Building Automation Systems (BAS) and the Importance of Control Systems Networking

Building Automation Systems are interlinked, centralized, networks of software and hardware which control and monitor the environment in industrial, commercial, as well as institutional facilities. The BAS system ensures the safety, comfort of building occupants and operational performance of the entire facility.

These control systems are perfect for installing in the new building and it can even install the old buildings replacing the outdated control systems or as a renovation part.

Typically, such control systems are installed in new buildings or as part of a renovation where they replace an outdated control system.

Related Terms

The automation or control of buildings uses varied terms and you may have heard some of them such as:

– BCS (Building Control System), BACS (Building Automation and Control Systems) and BMS (Building Management System) — defined as Building Automation System.

– Controls— describes different types of devices that control processes or particular pieces of equipment.

– DDC (Direct Digital Control) —describes the modern devices and their communication method (software and hardware). Overall, DDC products form the automation system controlling different building systems.

– EMS (Energy Management System) — it gives emphasis on monitoring/metering but generally known as Building Automation System.

– Energy System and Management — hope it’s clear now.

– Intelligent (Smart) Building— equipped (a building) with a BAS.

What does “Controlled” mean?

Building Automation System begins with a great control of electrical, mechanical, and MEP (plumbing) system. For example, the HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) is controlled and its other pieces of equipment like-

– Boilers

– Chillers

– RTUs (Roof-top Units)

– AHUs (Air Handling Units)

– HPUs (Heat Pump Units)

– FCUs (Fan Coil Units)

– VAVs (Variable Air Volume boxes)

Lighting control is very important for optimizing the performance of a building. The things that bring everything under a total automation system include:

– Security

– Power monitoring

– Keypad and card access

– CCTV (Close Circuit video)

– Escalators/elevators

– Fire alarm system

– Water and plumbing monitoring

Types of Control and Building Automation Systems

The control systems were air-based or pneumatic early days and the HVAC system is restricted by various aspects. The pneumatic devices generally include sensors, controllers, valves, actuators, regulators, and positioners. This pneumatic control systems are found in various metropolitan areas as these installations (large base) were basically established during the 1960s and 1970s.

In the 1980s, the electronic control devices (analog) became very popular. It provided higher precision and faster response compared to pneumatics. In the 1990s, DDC (digital control) gave the taste of true automation. And the open communication system made a revolution in the 2000s.

Efficiency Controls for Commercial HVAC Cut the Costs of Electricity More than 50 Percent

With the controls, advanced energy-efficiency, the commercial building can easily cut by an average of fifty-seven percent their HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) electricity use and the result found by a trial (year-long) of advanced controls at different commercial buildings, grocery stores and malls across the country. The PNNL (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) of the Department of Energy conducted the study and demonstrated that the Commercial HVAC saved higher energy than a prediction.

The HVAC boxes called as packaged units (HVAC) placed on the roofs of some commercial buildings. These packaged units (HVAC) consume pretty equal amount of energy of 2,600 trillion (British) units (thermal) or 8 million residents (U.S.).

Srinivas Katipamula, the lead researcher of the study and his PNNL colleagues found that air handling units (HVAC) have better controls in case of using packaged units (rooftop HVAC). Based on the conditions outside and inside of a building, they tried to adjust the operations with packaged units automatically. Using variable-speed motors and sensors, the controls determine how fast and when should ventilation fans run and make sure the units can use cold air naturally in lieu of indoor mechanically cooling air.

Actually, everybody knows that heating & cooling consume a huge amount of energy as most of the buildings don’t have sophisticated control systems. However, if the advanced controls are properly installed at working, real commercial building, then the energy efficiency of the air conditioning systems clearly demonstrates its true performance and energy-efficiency.

The PNNL team was working with various controls and some companies started developing and processing advanced controls in the meantime. The PNNL team installed some energy-efficient and commercially available HVAC units (rooftop) at some commercial buildings. They were amazed to see the results as it cuts almost 57 percent of energy on an average in comparison with standard operations. In fact, the range was 20 to 90 percent (energy savings). However, the bigger buildings (or malls) saved more energy compared to smaller buildings. Moreover, the stores (that ran ventilation) save more energy as these are usually open relatively long hours.

In fact, the researchers found that the HVAC units or advanced controls would help to save a lot of money every year for the building owners. This is for sure that the owners of the buildings would be inspired by the figures and install the advanced controls for greater savings.

Network Cabling 101

There is no one-size-fits-all way or method to infrastructure and networking. A unique and Band-Aid approach will not protect a business or solve networking problems.  You will discover why strategic mapping and network cabling is truly essential when you consider the goals and responsibilities of the network of your company.

Network Cabling

What are the Goals for Your Network?

There is no way to lose sight of the goals and day-to-day operations of your company when you plan to create a new network for your business. You have to consider the following factors when you plan a new network:

  • What is the daily connection needs of your business?
  • How many and what types of devices are on your network?
  • Scalability and what’s your plan for it?
  • What is the budget for your network look like?
  • Data transmission and what are the types on your network?
  • Are you upgrading or replacing your existing infrastructure completely?
  • What type of applications and devices do your employees use and on what bandwidth do they depend?
  • How does actually the setup of your business and the space support or occupies hinder your network?
  • How do you optimize the space, such as walls, door trims, corners, carpets, and electrical outlets?

Types of Cables

You shouldn’t just plug in and think everything is well. In fact, you need to consider devices, connection types, hardware and speeds that accompany each and every type of cable. The common types of cable include:

  • Fiber optic cable
  • Coaxial cables
  • Shielded pair cable (twisted)
  • Unshielded pair cable (twisted)
  • Wireless cable

Cables for Connectivity

It’s really essential to keep in mind the reach and depth of your cabling system when you design your network. It basically depends on the nature and size of your business and you may choose any of the common scales given below:

LAN (Local Area Network)

In most single-building businesses, LAN is typically used and it connects only their own equipment and computers together. Actually, a company may choose to utilize pair cables (twisted) or to connect to the net directly with an Ethernet or choose to go wireless.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

A wide area network is for greater connectivity of larger companies. WANs are frequently used to connect offices or companies with multiple branches, both locally and nationally.

CAN (Campus Area Network)

CAN is useful for large businesses or campuses within a single geographic location with multiple offices. In fact, CAN connects multiple LANs.

So, it’s time for you to take the decision about the type of connection your company needs, the cables you require and where it all goes.

Different Kinds of Light Bulbs

Light bulbs are probably the most commonly purchased of electrical supplies. But there’s still a lot of thought process that may go into your purchase. You may want to think about energy efficiency. You may want to think about what mood you are trying to create with the lighting in your home. Here we will review some options in light bulb buying. Hopefully, it will make your decision-making process a bit easier.

Different Kinds of Light Bulbs

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: These are among the most energy efficient light bulbs. CFL’s produce a UV light and can be available for outdoor use. They may not hold up to power surges so it’s not advisable to use them in a workshop.

Light Emitting Diodes: Along with CFL’s, LED’s are also among the most energy-efficient light bulbs. They can also be used outdoors if indicated on the package. Because the bulb stays cool they do not contribute to heat build up and can help you save on air conditioning costs.

Fluorescent Bulbs: These are bulbs or tubes that emit UV light. They will not work without a ballast.

Halogen Bulbs: These run on halogen gas that increases the light output and rated life. They emit a high-quality light and can last up to a year.

HID Bulbs: These are primarily used in larger spaces like warehouses, commercial spaces and in streetlights. Because they don’t have filaments, they tend to last longer than most other light bulbs. They also require a ballast in order to function.

Incandescent Bulbs: Because these bulbs do not comply with current energy efficiency standards, they are being phased out. They are available for purchase, only while supplies last.

In addition to learning the different types of bulbs that are available, there are certain characteristics of bulbs that you may want familiarize yourself with. When buying light bulbs in electrical supply stores, be sure to look at the lighting label on each package. These will let you know what you can expect from your purchase including the brightness, estimated yearly cost, life expectancy, energy use, light appearance and mercury information of the light bulb.

The label will also indicate the Kelvin temperature of the bulb. This measures the light color or appearance of the bulb. A lower Kelvin number will indicate that the color has a more yellow appearance, while a higher number means the light has more white or blue tones.

Light bulbs are available in many different types of electrical supply outlets. If you are shopping for electrical supplies online, be sure to read the description of the bulb carefully to ensure you are buying the bulb you need. Look out for indications like whether it is suited for outdoor use, and whether it can be used for dimmable lighting or with a three-way switch. Electricians may purchase bulbs in bulk at electrical wholesale outlets.

Buying a light bulb seems like a simple task, but it may be more complicated than it seems. Hopefully, this article was valuable in educating you about the different types of bulbs available for your home or office use. Good luck finding the bulb that is right for you.

Exit Signs

If you work in any sort of commercial environment, it is a good idea to have the building or office equipped with exit signs. Exit signs can save lives. They are also often required to comply with building fire codes and insurance standards. If you are looking into getting exit signs for your commercial building, here are some things you should know.

Exit signs are available at most electrical supply stores. There are also online electrical supply stores that specialize in these signs. LED exit signs are recommended since they are energy saving, lowering costs and consumption.

Other options you may want to consider are Tritium power free exit signs. These require no external power source, electrical connection or batteries. They are extremely reliable and maintenance free.

A third option is photo luminescent exit signs. These are non-electrical so they eliminate operating costs. They do not require electricity or batteries making them virtually maintenance-free and easy to install.

Once you have these signs, it’s important to know the regulations that govern emergency lighting and exit sign requirements. There are many agencies responsible for setting these rules in place and it could get confusing. Regulations also may vary according to what state you are in.

If you are unsure of how to comply with your local emergency exit sign requirements, it may be best to reach out to the local fire marshal or inspector. It also may be a good idea to have your signs installed by a professional who is familiar with these regulations.

That being said, here are some general guidelines regarding the placement and visibility of the signs:

New exit signs must be placed in such a way so that they can be viewed from within 100 ft. in each exit access corridor.

Each sign must be readily visible and contrast against the background upon which it is placed.

No decorations, etc. should block the visibility of the sign.

All emergency signs should be tested on a regular basis by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). For more information on testing procedures, it is best to consult with the AHJ to make sure you are following all regulations.

Exit signs are important for your company’s safety and they are also necessary for your business to keep in compliance with the law. To make sure that your exit signs are being installed properly, speak to your local offices or consult a professional. Good luck keeping your commercial building up to code and protecting the people who work there.

Discover Safety Tips for Electrical Installations

If you are working with electricity and electrical supplies, it’s very important to make sure you are complying with recommended safety precautions. Whether you are an electrician, or a do-it-your-selfer, working with electricity can be a very dangerous undertaking. Here are some general rules you should be aware of and follow when you are working with electricity.

Electrical Installations

  1. Make sure your electrical supplies are in good condition. Do not work with frayed cords, damaged insulation or broken plugs.
  2. Take precautions when working on underground cabling. The digging that occurs can damage the wiring so be sure to wear insulated gloves. The damp soil surrounding the cable and ground faults can also be potentially dangerous.
  3. GFCI’s can be useful when doing electrical work as they protect against electric shock. They are designed to disconnect when they sense over current or short circuit faults. Be sure your GFCIs are properly connected and in working order monthly.
  4. Always turn off the mains when you are working on any electrical device in the home. It’s a good idea to put a sign on the service panel to let passerby’s know work is being done so nobody accidentally turns the panel back on.
  5. Be sure hands are dry when working with electricity. Water increases conductivity and should be avoided at all costs.
  6. Never use an aluminum or steel ladder when working with electricity. As these are conductors of electricity, an electrical surge can ground you causing the electrical current to pass through your body. Opt for ladders made of bamboo, wood, or fiberglass instead.
  7. When thinking about electrical supplies to use while performing electrical work, consider insulated tools.
  8. If you are going to be doing any soldering while working with electricity, be sure to take the appropriate safety precautions. Wear goggles and stay away from the fumes. Keep the iron in its stand when not in use and be aware that the iron can get extremely hot and cause burns.
  9.  Put a cap on the hot or live wire on an electric board or service panel. The bare ends of the live wire could short circuit with the neutral. The cap will insulate the ends of the cable and prevent shock if they are touched accidentally.

Working with electricity can be extremely dangerous, but taking the proper precautions when doing electrical work, and using the correct electrical supplies can decrease your risks of injury considerably. When considering what electrical supplies to use, look for a reliable electrical supply store. If you are buying electrical supplies online, be sure that you read the description carefully so you know the product will be the right one for your job. Electricians may consider buying products at electric wholesale suppliers. Good luck staying safe when performing your next electrical task!

Electrical Safety After A Natural Disaster

Unfortunate though it may be, natural disasters are part of life. Though many of us do not like to think about what might happen in the case of a natural disaster, it’s important to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. Natural disasters can be particularly damaging when it comes to your electrical system. It can be dangerous dealing with restoring electricity if your power should go out during these times. Here are some things you should know if your power goes out as the result of a natural disaster.

Although you may not want another thing to deal with after a natural disaster, an electrical inspection may be necessary. If your electrical system has been flooded or if your electricity has not been turned on by your utility company because of the damage to your system, an inspection may be required. If you are replacing damaged equipment, electrical supplies or wiring, it may be necessary to get an inspection for those as well. Requesting an inspection may seem like a major inconvenience when you are trying to recover from a natural disaster, but being safe must be the priority here.

If you have electricity in your home, it may still be a good idea to get a licensed electrical contractor in to inspect your system to make sure everything is safe before turning your electricity back on. There could be damage to your system that may be hidden from view.

If it is determined that no damage was done to your home, you should still call your electrical utility company to get your power turned back on. They may require an Agency Request Inspection before doing so. This is a free inspection.

If your area is declared a disaster area, and there was flooding to your electrical system, you will need an L&I Agency Request Inspection. If no electrical problems are found, the utility company will be given the okay to turn the electricity back on.

If damage to your system was found, you will be given a list of what needs to be repaired. Then you will need to obtain an electrical permit for the repairs. Once repairs are made, you will need to get your L&I Agency Request Inspection. If there is no damage found at that time, the utility company will be given the okay to turn the power back on in your home.

At times, although it may seem like the damage to the electrical system in your home are an easy fix, it is always best to trust those repairs to a licensed electrician. He or she will know what is necessary as far as what electrical supplies to use to repair the system. Many electricians purchase supplies at electrical wholesale outlets. Electrical supply stores online are another good option.

When natural disasters happen, they can be devastating. However, it’s always best to be prepared. Hopefully, these tips can help you get back on track if a natural disaster hits your area.

Technical Math For Electricians

Are you interested in becoming an electrician? Well, if that is the case, you might want to make sure you are up on your math skills. Ohm’s law states that the current through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the voltage across the two points. The formulas related to Ohm’s law are the foundations of electrical supplies like electrical circuits.

Electricians Math

The first step you will want to take is to review certain fundamentals of math. Understanding the following will be useful: whole numbers, decimals, fractions, percentages, multipliers, percent increase, reciprocals, squaring a number, parenthesis, square root, volume, kilo and rounding off.

It’s also a good idea to review your basic knowledge of simple electrical supplies like an electric circuit. This consists of a load, a power source, and conductors. A switch will activate and deactivate the circuit.

Once you have mastered this basic knowledge, it’s time to take it to the next level, which is to apply this to what you need to know when doing electrical work. It’s important to understand the theory of direct proportion, which is to say that changing one factor will result in the change of another factor, so if the voltage increases by 25%, the current will increase by 25%. Inverse proportion is the opposite of this. In inverse proportion, decreasing one factor by 25% will result in an equal increase in the other factor.

Ohm’s law states E=IxR or Voltage=Current x Resistance. Two values here must be known to solve for the third. Similarly, a PIE formula circle determines the relationship between Power, Current and Voltage in which P=IxE (E being voltage and I being current).

A formula wheel combines Ohm’s law and the formula circle. The formulas in the formula wheel can be used for direct or alternating current circuits with unity power factor. In the formula wheel, you can determine the value of voltage, current, resistance or power based on the known amounts.

Power used in electrical supplies like fluorescent lights, motors or stove elements is considered useful work. The power used to make the electricity such as heating the conductors is considered wasted work. An electrician should be aware of this principal and be able to figure out the cost of power consumed in watts. This is based on a mathematical formula, P=I2xR.

An electrician should also understand that the voltage applied to a resistor can dramatically affect the power it consumes. Power is determined by the square of the voltage so if the voltage is doubled, power will increase by four times. Similarly, if the voltage is reduced by 50%, the power will go down by 25%.

Reviewing this information in a bit more depth will give you a good working knowledge to solve a wide variety of electrical problems. However, there is still much more to learn. Those wishing to find out more about the mathematics involved in electrical work should consider looking online for study guides where you can learn more advanced techniques which will increase your skill and knowledge. Good luck in your pursuit of a mathematical education as an electrician.

The Working Principle and Uses of a Servo Drive System

A servo drive system works as a supplier of power to electric servomechanisms. It is a kind of electronic amplifier that monitors a servomechanism’s feedback signal and continuously works to adjust it if deviates from the required limit.

Uses of a Servo Drive System

The Industry Applications of a Servo Drive System

Servo drives have various industry uses including robotics, factory automation, and CNC machining among others. They feature motor feedback, which gives them an edge over the AC and DC motors. The motor feedback is efficient in detecting random motion and making sure that the commanded motion is accurate.

How Servo Drives Work

A servo drive system works for keeping the motion of a network proportional to the command signal. It amplifies the signal after receiving it from a control system and then channels electric current to a servo motor for producing the required motion.

The control system commands a velocity, torque, or position by sending signals. The servo drive receives the actual status of the servo motor through a sensor attached to the motor. The drive then ensures the correct flow of the desired motion by adjusting the voltage frequency or pulse width.

The primary function of a servo drive is to create a balance between the rotating velocity of the servo motor and the commanded velocity signal. The process of adjusting the parameters to achieve the desired result is called performance tuning.

Servo Drive Products

You’ll find a broad range of products in the market for a servo drive system. A few has been discussed below:

Unidrive M700

It provides high-quality motor control for servo applications, permanent magnet, and induction.

Digitax ST

Digitax ST is a high-dynamic servo drive optimized for pulse duty. It has five varieties, which do the job of reducing developing and commissioning time while enhancing throughput with excellent motor control. They are flexible enough to be compatible with smaller and higher-performing machinery.

Epsilon EP

It is a small servo drive that is sufficiently versatile to be used for different functions as a simple amplifier to a programmable motion controller. The easy-to-use drive is available in various types, ideal for a wide variety of applications.

Unidrive SP

It is a tool that can control different types of industrial motors. It operates as a top-quality amplifier in servo mode. It is highly optimized for continuous duty applications such as labeling, winding, and printing.

Multi-Axis Modular Drive System (MDS)

It is a powerful and cost-effective bus solution for multiple servo axes (up to 8). It uses FM function module for providing scalable motion control functionality.

A Brief Guide to Electrical Relays for Dummies

Simply put, a relay is a kind of switch that is operated electrically. Many relays make use of an electromagnet to make a switch to function. However, they use other operating principles too. To understand different aspects of relays, follow this brief guide for electrical relays for dummies. It focuses on the definition of relays, their types, and applications.

Electrical Relays for Dummies

What are Electric Relays?

The functions of relays are to control a circuit or multiple circuits by a separate low-power signal or one signal, respectively. The first use of relays was in telegraph circuits. Currently, they are widely used in telephone exchanges.

Some Common Types of Relays

Relays are available in various types and forms for performing different functions. Some common types are discussed below:

Contactor Relays

An electric motor or other electrical loads require high power for their operator. Contactor relays can handle that high power. They switch devices in control and auxiliary circuits.

Solid-State Relays

Such relays control power circuits with the help of a semiconductor device. They apparently use no moving part for switching.

Protective Relays

Protective relays perform the function of protecting electrical circuits and transmission lines from short-circuits, overloads, and other faults. They come with attuned operating features and sometimes with several operating coils.

Protective relays are still in use, but digital instruments are mostly used these days for performing such functions.

Magnetic Latching Relays

The relays move their contacts in one direction with one pulse of coil power and then move the contacts back with redirected pulse. They are effective in applications where interrupted power has no influence on the contacts.

Railway Signaling Relays

The relays are larger considering the amount of currents and voltages they handle. Their contacts are spaced widely for protecting the system from short-circuits and flashovers.

Electrical Relays for Dummies: Applications

Relays are used in systems where it is required to regulate a high power circuit with a low power one.

Relays were first used in telegraph lines where they did the job of regenerating weak signals for further transmission. Similarly, early computers used them for logic and working registers.

Relays are used for intricate switching systems such as telephone exchanges. They are also used in production lines and machines tools for controlling the automated systems. They control a high current with small wiring and contacts in an automobile.

Another condition where relays are extensively used is in the radioactive waste handling machinery’s control panels. They are suitable for such conditions because of their better resistance to nuclear radiation than semiconductors.

Where to Buy Relays

Many manufacturers produce and market a broad range of relays and supporting accessories. All electrical supply stores, either brick-and-mortar or online, are supposed to have an excellent collection of relays for sale.