An open protocol control solution from Resource Data Management (RDM) is helping Edinburgh Playhouse deliver optimal environmental conditions and comfort to their visitors whilst reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint.
Controlling multiple aspects of the heating and ventilation system, the solution utilises the RDM range of Intuitive Controllers and free license PLC software, TDB. The new installation was completed by J Fletcher Engineers, who are working with the Ambassador Theatre Group, owners of the Edinburgh Playhouse, to reduce energy consumption.
Bespoke control algorithms were created utilising RDM’s free license PLC software, TDB, which J Fletcher found to be powerful given its programming flexibility and free custom blocks. The intuitive PR0650 line of controls were utilised to deliver efficient control of the heating, ventilation and domestic hot water systems, providing optimised start, weather compensation and demand based control. While a similar level of control could have been achieved with alternate PLC software and controls from other leading suppliers, it would have proven much more complicated and would have resulted in additional costs being incurred by both J Fletcher and the client.
Remote monitoring will limit downtime, while allowing ATG to predict possible equipment failures and ensure breakdowns are handled efficiently. Alternatively, plant equipment could be installed and potentially left unchecked for weeks, months or even years if it is believed to be operating efficiently. Detailed, real-time visibility of how equipment is operating will allow for the vast majority of call outs to be dealt with remotely, eliminating wasted man hours, travel expenses and non-essential site visits. On the rare occasions where a remote fix is not possible, and an engineer is required to attend site, secondary visits can sometimes be prevented by remotely identifying where in the system the fault lies. Engineers will have the visibility to identify which parts may be required to resolve the issue on first visit to the site.
Recent trends have resulted in end-users becoming more aware of the technical solutions they are being provided and, as a result, one of the key requirements specified in this installation was that the system must be open protocol. RDM products are based on open protocols, and non-propriety networking communications, through the use of IP, XML, BACnet™ and Modbus®. The ability to switch between networking mediums; Ethernet, Wi-Fi and wireless, for example, has been especially beneficial in the delivery of this project.
Key benefits, when compared to traditional BEMS from companies such as Trend, Siemens and Schneider, are scalability and the reduced cost of linking equipment on site via open protocols, the level of potential integration between RDM and third party equipment, and the networking flexibility that RDM products and solutions provide.
When selecting and investing in a new control solution, end users are typically required to commit to a large minimum annual spend before programmable logic control software is made available. As businesses become ever-more cost-conscious, RDM solutions have proven to be more accessible - especially as end users do not need to commit to a minimum annual spend. This has resulted in legacy systems from other leading control suppliers, being removed and replaced. Not because of technical failure but simply because it is cost prohibitive to expand existing systems, when compared to installing a new system utilising RDM products and technologies.
Overall, the scalability of the RDM solution, particularly the open protocols, expansions, and remote monitoring has minimised initial investments costs, while allowing the system to be proven in its simplest format first.
About J Fletcher Engineers
J Fletcher’s multi-disciplined team culture is to work with clients to meet project objectives by providing cost effective solutions within the shortest time scales. The close relationship of operating divisions lends itself to timely conclusions with a single source of responsibility for a wide variety of services.
Their design, manufacture and installation capability means that they can exercise greater quality control from design to offsite prefabrication which in turn leads to shorter on-site times and more competitive products. Recent projects include system upgrades and replacements for premium leisure club operator David Lloyd, Shepherd’s Bush O2 Academy and the Reel Cinema Group.
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