Building Automation Overview

Kelsey HillCase Studies

Quantum Design updates building automation controllers for outdated cooling units throughout several process lines.

What is the significance of the project?

In order for the plant to reduce their power consumption, an update was needed to the building automation controllers for air handling units, cooling units and chillers that were used throughout several of the plant’s process lines.

Relevant Industries

  • Any manufacturing industry

Engineering Specialties Utilized

  • Automation Control

Technologies Utilized

  • Rockwell RSLogix 5000
  • Rockwell RSLinx
  • AutoCAD

Details of Project

A manufacturing plant in Rockford, IL made the decision to update their building automation controllers and add VFD’s for air handling units, cooling units and chillers.  The Powerhouse operators needed better control and troubleshooting of these units and the customer needed their plant power consumption to be reduced.  Multiple process lines throughout the plant were using these units making it a sizable project.

Prior to starting the work, Quantum Design was asked to research connections between the building automation controllers and any area PLC’s or hardware.  Quantum also looked into what was required to get the new building automation controllers tied into the proper Ethernet network in the plant.  Upon evaluation, Quantum proposed the required modifications to the existing area PLC’s or hardware to interface with the new building automation controllers.

Quantum started by updating the existing electrical schematics for the area PLCs and hardware.  Next, old equipment was removed and Quantum added what was required for the new equipment.  Quantum also created new drawings for the Ethernet network to show the required connections for communications.  In addition, Quantum made logic changes to the area PLC’s that needed them.

“Steve (Electrical Controls Engineer for Quantum Design Inc.) is extremely knowledgeable on where networking should be utilized, where network cables should be placed, etc.  We were happy to have him onboard with this project”, Billy Williams, Senior Project Manager.

Following the project, the plant had new and improved building automation controls which helps their Powerhouse operators in controlling and troubleshooting cooling units, chillers and air handling units throughout the plant.  Power consumption was further reduced by using the VFD’s for motor speed control.  The plant has seen a reduction of 1,750,000kWh’s in energy usage, a savings that was validated by an independent ComEd engineering service.