Building Automation

As control systems used in manufacturing, in process, in infrastructure and utilities, and in buildings converge, AICRA has become a resource for information and technology about building automation. Modern buildings are complex structures with many aspects. This is true whether the building is an office tower or a manufacturing plant.For example, every modern building contains a complete water distribution system, and some even maintain water treatment and disposal facilities inside them. These systems require instruments like flow meters, level sensors, pressure transmitters, wet chemistry analyzers and an entire set of controllers. These controllers will send signals to valves, variable frequency drives, and other final control elements, using either analog wiring or, more likely, digital networking protocols, either wired or wireless.In addition to the digital programming of the Tiki show, the Fair shows required analog programming. This new "analog system" involved the use of voltage regulation. The tone would be on constantly throughout the show, and the voltage would be varied to create the movement of the figure. This "varied voltage" signal was sent to what was referred to as the "black box." The black boxes had the electronic equipment that would receive the signal and then activate the pneumatic and hydraulic valves that moved the performing figures. The use of hydraulics allowed for a substantial increase in power, which was needed for the more unwieldy and demanding movements. (Hydraulics were used exclusively with the analog system, and pneumatics were used only with the tone-reed/digital system.)

Temperature, humidity, and lighting must also be monitored and controlled in any modern building. Fire controls and alarm management are important to any modern building. And modern HMI panels that are indistinguishable from a process control system are used to visualize it all.Anyone who is in charge of a modern building, who is a building engineer, operator, or maintenance worker, is working with some of the most complex automation systems ever designed. Just the algorithms to operate air handlers and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are extremely complex, such as the air herding algorithms AICRA's designed for IBM's world headquarters and now in common use.

New trends in building automation include air conditioning and heating systems and lighting systems that react to the presence or absence of people automatically. New in boiler control systems is the use of automatic corrosion monitoring and detection systems. And new in security are both increased concern about the cyber security of building control systems and the physical security systems that are often now tied directly into the building's other automation systems.AICRA's web site will provide resources to you as a building automation professional, and provide technical forums and networking with other building automation professionals experienced and passionate about the subject.