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ABB secures major contract with Spirax Sarco

19 September 2011

ABB has secured its single largest UK OEM account to date for ABB PLC and HMI products following the signing of a two-year agreement with Spirax Sarco.

ABB and Wrexham-based system integrator, Tycon Automation has worked with Spirax Sarco to develop a control system for Spirax Sarco’s Next Generation EasiHeat™. ABB is the single source supply for all control components in the new innovative Spirax Sarco product and includes an AC500 PLC and CP600 human machine interface (HMI) together with an array of ABB low voltage products. By using standard modular control components, the system can be easily expanded in the future.

The original Spirax EasiHeat control system was based around a PID loop controller and used traditional style relay logic. The ABB-Tycon solution uses a PLC and HMI, allowing more complex algorithms to bring a new level of intelligence to the control system.

The Next Generation Spirax EasiHeat offers superior energy efficiency when compared to other steam to water heating solutions. The new control system allows access to validate this energy data along with CO2and carbon emissions. “Having this information readily available will make the production of reports for energy managers simple,” says Chris Rowlands, senior group business development executive of Spirax Sarco.

A seven inch TFT touch screen with advanced graphics is being introduced as standard. This will make the operation of the unit as intuitive as today’s personal computers and mobile phones, providing complete visual access to all key parameters.

Advanced communications mean that the control system is compatible for connection to existing proprietary networks and can interact with Ethernet and Modbus systems as well as Profibus, CANopen, EtherCAT and DeviceNet. To meet the growing demand for increased connectivity within building services, Tycon Automation developed the control system with BACnet capability. The design also features remote web access for monitoring and controlling packages, thereby reducing maintenance costs.

“We will now be able to communicate with a much wider array of building management systems, improving the integration of our solutions with customer systems,” says Rowlands. “We will be able to send text messages and e-mails from the package to inform the customer’s maintenance team, or our own service department, of any alarms or service needs from the packages. We can even connect to the package from anywhere in the world via the internet, allowing access to control the unit, interrogate historical trends or diagnose faults without even stepping into the plant room.”

Tycon Automation’s Scott Davis adds: “We wrote all the bespoke software and energy saving calculations and manufactured two complete working prototype units prior to securing the order. We went that extra mile to give the customer the confidence in our design and integration abilities and the quality of our work. With the assistance of ABB we have worldwide support and superb technical knowledge on system integration.”

While the value of the agreement is not disclosed, the number of control systems is significant and is expected to more than double over the next few years. The contract includes worldwide warranty cover from ABB and round-the-clock remote support using Westermo Connect.

“This design puts us way ahead of the competition,” says Rowlands. “To ensure Spirax Sarco can benefit from these developments worldwide we needed a partner that could support us globally. ABB proved to be such a partner.”

Spirax Sarco’s group product manager - controls, Sean Nicholas, comments: “After a rigorous investigation and a robust, well communicated vendor selection procedure, I believe that the products and services offered by ABB and Tycon are matchless. We are now actively working closely with both ABB and Tycon to capitalise on the strength of our new partnership and class-leading products to bring enhanced C&I products and services to market in the future.”

ABB’s UK division head for discrete automaton and motion, Steve Ruddell adds: "ABB is delighted to have been chosen as the supplier of choice for the new control system for the EasiHeat range. This represents the single largest UK OEM account to date for ABB PLC and HMI products and we are fully committed to living up to the trust placed in us by Spirax Sarco”.

The Spirax EasiHeat is a true instantaneous steam-to-water heater. It always provides a stable secondary temperature whatever the secondary load conditions, without the need for a secondary circuit buffer tank or storage tank. With steady load conditions, the Spirax EasiHeat will control at ±1°C. Even where there are large and sudden secondary load changes, such as those found in a domestic water heating application, the Spirax EasiHeat will control at ±5°C. It is designed for applications where steam is the primary medium and water is the secondary medium and as such is the preferred solution for a wide range of HVAC and process hot water heating applications.


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