Efficiency and IoT – key market trends that dominated the agenda at ISH 2017

Another interesting ISH 2017 fair is behind us with a record 200,000 visitors - and the market is clearly showing faith in a brighter future.

ISH, the world’s leading trade fair for building services, energy and air conditioning technology was held last month in Frankfurt, Germany. There were a lot of HVAC application manufacturers present in the fair and atmosphere was very good. Based on the amount of exhibitors and visitors, people are starting to become confident that technology industries have passed the worst times and everyone is heading for a brighter future. There were 200 114 visitors and 2 482 exhibitors from 61 countries of which 64% of visitors and 40% of exhibitors were outside of Germany. These are highest numbers in the fair’s history.

High energy efficiency seems to be one of the prevalent topics and of course new regulations have an effect on this trend. Next change to the regulations will be ErP-Directive 2018 (Energy related Products Directive). Some discussions were made on the regulations of the 2020 but so far there isn’t any official information on that.

Trend in the market is now making integrated control to the motor to make them more efficient. Pump, or fan package and motor manufacturers are trying to make their products as efficient as possible and many of the manufacturers are claiming that permanent magnet motors + control is “EC-motor” (Electrically Commutated) although it really is evolving the original meaning of term “EC”.

You can read more about EC here if you like: http://www.dchuddle.com/2012/ec-plug-fan/

IoT (Internet of Things) and digitalization is now everywhere, and this is one of the biggest trends currently in the market. This means that the customers want to have ability to control, adjust and monitor equipment over the internet. Variable speed drive (VSD) by itself is essential part of IoT, and we as a manufacturer need to take care that our tools are up to the customer needs. In domestic appliances IoT simply means that you can control your fridge, coffee machine, washing machine etc. with your phone and far away from home. In building automation however, IoT brings easiness to organizing maintenance and adjusting system performance according to weather changes, energy price, or any other related variables.

As it has become a tradition, ABB Drives was attending the fair at BACnet interest group Europe, as a short BIG-EU. On the same stand there were about 10 companies, all representing their compatibility with BACnet. We had also made a setup where we were able to control the drive from our iPad with an easy app, which is one example why everyone should be using BACnet. It is simple and easy to use and it can be used in many platforms.

Harmonics is also an important topic for building automation. Harmonic content in the grid forces you to oversize your cables and transformers and they cause all kinds of disturbances on lighting and measuring devices. At its worst it may result in equipment failure. In some countries there are limitations on the equipment that you are going to add to the grid, for example in the UK the last one who is adding the equipment to the grid is responsible for the harmonic content as well as for power factor. This means that you need a HVAC system that ensures that you don’t need to worry about either. This is something you need to consider when choosing the VSD to run your system.

“If you take a pint of beer, then active power is the beer and reactive power is the foam. Both take space in the glass but only one is of any benefit. Same way reactive power reduces the capacity of power grid.”

Power factor describes the relation of active power and reactive power. Reactive power can also be known as wattless power, meaning that it is unable to do work. You need your VSD not only to have unity power factor, but also ability to control power factor of other equipment.

When your VSD has the ability to boost output voltage you can be sure that your motor is always running with nominal voltage without oversizing or field weakening.

These features all combined in one package gives you a peace of mind with your critical applications. The main thing to consider is that you are able to save money since you don’t have to oversize your equipment any more but you can optimize it to fulfill your needs.

This year we introduced our new ACH580-31 ultra-low harmonic drive for HVAC applications in the fair. Here are listed a few of the highlights of the product:

  • Harmonic distortion level is always less than 4%, on all load conditions
  • Perfect solution for data centers, hospitals, metro tunnel ventilation systems, shopping centers
  • Reactive power control; the drive itself has unity power factor 1.0 (no reactive power generated) but it can also compensate reactive power of other equipment
  • Ability to boost output voltage in weak network, motor can be used always with nominal voltage without using of the field weakening or needing to oversize motor

If you want to learn more about our solution complementing your HVAC systems you can find it behind this link.

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About the author

Antti Matinlauri

Antti Matinlauri, Regional Product Line Manager for Water and HVAC drives is responsible for LV drives HVAC and water products, offering and sales regionally. Antti Studied engineering at the Aalto university in Finland gaining a Master’s degree in specializing in industrial engineering and management. Antti joined ABB in 2011 and has worked in product management since then with different products starting first with responsibility for ACS580 Product Manager in R&D phase. Since then Antti has also worked as Product Marketing Manager for General purpose and industry specific drives, including ACS550, ACH550, ACQ810, ACS580 and ACH580 drives. Prior to joining ABB in 2011 he has worked with the product development of UPS devices and as a project engineer at a local power producer in Finland. Outside work Antti enjoys motorcycling and sports.
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