courtesy of Reliable Controls Corp.
RC-FLEXair, Reliable Controls Corp.

7 smart products from AHR Expo

March 14, 2023
From controllers to edge devices, these technology solutions reflect advancements in environmental monitoring and data analysis.

In February, ASHRAE wrapped up another successful Winter Conference and AHR Expo, this year in Atlanta. Preliminary reports from the event organizer reveal attendance numbers approaching 43,000. Our editorial team fought their way through the crowds on the show floor and met with many HVACR manufacturers, suppliers and service providers to learn about the latest technology solutions being introduced in the market.

As has been the case for about the last 20 years, the exhibit floor featured a special Building Automation & Controls Showcase section. The vendors in this area offered a variety of products and solutions for managing, monitoring, automating, and analyzing building data and systems. Here is a sampling of their offerings.

BACnet IP router BMT-RTR, Metz Connect USA

This compact device allows routing between BACnet IP, BACnet Ethernet, and BACnet MS/TP networks. Up to 32 BACnet MS/TP devices can be run per line, allowing unlimited transfer of BACnet objects between the MS/TP and IP network. The device and parameterization across two protocols (Ethernet and RS-485) can be configured via a user-friendly web interface or the software tool MC-Search Utility. The router also has a logging tool for troubleshooting and data analysis.

Room sensors, Belimo

Capable of measuring temperature, humidity, dew point, and carbon dioxide, these surface-mounted sensors feature a streamlined design with an optional ePaper touch display. CO2 measurements are automatically adjusted based on altitude and temperature, improving their accuracy. The sensors can integrate seamlessly with BACnet, Modbus, and MP-Bus, and communicate directly to a BMS. Capable of near-field communication, the room sensors can be quickly set up or adjusted using the Belimo Assistant smartphone app, which also allows data access, field adjustability, commissioning, and troubleshooting even without power. Each sensor’s spring-loaded terminal blocks and a snap-on cover make for a fast installation.

Optimyze condition monitoring solution, Xylem

This monitoring solution provides health guidance and predictive maintenance insights for mechanical and electrical assets, such as pumps, motors, heat exchangers and steam traps. It periodically monitors system vibration and temperature, allowing users to access simple-to-use monitoring tools from iOS or Android mobile devices. Optimyze also collects, stores, and analyzes asset health information, allowing users to understand health and historical trends, create maintenance reminders, and generate detailed reports. The Optimyze Gateway offers remote connectivity and mobile device access without having to be within Bluetooth range, while Xylem’s Avensor Smart Monitoring Platform provides 24/7 monitoring using the company’s dedicated web application.

Hive controller, PassiveLogic

The central hardware platform of the PassiveLogic ecosystem, Hive combines all automation needs—cell modules, setup interface, user access point, power supply, and bussing—into one premanufactured control panel. Its on-screen guided wiring, automatic error detection, and self-commissioning features improve productivity, and each point has built-in line testing. Like a digital multimeter on every terminal, the controller ensures wires are connected properly and to the right equipment and sensors with software-defined I/O. Whether using Ethernet or Wi-Fi, the Hive topology is simple and self-routing. The controller can be installed in mechanical rooms, in public corridors, or inside a stud wall cavity.

DOME Sentry, Veridify Security

Developed with Intel and AWS, Dome Sentry is designed to complement existing building systems and deliver a real-time NIST-compliant zero trust solution to every device on a building's operational technology network. Dome creates a VPN-like tunnel over an existing network, authenticates all parties, and encrypts all data to stop attacks before they can happen. Piloted in commercial, public, and DoD facilities, the first generation of this security appliance supports BACnet/IP networks; future versions will support BACnet MS/TP and other protocols. A Dome building automation cybersecurity starter kit, available through Arrow Electronics, includes two Dome Sentry devices; a Dome Interface Appliance, a local management device for installing Dome Sentry devices and collecting alerts and data logs used by the Dome Server for reporting and management functions; and a subscription to Dome's SaaS control dashboard.

Remote Building Manager, Honeywell

Honeywell Remote Building Manager helps owners and tenants monitor energy use, reduce operational costs, and manage building systems 24/7 on a variety of devices. The solution can be used in any type of building: leased, owned, new construction, or legacy. Built on the Honeywell Forge platform, the manager allows users to add or remove software services from the Forge ecosystem, such as Carbon and Energy Management and indoor air quality monitoring. The manager works with the company’s Optimizer Suite controllers and supports integration with third-party controllers to provide real-time system insights and efficiency-improvement opportunities. Requiring minimal hardware, capital expenses, and on-site IT support to run or maintain, the subscription-based software can be installed and configured in hours.

RC-FLEXair, Reliable Controls Corp.

This programmable BACnet building controller for variable air volume and room control applications is built around dual Ethernet connection architecture and multicore processors and uses a modular architecture with an open-source, Linux-based operating system. It logs all input, output, value, calendar, loop, and schedule objects, which can each store up to 2,000 records. With space for 64 control programs, each large enough to run advanced energy sequencing and integrated FDD, the RC‑Flexair features an optional precision-airflow sensor and a brushless DC damper actuator.  All input, output, and communication ports are hardware-protected against transient surges and spikes, which hardens the controller against field-wiring mistakes and improves resilience. Manufactured from highly recyclable materials, the controller complies with RoHS 3, WEEE, and R2 directives for easy, clean disposal at its end of useful life.

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