In the second of this two-part series, Yasmin Hashmi summarises the presentations given on Day 2 of the recent online KNX HVAC Solutions Conference, held on 30 and 31 March 2021.
As with Day 1 of the KNX HVAC Solutions Conference hosted by the KNX Association, Day 2 commenced with a couple of introductory sessions that gave excellent overviews of the benefits and possibilities of KNX technology for HVAC, followed by specific examples of applications using products from a variety of manufacturers. The following summarises the presentations given on Day 2.
The KNX Room Controller – the Ultimate Solution for HVAC and Home Control
KNX Tutor for Bemco, Gordon Fry, described the benefits of using a KNX room controller in simplifying the user experience. It can bring together all of the aspects of room functionality, reduce the number of wall-mounted devices required, and hide any control ‘complication’ whilst providing full system control through a simple and elegant user interface. Examples were given of controlling lighting, blinds and curtains, heating (underfloor and radiator) and AC (including fan coil) using products from Jung, Zennio, Siemens and ABB, with helpful descriptions of key features.
Developing HVAC solutions with KNX
KNX Association’s Membership & Business Development Manager, Jesus Arias, gave an impressive overview that addressed systems integrators and companies interested in targeting the HVAC industry. He described how KNX offers numerous opportunities to create outstanding HVAC solutions: from field devices to full services that rely on the rich data produced by KNX installations. The presentation looked at the process of developing HVAC products, from single devices, through boilers, to complex systems using KNX IoT. It also covered sustainability, green building certification, services, advanced analytics to save money, and predictive maintenance. Among the examples of HVAC products given were sensors, room controllers, valves (including wireless using KNX RF), fan coil controllers with simple switches or inclusive thermostatic functions, boiler interfaces, AC interfaces, dew point sensors for cooling systems, and temperature probes for protection (for underfloor heating for example).
Indoor Well-being and Efficiency with Schneider Electric SpaceLogic KNX
With a focus on occupant comfort, Schneider Electric’s Global Business Development Director, Marco Banzato, and Application Specialist – Smart Space, Global Competency Centre, Hashim Assanar, presented the company’s latest KNX SpaceLogic product range. They emphasised HVAC control at room level, whilst integrating to a BMS for end-to-end control from the plant room to the room level. The range includes 24-230V and 0-10V fan coil actuators; a valve driver controller for heating and cooling; the Multitouch Pro room temperature controller with up to 32 buttons and an internal temperature sensor (connection to an external temperature sensor is also possible); the Pushbutton Pro T with touchless function and temperature sensor; and the Air Quality CO2, humidity and temperature sensor. BACnet and Modbus compatibility was also covered, as well as residential and commercial HVAC applications.
ClimaECO: ABB i-bus KNX and HVAC
ABB’s Global Support and Training Specialist, Thorsten Reibel, explained how the ABB ClimaECO offers a holistic approach to HVAC using KNX, including room control, heating/cooling circuit control, boiler/chiller interfacing, central automation and seamless integration into higher-level management systems. Various examples of different types of HVAC system were provided, including a water-based heating and cooling system with detailed diagrams of flow and return. It was also pointed out that since ABB acquired the Cylon building management system, its i-bus KNX system can be integrated into the Cylon solution for BACnet or Modbus control.
ise Gateways for Convenient Integration of Heating Systems
ise Individuelle Software und Elektronik GmbH makes a wide range of KNX gateways for proprietary building control systems for a variety of applications. In this presentation, ise Head of Product Management and Technical Support, Robin Geide, looked at KNX gateways specifically for HVAC systems including Vaillant, Saunier Duval and Viega. He described their key features and gave plenty of practical examples of their application.
KNX Connectivity for HVAC Applications via Modbus
Demonstrating how easily Modbus devices can be connected to KNX, Weinzierl Engineering’s CEO, Thomas Weinzierl, and Software Developer, Stefan Matsche presented the Weinzierl KNX Modbus RTU Gateway 886, which allows connection via RTU protocol (RS-485), whilst the new KNX Modbus TCP Gateway 716 offers a TCP/IP link. It was noted that data mapping from Modbus to KNX was one of the challenging parts of the development. Most common Modbus commands are supported, plus additional functions such as multiread requests, up-to-date register value, and diagnostic objects.
KNX RF Valve Drive for Wireless Room Temperature Control
Peter Sperlich, MD of Smart Building Services, pointed out that there are more than 20 companies that have developed KNX RF devices, and there are at least 80 KNX RF products already on the market. For wireless control of convector radiators, Peter talked us through the energy-self-sufficient KNXdrive4u valve drive from Smart Building Services. This uses KNX RF S-Mode to wirelessly integrate with KNX room temperature control. It is made from metal, not plastic, fits directly onto Heimeier/Oventrop-compatible M30x1.5 radiator valves, and can be attached to Grässlin valves using an adapter. Energy generation is via a Peltier element that uses the heat difference between front and back of the device. The KNXdrive4u has an internal temperature sensor, and can be programmed using ETS5 via a laptop with a KNX RF stick plugged in.
Connected Room Automation for the Ultimate Occupant Experience
Eelectron Chief Technical Assistant & Product Specialist, Andrea Pontoglio, discussed the latest solutions and devices from Eelectron, that include human-centric design for automatic management and guaranteed continuous integrated control, whilst lowering energy costs and improving efficiency. Products covered included the 9025 series room temperature controller with rear analogue and digital inputs and integrated temperature, humidity and CO2 sensors, with the possibility to connect an external probe. The elegant touchpanel has various glass cover options with customisable icons and up to 10 capacitive buttons. The Eelectron Multi.Sensor range was also covered, as well as actuators for heating and cooling management using valve and fan coil systems, plus a mobile app and voice control. Examples of hotel and residential applications were given, as well as COVID-19-specific applications involving air quality and occupancy monitoring.
Siemens RDG200 Range: KNX Communicating Room Thermostats
Product Manager for Room Automation and Smart Thermostat for Siemens, Guido Antonini, gave an informative account of the Siemens RDG200 communicating room thermostat range, which has built-in multisensors, supports fan coil, universal and heat pump applications, and comes with a wide range of preloaded applications. It offers seamless integration with the Siemens Synco and Desigo systems as well as KNX. The RDG200 is available in two basic versions, namely 24/230V and 0-10V. All models are wall-mounted, include three multifunctional inputs, and support commissioning via DIP switch, ETS or Siemens smartphone app. Fast commissioning whilst the device is unpowered in the box is also possible. Guido gave examples of applications in classrooms and office spaces and told us that master/slave functionality and a local time program for residential applications are planned for the autumn.
The KNX HVAC Solutions Conference was considered a great success. Focussing on a specific application provides more in-depth and high-quality information that can really benefit KNX professionals and those interested in finding out just how powerful KNX is.
The programme of presentations was an informative mix of topics that provided a good overview of trends, inspiration for areas in which business can be developed and useful technical information on a range of products and their application. Sessions were generally very engaging and not too long, with plenty of time for Q&As at the end. There was also the opportunity to be matched randomly, through the time-limited face-to-face meetings, in the Networking Area – a nice way to meet old and new acquaintances.
Yes, there were some areas for improvement, such as leaving sufficient time between sessions for comfort breaks, simplifying the presentation areas and perhaps finding even better ways to engage with delegates, but KNX Association is already aware of these and is ever-improving its offer. Well done to all who organised this event and participated in it, including KNXA’s Sara Fan, who did an excellent job of live mediating!
A summary of the presentations on Day 1 of this conference can be found in my article KNX HVAC Solutions Conference: Day 1.
Recordings of the above presentations can be found at the KNX YouTube channel
Yasmin Hashmi is the Editor of KNXtoday magazine