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Building Automation

A twin tower high rise office complex under construction in Kuwait will be one of the tallest sets of buildings in the region. An ultra-modern office and apartment complex featuring state-of-the-art technology and amenities, critical to the smooth functioning of the high rise buildings and the comfort of its tenants is the efficient automation of all of the buildings’ operations and services.

Of special concern was the smooth and efficient operation of the building maintenance systems (BMS) -- security, lighting, elevators, HVAC, etc. -- on every floor and within each building. To assure the tenants’ comfort and provide for an efficient working environment, reliable security and HVAC services and systems were a critical requirement.

The consulting firm responsible for the BMS designed an interconnected system of control units, one located on each floor, all networked together as part of an overall SCADA environment. The control units manage and monitor the environment and equipment serving the building locally on each floor and are remotely connected to the entire building environment by SCADA. The system also included a network of IP cameras used for surveillance. The BMS control unit continuously monitors the many variables of the climatic control and automatically makes changes to the air conditioning and heating to maintain the different building spaces within the parameters set by the tenants.

To achieve this implementation, a control unit was required that was available as a compact, rugged and self contained system. It needed to have enough processing power to manage the large amount of data collection and control functions, and yet be a cost effective solution that could withstand the harsh environment of an equipment room. The control unit needed to interface with the serial DDC bus to communicate with the HVAC equipment and provide 24-hour data logging, local equipment diagnostics, equipment monitoring, and setting new values or enabling/disabling functions. It also serves as the interface and control for the IP camera surveillance network located on its floor, drives an LCD monitor to display the floor’s current environmental status and provide a (GUI) user interface, and interfaces with the global SCADA system.

After evaluating several alternatives for rugged computing systems, a Diamond Systems implementation consisting of the Athena III SBC housed in the compact Pandora enclosure was selected. The Athena III single board computer uses a 1GHz Intel Atom E6460T CPU with a wealth of on-board I/O that met the connectivity needs of the control unit. The Athena III SBC met the performance requirements of the system and housed in the compact and sturdy Pandora enclosure was easy to install on each floor and resistant to the heat, shock and vibration of an equipment room environment.

The architecture of the systems was identical for each floor of both high rise buildings. Diamond’s rugged Athena III SBC comfortably monitors and manages the entire set of HVAC equipment as well as gathers the video from the floor’s IP camera network. It remains in constant communication with the building’s centralized maintenance and security systems.

Once construction is completed and tenants move in, Diamond’s small form factor Athena III SBC will help ensure a safe and comfortable environment for the thousands of people working and living in this ultra-modern high rise complex.

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