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Mar 1, 2014 - Building

The Librarians – How to use libraries and system macros from WAGO to implement complex HVAC applications without spending a lot on programming.

Expensive, time-consuming, complex: integrating HVAC systems into automation technology, so that they operate at maximum efficiency is a job for expert PLC coders. Two experts at WAGO, Karl-Heinz Sanders and Rainer Knodel, see things quite differently. The head of Market Management in Building Automation and the system analyst for Building Automation explained in an interview how customers can virtually dispense with programming, yet still have everything they want.

Mr. Sanders, Mr. Knodel, energy efficient automation in buildings is a controversial topic, but hardly new. What is WAGO doing that is different from others?

Sanders: We don’t just focus on the technical challenges, but on the user at the same time. Translated to our automated solutions, it means this: upon request, expensive programming will be a thing of the past, to the greatest extent possible. Instead, adjustments can be implemented be simply setting the parameters. We’ve already done that by using flexROOM® as a complete solution for room automation. We’ve upped the ante with our libraries, which are specialized for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning applications.

Sounds like Plug-and-Play for PLC Developers How do they function from a technical standpoint?

Knodel: All of our control units, including controllers, touch panels, and industrial PCs, work in the CODESYS programming environment. Our customers have free rein there; they can implement their own projects without any limitations. WAGO has simply gone through ahead of them and completed the work on an entire series of typical HVAC applications. The result is a comprehensive library containing system macros that are available at no charge. Even complex applications can be implemented using them, for example, cascade controllers with cross-flow heat exchangers and frequencycontrolled fans. And the great thing is that the corresponding web visualizations are also integrated.

Sanders: Of course, the client will have to carry out their own project-related adjustments. That essentially includes allocating data points and assigning system parameters. No one can do this task for them. However, it really can’t be compared to developing this type of solution from the ground up, as there is so much less work involved.

Can you prove, using practical examples, how much time can be saved?

Knodel: Experience demonstrates that customers, who use our system macros, are finished around 60% faster. Just think about it: in a conventional program, every function block has to be generated for every pump, valve, ventilation damper, and so on. In contrast, the macros enable customers to achieve a significantly higher level of standardization. This leads to higher rates of repetition, which function just like modularization in traditional software development.

Sanders: The more often you can use a system macro, which only had to be generated once, the greater the benefits in relation to time savings, both in generating the application and during startup. This also leads to error prevention which further reduces costs. Standardization and modularization are used to best advantage in projects with many similar systems. For example, our previous customers include automotive manufacturers, airports, and operators of industrial parks and production halls.

Different Sectors, Different Demands How can WAGO ensure energy efficient automation in different projects?

Sanders: WAGO’s ready-made system macros are based on relevant standards and statutory regulations. No exceptions. These have already created a foundation for a common and unambiguous language for building automation. This in turn forms the basic premise for energy efficient operation of a building.

Knodel: Adding to that: the automation hardware has to play a role. The hardware is tasked with combining all building services, if possible, into one system for the entire property. This is the only way to maximize energy efficiency. However, this often appears to be a Herculean task, considering the virtually innumerable protocols that currently exist at the field level. We’ve pretty much solved this with our fieldbus-independent WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750, which has more than 400 modules to suit practically all applications.

Is the use of HVAC libraries limited to the German market? or are there indeed no boundaries?

Sanders: Energy efficient behavior is an international responsibility. Our I/O system – and thus our HVAC libraries as well – can be used anywhere, in Germany, Europe, and beyond. In addition to qualifying for certification by the DGNB (German Association for Sustainable Building), they also form the foundation for additional international standards, including: the Australian “Green Star”, the French HQE, BREEAM in Great Britain, and LEED and “Global Green” in the USA.

Knodel: For our customers, it may also be of special interest that we have made the macros available for download at no charge. We are not charging licensing fees or limiting the use of our libraries in any way. The user can apply them one-to-one, or use them as the basis for their own design. Everything is possible. Which corresponds to the principle on which the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 was based.

Conclusion

  • System macros from WAGO replace expensive programming through the use of simple parameterization
  • Using HVAC libraries ensures a high level of standardization and modularization.
  • Practical examples prove that time savings of up to 60% are possible.

Text: Stefan Keggenhoff, WAGO
Photo: WAGO

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