a graphical web-based interface.
Peer to Peer IP
Tridium has been promoting the CHOPANS (Compressed HTTP Over PANs) in the IETF which would provide a standard for running IP over lost cost wired media. Tridium is doing this today by running 6LoWPAN over mixed media: wireless 802.15.4 and MSTP/485. 
Sedona Partners
Companies that have built Sedona-based products and displayed them at AHR 2011 included Contemporary Control Systems, Solidyne, Eagle Wireless, and InfoCon.  http://www.sedonadev.org
Illumra demonstrated the M3 Wireless Valve Actuator that couples to plunger style valve bodies to adjust the flow rates to radiators in hot water and steam heating systems. The M3 Valve Actuator is typically installed on a valve near the radiator and communicates wirelessly with a control system and temperature sensor to regulate the temperature in the room or zone. The installation can be accomplished without pulling any wires because the actuator is powered from batteries designed to last 2 years.  www.illumra.com
Schneider Electric
EcoBreeze - First Air Economizer for Data Centers
Schneider Electric displayed the EcoBreeze modular indirect evaporative and air-to-air heat exchanger cooling system for data centers. The unit automatically switches between indirect evaporative and air-to-air heat exchanger cooling for greatest efficiency. The EcoBreeze is able to reduce energy consumption by comparing temperature differences between outside ambient air and data center return air, thus providing economized cooling to the data center. The EcoBreeze meets ASHRAE 90.1/TC 9.9 requirements for efficiency and economization with multiple frame sizes.
The MachineStruxure architecture is based on flexible hardware platforms and a single software suite. MachineStruxure is targeted at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who design machines. MachineStruxure provides tested, validated and documented configurations and is the latest addition to Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure energy management initiative. The company claims that by using MachineStruxure design and implementation time can be reduced by up to fifty percent. A single software package, SoMachine, is used to design, commission, and maintain logic, drive, motion, and HMI controllers in a single environment.  www.schneider-electric.us
Modicon M168 Programmable Logic Controller
Schneider Electric announced the Modicon M168 Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) for HVAC/R machines.  It can be configured with the SoHVAC, a single software suite for programming and commissioning. The M168 PLC allows machine OEMs and end users to monitor energy consumption, machine shutdowns, and other problems remotely via the internet. The controller can also be integrated into Building Management System platforms through communications protocols such as BACnet. www.schneider-electric.us
 Reliable Controls - Web controller
Reliable Controls launched the MACH-ProWeb series of BACnet Building Controllers that have integrated Web capabilities.  MACH-ProWeb controllers program with a built-in Web server and flexible web operator interface.  The MACH-ProWeb combines the field controller, configurable Web server, and browser driven workstation into a single device. The controller supports standard Web browsers including IE 8, Firefox 3, Chrome 5, Safari 5, or higher. www.reliablecontrols.com
Thoughts and Observations
Wireless continues to grow in all types of industries, including Building Automation.
Information dashboards are everywhere, to the point that they have become a common part of every system.
The Tridium Niagara Framework continues to penetrate the market as the most pervasive software architecture in the industry. The Sedona architecture has the potential to become the largest. Sedona is the only open architecture that exists for IP sensors and controls. It fits in the idea promoted as, “The Internet of Things."

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