Enhancing Efficiency: The Benefits of Integrated Water Treatment Controllers in Building Management Systems

A Building Management System (BMS) is a centralized control system that is designed to monitor and manage the various electrical, mechanical and electro-mechanical services of a facility/building. These services can include power, heating, air-conditioning, ventilation, building access control, elevators, lighting, and much more.  Integration of a “smart” water treatment controller into a Building Management System minimizes the possibility of human error, it supports system efficiency by better controlling and reducing corrosion and its impact on cooling towers and boilers. Automating water treatment can reduce the number of potential problems and ensure minimal human intervention to keep the water system operating correctly.

Building Management Systems (BMS)

As complexity of buildings and building systems increase, maintaining these systems in a non-automated way becomes increasingly difficult.  As such, automated water treatment becomes an even more important option to consider. An automated water treatment controller eliminates the reliance on manual maintenance, testing and dosing. With that controller linked to the building management system, facilities teams can track the status of water treatment and quickly spot any alarms and problems as they occur and even before they occur. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The modern BMS can gather operating data on a continual basis. Incorporating analytics into the BMS provides the ability to maintain the equipment, spot potential problems before the equipment breaks down, increase equipment uptime and achieve greater operational efficiency.

Benefits

There are a number of benefits to automating water treatment that every facility manager should know:

  1. Predictive maintenance and diagnostics – Advanced notice of potential problems allow administrators and managers to schedule repairs before the equipment shuts itself down. This saves costly, unscheduled downtime and extends the life of the equipment.
  2. Lowering energy and chemical usage – Automating water treatment ensures maximum efficiency, therefore lowering energy usage and minimizes the amount of water lost during the treatment process. It also minimizes the amount of chemicals required to maintain the water quality. 
  3. Update existing systems – Updating legacy systems to include existing technology provides the administrators with better data about what is working and what is not.  Better data means better efficiency and lower operating costs.
  4. Better access to important data – Successful water treatment is a data-driven process. Minute by minute updates on water quality and equipment functions provides BMS systems the information needed to ensure maximum efficiency and lowest operating costs.

Lakewood’s NexSys™ Control System

Lakewood’s NexSys™ control system is the latest in a long line of reliable, easy to use controllers. All discrete inputs and outputs associated with the NexSys™ control system make use of nodes. Nodes are mini-CPUs with specific purposes. The nodes communicate with the NexSys™ Controller via a local communication network called LonWorks™. LonWorks™ is very different from the open device networks such as DeviceNet, Profibus and ModBus, LonWorks™ is a peer-to-peer network. It does not move data through a master device. Any device in the network can exchange data with any other LonWorks™ device on that network. LonWorks™ is not tied to a physical communication layer. DeviceNet is limited to CAN. ModBus and Profibus are limited to RS-485. LonWorks™ can use two-wire, Ethernet or power-line technologies for physical-layer signaling. The NexSys™ utilizes the two-wire communication layer to connect the nodes to the controller. One of the largest benefits to the NexSys™ system is the LonWorks network. On most water treatment controllers, the various sensors must be located close to the controller. The low-level signals typically associated with these sensors cannot be transmitted long distances without some form of transmitter or signal amplifier. The NexSys™ system allows the placement of the nodes in close proximity to the sensor location. The nodes can be located up to 1,300 feet (400 meters) away from the controller without affecting the sensor reading. The NexSys™ Control System includes the ability to add up to four (4) conductivity input nodes, two (2) pH input nodes, two ORP input nodes two (2) 4-20 mA input nodes with four (4) channels of inputs each, one digital input node (used for two flow switch inputs and two water meter inputs) and one relay node. With these features, one NexSys™ controller can operate up to two cooling towers or up to four boilers simultaneously.

Secondary to LonWorks, all possible input/output values transmitted to the NexSys™ Controller via the LonWorks network are available as BACnet/IP server objects or Modbus TCP/IP points. As such, the NexSys™ Controller can be configured to connect to a BACnet or Modbus TCP/IP network, allowing for Remote Water Treatment monitoring. Variables, such as water conductivity, pH, ORP, makeup water conductivity, trace chemistry, can be monitored in real-time via the remote connection. The onboard data acquisition can be downloaded to the BMS for trend analysis.

Revolutionizing Facility Management With Remote Water Treatment

In conclusion, integrating smart water treatment controllers into Building Management Systems (BMS) revolutionizes facility management. This automation enhances efficiency, reduces costs, and boosts equipment uptime. Benefits include predictive maintenance, energy, and chemical savings, and improved data access. Lakewood’s NexSys™ control system showcases this innovation, leveraging LonWorks™ network technology and seamless integration with BACnet/IP and Modbus TCP/IP networks for remote monitoring. As buildings evolve, automated water treatment is crucial for sustained peak performance and equipment longevity.

Seamlessly integrate into a facility’s building management system by ordering a NexSys controller today!

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Customer Testimonial

Morning Joel, Ed,

I wanted to thank you both for assisting Sean Stanwood in the installation and programming of the NexSys modem yesterday. 

With a quick phone call, Sean was able to connect the modem to the NexSys controller and demonstrate to our customer how the system can be monitored and controlled remotely. 

Our customer was thrilled by the ease of which we did the install and demonstration of the modem’s abilities. Very impressed!!

We also were confronted with an error code on the water meter recorder and totalizer. We showed them how to use the reset button in the back of the panel and the system corrected itself and started working perfectly, counting feed water flow and total gallons passing the paddle wheel meter. 

Again, we thank you for your support of our field representative, as it helps our professional image.

– Bill Stanwood, Owner, NW Water Technology.