Finns drive for smart buildings

25 January 2008

A local government building in the Finnish city of Tampere has networked variable speed fan drives into its heating and ventilating system during a major refit of the 40-year-old building.

The Finnish climate make environment control, within large or public buildings, a critical issue, so estates managers are keen to be able to monitor performance of the whole building from a central location. To advance this, many of the public buildings are being upgraded with suitable control networks.

The NEKALA 2 building, built originally in 1968, comprises 15,000sq m over two floors. Housing 80 people, responsible for various local authority functions, the building incorporates a depot, with garages as well as offices; a kitchen and lunchroom and, of course, a sauna. The refurbishment project involved the conversion of workshops to provide additional office space, involving a revamp of the HVAC system as well as building and fitting out of the new space.

The Tampere Authorities use the Mitsubishi F700 series drives in many of their building management projects. In the case of NEKALA, F740s in a variety of sizes were chosen, each individually matched to the motor and duty cycle with which they are paired. The drives are linked via a PLC, which monitors and controls speed, current and alarms, and collects operational data for high level management functions such as energy optimisation and maintenance planning.

The FR-F700 features both optimum excitation control, for improved motor efficiency during constant speed operation and acceleration periods, and optimum torque patterns which accurately match the power delivered to that required at any instant. The speed of optimisation is effectively instant, so the drive is always giving maximum performance and efficiency to the load; previous generations of technology could only effectively optimise for energy efficiency under steady load or speed conditions.

Its ease of commissioning, its removable terminal block, on-board EMC filter, predictive maintenance monitor and its tripless reliability, as well as its ability to optimise energy usage, have made the FR-F700 a very popular choice for pump and fan drive applications. With its LON connectivity, the drive can be simply added to existing networks, such as at this Tampere local authority building, integrating into the single smart building system.

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