Control Systems have always played an important part in the function of HVAC systems and for many years were centered around the safe and optimum performance of the hardware deployed. Every HVAC system is a closed-loop process, with inputs fed into control logic that determines the best course of action to achieve the desired output.
Energy management and integration into Building Information Management saw the advent of energy-saving techniques like free cooling and night-time purge reduce mechanical cooling loads, whilst occupation data allowed greater holistic management of systems. These are well-recognized practices that are being refined using predictive weather data, additional focus on heat recovery and more environmentally energy sources.
Control Systems have always played an important part in the function of HVAC systemsThe scope of the typical systems loosely described above are around the management of systems on one site and their operation and maintenance tends to be centered around that particular location.
Multi-site Development & Management
The UK temperature-controlled warehousing market tends to develop on a project-by-project basis that fosters the site-by-site focus of ongoing management and maintenance. For multi-site logistics operators and manufacturers and distributors with a multi-site portfolio. this approach has the following disadvantages:
- Disparate system KPI data collection and reporting
- Setpoint adjustment left to untrained operators who apply their individual assessment of compliance risk and often don’t consider the financial and operational implications of fine-tuning (or meddling)
- Enterprise-wide energy management is difficult to control
- Duplication of staff tasked with reporting and maintenance
- Inconsistency of measurement and interpretation
- Slow response to system failures
- Poor interpretation of operational processes that impact system efficiency
The distinction here is that a portfolio of temperature-controlled sites is managed centrally instead of independently. The enabler to the solution is the rapid Energy management and integration into Building Information Management saw the advent of energy-saving techniquesdevelopment of access control systems and data communication.
The next step is vital in the customer engagement process; what do they want to see? What’s important and what is not? How often do they want to see it and in what format? From experience of going through this process this is a voyage of discovery for the warehouse operator in understanding the stakeholders in their business. Quality and compliance managers are the obvious starting point, facilities managers, finance managers who are tasked with reducing energy costs, customer service and the end customer.
Alongside the KPI monitoring, Jet Environmentals created a hierarchy of alarms management that alerts the right people with system information, that triggers a sequence of actions driven by the data. Trends are monitored to predict where there might be a problem on the horizon so action can be taken before there is an issue. Faults and failures are alerted instantly and corrective action alerts sent to the right people.
The continuous development of HVAC controls and reliability of secure data connections has provided a means of improving performance, lowering cost and building trust in provider/user relationships.
To be successful, the roll-out of such a project requires the willingness and collaboration of all parties and the groundwork defining stakeholder requirements is vital in defining a scope that meets expectations.