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Mar 1, 2014 - Building

New Automation For The Schirn Kunsthalle

Behind the scenes: The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 is a secret highlight at the Schirn Art Gallery for the technically-minded.

The city of Frankfurt equipped the Schirn Art Gallery [Kunsthalle] with modern building automation technology without closing exhibition spaces during the renovations. The popular exhibition center at the heart of the metropolis on the Main now includes WAGO technology. The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 forms the brains of the automation system and functions as a link to the higher level building control technology. The impetus for the work: aging technology in systems that had been in operation since the art gallery opened in 1986, and for which replacement parts were often no longer available.

Glam – the extravagant style that musicians like David Bowie and Marc Bolen popularized in the early 1970’s in England. It combined high and low culture in a way that lacked respect for either, openly questioning societal and traditional concepts like identity and gender. In order to provide sufficient latitude for intended, and unintended, interpretations of androgynous art objects, like Ziggy Stardust, or works by Andy Warhol, the viewers of this kind of art must be granted room to breathe. For this reason, to provide their viewers with the space needed to appreciate and view the art, the Schirn Art Gallery in Frankfurt modernized the entire building technology in a series of multiple project segments using WAGO technology.

Effective Modernization during Operations

Under the direction of Römer Lüftungs-Klima-Wärmetechnik GmbH, a WAGO HVAC solution provider from Grünberg, the majority of the field devices were updated during the renovation process; existing control cabinets were dismantled and new switching systems designed and installed. In addition, a complete renovation of the systems control, including all automation components, fell within the scope of the project. Insofar as it was possible, the existing wiring and the temperature sensors installed in the various rooms were retained. The goal was ultimately to bring the building technology, in particular the control system, up to modern standards, not to completely replace the entire system.

Today, the control level is based on the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 from WAGO, and functions as the subordinate to the building control technology. InTouch from Wonderware is used as the higher level building control level to operate and observe the various systems. Projects that received special consideration during the automation process in the Schirn include the spatially separated systems for heating circuits, ventilation and air conditioning; refrigeration technology; and a centralized outside air treatment plant. In total, this required sixteen 750-841 controllers from WAGO, distributed among four ventilation centers that are connected to each other via an optical fiber network. The replacement of copper wire with fiberglass took place using ETHERNET switches in the control cabinets. The controllers themselves are clearly designated using unique IP addresses in the building network, and can thus be directly accessed from the control center.

In addition, there are touch panels embedded in the control cabinet doors at the central ventilation points on site. They display maintenance and error messages, as well as information about the electrical usage – voltage, current, performance, consumption – by the respective control cabinet. Central 1 (west) has additional responsibilities as the largest unit; it controls four of the seven data measuring and control stations via an autonomous industrial PC with a touch panel. The building automation applications are installed on this IPC so that the system technology can be operated and run from here.

Easy Connection to the Visual Display

The flexible usage and expansion potential of the modular WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 were very advantageous during the modernization work, as it provided an excellent opportunity for a direct connection to InTouch, the system that is used in numerous buildings in Frankfurt. Examples for use include system visualizations, adjustments to controllers and operating parameters, specification of timed switching programs and operating modes, and the display of trendlines for relevant operating parameters, including user administration. The modernization was implemented during normal visitor hours at the Art Gallery. “We didn’t close the gallery. That was partially a type of knee-jerk reaction, because we renovated during ongoing operations,” recalls Claus Menzel from Frankfurt’s Department of Municipal Works. For this reason, the project team began by modernizing the smallest of the 25 ventilation systems, in order to gain experience on site. “From there, we proceeded step-by-step into the core of the building,” explains Menzel. In addition, the central refrigeration system “had to be kept going, no matter what” during the renovations. Numerous tasks were thus meticulously planned out before the actual work began.

The communications system, based on connecting the systems to the larger network via Modbus TCP/IP, developed in an uncomplicated manner. “We are now significantly more flexible in comparison to the proprietary systems we used prior to the renovations.” In addition, a greater level of homogeneity was achieved in the network. The individual field devices and their signals are designated with their own unique codes throughout the system. The equipment designation system, specified for building control technology in the city of Frankfurt, was used as a basis. The field level includes essentially all measuring devices for temperature, humidity, pressure, valve positions and throughput, as well as the mechanical actuators needed to correspondingly influence these processes.

Adaptability Provided by Free Programmability

Modernization work on existing systems demands the highest possible adaptability to the processes in use, in addition to maintaining their functionality. The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750, as used in the Schirn Art Gallery, scored due to its modularity, communication capabilities, and because of the free programmability of the controllers. It uses one of the internationally standardized languages according to IEC 6113-3, CODESYS. “We could do a lot just by testing changes using the software, keeping what worked and discarding what didn’t,” clarifies Claus Menzel, who reveals a high degree of internal expertise in working with CODESYS.


  • The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 is characterized by a variety of usage and expansion potentials.
  • WAGO automation and communication via Modbus TCP/IP increases network homogeneity.
  • The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 scores due to its modularity, communications capabilities, and open programmability.

Text: Markus Anisewicz, WAGO
Photo: Schirn Art Gallery, WAGO

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