Upgrading Aging Building Automation
Is it time for an update or a full replacement? Here are some factors to think about when evaluating mechanical systems.
- Support. There are several levels of support required for any control system. The first level is generally within the owner’s operations team or from a local service contractor. This support is needed to make programming changes, replace controllers after failure, and to provide routine service and upgrades. The second level of support is from the manufacturer, who provides replacement parts and software upgrades. In the event that reliable local support is not available, or if the manufacturer no longer is actively supporting the product, then it is time to replace the system.
- Performance. Many times, we find systems that are serviceable but may not be fast, provide a high quality user interface, or be easy to understand or operate. A system with poor performance may be able to be improved through an upgrade, but more often than not replacement may be the only viable solution.
- Reliability. Ideally a control system should work with high reliability and require a minimal amount of regular service and calibration. Older pneumatic and electro-mechanical systems often don’t provide a high degree of reliability (or performance) and are good candidates for upgrade or replacement.