BACnet-capable drives speed commissioning at Blackburn Hospital

Over a hundred HVAC drives with native BACnet capability have been installed in the new Blackburn Hospital, which is the firs major building in the UK to use to BACnet communications protocol to control its building services. One of the key benefits is a significant time saving during commissioning. These ABB drives are said to be the only ones available with native BACnet capability. Neil Lawless, site manager of building-services contractor Haden Young at Blackburn, explains, ‘BACnet makes the units much easier to commission. It saves the control specialists from having to spend time inputting gateways to talk to the equipment. BACnet enables the drives to download the settings they need once they’re connected. Instead of taking between two and three hours to set up a drive conventionally, drives equipped with BACnet are ready to go in around 15 minutes.’ The drives are being used to control motors for air-handling units and water pumps throughout the site. Haden Young’s control sub-contractor TAC Satchwell recommended the BACnet approach to make the project run more smoothly. BACnet is widely used in the USA, but is less widespread in Europe. It is a set of rules governing how equipment communicates over a computer network. The BACnet rules relate specifically to the needs of building automation and control equipment, covering issues such as how to ask for temperatures, define a fan-operating schedule or send a pump status alarm.
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