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Fan control

Fan control

Fan control

(OP)
Hi,

We're installing some vent fans in building A and want to be able to control them manually from building B. The control requirements are simply on/off/reverse. The two buildings are about 1km apart. There is a fiber optic communication backbone between both buildings.

After some research, I am thinking of doing the following:
  • Use fan soft starters in Bldg A containing a module that supports MODBUS TCP. Through this fieldbus, it's possible to start and stop the motor, read out currents and frequency, achieve info about warnings, faults, etc.
  • Use a desktop PC in bldg B running Wonderware HMI software, which will send MODBUS TCP commands to the softstarters
  • Use switches to convert from Ethernet to fiber (bldg B), fiber to Ethernet (bldg A) and then route the signal to individual starters.
  • Note: No PLC is used
My questions are:
  1. Will this work?
  2. Are there other alternatives I should look at?
  3. Would I be able to remotely login to the desktop PC to monitor and control the fans from another location if needed?
Thanks,
Bill

RE: Fan control

  1. Yes, it can be made to work. Whether it meets applicable codes regarding emergency stops and so on is more open to question.
  2. You mentioned one option - a PLC and either an MMI or PC. You can get safety-qualified PLCs with redundancy if that is a requirement. Most BMS hardware is capable of this functionality too.
  3. Given network access, yes you could. Whether you would want to is a different question given the potential for security problems.

RE: Fan control

(OP)
Scotty - thanks for the quality answers.
1. We will have local disconnects/hand off autos at the fans for emergency stop
2. I was planning on using just a PC with Wonderware. For redundancy, we will have a spare PC.
3. Re: security, I will check with our IT dept about using an ACL, firewall and/or encryption. Thoughts welcome.

Bill

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