CentraLine opens a new training and demonstration centre

Published:  03 February, 2015

Honeywell, CentraLine
The Centraline trainers get a birds eye view

A key feature of the support for CentraLine Partners is the specialist training they receive. This support has seen the opening of a new training and demonstration centre.

CentraLine by Honeywell starts 2015 with the opening of a new training and demonstration centre in Bracknell, Berkshire. A broad spectrum of independent system installers are becoming Centraline Partners, and ensuring they deliver technical excellence requires a high commitment to training and support.

Building-management systems (BMS) are arguably the most complex systems installed in a modern building — requiring high levels of skill and experience in control engineering, integration and front end design.

A controls engineer needs a thorough understanding of the application of mechanical plant and field equipment plus the ability to design and engineer control systems that will perform within specification and to the clients’ expectations.

The use of open protocols and the convergence of BMS with other building systems has changed the emphasis from control to integration. In addition, the increasing demand for remote communication with smart devices is a continual challenge to both the engineer and the trainer.

CentraLine UK was the first Honeywell brand in Europe to adopt the Niagara AX in 2007, identifying it as a leading technology in integration, on board graphics and control engineering.

Jeff Howlett, CentraLine senior engineer, explains, ‘The introduction of the Coach AX Niagara-based Hawk integration controller involved a complete reappraisal of our training methodology. The Hawk AX in “one box” is capable of control, integration and graphical front end, combined with very powerful capability to communicate with both open and closed protocols.

‘We concentrated on developing training courses that focus on the building-control aspects of the Niagara Framework to encourage new adopters of the technology who were previously more familiar with traditional digital programing software.

‘The courses we developed have been designed to introduce the IT-based Coach AX in modules enabling an incremental introduction without being initially overwhelmed by the complexity and flexibility of Niagara software framework.

‘To provide a low ratio of students to trainer we limit attendance to six students and restrict the courses to 2-day sessions. This optimises the learning effectiveness of the training whilst having a minimum impact on a Partner’s work load.’

To date, Jeff Howlett and Jim Cook, who are responsible for CentraLine training and support, have trained nearly 1300 students in Hawk AX and associated products and software.

The growth of the CentraLine network to over 150 Partners and an almost universal adoption of the Hawk AX confirms its acceptability in the building controls industry.

Jim Cook, who is also a CentraLine senior engineer, says, ‘Successful training requires continuous re-evaluation of each course.

‘New product and software-upgrade releases ensure we continually review training material to keep our delivery as fresh and interesting as possible.

Jeff and I are also responsible for technical support, which gives us a closer rapport with the students and ensures we are aware of the latest application challenges.

Hands-on training in the new environment

‘Successful building-control learning is highly dependent on a low ratio of students to trainer and a close interaction between the presentation screen and an individual “hands-on” facility for programming and testing software and hardware.

‘Each student is provided with a hardware workstation and a networked PC to enable individual exercises in software programming and designing graphical front-end displays.’

The new CentraLine training and demonstration centre has been moved to the ground floor to provide easier access to conference rooms and restaurant facilities. The centre has been completely updated with interactive and multiple projector screens to create a more efficient and effective learning environment.

Jeff Howlett, says, ‘Our training philosophy is to ensure a Partner’s engineering staff get the best possible learning experience, empowering them with the knowledge and self-confidence to engineer building-control applications into a cost-effective engineered solution.

‘We achieve this by providing three crucial learning elements;

• clear step by step presentations’

• hands on self-learning opportunities;

• individual and group discussions with the trainer.

CentraLine offers a full range of training programmes associated with Coach AX Niagara programming software.

‘Levels 1 and 2 encompass the basics of the Hawk AX integration controller to the graphical Arena AX Supervisor.

‘These courses include integration training on the mainstream open protocols, including LON, BACnet and Modbus — a very necessary requirement in engineering contemporary building-management systems.

‘We also provide a training course for both LON and BACnet variants of the Lynx field controller used in a wide range of applications. They include fan-coil units (FCUs), variable air volume (VAV), underfloor heating and air handling units (AHU)s.

‘Further Partner support is provided by offering Lynx, Hawk and Arena AX sales training that focuses on product features and functions to ensure the maximum cost effective benefits and value are delivered to clients.

To ensure our Partners have all the tools to maintain their customers’ installations we also provide a specific AX maintenance course, enabling them to offer clients a full service care programme.”

Jim Sword, CentraLine sales manager, summarises, ’We are very pleased that we can offer a new training and demonstration centre for our Partners and their clients.

Hands-on training in the new environment

‘The centre was designed by Jeff Howlett and Jim Cook, well known in the CentraLine community and the wider Building-controls industry. Both Jeff and Jim have won awards from the Building Control Industry Association for engineering and training excellence.

‘High standards of training are an absolute must in building a successful Partner network based on engineering and commercial professionalism, which I am pleased to say is the foundation of our CentraLine business.

‘Our new centre has also been designed as a demonstration facility, both for our Partners and their existing and prospective clients.

‘By including conferencing capabilities we have a provided an opportunity for Partners to accompany their customers for presentations and demonstrations of CentraLine products and systems.

‘The CentraLine training and demonstration resource in Bracknell reaffirms our commitment to our Partners, their clients and the industry as a whole by providing a centre of learning excellence in the UK.

We are looking forward to presenting new products and training new students in support of our Partners, who are the mainstay of our CentraLine by Honeywell business.’

If you would like to have more details of our training and demonstration centre or are interested in becoming a CentraLine Partner please visit the link below.

For more information on this story, click here: February 2015, 37

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