- 1 Project History
- 2 Requirements and Aims
- 3 Technical Overview
- 4 Project Description
- 5 Monitoring and Control (SCADA)
- 6 Summary
In January 2013, BeKa-Software GmbH commissioned the first systems for remote data transfer and measurement for the district heating substa- tions of Austrian company Energie AG Oberösterreich Power Solutions GmbH. Since this time, they have been measuring and monitoring relevant parameters like the flow temperature, the boiler and outside temperatures or the gas and heat meters. The data is transferred in seconds to Energie AG in the city of Haid.
This means that it has been possible to considerably reduce the number of person hours necessary for running the district heating substations, while at the same time maximizing their efficiency.
Under the trademark “Energie AG Power Solutions” they operate about 500 district heating substations in Upper Austria and the neighboring states for multi-dwelling units, industrial parks, hotels and industrial plants. It is crucial to have an intelligent automation solution to be able to efficiently monitor, control, and regulate these systems that are distributed across a very large area. One year later in January of 2014, as many as 200 of these distributed heating systems had already been connected using SystemTera.Servers to the SystemTera® control station.
Requirements and Aims
On the basis of BeKa-Software GmbH’s competence in programming software solutions and hardware and microcontrollers, as well as in measurement and control technology, there was an intensive cooperation with Energie AG staff members to draw up the basics of the project. The SystemTera® product line resulted from this project.
The intention was to modernize a solution that was already operational at Energie AG and to adapt it to the new requirements of the system.
- Generation of historical data (historization)
- Automated transfer of data for reports
- Access to data from everywhere
- Revision of reports
- Simplification of monitoring connected devices
- System control
- Remote maintenance
- Automated notifications in the case of “disturbances “, for example
- Support in reducing energy costs
The SystemTera.Server monitors the status of the connected devices as well as local threshold values like the inside and outside temperatures, for example.
- This data provides the SystemTera devices with the basis for deciding whether to make control changes or to notify the user
- When specific events occur, like a pressure drop in the heating system or a defective pump, the system can automatically send a warning to the building administration company, the control station, or the on-call service
- The system can respond automatically, e.g. in the case of heating system failures
The SystemTera.Cloud is the communication backbone.
- It guarantees users protected access to their installations from wherever they are located
- It informs them reliably about specific events
- It makes data available
- It makes possible data communication for remote maintenance and operation via an app
Ultimately, the SystemTera.Manager brings real intelligence into the system.
- Using this software, you can program and control the system
- On your PC, you have a professional control station with a schematic graphic layout for all the building services system across the entire system
- The solution can help to reduce energy costs
- Reduction in costs while increasing the efficiency of the district heating substations
The measures made it possible to reduce the personnel costs and journeys to the district heating substations. Apart from this, it was possible to increase the efficiency of the individual district heating substations, which resulted in savings with the energy carriers too.
Status as of January 2014
- About 200 sites
- Gas heating systems
- Conventional oil heating systems
- Solar power installations
- Pellet heating systems
- Multi-dwelling units
- Industrial parks
- Commercial and industrial plants
- Upper Austria (mainly)
- Lower Austria
- SystemTera.Server as a data gateway
- SystemTera.Conroller deeply integrated with server
- SystemTera.Controller display for switching cabinet and commissioning
- Honeywell XL50 as the controller
- Other controllers made by Viessmann, for example, integrated via VITO-Gate and KNX
- Private Cloud integrated in the custom- er’s IT landscape
- SystemTera.Manager as the central con- trol station
- SystemTera.App for the mobile workforce
- Reporting via Manager and Cloud
Project Start and Requirements
The project was started in November of 2012. The district heating substations that Energie AG operates were mainly controlled by Honeywell XL50s that were also used for remote maintenance. Remote maintenance failures and other defects were the main reason that Energie AG decided to breathe new life into its control station concept. The following technical objectives had to be achieved:
- A central control station with data acquisition
- Threshold value control
- Alarms and warnings in the case of disturbances
- Visualization of schematics of substations
- Improvement of the infrastructure
- Reduction in the personnel costs for maintenance and operation
One of the major challenges was the different types of heating systems. These were differentiated due to the type of control rather than the type of energy carrier.
Types of District Heating Substations
Systems Under Standalone Control
These systems are controlled on a standalone basis using a controller made by the manufacturer of the heating system. In addition, a Honeywell XL50 and sensors are used to acquire measured data. The SystemTera.Server transfers the data to Energie AG’s Private Cloud.
XL50 as the Controller
One or more XL50s are used as the control modules in these systems. The sensors for measured data acquisition are either connected to the controller or the SystemTera.Server. You carry out changes to the configuration via the SystemTera.Server as the data gateway.
Systems With Sensor Technology Only
The sensor technology is executed using Modbus components and is connected to the SystemTera. Server for data acquisition.
Systems With Various Viessmann Controllers
These district heating substations are equipped with various systems manufactured by Viessmann and equipped on a standalone basis with one of the manufacturer’s controllers. Data is transferred between the system components across a proprietary LON bus derivate. In principle, it would have been feasible to implement a connection but this was rejected due to the lack of transparency of the standard. In the end, the connection and data exchange were implemented via Viessmann’s VITO-Gate to KNX and via the KNX protocol to the SystemTera.Server.
Systems With In-depth Integration of the SystemTera.Controller
One or more SystemTera.Controllers are used as the controller for the system. The SystemTera.Con- troller is deeply integrated with the SystemTera.Server. It is not just measured data and switching instructions that are exchanged via the SystemTera.Server; it is also possible to maintain the entire firmware of the controller.
Monitoring and Control (SCADA)
The SystemTera.Manager is the central tool for monitoring and remote maintenance. The Energie AG employees have an overview of all the sys- tems in a map view. The color of the site marking allows you to detect at a glance whether there is a warning for a particular system or if there are any other problems present. When you click on the marking, the system quickly displays all the relevant system data or a visual representation of the electrical or hydraulic schematics.
The systems are organized in groups. Using the “Control Center” function, you can switch over entire system groups from summer operation to winter operation for instance. With many substations, it used to be necessary to do this manually on-site each period.
The local SystemTera.Server in the switching cabinet acquires the data. Changes to configurations and switching instructions are also distributed via this compact server. In many cases, data is transferred via GSM modems. Due to the selected transfer technology and the contract with a mobile net- work operator, a particular focus was to minimize the data volume.
The responsible employee can call the control station directly from their own PC. In the case of disturbances or if threshold values are exceeded, the sys- tem issues a notification. Using the available remote maintenance and con- trol options, engineers can intervene and in a best case situation eliminate the disturbance.
The Visual Schematic
It is possible to store one or more visual schematics for each system. They map the systems or system sections. This means that the employees in mon- itoring see all the relevant system data virtually in real-time.
Schematic: The illustration shows the hydraulic schematic of a heating system with a water heating system for four multi-dwelling units. Engi- neers can monitor all the necessary temperatures and the status of pumps. At the click of a mouse button, engineers get more information about installed components. Apart from this, you can store information in the comment field to document repairs, settings, etc.
Using a central switch, it is possible to switch over the entire system in the schematic from summer operation to winter operation. Due to the group concept, you can also switch over an entire group at a different location – it is not necessary to open each individual system.
Note: Sensitive system data has been anonymized!
Depending on their access rights, staff can view these schematics as well as individual functions in the SystemTera.Manager. You can store information about the connected devices such as the type number, year of construc- tion, etc. in addition to comments on maintenance and settings. This access rights system also makes it possible to give information about the system in question, e.g. values and warnings, to the contracting partner’s staff via the SystemTera.App. This means that field engineers can quickly get an overview on their Smartphone – in many cases, this means that they don’t even need to start up their laptops.
To make it easier for the engineers who set up or enhance systems to configure them, we created an intuitive user interface that makes possible a quick overview of all the connected devices at the connection or bus level as well as allowing linking of data points by dragging and dropping. All of this is possible on a remote basis by means of the control station software—but only by engineers with the necessary access rights in the program of course.
Schematic Views With Evaluations
In the same way as with hydraulic schematics, you can also generate views with evaluations. This means that engineers can collect and evaluate data to optimize planning or to thoroughly investigate disturbances.
A reporting system is available via the SystemTera.Manager interface that you can use to generate system-specific or cross-system reports. Energie AG uses this facility to generate reports and balance sheets for energy con- sumption adjusted for heating degree days and by billing periods. In this way, you can compare the current period of a system with previous ones. This allows you to determine whether optimization or thermal renovation of the fabric of the building led to the desired results.
Client: Energie AG Oberösterreich Power Solutions GmbH
Performance: BeKa-Software GmbH
More than 230 systems in operation since January 2014
- Heating systems in domestic and com- mercial facilities
- Distributed systems over a large area
- Remote maintenance
- Data recording
- Reduction in the person hours for maintenance and operation
- Distributed servers for data acquisition
- Company-internal Cloud solution
- Central control station for monitoring
- Alarms in the case of disturbances or if threshold values are exceeded
- Data recording
- Reduced personnel costs
- Increased efficiency of individual district heating substations
- Savings in energy carriers
- Less pollutant emissions
- Compliance with upcoming EU regulations on energy monitoring