Case study: Lighting control panel upgrade provides dramatic improvement for a university

Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., relied on a programmable relay-based system installed in the mid-1980s to provide energy-saving scheduled control of lighting and equipment for its most vital buildings. The system was in need of an upgrade.

12/18/2007


Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., relied on a programmable relay-based system installed in the mid-1980s to provide energy-saving scheduled control of lighting and equipment for its most vital buildings.
While the system, which controlled the learning center, cultural center, student center, and athletic complex, served its purpose initially, the controls had become antiquated and unreliable. After experiencing numerous disruptions to classes and events, engineers at the state university set out to research replacement options. The school’s engineering services department personnel priced equipment and installation costs, and eventually found a solution.
For less than 10% of the cost of a new system, they could refurbish the existing panels to create a modern control system. The university could significantly extend the life of its capital equipment and avoid sending materials to a landfill. Additionally, the upgrade would take much less time than a full replacement.
After more than 20 years of service and numerous undocumented modifications, the original control system was only about 75% functional. Some relays had failed on; the lights were operational, but power was wasted. The time required to program the system for special events was prohibitive, and the process was risky, because the disk drive needed to load even a single change was unreliable and obsolete. And because of staff turnover, no one really understood the system.
Campus engineers need reliable controls that are easy to program. An early adopter of scheduled control, Lander University is among one of the most energy-efficient campuses in the state, as reported by the South Carolina Energy Office. In addition to lighting, the relays power water-source heat pumps and other electrical devices, so careful scheduling is truly central to conservation efforts.
The newly retrofitted system allows Internet protocol control of all the panels. Engineers can create and modify schedules for equipment and lighting in individual spaces including common areas, classrooms, labs, and offices. To maximize energy savings, engineers programmed most of the lighting for manual-on, using previously installed low-voltage switches, and scheduled-off. Certain overrides are available, but engineers now prefer to adjust the control schedule as needed.
“Normally equipment and lighting goes off around 5 p.m., but for special events or seminars, we can have just one specific area turn off at 9 p.m., for example,” said staff engineer Ralph Jenkins. “It used to be a nightmare to do this, but with the new scheduling software it’s easy. The system has lots of bells and whistles and is very user-friendly.”
Engineers finished the panel upgrade during spring break in 2007 so that there was no disruption to classes or other events. Lander engineering personnel performed the work themselves under the direction of a technician, and so they became more familiar with the system and will better be able to service it in the years ahead.
The upgrade process involved replacing the main control card in each panel with a new card and thoroughly testing and inspecting the panel. Any failed relays were replaced. Additionally, the bulky old controller was replaced with a small dataline power supply to power the low-voltage controls. Wiring was run for a data communications link and the WebLink, and scheduling is now performed in a convenient location on a PC.
Retrofitting the old relay system allowed Lander University to continue using the portion of the controls with the longest service life while replacing parts that were obsolete. Because the panels themselves did not have to be replaced, installation costs were minimal, and the project didn’t require the services of an outside contractor.
The controls have been brought back to 100% operation and the existing system has been fully documented. Strict control of energy use, which in 2004 was a scant 67.42 kBtu/sq. ft—well below the state average of 123.93 kBtu/sq. ft for campuses with housing—is now much easier and the staff expects to be able to achieve additional savings in the future using the many options afforded by the new controls.
For more about lighting controls from Watt Stopper/Legrand, click here .





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me