The August issue of Engineered Systems focused on some of the unique challenges engineers face in data centers. One of the articles titled, “Commercial vs Industrial Automation in Data Centers,” raised some interesting points about the pros and cons of using industrial programmable logic controls (PLC) over commercial BAS. In a critical environment, such as a data center, this becomes an interesting discussion. After all, uptime is key, and the added investment in a PLC solution should be readily justified.
So if industrial systems make more sense in this type of critical HVAC application, does the same logic follow into other critical areas? For example would you use it in a critical manufacturing environment? How about a lab or research center? Or what about a hospital or a large chiller plant? All of these projects have been done successfully (and arguably unsuccessfully) with both PLC- and BAS-based systems. So how do you go about deciding what kind of system will work best? Key issues to help you decide are found in Table 1.