Designing a novel centralised monitoring and control facility
Fourie, Willem Adrian Stephanus
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Privatisation has led to many changes throughout the South African economy. This has led to the development of various new approaches in the different market sectors. Businesses have taken new approaches to optimise their business processes. Part of the optimisation has also been introduced into the telecommunications industry. The local service provider (Telkom) has also privatised the facility management sector of their business. One of the major problems identified in the new company is that although a facility manager is responsible for ensuring the availability of the customer's premises and environmental resources, there is no method to determine the availability of these resources. A system had to be designed to prevent the downtime of the environmental control systems. Downtime of the systems can cause big losses in revenue to the client. A building automation infrastructure together with a monitoring and control facility will therefore enable the facility manager to correctly understand the reasons for downtime. The goal of such a monitoring and control facility is (a) to be able to pro-actively become aware of potential system failures and (b) to respond to system failures by correctly identifying the system failure mode. The purpose of this study is to design a system that will increase environmental system availability through the use of reactive and preventative action. A complete analysis and requirement definition was done to fully understand the need for the system. Furthermore, an in-depth analysis was done to determine the current situation of the availability of environmental systems in the telecommunications industry. After the initial research work has been done, a system model was defined for the building automation system architecture. This architecture defined all of the major components and strategies, which were implemented in the final system design. The design is able to accommodate buildings that are part of a campus environment, stand-alone or in remote locations. The network architecture was also taken into consideration as it can also influence the control model. Centralised monitoring, control and service activation was thoroughly investigated, as the option to implement this function in a decentralised way cannot be ruled out. The motivational factor for a control centre is to minimise system downtime as much as possible. The control centre was designed with the philosophy in mind to not only monitor remote facilities, but also to remotely control certain functions at these remote facilities. In designing the system architecture, the following criteria were specified as being important: - using technology which can he re-used in similar applications in the South African industry, - sustain the South African technology development and manufacturing industry where possible, - a comprehensive technology transfer should be done for all technologies and products imported from the international market, - at the successful completion of the project the value-add and benefit of the system should be determined by implementing the system in more application fields. The building automation solution based on the Niagara framework was chosen, since it is utilised extensively in the building automation environment. This solution is ideally designed to operate in a distributed or centralised networking environment, which makes it suitable for rollout in national projects. From the results obtained it can be seen that it will be a financially viable solution and it also meets the strict technical requirements. It has the necessary features to enable real-time monitoring of different environmental control systems to minimise downtime. The features incorporated into the product represent an optimised design, which complies with all the requirements that were set by the client. The evaluation and design process also demonstrated that it is possible to accommodate customisation demanded by processes and interface requirements. It will be able to integrate easily into the business information systems used by the facility management company. With its monitoring and reporting features, it will be easy to evaluate the success of this solution. Downtime can now be actively monitored and managed in order to ensure the maximum availability of telecommunication equipment. With this successful implementation, it has also been shown that the separation of the monitoring equipment and network can be better optimised for each application. In this case, more information can be obtained by using a design that has been optimised for environmental control systems and is capable of interfacing directly with the controllers. This supervisory software solution has therefore been proven to be capable of successful deployment in this application.
- Engineering