Automation for buildings: case study

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14 Ιουλ 2012 (πριν από 5 χρόνια και 2 μήνες)

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Tridium reaches new building
automation markets with
Siemens reliability.
Product innovator Gil Rockwell
and a few colleagues had an
out-of-the-box idea they were
convinced would forever change
the HVAC controls market. The
company they worked for at
the time, however, didn’t share
their enthusiasm.
“Many solutions providers
are content to keep a lock on
their clients with proprietary
platforms and products. Our
goal was to provide an open,
interoperable control system
environment that gives
customers a choice,” explained
Rockwell, who ventured out on
his own with seven partners
to put the group’s idea to the
test with the formation to form
Tridium eleven years ago. In just
a decade after its first system
installation, Tridium has become
a global software leader with more
than 100 employees based at the
company’s Richmond, Virginia
headquarters and offices around
the world.
Case Study • Tridium
Thinking Outside the Box!
The firm’s patented Java-based infrastructure software called
Niagara Framework® has struck a chord with a fast-growing
and evolving list of clients who are free to pick the building
operation and automation solutions they want regardless of
manufacturer or communications protocols.
“Companies that adopt Niagara can easily integrate diverse
systems and devices into a unified platform using a single
tool to configure it, control it and manage it in real time
remotely over the Internet,” said Rockwell, a 40-year
industry veteran and Tridium’s senior director of
product development. “That’s our strength, our forté.”
The brain behind the successful Niagara Framework is the
Tridium JACE [Java application control engine], a system
controller that is offered in embedded or Windows-based
versions. The Windows-based Microbox controller is
developed, built and customized by Siemens for Tridium
and its customers who require the horsepower for more
complex and demanding applications.
“That’s the key component that runs, manages and monitors
everything from temperature, light, and security sensors to
chillers in the basement and rooftop air handlers. The JACE
is at the cornerstone of our success and we simply can’t
allow it to fail,” said Rockwell, noting the Siemens box has
replaced the previous generation Window-based JACE from
another supplier.
“Our previous JACE platform was failing us and impacting
Tridium’s reputation,” Rockwell said. “We had to find a
more reliable, more robust controller to solidify the long
term success of our company and our customers. We
found that and more with Siemens.”
A Reputation for Reliability
Systems integrators across the country have installed
Tridium JACE controllers in virtually every building
environment imaginable, including national convenience
and department store chains, universities, office towers,
factories and hospitals.
The software’s common object model and extensive
graphical components library enables developers to
easily and quickly assemble complete applications on
their computer screens. “On average we’re cutting
a customer’s engineering costs by 30% because the
software running on the Siemens-built industrial computer
allows vastly different equipment and protocols to speak
as one,” explained Rockwell, noting the Siemens platform
outperformed others he and his team considered at the
core of Tridium’s flagship product.
“Siemens has a reputation for rock solid, industrial-strength
reliability,” he added. We have a new level of confidence in
our Tridium JACE thanks to the quality Siemens has put into
the Microbox.”
What Siemens didn’t put into the box is also delivering
big benefits.
“The old box had a fan to cool the processor and other
components inside. That fan often failed and filters in
front of the fan had to be cleaned on a regular basis,”
recalled Rockwell with a raised brow. “The Siemens
Microbox doesn’t feature a fan or other moving parts
that can cause major problems. The biggest advantage
to all of our customers comes in the form of cost savings
and peace of mind. They install the Siemens-based JACE
and they don’t have to worry about it. It just works.”
The Tridium JACE works in extreme conditions that can
come with the HVAC and building controls territory.
Like a scorching rooftop where an air handler is dueling
summertime in Phoenix. Or a hot, humid boiler room
where a furnace is working to keep factory employees
warm. “Tridium’s JACE solution, based on the Siemens
Microbox, passed temperature tests at 122 degrees
Fahrenheit, while other manufacturers’ products couldn’t
stand up to their own spec claims,” said Rockwell. “The
first run of the Siemens box through temperature trials
settled it for me.”
TRIDIUM’s Gil Rockwell with Siemens-built JACE
WIndows-based Microbox controller
Tridium has a strong reputation for reliability across its
expanding marketplace, “and Siemens is playing a key
role in our growth,” noted Rockwell, referring to leading
OEMs that are branding products on Tridium’s framework
as their own.
A Reputation for Brandability
OEMs and integrators can easily customize and brand
Tridium’s framework to eliminate much of the development
costs and time to market normally associated with the
launch of a start-from-scratch product or application.
The universality of the Niagara Framework and the
robustness of the Siemens controller offer a flexible
“create your own” infrastructure that is saving equipment
manufacturers millions of dollars. “Tridium’s out of the
box thinking has not only led to a great solution, it’s
also enabling Tridium’s customers to think out of the
box as well,” said Mike Romanchik, the Siemens
account manager who was instrumental in bringing
the two innovative companies together. “That drives
creativity and profitability.”
“In five short months, an OEM recently completed a product
on the Niagara Framework that allows them to support
existing legacy customers as well as new protocol requests.
If they had attempted to develop the platform on their own,
it likely would have been a multi-year engineering effort,”
Rockwell estimated. “And it wouldn’t have the robustness
and reliability our Siemens-based solution delivers right
out of the box.”
Another firm has leveraged the Tridium platform to take
building access technology to the next level. For example,
an employee heads to the office to do some after hours
work at night or over the weekend. Typically a building is
shutdown and the HVAC equipment turned off. But once
the authorized worker is granted access, “the magic of
our JACE product really kicks in,” said Rockwell. “The
system allows the employee to call the elevator and go
to the right floor. It automatically turns on the lights
in their office and dials in the temperature at normal
daytime set points. Then the JACE turns everything off
when the employee leaves,” Rockwell explained, noting
that the building owner can even use the system to
generate a tenant bill for overtime utilities usage.
A Reputation for Innovation
The innovative Tridium software and JACE run HVAC, security,
lighting, and a growing list of other systems effectively and
at optimal efficiency. A centralized maintenance team for
a national department store chain, for example, monitors
energy usage and equipment status using a standard Web
browser. System alerts and update messages can be sent
via e-mail, cell phone or other handheld device.
A color-coded floor plan offers a quick summary
of temperatures inside and outside desired ranges.
Equipment and lighting status can also be viewed from
virtually anywhere over the Internet. “Our Siemens-based
JACE allows customers to monitor electrical use over time
and to set targets they don’t want to exceed. The Niagara
software determines what equipment should be throttled
back or turned off at certain time periods,” explained
Rockwell. “Huge cost savings can be achieved by eliminating
peak demand. That national department store chain has
already saved millions of dollars using Tridium.”
Not only is Tridium helping customers save a lot of green,
its solutions are enabling clients to be much more
environmentally green and profitable at the same time.
Based on trending analysis, the JACE box can automatically
pre-chill or preheat a building during off-peak, overnight
hours, and have it ready for occupancy at the start of a
new business day.
“The cost of energy is going up by the day and how businesses
strategize to cut energy usage is becoming more important
every day,” said Romanchik. “It’s extremely satisfying for
Siemens to be working with Tridium and contributing to the
tremendous savings being discovered and enjoyed by a growing
number of companies tapping this innovative solution.”
With a few clicks on his laptop computer, Gil Rockwell logged
in to check the status of classroom temps on a university
campus in Montana. “That dark shade of blue tells me the
room temperature is slightly cooler than the rest of the
building. The maintenance crew can click deeper into the
system if they want to make changes,” explained Rockwell,
as he viewed the real time operation of a rooftop air handler
at the school. Contractors are offering remote monitoring
services over the Tridium JACE.
Mike Romanchik, the Siemens account manager
Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.
3333 Old Milton Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30005
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Not only is the controller saving energy, when combined
with the Siemens SITOP power supply it can also save critical
data. “The trending object in our solution is collecting data
about everything from power, temperature, and humidity to
water and gas flow. That information is vitally important to
our customers and is stored in time-stamped collection files.
They simply cannot lose it,” said Rockwell. “The Siemens
SITOP power supply has a UPS battery option and provides
our customers with the critical minutes needed for an
orderly shutdown in the event of a loss of power. Without
that safety net, customer data is at risk of being destroyed
or corrupted.”
“The SITOP power supply with a UPS battery backup is
an absolute necessity for Tridium and its customers,”
Romanchik explained. “When you’re working with a
Windows-based solution a customer simply cannot risk
damage to their application nor can they afford to lose
critical data that’s being written to memory right as the
power fails,” added Romanchik.
A Reputation for Vision
Tridium solutions developers liken their Niagara
Framework to a blank canvas that helps customers
to masterfully explore creative and visionary
applications across new and exciting industries.
“The addition of the Siemens JACE at the heart of our
product line certainly gives Tridium the reliability and
high performance we need to reach out to new markets,”
said Rockwell, referencing the overwhelming response
to the Niagara Framework aboard the Siemens box.
“While our roots are in HVAC and building automation,
the Siemens built JACE boxes will end up in places we
never dreamed of when we first formed the company.”
Rockwell predicts successful forays into the residential
home control system market and healthcare are just
around the corner. “The Siemens quality inside our
JACE is enabling Tridium to effectively meet the future
needs of our customers — with their business and the
environment front and center. The possibilities are
endless. It just blows my mind.”